Black, White, and in Color: Television and Black Civil Rights

Black, White, and in Color: Television and Black Civil Rights

by Sasha Torres
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691016577

ISBN-13: 9780691016573

Pub. Date: 03/10/2003

Publisher: Princeton University Press

This book examines the representation of blackness on television at the height of the southern civil rights movement and again in the aftermath of the Reagan-Bush years. In the process, it looks carefully at how television's ideological projects with respect to race have supported or conflicted with the industry's incentive to maximize profits or consolidate power.

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Overview

This book examines the representation of blackness on television at the height of the southern civil rights movement and again in the aftermath of the Reagan-Bush years. In the process, it looks carefully at how television's ideological projects with respect to race have supported or conflicted with the industry's incentive to maximize profits or consolidate power.

Sasha Torres examines the complex relations between the television industry and the civil rights movement as a knot of overlapping interests. She argues that television coverage of the civil rights movement during 1955-1965 encouraged viewers to identify with black protestors and against white police, including such infamous villains as Birmingham's Bull Connor and Selma's Jim Clark. Torres then argues that television of the 1990s encouraged viewers to identify with police against putatively criminal blacks, even in its dramatizations of police brutality.

Torres's pioneering analysis makes distinctive contributions to its fields. It challenges television scholars to consider the historical centrality of race to the constitution of the medium's genres, visual conventions, and industrial structures. And it displaces the analytical focus on stereotypes that has hamstrung assessments of television's depiction of African Americans, concentrating instead on the ways in which African Americans and their political collectives have actively shaped that depiction to advance civil rights causes. This book also challenges African American studies to pay closer and better attention to television's ongoing role in the organization and disorganization of U.S. racial politics.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691016573
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
03/10/2003
Pages:
168
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
INTRODUCTION 1
The Vicissitudes of the Stereotype 1
Issues and Some Answers 4
Television and Conservative Racial Projects after the '60s 8
CHAPTER ONE
"In a crisis we must have a sense of drama": Civil Rights and Televisual Information 13
The Burden of Liveness 13
"Pictures are the point of television news" 15
"We have shut ourselves off from the rest of the world" 20
"That cycle of violence and publicity" 23
"The vehemence of a dream" 33
CHAPTER TWO
The Double Life of "Sit-In" 36
"Sit-In"'s Industrial Context 36
"Sit-In" Flashes Back 39
"Sit-In" as a Movement Text 41
"Sit-In" and Black Idiom 44
CHAPTER THREE
King TV 48
Rodney King Live 48
Liveness: An Ideology of Television and Race 49
L.A. Law and Televisual Justice 52
Doogie Howser, M.D., and Televisual Instruction 60
Rodney King Dead 68
CHAPTER FOUR
Giuliani Time: Urban Policing and Brooklyn South 70
Cops and Cop Shows 70
Giuliani Time 71
How to Identify with the Cops 77
Good Cop, Bad Cop 83
CHAPTER FIVE
Civil Rights, Done and Undone 86
"A virtual whitewash in programming" 86
Malcom X on TV 91
The Nick Styles Show 97
Video Surveillance and Counterspectatorship 103
NOTES 109
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 131
INDEX 137

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