“Black-ish” essay



Therole of race in the American culture and society has been animportant issue, despite the quest for a colorblind society. Thus,when the was launched by ABC, the series thatcentered on a three generation of an upper middle-class AfricanAmerican family, many people compared it to “The Cosby Show”.Some commentators blamed the reception of the show on the fact thatmajority of TV series in the modern America are based on the culturesand lives of white people despite the changes in cultural and racialdemographics in the American society (McNamara, 2014). As a result,media reports indicated that some people were not comfortable withthe title of the show when it premiered. Although the title has beenjustified, it has rubbed some people and organization in the wrongway. As a result, there were petitions that sought to change the namebecause it was considered racist and offensive. However, the name hasremained the same, probably because it was a reliable hit (Harris,2015).

Theshow is a story of an African American family led bya marketing executive Andre and his doctor wife, doctor rainbow. Theylive with their four children and Dre’s father, who is commonlyreferred to as Pops. Whether the show represents the evolution of theAfrican American society in the American society has been acontentious issue. Some of the concerns on how the black race isimplied in the show related to how racial identities intersect withwealth, especially in the older generations. For example, Dre feelsconspicuous in a neighborhood or society dominated by white people. He is also concerned that his children are able to access more interms of material wealth that he was able to access at a young ageand how this is likely to affect their racial identity. The loss ofculture is probably represented by the fact that Dre son changes hisname from Andy to Andre and plays hockey instead of basketball(Holmes, 2014).

Someanalysts have argued that although people are fast to compare theshow with the Cosby Show, they are actually different. The Cosby Showwas a hit in the 1980s and the theme of race and how it affectsAfrican American families was dominant. On the other hand, the newshow, tackles the issue of race in the modern Americafrontally. It focuses on gleefully displaying the African Americanculture and the white culture. It aims at allowing the audience tounderstand how different cultures and the struggles of breaking thewalls that separate the two cultures (Surette, 2014). The executiveproducer of the show Larry Wilmore has retaliated that the “celebrates black more as a culture than a race”. The heart of the show is the feeling of a father who represents theold generation feeling that his children had had too much resultinginto loss of their cultural identity and heritage (Moraes, 2014).

Althoughthe main premise of the show is a man who is determined to raise afamily with racial consciousness and concern about his culture andheritage (Poniewozik, 2014), some analysts have contrary views abouthow the show portrays the African American family. Some analysts haveargued that the show portrays being black in the American society asproblematic. Concerns have also been raised about it comparison withthe 1980s show, The Cosby Show. Waters (2014) argues that the newshow misses important aspects captured by the Cosby Show such asdiversity of the African American society and how racial identifiersand diversity influences different aspects of life. For example, theshow does not capture the unifying factor among different groups ofblack people in the American society. The social, economic andpolitical challenges that the black folks have suffered in the unitedstates due to stereotypes based on their skin color has been animportant unifying factor. Waters argues that the show aims atvalidating these stereotypes by making them real (Waters, 2014).Although strong and resilient patriarchs who work hard to ensure thattheir families do not lose their connections to their roots is verycommon in the American society, some people have argued that thedetermination of Dre to have a family which is “not but black” promotes racial stereotypes about African Americans.Although some of the racial issues in the show can easily be assumedor ignored by individuals who are tolerance to racial differences,the same cannot be said about individuals with racial prejudice(Bianco, 2014).

Despiteconcerns about its role in promoting racial stereotypes against theblack society, the show received positive reviews and reception fromcritics and the American public in general (Metacritic, 2014). Theshow does not target any specific audience and articulates diversecultural issues in the African American society. The show is alsorelevant to non-black families by emphasizing the importance andpride of family and cultural heritage and how it is important inevery aspect of life (Waters, 2014).


Bianco,R. (2014). ABC`s“ explores subtle shades on racial issues.http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/tv/2014/09/23/”Black-ish”-review/16105525/

Harris,A. (2015). How Earned the Right to Call Itself .http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/television/2015/04/black_ish_finale_the_show_s_title_may_be_provocative_but_it_s_not_offensive.html

Holmes,L. (2014). “And The Color Of Money.http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2014/09/24/351135398/”Black-ish”-and-the-color-of-money

McNamara,M. (2016). ReviewABC`s “ gamely takes on racial identity.http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/la-et-st-”Black-ish”-review-20140924-column.html

Metacritic(2014). :Season 1.http://www.metacritic.com/tv/”Black-ish”

Moraes,L. (2014). TCA:ABC’s ‘’ About Culture More Than Race, ExecProducers Say.http://deadline.com/2014/07/tca-abcs-”Black-ish”-about-culture-more-than-race-exec-producers-say-804409/

Poniewozik,J. (2014). Review:A Family Seeks Its True Colors on .http://time.com/3419268/review-”Black-ish”/

Surette,T. (2014). Series Premiere Review: Not the New Cosby Show—and That`s More ThanOkay-ish.http://www.tv.com/shows/”Black-ish”/community/post/”Black-ish”-season-1-episode-1-pilot-review-141159116644/

Waters,F. (2014). ‘’:Horrible Parody of Black Family Life.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frances-cudjoe-waters/”Black-ish”-horrible-parody-_b_5882622.html

Willians,B. (2014). HowTo Make It As A Black Sitcom: Be Careful How You Talk About Race.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/21/black-sitcom-”Black-ish”_n_6002850.html