The perceived realism of African American portrayals on television

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Based on questionnaire responses from 412 undergraduate students, this study sought to examine specific perceptions (i.e., occupational roles, negative personality characteristics, low achieving status, and positive stereotypes) of African American portrayals on television. Results revealed that television viewers perceive the occupational roles and personality characteristics that African Americans portray on television as real or true to life. On the contrary, viewers do not perceive the low-achieving roles and positive stereotypes of African Americans on television as realistic or accurate. These findings support past research that suggests that television can affect the way viewers think about African Americans in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-257
Number of pages17
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • African American portrayals
  • Occupational roles
  • Stereotype
  • Television


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