Class of 2023Staten Island, New York
AboutHi! My name is Zoe Renazile-Winter, and my project is on Racial Stereotypes in Youth Media. I chose this topic because of how much it impacted me as a child, and how much impact it could have on future generations.
- "Research Question: How does the presence of racial stereotypes in popular TV Culture reflect the structure of society and negatively impact our youth?" with mentor Donald (Nov. 22, 2022)
Zoe's Symposium Presentation
Research Question: How does the presence of racial stereotypes in popular TV Culture reflect the structure of society and negatively impact our youth?
Started Sept. 21, 2022
Abstract or project description
In the lives of modern children, television is a large component of their psychological development as their minds are the most impressionable. With television becoming increasingly aimed at younger viewers in modern day, it has given children incentive to choose their favorite TV programs over playing outdoors. But what effect do these shows and movies have on the youth, and their perception of themselves and the world around them? Many have already researched the impressionability of children, referring to them as “sponges” who absorb everything around them. Using this methodology, children are also absorbing everything that these programs are perpetuating, both good and bad. Media - like everything else in America - is controlled by the white population from producers to writers. These shows are written through the guise of white privilege and historical supremacy, which our youth is absorbing. Through basic observation you can follow a pattern through all major children’s programs: a white savior lead who can do no wrong, and minority sidekicks who all follow harmful racial stereotypes. Through extensive research I wanted to see where these stereotypes came from, how frequent they were in youth media and their effect on the youth’s development and social awareness. I studied several different television programs from a broad range of networks to classify how many different characters fell into popular racial stereotypical categories of the Black, Latinx and Asian communities. Extensively, I also researched the effect these characters would have on young viewers of the same racial identities, in terms of how they viewed themselves and how they fit into society. With the powerful effect of the media, it was clear that negative reflection of minorities was related to low self-esteem issues in younger children. These shows are presented to children as the perfect realities they should want to live in, but although impressionable, the youth of america is not stupid. Minority children have made the connection that in this idealistic world, they are not the main character. They are background characters who trip over themselves to make the white main character look better. We as a society need to recognize that although these programs are entertaining, they are mentally detrimental to our youth.