Race And Ethnicity On Television

Television is a part of media, and media plays a very powerful role in the lives of people. The term media means a particular medium used to convey messages to an immense. Media, and for our case television has portrayed and influenced race and ethnicity across different cultures. Ideally, at the heart of social construction, one may think there is no such thing like race and ethnicity but scholars advocate that media has high contributions in creating personal sense of reality.

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America’s Next Top Model

This is a reality TV series where in the past a number of women have contended for the crown of America’s Next Top Model. Currently, the show has taken a new twist by inviting men as well. It is a Tyra’s Banks creation taking the role of a producer, host and judge. Because of the changes, the winner of the reality show will be crowned America’s Next Top Model-Guys and Girls. Tyra also called Lynne was born on 4th Dec 1973 in Los Angeles. She was a top-notch fashion model and became the first black woman to appear on the cover page of Sport Illustrated swimsuit issue.

The questions many people ask are, is Tyra black, white or of mixed race? What are her racial and ethnic compositions? Her parents are of African and American origin. At the age of 17yrs, Tyra gave modeling a first shot although the modeling agencies received with discrimination and rejection. She remembers one agency called her “too ethnic” while another said “they had a black woman and were not interested in another.”

Because of her fame and ethnicity, she is googled over five hundred times monthly by prying fan across the universe. Further, the pry concerning her race and ethnicity have been fuelled by the color of her eyes and light skin, yet leaving some people and most her fans concluding she is a Caucasian. Naturally, Africans have somewhat brown eyes whilst other colors come about because of a genetic imperfection or blood relations with European relatives. Which of these assumptions applies to Tyra? Soon her fans will know when she will feature in a popular PBS TV series, Finding Your Roots. Renowned celebrities will have their DNA test in pursue of divulging main aspects concerning their nationality, ethnicity and race.

The Cosby Show

Bill Cosby created and produced this show. It literally salvaged the declining comedy genre from oblivion, NBC’s. Its first appearance on television was 20th September 1984. It had so many fanatics such that by the end of its first season, the series was second most rated program in America. This enabled NBC to create other sitcom such as Friends, Frasier and Seinfeld.

Cosby is the lead character in the series, playing the role of a triumphant obstetrician living in a magnificent house in Brooklyn with his wife Clair. The cast is a combination of African- American. To some extent, the show highlights on the racial aspects, for instance, Cosby thought Huxtables could have been a middle class family from a colored background. From a personal view, why did Cosby, an African- American had to play the role of the lead character? He has top-notch acting skills; was he passing a message to the rest of the races? Like, hey, look here, I am black, an amazing actor and successful producer? On the other hand, Cosby’s universality and normality made the show win countless awards and named America’s most rated sitcom for five consecutive years.

CNN-Cable News Network

CNN is the largest broadcasting house based in the United States of America and was launched in 1980 by an America media guru called Ted Turner. CNN was and still is the first channel to present it viewers with news around the clock. Primarily, the news are broadcasted from its head office in Atlanta. However, it not always that all that glimmers is gold. CNN has had a major influence on race and ethnicity. For some reasons, most people believe the reason behind this is the company is based in America where cases of ethnicity and racism are most pronounced.

By citing an example, I will use the 2012 America’s presidential elections. Most of the people around the world did not expect CNN to put this, Obama won the elections because he accumulated votes from some of the single-sided electoral population in a contemporary political history. Then the media went on to elucidate, by having a look at the breakdown of the elections, Obama’s votes were acquired from 18-29 years at 60%, although most of them are unemployed and underemployed graduates. Further, his success was a contribution of the Africa-American with 93%, which was reported to be the same as 2008. Latino’s were also not left out of the picture as a hasty growing population in America that voted Obama at 71% as well as Asian who immensely voted him in.

Music – Halley Berry

Berry faced difficulties while growing up because of her biracial background. At times, she was torn between both extremes and her ethnicity. She remembered how they once lived in a black neighborhood and they dislike because her mother was white, and it was no better in the white neighborhood because she was black. It is for this reason she made an effort to be want other people like and what she wanted. She told Lesley O’ Toole of Evening Standard, if they wanted like a clown, I became one, and they needed straight A’s, I got them. Many of her schoolmates did not know Berry was not from a mixed parentage denying her mother was white. Such issues affected her and at the age of ten, she was in counseling and therapy sessions.

Daytime Drama- The Young and the Restless

Drucilla Winters

Drucilla was an African-American actress playing a fictional role. In her role, she fell off the cliff and assumptions were that she must have died thus her body was never recovered. Away from the screen (Victoria Rowell) was dissatisfied with the soap opera calling it a soap of racist for not casting enough blacks and crew. She also accused the director for playing a deaf ear on her storylines. This made her leave the show, although she got back because of her fame, strong screen appeal and for the sake of her fans.

Drama – Law and Order

This drama series highlights basic bedrocks of human rights as the opinion that every human being is born equivalent and free in distinction and rights. Its shows how discrimination and persecution based on ethnicity and race are lucid breach of these standards. Characters portrayed racial and ethnicity discrimination from the very brutal to institutional. The series shows some races and ethnic groups should not enjoy certain privileges such as social, cultural and political.


Sports are part of a globalization because they connect people from different states across the world. However, in the commercials black athletes are not positively represented. Studies propose that racial stereotyping of black athletes in media is somehow hidden and systematic. For instance, white footballers are so acknowledge compared to the black to an extent their private lives are brought into limelight. This gives them a positive reputation whilst creating a negative one for blacks. This is well supported by the fact that, especially American footballers and baskets appear in cover page for magazine, and movies have shot in their respect such as Basketballer’s wives.

For someone who is not an American, it would been easier for one to pivot the dispute on race, ethnicity and television wholly on whether and how colored individual have figure, on or back stage or in the viewers, is a missed point. Time after time, a lot has been projected without public fanfare but teeming countless programs, old movies, advertisements, sports, scenes and news is the genuineness and normalcy of societal whiteness. Television has been used to depict the mainstream of American religion, science, education systems, media, arts and theatre. According to what American TV depicts, United States is a white realm, with some marginalized “ethnic” additional (black men/boys, black women/girls, Latinos, Asians, and gays/lesbians). These minorities have been at their best when it is hard to ignore them such as carefully trained and respectful domestic helper, and gatemen.

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Still, I feel although the American television is trying to change, it has a long way to go. In its first two generations, it took over and spread daily and hourly traditions of its ethnic and race that outlined and maintained a racist state self-understanding. Perchance, this has proved to be more influential on the face of it being so central and foreseeable. Secondly, I evaluate the televisual dominancy of social whiteness itself because in most cases it has concentrated on African-American issues. In tandem, it has reviewed ethnicity and racism in American television. There is no need of downplaying decades of African-American experience with an intention of acknowledging the essence of original American states, Latinos, Asian-American and Chicanos in their every diversity.

Thirdly, I have a strong conviction that television has led to racial stereotype among people differently. Social class is vital in this case. Some groups have been highlighted as triumphant among them Asian-American whilst the Jewish are claimed to have inability to make good of anything unlike Latinos and Africa-American. Americans with double originality, lingos and cultures are compressed into generic “Indian” remains of the past. Gender has highly contributed too: white stomachs are likely to expand at apparent hostile and brutal prone men of color, but ethnic marginal women are credible with pliancy, such that even white men assume their unusual sexual enthusiasm.

Television has been able to create, maintain and stop racial stereotype. The initial step that television companies should understand is everyone has a race and an ethnicity background. Debates on race and ethnicity are not the best; they cause discomfort and even make people annoyed. The conversations are strained and at times even hard to commence and facilitate. For instance, research depict media bring African-Americans to light as unintelligent aggressive criminals. This has made Native Americans develop and maintain that believe hence, a hostile black prejudice. Others like Asian-American have a good reputation portrayed as model minorities who are noncontroversial, very industrious and politically laid back. Third world countries are the worst seen as naïve, uncultured and have self-esteem. Therefore, that is rationalizing, upholding of generous paternalistic towards the ethnic groups.

Media has encouraged the growth of racism and ethnicity. In America, the situation is twofold. The media puts demonstrates it as one can only be white or a person of color. Those of mixed descent are at no time allowed to confuse the issue, but they should come to terms to be of a minority cluster. On the other hand, those with personal cultural style stand a chance of understanding, whilst symbol of ethnic majority are traitors, hence warmly as the “good extreme” by many either of the whites, or sarcastically as “self hating” by the marginalized.

The media has come forth with strategies to address on stereotypes and prejudice. It has employed approach based that clearly guides the audience how to be positive media consumers and the second one is message based approach which presents the participants with counter stereotypical news and stories disconfirm present cultural stereotype concerning group, their races and ethnicity backgrounds. Therefore, the availability of the two media-based approaches are considerable.

To have a lasting solution, the media advises containing the application of stereotypes in personal situation is the first step. Media consumers should also be provided with tools to lessen stereotype activation. Stereotype activation is far much difficult to reduce compared stereotype application. People might be in a position to repress stereotype depending on the automatic or malleable perception and attitudes.

In what I would to term as controversial, repeatedly, the television is in denial that a person is exposed to dangers of discrimination because of race and ethnicity background. It denies that not a single person has suffered discrimination because of his or her color, hair texture or language. From the same media we have women raped because they are black or a sickly discharged child from the hospital because she is Latino. In fact, the advice it is offering is, if color is posing problems, then one can change it to be what they like. Colored people have often tried modifications because they are brainwashed white is superior and the problem lies in their skins.

From a different perceptive, the problem has never been and will never be the skin color but the systems that account for wickedness against others then substantiate it blaming it on the victims. It does not matter if one black, white or blonde. The skin color is not a reason enough to steer discrimination, but the negative meaning given to the skin color is almost winning the debate. Additionally, color is unprejudiced; only the mind’s state can give it a meaning. Such ideological procedures justify inequality by seeking faults in the victims.


What I have learnt is the United States of America is not only a multicultural realm, but also one with differences with its values of freedom, liberty, justice, taboos and morals. For their meaning should not be based on the hair texture, skin color, language accent, gender and clothing. The meaning should have cultural and social-religious values inherited from one generation to another. If a meaning is negative, then it creates a feeling of superiority between groups leading to prejudice and acts of discrimination hence racism and social construction of power in the society and institutions that would otherwise be of positive impacts to individuals. Human beings should love, respect and treat each other well irrespective race, social class, ethnicity background or gender. It is egocentric and uncouth when one race refers to the other as menial, useless or handkerchief.



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