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Color Of Change Launches Petition To Force Fox To Cancel 'Cops' - Cites Racial Bias, More...

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act March 20, 2013 at 1:04PM

You'll recall that it was in January when Civil Rights Organization Color Of Change launched a petition to force the Oxygen network from proceeding with its All My Babies’ Mamas reality TV show that caused quite a bit of a stir across the web, after we first wrote about it.
9
Cops

You'll recall that it was in January when Civil Rights Organization Color Of Change launched a petition to force the Oxygen network from proceeding with its All My Babies’ Mamas reality TV show that caused quite a bit of a stir across the web, after we first wrote about it.

Their petition got more than 40,000 signatures and Oxygen eventually did kill the reality TV show.

Will Color Of Change be able to work their magic again with another TV show - although one with a long, steady broadcast history?

The organization has asked Fox not to renew Cops for another season, launching yet another petition, which was sent out to its supporters via email today, requesting that they sign the petition.

So what's Color Of Change's beef with the show? Take a guess...

Here's the letter to Fox that's on their website currently:

Bad Boys, Bad Boys: Put an end to the show COPS

Here's the letter we'll send to corporate advertisers of COPS and FOX executives like Gaude Lydia Paez, VP of Corporate Communications, Nicole Bernard, Senior VP for FOX Audience Strategy, and Tony Tompson, Manager of Current Programming at FOX Broadcasting (you can add a personal comment using the box in the form):

Dear Sir or Madam,

For years, media corporations like FOX, the producers of COPS and corporate advertisers have built a profit model around the fiction of so-called “reality” television. Although marketed as unbiased, COPS actually offers a highly filtered version of crime and the criminal justice system — a “reality” where the police are always competent, crime-solving heroes and where the bad boys always get caught.

When COPS launched in 1989, it quickly came under criticism for its intentional focus on Black, Latino and low income neighborhoods and its highly selective portrayal of race. Content analysis performed in the mid-nineties revealed that “reality” crime programs like COPS tend to over-represent whites as police officers and under-represent Blacks and Latinos as authority figures, while also under-representing whites and over-representing people of color as criminals.

Research shows that these images linger in the subconscious of viewers, creating “unconscious attitudes” and “implicit biases” about both race and class, influencing public support for more punitive approaches to problems. Against the real-world backdrop of an American culture that views young men like Trayvon Martin and Jordan Russell Davis with suspicion — and places like New York where in 2011 there were more than 700,000 incidents of "stop and frisk" targeting Black and Latino males — the stakes couldn't be higher for our families and communities.

Twenty-five years in primetime is enough. I urge your company to take this opportunity to reconsider your continued support of this dangerous show.

Well, they've got a point right? Although, as I said in my Jada Pinkett Smith post earlier today, there's a much larger issue that needs to be addressed here, and forcing the end of one TV show isn't going to do a lot to bring about the desired widespread effect. We have to tackle the central issue head-on, otherwise it won't go away.

But one step at a time I suppose...

"We're sending the message to Fox and to advertisers that Cops is not worth saving," says 

Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.

With the season finale of Cops scheduled for May 4th, Fox has yet to decide on whether it's going to renew the series for another season. The network also hasn't commented on the petition.

Now in its 25th season (that's a long time for any TV series to be on the air), Cops has been a ratings hit for the network, considering how cheap it is to produce, like most reality TV shows. In fact, we could say that it was actually one of the first reality TV shows, if not the first, years before Real Housewives Of Atlanta, another one of those series that I think contributes to popular stereotypes about black people - specifically black women in this case.

Will Color Of Change launch a petition to force cancellation of that too? What about Love And Hip-Hop, which I think is actually worse than the Real Housewives franchise?

Thoughts?

If you'd like to sign the petition, click HERE to do so.

This article is related to: TV News


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