Making the Case for "Amos ‘n’ Andy"

I asked some questions on Saturday. Here are my answers.

Should Amos ‘n’ Andy be aired?

Absolutely Yes. It occurred to me, during the discussions of Banned Books Week recently, that there is a great deal of fear of things (books, movies) that people haven’t even seen or read. Recall, for instance, the protests before the movies Passion of the Christ or Farenheit 9/11 were even released.

I’ve never seen Amos ‘n’ Andy. Even *I* am too young. The only part of I’ve ever viewed was a short segment during some TV Land documentary about blacks on television a couple seasons ago. Maybe I SHOULD see it, maybe we ALL should see it, to find out what the controversy is all about, first hand. We’ll have a national discussion about it.

In what manner? With caveats? Only late at night? Only on cable? Only available on video and/or DVD?

On PBS, educational TV. It seems to me that it fits in with that promise to “enrich the lives of all Americans.” Let’s face it: there are other outlets that take address issues that were once pretty much the sole provence of public television (History Channel, Biography, and a number of networks geared towards kids.) PBS’ other advantage is that it is a broadcast outlet that reeaches most homes without cable. Of COURSE, with caveats, discussion of the historical context, etc.

Of course, it will NEVER happen, since PBS stations, understandably, are worried about their fundraising abilities.

“Have you personally ever felt that you were being discriminated against because of your race?”

Oh, God, yes.

“How close do you think we are to eliminating discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities in America once and for all? Are we very close, fairly close, not too close, or not close at all?”

Not too close. That overt “separate water fountain” stuff that one associated with the American Souith is largely gone, replaced by that more subtle form that existed in the North even in the 1960s, when Northerners were so good at tsk tsking the folks in the South. Now, that more subtle form is by and large the universal form. One of these days, I’ll write more on this.

If you are a-mind to, please indicate your race.

Black. And I promised some months ago, to say why I prefer that to “African-American”. Well, partly, it is that it’s too limiting. There are lots of folks who are black Africans, or from the Caribbean or elsewhere, perhaps originally from Africa, but removed from it.
When I see the code A on some forms, I automatically think Asian.
Also, I’ve lived through colored, Negro, Black, Afro-American, Black again, then African-American. Black is plain simpler, six syllables less, and life is just too short.

Oh, and while I think of it, I think the idea of dressing up and the ban on bling for NBA players is a good thing. Some players disagree and suggest that it’s racist. Certainly, it’s race conscious, banning a gangsta look, but I see it as a way to keep fannies in the seats and watching on TV. Other professional sports players dress in suits on the road. I DO sympathize wit the playerr who has trouble finding a suit in his size; I guess each signing bonus herafter will include a clothing allowance.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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