• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Changing Images of Black Americans in US Television since the 1950s.

Extracts from this document...


Running head: VISIONS OF AMERICA Shaping the Image of Black America ________________ I did not think much about the topic of Black America and how it was stereotyped when I was younger and watching television shows from the past. I just accepted it as it was just the way it was back then. I remember most clearly in Shirley Temple movies the role of servants and âmammyâsâ and how their characters were the backbone of the white families that they cared for. They played important roles in their families but not valued as equals. âThese black folk could be trusted to manage white households, nurture white children, and ârestore balance and normalcy to the white household,â . ...read more.


Shows such as Amos and Andy, Beulah, The Jack Benny Show and Life with Father depicted black culture as subservient characters such as maids, mammies or con artists and deadbeats which was why these two worlds were viewed as separate and unequal. (Franz & Smulyan, 2012) Towards the end of the 50s and throughout the 60s, programming changed and ânetwork television offered more benign and less explicitly stereotypical images of African Americansâ (Franz & Smulyan, 2012). Shows like The Nat King Cole Show, Julia and I Spy made their skin color a minimal if any part of the show and not necessarily part of the storyline. This existed during a time where tensions still existed between the different races in a white world where both races did not acknowledge âblacknessâ (Franz & Smulyan, 2012). ...read more.


I grew up watching the Cosby Show which depicted a normal family and covered diverse topics each week that anyone could relate to. Black America was shown in an equal way where education, career and family were important values where earlier television depicted them as subservient roles. âCosbyâs characters and the situations in which they appear depict people with a distinct ethnic background coupled with universal appeal (Merritt, 1991). Bill Cosby actually drew a lot of the weekly storylines from his own life. He showed flawed characters that were likeable which made them easy to identify with no matter what a viewerâs background was. His humor does not involve race, only stories of real life. I cannot remember thinking of The Cosby Show as a show about a black American family â it was just a family similar to mine with similar experiences. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Television & Radio Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Television & Radio Studies essays

  1. Many voices one cause: One cause many voices? An investigation into Zimbabwe broadcasting corporation's ...

    The accelerating demise of the public service ideal owes in part to the policies of deregulation in the broadcast sector in recent years and the expansion of new commercial and technological forms of media to challenge the previous dominance of public service media.

  2. Nepal television Evening News Bulletin

    On the contrary, it glorified authority and annihilated or castrated the opposing views. This is due to its control by the government of the time and the need to look good in the eyes of its employer -the state. In this instance, the government violated journalistic ethics.

  1. The insurgence of reality television (TV) into everyday life has left us increasingly asking ...

    in a break down of family values because reality television programs such as Big Brother carry the overriding messages that "its okay to do anything if the price is right" (2003 www.edailynews.info). However, as Jo Chichester argues such themes also play a valuable part in explaining the popularity of Big

  2. The influence of television on children.

    successfully teaches basic skills to children from a range of very different home backgrounds." In Singers' paper, they argue that although the average child spends a great deal of time watching television, they learn very little from the medium. "Despite the fact that it exposes children to an enormous amount

  1. The depiction of gender within sitcoms. For this study I have chosen to ...

    and a new era for television began. The most notable reason for this era is the fact all characters were elderly (50+) and each episode confronted many topics like Sex, Race, Artificial Insemination, Surgery and HIV, topics which other programmes would not have dared approach based on sensitivity.

  2. What has been the social, cultural, political and technological impact the TV programme Big ...

    There is the element of voyeurism of the actual show, where producers, the viewing public and the media can look into the goldfish bowl and make assertions and draw observations, with news stories and gossip columns full aplenty with people claiming to have slept with a "Big Brother" contestants in the past.

  1. Does television still exist?

    In the past television was 'scarce', meaning that people only had, and could therefore only watch the terrestrial channels and what was on them at the time they tuned in. However, now television has moved into an age of 'availability', meaning that television is readily available to the viewer.

  2. Can there be a sociology of popular television?

    determines what people think and what they do and thus controls them psychologically and socially. It can make people think things they would not otherwise think, and do things they would not otherwise do.' (Srinati, 2000: 179) The literature at the start of this phase in understanding television's function continued

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work