Is It Just Entertainment -
False Representation

So, one of my guilty pleasures is watching various reality TV shows (don't judge me), and quite a few times I have wanted to jump through my TV and shake a few of these women that I have seen on these shows! Or take to Social Media and send them my thoughts!

WAIT . . .

I have a BLOG! I can address my concerns/issues there!

So, here we are, my latest blog entry!

Last night I was watching Basketball Wives (keep reading) and I became really concerned about the impact that the behavior exhibited on this show and others labeled as entertainment have on everyday Black Women. I mean these shows are touted as "entertaining" rather than "educating" it's viewers, right?

How is watching adult women, who happen to be black, screaming at each other, throwing things at each other, lunging at each other in public venues entertaining? And on top of that "non-black" people are watching, sometimes in fear and oftentimes in horror. Why are they behaving this way instead of having a civilized debate over their issues? And why do they have so many issues with each other?
Or
More importantly are these women aware of the damage they are doing to the image of black women in our communities, cities, states, our country, and countries around the world?
And do they even care? Or is it all about the money and fame for them?

Moreover, it is the obvious belief that their behavior is more Fact than Fiction and seems to be impacting "Everyday" women which causes me a great deal of concern.

Why?

Let's look at the number of everyday women who have been falsely labeled as "a problem", and where that idea could have formed and/or been perpetuated.

The book club of black women from Napa that was asked to leave the wine train because they were supposedly talking and laughing too loudly and disrupting the experience for the other passengers are just one example of the possible impact on every day women. How? Well if someone were to base their opinions on what is shown on these reality shows, black women talking and laughing loudly can quickly escalate to black women physically fighting and throwing things, and creating an unsettling environment for the rest of the patrons in a venue. So unfortunately for this all female black book club who had no history of being disruptive or violent was looked upon as being so as that is the perception being perpetuated by the "wealthy and successful" black women on these reality shows.

My sista friends and I (being a group of black women who number anywhere from 6 to 10 of us) have gone out to comedy clubs and restaurants, and have been met with less than favorable reception by the staff at these venues. We were once asked to leave a comedy club for simply asking the waitress questions about the menu since the lights were turned down before we could order and we could no longer read the menu in the dim lighting. We were told that we were "badgering" the waitress by asking her too many questions. Would that have happened if there wasn't already a preconceived belief that large groups of black women often come with lots of problems?

On another outing to a restaurant, we were greeted cordially by the host "Welcome ladies, would you like to sit inside or outside?" As we looked at each other, laughing and contemplating this question, he came back with, "Oh, you want to sit outside", and proceeded to escort us to the restaurant's outside patio. Now it was a nice night (not to hot, not to cold) and there were no bugs, so it wasn't really a problem for us, BUT . . . . I couldn't help but wonder if the color of our skin and our naturally hearty laughter had something to do with his choice to sit us outside. As though our "behavior" was more outside oriented as opposed to the patrons that were seated on the inside of the restaurant. And just how much of the "culture" of these reality shows has to do with the way groups of everyday black women are perceived/received?

There are plenty of stories similar to the ones above that don't reach mainstream attention, but that doesn't mean that they don't have an impact on the people or communities where these events occur. So much so that Monique W. Morris, the co-founder of the National Black Women's Justice Institute, has put together some tactics to work against damaging stigmas.

The fact that she felt the need to create such an organization and these tactics says a lot about the society in which we all live, and I for one wonder if the acts committed on these reality shows by adult women who are portrayed as wives, mothers, business owners, successful, and wealthy who also happen to be black counteract the efforts of such an organization.

Some of you are probably saying "Why watch if you feel this way?", and to answer your question I say, "The first rule of war is to know your enemy." You cannot fight that which you are unfamiliar with, and that has been proven throughout history. The Native Americans weren't familiar with the "fire stick" of their enemy, and thus were at a disadvantage. US Troops weren't familiar with the subterfuge techniques used by the Vietnam soldiers, and thus lost many a battle. So you need to know the techniques of your enemy in order to not be defeated by them. So I watch so I know what society is thinking, and so that I can think of ways to change it's perspective.

If you would like to look deeper into some of the things mentioned in this post, I have provided some links below.

Let's keep in mind, oftentimes our actions have a greater impact than we realize!

Sources:
Reality Television
Book Club Kicked of Wine Train
Being Black and Loud
Criminalization of Black Girls in School





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