Race Presentations on TV

This week we explore issues of race and ethnicity on TV. More specifically, we look at people of non-white ethnicities and how representations of them have changed on TV during the past 10 years. Are these representations changing for the better? If these representations aren’t entirely positive, are they a step in the right direction? What even is“the right direction” for representations of a variety of ethnicities? Some ideas to consider: In his article Thakore talks a lot about hyphenated-American identities on TV. Are such characters a stepping-stone for TV representations of people of non-white ethnicities, as New Yorker article suggests about Fresh Off the Boat (in its last line of the article)? Why or why not? Should “stepping-stone” characters be forgiven what they lack (nuance, etc.) since they create exposure for non-white ethnicities — why or why not? Should Eva Longoria and other people who lean into stereotypes of their ethnicities as TV characters (and in real life, in Longoria’s case) be faulted for doing so? Why or why not? What stereotypes does Master of None’s “Indians on TV” reinforce? What stereotypes does it challenge? How does the presentation of stereotypes (or the breaking of stereotypes) influence viewers? In the America’s Next Top Model clip, how would you describe Tyra and Jay’s treatment of Hawaiian history and of the races “assigned” to the models? Can skin color be worn like any other fashion costume? How might you modify the shoot if you were in charge?


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