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

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
March 20, 2013 1:04 PM
9 Comments
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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.

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9 Comments

  • Igwell | May 6, 2013 5:08 PMReply

    Congratulations. I think this was the final boot, after its falling ratings and the rise of FOX Sports Saturday made its cancellation inevitable.

  • jon | April 11, 2013 3:55 PMReply

    Maybe they should try to cancel reality

  • getthesenets | March 21, 2013 9:47 PMReply

    real damage done by these American shows is that the are syndicated worldwide

    never looked it up but having seen dubbed versions of other Fox shows when I've gone abroad...fairly certain that Cops has been broadcated across the globe in a lot of languages......

    Yes, we all know that the crime stats don't lie and that there are Black criminals...but Cops isn't the ONLY show on tv showing African Americans.

    Go to other places, and outside of american hip hop and pop artists....Cops is probably the only image of (american)Black people that they see.....pre-Obama, that is.

    .....

  • Miles Ellison | March 21, 2013 9:23 PMReply

    If there were no black criminals, they would be created out of burnt cork.

  • ScriptTease | March 21, 2013 8:21 PMReply

    Maybe black folks should stop giving them material needed for this reality show that has been airing for over 20-25 years. Just a thought.

  • Carl | March 21, 2013 9:11 PM

    No race of people are without criminals and idiots. Unless black folk become PERFECT, they (COPS) will always have material.

    What's different is when they focus (get footage) MORE on the black criminals than the ones of other races. They only show the footage of the criminals THEY choose to show in the editing room. Producers of the show being "they". So don't do a Sam Jackson Django house nigga impression by letting the editors off the hook.

    I'm not for the petition (they show plenty of rednecks) but to say blacks should "just stop committing crimes" is a dumbass, unrealistic statement.

  • ALM | March 20, 2013 9:15 PMReply

    Knowing Fox, they'll probably cancel "Cops" and create a reality show that is ten times worse.

  • Aswilliams | March 20, 2013 2:01 PMReply

    @Tambay you cetainly bring up some great points when it comes to other reality shows that points out negative stereotypes of Afro-Americans. I too wonder will the organization call out the filth that caters to negative stereotypes of people of color from both the black man and woman. Cops isn't the big issue here there are other degrading and humiliating reality shows that are worse than Cops that need a signed petition to go off the air immediately. Where were they when shows like Basketball Wives, Love & Hip Hop, and other filth on Vh1. It is more broader than a show like Cops. There are other issues to tackle in other reality shows.

  • urbanauteur | March 20, 2013 4:41 PM

    @A SWILLIAMS, While i tend to agree, WE still NEED to examine more deeply those wedge issues that keep US from waging a more sustain frontal attack f-up images, but until WE get more troops and rope balance, weather it be COPS or Martha 'freak in' Stewart, it don't mean a dame thing,because We will continue to have these racist behemoths like HOLLYWHITE that's been Subliminally Reinforcing this myopic jailhouse recidivism (just look at the rash of malcontent young white boy(s) , whom take out hunting sprees on innocent folk-mostly their own!? talk about Game of Thrones in real life!!!??) ' also look at the rise of Wall Street stock on the New York Stock Exchange(check it out, its about 15 super max prisons on the market, why???..maybe Donald (CH)ump know something We don't..huh?

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