Race Televised: America's BabysitterAt some point in the course of human events, America decided that the television was their Dali Lama, their cultural and spiritual leader. Overlooking its obvious entertainment based purpose, Americans have let the television baby-sit and rear their children. I do not recall a manifesto from the television industry, but society put television in a role it does not have authority in. The only thing television set out to do was provide the passive entertainment American society wants. True, television does not accurately reflect race in America, but it is not the job of the television industry to do so. Too much importance has been put on television to provide guidance and information that American society has grown too lazy and too indifferent to find for themselves.
When society finds that their information is wrong or tainted they blame television instead of finding truth and accuracy for themselves. Although television does not reflect race accurately, Americans have become too dependent on television to provide everything they know.In one of this generation's most popular TV shows, The Simpsons, it is easy to find stereotypes. There are numerous examples throughout the series, mostly toward Apu, the Indian storekeeper. For example, in episode 1F10, Homer and Apu, the writers do not overlook a single Indian stereotype. First of all they have an Indian man as a convenience storekeeper.
The episode starts with Apu committing the usual convenience store stereotypes. For example he sells a $0.29 stamp for $1.85, $2 worth of gas for $4.20, etc. Next he changes the expiration dates on rancid ham and sells them. When his customer gets sick from it, he offers a 5 pound bucket of thawing shrimp. Later he picks up a hotdog that he dropped and puts it back on the hotdog roller.
A news team catches him on hidden camera and Apu's boss fires him. In this scene we find out Apu has a stereotypical Indian surname, Nahasapeemapetilan. His boss also makes a joke about the Hindu religion."Ah, true. But it's also standard procedure to blame any problems on a scapegoat or sacrificial lamb." [Daniels]The stereotypes continue redundantly. Jokes about Indian films, food, and other things fill the script. Then there is the grand finale, where Homer, the main character, and Apu go to India to ask for Apu's job back at the main office.
The president and CEO very closely resembles a Hindu leader, making Indian and convenience store clerk appear synonymous.Other minorities are also misrepresented in The Simpsons. In the same episode, for example, Homer is watching an African American comedian who stereotypically stereotypes "white" guys."Yo, check this out: black guys drive a car like this. [Leans back, as though his elbow were on the windowsill] Do, do, ch. Do-be-do, do-be-do-be-do. Yeah, but white guys, see they drive a car like this.
[Hunches forward, talks nasally] Dee-da-dee,...