“What Was I Thinking….?”

TO:  All Faculty, Students, and Staff

RE:  I’m Sorry

I’m not sure what possessed me last week to show a 1952 episode of Amos ‘n’ Andy to students in my course on “Black Americans on Network TV in the Early 1950s.”  Perhaps it was because I was teaching a course on “Black Americans on Network TV in the Early 1950s.”

In any event, it is now clear that my decision has ignited a firestorm of controversy on campus.  Accordingly, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to the following groups:

—  The American Gem Society, which is not pleased that Sapphire, the wife of Kingfish, is portrayed in the episode as being somewhat strident and shrewish.  This has depressed sales of sapphire jewelry across the country.  

—  The National Mackerel Association, which objects to the episode’s depiction of Kingfish (aka George Stevens) as someone who is constantly hatching get-rich-quick schemes.  In reality, king mackerels (aka kingfish) are famous in the marine community for their integrity and honesty, second only to blue marlin.    

— Uber and Lyft Drivers, who correctly note that Amos’s occupation in the series is that of taxicab driver, with no mention ever being made of Uber or Lyft transportation services.   Although it is true that neither Uber nor Lyft existed in 1952, that’s a poor excuse for the writers not anticipating that they would exist in the future. 

—  The American Bar Association, which is upset that the only lawyer featured in the episode — Algonquin J. Calhoun — is black.  As ABA President Reginald Turner informed me in a registered letter, “the great majority of attorneys in the United States in 1952 were white.  An impressionable white child who watches this episode might wonder, ‘are there any lawyers out there who look like me?  I don’t want to be a lawyer anymore.  I’d rather sell car insurance for a living, or just kill my parents and live on what I inherit’.”

— The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE), which is appalled at the failure of the Mystic Knights of the Sea, the fraternal group Amos and Andy belong to, to faithfully observe Robert’s Rules of Order during their meetings.  “Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t,” observes BPOE Board Chairman James McQuillan.  “It makes all of us look bad.”

— The Mothers-in-Law Congress of North America, which maintains that Americans’ negative view of mothers-in-law can be traced back to the character of Mama, Kingfish’s nemesis on the show.  As Congress President Edna Yentsin put it, “Mama was totally justified in being highly critical of her son-in-law, given those get-rich-quick schemes he was always hatching.”

—  The American Kennel Club, which claims that canines rarely appear on Amos ‘n’ Andy.  As AKC President Dennis Sprung yelled at me over the phone, “it’s one thing to have a TV show with no cats.  Cats suck.  But to have no dogs, not even strays?  That’s downright un-American.  Shame on Amos ‘n’ Andy, and shame on you for exposing students to this anti-pooch propaganda.  Somewhere, a bichon is crying alone in its crate, you bastard.”

If I have failed to apologize to anyone I should have, please contact me.


Dr. Terrance Nasely-Smythe 

Professor of Cultural Anthropology