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Tami Roman (VH1’s Basketball Wives)

*Many practicing physicians are turning their attention to placebos as a means of effective, non-invasive patient care.

By definition, a placebo is a substance having no pharmacological effect but given merely to satisfy a patient who supposes it to be medicine. This unorthodox method of treatment alleviates mental anguish and produces feelings of temporary euphoria.

In a recent Harvard study, researchers discovered that mental and even physical illness can be temporarily assuaged through visual stimulation, a form of placebo therapy. According to an article published by Harvard Magazine in February, participants of the study claimed they felt instant relief after consulting with (seeing) a doctor. A corresponding study revealed that medical machines—designed to fight illness—also provided a sense of calm to sufferers of poor health. This concept is otherwise known as the “Placebo Effect.”

Many women who watch reality television experience temporary emotional and psychological highs, not unlike the aforementioned participants of Harvard’s study. During this process, deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy and self-hatred are replaced by temporary surges of confidence and superiority. Sisters, many of you avoid dealing with insecurities for fear of embarrassment. Instead, you take pleasure in watching other black women suffer emotionally (ie. placebo therapy). This coping mechanism is described as “hating,” which defined by the Urban Dictionary means “the projection of maleficent energy; feelings of strong dislike—often inspired by jealously, envy or self-reproach.”

Excluding the blind, science explains that visual stimulation (what we take in through our eyes) is the most influential of all our senses. However, the boost in dopamine—a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers—that’s caused by placebos is typically short-lived. Indeed sisters, you may feel better when Evelyn and Tami make fools of themselves on VH1’s “Basketball Wives.” But when the euphoria dissipates, your insecurities will remain. My advice to you, ditch the placebos and tackle your emotions head on.

Round Two (A different perspective)

Evelyn

Evelyn Lozada (VH1’s Basketball Wives)

*Fall is rapidly approaching and that means brand new seasons of (enter your favorite shows here) are on their way. For many, this means another heaping helping of reality television. Alas, I can already taste the scripted debauchery—it’s like being forced to swallow gasoline.

When Y2K turned out to be a dud (stay with me here), Americans let out a sigh of relief. We put away our survival kits, removed our social security cards from the freezer, reopened our bank accounts, and reunited with our computers. More importantly, the turn of the century introduced us to a new-and-improved brand of televised entertainment.

Now, 13 years later, the viewing public can’t get enough reality TV. However, under the guise of entertainment, an increasing number of cable networks are beginning to feature reality shows that overtly objectify, sexualize and degrade women of color. Like gangbusters, this new age trend of black female exploitation has viewers flocking to their living room during prime time.

It’s been a while since I’ve played the infamous “race card” (that job typically belongs to Al Sharpton and his boys). However, the more I pay attention, the clearer it becomes that black women are generally misrepresented in film and television.

I recently suffered through an episode of VH1’s “Love and Hip-Hop,” per my ex girlfriend’s request. During the opening scene, a fight broke out between two female cast-members who were involved with same man. Moments later, another brawl erupted because of he-said-she-said drama.

The show was only half-over before regret set in. Until then, it never occurred to me the lengths that some women will travel for attention and monetary gain. I left my couch wanting to jump from the world’s tallest cliff while wearing a suit of armor.

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Ne Ne leakes (Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Atlanta)

Granted, the same could be said about non-blacks who make asses of themselves when the cameras are rolling. But if all the white folk in the world stepped in front of a moving train, would we do the same? In other words, our standards should be unique to the black condition, not White America’s.

As the dust clears from George Zimmerman’s recent acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, this nation remains divided. Adding insult to injury, various news outlets are ratcheting up their coverage of race-related incidents near and far. In July, when the trail reached its climax, numerous right-winged conservatives hurled stereotypes at black folk like no tomorrow.

The upcoming season of “Basketball Wives,” and others of its kind, will only fuel the flames of prejudice in this country, particularly against black women. Other highly popular, yet racially objectionable reality shows include Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” Oxygen’s “The Bad Girls Club,” as well as every version of VH1’s “Love and Hip Hop.”

Like sharecroppers, these cable networks—managed by white corporate executives—provide handsome salaries to black women in exchange for their dignity, virtue and self-worth. Once again, “the man” dangles a carrot in our face, tells us to dance, and our feet get moving to the rhythm of manipulation.

Like ravenous hyenas, these so-called reality TV “divas” often throw caution to the wind, embrace rage, and resort to weave-pulling, mudslinging and general recklessness. Is this the image of black women we wish to portray, especially during a time of racial upheaval?

Don’t worry, the question is rhetorical.

The Black Hat column is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood who is also a certified personal fitness trainer. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his websites: www.coryhaywood.webs.com or corythewriter.blogspot.com.