*I confess … I am bougie, yet I indulge in my share of reality TV.
One of my favorites is “Real Housewives of Atlanta. ” Amid the controversy surrounding this type of show and their cast of colorful characters, I justified “RHoA” by it not being as ratchet as some of the others (bougie in denial). As sensitive as I am to stereotyping in the arts, I gave this show a pass with a ticket stamped “You can’t win them all”. That is, until I picked up April’s edition of Essence magazine.
Featuring an informative article entitled “Money & Power,” the wage gap in America was being discussed. I already knew that for every dollar a white man made, women only brought home 77 cents, but what I didn’t realize was that black women only rake in a staggering 64 cents in comparison! After profiling a scenario where an African-American female lawyer was offered $30,000 less than her white male counterpart, the article continued with several factors why discrimination is commonplace in the workplace. Suggesting that many still believe that we are less skilled, capable and valuable, it was this one expert’s statement that sucker punched me:
“For some people, black women are still very much an unknown or are only known by the stereotypes on television.”
( If you’re like me, you’ll read it again.)
So … Nene and ‘Nem may be the only insight a non-black hiring manager may have into my world? There is a big chance that the fake lifestyles splashed across Bravo on Sunday night may be their only chance to get a peek-a-boo at how we do? I know this sounds crazy, but I never thought of it from this career perspective. If we don’t go out of our way to be steeped in another’s culture, we too believe what’s thrown at us by Hollywood’s standards. Even when we do become more educated about how others live their lives, minorities will never receive true empathy for how we come into the game at a deficit. I’ll preach it all day long, stereotypes run deep, and as difficult as it may be, I must not feed into it. Especially those that are made to diminish my own.
Therefore, I can no longer partake in my “guilty pleasure.” Mine eyes have seen the glory, and as much as I want to make an excuse, I really have no leg to stand on. I am surrounded by beautiful sistas that are holding down and representing the true, unscripted reality that we are brilliant, talented and fiercely prepared to continue to make our mark in this world via so many avenues. So, I ain’t mad ‘atcha for staying tuned in, but it’s time for me to hang up my RHoA cleats.
How, if in any way, did that statement affect you?
Tanya Tatum is the opinionated host of “The Tatum Talks,” a live Blog Talk Radio show focusing on African-American interests. Feel free to join in on the weekly madness every Wednesday night from 9-10p EST at www.blogtalkradio.com/thetatumtalks and daily at www.facebook.com/thetatumtalks. She can be reached via email at [email protected].