If you follow us on Facebook and the Twitter, then you know the Witches shut everything down Thursday nights for ABC’s Scandal. Kerry Washington’s oddly mystifying lips, her crisp white coats and the twisted Huck, who just wants to get one more kill in before dinner, keep me watching. But, one author says the show plays to the worst in black female stereotypes.
Tom Burrell, a public relations industry vet and founder of the Burrell Communications Group, has worked for decades to uplift images of African Americans in the media. Burrell also wrote the book, “Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority.” In an interview with The Root, Burrell says Washington’s Scandal character, “Olivia Pope,” isn’t exactly the heroine that black women have been waiting for on TV. Burrell says…
I’ve got major problems with Scandal. It comes dressed up and masqueraded as something new, but Scandal is basically a continuing perpetuation of the stereotype of a black woman whose libido and sexual urges are so pronounced that even with an education and a great job, and all these other things, she can’t control herself. So, she’s basically a reincarnation of Bess from Porgy and Bess; she’s the female in Monster’s Ball; she’s the sexual predator and aggressor. It basically plays into the whole sexual stereotype of black women that’s been around from the very beginning, and that basically gives permission for them to be sexually exploited.
The Root: So, on balance, when it comes to the images of black women on the show, you believe the negative sexual stereotypes outweigh the positive things — like her intelligence, power and professionalism?
Burrell: Yes. The intelligence and professionalism let us go in under this pretext. But the message that is really being delivered is that no matter how much education you get and how much power you get, you’ve still got that “around the way girl” in you. It’s basically saying that black women are innately, inherently, hot to trot. He doesn’t seduce her. She seduces him.
So, what say you, Brewchies? Do you agree? Is “Olivia Pope” a reincarnation of an old stereotype, but with book smarts? Or, is she a complex character with flaws like most real people?
What’s your call? Weigh in below in the comment box!
Images via ABC
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