Monday, March 26, 2012

Racism as Entertainment

Heraldo Rivera thrived on the media by virtue of being Hispanic.  Period.  He came on the scene at a time where Hispanics on television were a rarity and he was the 'shinny new thing' - He has no talent, he has no intellect, but he is Hispanic.  Some were glad to have a face, a cultural background they could relate to in the media.  It was a foot in the door for what was hoped would be equality and recognition as valuable members of society.

Heraldo Rivera stated that he told his son not to dress in a hoody or have baggy pants because of 'The association' people make about people who 'dress that way' - What this spineless coward should have done is stand up for his son's (and everyone else's) RIGHT to dress as they please without being targeted for death.  Instead he sold Trayvon Martin and his own son down the river to benefit the bottom line of the network he services.

This is the feverish feeding frenzy of the media that continues to perpetuate racial stereotypes and reinforcing the fear of "Others" that makes every non-white seem 'suspicious' when we shop or walk down the street in places we belong and pay taxes on. The way the 'news' are presented is part of what perpetuates racial profiling and brings this 'art form' into the hearts and minds of main street (where we also live)

The media makes a healthy living off established stereotypes.  It is a cheap trick that produces sitcoms that consistently degrades human beings based on their racial or ethnic background.  Sitcoms are the worst offenders, but so is the multi-billion dollar industry that produces blockbuster movies.

The comedy show simply titled as "Rob" is tiresome - White male in a family of Latinos whose obsession with family ties is grossly exaggerated to the point of unbearable rudeness. Lovely, young, sexy Latino woman marries short, dumpy, boring older white male. Overly protective father with stereotypes of his own about white people perpetuates stereotypes about Hispanics and makes white people look like idiots. Don't get me started on the role of the mother and grandmother, or the good-for-nothing-perpetually-out-of-work brother-in-law.  The accents are exaggerated, the situations are contrived and the entire show will only bring joy to those who feel their prejudices are reinforced.

Tyler Perry as Madea
The tiresome Madea series are funny to whom? Are all black people fat, loud, obnoxious, caricatures of the worst stereotypes about black people?  Certainly NOT.  But hey! it sells doesn't it? What's the harm? - The harm is that reducing people to stereotypes prevents them from getting from under the cloud of racism and  moving forward as equal members of society.

Heaven's forbid they make comedy shows in which the Huxtables - Bill Cosby Show - are the stereotype for black people.  What? too uppidy you say? - It is amazing how many black folks are judges, lawyers, doctors, dentist, police officers, and professors with PhD's but are not properly represented in the media.

How many African-Americans are contractors, builders, mechanics, engineers and school teachers?  We  gloss over those occupations and stereotype blacks as athletes or entertainers.  That is the comfort level of our tiny minds because reality is too uncomfortable.  Reality may force us to examine our baggage and feel the pain we have caused others.  Reality may force us to see how we have been part of the problem all along and bear responsibility for our actions.  No, it is too unsettling, we must go to the movies, or turn on the boob-tube to reinforce our prejudices and make us feel good about our long-held beliefs. African-Americans can't be depicted as normal families with class and elegance.  It does not fit the stereotype.  President Obama and his family do not fit the stereotype

Hollywood movies - Where is the challenge here? as soon as we see a black guy on almost any movie, we know he will be the first casualty of the serial killer, bomber, car accident, etc.  It is inevitable that the poor bastard will give up his life for the main character, invariably a woman or a white person.  How noble! Black people exist to sacrifice themselves for a noble cause. Or.... he is the drug dealing pimp of the 70's - perpetually embedded in the neurotic mind of James O'Keeffe and others like him.

Black women are either single-moms living in squalor, prostitutes with drug issues or the 'token' sidekick who must retain some of her 'blackness' - she must use some street lingo at some point, not sound 'white' (read educated), come from humble beginnings and most of all, grateful for her middle-class struggles.

Hispanic women are ... well, just read above but add 'overly sexual' or 'virginal' - those two seem to be interchangeable when it comes to Latin women.

Male Hispanics are relegated to gang members, or decent people who are poor and desperate.  They are servants, gardeners, illegals... or a 'funny' sidekick.  Funny in a way that entices people to laugh at their accents, their culture, their religion, their physique or perceived lack of intellect.

Take a look at language and how we automatically associate it with stereotypes:

"Inner City" means black folks live there.  They are poor, they are welfare queens, they have guns and they are dangerous.

*Barrio - means neighborhood in Spanish and you know who lives there? Mexicans! yes, oh my God! they are ALL illegals.  They deal drugs. They are in gangs. They have fake social security cards so they can rob us blind and most of all, they don't speak English so we can't understand what they are saying. They are dangerous.

Neighborhood or Main Street - means middle-class white folks live there and they are the salt of the Earth. Period.

Mississippi - The poorest of the poor, racist, toothless, ignorant, mental defective white people filled with hatred.

Alabama and South Carolina - *See Mississippi

Los Angeles - Chock-full of liberal elites who eat healthy in a smog-filled town and smoke pot before breakfast.

East L.A. - You don't want to go there, that's where the Mexicans live and they are all part of a gang.  *See Barrio above.

San Francisco - Chock-full of faggots whose sole purpose is to undermine heterosexual marriage by demanding equality.  A city of sinners with no redeeming qualities and a socialist agenda worthy of the Anti-Christ.

New York - East Coast elitist - ALL of N.Y. is Joe Peshi or they have too many Puerto Ricans (they live in Barrios, of course) - All cab drivers in New York are of Middle Eastern decent and they are just terrorist cells waiting to explode (pun intended)

Florida - Ignorant morons who cling to their guns and Bibles. Chock-full of old and dying Jews and Cuban criminals (they live in their own Barrios alongside with Dominicans and Haitians)

It is not a coincidence that Santorum wears sweater vests, it is done by design.

Santorum is representing the ideal of a patriarch that never existed.  Robert Young played a role on television in the series 'Father Knows Best' - he was the wise patriarch everyone respected.  His wife was subservient and his children were obedient.  Americana as seen through Norman Rockwell paintings.
In reality, nothing more than a fantasy.  No one in the 50's had a family like that.  Robert Young was an abusive alcoholic who hated the role he played and the actors he worked with.

But this is America.  Illusion is fed to us like mother's milk and served with a steaming piece of apple pie on a daily basis.

Racial stereotypes are alive and well. Perhaps Trayvon Martin and children like him would not have to die if the networks did not perpetuate the notion that blacks are criminals.  Maybe the news could explain to their audiences that Hispanics and blacks are incarcerated and murdered in disproportionate numbers.

The media could explain that a for-profit prison system thrives on rounding up minorities because if they rounded up white folks, they could not get away with it.  They could do more than a passing soundbite on judges with financial ties to these institutions and the role they play in long sentences and death penalties.

Maybe, just for kicks, the black guy does not have to be the first to die in the movies, or in real life.

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