.. gets high before he is about to audition. In predominately Caucasian sitcoms, like Frasier or Veronica’s Closet, viewers will not see this type of portrayal. In Frasier, the character Frasier plays a psychologist and his brother plays a doctor. In Veronica’s Closet, everyone works at a successful designing agency.
When viewers turn on the WB and the UPN network they see these types of degrading African American shows. There are blocks of African American shows on Fridays and Mondays. The television companies do not even try mixing these shows with the Caucasian sitcoms. They bunch them all together, making it seem like these are the only types of shows African Americans are capable of producing. White producers are the majority behind the scenes and it seems as though they think African Americans are not good enough for prime time networks. “..In 1992 nearly one out every five characters on prime-time network entertainment programs was African-American.
Last season, that number dropped to one in 10,” (Ebony Magazine, 83). Sitcoms are not the only place were African-Americans should be cast. There needs to be more serious dramas with African-Americans living an everyday life in the real world. On shows like “90210” and “Dawson’s Creek”, viewers rarely see an African American person. America is made up of so many types of cultures, yet some shows make it seem like it is just made up of spoiled, rich white kids.
The public needs to know African-Americans have issues in their lives as well. Producers need to show African Americans going through relationship problems and family problems just like white kids in “white shows” go through. African Americans have at least been shown in different dramas. There have been lawsuits done by the nation’s oldest civil rights organization because there were not enough African-Americans on dramas. “Reports say new Black characters will be added to NBC’s Law &Order, ABC’s Wasteland and Fox’s Manchester Prep (Ebony Magazine, 83).” The drama shows portray African Americans in a more positive, realistic way.
On the popular show, ER there is ha Eriq Lasalle, who plays one of the doctors on the show and goes through the same types of dramas the other characters do. On Felicity they have Tangi Miller, who plays one of Felicity’s best friends. She is trying to get through college taking the same types of hard classes the Caucasian people are taking. Basically African Americans need more serious roles on television. African Americas should have sitcoms on television, but there needs to be a balance between the sitcoms and the dramas. Dramas would help to show African American’s in a more day-to-day, realistic role. Many broadcast executives believe whites rarely watch shows, particularly sitcoms, with largely black casts.
The networks broadcast relatively few shows with black or even integrated casts in prime time television spots. There are two popular, outdated stereotypes about African Americans. First, whites and non-blacks won’t wasted their time and money on anything perceived as “black oriented”. Secondly, blacks are viewed as marginal, if not irrelevant, as TV and film viewers and product consumers. According to the annual Burrell marketing survey, blacks spend as much if not more per capita than any other ethnic group in America on goods and services; moreover, 40% watch prime-time television. African American’s are marginal by no means; in fact, they are essential to manufactures, advertisers and the success of television shows.
Caucasian shows are for the most part, entirely white. On the other hand, primarily black shows have been forced to add white characters. “There is always a concerted effort by white executives to place white faces on black shows,” said Steve Harvey, whose show is on the WB network. “We have had to place white faces on our show this year. We didn’t ask for it.
It came down on us. We happen to like those characters, and they’ve worked out well. But how often do you find it going the other way? There’s never an expectation in a white show which needs a few more black faces.” One of the reason’s why there isn’t more African American faces on Caucasian shows is because there isn’t a reported demand for integration; therefore, the executives don’t want to take the effort to integrate. Once again, African American’s aren’t marginal and should be portrayed accurately on Television. Presently, the television is in over 99% of American homes (Color Adjustment). The television has a power to change mass habits and attitudes. Reverend Jesse Jackson says media depicts African Americans in “Five Deadly ways: Less intelligent ..
less hardworking .. less universal .. less patriotic .. and more violent than we are.” African American’s when portrayed are done so negatively. Perhaps, if blacks were seen more frequently on television in roles comparable to white actors then the black real-life employment might be favorable affected.
One way to change the trend is to have more African Americans behind the scenes and in production in order to have realistic portrayals of African Americans. The past roles were based on cultural stereotypes of the era and did not realistically portray the lives of African Americans. The current roles are still not representative of African Americans. They are more encompassing of African American life, but they are far from reality. The television has the ability to shape people’s opinions, views and stereotypes of different cultures. If what one views is false, then he or she absorbs and projects false images.
However, if views of other cultures are portrayed more accurately, then one will enrich the veiwers life and relate to one another more openly. America can then come to a better understanding of the many cultures it contains and the beauty each has to offer. Audience Reaction After giving the presentation there were many different views coming from the audience which were not expected. The audience did not hold the same views presented to them. The point addressed was about how Will Smith was the buffoon on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. They did not feel Will Smith was acting buffoonish, they thought he just brought comedy to the show.
The audience seemed to focus on black people acting white rather than black people acting ignorant. They brought up the character Carlton, and how he acted white. When asked the question how they knew he was acting white they said he went to an all white school and was influenced by the way they acted. The audience also said Will criticized Carlton for acting white. They excused Will’s buffoonish actions by saying white people were also made fun of through Carlton’s character.
This brings up the question how do we know what is characterized as acting black or acting white, and what makes a show a black show or a white show. Again these questions revert back to the fact television shows have embedded stereotypes in our society. This makes people believe there must be a typical black person and white person. Current Events.