The Inclusion Imperative

October 19, 2021

The Inclusion Imperative

The Inclusion Imperative

The media we consume plays a critical role in shaping how we understand and make sense of ourselves, our identities, and the world around us. It can perpetuate stereotypes and bias, exacerbating injustice and inequities. But it also presents an opportunity to reduce bias, end division, and be a gateway to a more inclusive future.

Our latest report, "The Inclusion Imperative: Why Media Representation Matters for Kids' Ethnic-Racial Development," looks at the role of media representation in kids' ethnic-racial development -- how they build an understanding of their own ethnic-racial group, and how they do so for others. The first half of this report shares the findings of an extensive review of today's media landscape. The second half includes a survey of responses from parents and caregivers on how they perceive the media that their children are exposed to, as well as what they want to see.

Our report shows that screen media continues to fall short in its portrayal of diverse races and ethnicities. People of color are underrepresented in movie and TV roles, and when they are represented, they're often stereotyped. Meanwhile, parents and caregivers have reported that they want to use media as a tool to help kids not just see themselves reflected back, but also to inspire acceptance and inclusion in general.

This research serves as the backbone of our new rating for diverse representations, which has been designed to meet families' need to identify content that features positive, diverse representations. Our report shows that media influences what kids think, feel, and understand about race as they develop. But it also serves as a call to action for content creators to assume greater responsibility in improving diversity and elevating inclusion in the media they're creating for young audiences.

Fact sheets:

Resources: