Despite its name, reality TV is anything but. Arguments are often set up and tense situations are regularly manufactured in an effort to spark drama, and hopefully garner high ratings. But when on-screen arguments involve black folks, and specifically black men, why is it that we are often made to appear violent and out of control?

In a recent episode of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, former late night host Arsenio Hall got into it with with former Danity Kane member Aubrey O’Day. Apparently, Hall was pissed that O’Day attempted to take control of the task that he was in charge of, and although he held his tongue throughout the project in an effort to keep the peace, when the team got into the boardroom he let his true feelings be known.

After the boardroom, the team retreated to their suite to await Donald Trump’s decision. Although O’Day didn’t rejoin her team, Arsenio’s frustrations boiled over and he continued venting to his teammates, telling them that O’Day wasn’t “going nowhere” in the competition because she was only out for herself.

Although Hall was extreme in his language, his frustrations were valid. However, teammate and New Jersey Housewife Teresa Giudice (who’s known for flipping over tables) said Hall’s outburst was scary and Comedian and Apprentice contestant Lisa Lampanelli described it as violent.

This isn’t the first time black men have been made out to look “violent” because of their argument style.

During the first season of MTV’s The Real World, writer and activist Kevin Powell became the embodiment of the scary black man stereotype when he argued with Julie, the sweet innocent downhome girl. The show painted Powell as overly concerned with race and, of course, perpetually angry.

While these depictions make for juicy TV, they also further the notion that people need to be afraid of black men–all of them. Even the seemingly nice ones, as Giudice says she thought of Hall, can turn on you in a minute.

These on-screen images not only fall in line with commonly held stereotypes, but also set up situations when everyday people transfer their fears of black men onto any and every black man they meet. They also set up situations in which a young man is deemed suspicious because he’s wearing a hoodie and walking in a “good” neighborhood at dusk. As the tragic death of Trayvon Martin shows us, the constant portrayal of black men as scary, angry, and potentially violent can lead to very real and disastrous results.

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  • RC

    NOT BLACK WOMEN’S ISSUE……

    *moving right along !!!

    • PGS

      Ummm…..but it is. Black women have husbands, sons, fathers, brothers….so how black MEN are portrayed affects black women greatly, especially when those she loves have to deal with other people’s prejudices.

      Tell Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mom) that the way people view black men and boys isn’t her problem and I’m sure she’ll disagree.

    • RC

      @ PGS

      then black males need to sit down and have these discussions….not black women…..

      ” Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin’s mom) that the way people view black men and boys isn’t her problem and I’m sure she’ll disagree.”

      your absolutely right, that’s HER issue….not mine.

      *moving the F* along……

    • Toppin

      @RC

      Co-Sign!

    • QoNewC

      @RC

      I agree with you completely. Please keep moving on. Youre neither wanted nor desired. Go create some Jim Jones style hovel in Guyana where you and the rest of the Sisterhood of Travelling Dorito Bags can live happily ever after.

  • pink

    I’m sure no one cares; and my measly refusal to watch the show means nothing; but I’m boycotting The Appentice. I stopped watching it last year because of Trump’s constant President Obama birther nonsense. I think Trump went way over the top to promote his show by bashing the President. And that pertains to any President. Such disrespect for the office.

    • PGS

      ITA! I don’t watch/support anything Donald Trump is connected to.

  • Shirl

    Good gracious RC who hurt you boo? Your comments were insensitive and dumb. All black men don’t share in the blame for what a few may have done to you. You should be embarrassed by what you posted about Ms. Fulton. That was mean, unnecessary and ignorant. When you got checked By PGS you painted yourself as the stereotypical angry black woman.

    • RC

      @ Shirl

      nobody hurt me, ( come up with a better come back). I’m just tired of black women always feeling like we gotta tackle every issue, especially those concerning black males….. let them handle their own damn problems. Ish ain’t even that serious, boo.

    • jess

      tell it RC! And Black men reciprocate nothing. how many times do you see black male-focused magazines discussing how sad it is that the ladies on the basketball wives or love and hip hop are made out to be scary and mean? none. zip. nada. they dont discuss it because they dont care and mainly because they agree. peep brian white, he is by no means alone in his opinion. vut the babying of black men. most have moved on to other pastures than you black women who keep giving them the time of day.

    • QoNewC

      @RC
      @Jess

      No need to tell anyone you leaving. Just go. No one wants you, cares about you, desires you, or needs you. Just keep it moving. In fact gather all members of the Bitter B**H Book Club and shut the door firmly when you leave. Dont come back either.

    • QoNewC

      @Jess

      Apples and Oranges. Arsenio isnt throwing tables over, throwing drinks, cursing anyone out, fighting in public, etc. You think you can compare what Arsenio did to what any of those chicks of BBW or HWOA do?

      I want you to tell us when the last time you saw a black man acting as violently as black women do on reality TV. The homosexuals dont count.

      Black women have become indefensible in their behavior on reality TV.

  • Jen

    I don’t watch this show but the same type of victim behavior she was displaying would be totally unacceptable for any woman of color seeking a position in the professional world. And if you cannot stand to hear the hard truth about your behavior then maybe you should reconsider your behavior. The same instinct that caused the women on the show, most of who display the nastiest behavior 90% of the time, to say that they were scared is the very reason Blacks in the workforce must temper every truth as to not appear scary or angry when someone else drops the ball.

  • Val

    I saw that segment and it seemed really bogus when the Jersey Housewife popped up talking about how Arsenio scared her. I was like; this chick who knocks over tables trying to get at people is all of a sudden some little scared damsel in distress? Get real.

    • QoNewC

      Aresinio is very gangsta.