Reply to "The Images Of Black Women In Media Still 'Only Scratch The Surface,' Essence Study Finds"

While I am reluctant to be critical of anyone who feels compelled to seek positive change in society, I do think that reactionary and grassroots activism should be reviewed for its effectiveness.  

 

That said, IMO targeting job seekers seems less effective resulting in more work, more people involved and more time to accomplish a low return on the possibility of change. Influencing, silencing or competing with those who fund projects seems to be something the black community does not actively pursue to any significant degree.

 

In addition, the black community is not as homogeneous as it used to be and one person's offense may not be another's.  I personally do not necessarily want more "positive examples."  This approach tends to lean toward the most one-dimensional characters.  While I do think it is good to want more control over the storytelling- I would rather just have more stories to choose from.  Black life is rife with painful experiences, mistakes, abuse, silliness, ignorance, arrogance etc. along with extreme intelligence, creative invention, beauty, heroic efforts etc.  I do believe that we tend to get more negative portrayals than positive in the greater media our reaction seems to be to want to balance that with only positive portrayals.  IMO this cartoonish version of life is not the answer. People tend to warm to that which they can identify with. 

 

For instance, the black community tends to be hypersensitive about the portrayal of Olivia on Scandal.  But in other circles, her intelligence, savvy and personal style are highlighted most and her extra marital indiscretions given little lip. From our thinking we would want only shows that show us as intelligent savvy and fashion forward WITHOUT any indiscretions.  But that kind of character is hard to warm to- because it is not the norm.   Also, that era of moral simplicity is gone from mainstream and only works on the chicken circuit of Tyler Perry Christian movies.  That is a large audience in black community but not in the world.  I would like to see more balance in that way.  With a positive character overall despite their shortcomings- than no shortcomings at all or every flaw wrapped up neatly at the end.

 

My daughter and I were watching a REALLY cringing reality show about dance moms- but with an all black cast.  It was absolutely embarrassing, a train wreck we found ourselves unable to tear from.  But I know people for whom this is their life- who would not be embarrassed and would be proud to see a reflection of their lives on screen.  Ultimately, these were hard working women who may not have had the best education, experiences or made the right choices-striving through god awful speech and terrible behavior to make sure their daughters didn't end up in the same situation. 

 

That said, I wouldn't want to get away from the chicken circuit- it deserves a place too, along with pooty tang and whatever else we create.  Our humanity needs expression, not limitations to cartoonish versions of ourselves.  I would just like to see "more" of everything relating to our experience.  IMO the best way to do that is to create it and not wait on someone who does not share or understand it to see it as valuable.  We have to create the value.

 

#longwindedonaSaturdaymorning- restless and ill with a bit of insomnia..

Last edited by Eudaimonia
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