Image

3:30 PM / Monday January 24, 2022

9 Aug 2014

USC study finds a dearth of racial diversity in films

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
August 9, 2014 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Fruitvale Station

usc.edu

Fruitvale Station. 12 Years a Slave. The Butler. 42. Mandela. It may seem in 2013 that the critical and popular success of films featuring black lead actors signals that Hollywood is diversifying. But a new study  from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism shows it’s business as usual when it comes to employing underrepresented races and ethnicities in the industry.

USC Annenberg Professor Stacy Smith and her team analyzed 500 top-grossing films at the U.S. box office over five years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012) and over 20,000 speaking characters. The evidence revealed that in 2012, black or African-Americans represented 10.8 percent of all speaking characters, while Hispanics represented 4.2 percent and Asians 5 percent. In the top-grossing films analyzed from 2012, nearly 40 percent depicted black characters in less than 5 percent of all speaking roles.

“There is still a noticeable lack of diversity across the landscape of popular films,” said Smith, the principal investigator. “This year is the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement, and the census shows that the population of the United States is more diverse than ever. Our film content, however, depicts something very different.”

African-Americans and blacks are not only outnumbered on screen, but behind the camera as well. Across 565 directors and 500 films, there were just 33 black directors between 2007 and 2012, and only two of those directors are female.

Image

“It is hard to believe that across all of these top directing jobs, there are only two qualified black females. Other talented black female directors exist. Where are they?” Smith asked.

The report also analyzed the nature of diverse portrayals. When they are on screen, female Hispanic characters are more likely than female characters from any other race/ethnicity to be depicted in sexy attire or partially naked. Black males are least likely to be shown as parents or caregivers (26.7 percent) or as romantic partners (43.3 percent).

“When you see someone who looks like you on screen, it makes you feel like you’re being seen,” said Bridgette Webb, a senior USC Annenberg communication student who works with USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity and Social Change, the program that conducted the study. “Media ideals are so opposite from how I look that when I see representations or diverse characters, it makes me feel like the media thinks I’m OK.”

Black directors may make an impact on the diversity on screen. When films have a black director, 52.6 percent of speaking characters are black, compared to just 9.9 percent for films with nonblack directors.

“Quite simply, when we see diversity behind the camera, we see a difference in the percentage of diverse characters on screen,” said Marc Choueiti, a co-author of the study. “The question is are these directors encouraged to create more diverse stories that reflect the world? Or is the type of story they are entrusted with an exclusive story about their own racial or ethnic group?”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Oasis

Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine Sr., senior pastor of Berachah Baptist Church, dies

January 7, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email The family of Rev. Dr. Robert P. Shine, Sr. regrets to inform you...

Health

COVID deaths and cases are rising again at US nursing homes

January 21, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Shyrel Ritter, a certified nursing assistant at the Hebrew Home at...

Color Of Money

How to improve your financial health

January 21, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email FAMILY FEATURES Your financial health is just as important as your physical and...

Travel

Three reasons Casper and Yellowstone National Park belong at the top of your travel list

January 21, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Planning any travel adventures for 2022? If you love the outdoors and...

Entertainment

Tiffany Haddish charged with DUI in Georgia

January 21, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Tiffany Haddish (Editorial credit: Tinseltown / Shutterstock) ASSOCIATED PRESS PEACHTREE CITY,...

Go With The-Flo

Rihanna and A$AP Rocky braved the weather and are enjoying New York together

January 21, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Rihanna (Photo: DFree / Shutterstock) By Flo Anthony Tongues are wagging...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff