I’m bored. That’s not why.
I love murder tv. Law and Order (all of them). CSI. Body of Proof.
While there are thousands of binge-watching possibilities, most of them fall into the same tired, old formulas that reinforce white male supremacy culture.
How a Show Makes the List
So, to keep things interesting, I’ve developed three criteria for putting a show on my watch list:
1️⃣The main characters can’t be white men.
It’s boring. Nearly every show that stars a white man has the same plot:
Eek! A young, thin, white woman is murdered, raped or attacked.
Gasp! A big strong man rescues her and/or solves the crime.
My hero! The pretty, thin, white woman or her family are eternally grateful to big strong man. 💤💤💤
2️⃣It can’t take place in LA or New York.
News flash: Interesting things happen in places that aren’t New York or LA. Or any big city.
It’s no wonder conservatives think Hollywood is against them. Big-city characters are so predictable: they make fun of gun owners, mock anyone with a southern or mid-western accent and roll their eyes at religion.
Shows that take place in the middle have more possibilities for laugh lines, culture references and local color.
3️⃣No Damsels in Distress (DID).
Women don’t need to be rescued every five minutes. If you’ve seen one rescue-the-screaming-woman-scene, you’ve seen them all.
More importantly, every time a woman stands around screaming while a man fights off attackers, it sends a message: women depend on men to save them.
As every single mom (and my married mom) will probably tell you: don’t depend on a man to save you.
So much of Hollywood perpetuates white male supremacy culture.
It’s so tired.
My Watch List?
What shows meet my criteria? It’s a short list, but here are a few.
1️⃣ a straight, overweight, white woman and a gay, white man, both almost 50.
3️⃣No DID. The two main characters rescue each other from loneliness, boredom and depression.
1️⃣A Black male assistant US attorney and a Black woman investigator
2️⃣a fictional town in North Carolina
3️⃣No DID (unless you count the two mothers who lost their sons to police corruption.)
1️⃣a Black woman nail salon owner
3️⃣The nail salon owner is the main rescuer.
The white, male supremacy culture in our media limits creativity to a formula.
Disrupting white supremacy culture isn’t just about passing better laws & electing different people. It’s about changing our culture.
We know the culture-makers can do better, because 👆🏻. When will the rest of #Hollywood learn?
If you’re interested in disrupting white supremacy culture in your organization, join Catherine Shieh, Janedra Sykes & me for “Disrupting White Supremacy Culture in Nonprofits,” 10/26/23, 9am PDT.