Let's set aside the undoubted singing, dancing and comedic talents of the performers on this show. The Black and White Minstrel Show was based on American 'minstrelsy' which is nothing but a racist early United States using stereotypes of black people for humour. Such humour is agreed by EVERYONE to have stunted the growth of civil rights for African Americans for decades. Let's remember that slavery was roundly approved of by the England of the 19th century, and not use 'oh we just borrowed it from America' as an excuse.
Secondly, just because 18 million people watched it every week does not negate its stereotyping of black people. England was just as racist in the '60s as America; and my parents, who grew up in the Depression and thus with all these minstrel types, were just as prejudiced as the other 17.999 million. We see how the economics of a popular show outlasted the 'liberal' outcry (god forbid we ask people to have respect for each other!); thankfully we have moved on thirty years and most people have no excuse to defend a programme just because its writers happen to be good.
Oh, the other great excuse I read here is that 'they had to perform in blackface because there weren't many black performers around at the time.' OH PLEASE. Please please please. Tell that to Sidney Poitier.
In case anyone's wondering, I'm white and I hate reality TV too.
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