Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The modern day "Black Face" had its premier this past weekend on what other station than Fox 25. The Cleveland Brown Show is a spin off of everyone's favorite adult swim cartoon, Family Guy. The character Cleveland Brown and his son, who despite his size was unseen the entire time Family guy has been on air, move from Quahog, Rhode Island after his ex-wife wins the deed to his house. Cleveland and his son end up in Virgina where he meets his old high school crush Donna and rekindles their old flame.
The voices in The Cleveland Brown Show are done by Mike Henry, a white guy in a show filled with distasteful jokes about black people. For example, When Cleveland first meets Donna in Virgina she invites him over. As they approach her house a White man fires shots in the air and says, "Donna are you okay because there is two black guys following you."
Along with the racial jokes, the characters in the show personify stereotypes shared between many media outlets and races other than African Americans. The Mother is a single, with children she can not handle. The children are rude and "ghetto." The baby is a pimp, the daughter is fast and wears clothing that suggestive she is a "hood rat." Seriously, Has there ever been a show on television that has depicted children as pimps and a hoes. This is supposed to be a show about a black family, and Cleveland is supposed to be more of a family man. What kind of family show would have two of the main characters, the children, be a pimp and a hoe? That message crosses the threshold from comedy to promoting ignorance and facilitating negative stereotypes about black people. What kind of raciest stuff is that?
People will say "its just a cartoon and its not that serious" but people forget how much television influences the public. Viewers of the Cleveland show, especially those who have limited interactions with black people due to where they live, might take the character depictions as true. In actuality the Cleveland Show is like the modern day "Black Face." It is a show made by Caucasian people that uses stereotypes of Black people as a source of entertainment. This show allows viewer to laugh at African Americans instead of laughing at their story. The characters and raciest jokes are all distasteful. Its pretty much the equivalent of Caucasian people painted their face and acting the way they figure "ghetto" Black people, living in the suburbs, would act. Its Black Face in its newest form, animation.