Media White Wash

After a long and extremely painful back and forth conversation with a person named Rob on my post “White Bigots A Plenty”, I have learned a lot about this TVone not to mention how the term “black shows” is actually thought about. For one thing I found that the conversation strayed from the original discourse enough to make it irrelevant to my original post. We began our banter talking about the lack of diversity on the Discovery channel, where I asked for examples of the programming that was NOT white oriented. This meant that I wanted this person Rob to name the programs that are on this particular channel that have a majority black staff, writing content that is intended for black people without stereotypes and starring a black cast. We all know that went absolutely nowhere. In fact I did get a toss of an Asian who may or may not be a regular on Myth Busters.

So somehow instead of showing me what I asked for he most predictably started throwing out the usual well known “supposedly” black shows such as Everybody Hates Chris and others. Now unfortunately just because the show stars a jigaboo throwback who acts the likes of Rochester complete with bug eyes and surprise, surprise looks. We all know that this show has predominantly white writers regardless if it is a concoction from Chris Rock who we KNOW would never slight black people for a laugh. So I am seeing that it seems people feel black programming is just anything with a black person in it. So basically if a show has a black person no matter how stereotypical or benign the characters actions are. Which is really not very surprising, hell he even threw out BET as an example of black programming, much to the disgust of me and many other aware black people.

Now back to this TVone that I had to do some research on since I tried over and over to explain to this person that I do not receive that programming so can not consider it when looking at black programming. It doesn’t matter how black it is if it isn’t something that is able to be viewed. Anyway, this channel is supposedly something for blacks to take pride in and is touting itself as an alternative to BET. Unfortunately where BET caters to shows showing ghetto fabulous losers in all their glory this channel hearkens back to the plethora of pseudo black shows with white writers dealing with a stereotypical black doing something either funny or stupid. Some of the lineup includes shows such as Martin, Good Times, Amen and City of Angels. Now I am sure that to the sleepwalking black person or other typical people of any race this looks like it would be something great for blacks.

But really, I asked for black programming, not black reruns from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s not to mention crap that is not even in production anymore. They have a couple of shows that has newer content that is written by blacks behind the scenes which he named personally. But they are talk, church and makeover shows. These hardly qualify as quality not to mention that the makeover show is hosted by a loud mouthed fat black lady hearkening back to Mo’Nique and any other stereotypical black chick with an attitude and loud mouth. It was the ladies of the movie B.A.P.S. given a platform for ultra stupidity. And yet this is pushed my way like so much hot rotten garbage that I guess someone thinks is just fine for me and my family to consume. While white people are being entertained by channels full of current programming that doesn’t play up or down to any particular stereotype that might be present in their community.

Where in the hell is our black version of Shark, Boston Legal, and Hannah Montana, Two and a half men, One tree hill or Heroes? I may not be in love with any of these shows, but at least the white population is inundated with an abundance of opportunities to see people who look like themselves acting in a myriad of roles from funny to ultra serious. They are given the chance to turn channels and watch the show Two and a half men which has not one minority in any type of recurrent role. How nice for them to be able to avoid any contact with a person of color. Yet Rob would have me and all of you believe that change is a coming because the ineffectual NAACP claims they are on the case. Sure, they said they were on the case of wage disparity and we see where that has gone. And it hasn’t gotten better, but has gotten even worse as of late. So I guess I won’t be holding my breath waiting for them to do whatever they did for wages in the entertainment industry. I guess I and others will have to be content with the white washing of the media.

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14 Comments

Filed under African American, Black community, Black Culture, Black People, Minorities, Racism, Rant, Thoughts

14 responses to “Media White Wash

  1. The Engineer

    “I guess I and others will have to be content with the white washing of the media.”
    — quotation of The Black Sentinel

    “White washing” — that is an interesting term, which until now, I believed it was used exclusively to describe Asian women (or at least seventy percent (70%) of them).

    Please do not worry about me; I am at peace with that aforementioned statistic.

    Here is a weblink to a rather long article entitled, “Diversity in Entertainment: Why Is TV So White?”
    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20206185,00.html
    The article is long and seems to be filled with the same kind of misconceptions that commentator “Rob” was advocating. The article may not be worth reading, but here is an important excerpt:


    The NAACP has taken notice: It will release a new study later this month titled ”Out of Focus, Out of Sync — Take 4,” which calls for diversity not only on screen but also behind the scenes, where decisions are made and story lines are hatched. ”1 out of every 3 persons in the United States is a minority,” reads the report, an advance excerpt of which was provided to EW. ”One could argue that a third of all those working in Hollywood should be a minority. However…their presence is not accurately represented on-air and for the most part, their stories are secondary or non-existent. Behind the camera, the challenges facing minorities have been even greater and traditionally more difficult to overcome…. It is unconscionable and unacceptable that there is no new African American sitcom, or family drama for that matter, currently in the fall line up on any of the major broadcast networks.” Vicangelo Bulluck, executive director of the NAACP’s Hollywood bureau, says plainly, ”The trend definitely seems to be going in the wrong direction.”

    I believe the whole issue is centered on money, specifically advertisers’ money.

    Advertisers only wish to cater to the Majority, because for better or worse, it is the Majority that is the biggest aggregate spender in the United States of America.

    What does the Majority wish to see on television and in the movie theaters? The Majority wants to see complete glorification of the Majority — no exceptions. The Majority also want their egos stroked and rubbed just right, even if that requires complete fabrications. Recently, there was a movie called “21.” By Googling with the search string, “21 movie asian replaced with caucasian,” one can find many references to complaints from the Asian community. The complaints mainly focused on casting Caucasians to play the part of the true-to-life people who really took Las Vegas for a steal. Why were Caucasian actors employed instead of Asian actors? It was done to make the movie appealing to the Majority.

    The Majority like (love?) their brand of stereotypes. They thrive on them. They pattern their lives on television, and television is patterned (imaginatively) from them. If one were to take away the stereotypes and the associated hatred, the Majority will be extremely bored. The Majority need television as it is today.

    I had stopped watching television approximately thirteen years ago. I do not miss it. I have more time to concentrate on my never-ending professional improvement as an Engineer. Occasionally, I do buy a DVD, but only when it is on sale at a place like Target, Walmart, Fry’s, or even the local supermarket. I am proud that I have boycotted television.

    I can vaguely remember in American History that there was a very short period during which a group of people decided to boycott a local bus system. I believe it got results.

    Perhaps, another boycott is in order.

    Thank you for listening.

  2. Aside from the charactors on the show and the color of the writers, what makes a show “black”. I’m just curious why a black person wouldn’t appreciate the same shows I would enjoy.

  3. Jay,

    What makes a show black is that it is sensitive to the black communities condition. The show isn’t an embarrassment to blacks. It might include things that we deal with or how we deal with one another in REALITY! The show will not be stereotypical in nature and show blacks in their true sense.

    I mean didn’t the minstrel shows of the old days have blacks in them. Even though they were running around with big red lips eating watermelon. Wasn’t that a black show then, since it contained black people? Just because a show has a black person or people in it does not mean it was made for black people.

    Now, do you frequently enjoy watching Telemundo’s English version? If not then why? Why don’t you enjoy the same programming that obviously the Hispanics who watch that programming like?

    Or maybe you are content to watch pseudo black television such as BET constantly and it gives you ALL the entertainment that you need. And you obviously don’t need to look at any television where your race is the majority. Am I correct?

    How about Bollywood? Are you content to only watch their brand of entertainment? And if not then why? This is not rocket science. I never said that blacks don’t enjoy watching shows being marketed to white people. What I am saying is that just like any race of people (yours included) would enjoy seeing themselves represented in the entertainment that they watch. And I mean more so than just the stereotypical black person or the one token who appears on these white oriented shows here and there.

    So if you are NOT only watching any of these channels why not? Don’t they serve YOUR entertainment needs? I mean it is the same situation for black people and any other race that would like to see themselves represented without the stereotypes.

    Thanks for the reply.

  4. Jay,

    One other thing. Would you be content to watch television if it was predominantly black and the only white people you saw were constantly being shown as racists, KKK members or drunken transients? That would not make you feel that you were being represented truly would it?

    Thanks for the reply.

  5. The Engineer,

    Your assertions are so correct. I might agree with you that a boycott may be in order. This crap has got to stop. If they don’t want to cater to us and don’t want us to cater to ourselves then we will just have to let them know that we do have a choice with how we spend our money, however little they think that is. It won’t feel too little when they don’t have it in their pockets.

    Thanks for the reply.

  6. The one problem with the premise of finding quality tv shows for blacks, I think anymore extends across the board. While easily amused I do have a certain standard for what I call “good” or “quality”.
    And this is not to disparage your argument when it comes to race-focused programming, but when 10’s of milions of people are daily focused on crap shows like Jerry Springer as something more than ust a circus freak show, but one of actual entertainment (to them), more shows spring up. It was the want to delve into the lives of strange or shallow people that led to the sudden boom in reality tv (which I also personally regard as unadulterated crap). And with a continuuing upward trend of this type of viewership (notice more and more days that become reality tv nights), the chance for quality programming for those black, white, brown, yellow, or whathaveyou decreases dramatically. And with reality tv shows, I think it also helps to downgrade the reality of life to our children, whom I have no problem with dreaming, but everything now becomes about the million dollar prizes or whoring yourself out on national tv to marry some fake wannabe celebrity. I see it all as a general downgrade to our societal evolution. Sorry if I got off track.

    -Mike

  7. Mike,

    Off topic or not I agree with you. I absolutely hate this “reality” boom. Which is NOT reality at all. It is trumped up crap that some studio exec wants us to “believe” is reality. I don’t think my kids need to watch this junk.

    I think that this is a big part of the problem. People want to veg out and tune out and this is the perfect opportunity to do so. They watch this and think “my life isn’t that crazy so I must be doing alright.” And that is the fallacy. Keep looking at something worse while your life goes down the drain.

    Thanks for the reply.

  8. There is a lot of television that is crap. There are a lot of reality television shows, game shows, who wants to be a whore show, who will allow themselves to be humiliated shows. There is a lot of comedy television that is crass. But on the other hand, there are quality television shows put together that have white people as the heroes or the main characters that often save the day with all the virtues to overcome all the weaknesses associated with being human. It’s been so long since I’ve watched network television. But I know there are shows like Bones, the Ghost Whisperer, The Closer, The Office, Rescue Me, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Arrested Development, Lost, and the like.

    Black people should be satisfied that we are represented by a single supporting character that gets camera time every now and then. But this begs the question would white people want to watch a string of shows about black people with a single supporting white character that gets camera time every now and then? Why do we have to settle for so little?

    Peace

  9. Is some of it really just where the market is (currently)?

    In other words, “someone” is watching these shows. Whether you are talking about a white cast, black cast, or reality show, they seem to go off ratings and advertising revenue.

    Now comes the cart before the horse…

    If a network was to put on a good show with a predominately black cast (or all black cast) will it be watched enough to get the ratings and advertising dollars? Just to clarify what I mean by “good show” – one that is not reality tv but quality actors and script.

  10. Gopfather,

    I agree that it is about advertising dollars. And of course people are watching. If you were in Mexico and all you had to look at was their shows then you would eventually watch the shows.

    The problem I have is that they don’t bother to see whether the shows (black cast) would do well. So no one knows whether they would be viable or not. The point is we can’t just say the white population is where the money is so lets concentrate there.

    People will never be represented if that is the only vain of thinking. I personally think that it would be successful. The only problem is they say hey we “have” put on black shows and the ratings sucked. But the shows are very stereotypical. Think about the Cosby show, it was one of the most successful shows black or white. So if you make it they will watch.

    Thanks for the reply.

  11. TBS,

    I agree, they should take a show beyond the focus groups and commit to making it work (or at least airing it for a period of time to give it a chance).

    I just have to believe the Network execs could care less what is on tv – so long as it makes them money.

  12. Godfather,

    Oh yeah, that is exactly it. The network execs are only interested in the bottom line.

    Thanks again for the reply.

  13. Just found what I was looking for, when I commented on black produced shows….might provide you a chance to find out if its still white written or not…it’s called “All Of Us”. I don’t think the show is still in production anymore as its part of the CW afternoon lineup, but I thought I’d at least get back to you on it. Take care.

  14. Mike,

    Thanks for that information. I have not heard of this show before. I will look it up online and see if it will fit the bill.

    Thanks for the reply.

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