Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Strategic Communication: Public Relations and Advertising

First Advisor

Armando Pellerano


Throughout the history of media, minority groups have been on the losing end of representation, with racist, stereotypical portrayals, or in many cases, no representation at all. This study analyzes the current representation of black men in modern television commercials. To answer the research questions posed about how black men are represented in commercials, a content analysis was conducted. A systematic sample of television commercials was taken from an online directory of television commercials, and the sample (N = 117) was analyzed using a coding instrument to determine the level of involvement and characterizations of the black male characters featured in the commercial. Of particular interest was the role played by black characters, ranging from background or token roles to major characters. The results showed that the black men had major roles more than any other option, and that compared to past studies, background roles had largely decreased. However, the study also found that stereotypical roles and token roles for black men were still present, even in modern media. Based on the data from the study, despite some positive change, advertisers still have work to do to eliminate negative representation for black males.

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