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Black, White, and in Color : Television and Black Civil Rights - Sasha Torres

Black, White, and in Color

Television and Black Civil Rights

Paperback Published: 30th March 2003
ISBN: 9780691016573
Number Of Pages: 168

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This book examines the representation of blackness on television at the height of the southern civil rights movement and again in the aftermath of the Reagan-Bush years. In the process, it looks carefully at how television's ideological projects with respect to race have supported or conflicted with the industry's incentive to maximize profits or consolidate power.

Sasha Torres examines the complex relations between the television industry and the civil rights movement as a knot of overlapping interests. She argues that television coverage of the civil rights movement during 1955-1965 encouraged viewers to identify "with" black protestors and "against" white police, including such infamous villains as Birmingham's Bull Connor and Selma's Jim Clark. Torres then argues that television of the 1990s encouraged viewers to identify "with" police "against" putatively criminal blacks, even in its dramatizations of police brutality.

Torres's pioneering analysis makes distinctive contributions to its fields. It challenges television scholars to consider the historical centrality of race to the constitution of the medium's genres, visual conventions, and industrial structures. And it displaces the analytical focus on stereotypes that has hamstrung assessments of television's depiction of African Americans, concentrating instead on the ways in which African Americans and their political collectives have actively shaped that depiction to advance civil rights causes. This book also challenges African American studies to pay closer and better attention to television's ongoing role in the organization and disorganization of U.S. racial politics.

Industry Reviews

"Lucid and accessible in both argument and style, this book offers perhaps the most theoretically sophisticated treatment to date of the historical relationship between the civil rights movement and network television, as well as of the complexities of representations of race in contemporary television. It embraces a wide academic audience, opening a conversation across disciplines that too often fail to take each other's accomplishments into account."--Sharon Willis, University of Rochester
"This book is distinguished by a rare combination of critical acumen and historical insight. Torres is characteristically incisive, presenting an argument that appears both incontrovertibly correct and wholly original."--Phillip Brian Harper, New York University

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
The Vicissitudes of the Stereotypep. 1
Issues and Some Answersp. 4
Television and Conservative Racial Projects after the '60sp. 8
"In a crisis we must have a sense of drama": Civil
Rights and Televisual Informationp. 13
The Burden of Livenessp. 13
"Pictures are the point of television news"p. 15
"We have shut ourselves off from the rest of the world"p. 20
"That cycle of violence and publicity"p. 23
"The vehemence of a dream"p. 33
The Double Life of "Sit-In"p. 36
"Sit-In"'s Industrial Contextp. 36
"Sit-In" Flashes Backp. 39
"Sit-In" as a Movement Textp. 41
"Sit-In" and Black Idiomp. 44
King TVp. 48
Rodney King Livep. 48
Liveness: An Ideology of Television and Racep. 49
L.A. Law and Televisual Justicep. 52
Doogie Howser, M.D., and Televisual Instructionp. 60
Rodney King Deadp. 68
Giuliani Time: Urban Policing and Brooklyn Southp. 70
Cops and Cop Showsp. 70
Giuliani Timep. 71
How to Identify with the Copsp. 77
Good Cop, Bad Copp. 83
Civil Rights, Done and Undone 86
"A virtual whitewash in programming"p. 86
Malcom X on TVp. 91
The Nick Styles Showp. 97
Video Surveillance and Counterspectatorshipp. 103
Notesp. 109
Selected Bibliographyp. 131
Indexp. 137
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691016573
ISBN-10: 0691016577
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 168
Published: 30th March 2003
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.27
Weight (kg): 0.25