chapter  7
Black Responses: The Hollow Images of Success
WithSut Jhally, Justin Lewis
Pages 17

The overriding concern of our black interviewees to discuss The Cosby Show in the framework of TV racial stereotyping should alert us to the general function that images play in our lives. Black respondents first recognized as a problem the relative absence of images of themselves. Past stereotypical images that have denied black people any particular level of humanity act as a filter for understanding new images. In many interviews, respondents made an explicit connection between negative TV Images and the way in which white people come to understand black people. In the upwardly mobile world of popular television, it is only when black people are presented as middle class that they become normal and are assimilated into the succession of images of social success. In the upwardly mobile world of popular television, it is only when black people are presented as middle class that they become normal and are assimilated into the succession of images of social success.