Mainstream Versus Ethnic Media: How They Shape Ethnic Pride and Self-Esteem Among Ethnic Minority Audiences

Srividya Ramasubramanian, Marissa Joanna Doshi, Muniba Saleem



This article explores the underlying processes that influence the ways in which mainstream and ethnic media shape ethnic minority audiences’ self-concepts. Ethnic minorities are often underrepresented and presented in stereotypical and negative ways in mainstream popular U.S. culture, while ethnic media tend to represent them in more diverse and auspicious ways. This study uses survey methodology to simultaneously assess the differential effects of mainstream and ethnic media on ethnic minorities. Specifically, it tests the role of mainstream media and ethnic media in influencing ethnic pride, self-esteem, and ethnic performance (behavioral expression of one’s ethnic identity) among Indian Americans. Results from path analyses reveal that whereas mainstream media is associated with decreased self-esteem, ethnic media use is associated with increased ethnic pride and ethnic performance. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.


ethnic media, stereotyping, diasporic communities, Indian Americans, survey

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