The Afronista Rants #0: I’m Black and Nobody Gives a Damn

So I just finished reading another article and I feel I must comment.  This time it was about black television shows and how there aren’t enough and how difficult it is for black writers and producers to get their shows on the air.

I very much agree that it’s difficult for a black person in any field to get any play.  The media is one such place where we’re pretty much marginalized.  Even Erique, an 11 year old kid, noticed that there aren’t a lot of black people in TV and movies or anything media related.  Don’t get me wrong, we’re way ahead of where we used to be back in the day, or whatever, but we don’t get equal share.  I told the kid that one of the reasons is that there really are more white people than there are black people in the United States.  We’re probably only just under being proportionally represented in the media.  I have no scientific evidence for this; I’m just guessing, really.

But that isn’t the point of this blog.  The article I read talked about a few black TV shows that were being cancelled:  The Game and Everybody Hates Chris.  The network that hosted these shows says they want to bring in programming that will bring in the ratings.  Black viewers got all up in arms and immediately began to play the race card.

When people read this they’ll be like… what?  But that’s okay.  I stand by my opinion.

Yeah, I do believe there is still racism.  I believe it’s strong and kicking, but I feel like black people are a large part of the problem.  We want our own shows, we want top-billed black actors and actresses, we want our actors to get the same money as white actors.  They should get the same money, but they have to be worth it.

Face it:  television and movies is big business.  Nobody is doing anything out of the goodness of their heart.  If you aren’t making money, if you don’t have the ratings, get the hell out and thanks for playing.  Nobody wants to pay for bullshit.

Why do black people think that a black TV show with black actors making jokes about being black would make money?  Yeah, every black person in America is watching it, but guess what… that’s not enough people to make money for the network.

Most black TV shows and movies alienate everyone who isn’t black.  Every black movie and TV show has the same theme:  this is my life because I’m black.

White TV shows do not do this.  Except for King of the Hill, I can’t really think of a white TV show that is like, “Hi, I’m a white guy and I’m going to make jokes about being white.  Me and all my white friends are going to sit around and talk about growing up white.”

First of all, if such a show really existed, black people would shit themselves and label it as exclusionary and racist.

So why is it okay on the other side?

If you want to be in the game, you need to actually get in the game.  You can’t get in the game and sit in the corner with your friends and think that everybody is going to be on board with that.  You ever have an inside joke?  You and your friends think that shit is hysterical but if you tell that same joke to someone who wasn’t there, they just look at you like… what?  And then you said, “You had to be there.”  That’s what white people feel like when they watch our shows.

Why can’t you just make a company with black people in it doing everyday normal things, instead of simply being black.  Yeah, we’re black and we’re proud.  I got it, blah blah blah.  Is that all we can say about us:  we’re black?  I’m black and that’s it.  Thanks for playing!  White people don’t really about that because it makes them feel guilty and then it alienates them.

All the idiotic Tyler Perry shows are hysterical to black people because we all have a relative like that.  White people don’t, which is why the show is not funny to most of them.  White people do not know what it’s like to grow up black, and they don’t care.  So Everybody Hates Chris is only amusing to a very small percentage of the United States population, which is why the show got cancelled.  Not enough ratings.

A long time ago someone asked me why I don’t watch black movies/TV shows.  Like white people, I feel alienated.  No, I’m not white (although some of you sometimes speculate) but I didn’t “grow up black,” poor, in public housing, so the jokes don’t make any sense to me.  I can’t identify.  The idiotic antics from the Tyler Perry shows are just moronic and beneath my level of intelligence which is why my TiVo skips right over that crap.

On top of all that, in my opinion (which is debatable) most black actors cannot act.  I went to see that movie Obsessed, which was a perfect example of a movie with black actors but not talking about being black.  It’s too bad that Beyonce cannot act; it made the movie completely unwatchable.  They didn’t need to go out and find some skinny white woman to play the lead role.  What they need is a black woman who can actually act.

Nobody is saying that we need to give up our identities and pretend like we’re white, but if we want to end racism and open up opportunities we should stop secluding ourselves and stop thinking that being black is something special.  White people are not watching these “I’m black and this is how I live” movies and shows and suddenly saying to themselves, “Oh, wow, it really is rough being black.”  They don’t care.  Nobody cares, not even you.

Educational purposes aside, when people watch TV they want to laugh, they want to be drawn into some drama, or they want to fantasise.  Two gay men raising a baby is funny to everyone because white and black people are gay.  Skinny white women who live in a loft overlooking Central Park while working as waitresses is entertaining because it’s a fantasy life white and black people want (the ability to live lavishly while making $7.15 an hour).  The sordid, screwed up lives of doctors and lawyers is riveting because both black and white people love other people’s drama.  Four skinny black women lamenting their problems dating “brothers” is only amusing to a small portion of the population, which is why the show got cancelled.

If you get off the midnight train to Georgia and start thinking along a more universal line, something for everyone, you just might get somewhere.  Until then, nobody cares.


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