An Examination of African Americans' Stereotyped Perceptions of Fictional Media Characters

Meghan S. Sanders, Srividya Ramasubramanian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


An extensive body of research has already illustrated the myriad ways in which media help form perceptions of various social groups. Theories such as cultivation, stereotype theory, social learning, and social identity theory all discuss how audiences can internalize what they see presented in the media, and project that information onto their beliefs about reality. However, many of these theories pay less attention to both negative and positive stereotypes, as well as how multiple social groups are perceived within the same context. Likewise, research has neglected thoroughly to examine the perceptions of African American media viewers regarding other marginalized social groups. This study examines the underlying dimensions of stereotypes by applying the stereotype content model (SCM) to African Americans' perceptions of media representations of their own and other marginalized groups. The results of the study provided mixed support for the SCM; however, perceptions of African American characters were favorable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-39
Number of pages23
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • African Americans
  • in-group perceptions
  • media characters
  • stereotype content model
  • stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management


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