Previous treatments of the history of African Americans in television have largely lacked theoretical analysis of the relationship between representations and social contexts. African Americans on Television: Race-ing for Ratings fills the existing void by supplying fundamental history with critical analyses of the racial politics of television, documenting the considerable effect that television has had on popular notions of black identity in America since the inception of television.
Covering a spectrum of genres—comedy, drama, talk shows, television movies, variety shows, and reality television, including shows such as Good Times, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Chappelle’s Show—this insightful work traces a cultural genealogy of African Americans in television. Its chronological analysis provides an engaging historical account of how African Americans entered the genre of television and have continued to play a central role in the development of both the medium and the industry. The book also tracks the shift in the significance of African Americans in the television market and industry, and the changing, but enduring, face of stereotypes and racism in American television culture.