For my representation in cinema class, I have to talk about representation of race of course. Race, Gender and Sexuality but I am concentrating on race for my final essay. I am reading Bell Hooks "Reel to Real" at the moment. So, she was describing her first accounts of seeing a Black woman on television ( I know, that's not cinema right? Gr) and she talks about seeing Sapphire on the Amos 'N' Andy show. And I think to myself, hmm...that show rings a bell but I have never seen it. And when I thought of Sapphire I thought of you know, Sapphire. One of the key Black women stereotypes so I wondered if this is where it started (and I think so). So I skip on over to youtube to watch some clips. I was just disgusted.
I am well aware of the racism in television, radio and movies over the years. So, I am not surprised that this show existed. I just feel so icky when I see that people find this shit okay. It's not that people watched this back in the day and it was okay that makes me feel icky. I assume that. I assume whites of this time enjoyed this show. Whites and Blacks actually. Blacks were desperate for their representation on television and we took what we could get I think. The same goes for "The Jeffersons" and "Good Times" or some other show that swore up and down it was progressive just because it had Black faces but those Black faces only perpetuated stereotypes. But to know that there are people that still excuse the "Amos 'N' Andy" show as just "good humor" or a show in which they dont see race, they just see funny characters, amazes me. Especially people that are saying that their not racist (my point being here, that their not identifying as a racist but are accepting racism) and just praising the show. It's amazing.
And of course, the Internet is a great place for racists. Since out right racism isnt accepted in society anymore (subtle and institutional racism, well of course, thats still accepted) people can just pick out a cool Internet name like Jiggabookiller, Niggerhater, Deportanigger, and just racist it on up on their favorite websites...which I am convinced their number one website is youtube. Seriously. So I read these comments under the lil clip of the show, and I just end up being totally disgusted. These people making these comments are seriously everyday people. I'm sure its just Bob from the rec or Jim from accounting or Suze from Public Relations. Mm Hm Suze too.
It just kills me. But it encourages me as well.
Heres some clips. The last two are of an interesting segment about race in television that was obviously made in the 80s.