To say that The Beulah Show is simply not racist is false. Whether you are sensitive or not, the tendency to down grade what is racist or not should answer the question if something is in fact racist.
Beulah depicts a character that did exist in the 1950's suburbia America. A domestic and sometime subservient by her own choice, Beulah may not have clearly been the butt of the joke, but was part of it. She spoke her mind but never crossed the line. Generations later in the 70' and 80's the "black servant / nanny" would take a more modern look from shows like Benson and Gimme' a Break. This time, the servant would put the "white" Employer in his and her place. Here, Beulah remembers that there is a fine line not to cross in 50's white America.
Her boyfriend is depicted as lazy and uneducated. Nothing positive from his character. Beulah's best friend also had limited education and was equally lost. Compared to the "white" family (the Henderson's) that Beulah served, the only major difference most of the time was the color of their skin. Mrs. Henderson was a perfect example of the so called "white privilege." Uneducated and without skills, the Wife and Mother of the family spends most of her day not being a Mother or a Wife, then again, she has more privilege and more status than Beulah.
I think it is important that we review the Beulah Show as a serious depiction of a period piece. The audience should always ask themselves what the show is trying to inform and influence to their audience. The depiction of the black servant in post war time America is demeaned. Why is that?
I will agree with another review that the so called racism industry calls it racist simply because it depicted a black woman as a domestic. Then again, compared to Amos'n Andy, the Beulah show did not showcase any "black" actors as doctors, lawyers or business owners. Kingfish did not eat his dinner alone in the kitchen like a servant. He had his own home and had status in the black community. Beulah's existence was only to serve her "white" employers. Beulah is a reflection of a time past. Not so much of her profession but of the era that she lived in. So whether this show is high or low on the racist scale, the point is to show why it is considered racist and how to justify it with a modern perspective.
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