Television in Black-and-White America: Race and National Identity / Edition 1

Television in Black-and-White America: Race and National Identity / Edition 1

by Alan Nadel
     
 

Alan Nadel's provocative new book reminds us that most of the images on early TV were decidedly Caucasian and directed at predominantly white audiences. Television did not invent whiteness for America, but it did reinforce it as the norm—particularly during the Cold War years. Nadel now shows just how instrumental it was in constructing a narrow, conservative

See more details below

Overview

Alan Nadel's provocative new book reminds us that most of the images on early TV were decidedly Caucasian and directed at predominantly white audiences. Television did not invent whiteness for America, but it did reinforce it as the norm—particularly during the Cold War years. Nadel now shows just how instrumental it was in constructing a narrow, conservative, and very white vision of America.

Nadel depicts a time when television effectively hijacked and monopolized the nation's vision of itself to create a virtual but severely distorted civic space. On Cold War TV's three channels there were no double beds, no liberated housewives, no social criticism, and no homosexuality. And the few available black faces overwhelmingly belonged to athletes, musical entertainers, and actors playing menial roles. Even America's beloved Walt Disney promoted his highly popular TV and theme-park versions of society as utterly homogeneous representations of reality.

During this era, prime-time TV was dominated by "adult westerns," with heroes like The Rebel's Johnny Yuma reincarnating southern values and Bonanza's Cartwright family reinforcing the notion of white patriarchy—programs that, Nadel shows, bristled with Cold War messages even as they spoke to the nation's mythology. America had become visually reconfigured as a vast Ponderosa, crisscrossed by concrete highways designed to carry suburban white drivers beyond the moral challenge of racism and racial poverty and increasingly vocal civil rights demands.

Television in Black-and-White America revisits a time and space that some might miss for its simplicity and relative innocence. Nadel, however, entreats us to look beyond such nostalgia to see how, even in its earliest days, television had already become a powerful mediator of social norms that both controlled and warped our sense of reality.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780700613984
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Publication date:
10/28/2005
Series:
CultureAmerica Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
236
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

1. Black Bodies, White Space, and a Televisual Nation

2. Television, Reality, and Cold War Citizenship

3. Disneyland, the Interstate, and National Space

4. The Adult Western and the Western Bloc

5. Rebel Integrity, Southern Injustice, and Civil Rights

6. The New Frontier

Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >