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The Walter White Project

Randy Stakeman, Jackson Stakeman, Authors
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Amos and Andy Brings Stereotypes to Television

With the advent of a new medium, television, the old minstrel show stereotypes were simply transferred. The minstrel show's "Zip Coon," the black whose self importance caused him to use large words (but use them incorrectly,) deviousness, laziness, the claiming of status above their station and the domination of men by their women were all part of this image.  The show had been started on the radio when two white men using black dialect and imitating black voice timbres produced one of the most popular programs.  They had to hire African American actors to do this when the show was transferred to television but the stereotypes remained the same. However, the new situation comedy form required the building of a life outside of the stereotypes for its characters.  This gave at least a glimpse that African Americans had a life beyond the strictures of the movies.. Clip 1

Amos and Andy also continued the use of African Americans as buffoonsThis clip shows their lack of understanding of the basic laws of physics. The NAACP campaigned against the program and eventually had it removed from the air. However the skill of the actors in humanizing their stereotypical characters and the mastery of the situation comedy form which the producers demonstrated has given the series an immortality.

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