• Living Color: Race and Television in the United States

    Editor(s): Sasha Torres
    Pages: 288
    Illustrations: 54 b&w photographs
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
    Series: Console-ing Passions
    Series Editor(s): Lynn Spigel
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  • Introduction / Sasha Torres 1

    Entertaining "Difference": Strains of Orientalism in Early Los Angeles Television / Mark Williams 12

    Confronting "The Indian Problem": Media Discourses of Race, Ethnicity, Nation, and Empire in 1950s America / Pamela Wilson 35

    Extra-Special Effects: Televisual Representation and the Claims of "the Black Experience" / Phillip Brian harper 62

    Narrowcasting in Diaspora: Middle Eastern Television in Los Angeles / Hamid Neficy 82

    Re-Covering Racism: Crack Mothers, Reaganism, and the Network News / Jimmie L. Reeves 97

    "Reliving the Past Over and Over Again": Race, Gender, and Popular Memory in Homefront and I'll Fly Away / Mimi White 118

    King TV / Sasha Torres 140

    Televisual Politics: Negotiating Race in the L.A. Rebellion / John Caldwell 161

    Pedro Zamora's Real World of Counter-publicity: Performing an Ethics of the Self / Jose Esteban Munoz 195

    Game Theory: Racial Embodiment and Media Crisis / Stephen Michael Best 219

    Here Comes the Judge: The Dancing Itos and the Televisual Construction of the Enemy Asian Male / Brian Locke 239

    Selected Bibliography 255

    Index 263

    Contributors 273
  • "Each of these essays illustrates the impossibility of understanding television without understanding race. Living Color subjects the analysis of television, like television itself, to critical interrogations that place racial difference at the center of television history, strategies of representation and narration, forms of address, and industrial production and circulation."—Herman Gray, author of Watching Race: Television and the Struggle for Blackness — N/A

    "This collection of essays provides an essential addition to work within the fields of media, cultural, and critical race studies; its provocative readings of television texts and audiences will no doubt yield important new insights on the relationship between television, race, ethnicity, and history."—Lynne Joyrich, author of Re-viewing Reception: Television, Gender, and Postmodern Culture — N/A

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  • Description

    Recent media events like the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, the beating of Rodney King and its aftermath, and the murder trial of O.J. Simpson have trained our collective eye on the televised spectacle of race. Living Color combines media studies, cultural studies, and critical race theory to investigate the representation of race on American TV.
    Ranging across television genres, historical periods, and racial formations, Living Color—as it positions race as a key element of television’s cultural influence—moves the discussion out of a black-and-white binary and illustrates how class, gender, and sexuality interact with images of race. In addition to essays on representations of "Oriental" performers and African Americans in the early years of television, this collection also examines how the celebrity of the late MTV star Pedro Zamora countered racist and homophobic discourses; reveals how news coverage on drug use shifted from the white middle-class cocaine user in the early 1980s to the black "crack mother" of the 1990s; and takes on TV coverage of the Rodney King beating and the subsequent unrest in Los Angeles. Other essays consider O.J. Simpson’s murder trial, comparing television’s treatment of Simpson to that of Michael Jackson, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Clarence Thomas and look at the racism directed at Asian Americans by the recurring "Dancing Itos" on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show.

    About The Author(s)

    Sasha Torres is Professor of English at the Johns Hopkins University.

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