Media tagged African American

The Daily Show - Assault Swim - Progress in Community Policing

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In this clip from satirical news program The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart highlights the absurdity and racial bias of a 2015 incident captured on video showing a White Texas Police officer breaking up a teenage pool party, in which he unholsters his weapon, shouts expletives, and forces a young, unarmed Black woman in a swimsuit to the ground. The videos of the incident went viral and sparked national outrage and debate about excessive force used by law enforcement, exacerbated by the fact that the officer in this incident is White, and the young woman and people at the party are predominantly Black. Through this satirical news segment titled “Assault Swim,” Stewart talks with field reporter Jessica Williams, a Black woman wearing a bikini over body armor, for an “on-the-scene” update. Their exchange offers a humorous and honest look at race relations in Texas and the nation as a whole by highlighting racial inequities and discrimination related to this incident, with jokes and comments about how “white people always want to touch our hair,” and commenting on what firearm possession means in the hands of different racial groups.

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The Day Beyoncé Turned Black

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“The Day Beyoncé Turned Black” is a mock movie trailer created by comedy television show Saturday Night Live (SNL), which shows the fictional aftermath of a world in which pop-superstar Beyoncé is “revealed” to be Black because of the (real) release of her 2016 song “Formation.” In the satirical trailer, the world is turned upside down because White people finally realize that Beyoncé is Black through the “Formation” song and music video, which unapologetically celebrates Blackness and African Americanness, makes pointed commentary on African-American social issues and struggles, and celebrates Southern Blackness, Black power, and Black femininity.

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The Wire (EXPLICIT)

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Despite receiving modest ratings, HBO's The Wire (2002-2008) is considered one of the greatest TV dramas of all time, recognized for its realistic portrayal of urban life and deep exploration of sociopolitical themes. This scene from its first season shows low-level drug dealers D'Angelo, Poot, and Wallace having a conversation while waiting for drug buyers in the housing projects of inner-city Baltimore.

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The Wire - McNuggets

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Despite receiving modest ratings, HBO's The Wire (2002-2008) is considered one of the greatest TV dramas of all time, recognized for its realistic portrayal of urban life and deep exploration of sociopolitical themes. This scene from its first season shows low-level drug dealers D'Angelo, Poot, and Wallace having a conversation while waiting for drug buyers in the housing projects of inner-city Baltimore.

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This is What Happens When TV Writers’ Rooms Aren’t Diverse

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This 2015 video from Aisha Harris at online news, politics, and culture magazine Slate.com uses scenes from popular U.S. television shows to illustrate how people of color continue to be represented stereotypically and as peripheral minor characters in television shows because the roles and characters written for them are created by predominantly White writers. The video points out a range of stereotypical tropes such as the token minor or first to get killed off Black characters (such as T-Dog in The Walking Dead), or one-dimensional token Black, Latino, or Asian sidekicks (such as Winston in New Girl, or George from Law & Order: SVU), or servants (such as Rosario in Will & Grace, or Sum in Sex and the City) in contrast with complexly portrayed White characters in the same shows. There are also the exotic, sexy Latinas with a foreign accent (such as Gloria in Modern Family), or emasculated Asian male foreigners (such as Raj in The Big Bang Theory or Han in Two Broke Girls) who serve as the comedic relief because of their foreignness, which in turn makes the White characters look better and reinforces that they are what is “normal.” The video also connects these limited and damaging representations with how they affect viewers’ perceptions and behaviors in everyday life. At the end, the video creators argue that while some shows are now getting better at depicting people of color in leading roles (such as Grey’s Anatomy), it is because the writers and producers behind the show reflect diversity and include people who actually know what it’s like to live as a multi-dimensional person of color.  

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