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Race and Ethnicity in US Media Industries: A Critical Perspective

Sun, May 28, 14:00 to 15:15, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua 309


This paper foregrounds the centrality of race and ethnicity to the structure of US media industries and argues for a critical race studies perspective to deconstruct the unmarked seemingly neutral space of industry logic, practices and trends. Even as racial diversity is being taken up (yet again) as a key agenda in the US media industries, the problems associated with tokenism of racial equity, stereotyping and cultural insensitivity, as well as barriers to entry in the industry for racial minorities are very much present. Similarly, ideologies of multiculturalism are heightened in industry discourse and co-exist alongside notions of a post-racial society and the idealized (and problematic) promise of a color-blind media. This paper locates the media industries’ ongoing investment in (racial) “diversity” against both a historical and contemporary context; for instance, the rise of mass media led to the construction of “mass” (white) and “minority” (racial and ethnic) audiences.