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Teen Wolf

Racial Representations

Lesley Bradshaw, Author
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The Teen Wolf universe is comprised of blackwhite, Hispanic, Indian, and Hawaiian characters, with the addition of two Asian American characters planned for the fourth season. In a show with twenty-nine recurring, speaking roles (over three seasons), 75.9% of the characters are white, 10.3% are black, 6.9% are Hispanic, 3.4% are Hawaiian, and 3.4% are Indian. The actual racial demographic spread of Alameda County, California (probable home of the fictitious Beacon Hills) is comprised of the following statistics as of the 2012 census: 33.5% white, 12.8% black, 22.7% Hispanic, 1.0% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 5.1% multi-racial. While the percentages of ethnic characters on Teen Wolf are not representative of the region, especially in terms of white and Hispanic characters, they are somewhat representative of the American population, according to the 2010 United States’ census. The census reported that 63.7% of the population is white, 12.2% is black, 16.3% is Hispanic, 0.2% is Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and 1.9% is multi-racial.

According to research conducted between 2000 and 2008 by Nancy Signorelli, there has been a “downward linear trend in the presence of black characters, while there was an upward trend in the number of white characters. The researcher also found that other minority groups, including Hispanics rarely appeared” (Luther 304). These findings are especially troubling as “Asians and Hispanics are growing at faster rates than any other racial ethnic group… The US Census Bureau projects that by the year 2050, 132.8 million individuals living in the United States will be of Hispanic origin, representing one-third of the total US population” (Luther 5-6). With ethnic populations in the United States increasing and ethnic characters in the media decreasing, Teen Wolf does a better-than-average job of representing racial minorities in an episodic television series.

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