This qualitative case study utilized critical media literacy to guide the analysis of the depiction of racially and ethnically diverse college students in contemporary popular films. Participants in this study were racially and ethnically diverse undergraduate students enrolled at a private, predominantly White institution in the United States. Three primary themes emerged from this study. First, students of color were more apt to recognize stereotypical portrayals of people of color in the films, whereas White students’ responses were more attuned with color-blind racial ideology (CBRI). Second, media-centered discussions provided an outlet for students of color to share their personal experiences with racism, stereotyping, and prejudice. In doing so, students of color seek to build the cultural competence of peers who may hold CBRI beliefs. Finally, this study presents a need for critical media literacy. Regardless of race and/or ethnicity, the undergraduates who participated in our study communicated an importance of examining media messages, such as stereotypes of people of color, from a critical perspective. For college and university administrators, such as chief diversity officers, this study is significant in presenting a means for engaging students, faculty, and other stakeholders in dialogue about racial issues in the hopes of fostering a more welcoming campus racial climate for students of color.
Venegas, E. M., Scott, L. M., LeCompte, K. N., Moody-Ramirez, M., & Zhu, Y. (2021). Engaging in “dangerous discussions”: Fostering cultural competence through the analysis of depictions of college life in popular films. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 14(1), 37–49. https://doi.org/10.1037/dhe0000152
Journal of Diversity in Higher Education