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TV Tokenism
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TV Tokenism

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Using television network dramas as a subject of study, how do writers, producers and advertisers present minority characters? And what is the effect on viewers? Cites evidence from a variety of shows ...

Using television network dramas as a subject of study, how do writers, producers and advertisers present minority characters? And what is the effect on viewers? Cites evidence from a variety of shows and Max Weisbuch' 2009 study, "The Subtle Transmission of Race Bias Via Televised Nonverbal Behavior."

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TV Tokenism TV Tokenism Presentation Transcript

  • 1 This is a Black Screen
  • 2 TV Tokenism Spiro Bolos ! New Trier High School ! An American Studies
  • 3 The Past Spike Lee’s Bamboozled Multiple examples of the negative portrayal of AfricanAmericans in last 50 years Similarities to today’s sitcoms?
  • 4 Spike Lee’s Bamboozled
  • 5 The Present Purpose of TV Shows Prized Demographics (18-49) “Upfront” Presentations Dramas vs Sitcoms/Reality TV
  • 7 9:00 9:14 9:42 9:27
  • 8 Tag/Teaser Act IV Act III Act I Act II
  • 9 Commercial Commercial Tag/Teaser Act IV Act I Commercial Commercial Act III Act II Commercial
  • 10 Commercial Commercial Tag/Teaser Act IV Act I Commercial Commercial Act III Act II Commercial
  • 11 Commercial Commercial $$$ Commercial Commercial Commercial
  • 12 Top-Watched Dramas (2012) 1. Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) 2. NCIS (CBS) 3. Revolution (NBC) 4. Once Upon a Time (ABC) 5. Glee (FOX) 6. NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) 7. Person of Interest (CBS) 8. Criminal Minds (CBS)
  • 13 “[N]etwork TV goes out and creates a bunch of pilot shows. They’re basically practice shows... SOURCE: NPR’s Talk of the Nation, “After Chaotic Year, Dramas Play at TV Upfronts”: Eric Deggans, TV/Media critic, St. Petersburg Times
  • 14 [E]ach network could create something like 30 pilots, and they may only pick ten. Ten is a lot, if they pick ten. SOURCE: NPR’s Talk of the Nation, “After Chaotic Year, Dramas Play at TV Upfronts”: Eric Deggans, TV/Media critic, St. Petersburg Times
  • 15 So that’s a pretty low batting average to spend an average of a million, maybe $2 million a pilot, and then only pick up a fifth that you actually produce.” SOURCE: NPR’s Talk of the Nation, “After Chaotic Year, Dramas Play at TV Upfronts”: Eric Deggans, TV/Media critic, St. Petersburg Times
  • 16 The Future What is “TV Tokenism”? Is it real? If so, is it a problem? If it is a problem, what, if anything, should be done? How does it mirror the tokenism in our society? What are some other examples you can cite?
  • 17
  • 18 “Networks scrambled to create more diverse casts after being criticized by the NAACP three years ago.” SOURCE: “US Watches TV in Black and White”, Duncan Campbell in The Guardian, 2/6/03
  • 19 Result? “TV Tokenism” Dramas: Main Character is white or white-looking Main Character is center of story-line (obviously) Main Character is complex and can be morally ambiguous (conflicted or compromised) Main Character receives bulk of screen time
  • 20 Result? “TV Tokenism” Dramas: Supporting Character is a “token” minority Supporting character may be in a prestigious and/ or “buddy” position Supporting character is rarely complicated Supporting character receives relatively little screen time or relegated to subplots, only
  • 21 30 Rock: “Toofer & the Diversity Guy”
  • 22 Examples... CBS: “NCIS”
  • 23 Examples... CBS: “NCIS”
  • 24 Examples... FOX: “Fringe”
  • 25 Examples... ABC: “FlashForward”
  • 27 FlashForward: “Pilot”
  • 27 “Where’s my token minority partner?” FlashForward: “Pilot”
  • 28 1:43
  • 29 2:06
  • 30 3:46
  • 31 4:04
  • 32 5:15
  • 33 6:06
  • 34 “The Best-Dressed Man”? 7:08
  • 35 “The Authority Minority” 7:08 - 7:27
  • 37 “Token Faces”
  • 38 “Token Faces”
  • 39 “Token Faces”
  • 40 “Token Faces”
  • 41 Examples... CBS: “CSI: Miami”
  • 42 CSI: Miami “Mystical Minority”
  • 43 Examples... AMC: “The Walking Dead”
  • 44 Examples... AMC: “The Walking Dead”
  • 45
  • 46 The Walking Dead “The Token Trade”
  • 47 The Walking Dead “The Token Trade”
  • 48 The Walking Dead “The Token Trade”
  • 49
  • 49 X X X
  • 49 X X X
  • 49 X X ? ? X
  • 50 The Walking Dead “The Token Trade”
  • 51 “This is God’s plan. He’ll take care of me — always has.” The Walking Dead “The Token Trade”
  • 52 The Walking Dead “The Token Trade”
  • 53 X The Walking Dead “The Token Trade”: complete?
  • 54 What is the effect? Max Weisbuch, Tufts University: “The Subtle Transmission of Race Bias via Televised Nonverbal Behavior” (2009)
  • 55 The Experiment
  • 56 The Experiment
  • 57 The Experiment
  • 59 The Experiment
  • 60 The Experiment
  • 61 “Black characters elicit especially negative nonverbal responses, such as facial expressions & body language, SOURCE: Tufts Journal, “Lessons in Black and White” (January 6, 2010)
  • 62 “...and viewers exhibit more racial bias after exposure to such negative responses.” SOURCE: Tufts Journal, “Lessons in Black and White” (January 6, 2010)
  • 63 “The takeaway message is that bias can be contagious and can be transmitted through nonverbal behavior.” SOURCE: Tufts Journal, “Lessons in Black and White” (January 6, 2010)
  • 64 A reason for optimism? Kerry Washington
  • 65 A reason for optimism? ABC: “Scandal”
  • 66
  • 67
  • 68 A reason for optimism? NBC
  • 69 A reason for optimism? ABC: “Last Resort”
  • 70 A reason for optimism? ABC: “Last Resort”
  • 71 Questions for Discussion Is TV Tokenism real? If so, is it a problem? If it is a problem, what, if anything, should be done? What are some other examples you can cite? How does it mirror the tokenism in our society?
  • 72 Thanks. Kerry Brennan, Deborah Hill, John S. O’Connor, Mr. Paul Waechtler & the Northfield Campus Songs: Public Enemy: “Burn, Hollywood, Burn” Wilco: “Kicking Television”
  • 73 This is a Black Screen