Today incorrect image of a society in which

Today television’s outlook is perhaps as different as its audience, but that hasn’t always been the case. In the beginnings of the late 1940s, American television was mostly an all-white medium. Television produced a disturbing and incorrect image of a society in which people of color were all, but invisible. Television’s first thirty years of broadcast, people of color were generally cast in only stereotypical roles. Throughout the sitcoms, Amos and Andy, Julia, Sanford and Son, and The Cosby Show, African Americans were the minority that lived like the majority. In the aforementioned sitcoms, African Americans actually played a role; they were displayed as productive members of society, instead of just filling a spot as the African American person.Amos and Andy, was the first all African American cast displayed on television. Amos ‘n’ Andy was created by two caucasian men, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll which some people felt was unrealistic because this show was the caucasian person’s stereotypical ideal of African American coming through the screen. Although some African Americans were happy to just be displayed on television, there were others who felt like it came at a cost too high. Even though the African Americans portrayed in this show dressed nicely and looked appropriate, they spoke a broken form of English, therefore were considered ignorant and also displayed as lazy crooks. Viewers walk away thinking that this was actually the way that African Americans behaved as members of the middle class society. This shows that the culture during that time found it funny that two caucasian men were misappropriating black humor. In 1968, the first episode of what was promised to be a truly unorthodox sitcom premiered, Julia. Julia was an African-American on one of the first television shows to withstand placing African-American characters in stereotypical roles. Julia was a mother, a widow and a professional nurse, living with her young son in a nice suburban apartment. The element that made Julia stand out was that it was the first sitcom to portray a college educated, African American woman working in a professional position. This show portrayed a positive family dynamic; although she was widowed she found enough time to teach her son morals, values, and manners. At this time the idea of racism was fading, however people were still learning to accept this new objective, especially without feeling ostracized by their friends, family, etc. It was not common to see someone being racist because one did not want to believe they were actually a racist. Although Julia experienced a racist encounter when her son, Corey, went to his friend, Cindy’s party. Cindy invited Corey, seeing no color, she saw Corey as a friend. When Julia picked Corey up, Cindy’s mom thanked Julia for Corey’s behavior as if she was not expecting him to be well behaved. Julia also went on a blind date that evening and her date, Jordan was discriminating against her friends, who were white. Something that Julia said that stood out was that she was “prejudiced against prejudice”. While some people accepted all different races with open arms, like Julia; there were still those people with preconceived notions about other races, like Jordan.  Julia was criticized for not talking deeply enough about the Civil Rights politics of the time. Julia’s characters and their creators stayed far away from any coaliations with political and social change. For some African Americans, just the presence of a person of color on television was enough of a contribution. Even though Julia was only on the air for a short while, its portrayal of African-American characters represented a positive turning point in television history. Although the show got a lot of backlash, viewers walked away from this show with a more positive outlook on the African American household and an understanding of how an African American woman can be so strong and independent.Sanford and Son helped to change and transform the African American entertainment platform; it introduced a lot of political issues into African American television. This show was called the African American version of All in the Family. The father, Fred, was stuck in the racist past, making it very known that he did not like caucasian people. While Lamont, the son, was more politically correct and pushing towards the forward movement of society. The element that made Sanford and Son different was that there was no main female character in the household, Fred’s wife (Lamont’s mom), had passed away leaving Fred widowed and Lamont motherless. Although they were successful because they owned their own junkyard, they were still low income and struggling to stay afloat. There was always some sort of scheme to try to get more money. They were a dysfunctional family. Fred was always putting Lamont down, leaving Lamont to have to have some sort of verbal rebuttal. There was also Fred’s sister-in-law, Esther, who came to their home often. Her and Fred didn’t get along often hurling verbal assaults at each other. This show did not at all depict a positive African American family dynamic, viewers walked away with a negative representation of the African American household and of the African American man.By the mid-1980’s, racism was less tolerated in society. The Cosby Show, portrayed a successful African American family. The father, Cliff, was an Obstetrician and the mother, Claire, was a lawyer; they had four children. The Huxtables were the ultimate goal for African Americans at this time. Although they were successful, they weren’t without your normal family problems. This show rarely showed any aspect of racism. The idea was that all of the previous depictions of African Americans on television were incorrect, this was what an actual African American family on television should look like. Cliff and Claire, although both hard working and successful, worked together when it came to disciplining their children. Even though Claire works, she makes time to come home to cook dinner and spend time with her family. The family actually sits down to eat dinner together, which in today’s society is a rare finding. They worked hard for their children to have a good education, the idea was for them to continue on to college after high school, so they encouraged good grades. Although there were many things that still relate to today’s society, like Theo not wanting to attend college after high school because he feels like it should be his choice instead of his parents. There were also many things that were different like the following: Theo wanting to be a “regular person, like a truck/bus driver or gas attendant” however in today’s’ society most kids have the desire to be lawyers, doctors, or even follow in the footsteps of their parents. Another example is when Denise was going on her date, Cliff stopped her in the hallway and told her that her pants were too tight, whereas in today’s society those pants are considered loose or in style. Another example is also when Denise was going on her date, the guy she was going out with, had an earring in his left ear. Which back then was unheard of, but in today’s society men having earrings is very common, sometimes even in both ears. Also, when Cliff makes Theo think about his life as “a regular person” he asked him how much he thought a regular person’s salary would be and Theo stated $250/week. Cliff gave him the benefit of the doubt and provided him with $1200 of Monopoly money to insinuate a month’s salary.  They stated that an apartment in Manhattan would cost $400/month. The cost of living in today’s society is much higher, you’d be lucky to find a room to rent in someone else’s home for $400/month. Something that stood out to me was, the home being a two-parent household, because they are a lot less common in today’s society. Viewers walked away from this show with a positive depiction of life in a mid-to-upper class African American household.Television has most definitely evolved over the years. African Americans went from being invisible on television to owning their own networks. On any day at any time, in 2018, you can turn on your television and see many positive portrayals of the African American family whether in a single or two parent home. Despite the fact that we have these multiple platforms displayed, African American are still having to fight against racism on television, social media, and in reality. Although we have come a long way with the racist ideals in America, more recently we have seemingly reverted back to our racist past. Culturally society has become more open about their ideas and opinions on other races; even going as far as to openly state their racist ideas, not caring about who sees/hears it, nor whom it hurts. At previous times in America, these racist ideas were merely thoughts in your own head forbidden to ever be spoken. On the other hand, in today’s society, it is also common for people to adapt to the culture of another race. People aren’t afraid to openly speak out against racism, sometimes even protesting on the behalf of injustice. American television has not only been integrated by one culture but many. Television is now producing a more accurate image of society in which all cultures are visible instead of just one. 

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