Thomas Cripps 'Amos' Andy Analysis

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Following World War II, it seemed that the black community was finally gaining the social mobility they deserved after years of oppression. As goals for integration into American life pushed on, as did the number of people who wanted to involve themselves in the social movement (50). This push towards a new attitude for equal treatment of blacks was not a simple task for various activist groups like the NAACP to take on, especially during the rise of television. As discussed in Thomas Cripps article, “Amos ‘n’ Andy and the Debate Over American Racial Integration,” the program, Amos ‘N’ Andy, proved to be especially troubling for the black community as a whole. In the show, it featured what was to reflect a black middle class community. The …show more content…
In the article, Thomas Cripps states that, “the middle class found in the show demeaned aspiration, burlesqued the complex distinctions that marked black social classes, and presented to a national white audience an image of maddening over simplicity” (34). Specifically, one of the main issues the NAACP found with the show was due to the character Kingfish. Unlike the other characters in the show who displayed a “neutral, bland, good hearted” demeanor, Kingfish was a much more troublesome character for the network (40-41). The supporting characters were all presented as “various extremes of virtue and vice” which helped to exemplify the sophistication of the black middle class, yet Kingfish starkly contrasted the environment with his exaggerated manners and stereotypes. One of the main issues the NAACP found with the television show was the rural dialect of Kingfish, due to the fact he was supposed to represent a middle class man. This portrayal was one of the various reasons NAACP were triggered to act against the airing of the program for its “parody of their historical struggle for social mobility in a hostile society” …show more content…
The issue with this, was that for an African American cast, their history and assimilation was still being yearned and fought for. In the NAACP eyes, “their traits of eccentric manners, dialect and other cultural baggage was perceived not as vestiges of a national culture but as the mocking of racial subculture that was an aberration of white American culture” (44). Meaning, it was not black culture that the characters were representing in Amos ‘N’ Andy, but rather, it was a culture imagined by white writers. Overall, many of the black Americans who voiced concern and disgust for the television program at the time, found Amos ‘N’ Andy to be a barrier against the progress and social mobility they

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