Television Viewing, Racial Attitudes, and Policy Preferences: Exploring the Role of Social Identity and Intergroup Emotions in Influencing Support for Affirmative Action Academic Article uri icon


  • This paper explores how White viewers' perceived portrayals of African-Americans and Latino-Americans on TV influence their real-world feelings and beliefs about these outgroups, which in turn affect their support for race-targeted policies. A computer-based survey (N = 323) included measures relating to perceptions about racial/ethnic groups on television, real-world stereotypical beliefs, prejudicial feelings, and support for affirmative action policies. The affective-cognitive model of policy reasoning presented in this paper extends and improves upon prior research in several ways. It considers intergroup emotions as an important mediator by including prejudicial feelings toward racial/ethnic outgroups in the path analyses. Unlike past research that typically grouped all negative stereotypes into one global measure, this study explores how specific types of stereotypes such as criminality and laziness work independently and simultaneously to influence policy preferences. Finally, this integrated cognitive-affective model of policy reasoning is applied to both perceptions of African-Americans and of Latino-Americans, which provides greater confidence in the applicability of the model. Implications of the results and directions for future research are discussed. © 2010 National Communication Association.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ramasubramanian, S.

citation count

  • 44

publication date

  • March 2010