Television Turns Us Into Racists

Television: the legal drug of the nation… well, not so much anymore since Google and YouTube, but we are all aware of it’s bad influence on children and our general health. There is no denying that watching tv can do serious damage once it has become an addiction and overall, it’s a time waster, halts concentration and sucks on your brain activity.

According to a new study, television can also affect our racial judgement: Latinos were portrayed in both flattering and unflattering ways. From Science Daily:

Exposure to stereotypes produced unfavorable effects on the viewers. When the target character was white, no association was made between racial identification and evaluations of the character. However, with relative consistency, when the target character was Latino, as viewer racial identification increased, perceptions of the character’s education and qualifications decreased.

Since the tv is a passive medium, it surely isn’t surprising that we make certain associations and judgements purely based on what we see flickering before our eyes. It’s far more relaxing to just observe and do nothing.

The research indicates that stereotype-based processing may occur based on media exposure, even when at a conscious level people try to dismiss what they are seeing as harmless. Indeed, TV images not only affected what the viewers thought about minorities, but also led to an us-versus-them mentality.

Which kind of reminds us of brainwashing. Compared to the Internet, which is arguably a greater tool of disturbance and controversy, television aims to bring you (with exceptions) brainless, mindless and meaningless “entertainment”.

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