Monday, April 21, 2014

Reality Bites


I admit it I am addicted to reality tv.  From Project Runway, maybe the Voice from time to time, to Chopped, I love it!  While I have not seen it all, I have seen enough to know that reality tv is my vice of choice.  But my favorite thing to watch?  The Real Housewives of <insert city here>.  But by far the Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) is my above all favorite.  Each Sunday I make sure to have my schedule cleared to sit down and watch the outrageous cast of RHOA.  Shoot I even live tweet during the show.

But this Sunday was different.  In fact, the past few months have been different.  I am not sure if it is this working on becoming a better person thing, my spiritual journey quest, or simply a change of heart, but I am beginning to think that I need to distance myself from RHOA.  It was this past Sunday when we all saw what we having been waiting to see for  weeks, the RHOA Reunion where Porsha and Kenya threw down. At a time when I would normally delight in my weekly scheduled indulgence I was disgusted.

Television has long been the only image that people have of black people.  Many people had never seen black people until they were introduced through stereotypical representations of us on tv.   Black men were slaves and/or angry.  Black women were also slaves, or maids, or provocative sexual beings existing only for the pleasure of a man.  But that image has clearly changes.  Black women went from being Claire Huxtable to either having a sex tape, scrapping at restaurants and high class functions, or both.  The image of black women portrayed on television has taken a rather sharp digression, a digression that could have an impact on generations yet to come.

The irony of reality tv is that there really is no reality in it.  Story lines are created.  Situations are set up.  Characters are manipulated.  All to achieve the biggest drama which will equate to the highest ratings.  But in reality black women do not go around pulling hair and threatening to beat each other's ass when they have a disagreement.  Women do not carry around scepters and use a bullhorn to speak to each other.  If someone says something you don't like you do not get up and drag them across of a stage by their hair.

As black female I wish not to further condone this behavior.  I don't think any of us should.  Children should see examples of strong black females.  They need role models who are educated, who have businesses, are artists, athletes, who are pioneers paving the way for others following behind.  We don't need images of fighting nor the degradation of our fellow black woman.  We should be building each other up and not tearing each other down.  We should not allow these reality stars to extend their 15 seconds of fame through inappropriate behavior.

Of course not all reality tv is bad.  There are many reality stars  who use their shows and their images for good.  But that is not what sells is it?  Because people use trash tv as a form of escapism from their own problems there will always be a market.  However if we as a collective whole decide to take our business elsewhere the market will be dead.

So I am making this plea to whoever is reading:

Reality stars: if you are known for your inappropriate behavior please either resign from your position our clean up your act.  If you truly care about our children and even your own children, if you care about positive images of black women on tv you owe it to us all.

Everyone else: I ask my fellow reality tv viewers to boycott trash tv.  Do it for the kids.  Do it for your own sense of peace.

I can't say I am going to totally give up on reality tv, but I am going to make an effort to stay away from shows that are not in alignment with my morals, values, and spirit.  I hope that you will follow me.

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