Historical Racial type in Media: Amos n Andy Show essay

Amos n Andy show has been very popular for long time and the most popular hit of radio programs broadcasted in America. It was acted and produced by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll. The two whites, Amos & Andy, played as blackface Negro with the remaining black cast. Most blacks thought that it depicts stereotypes and racial discrimination. The comedy revolves around a character called “Kingfish” whose goals were to make some fast buck, played by George Stevens. His wife and mama usually don’t believe in him. He gets Andy involved in most of his schemes and Amos plays a minor character as a cabdriver.

Madame Queen is Andy’s girlfriend. The show has been regarded as fostering racial discrimination and racial stereotypes. NAACP and other civil rights groups protested against this series. However, despite of such protest it grasped attention of millions of people in America. Later, it was heard that CBS has sold this to Kenya and Nigerian government. But both governments banned to run this play in their countries. Finally, CBS decided to run it again in 1964. But again there was widespread protest against it and its market shrunk so it was withdrawn from sale and publicity.

There was great controversy over the fact that whether the program was promoting racism or not. Though, the producers and actors thought that it would not affect Negro and their culture. In the show they were also shown in high professions as well, like as lawyers and retailers etc. Many thought that stereotyping shown in the show was wrongly applied to the whole race and that’s why it was not seen anymore on the TV in the new era. History of the Amos & Andy radio show It was the most popular show from the day it was broadcasted in 1927. The play was very well written and well acted.

After it gained much popularity it was shown on TV in 1940. But it didn’t gain popularity on the TV and it was cancelled in 1953. CBS decision to restart its show on the TV in 1964 failed as it did not gain same popularity. It stayed over 20-years on radio and for 3-years on the TV. Influence on future radio/TV content During the Golden Age of Radio programming, it was the main medium for entertainment. Amos ‘n’ Andy was the best-running and very flourishing hit as it was admired and liked by many for long period of time. At that time it was aired at every radio station every night.

However, after its disappearance in late 1960’s, many new programs and shows appeared with similar kind of comedy and black stereotyping. The famous comedy shows after it were “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,” and “The Jack Benny Show”. Though, after much protest Amos and Andy was stopped from broadcasting but it left its deep affects on TV upcoming shows and programs and future programs of radio. Though the show has completely disappeared from the screen but similar types of shows, actors in same cultural forms are taking place on the screen.

The same kind of stereotyping appeared in other shows like “Sitcom”, “Goode Behavior”, ”Homeboys in Outer Space”, “Malcom & Eddie”, “Sparks”. In one form or another, the black community has been obsessed for their culture and color on & off the screen. “It has to have an impact. When Bill Cosby rails against the negative influence of morons and minstrels in black comedies, he’s speaking out of self-interest: He wants people to watch his version of black comedy. He also happens to be right. ” (Bianco) Most of the black characters are usually ridiculed for any of their set backs or made the point of humor.

They’re shown as fat and whatever they do as funny. In show, “Malcom,” a fat black man is made point of fun when he can’t read poetry well. Same kind of ridiculed characters were shown in other shows like Goode, when a professor is ridiculed for his tea party. In media, black characters are chosen either as criminals or for comedy and usually offered sub-characters. Males and females characters are shown as crazy for sexy desires and lust of worldly life. This kind of stereotyping appears in many comedy shows, where black characters are usually ridiculed and made the point of amusement.

Laughter and humor is produced by targeting every black character and showing them either illiterate or less imaginative or less intelligent. In addition, their image is ridiculed by choosing either fat or short stature characters. Impact on pop culture Radio shows definitely has impact on pop culture and the TV content. It depends on the type of programs broadcasted and the theme behind it. Either they are depicting the politics of contemporary issues; a detective and crime story which gives the understanding of crime threats or it may depict the striking images of black culture, showing them with lack of IQ and general understanding.

In comedy shows like Amos n Andy black characters are made the point of entertainment to make the audience laugh with their foolish and imprudent talk. “It is the episodic comedy, however, with its humor, weekly format, and regular characters, that has most soundly featured the taboos, preoccupations, prejudices, obsessions, fads and fixations of twentieth century American society–not only by what was shown on the small screen but also by what was sometimes omitted. ” (Deane)

They originally appeared as Sam n Henry but later became Amos n Andy acted as Negro men by use of black’s dialect. Though they gained much popularity through this show their personalities remain hidden as it was initially broadcasted through radio. By their use of such dialect they brought to Americans’ understanding of black’s language, culture and living. Andy behaves arrogantly always mastering and supervising Amos, while Amos appears to be a bit simple and hardworking. Negroes culture and music is also shown as played by black musicians and watched by noble whites.

It had greatly influenced the current pop culture as more blacks are now blatantly seen in pop music. American culture is filled up with racial discrimination from school, education, and business to film, media, screen and shows. Color has become an integral part of our society and we don’t have much to talk about if we would no discriminate between colors and whites as inferiors and supers respectively.


Bianco, R. A Challenge: Which UPN ‘black’ show is worst?. Retrieved http://www. geocities. com/Hollywood/2587/upn. htm Check and Double Check.Dir. Melville Brown. Performance. Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll, Sue Carol, Charles Norton and Edward Martindel. (Originally published by RKO, 1930). Ed. Madacy Music Group Inc. , 1994. Correll, Charles and Gosden, Freeman. Here they are–Amos ‘n’ Andy. New York: Long & R. R. Smith, 1931. Correll, Charles and Gosden, Freeman. Sam ‘n’ Henry. Chicago: Shrewesbury Publishing Co. , 1926. Deane, P. S. Sitcom. St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, 2002 Gale Group. http://www. findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_g1epc/is_tov/ai_2419101108