Require Entertainment Media to Expand Parental Advisories to Identify Racist Content

Require Entertainment Media to Expand Parental Advisories to Identify Racist Content

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Candace Howze started this petition to Motion Picture Association of America and

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, failure to address racism will continue to undermine health equity for all children, adolescents, emerging adults, and their families. 

By the time children are 3, they begin to recognize normal human variations, including skin color, but without assigning value to them. 

A 4-year-old knows basic racial stereotypes. 

By age 7, children develop racial permanency, where they recognize the body they are born in is the body they have. 

By age 9, as part of their identity development, they become more aware of what place their cultural group holds in society. 

The goal of this petition is to expand the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) movie rating system and Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) advisory to identify racist content and/or racial stereotyping. 

Content providers utilizing a unified standard will alert the consumer that the material is: 

1) being presented in its original format and was produced in a time when people were culturally and racially insensitive, or, 

2) the content depicts racism, or racial and cultural stereotypes that are harmful.

Racism has significant adverse effects on the individual who either experiences or observes it. Substantial actions are required to dismantle structural racism and facilitate the societal shifts necessary for the optimal development of children in the United States. Cultural representations of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) have resulted in stereotypes, images, frames, and narratives that dehumanize POC and are reinforced by the media, allowing unfair treatment within society. 

While we understand that the First Amendment of the United States (US) Constitution protects freedom of speech to the extent that racial vilification is lawful, this petition demands that it be identified. Film and television, for example, provide many children with their first exposure to people of other races, ethnicities, religions, and cultures. Social learning theory suggests children learn through observation, therefore, what they see onscreen can impact their attitudes about the treatment of others. 

One study found, for instance, that two years of viewing Sesame Street by white preschoolers was associated with more positive attitudes toward BIPOC. Another study found that white children exposed to a negative television portrayal of Blacks had an adverse change in attitude toward Blacks (Diversity in film and television: MediaScope).

Such a classification system will help parents, teachers, and caretakers make informed choices about the kinds of television programs, movies, cartoons, and video games that are suitable for their children. We hope that by identifying media that immortalizes racist and derogatory cultural stereotypes, parents will be better equipped to help their children navigate the world, and become more empathetic to others. Let's promote a more inclusive, representative culture.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!