Reality Television And Racial Stereotypes

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Reality Television and Racial Stereotypes: A Review of Literature
Reality programs have dominated television networks since their rise in popularity began in the early 1990s with MTV’s The Real World. The reality genre quickly gained viewership as it redefined the formulaic set up of televisions shows from the past. Reality television has infiltrated television because networks prefer lower budgets for their programs that will also generate high ratings (Hasinoff, 2008). People watch reality shows because they are intrigued by the seemingly “real” drama with ordinary people as characters (Dubrofsky, 2006). Now at its peak of growth, reality television evokes ideas of social order and cultural norms to its audiences, while renewing racial stereotypes in modern society (Mendible, 2004). My purpose of the review of literature is to examine and analyze reality television’s influence on people’s perceptions of cultural roles and racial stereotypes.
Reality Television
Reality based television has a broad landscape ranging from competitive game-like shows to programs following the daily lives of a group of people. Every major network now has some form of reality programming because these programs are high in viewership and require low costs for production. The genre’s shows provide audiences with a first-hand look into the lives of everyday people, which creates resonance among viewers because they feel like they can relate to the characters on screen (Hasinoff, 2008). Since the majority of modern reality stars start out as unknowns, frequent viewers of reality television have essentially bought into the belief that they too can achieve overnight fame by appearing on a popular show (Mendible, 2004). According to Mendible’s evaluation i...

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...eos are substantially shorter than television shows, a character’s traits must be evident from the very beginning, especially since popular clips usually range from 15 seconds to 20 minutes. The studies focused on “people of color” and information regarding Asian American and Caucasian stereotypes were missing from the research. A next step of future research might be to go further in depth of how Youtube and other video websites contribute to the continuation of racial ideologies since they display stereotypical behavior as well. To extend the study, racial stereotypes on Internet videos should be examined because it is another form of mass media that has an impact on the way people view the world around them. Furthermore, an extension of the study should include more information about how other races are represented on television and other forms of mass media.
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