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Media and Stereotypes

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The Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity

Abstract

Mass media have huge reach in society and are a key filter through which people learn about each other, yet countless studies demonstrate that these media continue to reproduce ethnic and racial stereotypes, with often harmful effects. In various mediums – news, drama, and gaming – ethnic minority groups are typically marginalized and overlooked. Very often, when they are represented, they are shown only in narrowly stereotyped roles, such as the model Asian migrant or the exotic Latina, or depicted negatively as the problematic “other,” disproportionately represented as violent or criminal, and “less than” dominant groups (i.e., less intelligent, less wealthy, less powerful). Ethnic minority media – that is, media produced by and for ethnic minority groups – generally offer more positive representations and a counter narrative to mainstream stereotypes but can also be prone to narrow typecasting and stereotype. The resulting pervasiveness of stereotyped representations across media formats and type is partly the outcome of complex media production processes, norms and values, commercial drivers, and a lack of ethnic minority media producers. Nonetheless, their impact, though hard to measure, is potentially significant. Mass media play a role in shaping collective identities and intergroup attitudes and, by typecasting certain groups, distort the picture that audiences see of different groups. There is evidence to suggest these skewed media representations can not only promote public hostility toward other ethnic groups but also lower ethnic minority individuals’ self-esteem. As a result, research into ways to combat stereotypes and promote more positive representations in the media is critical.

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Correspondence to Tara Ross .

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Ross, T. (2019). Media and Stereotypes. In: Ratuva, S. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2898-5_26

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