4.2: Portrayals of Immigrants in Television and Film

Portrayals of immigrants and the immigrant experience are frequent themes in television and film.

Statue of Liberty Statue of Liberty by djmboxsterman is under Pixabay License

A portrayal is how an individual or group is presented in media, but such representations may or may not be factually accurate. Sometimes these representations offer an idealized view of the immigrant experience. While the Statue of Liberty portrays a nation welcoming newcomers, the reality is that the United States was and is not a land of opportunity for many who come here.

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In other instances, immigrants may be presented in harmfully stereotypical terms, often as criminals or threats. In the report Change the Narrative, Change the World: How Immigrant Representation on Television Moves Audiences to Action, researchers from the University of Southern California found viewers who saw programs with more inclusive immigration storylines had more welcoming, supportive attitudes toward immigrants than those who did not.

In these activities, you will explore whether current portrayals and representations of immigrants in television and film media are accurate or stereotypical, and while so doing, consider: "What does media representation of immigrants mean to immigrants?"

Activity 1: Write a Letter of Praise or Protest (Persuasive Writing)

*If students select Master of None, consider also exploring the media portrayal and personality of Aziz Ansari.

Activity 2: Evaluate Representation of Immigrants in the Movies

Additional Resources

Connecting to the eBook

Building Democracy for All: The Rights of Citizens and Non-Citizens

Connecting to the Standards