Theoretical Perspectives on the Family Essay

Pages: 4 (1175 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Race

One of the most prevalent stereotypes associated with Black families in America is that they typically lack a father figure, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reinforces this view by casting the character of Will as a boy raised entirely by his mother Vy, with his father having abandoned the family early in the childhood. In a particularly moving episode broadcast during the show's fourth season, entitled "Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse," Will's father Lou returns unannounced and begins trying to reestablish a presence in his now fully grown child's life, showering Will with gifts and affection before ultimately abandoning him once again. Although it is important to recognize that this episode was critically acclaimed, and presented in a though provokingly emotional manner, it is equally important to ponder why the show's creators and writers chose to include this confirmation of a prevalent stereotype of Black families in their widely watched hit sitcom.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Essay on Theoretical Perspectives on the Family Assignment

With Hispanics and Latinos quickly becoming one of the largest minority ethnic groups in America, there has been a lack of programming on major networks which depicts this demographic. One such sitcom that portrays a marriage of a Mexican man and a Cuban woman, however, is The George Lopez Show, which aired on ABC between 2002 and 2007 for six seasons. As a comedian who employs controversial material in his stand-up routines, George Lopez relies on many stereotypical jokes about his Mexican heritage to garner laughs during a typical episode of his eponymous sitcom. Lopez routinely mentions his childhood in Mexico, stating that he grew up poor and without parental supervision, which reinforces classic stereotypes of ethnic minorities emigrating from so-called "third-world" countries. Another-based view of Latinos found within The George Lopez Show is the striking lack of White or Black characters, as the cast is almost wholly comprised of Latino characters. One of the more widely believed stereotypes associated with immigrants from Mexico or South America is that they stay to themselves, avoiding interaction with members of other races. This belief stems from another negative stereotype, which holds that the majority of Mexican or Latino immigrants have entered the country illegally. By presenting his sitcom version of a typical family from Mexican and Cuban heritage as one unwilling to develop friendships or working relationships with Whites or Blacks, George Lopez has furthered the biased and prejudiced portrayal of his culture by American media.

The prevalence of mass media programming like television sitcoms has positioned these brief, half-hour shows as mirrors for the American culture, because regular television viewers tend to regard what they see on screen as a direct representation of reality. When sitcoms willfully, or even subconsciously, instill their message with long-held ethnic stereotypes about the family structure, this seemingly minor event can result in wider societal trends. In a culture that views television programming as an extension of its own reality, the presence of bias or bigotry creates an environment in which these attitudes become permissible. As the American people continue to evolve and distance themselves from the atrocities and inequities of past generations, it is crucial that our most widely consumed media reflect this positive progression. Children and young adults are by far the most avid consumers of sitcom content, and because these age groups are the most impressionable among us, the major networks must actively encourage their writers, directors, and actors to reinforce positive viewpoints through their programming.

Works Cited

Dixon, Travis L., and Daniel Linz. "Overrepresentation and Underrepresentation of African-Americans and Latinos as Lawbreakers on Television News."… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Theoretical Perspectives on the Family" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Theoretical Perspectives on the Family.  (2013, May 22).  Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Theoretical Perspectives on the Family."  22 May 2013.  Web.  12 April 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Theoretical Perspectives on the Family."  May 22, 2013.  Accessed April 12, 2021.