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CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" cites Naeemah Clark

The associate professor in the School of Communications spoke Aug. 21, 2013, about a new show by comedian Seth MacFarlane under heavy criticism for its racial stereotyping of Asians.

Associate Professor Naeemah Clark

Associate Professor Naeemah Clark was interviewed by CNN this week for a segment on an afternoon broadcast of "The Lead with Jake Tapper."

Clark serves as director of the Communications Fellows program. Her Aug. 21 remarks focused on the controversry surrounding a new program for the FOX network, "Dads," which is under criticism for the Asian stereotypes it portrays.

The heaviest attack against FOX comes from the Media Action Network for Asian-Americans. The advocacy group is asking FOX to reshoot the pilot episode before it airs.

From the article posted to CNN's website:

Naeemah Clark, author of Diversity in U.S. and Media and an associate communications professor at Elon University, understood their point. “That organization is well within its rights to complain, to ask FOX to reshoot,” she said, “but if the show makes money for FOX, which Seth MacFarlane makes a great deal of money for FOX, they’re not going to change the program.” CNN reached out to FOX for comment on this story but did not receive a reply.

Controversial content has become synonymous with McFarlane. His hugely successful series Family Guy isn’t afraid to offend. In fact, race has been a common topic of the series’ jokes. But is it racist? Is it making fun of racism? Is it both?

Either way, Family Guy has been going strong, attracting loyal viewers since 1999.

“If it were just racism for racism’s sake, that would stop,” said Clark. "You know, people would say we’ve had enough of that. But if you look at a program like All in the Family or The Jeffersons or other programs that really challenge the conventions of race and gender, those shows make people question what’s going on in society, and honestly, that’s what Seth MacFarlane is trying to do.”

Clark has published her research in Journalism History and American Behavioral Scientist. She co-authored a textbook, Diversity in US Media, and has presented numerous papers at various conferences. Clark studies and teaches about economic, programming, and diversity issues related to the media industries. 

Since coming to Elon in 2009, she has led student groups to Vietnam, Berlin and Central Florida.

Eric Townsend,
8/22/2013 3:30 PM