How American Media Affects Perceived Racism in Canada

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Emily Morgan Wiebe


This study aims to identify how perceptions of racism in Canada are influenced by the consumption of American media. The current study hypothesized that: 1) individuals exposed to an American news story regarding racial discrimination (Group 1) would have a more favourable evaluation of Canada than those who were not exposed to the story (Group 2); 2) that participants who were people of colour (PoC) would have no significant differences in scores between the two groups, and; 3) that Canadians would overall rate Canada more favourably than America, but that this difference would be more pronounced in Group 1. Seventy-two (72) participants contributed data by completing one of two versions of a questionnaire, which had questions regarding satisfaction of one’s life in Canada, perceived ethnic diversity or acceptance in Canada, perceived racism in Canada, and a comparison between Canada and the USA. One version opened with a short vignette describing an example of racism that had recently occurred in America (Group 1; 47 questions), while the other version did not (Group 2; 46 questions). A 2x2x2 analysis of the data revealed that PoC and those with a different national affiliation exhibited lower scores of perceived diversity in Group 1 than Group 2. Caucasian participants evaluated Canada more favourably than America in Group 1, whereas PoC rated Canada better in Group 2. Limitations of this study included sample size, diversity of the sample, reliability of the scales, and self-selection/self-report biases. Future research should aim to rectify these limitations and further explore the significant differences present in this study.