Friday, May 22, 2009

What is Racist and what is not

Originally I was going to have you scoot over to the ALMOST DAILY ROOSTER but I realized that the video that I would have presented there now appears on the right side. So, let me give you some thoughts pertaining to the evolution of our culture and the "folk" music hook is that it too has evolved over the years---thank heavens.

Still fun to sit on that old front porch and sing those songs but most performers today call themselves "folk musicians" so we can stretch it, as they do, here and talk about a rare TV gem and do some explaining and thinking about it.

There was a time in the late 1930s and the 1940s when there was a radio program created and performed by two white men that captured the imagination of the country. Amos and Andy" as created by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correl. The water pressure, as recorded by various water companies, rose during commercials when this show was on the air. The nation was listening. Decidedly so. Was it racist? We will get into that a bit later. First watch something from their TV version on the right side of the screen.

OK --that is the TV version and I also hoped you saw the introduction of the Black (African American--being PC here) actors. They truly captured Amos, Andy, Kingfish, and all the rest.

Admittedly the parts were created and played on radio by two white men of great talent and insight. They also had the foresight to realize this could be transferred to Television and they did it admirably. The actors--if you watched the video of their introduction on the right side of the screen---shows how they truly captured the characters.

At this point let me make a few comparisons to what, I feel, would encompass, at this time, a "racist" presentation or a presentation of totally annoying people that create stereotypes. Think of The Jeffersons. A spinoff of All In The Family. From satire to stereotype is all I can think of regarding this inane program.

Amos And Andy had the distinction of being a program before its time. A program that was, not only, clever and funny but also satirical and gave much needed work to Black actors (who were superb in their roles).

Think about a few things that you may not recall or may be too young to know of in this era. There was a time when (Chrysler was the sponsor--when it could still dictate things) and cancelled a show because Harry Belafonte touched the female artist on the program--hard to believe. Yes, it was a different and a hard to believe time.

Amos and Andy ---after the radio years--came up with a truly wonderful program---now it would be called a sit-com---but best definition is a filmed version of a brilliant comedic enterprise with actors that truly encompassed their roles.

Let us realize that these were brilliant actors performing in well written pieces in the likes of many ethnic and well done pieces of that era. The Goldbergs, Abie's Irish Rose, Duffy's Tavern, and many more. Harmless fun that gave us insight to other ethnicities in an inoffensive way.

A picture of the star of Amos and Andy probably should follow:


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