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Discussion Topics

Media Examples

Media play a powerful role in the formation of prejudiced attitudes and beliefs. Numerous studies have shown that media contribute to the marginalization of particular ethnic and cultural groups. Media can also shape beliefs of entitlement for people in dominant groups. Nonetheless, media can play a key role in mitigating racist attitudes, as evidenced by some of the resources on the Taking Action Against Racism pages. For further information, see publications such as these:

Littlefield, M. (2008). The media as a system of racialization: Exploring images of African American women and the new racism. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(5), 675-685.

Oliver, M., Ramasubramanian, S., & Kim, J. (2007). Media and racism. Communication and social cognition: Theories and methods (pp. 273-291). Mahwah, NJ US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Nairn, R., Pega, F., Mccreanor, T., Barnes, A., & Rankine, J. (2006). Media, Racism and Public Health Psychology. Journal of Health Psychology, 11(2), 183-196.

Media Links and Discussion

Each of the following topics includes a link to a piece of media and discussion questions that can be used in discussion.

Media Images: Black people steal and white people find?

The photo captions represent racial bias.

Audience: Middle school through adult

Resident Evil 5

Video game trailer that depicts racist images of savage Blacks in Africa, with White gunman. Violent.

Audience: Middle school through adult

Lynching in America

Website featuring copies of original photo postcards made of lynchings in the US. Graphic violence and disregard of humanity.

Audience: High school through adult

Schoolhouse Rock "The Great American Melting Pot"

Animated clip (2:59) emphasizes flawed melting pot ideology. Does not take into account Native American genocide or enslavement of Africans and others.

Audience: Middle school through adult

Print advertising: vintage racist ads and current images of African Americans

Website provides numerous examples of racist advertising over time. One example of African American stereotypes: Products and Advertising c.1910s Magic Lantern Slide advertising coal: "Our goods may be black, but we treat you white."

From the website: “The following photo essay examines the historical and contemporary expressions of racism, buffoonery and parody. It is not intended to incite hatred for anyone whose ancestors fostered Jim Crow and other racist systems. This overview only serves as a didactic resource to the generations who don't 'understand what the big deal is' in terms of current pain over racism from the past.”

Audience: College students/adults

Media Portrayals of Ethnic and Visible Minorities

This Canadian website provides an overview of media stereotyping. Includes sections on racial stereotyping, aboriginal/Native American people, and White privilege.