Minorities in Media in the U.S. - Statistics & Facts

The #OscarsSoWhite controversy surrounding the 2016 Academy Awards brought the role of minorities in media into the spotlight. The proponents of this hashtag pointed to the winners of the Best Actor and Best Actress awards to highlight the lack of diversity in the Oscars. Up until 2015, just 1.1 percent of non-white females and 6.8 percent of non-white males won the coveted awards. Although this trend continued into 2017, the supporting role awards were won by black actors, Viola Davis and Mahershala Ali, the latter being the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.

However, public opinion remains divided about whether the film industry is doing enough to represent racial minorities. African Americans, in particular, are concerned about movie stereotyping, with 70 percent of respondents in a survey stating that Hollywood films often give into stereotypes when portraying racial minorities.

Moving away from the movie industry, a similar picture emerges in television. A cross-section of popular talk shows, such as The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity, illustrates that ethnic minorities are being under-represented. Of the guests that Bill O’Reilly welcomed to his daily talk show in 2014, an estimated 90 percent were white. Behind-the-camera work is no different, as 72 percent of the showrunners for new television shows in the 2016-2017 season were white males, in contrast to six percent who were non-white males and four percent who were non-white females.

In more traditional types of media such as newspapers and publishing, the role of minorities has remained constant in recent years. As of 2015, 12.76 percent of journalists at daily newspapers were from an ethnic minority, slightly down from 13.26 percent in 2010. In the publishing industry as a whole, the latest figures show that 88 percent of employees were white, in comparison to only four percent Hispanic and two percent African-American.

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