Coping with Media Stereotype of African American Women: A survey study of A&T students

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Maria (Xueying) Zhang


Journalism and Mass Communication

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019


For years, African American women have been portrayed in mainstream media in a false light. From the 50’s, African American women have been portrayed as maids and helpers to different families. Fastword to today’s media, reality t.v. has become more prominent and has created the stereotype that African American women are “ratchet”, loud, and always acting out. However, majority of who plays in these reality T.V. shows are African American women themselves. This study conducted a survey on A&T campus examining how female students perceive the negative stereotype of African American women on today’s mass media and how they cope with stereotypes. Results suggested that (1) participants reported rarely having an African American role model in the media; (2) they deliberately go against the stereotypes of the media portrayal by prayer and discussing with friends; and (3) the perceived scope of possibility for young African American women was negatively affected by mass media portrayal. These findings confirm cultivation media effect theory. The results have significant implications on how to boost young female African Americans’ self-identity.

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