Racist Television?

There’s an old email forward that declares the woes of being white and how unfair it is that minorities get such special privileges, like the cable television channel Black Entertainment Television [BET]. The email insists that if there was racial equality, and not “reverse racism”, then black people would not have their own cable network, or would not view a cable network just for white people as racist. I’m always amazed when I get information like this forwarded to me.

When I watch BET, there’s white people on the channel but I notice that the programming and the commercials are different. The number of black people featured in the shows and commercials is noticeably higher than on other cable and network television channels. It actually strikes me that the presence of black people on BET is equal to the presence of white people on every other channel.

If racism is only kept alive by minorities seeking special treatment over white people, then wouldn’t the advertising and programming on every other cable and network television channel be balanced in its racial presence, instead of white people dominating the screen? Why isn’t McDonald’s selling the same commercial to NBC that it’s selling to BET?

Obviously, I already know the answers to my questions here. What amazes me is that I’m pretty sure what I know is very obvious and, if it’s obvious, why is this racist email information getting repeatedly passed around like it has any merit?

For anyone who does disagree, I implore you to take two hours any evening during Prime Time and watch television. For the first hour, watch BET and count the number of black people and white people that you see. If you’d like, also count other races as you feel are visually identifiable by you. Then for the second hour, repeat this exercise while watching NBC, ABC, CBS or Fox. Pay special attention to commercials on both channels.

Let me know how it goes.

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