Study: Black People Watch Too Much Television

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Scholarship in Action 

A recent study by Nielson says that African Americans watch 40 percent more television than the national average.  Black people spend an average of  7 hours, 12 minutes each day in front of the TV, while the national average is 5 hours, 11 minutes.  Asians watch the least television, averaging 3 hours, 14 minutes per day.

I am on my way to a meeting, so I’ll give very quick thoughts on this study:

1) It’s probably no coincidence that Asians also have the highest test scores in school, while we have the lowest.  Perhaps we can learn something from our friends across the sea.

2) While we might criticize the “Tiger Mom,” (Amy Chua) for pushing her kids toward excellence, I am willing to bet that the Tiger Mom’s kids weren’t spending all their time planted in front of a TV or video game.  While I don’t agree with all of her tactics, I do advocate for having a loving influence on your child’s daily activities.  It’s not natural to sit around watching BET for 12 hours a day, so don’t let your child do it.

3) My general thinking is that all of us (not just our kids) can learn something from this study about our own behavior.  There is value in being productive on a daily basis.  So, whether you’re sitting around in the club every Friday night or spending all your time on twitter/facebook/text messaging all day, you’re probably missing out on the chance to live a productive and meaningful life.

Our people will only make progress when we elevate our way of thinking.  Let’s push ourselves and our children to do better.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “Study: Black People Watch Too Much Television

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  13. Jordan Temple

    Studies like this are not a complete picture of domestication. If we only pull from case studies and generalizations(the easiest methods possible) there is not enough data to know what shows are being watched. On a home by home basis can you know for a fact that all black children are watching some mind-numbing program or are stereotypes hindering us to leave out the possibility that they are watching SuperNova like their Asian/White counterparts?

    Most likely the stereotypes being encouraged would be that black children are lazy and we encourage it, and blah, blah, blah. The parents are never home blah, blah, blah and that Asian kids have mommy and daddy busting there humps and white kids benefit from white privilege. Of course some of this is based on truth, but why can’t we fabricate our own positive stereotype? If Asian children feed into the stereotype that they’re naturally smarter then everyone else I would think with nurture it would be a self-fufilling prophecy and I would think white children eventually realize the openness and ease they experience in the world by not being “hyphenated”.

    So why after enduring slavery, and every other obstacle haven’t we been able to formulate a positive stereotype that appeals to our ability to think? Regardless of what people think about Hip-Hop it is relatively a new genre and we started it! We as a black people have had to be more creative then any other race in this country to survive long enough to make a pathway for freedom for other ethnic groups. When we couldn’t afford t.v. Hip Hop went from the block to a multi-billion dollar industry.

    Black people are good at Hip-Hop and that means a lot more than we give it credit for and you can never get too much of that.

  14. DT Henry

    Where can I find this study? From reading the above highlights I am sure this will be very interesting

  15. DT Henry

    My brother Jordan I agree with you on so many levels.

  16. jim

    No offense, but this study is complete bullshit.

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