I never think it is wholly wise or critically prudent to assess an entire group by their media presentation. I also do not think it is wholly wise or critically prudent to drink alcoholic beverages while driving, yet it is done. And so is the use of stereotyped media portrayals as guideposts for one’s worldview. I recall being in class, some English literature class I had to take at Ranken, and the subject of race came up.
I cannot exactly remember how it came up, just that I felt the need to insert myself into the discussion. Of course, you say. So, the question of racial inferiority arose, and I asked the instructor her thoughts on the topic. Her response was something of the effect that she grew up in an all White town and had little contact with Blacks. Now, before the militant branch of my readership grabs bullets and bottles of explosive fluids loaded into a caravan heading to St. Louis, I do give her credit for being honest. A mildly subtle reflection of White supremacist thought masked in empirical consideration that caused me to literally bite my tongue to keep the “White bytch, what?!” from guaranteeing my expulsion.
I attempt to avoid letting one virus carrying mutt infect my thoughts on all mutts, but that can be foolish. It is similar to a trust issue in a romantic engagement. Trust in a relationship, very much like racial animus, is not a polar consideration. It has levels. Every lie is not the same, every betrayal has its portion of impact. Trust cannot be boxed into time constraints because trustworthiness is a dynamic that can be felt and read;some people earn higher levels of trust faster than others because they should. I feel the same way with racial trust.
So, Owl has been watching soap operas lately.
(Okay, hurry up with your laughter, your condescending “aawws”, and the like…)
I only watch the two that are both created by William J. Bell and Lee Phillip Bell for CBS and executive produced by Bradly Bell, namely, “The Bold And The Beautiful” and “Young And The Restless”. Now, once again, Owl would never use any market prepared stereotypical image, especially one contrived for daytime drama, but, levels. I want to consider levels here. Moving on, you have these two story lines involving Black Women and trust. In one, you have the sister who is seeking revenge for the death of her mother, and she is having sex with men to ruin their relationships to get closer to the person she holds most responsible for her mother’s death. In another story line, you have a sister, Maya, that is romantically involved with this well-to-do white guy, Rick Forrester. She allows an acquaintance to spend the night, and her white beau finds out, and he breaks up the relationship by sleeping with is his ex-fiancee.
(Yeah, I know, real dramatic and over the top story lines, yes?)
Now, granted, once again, any use of imagery from media is going to be labeled a stretch. Whether someone needs to justify why they watch soap operas, or a need to defend television viewing, or just media in general, there tends to be a response of ridicule and insult rather than critical address. And that is fine. These are the images of Black Women on television being transmitted to an audience that does not interact directly with Black women. These images are being transmitted primarily to an audience and through the production efforts of people that should not be trusted with these images. Levels.
It is not that I do not think White people cannot critically determine for themselves the range of accuracy a portrayal in a daytime drama should be given, history has shown me that I should not trust them on that level. Throughout media history, Black African American women have been portrayed as sexual animals. When they are not being the Bess, of the Sapphire, they are forged into masculine Sofia’s. It occurs so often, and in such an exploitative manner, that even the most inept Black media analyst is given more credit in my eyes for pointing at it. I do not trust White media producers and transmitters with the images of Black African American women!
(Editor’s note: I have not officially decided to make this a series, yet. But I do have a piece that is connected in scope to this piece here entitled,”The Ideal Of Media Trust And The Black African American Image”. Thank you.)