Description: The media are powerful agents of socialization in modern society influencing values, beliefs, and attitudes of the culture that produces them. Both the quantity and quality of Latino images in the media may reflect and reinforce the place of Latinos in United States society. This study examines how Latinos are portrayed in television entertainment programming by addressing two major research questions: 1) What is the extent of Latino recognition on prime-time television? and 2) What is the extent of respect accorded Latinos on prime-time television? A one-week sample of prime-time television programming airing on three networks yielded 47 programs and 807 characters for analysis. Using content analysis methodology, recognition is identified by examining the frequency and proportional representation of Latino television portrayals and respect is measured by examining the types and significance of these roles. The results indicate an overall lack of diversity on prime-time television with only 11 of the 47 programs analyzed reaching 50% or more of the maximum possible diversity in their racial and ethnic portrayals. Specifically, Latinos represent only 3% of primetime television characters, less than one-fourth of their proportion of the nation's population. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks, and Asians, Latinos are the group least likely to occupy major roles in prime-time entertainment shows and represent only 1.9% of the total opening cast credits. Latinos are still presented stereotypically but are more often presented in a generic fashion with no reference to ethnic cultural experiences. The extent of recognition and respect accorded Latinos in prime-time television is severely limited, thus there is a need for continued research and dialogue regarding symbolic media images of Latinos. The findings have implications for social scientists interested in media forms and content as cultural artifacts, members of the television media industry responsible for program development and distribution, and college ...
Date: August 2001
Creator: McKenzie-Elliott, Tracey M.
Partner: UNT Libraries