I was watching TV as I ate, and during a commercial a thought called out for recognition: it seems like I’m seeing an awful lot of black folks in TV commercials lately. Actually, there must be an unusual number or I wouldn’t have noticed it.
I understand that the advertisers’ control who appears in their ad spots so those blacks aren’t there by accident and it’s not that the black actors don’t have every right to compete for the parts representing the product. No, it’s only that I remember, not too many years ago, when blacks were complaining (and demonstrating) that they were disproportionally underrepresented in TV commercials and on TV in general.
They said (and rightly so) that blacks bought automobiles and dishwashing liquid and soap powder too, and they should be fairly represented among the persons and families depicted in the commercials. “Fairly represented” was deemed to be an approximation of their representation in our population.
Well, apparently someone everyone took that to heart and now blacks are dramatically overrepresented in TV commercials.
It also struck me that the positions held and jobs performed by blacks in current TV series have also been adjusted to show them as authoritarian figures, like judges, a Chief of Detectives, a Head Surgeon, the school principal, etc. It seems that those in command must now be black and occasionally, political correctness scores a bell-ringer when a black woman is in charge. If a judge is depicted as a white man, you can be certain that it’s an old show.
Make no mistake; the days of a white man being depicted as the person in charge in a TV series are fast dying. The star actor may still be white, but you can bet that his boss is either black or a woman, or both. Chalk that extinction up to diversity.
A University of Chicago study revealed that over 70% of black characters in the most highly rated TV entertainment shows are depicted to hold professional or managerial positions – no more menial jobs for blacks on TV.
It’s all a knee-jerk response to what had been a racial imbalance in showing blacks in “realistic” commercial programming as well as raising their image in TV series programming. I’m an old guy and I remember when TV became commercially viable. In the early days, you’d have to search high and low to find a black face anywhere – they’d stand out like a sore thumb.
Even just a few years ago, while it wasn’t uncommon to see black faces on commercials or in a series, the population wasn’t obvious; they blended in, which means that they were similar to what we see in the real world. You wouldn’t expect a 12-13% representation to be in-your-face obvious, but today the pendulum has swung waaay far in the other direction.
Blacks are intentionally shown in positions of power in commercials and series nowadays and you can bet that you won’t see a black burglar shown in an alarm system commercial. That wouldn’t be politically correct and would probably draw protests by countless black groups.
The thirty-five-cent word “disproportionate” has been a mainstay of the black activists and they’ve used it as a cudgel to beat up on whites for the unfair underrepresentation of blacks in all sorts of areas.
The subject of disproportionality rises up whenever black activists attack a particular position or line of business as not being inclusive enough (not black enough). Their position is simply that, in a “just” world, without racism, they’d expect blacks to occupy their 12-13% representation in each of those targeted positions or businesses.
But, that perspective doesn’t work in the other direction.
I remember when black activists were raising hell about the lack of black head coaches in professional sports. That complaint seems to have abated now since twenty percent of NBA coaches are black. And the population of black NFL coaches was up as high as 22% just a few years ago.
But what about the players? Has anyone noticed anything disproportionate?
In 2015, almost 75% of NBA players were black. In 2014, 68% of all NFL players were black. Aren’t those percentages disproportionate when blacks only make up only 12-13% of the population? Isn’t that racial disparity? And those are all extremely high paying jobs.
Does that mean that we white folks should protest and demonstrate until the number of white professional basketball and football players fall in line with the white percentage of the population? Wouldn’t that be fair?
Couldn’t the same argument be made relative to blacks in commercials and TV series? Shouldn’t we have a right to expect our “fair share”?
Today, the same thing is happening in the nonstandard-sex arena. Advertisers, in an attempt to woo the two-mommy or two-daddy families as well as the same-sex couples are peppering the TV landscape with an assortment of LGBT-related combinations and situations.
It’s their choice, although they should recognize that some of us refuse to accept two-mommy or two-daddy configurations as standard familial arrangements. And while I know that I’ll be labeled as a Neanderthal for saying so, there’s also nothing “normal” about same-sex “romance.”
The one saving grace about this whole television representation issue is that there are easy solutions: you can accept it, you can change the channel, or you can turn the damn thing off.
At least the last two are MY preferred solutions.