Black in America: The Study

Research says African Americans arent a monolithic group

as it relates to businesses,” says Roland S. Martin, author, columnist, and radio talk show host. “We simply don’t want businesses to take our money and don’t invest back in. … If we don’t see our dollars at work, we have problem,” Martin says.

Most respondents suggest that mainstream media continues to reinforce stereotypes about black Americans and aren’t doing a good job of portraying black Americans in a positive light. The findings also point out that about 30% of African Americans “really trust” black media compared with 13% who “really trust” mainstream media.

Ann Morning, an assistant sociology professor at New York University who specializes in race and ethnicity, says those percentages are a reflection of the media’s tendency to portray blacks in a very simplistic way in the media, where very one-dimensional images of blacks often are depicted. “Journalism all too often uses black as a synonym for poor, being unemployed, being in involved in criminal activity,” Morning says.

Radio One’s Hughes says she’s hopeful the study will help change the negative stereotypes permeating about black American behavior, as well as trigger other research projects and encourage more corporations and individuals to more thoroughly understand the black community.

The study was born out of Radio One “looking for research on the African American consumer and [realizing that] at this level, no in-depth study had been done on the black community and as a family unit,” Hughes says. Radio One owns and/or operates 53 radio stations located in 16 urban markets across the country. Its holdings also include Magazine One Inc., which includes Giant Magazine, TV One L.L.C., and REACH Media, which owns the Tom Joyner Morning Show and Black America Web.

Hughes says the study also will give her company a better understanding of Radio One’s target audience.

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