The other night, I decided to watch a couple of old shows on YouTube. I started out with Remote Control, an old game show that used to air on MTV, then I started watching Diff’rent Strokes.
Five minutes into the show, I realized just how times have changed, and I couldn’t believe how many inappropriate things used to be shown on TV back in the “good ol’ days.” We’re talking examples of sexism, racism, and every other “ism” you can think of.
In fact, one of the most common tropes on TV was old-fashioned racism. Take this clip of Archie Bunker on All in the Family for example. He’s pretty much saying that whites are superior to blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Asians:
Racial slurs were a dime a dozen as well. In this clip from The Jeffersons, George Jefferson’s white neighbor drops the N-bomb. Afterwards, Mr. Jefferson calls him a honky.
Moving along, today we have kids setting themselves on fire. But back in the day, Beavis and Butthead explicitly condoned this kind of behavior:
Or how about a complete lack of racial diversity? Ever notice there was not one person of color on The Jetsons? I guess in the future, only white people exist.
There were whole characters based on stereotypes.
Black Face. We know how problematic that is.
Wrestling used to be racist as PHUCK. This is Akeem, he’s a jive soul bro who was accompanied to the ring by a pimp named Slick.
No, really. The WWE was racist. Check out the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff:
What are we missing? Oh yes, some blatant sexism. On Diff’rent Strokes, Mr. Drummond sent his black sons to public school and his white daughter to private school. When she finally gets there, she’s basically told to shut up and be a pretty girl.
The Power Rangers stuck to stereotypes heavy. The Black Ranger was black. The Yellow Ranger was Asian. The Pink Ranger was a white girl.
Yes, television has made leaps and bounds in 2014. But we still have a long way to go.
PHOTO CREDIT: MTV | VIDEO CREDIT: YouTube