Media Socialization, Black Media Images and Black Adolescent IdentityAdams V.N.a · Stevenson, Jr. H.C.b
aCornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and bUniversity of Pennsylvania, Pa., USA
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Media exposure, particularly for children and youth, has been demonstrated to be a powerful tool used to brand images, and, in the case of public health campaigns, to impart knowledge and influence behavioral change. Importantly, this generation of youth is living in a more culturally diverse society then prior generations and has access to multiple media platforms that feature Black people. Unfortunately, the selection of Blacks – defined as any person of African descent – presented in mainstream media is often limited to a discrete group of Black celebrities or stereotypical images. How Black youth interpret negative stereotype images of Black people promulgated in the media has not adequately been explored. The research presented in this chapter references American media that feature Black/African American actors and actresses. The study presented investigated the relationships among exposure to negative stereotype Black media images, racial identity, racial socialization, body image and self-esteem for 14- to 21-year-old Black youth. This chapter applies the concepts of racial identity and racial/ethnic socialization (R/ES) [Bentley, Adams & Stevenson, 2009; Stevenson, 2011] to the study results that suggest: (a) the youth perceive that persistent negative messages about Black people still exist, and (b) these messages continue to influence youth perspectives and have the potential to influence identity development processes.
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