Does Fox’s ‘Empire’ break or bolster black stereotypes?
NPR - 03/18/2015
Carole Bell, an assistant professor at Northeastern University who studies media, politics and identity, said many of the new shows on network television that feature nonwhite characters — including ABC’s Black-ish and Asian American-centered Fresh Off the Boat — begin with more stereotypical characterizations that have broadened as the shows progress.
“I don’t think Cookie is just a stereotype, but the character does reinforce some aspects of the stereotype,” Bell says. “All these shows delve into a rich, specific ethnic culture, but they often start with the stereotypes. What makes all of these shows work is they have many elements — the characters aren’t tokens, they’re multidimensional, they’re at the center of the plots. And the more diversity you have in characters, the more latitude you have; no one show has to represent all black people.”