Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Question de Jour: Do you think White people would watch TV if 99.999% of the people on TV were People of Color?


I don't have cable TV. I haven't had it in a couple of years. It's one thing to be ignored and not pay for it but another to pay for being ignored, as people of color are on TV.

As the new fall television season nears I have noticed that nothing much has changed, at least on network TV, as far as diversity is concerned. There are three shows on NBC, one with Boris Kodjoe, one with Blair Underwood and another with Jimmy Smits. I'll give NBC its due for that but NBC is also the network that will air a show about a call center in India that from the promos looks dangerously racially offensive.

Other than that the new TV season seems as lily White as ever. It gets so bad sometimes that I find myself just scanning channels looking for a person of color on the screen. And when I see one I stop and watch. It doesn't really matter whether it's a commercial or an actual show I'll watch it. Well except for anything produced by Tyler Perry.

I can remember hearing older people talk about how back in the day they essentially did the same thing, looked for a person of color on TV and then if they saw one they watched no matter what it was about.

So it seems that in the new millennium, as the world changes by leaps and bounds, some things never change. Namely, television is as White as ever, heck even more White actually. In the 80's and 90's there were quite a few People of Color on network TV. So TV is actually going backwards.

PBS even seems to be less diverse than ever.

According to people who are supposed to know; African Americans and people whose ancestors hail from Spanish speaking countries (sorry but I really hate the word Hispanic*) watch more TV then other groups.

Which makes me wonder; if most of the people on TV were People of Color would White people watch?




*I hate the term Hispanic because it tells you nothing about a persons heritage. People whose ancestry is from Spanish speaking countries have very different cultures and histories. So the use of the term Hispanic seems like a way of ignoring a persons culture and lumping everyone in a cultureless pot. This country has already taken away most of African Americans pre-American history and culture and now its trying to do it again with the term Hispanic.



21 comments:

Beauty and Health Editor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Francis L. Holland said...

I think white people would watch television if it were 99.9% Black but, like Black people, they would resent the lack of opportunity for them there.

They watched the Cosby Show and made it the most popular show on television, and the also watch NBA games, where sometimes (often) only the coach is white.

However, white elites are very keen to get a good deal for their money and to advance opportunities for people like them, like they did when they built Brown University and University of Virginia buildings with slave labor. So, although they would watch television that was 99.9% Black, the white elites would never allow it to become like that. It would imply too large of a business opportunity that they were missing.

Here in Brazil, there is a new television show called "Ti Ti Ti." I thought I would have to watch a number of episodes before I would write in my Brazilian-language blog that the show is virtually all white.

Fortunately, they made that task easy for me by posting on the shows website the photographs of all of the characters. Of sixty characters, two are Black. So, I used their graphic to make one of my own, taking out the two Black actors to show all who are white, and then writing separately with large photos (or that was my intention) about the two who are Black. But I only had time to put on the lone Black woman before I lost interest in the project.

The lone Black man is what the Spanish used to call the "cafageste" (sp?), which is the clown who makes an otherwise serious show funny. The Black man's sexuality is in doubt and he is always dressed like almost like a transvestite. There are some white characters like that, too, but since the ONLY Black man is like that, it leaves the impression that the ONLY KIND of Black man is the laughable kind.

I'm like your first commenter and unlike her/him at the same time. I mostly don't watch television, because it just pisses me off, but I love Tyler Perry films and, for some reason (probably due to a lone hacker somewhere) these films keep downloading themselves into my computer and I can't turn the spigot off. So, I watch them and think about them instead of thinking all the time about what white people are doing to us on White-Television.

I think that just as that white church in Florida wants to burn copies of the Koran [Let's piss on Jesus and see how they feel], Blacks can burn white television characters in effigy and leave Oakland for Hollywood and travel from Oakland and LA to make it impossible to get any Hollywhite business done until their are some more Black people on television.

Somebody once suggested (I can't remember who) that if Black people started shooting member of all-white casts, as well as the directors and producers, then whites would start employing more Blacks on television.

Likewise, that same person suggested that if Blacks started shooting some of the Emmy-White (or is it Grammy-White award winners, then that would put pressure on Whitey-wood to include more Blacks among the award winners. Even if it didn't have that effect, the person argued, at least it would draw attention to the problem.

Francis L. Holland said...

I think white people would watch television if it were 99.9% Black but, like Black people, they would resent the lack of opportunity for them there.

They watched the Cosby Show and made it the most popular show on television, and the also watch NBA games, where sometimes (often) only the coach is white.

However, white elites are very keen to get a good deal for their money and to advance opportunities for people like them, like they did when they built Brown University and University of Virginia buildings with slave labor. So, although they would watch television that was 99.9% Black, the white elites would never allow it to become like that. It would imply too large of a business opportunity that they were missing.

Here in Brazil, there is a new television show called "Ti Ti Ti." I thought I would have to watch a number of episodes before I would write in my Brazilian-language blog that the show is virtually all white.

Fortunately, they made that task easy for me by posting on the shows website the photographs of all of the characters. Of sixty characters, two are Black. So, I used their graphic to make one of my own, taking out the two Black actors to show all who are white, and then writing separately with large photos (or that was my intention) about the two who are Black. But I only had time to write about the lone Black woman before I lost all interest in the project.

The lone Black man is what the Spanish used to call the "cafageste" (sp?), which is the clown who makes an otherwise serious show funny. The Black man's sexuality is in doubt and he is always dressed like almost like a transvestite. There are some white characters like that, too, but since the ONLY Black man is like that, it leaves the impression that the ONLY KIND of Black man is the laughable kind.

Francis L. Holland said...

I'm like your first commenter and unlike her/him at the same time. I mostly don't watch television, because it just pisses me off, but I love Tyler Perry films and, for some reason (probably due to a lone hacker somewhere) these films keep downloading themselves into my computer and I can't turn the spigot off. So, I watch them and think about them instead of thinking all the time about what white people are doing to us on White-Television.

I think that just as that white church in Florida wants to burn copies of the Koran [Let's piss on Jesus and see how they feel], Blacks can burn white television characters in effigy and leave Oakland for Hollywood and travel from Oakland and LA to make it impossible to get any Hollywhite business done until their are some more Black people on television.

Somebody once suggested (I can't remember who) that if Black people started shooting member of all-white casts, as well as the directors and producers, then whites would start employing more Blacks on television.

Likewise, that same person suggested that if Blacks started shooting some of the Emmy-White (or is it Grammy-White award winners, then that would put pressure on Whitey-wood to include more Blacks among the award winners. Even if it didn't have that effect, the person argued, at least it would draw attention to the problem.

Francis L. Holland said...

I think some people are just not appropriate to be members of large Black bloggers' groups, because all of the solutions they can think of are acts of terrorism. They identify too much with the Palestinians and, if given free reign, they'd probably turn all of America's Black neighborhoods into A-merry-white versions of the Left Bank and the Gaza strip--full of terrorism.

That's why when I read the suggestions of the guy who I spoke of above, I said to myself, I'm glad he's not a member of an international Black bloggers' group, because a guy like that could literally cause mayhem and who knows where it would end?

BigmacInPittsburgh said...

Val;I'm very selective about what I watch on TV,I watch it with a third eye and listen to it with a third ear!

Desertflower said...

I don't watch much tv either. There's just not that much I can identify with, it's such a lot of hype and BS. I particularly resent the standards of beauty they present to young girls. I have had an ongoing battle against this hype as far as how it affected my daughter, and to a large degree I have won, but, I know there is stil the lingering feeling in her, as to that the really beautiful ones are blonde and blue eyed...
Some shit huh??? and as for the dolls, well that's like for a books worth of posts. Among other things I did, I always read my daughter Nicki Giovannis poem about The Blue Eyed Doll, so she could see that other people had ideas on this also and that blonde and blue eyed was not the standard of beauty.

I love your analysis of that "Hispanic" word! I somehow never liked it that much and yet never quite sat and analyzed the why, but you are quite correct. Thank you!

Desertflower said...

Correcting the above, I believe it was one of Toni Morrisons essays.

Felicia Monique said...

I don't like or use the word Hispanic either. And yes, it totally ignores and negates those who have ancestry other than European Spanish. Many of my Latino friends prefer the word "Latino" when referring to people as a group without knowing their exact heritage.

As far as white folks watching Black TV, there is no doubt in my mind that they would still watch. However, there would be so much commentary on what they were watching. We would be dissected and stereotyped even moreso.

My main reason for believing that they'd still watch is because America is still overwhelming stuck on the "boob tube." Although I'm not, and it seems like most of your readers aren't either, the entire middle American probably is...

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

I think white people would watch because they want to be entertained. The roles would just reverse and they'd be complaining about the lack of white representation on television.

I also hate the term Hispanic. It is the same as people of asian decent being called Oriental.

brohammas said...

We would watch.
TV is too much a part of American culture, and I think recent programming has shown, that Americans (most of whom are white) will watch ANYTHING.

JErsey Shore, the BAchelor...any other crap is not just run as episodes but as stories on the news, topics for talk shows, and posts on blogs.

We, as a people, are addicted to the couch.

Val said...

@Beauty and Health Editor

Wow, no TV or dvd player! That's impressive. Sometimes I feel like putting my TV in a closet.

You are def right about the tired stereotypes. They just never seem to go away.

Tyler Perry is a virus.

Val said...

@Francis

"Here in Brazil, there is a new television show called "Ti Ti Ti." I thought I would have to watch a number of episodes before I would write in my Brazilian-language blog that the show is virtually all white..."

Sometimes I watch telenovelas and the racial themes are Very disturbing to say the least.

It's surprising to me that you enjoy Tyler Perry films.

I think the only way that this will change is if at some point a network becomes Black owned. And owned by a forward thinking Black person. But I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Val said...

@BigMac

Being selective is the key.

Val said...

@Desertflower

The standard of beauty on TV are just ridiculous. Even for White women the standards are crazy. It seems that almost every White woman you see on TV is blonde. And blonde is the rarest hair color, except for red maybe, so they are all bleached and trying to adhere to this standard.

It sounds like you did a good job of exposing your daughter to how all of this would affect her.

I think because I grew up in New York and was exposed to so many cultures that the word Hispanic offends me.

Val said...

@Felicia Monique

And did you know that Richard Nixon came up with the word Hispanic back in the 70's? Which makes it even worse.

"My main reason for believing that they'd still watch is because America is still overwhelming stuck on the "boob tube."

You are right about that.

Val said...

@Jason

Yeah some Whites already complain that there is a BET so I'm sure you are right.

That word, Oriental, is horrible!

Val said...

@brohammas

"...and I think recent programming has shown, that Americans (most of whom are white) will watch ANYTHING."

Now that is an excellent point.

Yeah isn't it crazy when actual news casts and supposedly serious talk shows report on reality TV shows or stars?!

Citizen Ojo said...

BET was suppose to be the antidote to this disease (pun) but we saw how that went down. At the end of the day those individuals that have control over the images can show what they want. Everybody jumps up and down when black actress or black actor (insert name) wins some award. But actors don't pick projects. They get sent scripts. Hell.. Ed Norton (white actor) fell out with the Incredible Hulk folks so he is out of a job. If they got rid of him you don't think they would get rid of "us" (Terence Howard - Iron Man anyone!!!) Directors, Producers and TV Execs. If we aren't in it we damn sure won't win it. America is getting ready to "Brown Up" but you couldn't tell by T.V., Congress or Police and Education fields. It's all about Power...

Val said...

@CO

There you have it, power.

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Soldier Of Love

I've lost the use of my heart
But I'm still alive
Still looking for the life
The endless pool on the other side
It's a wild wild west
I'm doing my best

I'm at the borderline of my faith,
I'm at the hinterland of my devotion
In the frontline of this battle of mine
But I'm still alive

I'm a soldier of love.
Every day and night
I'm soldier of love
All the days of my life

I've been torn up inside (oh!)
I've been left behind (oh!)
So I ride
I have the will to survive

In the wild wild west,
Trying my hardest
Doing my best
To stay alive

I am love's soldier!

I wait for the sound
(oooh oohhh)

I know that love will come (that love will come)
Turn it all around

I'm a soldier of love (soldier of love)
Every day and night
I'm a soldier of love
All the days of my life

I am lost
But I don't doubt (oh!)
So I ride
I have the will to survive

In the wild wild west,
Trying my hardest
Doing my best
To stay alive

I am love's soldier!

I wait for the sound

I know that love will come
I know that love will come
Turn it all around

I'm a soldier of love
I'm a soldier

Still waiting for love to come
Turn it all around
(4x)

I'm a soldier of love
I'm a soldier

Still waiting for love to come
Turn it all around
(3x)

Still waiting for love to come

Miss Keri Baby!

Tracee!

Solange!

Solange!
The only interesting Knowles

un·for·get·ta·ble: Earning a permanent place in the memory; memorable: an unforgettable experience.

Alicia says...

Rest in Peace Mitrice

Rest in Peace Mitrice
Mitrice Richardson