Reality shows have taken over television. People are fascinated by the lives and routines of their favorite entertainers. Some shows even follow the average joes’ of the world. Whether anticipated or not, racial portrayal has become an important factor to consider in reality TV.
With the emergence of major networks, the media has consistently portrayed women of color in a negative light. Most of the women on the shows are seen fighting, attacking people for silly reasons and portraying themselves negatively. The portrayal of women in the media has always been an issue but not that woman of color are the face of this negativity many are calling these shows into question.
Who should be blamed? American media has institutionalized the way minorities in this country have been portrayed for decades. On the other hand leaders have questioned why people of color have not used these opportunities to show women of color in a positive light.
Women like Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Dolores Huerta, and Muna Lee fought to change the media’s perception of minority women in the U.S. These women organized conferences, protested and spoke all over the country to counter how society treated and viewed minority women. It is unfortunate that a new type of entertainment is damaging the foundation that was set for minority women.
For every negative image portrayed, there are many more examples of women of color who are the opposite of the image portrayed on television. However the negative images portrayed always travel faster.
When I studied in the U.K., I met some women of color who I became good friends with. I was upset the first time one of them did an impression of how they thought African-American girls behaved. My anger turned into sadness because where did these ideas come from? There reenactments came from what they saw on television. Unfortunately the way minority women act on television affects all minority women because people will believe we all act the same.
In a society where people are encouraged to not care what other’s think of them, women of color should be worried. It sounds empowering to think that we shouldn’t care about the way minority women are betrayed in the media, but it is not. I don’t know the answer to this issue, but I believe recognizing that these portrayals are problematic is a step in the right direction.
I believe it’s important to realize that the journey is not over, and any negative can hinder progress for those who have beenkissedbythesun.
What do you think?
Here is a link to an HLN discussion on reality tv and race: http://www.hlntv.com/video/2012/04/25/real-deal-reality-tv?clusterId=62#videoplayer
Thoughts and opinions are welcomed.