June 20, 2013
Topic: The Portrayal of African American males in TV sitcoms Introduction: The role of African American males in situational comedies, affects how society especially the white demographic views blacks. African American males have been struggling so long for equality in the TV industry. In result when black males were aired on TV it involved them in situational comedies. Some of these popular sitcoms that portrayed black males’ were shows like, “Amos and Andy” “Good Times”, “The Bill Cosby Show”, and “The Wayans Bros”. The reason why sitcoms are so eminent to the African American society was because this was the only portrayal of blacks society ever knew. It was the role that black men played in these sitcoms that were viewed as ghetto and funny by viewers. Whenever a sitcom involved a black male he always had a deficit to their character or family. Some of those deficits were domestic help, welfare recipients and always involved some type of criminal speculation. As far as society seen it, African American males simply played a side-kick towards the white leading roles which were the main characters in the show. According to Stan Lathan a former black director, he stated that “when black directors seek to write and create a show that involves some type of truth, it entitled struggle with some networks (Lathan)”. Out of aggravation Lathan explained that “when material is not rooted in reality, the writing should reflect real life (Lathan)”. This paper will intend to show how society is affected by African American males’ portrayal in TV sitcoms. Literature Review: TV regularly depicts African Americans in unfavorable positions in relation to whites. Usually these unfavorable positions support negative stereotypes pertaining to African Americans. These stereotypical one-dimensional characters in film and TV sitcoms neglect the broader and deeper aspect of African American life. In the era of the 1950s, the most...
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