Mad Men: Look At The Progress We’ve Made!

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While I am a huge fan of the AMC television show Mad Men, I will be the first to admit that the show goes out of its way, often to far, to diregard PC in its effort to depict the 1960’s. The resulting absurdity of many dialogues that take place is evidence of how far we have come as a country when it comes to political identity.

As early as the very first episode, Mad Men takes PC head on. The following is a clip of a conversation taking place between two of the firms executives prior to a meeting with an important Jewish client:

Could you imagine having a colleague ask you “Have we every hired any Jews?” in such a casual manner? The absolute absurdity of the dialogue is a clear indication of how out of place such a prejudice and racist conversation would be in modern America. In fact, the overwhelming majority of professionals in corporate America would agree that such a conversation would be considered inappropriate.

What’s even more unsettling is the fact that the executive who asked the question, Roger Sterling, did so based entirely on profit motives. According to his reasoning, the hiring of Jewish employees is advantageous solely for the purpose of making Jewish clients “feel comfortable” during meetings with the firm.

It is fascinating how far America has come when it comes to PC and political identity and the corresponding popularity of shows which explore the issue in the way Mad Men does. On the other hand, there are many people who question how such shows even make it on the air…

8 responses to “Mad Men: Look At The Progress We’ve Made!

  1. I love this show and found this clip to be a great example for your post. I found it funny that Draper brings up “the Italian” as a potential substitute for a Jew and it shows that the writers really do a great job of capturing the attitudes of people in the 1960s. Back then both groups were minorities, now they’re all grouped together as “white”. While this conversation seems absurd, I think affirmative action programs and companies trying to ascertain their commitment to diversity make it much more likely today that employers would inquire about the race or ethnicity of their employees.

  2. It is very interesting to witness the evolution of politically correct terminology in media. Presently, it is difficult to find racism or prejudice in television unless the producers are alluding to a lesson of some sort. On the other hand, current television could be ignoring the prejudice that is occurring in modern society because it is not “PC” – it poses the question on whether the issue has been resolved or just been “dusted under the rug”?

  3. I actually find that clip hysterical. That is absurd, that people still think that they need someone of a customer’s similar backgrounds to work for them. It doesn’t matter if someone is a particular race/religion/creed, if they are the best at their craft, they are the best at their craft. I once had someone come up to me and ask where I was working and after I responded Goldman Sachs, they responded “you don’t look Jewish”, as if only Jewish people are good at transactions involving money? I really hate that!

  4. They talk about Jewish people as if they are a different species in this clip. Like Chris said, It shouldn’t matter if someone is a particular race or beleives in a certain religion. People are people and if you are the best at a certain job, then you should be the one to have it. Being Jewish shouldn’t prevent someone from being hired.

  5. Good point Jordi. The later seasons take place in the 1960’s. In different reviews I came across critics who believe the show has gone too far and sometimes not far enough in depicting America during the show’s time period.

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