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Why does it feel like network TV has unspoken rules for POC characters?







Here are some I kinda feel are out there for the past 4+ years:

  • No more than half of the cast may contain POC
  • These people may only exist as a support for the storylines of their white peers. Any spotlight on their characters must be a very special episode or hastily conclusion to a story arc that barely gets any attention
  • The home life and family of POC are almost completely non-existent 
  • Family members may be cobbled together from mismatch ethnicities and nationalities without protest
  • If POC characters are anything but submissive, stand up for their mistreatment or defy stereotypes, they will be demonized by fandom (fandom in general can be a bitch for POC actors) and their actors with receive hate mail.
  • The writing staff must have less diversity that the actual cast. Many cultural mannerisms seem to present themselves either from thin air or prevailing stereotypes rather than actual research or even asking the actor involved
  • The world that the POC live in must either be Kumbayahville where everyone pretends that there is no racial tension or that race-based incidents don’t happen or a metaphysical war-zone where racial jokes are lobbed at them nearly ever possibility with no reaction.
  • Traits that other characters have automatically become negative when a POC has them. Confidence becomes bitchiness. Headstrong leadership is arrogance. Sexiness or sex-positivity opens the door for slut-shaming. Intelligence has to be know-it-all behavior. Any display of anger must be linked to militant demeanor or savagery even when completely justified.
  • Under no circumstances must race ever be addressed with any kind of gravity, just passing jokes.

POC just can’t be PEOPLE. We’re stereotype 1, 2, and 7….

My only problem with this is that this reads like the writers/creators of a show featuring a POC character are supposed to make that character the center of attention. It’s not the writer’s job to make a statement on race relations like some people seem to think it is. Like…what’s wrong with enjoying television these days and why does everyone seem to have a bone to pick with everything? 

Also…Community. New Girl. Happy Endings. THE COSBY SHOW.

Just stahp.

LOL at bringing up a fucking show that hasn’t been around IN NEARLY TWENTY YEARS.

And I see no problem with making POC the center of attention, since 99% of all shows have white people at the center of attention all the fucking time, and POC serving as the sassy friend/magical negro who is always on the sidelines, which is EXACTLY what both New Girl AND Happy Endings are, btw.

And Community is one drop in the OCEAN of television shows that have excluded POC completely.

And please, since you decided to bring your ass into this conversation, explain to me why  is it that it JUST SO HAPPENS that the most hated characters of a good portion of fandoms are black women?

Tara Thornton, Queen Guinivere, Martha Jones, Mercedes Jones, Bonnie? All black women and get some of the most DISGUSTING vitriol and hatred. Please. Explain to me this shit.

And finally, MEDIA IS BIASED AS FUCK. There is NO SUCH THING as just enjoying television. It is coded with THOUSANDS of messages that people pick up either subconsciously or consciously. There is a REASON why it took 23 fucking years to get Red Tails to the movies: WHITE RACISM.

Do your fucking research.

Since this young woman seems to be so insistent…I could not ignore it.

Because of how angry she is. That probably says something about me; that I choose to go after the angry ones. Oh weeeeeeell.

Okay, listen. Media is biased. It always has been and that’s a given. Everything is biased and nothing is subjective. That’s a fact of life that will NEVER. EVER. Be different and if you believe so, please enlighten me on how the world can be portrayed objectively every single time.

To assume that only POC are the sassy friend, you must not watch must television. I will use Happy Endings as my example. Every single one of the characters aside from Alex and Dave are tertiary characters in relation to the story. But you probably don’t know that so I’ll explain it to you. The show is centered around a group of friends, the two I mentioned were supposed to get married at the beginning of the show but she stood him up. So now each episode is a funny lesson on enjoying life and appreciating your friends. Yes. There are some jokes about color, homosexuality (MAXXXX <33), and sassy thirty year old women, but all of those jokes are in context of the show and are situations that actually happen in real life. That’s why they are funny.

I think I must have misread you, though…because I swear I thought I saw that you said that Community was the show most devoid of color…when four of its main cast members are non-white and also some of the best. FOUR. That’s at least half. 

I don’t see how bringing up the Cosby Show is irrelevant…You still knew EXACTLY what I was talking about so it’s clearly not that old and it serves my point famously, which is why you tried to ignore it. 

You cannot make the claim that the most hated characters on a tv show are black women without showing me statistics or numbers. I’m sorry, but you just can’t. Because from where I see it and from what I’ve heard, they are the most liked, with exceptions, of course. I’ll use Doctor Who since it’s the only show in that list of characters that I still watch. Martha Jones has one white male fan that I know who is in love with her because she is a doctor (his chosen path), and she’s one of the most capable companions the Doctor has ever had. And Tara is an asshole…you have to agree, nobody has to like her. I mean…I’m sad and everything but she was just not in a good place, haha. Although first season True Blood, I can’t think of anything I’ve heard that was terribly negative toward her. I’m sorry, but this point has to be ignored until you bring up some serious numbers. Not just from one person, but like…serious fact that people hate black characters.

Good grief, have you never seen The Tuskegee Airmen!? Oh I dunno, it’s only a little 1995 movie starring Lawrence Fishbourne and Cuba Gooding Jr. 

While I don’t think it had a theatre release, it does exist and many people have seen it. You can’t say that it took 23 years because it’s only been 17, which is not a lot. That’s enough to satisfy a generation and revamp the effects.

And let’s not forget every single black actor who has ever made it big in Hollywood and has gained the respect of their peers in cinema. But I bet you’re willing to forget that because Troy didn’t make a human rights monologue on Community last week. Also, how about the Help?

I’m sorry, but it really sounds like you have not done your research and are just complaining. POC have a story to tell, but that story does not need to be told every single time they make an appearance. Why? Because that’s not how the real world is. And if you actually go up to a group of non-poc friends and make statements about how they all need to apologize for everything they’ve ever done wrong to you, then I’m sad for those people. 

Really? Your ass is talmbout RESEARCH????? Ok, lets go:

1. George Lucas is directly quoted in saying that it took him TWENTY THREE YEARS to get this damn movie out because it didn’t feature almighty whitey. Hollywood refused to give him ANY funding OR advertising for this movie. NONE. SOURCE.

2. The EXACT SAME THING happened to Danny Glover when he wanted to make his movie about the Haitian revolution. No almighty whitey? No funding for you!!!

3. Black women in fandoms are regularly shitted on. Amber Riley received threats on her life because the writers decided to pair her character up with a white man, and the fandom lost their minds, saying all up and down how there is no way a fat black woman would EVER get an attractive white male, thus he should be with the blond white woman, who is the “better choice.” One person even put up pictures of the Holocaust and said that is what the race mixers get for wanting this to happen. (That person was subsequently BANNED from Tumblr, but the precedent stands).

And lets get some studies in this here, shall we. All of these are from peer reviewed journals within the last decade.

Source 1:

“Magical negro” films thus function to marginalize black agency, empower normalized and hegemonic forms of whiteness, and glorify powerful black characters in so long as they are placed in racially subservient positions. The narratives of these films thereby subversively reaffirm the racial status quo and relations of domination by echoing the changing and mystified forms of contemporary racism rather than serving as evidence of racial progress or a decline in the significance of race.

Source 2:

The present investigation examines this relationship by applying aversive racism and social identity theory assumptions to assess the influence of exposure to television depictions of Latinos, on White viewers’ judgments. Results cautiously reveal that racial identification and media ambiguity affect both viewers’ evaluations of target racial/ethnic out-group members as well as in-group esteem.

Source 3:

The change in the portrayal of black people after the Civil Rights Movement (1945-1964) is the result of the powerful black collective voice influencing change in nefarious deceptions of African-Americans in media outlets. This change, according to Donald Bogle, Robert M. Entman and Andrew Rojecki, however, simply gave new faces to old caricatures. Therefore, the continued practice of stereotyping blacks by way of dated Enlightenment thinking regardless of black protest speaks to the pervasiveness of “blackness” via the malignant ideology of whiteness. The desire to sustain ideologies and practices of mainstream media has prevented the erasure of black caricatures.

Source 4:

A content analysis of top-selling video game magazines (Study 1) and of 149 video game covers (Study 2) demonstrated the commonality of overt racial stereotyping. Both studies revealed that minority females are virtually absent in game representations. Study 1 revealed that, in video game magazines, minority males, underrepresented generally, were more likely to be portrayed as athletes or as aggressive, and less likely to be depicted in military combat or using technology, than White males. Study 2 also showed evidence of the “dangerous” minority male stereotype in video game covers. Again, underrepresented overall, minority males were overrepresented as thugs, using extreme guns, and also as athletes. Study 3, an experiment, exposed players to both violent and nonviolent games with both White and Black characters. Participants were faster at classifying violent stimuli following games with Black characters and at classifying nonviolent stimuli following games with White characters, indicating that images of popular video game characters evoke racial stereotypes.

Source 5:

Native Americans and race scholars have argued that the media construct and perpetuate racist notions of tribal peoples through images and discursive practices that portray them in very stereotypical ways. In particular, the dialectical “master tropes” of the Noble Savage and the Ignoble Savage have long shaped the cultural consciousness with regard to native peoples.

Source 6:

Racism and discrimination continue to be a pervasive problem within our society. The images seen in media, in general, and on TV, in particular, perpetuate these negative stereotypes about African Americans and impact majority society’s views of Blacks. These images also may influence minority cultures’ view of themselves and have the potential to affect the developing minds of African Americans. Negative stereotypes may be highly detrimental to African American children and adolescents as they attempt to traverse their way through the normal course of identity development…

Tan and Tan (9, 10) found that there is a correlation between the degree of TV exposure and low esteem seen in African Americans. They believed that repeated exposure of majority-focused shows or depictions of African Americans in negative roles cause low self-esteem in black audiences who view it. They postulated that through media portrayals, negative stereotypes may be crucial in developing negative self-images within a stereotyped group.

But racism in the media ain’t there though? Telling folks that if almighty whitey isn’t present, they will refuse to support them isn’t racism? Fandoms that send racist threats to actors ain’t racist? All these research papers must be lyin then…