Multiculturalism, Diversity and Stereotypes: Engaging Students with Images in Media

© Media Watch 8 (1) 20-29, 2017
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2017/v8i1/41267

Multiculturalism, Diversity and Stereotypes:Engaging Students with Images in Media

Salisbury University, United States

Commercial interests invariably become entwined with making films, with reporting the news and with other forms of information and entertainment. Pervasive media generated gender and racial tereotypes distort cultural representations and negatively impact users’ perceptions of society. As students learn to create various forms of media, their points of reference are often these negative images, which are then reflected to some extent in their content. This creates a worrisome cycle reinforcing the stereotypes in the present and perpetuating these for the future. While there are clearly no right or wrong answers in art, there are good and bad interpretive choices in pedagogy. This essay explores and articulates a more useful method of student engagement, especially in reference to media literacy, multiculturalism and stereotypes and presents pedagogical methods and strategies to combat negative images in the media.
Keywords: Multiculturalism, media literacy, stereotypes
Abrams, D. & Hogg, M. A. (1990). Social identification, self categorization and social influence. European Review of Social Psychology, 1, 195-228.
Apple. (2011). iPhone 4S ad. Retrieved from
Ashmore, R. D., & Del Boca, F. K. (1981). Conceptual approaches to stereotypes and
stereotyping. In D. L. Hamilton (Ed.), Cognitive processes in stereotyping and intergroup behavior (pp. 1-36). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Aubrey, J. S. and Harrison, K. (2004). The gender-role content of children’s favorite
television programs and its link to gender-related perceptions. Media Psychology, 6, 111-146.
Aufderheide, P. (Ed.). (1993). Media Literacy: A report of the national leadership
conference on media literacy. Aspen, CO: Aspen Institute.
Bodenhausen, G. V., Kramer, G. P., & Susser, K. (1994). Happiness and stereotypic
thinking in social judgments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66, 621–632.
Buckler, K. (2008). Minimizing White Race-Based Behavior and Neutralizing Oppression Discourse: An Interpretive Content Analysis of Crash. Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture, 15 (1), 1-33.
Buffington, D., & Fraley, T. (2008). Skill in black and white: negotiating media images of race in a sporting context. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 32 (3), 292-310.
Campbell, C.P. (1995). Race, Myth and the News. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Coltrane, S. & Messineo, M. (2000). The perpetuation of subtle prejudice: Race and gender imagery in 1990s television advertising. Sex Roles, 42, (5/6), 363-389.
Courtney, A., & Whipple, T. (1983). Sex stereotyping in advertising. Health: Lexington, MA.
Crawford, J. (1998). Media, Stereotypes and the Perpetuation of Racism in Canada: Professional and Theoretical Issues in Educational Technology. Saskatoon: University of Saskatchewan.
Dates, J. L., & Barlow, W. (Eds.). (1990). Split image: African Americans in the mass media. Washington, DC: Howard University Press.
Davison, P. (1997). Media Literacy Strategies for Gender Equity. Retrieved from
Durkay, L. (2014, October 2). ‘Homeland’ is the most bigoted show on television. Washington Post. Retrieved from thing/wp/2014/10/02/homeland-is-the-most-bigoted-show-on-television.
Dyer, R. (1993). The Matter of Images – Essays on Representations. London: Routledge.
Eagly, A. H. (1995). The science and politics of comparing women and men. American Psychologist, 50, 145-158.
Fiske, A. P. (1992). The four elementary forms of sociality: Framework for a unified theory of social relations. Psychological Review, 99, 689-723.
Fransecky, R. & Debes, J. (1972). Visual Literacy: A way to learn – A Way to Teach. Washington: Association for Educational Communications and Technology,.
Hilton, J. L., & von Hippel, W. (1996). Stereotypes. Annual Review of Psychology, 47, 237-271.
Hobbs, R. (1998), The seven great debates in the media literacy movement. Journal of Communication, 48, 16–32.
hooks, b. (1996). Reel to Real – Race, Sex and Class at the Movies. London, England: Routledge.
Hunt, D. and Ramon, A. (2015). Hollywood Diversity Report: Flipping the Script.UCLA. Retreived from
Jost, J. T., & Banaji, M. R. (1994). The role of stereotyping in system‐justification and the production of false consciousness. British Journal of Social Psychology, 33(1), 1-27.
Kurpius, D.D. (2002). Sources and civic journalism: Changing patterns of reporting? Journal of Mass Communication Quarterly, 79 (4), 853-866.
Legare, E. (1995). Canadian Multiculturalism and Aboriginal People: Negotiating a Place in the Nation. Identities 1 (4), 347-366.
Mercedes-Benz. (2008). “Dumb blonde” commercial. Retrieved from:
Meyers, M. (2004). African American women and violence: Gender, race, and class in the news. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 21 (2), 95-118.
Mihailidis, P. & Hiebert, R. (2005). Media literacy in journalism education curriculum. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 9 (3). Retrieved from
National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics.
Owens-Patton, T. (2001). Ally McBeal and her homies: The reification of White stereotypes of the other. Journal of Black Studies, 32 (2), 229-260.
Park, J.H., Gannadon, N.G., & Chernin, A.R. (2006). Naturalizing racial differences through comedy: Asian, Black, and White views on racial stereotypes in Rush Hour 2. Journal of Communication, 56 (1), 157-177.
Pedelty, M. & Kuecker, M. (2014). Seen to Be Heard? Gender, Voice, and Body in Television Advertisements. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 11 (3), 1-20.
Picton, O. (2013). The complexities of complexion: a cultural geography of skin colour and beauty products. Geography, 98 (2), 85-92.
Robinson, R., Keltner, D., Ward, A. & Ross, L. (1995). Actual versus Assumed Differences in Construal: ‘Naive Realism’ in Intergroup Perception and Conflict. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 404-417.
Rada, J.A. & Wulfemeyer, K.T. (2005). Color coded: Racial descriptors in television coverage of intercollegiate sports. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 49 (1), 65-85.
Roediger, D. (1991). Wages of Whiteness, pp. 3-17. London: Verso.
Said, E. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.
Schaffner, B.F. & Gadson, M. (2004). Reinforcing stereotypes? Race and local television news coverage of Congress. Social Science Quarterly, 85 (3), 604-623.
Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. (2014, October 01).Average daily media use in the United States. Retrieved from
Sweney, M. (2011, April 21). Only 5% of TV ads feature ethnic minorities. The Guardian. Retrieved from
Yokley, S. H. (1999). Art Education: The Journal of the National Art Education Association, 52 (5), 18-22.
Young, N. (2016). Stereotypes reflect lazy reporting. Society of Professional Journalists. Retreived from
Weaver, D.H. and Wilhoit, G.C. (1996). The American Journalist in the 1990s: U.S. News People at the End of an Era. Mahwah, NJ: L. Erlbaum.
Wei, W. (1999). The Nature and Problem of Stereotypes. In M. A. Shea (Ed.) On Diversity in Teaching and Learning: A Compendium (pp. 18-21). Boulder: University of Colorado.
Dr. Andrew Sharma is a professor of audio, video and digital film production in the Communication Arts Department at Salisbury University. He has extensive academic and national and international industry experience, having worked in the advertising and television industry. His research interests are in the areas of media effects and media and culture. Dr. Sharma is a two time Fulbright Scholar grantee to India where he taught media as a visiting professor.