1st Edition

Race and Contention in Twenty-First Century U.S. Media

Edited By Jason A. Smith, Bhoomi K. Thakore Copyright 2016
    240 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    248 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume explores and clarifies the complex intersection of race and media in the contemporary United States. Due to the changing dynamics of how racial politics are played out in the contemporary US (as seen with debates of the "post-racial" society), as well as the changing dynamics of the media itself ("new vs. old" media debates), an interrogation of the role of the media and its various institutions within this area of social inquiry is necessary. Contributors contend that race in the United States is dynamic, connected to social, economic, and political structures which are continually altering themselves. The book seeks to highlight the contested space that the media provides for changing dimensions of race, examining the ways that various representations can both hinder or promote positive racial views, considering media in relation to other institutions, and moving beyond thinking of media as a passive and singular institution.

    Introduction: The Contours of Race and Media

    (Jason A. Smith and Bhoomi K. Thakore)

    Part 1: Structures and Contention

    1. Failure to Communicate: The Critical Information Needs Debate

    (Randy D. Abreu)

    2. Courting Minority Commodity Audiences: Bounce TV in the Age of Media Conglomeration

    (Leah P. Hunter and Jennifer M. Proffitt)

    3. New Media & New Possibilities: The Online Engagement of Young Black Activists

    (Nathan Jamel Riemer)

    Part 2: Navigating Contention Behind the Scenes

    4. Black, Asian, and Latino Directors in Hollywood

    (Maryann Erigha)

    5. Is Carlos Mencia A White Wetback?: Mediating the (E)Racing of U.S. Central Americans in the Latino Imaginary

    (Maritza Cárdenas)

    6. Sofía Vergara: On Media Representations of Latinidad

    (Salvador Vidal-Ortiz)

    7. Color-Blind Racism in Media: Mindy Kaling as an "Honorary White"

    (Sheena Sood)

    Part 3: Visual Representations of Contention

    8. Drifting For Whiteness: Hollywood Representations of Asian Americans in the 21st Century

    (John D. Foster)

    9. Consuming Black Pain: Reading Racial Ideology in Cultural Appetite for 12 Years a Slave

    (Jennifer C. Mueller and Rula Issa)

    10. Racial Ideology in Electronic Dance Music Festival Promotional Videos

    (David L. Brunsma, Nathaniel G. Chapman, and J. Slade Lellock

    Part 4: Perpetuating Contentious Ideologies

    11. The Rise of the Racial Reviewer, 1990-2004

    (Bianca Gonzalez-Sobrino, Devon R. Goss, and Matthew W. Hughey)

    12. Successful Immigrants in the News: Racialization, Color-Blind Racism, and the American Dream

    (Jorge X. Ballinas)

    13. Black Studies in Prime Time: Racial Expertise and the Framing of Cultural Authority

    (Seneca Vaught)

    14. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Muslim: Media Representations of ‘Islamic Punk’ through a Postcolonial Lens

    (Saif Shahin)

    Conclusion: Looking Ahead

    (Bhoomi K. Thakore and Jason A. Smith)


    Jason Smith is a PhD Candidate in Public Sociology at George Mason University, USA. Past work has been featured in the International Journal of Communication, Journal of Black Studies, International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, Sociation Today, and the edited volume Agenda for Social Justice: Solutions 2012.

    Bhoomi K. Thakore will be joining Elmhurst College in Fall 2016 as Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of the Sociology Program. Her research interests broadly cover structural inequality, with particular focus on race/ethnicity/gender and media. In her forthcoming book, South Asians on the U.S. Screen: Just Like Everyone Else? (Lexington Books, 2016), she examines the ways that South Asian characters and actors in popular entertainment reinforce a racialized hierarchy on Screen and in society.

    "Smith and Thakore, up and coming leaders in the area of sociology of race and media, have their fingers on the pulse. Race and Contention in Twenty-First Century U.S. Media is a solid and important collection of research that wrestles with white supremacy, power, and media in the context of a U.S. racialized social system. If you are looking for a comprehensive collection of research that is sociologically engaging, cutting-edge, and keeps it real, look no further—you’re looking at it!" - David G. Embrick, University of Connecticut, Founding Co-editor of Sociology of Race & Ethnicity

    "A wonderful collection of cutting-edge articles on race, racism, and the media. Race and Contention in Twenty-First Century U.S. Media provides a broad and penetrating examination of how even the newest of new media often serves to reproduce racist images and racial hierarchies." - Woody Doane, University of Hartford

    "Jason Smith and Bhoomi Thakore have assembled a rich array of contemporary theoretical and empirical chapters which deftly illustrate the negative impacts of the intersection of race and the media in the political economy. The chapters highlight the power of the media in creating and conveying the messages, images, and information which control and influence our opinions and values, especially on racial and ethnic issues and themes. The chapters focused on popular television, films, magazines and news channels, however, the consistent themes reverberating throughout the chapters were those which approached the issues discussed from the perspectives of critical race theory, structural analysis, conflict theory, and power inequalities. The chapters in this volume address one of the major issues and questions central to our democracy, one we have not fully resolved: Should the media serve the interests of the entire population, including racial and ethnic groups, or should it continue to serve the interests of powerful owners and those who represent powerful majority groups? The chapters in this volume will be of special interest to scholars in the fields of sociology, psychology, communications, political science, and media studies." - Rutledge M. Dennis, George Mason University

    "The editors and authors of Race and Contention in Twenty-First Century U.S. Media have made an insightful and timely contribution to race and media studies literature. This volume makes clear how colour-blind racism operates in diverse media contexts, from institutions to individuals, particularly people of colour who attempt to navigate these structures. The text also gives scholars as well as instructors specific instances of how race and racism continue to manifest in contemporary U.S. media." - Karen M. Bowdre, Indiana University at Bloomington in Howard Journal of Communications (2017)

    "A 2016 Bloomberg article, “Calling All Sociologists: America Needs You,” solicited sociologists to address America’s social dysfunctions in the public sphere. This collection of essays assembled by Smith and Thakore answers the call by mapping out how popular media perpetuates and resists racism in society. With the rise of “fake news” and the U.S. president using Twitter as his major mode of communication, sociologists cannot afford to ignore the role of media in transmitting racist ideology." - Nancy Wang Yuen, Biola University in Contemporary Sociology (2017)