african american teens television watching influence positive negative

Blackish and Instant Mom: Able to Stretch Black Teens Career Horizons?

Posted on Posted in Blog, High School Scholar, Parenting's Not Easy

Blackish and Instant Mom: Able to Stretch Black Teens Career Horizons?

What TV shows did you watch when you were younger?  If I wanted to find TV shows of families who looked like mine, my options were few.  After Good Times, The Jefferson’s and old episodes of That’s My Mama I was out of luck.  Thank God the Huxtables showed up by the time I was a tween.  I especially liked the Jefferson’s and The Cosby Show.  I’d seen life in the ‘hood before first hand – Good Times was no stretch of the imagination.  But living in a brownstone or fancy apartment in New York? Now we’re talking about opening up my career horizons.
Researchers have looked at the influence TV has on the lives of teenagers.  A recent study published in The Journal of Black Psychology looked at how racial stereotypes on TV affect occupational aspirations among African American youth.  The study surveyed 247 African American high school students (72% female) ranging in age from 13 to 18 years. Students were recruited from a predominately Black high school in a suburb of a large Midwestern city with slightly more 9th graders (33.6%) and fewer 12th graders (19.4%). The study found that:
  • Frequent exposure to and strong identification with stereotypical Black media portrayals were negatively correlated with academic outcomes.
  • Youth who watched more television, listened to music more often, and identified more strongly with stereotypical media personalities also had lower grades in their classes, lower perceptions of their ability to do well in science, and less interest in careers that require a college education.
  • Students whose parents were less involved in their television use, greater television exposure and identification were associated with having less interest in careers that require a college education.
The kiddos have way more options of Black TV shows to watch than I ever did growing up.  I try to make sure they don’t watch Black TV shows that do nothing for enhancing their beliefs about what Blacks can achieve.  To date there’s not a Cosby Show or Different World, But the kiddos have Black TV shows like Instant Mom and Blackish.  With both shows the kiddos get a different take on not only upper middle class Black life but also what type of careers Blacks occupy.  It’s a hefty expectation but I am banking on shows like Instant Mom and Blackish to stretch the kiddo’s career horizons…just a little bit further.


Which Black TV shows do you like for your children/tweens/teens?


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