While watching the “Wendy Williams” show on Wednesday, I was taken aback by a statement she made about Black people being the only race who doesn’t protest negative stereotypical representation on TV. The last time African Americans protested a television show was in 1998. The show was, “The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer” that made light of slavery. The protests were so extreme that the show was taken off the air after just one episode. It makes me think that we as a people have really forgotten the power of protesting. Yes, we are protesting every day about the Trayvon Martin case, but there are other injustices taking place that put Blacks in a negative light.
When I have traveled to other countries, it always upset me when people assumed I was a particular way because of what they saw on television. Black women are often portrayed as loud, ignorant, full of anger, materialistic and man crazy. When I began to get offensive, I stopped myself because I realized that some people have no day to day interaction with African Americans so they take the portrayals that they see on TV as the truth. Who is to blame for that when, more times than not, Blacks are the ones keeping these shows on the air with high ratings?
Gone are the days of “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” or any other show that represented Blacks in a positive way. All these “reality” shows confuse those who aren’t surrounded by many Black people because they are labeled as “reality” instead of oversized exploitation of demeaning stereo-types. The real issue isn’t even the reality shows per se, but the fact that there aren’t enough uplifting Black shows to balance out the trash.
To be outraged by the killing of a young man who was stereotyped and racially profiled, but laugh at negative, stereotypical images every week is a bit…off.
We do have a voice and if we want to be respected in ALL aspects than we need to use it. Don’t limit the power of your protest.