By Justin D.
Since the beginning of time, racism and sexism has played a huge role in the world that we live in. Humans have always subjected and stereotyped others based off of gender and race. Since Primetime television was first invented, woman and people of different color were treated as second class citizens in shows and movies. Though we have come a long way as a country to abolish slavery and have made women just as equal as men, we still have much sexism and racism in this world. Primetime television is a great thing to look at when talking racism and sexism. Many TV shows today show display various acts of sexism and racism in this world and the sad part of it is that they are the most popular.
One show we could look at is Tosh.o. This show is about a white standup comedian that shows his viewers videos all over the internet and makes funny remarks towards them. This is a very sexist and racist show. Each of his jokes offend people of different race and he never fails to treat women as second grade citizens. Daniel Tosh, the host of the show, states he is in no way a racist and states he does not think women are second grade citizens but he still makes the jokes because they are funny and he knows more people will watch because of the funny jokes. This proves that our television world revolves around racism and sexism. This shows that even people who are not racist or sexist have to be portrayed as they are when they are on primetime TV in order to be successful. I personally love the show. Would people stop watching if the racist sexist jokes were not there? Honestly his ratings would completely plummet. Does that make the people that would stop watching sexist or a racist? Absolutely not, that would just show what type of sense of humor they have.
At one point in primetime TV, women comedians were not allowed to do standup comedy. It was originally done by men, but we have come a long way from then especially in when talking about standup comedy now. There are several female standup comedians, maybe even more than there are men now, and they are just as funny. We can all thank that to Phyllis Diller, the first female stand up comedian. She was the one that revolutionized women and showed the world that gender has nothing to do with doing standup comedy. Though women were up on stage entertaining an audience with comedy before her, they were always accompanying a man which was the star. Phyllis Diller was the first female to be up on stage by herself. She set a new trend for female comedians everywhere. That was the start of a whole new way of comedy.
When primetime television was first invented, African Americans did not appear on TV. This was until 1939 when “The Ethel Walters Show” was first aired. This was the very first time a black female actress starred in her own television show, which showed that African Americans could also be stars on primetime television. Another person we could thank for revolutionizing the role of African American woman in television is Oprah Winfrey. For those who do not know who Oprah Winfrey is, which is very rare for someone to not know her, she is one of the most successful persons in this world. She has made her success from being a televised talk show host. She revolutionized and showed the world that it does not matter whether you are male or female, black or white, if you put your mind to it you can be successful no matter what.
We have come a very long way of treating others differently based off of gender and race, but when it comes to primetime television we really have not come that long of a way than we thought we did. As I write this, I am flipping through the channels and eight of every ten shows on TV have a way of discriminating or being prejudice against other races or genders. It has actually gotten much worse than it used to be. At one point in time, television shows were to afraid that if they did discriminate then they would be cancelled or charged by the FCC. Whereas nowadays, a lot of producers of TV shows seem almost fearless and do not care about the FCC. Many of them urge the FCC to be cancelled and not to regulate like the way they do.
All in all, racism and sexism plays a huge role in primetime television. No matter how far we have gone as a country to make it so everyone is treated equally no matter what race or gender they are, I fear we have not progressed very far in making that so in primetime television. When will the sexism and racism come to an end in primetime TV? We truly do not know but are not making much progress in doing so.
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Hibberd, James. "Daniel Tosh at TCA: 'I'm Not Sexist or Racist, I Just like the Jokes'" Weblog post. EW.com. N.p., 5 Jan. 2011. Web. 28 Sept. 2013.
"Phyllis Diller: Remembering the First Female Stand-up Comedian." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 07 Sept. 2012. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.
Teinowitz, Ira. "Fox to FCC: Get Out of Indecency Regulation (Updated)." TheWrap. N.p., 19 June 2013. Web. 24 Sept. 2013.