Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Hollywood Shuffle - I suspect that in days to come, much will be made of an upcoming report from UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center. As reported in the LA Times, "[s]ome casting calls that specify gender and ethnicity could violate federal anti-discrimination laws." This is according to research conducted by Russell Robinson of the UCLA School of Law. According to Professor Robinson's work, 69 percent of available acting roles are specifically designated or routinely "assumed" to be for white actors, and - depending upon their ethnicity - no more than 8.1 percent of roles are for minority actors. That this would occur in liberal Hollywood may disturb some, but should shock no one. As discussed elsewhere, "Tinseltown" is one of the Left's overflowing storehouses of institutionalized racism (along with sexism.) Indeed, we know as much from past experience.

Even during the supposed halcyon days of liberal media hegemony in the 1970s, African Americans were hard pressed to get fair representation from the MAC. In an April 19, 2006 article in the Chicago Tribune, we are introduced to Eric Monte, an African American and a former television writer, as well as co-creator of the 1970s sitcom Good Times.

Good Times, one of the first television comedies to feature a mostly black cast since the controversial Amos ‘n’ Andy was cancelled in the 1950s, focused on a loving black family with hardworking parents, struggling to overcome the real-life dramas of eviction, crime and discrimination. It is widely credited with paving the way for the major crossover black sitcoms – such as The Cosby Show – that followed.

But almost from the start, Monte says, the Good Times plots were laced with stereotypical images and dialogue written by white writers who didn’t understand black life.

The show’s stars, John Amos and the late Esther Rolle, fought with producers over the show’s emphasis on their TV son, Jimmie Walker’s character J.J., with his toothy grin, bug-eyed antics and trademark catchphrase: “DY-NO-MITE.”
Interestingly enough, according to the article, Mr. Monte filed a lawsuit in 1977 alleging that ABC, CBS along with ├╝ber-producer (and liberal icon) Norman Lear stole his ideas for Good Times and other sitcoms. Mr. Monte eventually received a settlement of $1 million.

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