'Mad Men' Is Not About Us

The award-winning TV show is regrettably devoid of significant black characters. It accurately reflects what life was like for most white people in the 1960s.

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Could Tyler Perry continue in the more profound direction he has taken with For Colored Girls and spearhead a black cable series about, perhaps, black people in New York right after World War II? Maybe, after the inevitable segment where a younger Madea pops up visiting a relative, there could even be a cute crossover cameo where somebody has an encounter with a young Roger Sterling or Betty Draper as a girl.

But here's the thing: Few of us would have a problem with white people not taking center stage on a show like this, even though white people were the majority of the American population at the time. Is there anything different about how many black people there are on a show depicting the advertising industry in the early '60s? 

John McWhorter is a regular contributor to The Root.

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John McWhorter is a contributing editor at The RootHe is an associate professor at Columbia University and the author of several books, including Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English.

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