Richard e Hill - a Writer's Journal

A Funny Thing Happened when George Slammed the Door

A long-time eMailer and supporter sent an eMail regarding the latest Black exploitation movie "Friday after Next".  Hollywood pulls one of these low budget chestnuts from the fire regularly to generate some cash and as an    EEOC program for Blacks in the film industry.  There was the usual request for 'boycotting and petitioning' and it’s a 'safe enough' issue for the equally unctuous Revs Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson to come forth. It reminded me of an admonition regarding the TV program, "The Jeffersons" and it's swaggering, shuffling lead character, George Jefferson.  The Jeffersons   were a spin-off from "All in the Family", a program I consider to be the best that TV has produced to date.  With due respect to the visionary Norman Lear the producer/creator of both; "Jeffersons" was a hindrance as opposed to an aid to Black actors and Black viewers. Nearly every episode would have George Jefferson, the black clone/clown of Archie Bunker uttering a racial epitaph towards Whites and slamming the door in the face of his White interracially married neighbor with still another insult. I suppose this was an attempt to demonstrate when you are Black and 'have moved on up', you can do this to 'The Man'. Bullshit! Bigotry is a product of pathetic ignorance not an apathetic perquisite of affluence.

You never heard the "N" word on TV then and any derogatory remarks towards Blacks were either veiled or showed 'social redemption or admonishment' for the injustice.  When George "slammed the door", he also "opened the door" for racial stereotyping and more open insults towards Blacks in the entertainment industry.  Now this was all done in humor of course because if a Black can 'put down' a White and it's funny; surely the reverse is tolerable. Granted the program was not the first case of Black exploitation, but the burgeoning TV industry was able to 'proliferate for profit' these scenarios at a geometric progressive pace. Now we, Blacks wish to cry foul when movies depict us negatively.  I suggest several considerations other than the obvious non-patronage.  Listen to the lyrics of 'Black music', observe the antics of Black entertainers (comedians in particular), then remember "who opens the door".

A funny thing happened when George slammed the door. . . .


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