Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Is Television show Real Life or Artifical Situations?

Harry Belafonte wrote an article, titled "Look, They Tell Me, Don't Rock The Boat," in which he describes how racism still exists in the Television medium. At a meeting he attend for discrimination in the media, a vice president of programing for CBS was asked about the lack Negroes in television. His reply:
"Television likes to deal with America as it is for the most part. And for the most part there are not that many Negro judges, Negro Governors, Negro executives or Negro Senators. The producer or writer approaches the conceptual fact so as to reflect the scene as it is." Writers, he added seek to avoid "artificial situations" (Belafonte).
Belafonte attacks this quote in two ways. One, if writers avoid "artificial situations," then how could shows like Bewitched and Star Trek exist back then? How do shows portray Cowboys and Indians different from how they actually were? The second was the existence of African Americans in a high-type status. It's true, compared to other Americans in a high-type status, that African Americans are in a low percentage, but they still exist. So with these examples, how does the television medium depict real life with "artificial situations?"
Also, Belafonte having a son made him wonder more. With television being the number one influential media in America, how will his son learn about his culture and his heritage if it's robbed from his sight?
Another situation that arose was when Belafonte was guest appearing on the taping of the Petula Clark special. While both Belafonte and Clark were singing, they touched hands. Producers automatically viewed the scene as unacceptable and demanded a re shot.
Even though Television has come a long way since such events a prejudice, are African Americans portrayed as they should be? Or are they still widely held under their stereotypes?


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