African Americans on Television
Race-ing for Ratings
by David J. Leonard and Lisa A. Guerrero, Editors
April 2013, 455pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-275-99514-0
$64, £48, 54€, A92
eBook Available: 978-0-275-99515-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.
A comprehensive look at the history of African Americans on television that discusses major trends in black TV and examines the broader social implications of the relationship between race and popular culture as well as race and representation.

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.

David J. Leonard, PhD, is associate professor and chair in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University. Leonard has written Screens Fade to Black: Contemporary African American Cinema.

Lisa A. Guerrero, PhD, is associate professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies at Washington State University. Guerrero is the editor of Teaching Race in the 21st Century: College Teachers Talk about Their Fears, Risks, and Rewards.


"[A]n invaluable addition to the literature and a useful reference, or even supplemental text, for those interested in media studies or television history. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice, May 1, 2014

"Contributors demonstrate how TV shows starring blacks brought debates on stereotypes and racism to the fore. They also chart the history of the growing recognition of African Americans as audiences and market segments."—Book News, June 1, 2013
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