Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Race in the 1980's

I chose a chapter called 'Reaganism and the Sign of Blackness' in the book 'Watching Race: television and the struggle for blackness.' by Herman Gray.

'Americans, with Reagan leading them, were in no mood for being bothered with problems. Reagan and television gave them what they wanted most: a chance to feel good again.'

'Race and television were the twin-pillars that anchored Ronald Reagan's decade of "feel good politics"

Herman Gray concentrates on the use of Blackness as an 'other' in popular television and the use of images and new on television of 'black welfare "cheats" and moral panics about black "family degradation"' as central to the 'consolidation of a conservative cultural and political hegemonic bloc.'

Gray believed that although during the 80's there was a influx in the number of black americans being shown on television, the way in which they were shown was controlled so that white people didn't feel that their values were being threatened. Reaganism 'functioned as a sort of grand and trusted anchor, reassuring whites that menaces of the modern world - both foreign and domestic were effectively held in check and that such sacred values as whiteness, individualism, private property and family were protected. In other words, Reaganism is the major discursive formation within which conservative political, social, and cultural alliances, debates, policies, and claims were framed about the United States in the 1980's'

So as well as liking really long sentences Gray believed that whether the portrayal of blacks on television was as a menace to society or the ideal of responsibility (the Cosby Show) only showed the aggressive attempts to the part of the new right to reconfigure and establish a conservative hegemony hostile to progressive notions of racial entitlements.' This shows the 1980's as a post-civil rights era, Gray states that Reaganism took away from the blacks the moral authority and political entitlements they won in the 1960's.

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