A few months ago a friend of mine asked me what television shows I watched. "I love Mad Men" I replied. She said "Are there any Black people on that show?" The question surprised me, and rather feebly I replied "The maid is Black." and then "Oh there was this one episode where they dealt with one of the characters (White) was going to a voters registration drive with his Black girlfriend." I felt ridiculous saying this because it felt like I was apologizing for the shows lack of Black characters. It didn't matter that there were no prominent Black characters on the show, I just liked the show.
This was last season. Fast forward to last Sunday's episode on which one of the characters sings in blackface, ala Al Jolson, or to be more exact, one of the minstrels from the antebellum south. Mind you, this takes place in 1962. I suppose the shows writers were attempting to show the way people in a non-diverse setting conducted themselves and the things they were insensitive to at that time.
I'm hoping that the show will find a different way to incorporate Black characters onto the show other than as maids, and through civil rights issues. I know that the fact that it is 1962 is important, and they want to be as accurate as possible historically. However, when I think of my parents who lived during that time, neither of them was a maid nor did they participate in voter registration drives.