Political correctness really has changed the world in recent decades. The climate of acceptability is a steep incline. What was accepted in the 1960 and 70s might seem a little off to our modern eyes. Some of it even seems outrageous – bloody outrageous. The way old sitcoms depicted ethnic minorities is so much different from how it is today. I’m glad it’s changed, and I’m not saying it’s a good thing that the past was like that. But it’s really interesting to look back at those tv shows now considered racist. If we’re being honest, there are some current tv programs that are considered racist by many. Here are my top 10 most racist tv shows of all time.
Amos ‘n Andy
Amos ‘n Andy is an incredible example of how racist tv shows once were. Originally just a radio show, tv companies took notice of the duo who created it. It was created by and featured two white actors, one of which playing a black character. The tv show seems to have been produced according to a framework of racist stereotypes. I say this because of how black people were depicted – loud and simple folk. Huge protest campaigns were launched against the show, successfully managing to get the series cancelled. It’s no surprise. However, they went on to bring the show back for several other series.
Love Thy Neighbour
Love Thy Neighbour was one of the many racist tv shows to become popular in Britain. The premise of the show is that a black man moves into a white area. That’s literally the whole premise, that he doesn’t belong in the same neihbourhood as white people. Sound racist yet? Well it gets so much worse. His new neighbours are kind hearted but racist as hell, always accidentally insulting him and making stereotypical suggestions, like offering him some watermelon. The show is now notorious in British society as a terrible show. But it was successful in it’s day, with 54 episodes being produced.
The Lone Ranger
The Lone Ranger was a tv show featuring a brave Texas ranger who fights crime across the state. It was one of America’s most influential and successful shows ever, which saw the ranger become a real icon. The ranger was always accompanied by his native American sidekick. The sidekick was called Tonto. Apparently Tonto is the Spanish word for moron. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though as the whole show depicts him and other natives as primitive and backwards. But still, it’s a bloody good plot for a show. That’s why it was recently adapted into a Hollywood movie, with Johnny Depp playing Tonto.
Mind Your Language
If you’re looking for racist tv shows then I think we’ve hit the mother-load here. Mind Your Language featured offensive depictions of people from Germany, France, Spain, Greece, Italy, India, Pakistan, China, and Japan. That’s a big achievement for just one show. Here’s how it breaks down: East-Asians were shows as evil socialists. South-Asians were shows as morons. And Europeans were treated according to the standard stereotypes. Forty two episodes were produced, which was very expensive. To make up for this, the show was exported all over the world, mostly to former British colonies. I’m sure it didn’t go down well.
The Secret Diary Of Desmond Pfeiffer
The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer is a really weird one. It’s essentially a comedy show about slavery, which is never racist, right? It tells the story of a black British man who travels to America to work for Abraham Lincoln as a sort-of butler. It was aired in 1998, which was a really bad move. 1998 isn’t long ago enough to air this kind of thing so the show prompted ferocious protest. The protests began even before the show aired on tv. Needless to say, the show did not make a second season.
Tom and Jerry
Tom and Jerry is a show I loved as a child so I’m really not happy it turned out to be racist. The show began over 70 years ago so we can’t expect everything to be in line with what we now see as acceptable. It’s just hard to associate my favourite childhood tv show with blatant racism. Go and watch some of the old Tom and Jerry episodes and you’ll see racism in it. Specifically watch the scenes with the black woman called “mammy two shoes” she’s a walking, talking, jiving mass of offensive stereotypes.
Happy Days presented an idealized world set in 1950’s America. The only problem there is that the 1950s wasn’t exactly an easy time to be an ethnic minority. The show was popular enough to launch several books and other shows as spin-offs. In the show, women tend to act like they’re terrified of black people, which is weird. I guess white people must have been scared of ethnic minorities back in the 1950s. In one episode, a black man is constantly offered watermelon by the terrified white community. Sort of like a racist peace offering. Most racist tv shows seem to depict black people eating watermelon.
It Ain’t Half Hot Mum
It Ain’t Half Hot Mum recently made headlines as the BBC decided to permanently ban it from being shown on tv. It was just deemed far too racist for our modern eyes. And they were probably right. Set during the second world war, it follows a group of British soldiers stationed in a remote area of India. This gave the perfect opportunity to present Indian people as bumbling morons. The producers also took the opportunity to present caricatures of Japanese and other local peoples. To be fair, it was mostly just jokes at their expense.
Some episodes of Looney Tunes are so racist that 11 of them were banned worldwide forever. You’ll never see them on tv again, but you can find them online for some reason. They are called the censored eleven, and they were banned in the 1960s. If you’re tv show is considered too offensive for tv even in the 1960s, you know it was pretty fucking offensive. The most notorious of the censored eleven is called jungle jitters. It follows a white man’s journey into some distant land, possibly Africa. On arriving he find that the natives are savage cannibals who like nothing more than to cook and eat other humans. They spend their time dancing around to the beat of a drum while showing off their fancy grass skirts and bone piercings. It’s ridiculously racist, and there are 10 more where that came from!
All in the Family
All in the Family is possibly the most influential tv show on this list. The show follows the life of an ‘ordinary’ working class family in America. The man of the house just so happens to be a massive bigot. He didn’t seem to like ethnic minorities or homosexuals, or even women. The whole show was full of him making jokes at their expense, as well as rape jokes and similar. His name was Archie Bunker and the left hated him. I think every marginalized group must have protested the show due to one of his jokes about Japanese people or abortions. It’s actually kinda funny to look back at some of these racist tv shows. The world has changed a lot.