How Media Impact Race Relations: Positive and Negative Historical Examples and Applied Psychological Principles
Date of this Version
Nocera, S. 2019. How Media Impact Race Relations: Positive and Negative Historical Examples and Applied Psychological Principles. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
This thesis sought to examine how media influenced interracial relations in the 1920s and 1930s. It starts by defining necessary terms like media, race, racism, and stereotypes. Afterwards, studies which demonstrate that media reflect society are analyzed as well as studies which determine the extent of media influence on society. Media are the most influential on people who agree with the content provided and those who have no specific opinion on the issue at hand.
Next, psychological studies which determine the circumstances in which racist ideology is accepted the most are analyzed. This analysis determined that in-group versus out-group sentiments and the fear of losing resources leads to acceptance and amplification of racist ideology. The more someone “looks” like a minority, the more they identify with their particular group and the more discrimination they feel. Furthermore, minorities feel like an out group unless “good” examples of their group are represented. The more minorities are seen as an out group, the more society tends to work against them by propagating stereotypes that approve racist policies.
Finally, this thesis analyzed specific historical examples where racist ideologies were strengthened and decreased including how the media’s influence determined society’s judgment on minorities.