Articles tagged with: race and representation

“Here Comes the Judge: The Dancing Itos and the Televisual Construction of the Enemy Asian Male”

on Monday, 30 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes


  • Judge Lance Ito: A third generation Japanese American son of WWII internees presided over “the most extensively covered criminal trial in U.S. history.
  • Most important item is his recognition and readability as Asian: “his figure, a stern face behind his glasses, mustache, and beard.
  • “The jokes of guests and hosts expressed a desire to investigate and expose what hid underneath the black judicial wrapper (under his robes)”
  • The Dancing Itos: A troupe of a half dozen smiling men performing standard chorus-line routines
    • Visual markers- Marked by their long black judicial robes, straight black hair parted on the side, glasses with thick lenses, and exaggerated black mustache and beard.
    • Also impersonated 1970s gay disco band the Village People and Parisienne can-can dancers

White Responses: The Emergence of “Enlightened” Racism

on Monday, 30 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes


Everyone recognized the Huxtables in The Cosby Show were unusual black people. White viewers saw the show as a contradiction; it proved that “anyone can make it” yet the vast majority of black people were not like the Huxtables. The show demonstrates the opportunity for African Americans to be successful, though at the same time implicates that the majority of black people have failed. The Cosby Show emphasized the value of education. This provided the viewer with an explanation for the comparative failure of most other black people: if they had only tried harder in school, maybe they would have succeeded. “This is an American family- an American family- and if you want to live like they do, and youʼre willing to work, the opportunity is there.” -Bill Cosby of the Huxtables. Shows like The Cosby Show allowed a new form of insidious racism. The Huxtables gained inferiority of other black people by their achievements.

Restrictive Portrayals of Asian in the Media

on Monday, 30 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes


The American entertainment industry has defined the Asian image for many years. These portrayals have come from people who have little to no idea of how Asian culture really is. Asian Americans have been presented as antithetical to Western culture and as not belonging in their own country. Although not all films have portrayed Asians in such a light, most Hollywood projects have. Here are the most common stereotypes:

Is This What You Mean by Color TV?

on Wednesday, 18 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes


· In the midst of the Civil Rights Era’s most turbulent times, NBC introduced the first situation comedy to feature an African-American as the starring role since the racist depictions of Amos ‘n’ Andy and Beulah.

· Julia – created and produced by Hal Kanter, and starring Diahann Carroll – focused on the story of a nurse who, after the death of her husband in a helicopter crash in Vietnam, moves to a middle-class apartment complex and raises her son Corey as a single mother.

o NBC did not expect the show to succeed, but it was their attempt at incorporating blackness in prime-time.

· Julia has been consistently denounced by critics for being significantly detached from the realities of African-American life in the late 1960s.

o The show displayed contradictory representations of African-American life: While the majority of the black population was living in ghettos, Julia and Corey enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle that would be impossible to attain on a nurse’s salary.

Looking for Latinos

on Wednesday, 18 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes


In a given week, prime time network television shows over 100 programs, all which give insight into a collective social landscape and information about the world through the transmission of information. In doing so, television marginalizes and ignores the experience of minorities through a lack of representation on television. During fall 2004, eight series set in Los Angeles were presented on television. Latinos accounted for only 14% of regular characters (through only one series) on television during fall programming, even though Los Angeles was 45% Latino. There were no Asian American regular characters, even though Los Angeles remained 12% Asian American. In relation, sixteen series were set in New York City, where Latino and Asian American characters only accounted for 9% of regular characters, even though NYC remained 27% Latino and 10% Asian American. Overall, 16 prime time shows featured regular Latino characters, while 93 series had none. Around 40% of prime time series have all white characters, and eighty percent of shows were “white-themed”. Conclusively, television does not present or account for the reality of our nation’s demographics, and therefore distortedly represents a larger society.

Is This What You Mean by Color TV?

on Monday, 02 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes


Julia was introduced during the late 1960s and was the first “black” television show since Amos n’ Andy and Beulah went off television in the 1950s. Julia was produced and written by Hal Kanter and starred Diahann Carroll as Julia. The show was quite controversial during its time for Julia portrayed a successful middle-class black family during the same time as Martin Luther King’s death, violent riots, and Black Panther fights with the police. For African Americans during the 1960s, this show did not align with their lives. African American viewers rather felt as though the show portrayed “colorblindness” because reality and the news were showing events drastically different than those on the show (144). According to Kanter, the “encoding” and message that the producers struggled to create was “images of African-Americans in the context of the civil rights movement” (145). Amongst this anxiety of how to portray African Americans however, was the lack of appropriate representation of women (146). Bodroghkozy discusses four different view points and “decoding” of the show and the separate meaning through letters that were sent to Kanter by Julia’s viewers. The letters include viewpoints of white women who liked the show, white women who did not like the show, black women who liked the show and black women who did not like the show.

Looking for Latino Regulars on Prime Time Television

on Monday, 02 May 2011. Posted in Student Notes



Alison Hoffman and Chon Noriega study the presence of Latino regular characters on prime time television by focusing how a network promotes and markets non-white leading characters on their shows and on other media such as the shows websites. Hoffman and Noriega find that Latino regular characters are generally non-existent throughout various genres of television, which notably is dominated by white regular characters and white-themed shows. In addition, Hoffman and Noriega notice that the location and setting of shows from six different networks, and the presence of multi-ethnic characters on the shows are not proportionate to the location’s actual demographics of multi-ethnic people.