Media is a potent source of information and influence that can shape public opinion via its consumption of newspapers, magazines, television broadcasts, radio/podcasts, social media, online news outlets, and even entertainment and marketing content. Various studies have exposed that 'popular opinions' are heavily influenced, if not grounded, via mass media. Therefore it is important to scrutinize any form of injustice or misrepresentation of media coverage as a serious issue.
It's no secret that racial biases, often taking the form of negative and problematic stereotypes about Black Americans, persist across all media platforms. A recent research report revealed that while Black families represented 59% of the poor portrayed in the media, they accounted for just 27% of Americans in poverty. The same report found that Blacks were nearly three times more likely than whites to be portrayed as dependent on welfare, and black fathers were shown spending time with their kids less than half as often as white fathers, despite historical data that proves this depiction to be a gross misrepresentation of reality.
Advertising and news agencies, entertainment companies, and other corporate influencers play a critical role in making society more tolerant. When they exploit stereotypical images, they perpetuate prejudice and reinforce implicit bias. Consumers of media in today’s expanded media market have to be increasingly skeptical of the reliability of the source of the news and the source of the content that one consumes on a daily basis. Incidences of racial bias in media is not a new phenomenon. Media is prone to using “charged words” and phrases when reporting on incidents depending on the races of the individual people involved. This may or may not be a result of the underrepresentation of people of color in journalism. PEW Research Center cited that about two thirds of the American journalistic workforce is white. The biggest disparity is that half of the workforce in newsrooms across the country are white men. Results from a survey of 165 advertising agencies representing more than 40,000 employees found that Black employees make up just 5.8% of the industry, while 70.51% are white, 8.68% identify as Hispanic or Latinx.
Corporate America’s role in Take On Race® is about being a ‘Force for Good & a Force for Growth
2019 Take on Race Conference
Take On Race is committed to urgent acts that work to bring together corporations and news & media organizations to expand and scale media practices that change how Black and Brown people are portrayed in the media. The experiences of communities of color are often portrayed as extremes by the media––either struggle or triumph. While those stories and experiences exist, they do not represent the full, rich lives of people of color. The Take on Race Coalition of companies are coming together to demand and support accurate portrayals of all people by a sustained commitment to examining their own content to ensure Black and Brown people are represented fairly and accurately in front of the camera, but also behind it. Leveraging our scale, we can also support and partner with community and arts organizations on large-scale and ongoing initiatives designed explicitly to uplift artists and storytellers of color. To ensure these efforts significantly impact the media and become permanent initiatives, Take On Race can commit to full transparency with the public and their stakeholders on these efforts, including regularly sharing progress and updates through impact reports.
Dr. Banaji’s The Psychology of Race in America, What Corporations Need to Know and Why They Need to Act.
Creating meaningful and lasting impacts on racial equity in America will take industry-wide collaboration. Take On Race seeks to bring together advertisers behind initiatives which change the way Black and Brown people are portrayed in the media. As an example, scaling and amplifying media practices that speak to the totality of the Black Experience will be a critical effort in combating racial image bias. Curating and supporting efforts to seek out ways to portray people of color authentically can be a powerful antidote.
We’re proud of our ongoing efforts to bring together member companies who work together to elevate the national discourse on race equity. They are willing to collaborate on solutions that leverage media to disrupt systemic disparities. As a Take On Race strategic partner, we believe you can play a pivotal role in our efforts to aggregate and scale solutions that address these, and other Disruptor Domains --- providing scale and resources to game-changing programs by corporate peers that have committed their own resources towards addressing racial inequities for Black and Brown people.
Creating meaningful and lasting impacts on race equity in America takes industry-wide collaboration. Procter and Gamble and it’s family of global brands is a key leader in Corporate America’s efforts to remove Image Bias in Media. It’s Widen the Screen initiative is committed to amplifying Brown and Black voices and stories through content creation, talent development, and a partnership platform that celebrates creativity and enables creators of color to share the full richness of their experiences. As a Take On Race strategic partner and leading global advertiser, P&G believes it can play a pivotal role in our efforts to aggregate and scale solutions that address longstanding and harmful portrayals of people of color. Through disruptive initiatives like Widen the Screen, it is working to reshape these problematic narratives and replace them with more holistic and accurate stories; read more about their efforts addressing this issue now.