Thursday, 19 November 2015

Representation of Ethnicity in TV Drama

Find examples of how the following ethnic groups are represented in TV drama (British or American):

  • Black
  • White
  • Chinese/ White Asian
  • Asian
  1. Find examples from three TV dramas (not Soaps) for each ethnic group
  2. Are the representations stereotypical or not?
  3. How and why is this the case?

Key Themes in Racial Representations
  • exotic
  • dangerous
  • humorous
  • pitied
(Alvarado et al. 1987: 153)

Unity and Conflict
  • Conflict is often the binary opposition of ethnic groups and the wider society.
  • Unity is often an element of the representation of ethnicity, this hits a stereotype of ethnicity, that of close families and tight communities.

Black people

   Anwar- Skins                                                                   Maya- Pretty Little Liars
Gus- Breaking Bad

Anwar from Skins is seen as a humorous character and tends to make fun of his own religion. Anwar is supposed to be a Muslim however doesn't strictly follow the religion and is used in the TV drama for a good laugh.

Maya from Pretty Little Liars is seen as exotic. When she first comes into the series she has large voluminous dark curly hair- which nobody in the drama had, and had a chilled out lifestyle along with actually bringing Emily out of the closet.

Gus from Breaking Bad is probably the most dangerous character in the series. Gus is very intimidating and has a group of assassins to do his dirty work. If you get on the wrong side of Gus, you will most likely end up deceased.

  White people

The Chanels- Scream Queens             Main cast- Game of Thrones             The girls- Skins generation 2       

The Chanel's in Scream Queens are seen as very egotistical and stereotype the idea that while people think they're superior. They are also represented as skinny and blonde and don't have very distinct curves which white girls are stereotyped for.

The main cast of Game of Thrones (Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Cersi Lannister, Jamie Lannister and Tyrion Lannister) are all very high up and respected- The Lannister's are the royal family. Game of Thrones doesn't showcase many black people- especially not in the main cast but this is due to white people being dominant in TV.

The girls from Skins (Pandora, Emily, Naomi, Katie and Effy) are the main female characters of Generation 2, and out of the girls in that generation, none of them are of colour. The girls are used to represent typical British teenagers but don't showcase any non-white girls in this series. I don't think the casting was malicious as other series' have non-white female characters, i think it was just how the casting ended up based on talent.


Glenn- The Walking Dead                                               Chang- Orange is the New Black

Kimball Cho- The Mentalist

Glenn from The Walking Dead isn't necessarily your stereotypical intelligent Chinese man, but he comes up with the best plans. He is very brave and he died after saving an enemy's life. He doesn't follow a Chinese lifestyle  

Chang from Orange Is The New Black has a Chinese accent and seems to be away with the fairies a lot. Again, she is not a stereotypical intelligent Chinese woman and is used for humorous purposes.

Kimball Cho from The Mentalist is usually seen as a very serious person and always follows the rules, and has a very dry sense of humour. Kimball was in juvenile detention, then got back on track and served Asia in the armed forces. Kimball Cho isn't a stereotypical Chinese man, however does add diversity to the character mix.


Navid- 90210                                                                                                        Emily- Pretty Little Liars
Mike- Glee

Navid from 90210 is from Persian decent and runs the school newspaper. Navid is one of the most wealthy characters in the series and is very focused on his work. He is not necessarily super intelligent, therefore not conforming to the Asian stereotype.

Emily from Pretty Little Liars isn't necessarily religious, but when she comes out to her mum her sexuality isn't taken well/ respected. Emily is clever and good at swimming and dancing which links to the stereotype that Asians are good at everything and are exotic. Emily is from a Philippino background

Mike from Glee is also known as 'The other Asian' in the series and is the best male dancer. He is very successful in his dancing field and represents the Asian culture in the performing world. Mike and his family follow the christian faith which is not stereotypical for an Asian family as they are usually represented to be Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim etc.

No comments:

Post a Comment