Director: Marlon T. Riggs
Provocative, engaging and scrupulously researched, Color Adjustment: Blacks In Prime Time is a film that examines the relationship between prime-time television and America's racial consciousness. Taking as dual points of departure the cautious optimism with which Blacks returned to civilian life after World War II and the concurrent birth of television, Marlon Riggs (Tongues Untied) demonstrates how prime time inherited stereotypical images of Blacks from radio, and proceeded to build from the start a white myth of the American dream that denied access to Blacks. Color Adjustment: Blacks In Prime Time punctuates a chronology of white-dominated television programs featuring black characters with the recollection of actresses, scholars and producers. With the civil rights movement the reality of race relations retrained television, and the tension between the images of Blacks on the nightly news and their scarcity during prime-time became evident. Riggs carefully traces the attempts to redress the inequities up to the present, and reaches the unsettling conclusion that through four decades, television has accomplished little to transcend its basically homogenized representation of reality.