Race in television shows
Everybody Hates Chris
This is an American television program that is based on the teenage experiences of Chris Rock who is known American comedian and also happens to be the narrator of the program. The story is based on his life as he grew up in the neighborhood of Brooklyn in the United States of America. Chris is a 13 year old boy who is surrounded by several eccentric characters. He lives in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant which is a relatively poor community and he attends schools at an all white school where both the teachers and his fellow students dislike him (Finley). No matter how hard Chris tries to work things out, they always seem to go bad for him. This comedy was voted as among the ten best television series in the year 2007 by the film institute of America. The institute argued that the show portrays a situation in the real American life that is sometimes characterized by race and ethnicity that is the cause of Chris's unfair discrimination.
In this comedy “everybody hates Chris” racism and ethnicity is portrayed in several instances. At the first instance, the fellow students in his Corleone Junior School which is an all white school are given eggs, but unlike the other students who are given white eggs, Chris is given a brown egg. Ms Morello, their teacher does this in the pretence that she wants Chris to feel special from others, but it actually turns out that she was just being a racist. Ms Morello later makes Chris a single father arguing that Chris being a black child should be familiar with those kinds of situations (Finley). Ms Morello treats Chris according to what she reads generally about blacks and takes no time to know any single black including Chris. Ms Morello behaves like a real racist lost in her own delusion of the black people and not like a teacher who should advice and console her students. Apart from the racist staff in his school, Chris gets more from the neighborhood thugs who steals his money. He also gets low pay at work and his mother and father gives him a distressing treatment.
The display of racism in Chris life by the white characters in the program is quite bothering. Some characters like Caruso and teacher morello are just too cruel to Chris which makes the whole situation comedy portray a negative image for race. Being from a poor family and being black makes Chris life more difficult in a racist's community (Finley). The program shows how race can be a factor in how someone, like Chris, gets along and how others in the society look at him. However the show is also about being a kid and takes into account all struggles that we experienced but at the same time doesn't under look the factor of being a minority in a society and how this factor can undermine your well being.
My Wife and Kids
‘My wife and kids' is an American television program that was first played in March 2001. The sitcom whose main actors are Tisha Campbell and Damon Wayans was created by don Reo and Wayans and produced by Touchstone Television (Mohamed). The program is about loving husband and a contemporary patriarch, Michael Kyle, who rules his wife and kids with a unique parenting style. Michael is married to his high school lover and has three kids. He goes out to make a living while his wife stays at home. Their son Michael junior is adventurous and inquisitive while their elder daughter is clumsy and beautiful. This also have the youngest daughter who is smart and sassy. T
The show is basically acted by a black family whose members always gang up together of advice and love. The program is a comedy based on family life and how every family member should participate in solving family issues (Mohamed). Michael who is the father of the hold is the main focus and unique way of handling family issues can be educative to many viewers. However the program is based on a black family and therefore the people most likely to be represented are black people. Since the in the programs there are no instance of racial discrimination though the general black outfit of characters may be viewed by some viewers as racism. White viewers may feel underrepresented and therefore having little to learn from the program.
Soul food is a television drama that was first played in June 2000. The show was created by George Tillman junior while Felicia Henderson developed it for television. The drama is based on the childhood experiences of Tillman as he grew up in Wisconsin. This film is a continuation of his earlier film of 1997 which was also known by the sane name. According to (Jet 2001), the show has aired a total of 75 episodes making it the longest running drama whose characters are mainly black unlike any other prime time TV show in the history of North America.
The show revolves around an African American family which comes together every weekend for a family dinner. The show follows the lives of three sisters of Joseph as they struggle to maintain their family united after their mother's death. The show represents the lives of black people in a positive way that anyone can learn regardless of whether he is a black or not. The show deals with a number of issues ranging from marriage, lesbian and homosexuality racial issues among others.
According to jet (2002) soul food is just a hit and a show about a family which does not focus on just one kind of family or one specific race. Though the show is predominantly acted by black Africans they seem to handle the issue of race well as all actors show respect for one another regardless of their race. This aspect which comes out clearly in the program portrays race and ethnicity in a positive way. The program shows the kind of life that show be lived by every American; united and respectful of one another in spite differences in ethnic, race or status.
From the early days of television shows the black Americans have always been represented in a much negative way (Gillespie 1995). Mostly the blacks were represented as cooks, crooks or in other low level characters. More representation of blacks came in 70s and 80s after a realization that blacks were main consumers of these television shows (peters). In the first television show that we have discussed; everybody hates Chris, discrimination on the basis of skin color is evident. Chris who is in predominantly white school gets picked on by both his teacher and fellow students. The show illustrates a situation in the life of Americans and how ones race can affect his or her achievements. Chris is determined to achieve much in his life but his black skin makes others to put all kinds of hindrances on his way.
On the other hand, the show my ‘wife and kids' is basically acted by an African family meaning most of the characters are blacks. The issue of racism is therefore not portrayed in the relationship between characters. However being a purely African set up and acted on African family issues the whites may take it as racial discrimination and underrepresentation. The issues arising in the program may at the same time not be helpful to the non black families. In the program, ‘soul food' racial issues are well dealt with and this is shown by the amicable relationship portrayed between the black Americans and the few whites represented in the program (IMDb).
Jet. Soul Food ,Vol. 102,No. 1 , Johnson Publishing Company, 2002
Jet. Soul Food ,Vol. 99,No. 6 Johnson Publishing Company, 2001
Peters, Camille. Politics and culture. 2003 <http://aspen.conncoll.edu/politicsandculture/page.cfm?key=257>
Internet movie database (IMDb). Soul Food, 2004 <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0248655/>
Gillespie, Marie. Television, ethnicity, and cultural change. New York: Routledge, 1995
Finley, Adam. Everybody Hates Chris: Everybody Hates Eggs, Jan 2007 <http://www.tvsquad.com/2007/01/22/everybody-hates-chris-everybody-hates-eggs>
Mohamed. My wife and kids, march 2007 <http://www.my-wife-and-kids.blogspot.com>