When Did TV Shows Start to Break Racial Barriers?

The best answer to any question.
July 23 2014 1:46 PM

When Did TV Shows Start to Break Racial Barriers?

This question originally appeared on Quora.

ikalish

Answer by Irma Kalish, producer and writer, Good Times:

Advertisement

I think barriers were starting to break down when my husband, Rocky, and I worked on Good Times. The show actually portrayed a black family, and the idea was not to show the family as different. We weren’t going to write different jokes just because the family was a different race. Our show was there to portray the human nature of the problems they faced and what was going on with the family. The elements that held the family together—white, black, Chinese—didn’t make any difference. They all had the same purpose and family. 

The interesting thing about Good Times was that the actors had different opinions on things than the writers did. For example, we did an episode where the young boy found a wallet in the street, and he had to deal with the repercussions of trying to return it. The cast came to us and said, “You don’t understand. He would never have returned it.” That was very interesting us.

After this show, racial barriers did get broken down. There was a show where a black sheriff from the city started working in a redneck town and caused humorous situations as they all worked together. Then there was The Jeffersons, where the neighbors were an interracial couple. Sure, they weren’t the main characters, but they were still a significant part of the show. And obviously since then, racial boundaries have been broken even more.

More questions on Quora:

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 16 2014 11:25 AM The GOP’s Phantom Menace The Republican Party’s new agenda is trying to solve problems that don’t exist.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 16 2014 10:17 AM How Jack Ma Founded Alibaba
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 10:52 AM Bill Hader Explains Why Playing Stefon Made Him Laugh and Why LeBron James Is Funny
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.