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Black and white, male and female: Racial and Gender Differences in Adolescents' TV Diets
Unformatted Document Text:  Black and White 7 A nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 eight to 18 year olds in the United States found similar patterns: Boys were more than three times as likely as girls to say they had watched sports programs the previous day and girls were slightly more likely than boys to say they had watched a comedy program (Roberts, Foehr, Rideout & Brodie, 1999). Roberts (2000) also found significant age, gender and race differences in amount of time spent watching television: older teens (14-18 years old) and girls watched about 45 minutes less per day than younger adolescents (8-13 years old) and boys; Black adolescents watched almost two hours more per day (4:41 hours) than Whites (2:47 hours). Racial Differences in Media Choices The proportion of Black characters on entertainment television has increased dramatically since the 1980s. In an analysis of the 1996-97 television season, Mastro and Greenberg (2000) found that Blacks occupied 16% of the main and minor roles on prime-time, exceeding their proportion in the population (12%). Other racial and ethnic minorities are still so rare on the major television channels that a recent study called prime-time “a largely Black and White world in which the dominance of Whites is continually reaffirmed by the secondary status of all others, particularly Blacks.” Despite their increased prevalence, critics remain concerned that Black characters are “largely ghettoized by network, day of the week, and by show type (i.e., concentrated in sitcoms)” (Hunt, 2002, p. 3). Content analysis of 85 fictional series airing on the six major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, WB and UPN) in Fall 2001 found that Black characters were concentrated on UPN, the network with the lowest total audience share, and Black characters were more likely to appear on shows airing on Monday and Friday nights, the two weekday evenings attracting the fewest viewers. Black characters also were most likely to appear in situation comedies, and no prime-time drama on any of the major networks focused on Black characters. Three of the newest networks, Fox (debuted in 1985) and WB and UPN (begun in 1995), grew quickly because they

Authors: Brown, Jane. and Pardun, Carol J.
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Black and White
7
A nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 eight to 18 year olds in the United
States found similar patterns: Boys were more than three times as likely as girls to say they had
watched sports programs the previous day and girls were slightly more likely than boys to say they
had watched a comedy program (Roberts, Foehr, Rideout & Brodie, 1999). Roberts (2000) also
found significant age, gender and race differences in amount of time spent watching television:
older teens (14-18 years old) and girls watched about 45 minutes less per day than younger
adolescents (8-13 years old) and boys; Black adolescents watched almost two hours more per day
(4:41 hours) than Whites (2:47 hours).
Racial Differences in Media Choices
The proportion of Black characters on entertainment television has increased dramatically
since the 1980s. In an analysis of the 1996-97 television season, Mastro and Greenberg (2000)
found that Blacks occupied 16% of the main and minor roles on prime-time, exceeding their
proportion in the population (12%). Other racial and ethnic minorities are still so rare on the major
television channels that a recent study called prime-time “a largely Black and White world in which
the dominance of Whites is continually reaffirmed by the secondary status of all others, particularly
Blacks.” Despite their increased prevalence, critics remain concerned that Black characters are
“largely ghettoized by network, day of the week, and by show type (i.e., concentrated in sitcoms)”
(Hunt, 2002, p. 3). Content analysis of 85 fictional series airing on the six major networks (ABC,
CBS, NBC, Fox, WB and UPN) in Fall 2001 found that Black characters were concentrated on
UPN, the network with the lowest total audience share, and Black characters were more likely to
appear on shows airing on Monday and Friday nights, the two weekday evenings attracting the
fewest viewers. Black characters also were most likely to appear in situation comedies, and no
prime-time drama on any of the major networks focused on Black characters. Three of the newest
networks, Fox (debuted in 1985) and WB and UPN (begun in 1995), grew quickly because they


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