White Women's Review
In the age of political correctness found in the media, especially on TV, there has always been something that has been known to be “politically incorrect.” (sorry Bill Maher for usage of a title from your past show on ABC). Over the years, the “race card” has run through the gamut of injustice, just like sexism, sizeism, and any other –ism you can think of that has been depicted. Which VH-1's "TV’s Most Illest Moments" has attempted to do.
To make things easier for myself, I am going to give you my personal viewpoints of things I saw from the show that not only do I remember as a child of the 80s, but also things I could relate to as well as easily giving commentary on from VH-1’s latest installment of looking at one of our absurdity’s in our society:
Black Maids and Butlers in sitcoms --- Sure, they are loud mouths, but more importantly, and in case you caught it, are the biggest smart asses in the world. In fact, they always seemed to give the best lines in any show.
The white person saving the world (especially for the other race) --- A reference to the Partridge Family saving Richard Pryor and his restaurant was made. I remember that episode, and as corny as it was, it did have a point. That you could show Richard Pryor and the Partridge Family on the same show and no one gets hurt. In fact, with me being involved with the Asian community like I am, and kind of helping out in the cause, I guess you can say that I would fit the category too. But don’t worry, I’m not offended by it. In fact, it’s a nice pop cultural compliment.
Reality shows where the black guy is the first to leave? ---- I guess black guys, or even gals don’t like reality or can’t face it on TV. But in a way, that is a good thing, because at least they faced the reality of how STUPID the whole concept of reality TV is sometimes. They truly didn’t believe in the hype. I give kudos to that. But then, again, in defense, it is saying to America that the black guy is weaker than you’ve seen or heard in rap music. Sorry Puffy and Ice Cube.
But you know what? It isn’t only the black race that has faced reality. The Asians have too. In fact, if there is an Asian on the show, you hardly see him or her because the “idea” is that they are the quiet ones who don’t really say much anyway so why bother. Have you seen a recent episode of Survivor All-Stars or the recent Real World? And it is true that in these reality shows, it's always the white people. It’s the white people who are dominant….at least that is what the TV show wants you to believe.
With Latinos looking like horn dogs on the reality TV circuit, it does not surprise to me. From what I saw on my vacation on two Latino TV stations, there is always the HOT girl with some old, sometimes butt-ugly guy. And if you think our soap operas are trashy, then you haven’t seen theirs.
White guys are looking Asian ---- And your point is? I know that there is this half American half Korean singer name Crystal Kay who is very popular in Japan. To me, she looks half African American, and yet she speaks Japanese very well. (Pardon me if I don’t have my facts straight). Could she be accused of the same thing even though her home is Japan?
Asians on TV --- Pat Morita, Margaret Cho, and Mr. Sulu are my personal favorites in this category. With the guys, they never seem to get the girl, because not only are they depicted as the nerdy ones but also because it relates to the “size” issue, if you know what I’m saying? The girls on the other hand seem to be too horny and are always able to get the white guy. You can thank the porno movies for jumping on the band wagon for that trend. In fact, if you want to see an Asian guy have sex, look up www.j-list.com and you’ll find them, because the DVDs are from Japan.
Blackface --- It’s supposed to say that racism is bad. And blackface is the example? What about the other races? Unless you show that it is in bad taste, then there is nothing wrong with. By the way, it is historical fact that a white guy or girl always played the role of another race because back then, it was impossible to ill the roles and also hard to find those particular races to fit that particular roles.
Black judges --- I LOVE Judge Hatchett and the Divorce Court Lady. Judge Hatchett is cool because she is at least more like a mentor to kids and knows how to give them their reality check/education. The Divorce Court Lady is good because she tells it like it is (kinda like a black version of Judge Judy, in which we should thank Judge Judy for starting "the tell-it-like-it-is-to-these-nimrod-formats").
Arsenio Hall --- He was the best! I loved his wit and he was fun! It was one of the few times you actually saw all kinds of races I the audience. The race thing in fact never came up until he got word that his show was cancelled, and then he just didn’t care anymore.
Wrestling --- You have all the minorities there, and yes, they pick on the stereotypes too. But the thing is… its entertainment! It’s not real! In fact, it is not only the stereotypes that they pick on, but they mock soap operas, reality shows, and high-level sporting events. My favorite wrestlers of ethnicity are Rikishi, Booker T, and Latino Heat.
Daffy Duck --- Daffy Duck black? Well, back in the day, I never thought so. However, if you think about, and were crazy enough to analyze it, whenever he was put head to head with Bugs Bunny, it always seemed like he was the depiction of the angry black guy. In this case, Bugs Bunny represented the dominate race getting all the fame and glory and Daffy represented the races that didn’t, thus getting all pissed off about it.
Guess the race of the Muppets --- How funny! Bert is Dominican. Animal is Mexican. Big Bird is a Vietnamese Drag Queen? Ok, since when did puppets have a race, especially from the Muppets or Sesame Street? That is definitely an idea coming from someone who decided to make fun of the whole race deal. In fact, this shows the irony as to how we seem to put labels and analyze just about EVERYTHING to the point that we’ll overanalyze it more than we need to. Good work!
I will admit, I was disappointed as to how Asians, Latinos, and Blacks were the majority races depicted and described in various formats. What about the Arabs, in light of 9-11 or the Middle East crisis? Or what about Abu, representing the Indian Americans on the Simpsons? Didn't anyone watch that show?
The VH-1 show, "TV’s Most Illest Moment" made it’s best attempt to highlight this fact, with a little bit of elbowing of the ribs, in case you were unaware of the sarcasm involved. In fact, most shows like “I Love the 80s” and “The Best Week Ever” do the same thing, except everyone is involved. This show was great because it highlighted almost every stereotype on TV…as well as making fun of itself in the process. I saw it as a very tongue-and-cheek kind of show.
It does go to prove that racism exists and you can't make it go away no matter how hard you try. And if you think we have racists programs, try going to another country to see not only how races are depicted but also Americans. In most Asian countries, the American is either depicted as the aggressive barbarian, or the stupid guy who can’t speak a word of Japanese or Korean, and thus the hilarity of making fun of his or her mistakes ensues.
And what if minorities ruled the world? Let’s put it this way. You would probably still have the stereotypes, but more than likely in reverse. But wait a minute, I thought we kind of had that already with the girl from My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance (or the nairve, shallow, gullible, blond chick fooling her family that she is going to get married, just so she can get the money). Then there is Nick and Jessica (or two people who “claim” to be normal, but actually are not).
If anything, for those of us who see equality and equal rights, you can use these shows as a tool for education. Because after all, there are those that are stupid enough to think that what they see on TV are the real thing. Ask anyone that you teach English to outside of this country, and I can almost guarantee you would have this response. And often time when that’s happened, it starts a whole new education for the outside world who thinks they know us very well. In fact, when you say that black guy isn’t very angry at all, or that all white American women are easy, not only do their eyes light up, but are almost shocked that you have said such a thing at all. However, that is the power of media, that can be used at its best, but is really at its worst if you think about it.