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Race and Ideology: African-American Images in Television Advertising

Julia M. Bristor, Renée Gravois Lee and Michelle R. Hunt
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing
Vol. 14, No. 1 (Spring, 1995), pp. 48-59
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30000378
Page Count: 12
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Race and Ideology: African-American Images in Television Advertising
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Abstract

Although the numerical representation of African-Americans in contemporary television advertising has improved in recent years, the authors' analysis illustrates how the potentially positive effects of including more African-Americans in advertisements are often mitigated by subtle racist elements that suggest African-American inferiority. Using an interpretive approach, the authors cast the problem within a framework of racism as ideology, that is, the dominant white ideology pervading the advertising industry. Their discussion of six themes identified in their analysis of prime-time television commercials serves to highlight problematic images of African-Americans that continue to persist in contemporary advertising. In the spirit of self-regulation, the authors suggest actions that the advertising industry can take to present more positive and varied portrayals of minority populations.

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