1970s Sitcoms abandoned country shows because of racism


Wikipedia fails to explain why the networks in the 1970s abandoned the country-life sitcoms. Shows like Green Acres, Andy Griffith Show, Howdy Doody and so on were pulled not because of ratings as much as the changing political climate. The country style shows had more of a tendency to portray racial disparity than any other kind of entertainment.

Without living in the 1970s or doing extensive research of what led to the decision, I don’t know the details. But there is a good chance some major event caused the wheels to turn a little faster for change. TV executives want to involve everyone if they can. TV was not a platform to isolate one ethnic group from another. It’s possible that many black groups complained about the stereotyping of country style shows.

Not a single TV show involved black farmers who owned their own land. The best you would see were the blacks or Mexicans as aloof hired hands. This reflected reality. But, some interest groups saw the power of TV to change our perspective of reality. Let’s not mistake that blacks have never tried farming, it’s just that many failed in their venture.

I know one black guy who was a player for the Minnesots Vikings in the 1960s. After he retired, he tried his hand at farming in Rice Lake, WI with his new white wife. They had 2 mulatto girls, whom I went to school with. After a couple years, the black guy gave up farming and went to work at a factory instead. Farming wasn’t for him. But a lot of whites have also gone down the same path of failing at farming as well.

By portraying all races on TV as living a city life, they have leveled the playing field. The cities are least likely to have racial issues come up as career specific. The laws against stereotyping and racial profiling are supposed to be more protecting in the city. Any race of humans can work any odd job they like so long as they are qualified.

The image of a farmer is strongly white. Black people, reminded by slavery could probably see those TV comedians in country settings as the very type of people who controlled them in slavery. The humor may have been the same. The clothing was the same. The racial difference was the same.

To give the appearance of getting further away from the slavery misperceptions, they removed Green Acres. There wasn’t slavery in the cities, right? So it’s ok to make TV shows about city life. That is politics.

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