Friday, December 28, 2012

The Blockbuster

While we're on the topic of weapons of exclusion and inclusion in pop culture, check out this fascinating All in the Family episode about blockbusting:

It's a very interesting episode, and in Part II, Meathead does a decent job of describing the blockbusting game. On the other hand, the episode's racial dynamics are pretty messed up. It is unfortunate, for example, that the writers chose to make the blockbuster black. With a black blockbuster, the lesson of the episode is that it is wrong to exploit your own people. The black man takes the heat, and the primarily white audience of the show is relieved of having to confront the racial injustice that is at the heart of blockbusting, and the essential truth revealed by the Kerner Commission just four years before this episode aired, namely, that "white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it." This racial dynamic is only reinforced at the end of the episode, when Archie Bunker goes out to rally the neighborhood to not sell out and be duped by the black man.

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