Racial Stereotypes in Children's Television Commercials

Jill K. Maher
Robert Morris University

Kenneth C. Herbst
Wake Forest University

Nancy M. Childs
Saint Joseph's University

Seth Finn
Robert Morris University


For decades, there has been extensive debate about the effects of advertising on children. Because of this, the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), established by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC), states that, "advertisers … have a special responsibility to protect children from their own susceptibilities." In other words, children are vulnerable and may assume that the world is the way that it appears on television. Many children, especially those at young ages, do not have the opportunity to experience the world for themselves and often, by the time that they do, the expectations and assumptions created by media are so strong that it can take time to disentangle reality from perception. In light of these facts, CARU further states that "care should be taken to incorporate minorities and other groups in children's advertisements in order to present positive role models…"