The Betty White Show That Defied Racist Demands (VIDEO)

Arthur Duncan on The Betty White Show (1954) | History Post By Kevin Douglas

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“Arthur, did you have a nice weekend?” Betty White asked Arthur Duncan. The entertainer, in her early 30s at the time, was center stage, speaking to the young Black tap dancer seated on her right.

“I did something a little different,” Duncan told her. “I rehearsed with a choral group that’s going to do Christmas carols this Christmas.”

“Oh, wonderful,” White said. “Are you going to go house to house?”

His reply to her — that they would be performing at local hospitals and orphanages — was as wholesome as the beloved actress and entertainer, who died last week at 99.

Betty White defied racists who wanted to prevent her from featuring a Black tap dancer on her show in 1954, The Washington Post reported. 

When encouraged to take Arthur Duncan off the air, White, then in her 30s, said: “I’m sorry, but, you know, he stays,” per the Post.

She also told her critics to “live with it.”

Check out the classic segment below.

When the iconic actress passed away, Twitter users paid homage to her and reminded the world of her fight against racism during the early years of television. One posted stated, Let us not forget that in 1954 Betty White’s show was canceled shortly after receiving backlash for her refusal to cancel Black tap dancer, Arthur Duncan. She extended his airtime instead, and responded to racists with “I’m sorry. Live with it.” Check out some of the reactions below.