These movies and TV shows couldn’t exist in 2019’s political correctness
Kate Smith's version of "God Bless America" was banned at Yankees games and Flyers games years after her death due to the discovery of two songs she recorded long before the Civil Rights Act was passed. They were said to be racist, even though many say at least one was clearly parody. Her statue was even removed from outside Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. We all know the story.
I read an interesting opinion piece by Christian Toto on TheHill.com about how many classic movies could be banned in our current era of political correctness. It occurred to me that Christian only scratched the surface. So we opened up our phone lines and had listeners calling in with TV shows and movies that probably would be too controversial to exist in 2019. Some of them were not nearly as old as you would think.
One I thought of goes back to 1986. C. Thomas Howell was the lead in a movie called Soul Man. The plot? A white man takes special tanning pills to turn entirely dark so he can pretend to be black and qualify for a black-only scholarship at Harvard. It was basically an entire movie having a white actor in blackface.
BUT...the point of this movie was actually to show the nastiness of racism. In fact a line spoken at the end of the movie by C. Thomas Howell was very poignant. When scolded by someone from Harvard about his charade he's told, "You've learned what it feels like to be black."
"I beg your pardon?"
"I don't really know what it feels like sir. If I didn't like it, I could always get out. It's not the same sir."
"You've learned a great deal more than I thought."
Nonetheless, the NAACP took issue with the film as did Spike Lee who never even bothered to watch the movie before condemning it. Which of course is a form of prejudice in and of itself.
While it was protested and debated, the movie was still released. I feel there's not a chance in hell that movie would be released or even made today.
Our listeners came up with a lot of other examples. Here are just some of them.
In Living Color
It was the 1990's. Think about the "Men On Film" bit roasting flamboyant gay men and you'll get the caller's point.
Chico And The Man
This show from the 1970's dropped racist joke after racist joke. Even though Jack Albertson's character would learn the way of his mistakes it would probably never air today.
All In The Family and The Jeffersons
Even though Norman Lear has a one time live special in the works I can't imagine they're going to go for the same racial slurs they did back then. I even recall hearing George Jefferson's character once use the n' word.
A Christmas Story
Remember the last scene where the Asian restaurant workers couldn't sing and pronounce their L's?
The constant derision by the landlord doled out to John Ritter's gay character would be hard to imagine today.
Both the movie and the very early episodes of the TV series had a character who was repeatedly called "spear chucker Jones."
Even as recent as 2008 this Ben Stiller movie had Robert Downey Jr. playing a white man playing a black man. More blackface. Yes it was complained about at the time, but even just 11 years ago the movie was still released and did well. Would that fly today? Would it even be released? Or even made? By the political correctness of 2019 it's doubtful.
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