Blacks Over-represented On TV?

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Blacks Over-represented On TV?

Post #1

Post by Miles »

Just an observation, which in no way is meant to be a criticism.

According to THIS Wikipedia article, 13.4% of the US population is black. that's 1 out of every 7 to 8 people. Yet it seems that of late blacks are showing up in TV commercials and shows far more frequently than this. Perhaps 1 out of every 4 commercials and shows---25% of them. If true, it could be that companies using blacks in their commercials and shows are jumping on the band wagon of inclusivity---overcompensating perhaps---making sure their company isn't going to appear biased or prejudiced by making sure they include blacks in at least some of them. In all then, while perhaps only some of their commercials and the shows they sponsor contain blacks, together, all such companies are airing them somewhat at the same time which results in blacks appearing in commercials and shows far more frequently than the 7 or 8 to 1 ratio they occupy as a population of the country.

And what is telling here is that Hispanic and Latinos in the USA represent a higher percentage of the population, 15.3% (1 out of every 6 to 7), while, to my recollection, it seems they rarely show up in commercials and shows on TV at all.

Could it be a matter of the squeaky wheel getting the grease, and maybe more than its fair share?

What do you think?


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Re: Blacks Over-represented On TV?

Post #11

Post by Mithrae »

Miles wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 6:52 pm Could it be a matter of the squeaky wheel getting the grease, and maybe more than its fair share?
Supposing that there is some limited fair share of airtime for members of an already-disadvantaged group which if exceeded (in reality or in an individual's subjective assessment) invites speculation about companies jumping on the "band wagon" of inclusivity and the "squeaky wheel" getting the grease is a perspective I would disagree with on numerous levels.

Firstly, such dismissive descriptions of values like inclusivity and equality can be considered objectionable in their own right, for obvious reasons. Secondly, the idea of rationing (censoring?) commercial airtime according to ethnic demographics seems arbitrary and absurd whatever way one looks at it; there can be real concerns surrounding either the portrayal or the lack of representation of various groups in mass media, but simply allocating proportional airtime doesn't acknowledge and often won't address those real concerns, whilst simultaneously raising new concerns around freedom of expression. Thirdly, using the perceived over-representation of a disadvantaged group specifically as the issue for starting discussion of media presentation seems like a worryingly common trend in my experience; in some cases this could reflect a backlash against the slight decrease in a more dominant group's media prominence, or a misunderstanding of when and why media presentation can be a real problem, or could be an attempt to turn the tables in a 'see how you like it' sort of way (perhaps stemming ultimately from one of the first two causes, or from a far-right/libertarian objection to any kind of media monitoring on principle).

And fourthly, it seems fairly obvious that businesses in general and their marketing/advertising efforts in particular respond to market signals, not to some supposed "band wagon of inclusivity," and almost certainly have had far more of a stifling effect on prominent and positive portrayals of disadvantaged groups and women. People are used to the status quo, and stereotypes become stereotypes in part because they are simple, comforting ways of imagining the world; perceptions of wealth, beauty and respectability which advertisers (and creators of entertainment media, particularly in the case of beauty) want to associate with their products can be even more insidious and problematic. Of particular note is the self-reinforcing nature of those problems; advertisers and media creators generate 'relatable' and desirable content by appealing to stereotypes and popular perceptions, which in turn has a major impact in reinforcing and perpetuating those perceptions. Using the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' approach - or at most progressing with tiny, incremental changes with a view to long-term demographic trends - has usually been a much safer business decision than visibly challenging established norms and stereotypes, since backlash against the status quo is both more likely to come from younger folk with less spending power and, inasmuch as it has any real impact, would more or less affect all established companies alike. A lone company going out on a limb to challenge norms and risking the full brunt of backlash from more conservative/older consumers with greater spending power has been the exception rather than the norm over prior decades, a trend which has only recently started to noticeably 'reverse' due perhaps to the increasing prevalence of the internet and social media; but obviously that reverse, such as it is, is still simply a response to changing market circumstances. Those business decisions warrant neither praise nor censure themselves, though we should surely be pleased and cautiously optimistic about the growing social awareness of the harmful effects which negative portrayals, all kinds of stereotypes and significant under-representation of disadvantaged groups can have.

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Re: Blacks Over-represented On TV?

Post #12

Post by We_Are_VENOM »

Miles wrote: Tue Sep 01, 2020 3:42 pm If percentage of the population is the determining factor then they'ed be over represented if they appeared more than 13.4 % of the time. Personally, I think percentage of the population is a reasonable guideline, which in the case of blacks should be set at between 10% and 15 %.

Self-identified race Percent of population Percent on TV commercials and shows. Between:

Non-Hispanic white 63.4% 60% and 65%
Hispanic and Latino (of any race) 15.3% 13% and 18%
Black or African American 13.4% 10% and 15%
Asian 5.9% 3% and 8%
Native Americans and Alaska Natives 1.3% 0.5% and 3%
Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders 0.2 0.09% and 1%

Ahh, not to be worried, amigo.

Despite the "rise" in blacks in television, I can assure you; that the world is still dominated by white supremacy.

A spark in blacks on television doesn't change this.
Venni Vetti Vecci!!

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