Have We Gone Too Far With Online Petitions Against TV Shows?There’s no denying the power of an online petition. In 2012, over 750,000 people started petitions on Change.org, over 25 million people signed their names and there were thousands of success stories across the globe. If you have a cause or a complaint anyone with Internet access can start an online protest, and after enough electronic signatures, you may even get a media response or actually see, well, change.

One of the biggest success stories last year was the petition that lead to the arrest of George Zimmerman, the man accused of shooting and killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. But currently, there seems to be a new trend in activism that centers around scripted and reality television shows. There’s been a shift from online petitions that focus on equality and global change to “save my favorite TV show” or “take that show off the air.”

Now, the fight against the airing of Oxygen’s forthcoming show All My Babies’ Mamas was understandable. From the 13-minute trailer, it was apparent that the show would be dysfunctional, stereotypical and an exploit of the children and women involved. Over 37,000 signatures eventually lead to the show’s cancellation.

However, while there’s a national debate about gun control and an uproar about police brutality in our country, should we really focus our sense of activism on protesting shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, Love and Hip Hop and/or the Basketball Wives franchise? Are we turning a blind eye from the most important issues in our country to focus on something as minuscule as a TV show?

Most recently, a group of Howard University students started a petition to end Bravo’s upcoming series Married to Medicine. They claim the reality series will leave the stain of unprofessionalism and cattiness on the image of Black female doctors for years to come. And while they may have a valid opinion, the show has yet to even air. Why are we jumping on trailers? At least give the show and it’s producers a chance to air their work and tell their stories. From there, if you don’t like the show then stop tuning in — it’s that simple.

The African-American community has had a culture of activism since the days before the civil rights movement. While there’s nothing wrong with protesting for entertainment with more value, we should also use our energy to combat causes that will bring justice, equality, employment and educational opportunities to everyone.

Moving forward, let’s stand up for all of the issues that our important in our community. Our activism and right to protest should go beyond the 30 minute-to-hour-long fictitious shows that pop up on our television or computer screens.

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  • Nnaattaayy

    Wow, “Married to Medicine” is not some miniscule reality show. It is a negative portrayal of black, professional women that can have lasting effects on those of us who hope to become a doctor. Competition to gain entrance into medical schools is fierce, and many qualified applicants are denied. What will medical school admissions think when they watch this on the air? you think they will give us the benefit of the doubt (lol)? I think they will conclude that we will all just act like them.
    I’m a pre med student in college and the path to medicine is long, (8+ years) and expensive (massive student debt). But it’s definitely worth it. That show would ruin every black female physician’s hard work in just one ep. Please don’t minimize the media and their portrayal of black people. I implore everyone to help and sign the petition. We gave that show a chance when they released the trailer and it will be garbage just like it advertises.

  • These petitions CAN be used for good! They CAN be the starting force that drives big changes!

    Read the Wisconsin Gazette’s article about the impact these online petitions can have on the world here: