Stories about: appropriate TV for children

How can I address racial jokes on TV?

Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Children’s Hospital Boston’s media expert and director of Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Take a look at his blog archive or follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston.

Last week Dr. Rich offered advice to a mother who was worried about the suggestive nature of her daughter’s upcoming Halloween costume. This week he talks about how old a child is before he can understand sarcasm and the subtleties of racial humor found on many TV programs.

Q: My kids and I have recently discovered reruns of the TV show Everybody Hates Chris. The program depicts the racism Chris Rock felt as he was growing up in the early 80s. It is funny, but I wonder whether the blatant stereotyping and prejudices portrayed are good things for my kids, ages 13 and 11, to watch. We do discuss the show’s content, but I am not certain they can separate this type of humor from real life. Unfortunately, our community is not diverse and I don’t want them growing up with preconceived notions.

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