Sitcom and Race. Annotated Bibliography
Since the early ‘90s, race has been a controversial issue, especially, in the film industry where producers and directors are partial towards racial balance. The nation maintains a passive stand towards investigating the depths of this issue, the origins of which date back to the 1920s (Bates 1992). The issue of racism is a sensitive topic that people hardly talk about. People are not willing to admit that they are racists however reactions or actions towards “undesired race” can cause major disagreement that can lead to bloodshed. The first such issue appeared in one of the most popular entertainment sitcom shows in the 90s. Producers usually base the show around the “white” norms, traditions, culture and seldom embrace representatives of other races as main characters. The dominance of a white culture on television is apparent, and leads to much criticism from the public. Many scholars have addressed this issue stating that television sitcom shows in the United Stated have not maintained neutrality and equality of races when airing shows. The researchers continue to state that sitcoms, to some extent, have neglected the intentions of the creators and overlooked the useful and beneficial messages the image of race can display from these sitcoms when delivered to the audience in the contemporary society.
American Sitcom and its Rendering on Race and Class
Stanley, Alessandra. “Pushing Their Luck, Sitcoms Are Playing with Race Cards.” New York Times 14 Nov. 2007: A1. Print.
This article was written by Alessandra Stanley, who talks about the race issues in the sitcom shows. Alessandra is senior American Journalist, who works as the chief television critic for The New York Times. Based on her position, her article is credible in respect to sitcom TV content analysis. The article intends to reveal how sitcom TV balances race issues. The author does not voice her opinion aggressively but she is rather racially accommodative and maintains a friendly tone, while expressing her critical thoughts concerning the station. According to her article, African-Americans are unique individuals with unique skills. The TV shows reveal that their race is characterized by specific traits that allow them to be successful in certain activities while unsuccessful in others. Additionally, sitcom TV reveals that African-American families operate as a unit of a lower class as compared to the white race. The article gives an example of a TV episode where Hurricane Edna leaves an African-American family homeless.
The author’s article is relevant to this research paper because it covers the concepts of sitcom TV. Additionally, she is specific on matters of race. Based on the question, the article is important because it has relevant information concerning how American TVs portray race and class. The article can create the illusion that American TVs are discriminating representatives of certain races.
Bates, Karen Grigsby. “Unshackle Race from Sitcom Safety: The Entertainment Industry Should Be Smart Enough to Address Issues Seriously and Still Keep its Audience.” Los Angeles Times 01 Sept. 1992. Print.
The article was written by Karen Grigsby Bates and addresses the issues of retaining audience in respect to racial depiction on sitcom TV shows. The author works as a NPR News correspondent based in Los Angeles. She contributes credible commentaries based on her knowledge and experience in media. This article talks about the American TV entertainment industry and the importance of addressing racial issues. The author uses a straight tone intended to give directives. The article points out that the TV programs are centered on money, family relations, sex, and many other personal agendas but leave race out of the discussion.
The topic covered by the article is relevant since it covers the concepts of racial coverage on the American TV. The article shows how American TVs concentrate on other issues at the expense of racial discussion. The author gives recommendations to the sitcom TV entertainment industry to consider racial issues. The text reveals how American TV praises one race while downgrading others. The article creates the illusion that American TVs are not sensitive when airing racist programs.
Cadet, Danielle. “The Jeffersons’: How Sherman Hemsley and the Sitcom Changed the Landscape of American Television.” The Huffington Post 25 July 2012. Web. 24 May 2015.
Danielle Cadet’s article highlights the involvement of sitcom TV in the changes that have taken place in the American Television. The author is a senior editor at ESPN, hence, a reliable source of information. The purpose of the article is to reveal that the American TV rarely discuses race issues but uses racially charged terminologies. Based on the article, American TV shows usually portray African-Americans as an unsuccessful race. Contrary to the popular norm, today’s sitcom shows reveal that there are few African-Americans who can be successful.
The article is relevant to the topic since it shows how sitcom TV has greatly contributed to rising racial discrimination and prejudice in the society. Based on the question, the source is significant since it provides information about class and race as shown on the American TV. The article makes me think that American movie producers believe that African-Americans are hardly successful.
Wilson, Loryn. “Poverty in Color: Race, Class and Television.” Center for Community Change 15 Aug. 2014. Web. 24 May 2015.
In this article Loryn Wilson talks about the American TV in relation to race and class. According to the author, the American TV shows reveal that African-Americans are poor members of the society. Loryn Wilson is an online engagement coordinator at YWCA USA, hence, her judgment in this article can be considered credible. Wilson brings out the negative stereotypes associated with races. For example, in the show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo the characters are portrayed as lazy and stupid and these traits that are used to describe most American people. Other shows such as Good Times, where African-Americans act, highlights the issues of poverty and drug addiction, which are used to describe the lives of African-Americans.
The article is relevant to my research since it pertains to race and class as shown in the American Television. The source brings out the raising racial discrimination in sitcoms while highlighting some of the shows as examples. Shows such as 2 Broke Girls are mentioned in this article. Since sitcom is one of the prevailing types on American Television, it is included in the source content. I tend to think that Americans are very discriminative on race and class.
Beltran, Mary. Race, Class and Gender in American Television. Austin: The University of Texas Press.
In this article Mary Beltran shows how race, class and gender are demonstrated by the American television. The author is an associate professor of radio-television-film at the University of Texas in Austin. Her credibility is, therefore, unquestionable. The author airs her views strongly concerning the racial discrimination in shows. She not only talks about African-Americans but also Hispanic people. The author reveals that during auditions for sitcoms white directors are reluctant to pick the representatives of the above races even when they display great talent. She continues to say that African-American directors are likely to select representatives of all races as compared to a white director.
The source is relevant since it concerns race and class as portrayed on American TVs. The question is about sitcom TV (an American TV) and racial depictions. Due to this observation, the source relates to the researched question. Based on the source, I feel that American TVs are racially biased when it comes to selection of actors.
Hoang, Lien. “If TV Sitcom Doesn’t Portray Real Asian American Family, Blame Class, not Race.” The Sacramento Bee, 28 Feb. 2015. Web. 24 May 2015.
The article was written by Lien Hoang and relates TV sitcoms’ efforts in capturing scenes of Asian American family life in its shows. The author is a Vietnamese newspaper reporter, who is the current reporter at Bloomberg BNA. The article reveals that TV sitcom portrays Chinese as poor people who eat from plastic bowls. Additionally, the television shows classify Asians as low class people even when that is not the case. In reality, most Asian people come from wealthy and renowned families.
The article is relevant because it relates to the race and class as portrayed in the American TV sitcoms. The source talks directly about TV depiction of race and class; hence, relevant is to the question. The article brings out the illusion that many American TV producers believe that other races are poor, uneducated and desperate while white Americans are often shown to be wealthy, educated and highly advantaged.
Holtzman, Linda. Media Messages: What Film, Television, and Popular Music Teach Us about Race, Class, Gender, and Sexual Orientation. New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.
The book was written by Linda Holtzman, and reveals the relationship between race and class as portrayed in American TVs through films and popular music. The author is an American writer and a lecturer in media. The source is credible; the author uses soft tone to address her points. American television mostly shows African-Americans as being more disadvantaged than the whites. Such videos include films and popular music clips where black characters are assigned low class roles compared to their white counterparts.
The source is relevant to study because it reveals the trend taken by the American TVs about race and class. Sitcom TV adopts the same pattern since it is of the same setting as other American television. The research question is significant in understanding the concepts of television, race and class in the article.