A Time To Laugh: Black Tv Sitcoms And Their Influence On The Black Family, 1951-1992
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHistory and Geography
ProgramMaster of Arts
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For years, the media played an active role in creating false images of African Americans in television. Three decades will be discussed in this thesis: the 50s, 70s and the 80s. In these eras, the number of television sitcoms containing African Americans did increase, however, these sitcoms, with the exception of the Cosby Show, failed to produce realistic images concerning the lives of African Americans. Television sitcoms were designed to entertain its mainstream audiences; on the contrary, it caused uninformed mainstream individuals to view African American people from a negative perspective. For example, in 1951, Amos n' Andy made its debut on CBS; it focused on the antics of Kingfish who consistently tried to con his friends on one scheme or another. The 1970s and 80s witnessed the emergence of the black family. First, it was Good Times; it depicted a struggling black family living in Chicago's Cabrini Green Apartment complex, while the Cosby Show depicted the lives of an upper middle class African American family. The purpose of this thesis is to examine how television is responsible for creating negative and offensive stereotypes against African Americans in television.