Shaping the Image of Black America

Shaping the Image of Black America

In the 1960’s, television was the Americans source of information and entertainment. The phenomena therefore had the mandate of disseminating information to the general public (Griffith, 2012). America is a diversified state comprising of the white and the black population. During this time discrimination was high to the African Americans. As a result, the American television was a medium of nearly only the white citizens because the African American were treated as completely unequal relative to the whites.

Griffith (2012) asserts that the television portrayed incorrect images of the African Americans as a society the colored people were all but invisible. In the television shows, the African Americans that were referred as the people of color were presented in unfavorable lights and troubling productions of the television films that depicted an inappropriate appearance of the African American.

Turning to Griffith (2012) one finds that the television in the 1950’s and the 1960’s hired minimal or even none of the African-American in the television shows to portray the black’s characters. Instead, white actors and actresses portrayed the African Americans characters in “blackface”. Demeaning stereotypes were created to present the blacks society in the unfavorable light. The films further portrayed the blacks with negative stereotypes that reinforced the white’s supremacy over the blacks that was a sign of racial discrimination (Griffith, 2012).

Despite the discrimination and the false stereotypes in terms of poor lighting on films and the stereotypes of the blacks as slaves. The television played an important role in shaping the Image of the African-Americans (Griffith, 2012). The element showcased the colored people as equal and not different from the white because it displayed that the blacks were also successful and rich. The scenario was a positive image of the African-American people.

The roots were a famously watched television series aired in 1977. The series revealed the side of slavery of the African-Americans unlike the Good Times, Sanford & Son shows that portrayed the overcoming of unimaginable obstacles by the black people for an equitable future and a future where every ethnicity worked together (Griffith, 2012). The root displayed the colored people as the victims of slavery. For instance, the African-Americans were viewed as submissive, stupid and foolish.


Griffith, J. (2012). Redefining Black power: Reflections on the state of Black America. San Francisco: City Lights Books.


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