Enlightened racism : the Cosby show, audiences, and the myth of the American dream / Sut Jhally and Justin Lewis. [print]Material type: TextSeries: Cultural studiesPublisher: Boulder, Colorado : Westview Press, [(c)1992Description: xvii, 152 pages ; 25 cmContent type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 0813314186; 0813314194Subject(s): Cosby show (Television program) | African Americans on television | Television broadcasting -- United States -- Influence | Television viewers -- United States | Public opinion -- United States | United States -- Race relations -- Public opinionLOC classification: PN1992.77.E555 1992PN1992.77.C68.L674.E555 1992COPYRIGHT NOT covered - Click this link to request copyright permission:
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|Circulating Book (checkout times vary with patron status)||G Allen Fleece Library Circulating Collection - First Floor||Non-fiction||PN1992.77.C68J4 1992 (Browse shelf)||Available||31923000824306|
1. Introducing The Cosby Show. Cosby: The Case For. Cosby: The Case Against. Asking the Audience. Synopsis of The Cosby Show Episode Shown to Respondents 2. Television and Reality: How Real Is The Cosby Show? Talking About Reality. The Absence and Presence of Class. Cosby Contradictions. The World According to Cosby 3. The Success of Cosby. White Viewers and Popularity: The Same and Different. "They're Things That Happen Day by Day" "It Has That Kind of Airbrushed Quality About It" "It's Always Family Matters" "The Cosby Show's Black, and That Fits" Black Viewers and Popularity: "Thank You, Dr. Cosby, for Giving Us Back Ourselves" "When I Look at Them, I Look at Us" "What Kind of Question Is That for Black Folk?" Looking on the Bright Side 4. Black Experience: Images, Illusions, and Social Class. Black Images: The Case of the Disappearing Black Working Class. Black Reality: The Permanent Underclass and Increasing Poverty. The Race-Class Nexus. Class and Social Mobility 5. Class and the Myth of the American Dream. Misrepresentations and Misconceptions. Television and the "American Dream" Class Consciousness: The View from Above. Class Consciousness: The View from Below. The Displacement of Class onto Race. Stereotyping: The Limits of Conventional Thinking. The Fictional Creation of a Racially Just Society 6. White Responses: The Emergence of "Enlightened" Racism. The Insidious Return of Racism. Definitions of Black: Color Versus Culture. The Black and White Cosby Show. Now You See It, Now You Don't. Biology Versus Culture. The Consequences of Classlessness 7. Black Responses: The Hollow Images of Success. The Bad News. Race and Class in Black Situation Comedies. Positive Images and the Search for Prosperity. The Battle for Respect. Clinging to the American Dream 8. Conclusion: Unpopular Messages in an Age of Popularity. Affirming Inaction in White Viewers. Rethinking Stereotypes. Moving Beyond the American Dream.
The Cosby Show needs little introduction to most people familiar with American popular culture. It is a show with immense and universal appeal. Even so, most debates about the significance of the program have failed to take into account one of the more important elements of its success--its viewers. Through a major study of the audiences of The Cosby Show, the authors treat two issues of great social and political importance--how television, America's most widespread cultural form, influences the way we think, and how our society in the post-Civil Rights era thinks about race, our most widespread cultural problem. This book offers a radical challenge to the conventional wisdom concerning racial stereotyping in the United States and demonstrates how apparently progressive programs like The Cosby Show, despite good intentions, actually help to construct "enlightened" forms of racism. The authors argue that, in the post-Civil Rights era, a new structure of racial beliefs, based on subtle contradictions between attitudes toward race and class, has brought in its wake this new form of racial thought that seems on the surface to exhibit a new tolerance. However, professors Jhally and Lewis find that because Americans cannot think clearly about class, they cannot, after all, think clearly about race. This groundbreaking book is rooted in an empirical analysis of the reactions to The Cosby Show of a range of ordinary Americans, both black and white. Professors Jhally and Lewis discussed with the different audiences their attitudes toward the program and more generally their understanding and perceptions of issues of race and social class. Enlightened Racism is a major intervention into the public debate about race and perceptions of race--a debate, in the 1990s, at the heart of American political and public life. This book is indispensable to understanding that debate.
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