African Americans On TV

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

download word file, 1 pages 2.0

The Race of Television In the early 1900?s African Americas were treated as an inferior race. They were not allowed to attend the same schools as Caucasian children nor were they allowed to join in on common everyday activities. There were very few, if any, television shows that portrayed the African American race at all. As time went on people realized that the color of one?s skin does not make them inferior or superior to one another. Segregation became integration and the African American race and the Caucasian race eventually became equal in most parts of the world. As this happened, African Americans came to the entertainment world as well.

At first they were portrayed as ?boys from the hood? and then shows such as The Cosby Show portrayed them as middle class Americans. However, some people, such as Henry Louis Gates Jr., believe that these shows degrade African Americans and do not portray them accurately.

I believe that this is not a valid point because Caucasian television shows portray Caucasians in much the same way.

There are three classes of television character types; there are the high class, middle class and of course the low class. These three classes of characters can be found in both African American and Caucasian sitcoms. For the high-class character types, take The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Beverly Hills 90210. In the middle-class category there are The Cosby Show and The Brady Bunch. Finally for the low class, there are demeaning shows such as Amos n? Andy and Married with Children. Considering that these shows say the same things about each race, how can African Americans complain that it is not depicting them correctly and hence making it difficult for their social or political progress? If the races are equal and are...