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The Colorblind ScreenTelevision in Post-Racial America$
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Sarah Nilsen and Sarah E. Turner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479809769

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479809769.001.0001

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“Some People Just Hide in Plain Sight”

“Some People Just Hide in Plain Sight”

Historicizing Racism in Mad Men

Chapter:
(p.191) 8 “Some People Just Hide in Plain Sight”
Source:
The Colorblind Screen
Author(s):

Sarah Nilsen

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479809769.003.0008

This chapter analyzes the underlying racial discourse that serves as the backdrop for the narrative action in Mad Men, a television series set in the 1960s about the fictional advertising agency Sterling Cooper. The creators utilize the agency as the prism through which to appraise the United States at the cusp of a period of radical social and political transformations that would have a lasting impact on American society. The main characters seem to be struggling against social forces that affect their successes and failures in advertising. Much of the show focuses on the major discursive debates on race, gender, and sexuality. The show's representation of racism and the civil rights movement denies audiences' empathetic identification with these events, thus disassociating them from other social movements and the identity politics of the time.

Keywords:   racial discourse, Mad Men, 1960s, United States of America, radical transformations, social forces, race, gender, sexuality, civil rights movement

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