Hispanics may have overtaken African Americans as the nation's largest
minority group, but you couldn't tell it from prime-time broadcast-network TV.
That's according to a new UCLA study, "Prime Time in Black and White: Not
Much Is New for 2002."
According to a fall-2002 content analysis of 234 episodes of 85 sitcoms and
dramas on six broadcast networks (Pax TV was not included), Hispanics constituted 3%
of characters in prime time, up from 2% in 2001 but far below their 13% of the
White characters accounted for 81% of the screen time (vs. 69% of the actual
population), African-American characters 15% (vs. a little over 12%) and Asians
3% (vs. 4%). Native Americans, the study said, were "invisible."
UPN continues to account for a large portion of the African-American
characters on TV.
The most striking example is on Monday night. Of the 125 African-American
characters on TV that night, the study said, 112 were on UPN.
The study found that concentration problematic. Darnell Hunt, the study's
principal author, said programs targeted to nonwhites were "relegated to a
particular night or two, and often concentrated on one of the smaller networks,
if at all," adding, "It may unfortunately reflect the current reality of
American race relations with startling clarity."