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Old 04-02-2002, 02:28 PM
dalovindj is offline
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Would a TV channel called "White Entertainment Television" be offensive?


I have noticed that there is a channel called "BET" which stands for "Black Entertainment Television" - I believe. It seems to me that quite a few people would be offended if I were to start a network called "White Entertainment Television".

Would WET be offensive?

Is BET offensive?

If yes to WET and no to BET - why the double standard?

Are minorities entitled to special treatment because of the wrongs that have been done in the past? Should we be striving for equality or trying to give minorities special allowances? Is being a minority grounds for special treatment? Should it be?

DaLovin' Dj
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Old 04-02-2002, 02:43 PM
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I wouldn't be offended at a "White Entertainment Televuision," though I'm tempted to argue that most television today is already WET.

Just IMO, but Black Entertainment Television seems to me no more offensive than the Spanish-, Chinese-, Korean-, and Whatever-else-language local UHF channels that populate much of the American airspace. It's television programming that features a lot of members of a particular group, but there's nothing restricting non-members from watching and enjoying...
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Old 04-02-2002, 02:46 PM
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This again.

There don't seem to be many people who are offended at the idea that a minority group can devise holidays, news or entertainment sources etc. to suit itself. But some are offended. I think you'd have more of a case if BET only allowed blacks to watch its programming.

Maybe it's best to ignore stuff like this that you find obnoxious.


For some reason when you mentioned White Entertainment Television I immediately thought of Pat Boone. Ecch.
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Old 04-02-2002, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jackmannii
For some reason when you mentioned White Entertainment Television I immediately thought of Pat Boone. Ecch.
Now see, when I hear of a network called WET, I think of something else entirely.
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Old 04-02-2002, 02:50 PM
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In Order:


Would WET be offensive? I'm sure some would find it so.

Is BET offensive? There seems to be a certain population who find it so.

If yes to WET and no to BET - why the double standard?

While I didn't say yes to either, there's a reason BET exist. It's called all the other networks. In a few months the networks will release there new fall schedules. If current trends hold: You can bet that as usual minorities will be under represented as based on their population.

BET was an attempt to fill this niche. Feel free to start a WET if you want, but I don't envy you the backlash.


Quote:
Are minorities entitled to special treatment because of the wrongs that have been done in the past? Should we be striving for equality or trying to give minorities special allowances? Is being a minority grounds for special treatment? Should it be?
BET is privately run, so I wouldn't call it special treatment. It would be different if it was a government program of some kind. Incidentally how do you "strive for equality" without addressing "past wrongs"? By the way, aren't you going to complain about Lifetime and Oxygen?
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Old 04-02-2002, 02:51 PM
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Would I be offended by WET? No. Would I wonder what's the point? Yes. If you haven't turned on your TV lately, it's almost all WET.

"Black Entertainment Television" serves as a useful descriptor, telling me why this channel is different than others. Just like I know what I'll find on MTV and ESPN, I know what I'll find on BET. What's WET? Is it Nickelodeon? AMC? Cartoon Network? Comedy Central? Fox News?

We've already got WET, how would yours be any different? Ohh, I see, WET makes no bones about its exclusion of a minority of TV viewers. Gotcha.
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Old 04-02-2002, 02:52 PM
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Personally I am not offended by BET nor would I be by a channel caled WET. The only position I would find offensive would be that one is offensive and the other is not.

DaLovin' Dj
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Old 04-02-2002, 02:53 PM
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Let's ask the question again.


Assume that all four major networks are owned by African-Americans. And 95% of the shows on these four networks are completely starring African-Americans, with occasionally a white American showing up for a cameo. A few shows exist with a white actor as the star, but that's a single show (The MacBernie Show). Everywhere else, a sea of African-American actors; and the two most popular shows of the last ten years- Friends in the Hizouse and Shabozzfeld- never had a recurring white character.


Now, someone stars up White Entertainment Television as a way of showcasing white talent that seems to be conspicuously absent from the major networks. Is that offensive?




Quite frankly, as a conservative, I say more power to BET. If they're turning a profit, then they're appealing to a segment of the population that feel marginalized. And hopefully that will spur the major networks to show more diversity in an attempt to steal market share from BET.
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Old 04-02-2002, 03:10 PM
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"Special treatment" this ain't


I think it would be considered offensive, but not for the reason that you seem to imply (a double standard and that racism among blacks is OK).

White people are the majority. As the bulk of the American television audience, they are the implied audience for TV unless stated otherwise because there are simply more of them. Black folks and people who primarily speak Spanish are in the minority. If most TV is being aimed at the primary audience (white people), then, assuming that there are differences in preferences for the type of material shown between these groups (which there are), it's profitable to target this niche with programming directly aimed at them. However, you need to get the attention of said group in order to do so. That's where BET gets its name. Now I'm sure the folks who run BET would be perfectly happy if lots of white people and Spanish speakers and whoever else started watching, because it makes them more money and they don't mean to be exclusive.

Now, to call a station "White Entertainment Television" makes a different implication because white people are the majority and, therefore, the default audience. It reeks exclusivism and therefore would be taken as offensive.

The same would apply for other minority/majority divides. For example, having magazines targeted at gay people (like The Advocate) is acceptable as not offensive; however, turning around and having a magazine target the majority audience (straight people) would be offensive, because, generally, magazines imply having a mostly straight audience. Hence, I see no reason for straight people to understand that mainstream media focuses on them, and therefore there is a market for gay segment of the population. If gay magazines are slamming straight people, then there is grounds for offense.

This is not a double standard. There is simply an obvious difference in how we treat terms racially. "Black pride" and "white pride" give off vastly different vibes to Americans who hear those terms. This does not mean that minorities are given license to be racist; it means that racism is implied in one term and not the other. Were that to change, WET might become societally acceptable as not being associated with racist groups.
For now, however, we must accept that racial differences in terms and treatment do exist. To say so does not make me a moral relativist -- I simply can't ignore that there are these differences in tone and meaning.

I suspect that in the future these terms will be less and less necessary. In the meantime I do not think BET needs to change it's name. A reasonable person understands that there is no racism implied in the name and so there is no offensiveness. You can argue that it SHOULD be offensive, but it isn't; therefore, there can be no "double standard", no "special allowances", and
no inequality.
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Old 04-02-2002, 03:10 PM
fluiddruid is offline
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"Special treatment" this ain't


I think it would be considered offensive, but not for the reason that you seem to imply (a double standard and that racism among blacks is OK).

White people are the majority. As the bulk of the American television audience, they are the implied audience for TV unless stated otherwise because there are simply more of them. Black folks and people who primarily speak Spanish are in the minority. If most TV is being aimed at the primary audience (white people), then, assuming that there are differences in preferences for the type of material shown between these groups (which there are), it's profitable to target this niche with programming directly aimed at them. However, you need to get the attention of said group in order to do so. That's where BET gets its name. Now I'm sure the folks who run BET would be perfectly happy if lots of white people and Spanish speakers and whoever else started watching, because it makes them more money and they don't mean to be exclusive.

Now, to call a station "White Entertainment Television" makes a different implication because white people are the majority and, therefore, the default audience. It reeks exclusivism and therefore would be taken as offensive.

The same would apply for other minority/majority divides. For example, having magazines targeted at gay people (like The Advocate) is acceptable as not offensive; however, turning around and having a magazine target the majority audience (straight people) would be offensive, because, generally, magazines imply having a mostly straight audience. Hence, I see no reason for straight people to understand that mainstream media focuses on them, and therefore there is a market for gay segment of the population. If gay magazines are slamming straight people, then there is grounds for offense.

This is not a double standard. There is simply an obvious difference in how we treat terms racially. "Black pride" and "white pride" give off vastly different vibes to Americans who hear those terms. This does not mean that minorities are given license to be racist; it means that racism is implied in one term and not the other. Were that to change, WET might become societally acceptable as not being associated with racist groups.
For now, however, we must accept that racial differences in terms and treatment do exist. To say so does not make me a moral relativist -- I simply can't ignore that there are these differences in tone and meaning.

I suspect that in the future these terms will be less and less necessary. In the meantime I do not think BET needs to change its name. A reasonable person understands that there is no racism implied in the name and so there is no offensiveness. You can argue that it SHOULD be offensive, but it isn't; therefore, there can be no "double standard", no "special allowances", and
no inequality.
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Old 04-02-2002, 03:12 PM
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My problem with 'Black' anything, is that you limit your potential entertainment. When you watch basketball, you're not just watching the best black athletes; you're watching the best athletes, period. Imagine whites feeling that they don't get proper representation in the NBA, so they start watching a 'white' basketball league. Wouldn't happen - people want to see the best, not the best of a particular color or gender.

Is there something on BET that the "white" community is missing out on? Some unbelievably funny or talented artist that has been ignored by the networks because of racism?
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Old 04-02-2002, 03:25 PM
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zwaldd, your analogy is flawed. If you need an analogy, BET is more like the "Negro Leagues" before blacks were allowed to play major league baseball.

You could go to a major league baseball game before Jackie Robinson, and tell yourself you were just seeing the all the "best" baseball players, but that wasn't the case, and that the play of the Negro Leagues was inferior.

To convince yourself that the actors you see on mainstream TV are not the "best" regardless of race, take a look at David Schwimmer. Would he even have a job if he was black?

Quote:
zwaldd:
Is there something on BET that the "white" community is missing out on? Some unbelievably funny or talented artist that has been ignored by the networks because of racism?
Was there something in Negro League baseball that the "white" community was missing out on? Some unbelievebly skillful or talented player that had been ignored by the Major Leagues because of racism?
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Old 04-02-2002, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Is there something on BET that the "white" community is missing out on?
Black people?

Quote:
Some unbelievably funny or talented artist that has been ignored by the networks because of racism?
<don adams>Missed it by that much</don adams> BET exist because the people who started it felt that the mainstream networks ignored it's black audience, and set out to create e network to fill the gap. Nothing more sinister.

Again I never see these complaints in regards to: Lifetime (Television for Women) Oxygen (I am strong, I am invincible....) hell even TNT (for guys who like movies).
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Old 04-02-2002, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Newton meter
zwaldd, your analogy is flawed. If you need an analogy, BET is more like the "Negro Leagues" before blacks were allowed to play major league baseball.
I think this is an even more flawed ananlogy. Or are blacks not allowed to be on any the of main-stream channels? Now that blacks do play MLB, I think we are seeing the best (for the most part).

It seems like most people here are focusing on sitcoms when they say that TV is geared towards a white audience. I'll agree; most are. However, aren't sitcoms a very very very small part of the programming on BET (someone correct me if I'm wrong - I don't watch it much).

Also, the analogy to Spanish, Korean, etc TV is not reall appropriate. Those channels are in other languages! A division along national/language lines is fine; one based on color seems wrong.

One thing that bothers me much more than BET is exclusive black programs - number one being Black Miss America. As someone said, anyone can watch BET, not just black people, so it's not as bad (perhaps). But exclusive programs seems unfair, since black ladies can participate in (and win) the overall Miss America pageant, but other races cannot even enter the Black Miss America pageant.
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Old 04-02-2002, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by zwaldd
My problem with 'Black' anything, is that you limit your potential entertainment. When you watch basketball, you're not just watching the best black athletes; you're watching the best athletes, period. Imagine whites feeling that they don't get proper representation in the NBA, so they start watching a 'white' basketball league. Wouldn't happen - people want to see the best, not the best of a particular color or gender. [/i]


BET sucks, but not because it's all black or because it's "limited". It's because the CEO is a jackass who only cares about the bottom dollar.

What makes you think a white basketball league wouldn't be interesting? At least we'd get to test the theory that white men can't jump.


Quote:
Is there something on BET that the "white" community is missing out on? Some unbelievably funny or talented artist that has been ignored by the networks because of racism?
It's just different. Black Americans have a different way of talking and interacting with one another than white Americans. One might assume that Seinfield had universal appeal, but this isn't so. Someone might not be able relate to Seinfield or Friends, but they might be able to *get* Martin or Living Single. It's called Different Strokes for different folks (hehe, get it?).
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Old 04-02-2002, 03:52 PM
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Newton meter -

Don't get me wrong...I wasn't implying that there aren't talented artists on BET - I don't watch it. I was asking if there was one. If the artists on BET are David Schwimmer caliber, then I'm glad we're not seeing more of them on the networks. If, on the other hand, you're saying there's a couple Jackie Robinsons on BET then who are they? Has any black performer gotten recognition on BET before hitting the mainstream?
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Old 04-02-2002, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrunkenGamer


I think this is an even more flawed ananlogy. Or are blacks not allowed to be on any the of main-stream channels? Now that blacks do play MLB, I think we are seeing the best (for the most part).
Yes, they are allowed to be on main-stream channels, but only in a minority capacity. Which sucks if you want to do a show that portrays a black family, or a predominately black workplace.

UPN is an exception to most network channels. Monday nights is it's "black" prime-time. But most of its black shows are rejects from the bigger, more mainstream networks like FOX and ABC.

The average TV exec thinks Americans would much rather prefer shows about talking babies and talking hand puppets than black Americans.


Quote:
It seems like most people here are focusing on sitcoms when they say that TV is geared towards a white audience. I'll agree; most are. However, aren't sitcoms a very very very small part of the programming on BET (someone correct me if I'm wrong - I don't watch it much).
You are right. BET is made up mostly of music videos that won't get airplay on MTV and VH1, comedy shows, and Gospel performances. On the weekend, it's crappy infomercials. That's why BET--IMHO--sucks.

But it's the idea that black Americans have a special space on cable television--however crappy--which makes it marketable. To me, it's no different than having a country-western channel (TNN) or a channel for gay folk.

Quote:
Also, the analogy to Spanish, Korean, etc TV is not reall appropriate. Those channels are in other languages! A division along national/language lines is fine; one based on color seems wrong.
Believe me, it's not all about color. Black people and white people are not just the same people in different colors. We have different cultures, styles, and senses of humor. We have different experiences and opinions. Minorities--by definition--aren't mainstream, so their views are not generally represented in mainstream media. Why shouldn't they be able to go to a place that speaks just to them?

Quote:
One thing that bothers me much more than BET is exclusive black programs - number one being Black Miss America. As someone said, anyone can watch BET, not just black people, so it's not as bad (perhaps). But exclusive programs seems unfair, since black ladies can participate in (and win) the overall Miss America pageant, but other races cannot even enter the Black Miss America pageant.
Maybe Black Miss America pageants have different criteria than the mainstream contest. Perhaps beauty as defined by mainstream is different than beauty as defined by minority groups. All sorts of ethnic groups have their own beauty pageants, even though theoretically anyone can participate in the mainstream event. Remember: black people are much more than white people with brown skin. They have a culture that is unique from mainstream culture, and expecting them to behave as if they aren't as much an ethnic group as Polish-, Chinese-, and Mexican-Americans is not fair.

(Are you sure other "races" can't enter the Black Miss America pageant? I'd be curious to know if there is a codified restriction on non-blacks from participating.)
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Old 04-02-2002, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
One thing that bothers me much more than BET is exclusive black programs - number one being Black Miss America. As someone said, anyone can watch BET, not just black people, so it's not as bad (perhaps). But exclusive programs seems unfair, since black ladies can participate in (and win) the overall Miss America pageant, but other races cannot even enter the Black Miss America pageant.
Now this is almost a legitimate beef, that is until you look at history. At one time black women could not participate in the Miss America pageant. The Black Miss America Pagent was originally created to provide a forum for black women. It continues now because of the same reason all the others do. It makes money for it's promoters and sponsors. If the revenue stream dried up, it would probably disappear. Since it hasn't, there's obviously a market for it.

On preview I see monstro has addressed the BET program content.
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Old 04-02-2002, 07:02 PM
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Good points. Especially about the Black Miss America pageant - I didn't know it started when black girls were not allowed in the mainstream one.

I guess what bothers me overall is that it seems like minority groups want total equality, yet also want special "things" (pageants, clubs, channels, whatever) set aside for them. I know that there have historically been many such things that excluded minorities, but I think it would be better to eliminate all such "things" based on race than to reserve minority ones to make up for historical problems. It seems unfair that minorities get to participate in mainstream events AND get to have their own.
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Old 04-03-2002, 12:02 AM
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Sameness is not a prerequisite for equality. You can want to be treated fairly without having to give up your unique culture.

To ask them to give up their "special things" is essentially to ask them to give up their unique culture and adhere to white values, styles, interactions and traditions. African American culture has been around for hundreds of years, and has developed in parallel with white American culture. Certain outlets of cultural expression (like BET) have formed in order to provide a place for this culture that exists outside of the mainstream. Think about it. Your grandparents probably don't laugh when they watch black sitcoms. Why should we expect a black person's grandparents to laugh at a sitcom about white people doing white things. Why do we expect them to want to compete in beauty pagents that reward features normally found on white women and normally appreciated by white men? Yeah, a black woman can win Miss America if she has straight hair, a skinny butt and a thin nose. Why do we get to call accusations of "reverse racism" whenever they try to set up one that doesn't demonize the kinds of features typcially found on black women?

This isn't about "resolving historical problems". This is about provided an outlet for a culture that is not found in the mainstream. That isn't racism and it isn't something that should get in the way of equality.
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Old 04-03-2002, 01:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrunkenGamer
I guess what bothers me overall is that it seems like minority groups want total equality, yet also want special "things" (pageants, clubs, channels, whatever) set aside for them. I know that there have historically been many such things that excluded minorities, but I think it would be better to eliminate all such "things" based on race than to reserve minority ones to make up for historical problems. It seems unfair that minorities get to participate in mainstream events AND get to have their own.
Ah, yes, the immortal question, which is worse: having those special things, or needing those special things?

The reason that these special things exist is because there still is discrimination, there still is hate. If the blacks (or any others, btw) were to give up their "special things" and assimilate with the mainstream, not only will they have to conform to different and uncomfortable images forieng to their culture, they will also meet up with resistance, with people who do their damndest to keep them out.

At some point, we will become a society that holds no bias whatsoever to people of other cultures, races, sexual orientations, religions, etc. Unfortunately, not only are we very far from that today, it is doubtful that our grandchildren will live to see it.

So let them have their BET, and work with them and others to create understanding and acceptance, and then hopefully our descendents will find themselves in a better world.

Cervantes

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"Oh, sorry" And God hung up.
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Old 04-03-2002, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by zwaldd
My problem with 'Black' anything, is that you limit your potential entertainment.


What's the problem? Comedy Central limits their potential entertainment as does the Sci-Fi channel.

Quote:

Imagine whites feeling that they don't get proper representation in the NBA, so they start watching a 'white' basketball league. Wouldn't happen - people want to see the best, not the best of a particular color or gender.


I think people also want to see something they can relate to. I don't have a cite but I recall seeing the most popular shows among whites and the most popular show among blacks some time in the 90's. Of the top 10 on both sides they only shared one program.

So there are differences in program selections.

Quote:

Is there something on BET that the "white" community is missing out on? Some unbelievably funny or talented artist that has been ignored by the networks because of racism?
I don't think racism is the proper word. I think most people go with what they're used to. I bet most of the writers are white so they write about white characters. I don't think it has any malevolent purpose though.

Marc
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Old 04-03-2002, 10:35 AM
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1) No, not offensivre. Blacks (like, 9% of US pop) are a niche market, whites (like 80%) aren't.
2) The BET demographic isn't really black people, it's people interested in black entertainment, mainly music, also sitcoms. A significant part of hip hop and RnB listeners aren't black, probably a majority. Same goes (to a lesser extent) with even gospel. (Shows like Martin are for some bizzare reason popular with trendy people in Sweden.)
3)Discrimination has nothing to do with it. African-Americans are an ethnic group, not a class. Total "racial" equality will not make BET less attractive.

"I guess what bothers me overall is that it seems like minority groups want total equality, yet also want special "things" (pageants, clubs, channels, whatever) set aside for them. I know that there have historically been many such things that excluded minorities, but I think it would be better to eliminate all such "things" based on race than to reserve minority ones to make up for historical problems. It seems unfair that minorities get to participate in mainstream events AND get to have their own."

How do you figure BET, pageants constitute special privileges in any way whatsoever?
Is he a troll perhaps? Seems a little *too* unreasonable - for someone not (as it appears) hateful that is.
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Old 04-03-2002, 10:39 AM
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1) No, not offensivre. Blacks (like, 9% of US pop) are a niche market, whites (like 80%) aren't.
2) The BET demographic isn't really black people, it's people interested in black entertainment, mainly music, also
sitcoms. A significant part of hip hop and RnB listeners aren't black, probably a majority. Same goes (to a lesser
extent) with even gospel. (Shows like Martin are for some bizzare reason popular with trendy people in Sweden.)
3)Discrimination has nothing to do with it. African-Americans are an ethnic group, not a class. Total "racial"
equality will not make BET less attractive.

"I guess what bothers me overall is that it seems like minority groups want total equality, yet also want special
"things" (pageants, clubs, channels, whatever) set aside for them. I know that there have historically been many
such things that excluded minorities, but I think it would be better to eliminate all such "things" based on race
than to reserve minority ones to make up for historical problems. It seems unfair that minorities get to
participate in mainstream events AND get to have their own."

How do you figure BET, pageants constitute special privileges in any way whatsoever?
Is he a troll perhaps? Seems a little *too* unreasonable - for someone not (as it appears) hateful that is.
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Old 04-03-2002, 10:41 AM
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@#%@&"#%"#%@$"#%&!
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Old 04-03-2002, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rjung
I wouldn't be offended at a "White Entertainment Televuision," though I'm tempted to argue that most television today is already WET.

Just IMO, but Black Entertainment Television seems to me no more offensive than the Spanish-, Chinese-, Korean-, and Whatever-else-language local UHF channels that populate much of the American airspace. It's television programming that features a lot of members of a particular group, but there's nothing restricting non-members from watching and enjoying...
Considering that blacks make up about 15% of the US population, it's retarded to see blacks on almost every channel. More than 15% of channels. Including BET, they're on damn near every channel I watch. They scream and cry when they don't get a part in a TV show or movie. They threaten "LAW SUIT" whenever they don't get there way. Playing the racial cards is all they do. Watch a white try & pull that.
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Old 04-03-2002, 03:53 PM
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Hey deadbird nice rant. We usually put those in the BBQ Pit. How about a reasoned answer/comment instead of hysterics?
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Old 04-03-2002, 04:02 PM
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I was going to leave this alone, but I can't seem to help myself


Quote:
Originally posted by deadbird


Considering that blacks make up about 15% of the US population, it's retarded to see blacks on almost every channel. More than 15% of channels. Because since blacks make up only 15% of the population they should only be on 15% of the channels. There are 98 chanels on my T.V. According to your logic there should be another 13 black chanels Including BET, they're on damn near every channel I watch. Because, according to your logic, you should not see black people at all. Or only 15% of the time. Or perhaps they should only be 15% black when you view them. They scream and cry when they don't get a part in a TV show or movie. ]This is true. Everytime I don't get a part in a T.V. show this is exactly what I do. So does every other black person. We need to stop acting as if we should be on T.V. and in movies like regular white folks They threaten "LAW SUIT" whenever they don't get there way.Also perfectly true. Why, the other day I was driving in my black car and a white car cut me off. I threatened to sue. Playing the racial cards is all they do.I play whatever hand is dealt me. If you act like a racist, I will pull out the damned card for all to see. Watch a white try & pull that. Get away with what? Having a WET channel? There's nothing to "get away with". It's not a crime. Why don't you start one up yourself, deadbird. I'm sure you can find many T.V. show reruns you can air and never show a single black person.
P.S. Last I check the black population of 12% and shrinking. Maybe, with any kind of luck, the black people will dissappear altogether and you'll never have to deal with uppity black people again.
  #29  
Old 04-03-2002, 04:53 PM
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Whoo-whee, I'm drunk! :D


I've onluy half read this thread. Hmmm. I dn't care one way or the other about the WET or BET channels we have out there now. I really enjoy Univision, on the rare occaiisions when I get ot wathc it. I just wish we'd get a lot more variety. I think we need at leatst two Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, German, French, Spanish, um, lessee, whatever other countires I've missed so we can learn a little something about the trashy shows other cultrues are watchin'. [giggle] Of coures, it'd be an added bonus if there was actually some decent shows mixedup in schedules. I'm confoused. Why is this such a damn big issue anyways? IIRC, ain't we moving in the direction--if we ain't there already--of having access to hundreds of channels anyway? If we have so many channels, then there should be a variety of programming out there. If you don't want to watch X channel, then don't. Hmpfh. Ain't no debate here, as near as I can tell.
  #30  
Old 04-03-2002, 07:24 PM
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I wanted to ask a question that this thread has raised. It was mentioned that segregated TV is a sitcom phenomenon. That makes me question why there are several prominent black roles in dramas, while comedies remain segregated (there are "white" sitcoms and "black" sitcoms, and the two don't mix very successfully).

I have some theories, but I'm not sure what to think of them.

1. Comedies need to make us comfortable as a requirement to be successful. Whites are not yet comfortable with a lot of blacks hanging around and blacks are not yet comfortable with a lot of whites hanging around (in their comedies).

2. Dramas are workplace centered. Comedies are home or family centered (even workplace comedies are just surrogate families). We find it "realistic" that workplaces are integrated, but it still seems artificial to have integrated families or social lives.

3. Blacks and whites can agree on the dramatic, but not the comedic. There is still a big divide in what whites and blacks find funny. Or, perhaps we need to be able to relate to situations in order to laugh at them (or tune in next week to laugh at them), and we don't yet relate to the same situations.

4. Blacks in dramas are not very black. I don't watch TV enough to know if this is true, but it occurs to me that there are a few quite excellent black actors in dramas, but the characters are very race neutral. Does Dr. Benton on E.R. have to be black? Is he a black character, or is it a black actor (and I'm not picking on the character or actor in particular, he just sprang to mind).

5. Blacks in dramas play stereotypes. The black characters I can think of are all very similar, predictable roles. There seem to be two or three black stock characters that recur (not that there aren't white stock characters, too). Why not stock black comedic characters? Perhaps they're more clearly offensive?

I don't think that we all should enjoy watching the same things. The only problem that I worry about being "fixed" is that I have this nagging suspicion that there are some very good black actors that I am not seeing, and instead I have to see the aforementioned David Schwimmer.

kg m/s

PS: Wouldn't I feel bad if David Schwimmer read this message board?
  #31  
Old 04-03-2002, 09:23 PM
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Quote:
1. Comedies need to make us comfortable as a requirement to be successful. Whites are not yet comfortable with a lot of blacks hanging around and blacks are not yet comfortable with a lot of whites hanging around (in their comedies).
I don't know how much this comes into play, but from my experience, "black" comedies are more likely to have regular white characters than "white" comedies, though usually serving in the goofy, clueless token white capacity.


Quote:
Dramas are workplace centered. Comedies are home or family centered (even workplace comedies are just surrogate families). We find it "realistic" that workplaces are integrated, but it still seems artificial to have integrated families or social lives.
Interesting hypothesis. I think you might be on to something.

Quote:
Blacks and whites can agree on the dramatic, but not the comedic. There is still a big divide in what whites and blacks find funny. Or, perhaps we need to be able to relate to situations in order to laugh at them (or tune in next week to laugh at them), and we don't yet relate to the same situations.
I think this might be the case. I know a white guy who cracks up along with the laugh track on Friends but thinks all the programming on UPN sucks. Personally, I can't stand Friends and I never *got* the hype over Seinfeld but I do like shows like Martin and Living Single.

However, there is cross-over humor. The Simpson's is watched by both black and white audiences. Chris Rock isn't just another "black comic", he's everybody's favorite comic. Shows like My Wife and Kids and I and The Bernie Mac Show seem to be holding up in the ratings game. So who knows what the secret is?

Quote:
Blacks in dramas are not very black. I don't watch TV enough to know if this is true, but it occurs to me that there are a few quite excellent black actors in dramas, but the characters are very race neutral. Does Dr. Benton on E.R. have to be black? Is he a black character, or is it a black actor (and I'm not picking on the character or actor in particular, he just sprang to mind).
I'm not so sure about this. Dr. Benton did have some story-lines that did focus on race, even if tangentially. I think his blackness had as much to do with his character as Corday's gender does.


Quote:
Blacks in dramas play stereotypes. The black characters I can think of are all very similar, predictable roles. There seem to be two or three black stock characters that recur (not that there aren't white stock characters, too). Why not stock black comedic characters? Perhaps they're more clearly offensive?
Actually, it seems to me that black people in dramas tend to shrug off stereotypes, especially when they are given a lot of play in storylines.

OTH, black characters in comedies have been historically stereotyped. The memory of Amos n Andy is still fresh on many people's minds.

I think there's such thing as a "token effect" in comedies. If you are a token black person or white person, then chances are you're going to be fulfilling some type of stereotype. I love the show Scrubs, even though the black guy on the show fulfills the stereotype of the loud, showboating, jive-talking side-kick. On the show A Different World, Marissa Tormei's character was clearly fulfilling the stereotype of the clueless, goofy white person. While people might find stereotypes funny, they might also be discomfited by them. So I think producers avoid this problem by making everyone the same and having no "tokens".

Quote:
The only problem that I worry about being "fixed" is that I have this nagging suspicion that there are some very good black actors that I am not seeing, and instead I have to see the aforementioned David Schwimmer.
Do you have a TV Guide?
  #32  
Old 04-03-2002, 09:26 PM
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[Adderall wearing off ... must hijack thread ...]

1) On local and network television news broadcasts, you see white male news anchors, white female news anchors, black male news anchors, black female news anchors, and Asian female news anchors. Aside from ... oh, some Korean language TV station in Aurora, Colorado, has anyone ever see an Asian male news anchor, reporter, sports reporter, or meterologist on the air?

2) ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX, and many of the cable networks have Spanish language audio on the SAP channel. Why doesn't Univision, Galavision, Telemundo, TV Azteca, or the others have English SAP?

3) An observation ... BET Jazz just calls itself "BET Jazz" -- Not "Black Entertainment Television Jazz." The musicians include black and white, and unlike normal BET, the quality is excellent.

4) Do African-Americans find it insulting that most television programming that is supposedly aimed at them are relatively lowbrow? Consider the dominance of predominantly bad comedies and standup "Black-people-walk-like-this-white-people-walk-like-that" comedy acts." Are Hispanics insulted because most Spanish language broadcasting consists of soap operas and variety shows like "Sabado de Los Pechos?"

[End rambling]
  #33  
Old 04-03-2002, 09:37 PM
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WET, BET, and the Sci Fi channel are all the same thing: a network which attempts to cater to an economically significant portion of a populaiton which isn't the majority of the population.

What BET represents, I have no idea. I can't imagine anything that is common to all black people other than the fact that they are black.
  #34  
Old 04-03-2002, 09:52 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by elmwood
[B][Adderall wearing off ... must hijack thread ...]

Quote:
On local and network television news broadcasts, you see white male news anchors, white female news anchors, black male news anchors, black female news anchors, and Asian female news anchors. Aside from ... oh, some Korean language TV station in Aurora, Colorado, has anyone ever see an Asian male news anchor, reporter, sports reporter, or meterologist on the air?
Here in NY, there's some Asian male live-on-the-scene reporters. Rarely you see them on the set, though.

Quote:
Do African-Americans find it insulting that most television programming that is supposedly aimed at them are relatively lowbrow? Consider the dominance of predominantly bad comedies and standup "Black-people-walk-like-this-white-people-walk-like-that" comedy acts."
"Lowbrow" is a subjective term, certaintly, but many shows targeted to black people are definitely not Emmy-award winning productions. I'm not insulted by this, just annoyed. Obviously SOMEONE likes the programming if they are still on the air. Hopefully, there will be a time when everyone will get annoyed and the market will change.
  #35  
Old 04-04-2002, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Newton meter said:
5. Blacks in dramas play stereotypes. The black characters I can think of are all very similar, predictable roles. There seem to be two or three black stock characters that recur (not that there aren't white stock characters, too). Why not stock black comedic characters? Perhaps they're more clearly offensive?
I think that S. Epatha Merkerson, Jesse L. Martin, Richard Brooks, Ice-T, Don Cheadle, Vivica A. Fox, and James Avery (to name a few) might disagree about their roles being/having been 'stereotypes'.

To say that black actors do not have any quality roles on TV is a false generalization.

There are likely even more black actors on broadcast networks who are not in stereotyped roles, but as my TV viewing in general is limited severely (mostly I watch the Law & Order shows), it'll be hard for me to rattle off more names.
  #36  
Old 04-04-2002, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by deadbird
Considering that blacks make up about 15% of the US population, it's retarded to see blacks on almost every channel.
A thought experiment I just had...

1. According to the U.S. census (on [URL=http://www.prb.org/images/PB54-3fig1.gif]this chart), approximately 72% of the American population is white".
2. That means approximately 28% of the American population is non-white.
3. Where's the non-white 28% portion of Friends?

And as Biggirl noted, given how many television channels we have today, how come there's only one "minority" channel (nationwide)? We're short another 20+ "ethnic stations," by my count...
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  #37  
Old 04-04-2002, 03:47 PM
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Regarding the issue of segregated sitcoms, as I recall The Cosby Show was a very popular show, as were, perhaps to a lesser extent, The Jeffersons, Good Times and some others.

If these shows were widely popular, how did they escape the segregation issue? Were they popular with black audiences? Are we getting more segregated in regards to our racial sitcom bias?

Interesting issue...
  #38  
Old 04-04-2002, 07:59 PM
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What BET represents, I have no idea. I can't imagine anything that is common to all black people other than the fact that they are black.
Thank you! I knew that would come up at some point.

BET is a little offensive to me, but only because I find the majority of the primetime shows it broadcasts horribly unfunny.
I think there has been tremendous progress concerning the diversification of actors on television- Spanish, Asian, African, etc. People will always find something wrong with stereotyped roles (e.g. an Asian girl on Bernie Mac whose family was full of geniuses and whose parents were overobsessed with academic achievement) as well as those that some deem as "too white" (e.g. the Al Roker-ish black father on Malcolm in the Middle). I think anything, to a point, is better than nothing. I mean, I understand why there would be less minorities on some television shows, population percentage wise, but, to paraphrae Conan O'Brien, in the series finale of Friends it will finally be revealed that there are black people in New York.
  #39  
Old 04-05-2002, 01:49 AM
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Yes it would.

I bet (no pun intended) a White Pride day would be offensive, even the term "White Pride" will pretty much labele you a "Racist Pig"
  #40  
Old 04-05-2002, 02:09 AM
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I bet (no pun intended) a White Pride day would be offensive, even the term "White Pride" will pretty much labele you a "Racist Pig"
Seems unfortunate. One should feel free to celebrate their culture and pride no matter what their color and no matter what percentage of the population they hold. Thank goodness for St. Patricks Day.

I think I've heard some very reasonable arguments in defense of BET. It seems fine to me for them to target their product toa specific race. I do think. however, think it is offensive for such a channel to express the sentiment that they speak for that race. It sounds like BET is not nearly as diverse as the group of people it targets.

DaLovin' Dj
  #41  
Old 04-05-2002, 02:14 AM
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Nice post. Make the period after think a coma. I don't wanna here any smartass comments about how the statement "I do think." is a shock! Nor do I want to be asked for proof that I actually think!

Also make "toa" "to a"
  #42  
Old 04-05-2002, 05:15 AM
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L.A. news has (in the present or past) had a decent amount of Asian news people.

Lemme think: Trica Toyota, Sharon Tey, Ted Chen, Todd Fujisaki (sp?) and I know a BUNCH more. And, don't forget, Connie Chung spent some time on KCBS. (I think it was KCBS. Or was it called KNXT back then?)

Anyway, plenty of Asian newspeople in Los Angeles, and I'm sure the rest of California as well.

Don't have much to say about BET, though. It's just another nich market, not unlike TechTV, or SciFi, or HGTV. Whoopdedo.
  #43  
Old 04-05-2002, 08:26 AM
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Perhaps it should be a comma instead of a coma.

A comatose debate is usually pretty boring.
  #44  
Old 04-05-2002, 01:16 PM
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WET channel


this channel exists already, but it's called "Speed Channel".

All white, All the time"

hell, all white european/american male, for that matter! no matter if the show is about an event in australia, europe, africa, north/south america or asia, its chock-full-o'white male!

____________
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  #45  
Old 04-06-2002, 12:42 AM
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I was about to prove I think - but I ended up with in a comma.
  #46  
Old 04-06-2002, 11:29 AM
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by any other name


THE LONE RANGER

I LOVE LUCY

THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW

FATHER KNOWS BEST

LEAVE IT TO BEAVER

THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB

and of course

AMOS AND ANDY

of course you would have to have seen these in the 50's and 60's. the world was whiter then.

Dal Timgar
  #47  
Old 04-06-2002, 11:51 AM
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Would WET be offensive? Well, some people would surely be offended by it. I would not, as I would simply find it silly--just as I find the NAAWP: National Association for the Advancement of White People simply silly. (Some of it is clearly racist; most of it is clearly stupid.)
  #48  
Old 04-07-2002, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by dalovindj
Seems unfortunate. One should feel free to celebrate their culture and pride no matter what their color and no matter what percentage of the population they hold. Thank goodness for St. Patricks Day.

I think I've heard some very reasonable arguments in defense of BET. It seems fine to me for them to target their product toa specific race. I do think. however, think it is offensive for such a channel to express the sentiment that they speak for that race. It sounds like BET is not nearly as diverse as the group of people it targets.

DaLovin' Dj
I agree completely. It's very unfortunate.

But... the fact of the matter is, it seems that all minorities are made to be such great things over the majority. It's not like we're proud to be in the majority, but people (Jesse Jackson) prey on minorities & make them stand out. Also what seems to happen is a little racial/cultural war begins. Thus thrusting that minority up on a pedistal and then competing with the majority.

Sometimes we need to have such differences between us.

I read in the newspaper that a girl's softball field sucked & wasn't as good as the boy's field. How much do boys play more than girls? A lot. To sue for such a thing is merely a ploy to get better facilities for free while feeding off the backs of the taxpayers. Thus bringing society down as a whole.

To give you a better perspective on this, consider illegal immigrants. You don't want those Mexicans coming over, stealing your jobs, eating your food, taking what you, as an American, have been not only priviledged to, have have guaranteed rights are entitled to. And even to some still, if they aren't illegal immigrants and just plain Mexicans, they should be allowed to bring society and the quality of life down in the USA.

BTW, reperations should die a horrible horrible death...
  #49  
Old 04-07-2002, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by deadbird
BTW, reperations should die a horrible horrible death...
[Peter Griffinesque-hijack]

The only color that matters is green.

[/hijack]
  #50  
Old 04-07-2002, 03:38 PM
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Society was moving along at a nice clip for thousands of years until blood-sucking girls softball teams (armed with lawyers)showed up and brought it crashing down.
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