Black Women Still Portrayed Negatively On TV
Strong black women on television are still portrayed by racial stereotypes
It took 44 years for an African American woman to star as the lead character on a network television series. The always dressed to perfection fixer, Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington is beautiful, smart, ambitious, and has a thing for the president, another woman’s husband. Seemingly, this has been the trend for African American females on TV; resilient black women with a weakness for men they cannot have (and should not want for that matter). From the super confident TV anchorwomen Mary Jane Paul, to the conniving and scheming bad girl Candace from Tyler Perry’s ‘The Haves and the Have Nots,’ both depict powerful women in position who can’t seem to stay away from other people’s men. These characters are certainly a far cry from the roles Queen Latifah, Phylicia Rashād, and Whoopi Goldberg graced our screens with for so many years.
The concern with the portrayal of how African-American women are perceived in the media is growing stronger as new series are being introduced. Some may argue that it’s simply entertainment, but one must acknowledge the great deal of influence it has over our lives, how we think…how we act. While the Gladiators will continue to dominate my Thursday nights, still there’s no doubt that we need more positive images on television in order to defeat the stereotypes and break down these pigeonholes.