he Cosby Show was highly criticized for having redefined the African American experience in order to portray a black family whose baseline behavior was considered ‘white’. However, the portraits created by The Jeffersons and Good Times had a very different point of view from which the ‘black’ family was defined.
Stereotyping to the extent of creating media fueled labels creates a danger to society in which one ethnicity can be singled out in order to create a sense of ‘safety’ for another. One example of this can be seen in the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II as a sign of containing the threat of the Japanese. As well, the new Arizona law that requires all non-citizens to carry identification suggests that in the fight against illegal immigration a racial profile will be used to detain anyone of appearance that might not be a legal citizen. In suggesting that ‘whiteness’ is the norm from which behavior can be identified as typical creates a conflict with the actual behavior that exists in the world as well as a problem for those whose ethnic appearance does not fit into what is expected.
The idea of ‘whiteness’ is considered a defining standard from which the American experience is then typified. According to Cooks and Simpson (2008, p. 273), ‘whiteness’ can be defined as “a process of universalizing, through which white identity is inaugurated as the standard for racializing matrices - all racialized locations are compared to white identity”. The word that most often is associated with this concept is that of privilege. Through the concept of privilege, the ’white’ norm is defined as a luxury of life in which racial constraints have not influenced the success of a family. The benefit of privilege in which the white body experiences freedoms from the constraints of skin color denotes a form of stereotypical point of view that is then reflected within the media.
Stereotyping has become so prevalent in society