This book examines the role played by American network television in reconfiguring a new “common sense” about race relations during the civil rights revolution. Drawing on stories told both by television news coverage and prime time entertainment, it explores the relationship among the civil rights movement, television, audiences, and partisans on either side of the black empowerment struggle. In particular, it considers the recurring theme that America's racial story was one of color-blind equality grounded on a vision of “black and white together.” The book concludes that television had an ambivalent place in the civil rights revolution. More specifically, it argues that network television sought to represent a rapidly shifting consensus on what “blackness” and “whiteness” meant and how they now fit together. Network television premised equality on a largely white definition whereby African Americans were ready for equal time to the extent that their representations conformed to whitened standards of middle-class and professional respectability.
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