Blog 3: Race

2 Oct

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Summary: In this episode the group (menus the women) decides to take a ten hour train ride, to hear one of their favorite scientists speak, when they realize on their train is an attractive actress from one of their favorite television shows.  Howard and Raj competitively attempt to woo the women and get her to go out on a date with one of them.

Analysis: This show perfectly represents what the reading about Friends was saying, concerning the idea of the closed circle.  The group consists of three white guys and one Indian, perpetuating the ideology that it is normal to be with people who look like you.  Raj, the only ethic character in the show, is from India, which reflects the belief that Asians are the model minority, most similar to whites and therefore are allowed and able to blend into white culture the easiest.  The lack of diversity in the show, and this episode in particular, is laughable.  As they walk onto the train you see the only two black people in the entire episode, who are sitting together, furthering cementing the idea of the closed circle, and the belief that people should only fraternize with people of the same race.  Also, the black woman is wearing really big earrings, which is representative of what the author of the reading on primetime television found, that African Americans are more like to be portrayed wearing jewelry/accessories than Latinos and whites.

     Raj has severe social anxiety, which makes it impossible for him to talk to attractive woman unless under the influence of alcohol.  This is a major detraction from his status on the show because another main character is Penny, Leonard’s neighbor.  Raj is a major character but his characters physical characteristics or deficiencies relegate him to minor character status.  This minor character status for an ethic character correlates with the findings from the primetime television reading, that ethnic characters are less likely to appear on primetime television and if they do they are most likely minor characters.  Raj can’t talk if Penny are any other woman is present so it’s almost like he isn’t there.  Raj (drinking non-alcoholic beer thinking it is alcoholic) makes a joke trying to impress the girl on the train, asking her if she had seen Slumdog Millionare followed by “you know that was loosely based on my life.”  This is poor joke about how every person from India looks the same and must be saved from their poverty stricken life, and because he appears to be a successful Indian than it must be true.  She doesn’t even question him, which she does on another more believable ethnic fueled joke about how Indians call the little dipper the “little curry pot” a jab at Indian’s propensity for curry.              

The show perpetuates dominant ideologies of white superiority and white privilege.  All the characters in the show are white or the “model minority” and have doctorates (or masters at MIT in Howard’s case), further perpetuating the belief that only white people can and do go to college and have the ability to succeed in our society.

Conclusion: The show perpetuates many dominant ideologies which are present on the majority of our media and pop culture, such as white superiority, white privilege, the model minority, and the closed circle.  Perpetuating these ideologies on a popular television show is detrimental to the personal beliefs of the viewers who may come to believe that this sitcom reality is a valid and accurate representation of life in California, a vastly multiracial society, and ultimately the world.

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