Racial Tropes and a Closer Look at SCANDAL

So I love all of the shows that young, college aged to middle aged black women generally love right now. I’m a fan of Shondaland and all of its productions and Thursday IS the Holy Day but I am also a huge advocate of careful consumerism and turning the critical eye to the enterprises we support as individuals and especially as a community of black people with an incredibly disproportionate investment in certain industries to our dollar value as a unit. Before I go off on a rant what I’m saying is that we actually dictate media trends in consumership because we are the mass base and as the base, we have responsibility.

Typically I reserve these rants for what I believe are undisputedly damaging enterprises that exploit disgustingly long-standing tropes about black people stemming from slavery and the introduction of Christianity to the African continent during the colonial era (Again, stopping myself) but while these shows typically fall under the realm of “reality” TV, our favorite scripted dramas tap into some uncomfortable schemas as well.

I haven’t been the best at watching SCANDAL lately after this season (4, I believe?) took a really weird turn with the kidnapping of Olivia and the extremely lack-luster saving of Olivia followed by SCANDAL’s (weak) take on #BLackLivesMatter news and politics, but I personally was stunned to see that the beautiful black man Olivia reclaimed her “power” with (as if a woman’s power only comes from her interactions with a man -__-) was actually a ploy set up by Papa Pope!

I’ve just said a whole lot but I think we need to sound off as a community of viewers about the racial dynamics on this show: Olivia, a black woman, in love with and constantly choosing between two white men who are always shown as having her best interest at heart and being genuinely lovestruck for her while her father, the black man, who has also done INCREDIBLE things for Olivia is portrayed and scorned as the evil one. Not to even mention Huck, the Latino and other prominent person “of color” character and his lust for massacre, doom and blood.

Good and evil come in all colors, but I feel that evil, in SCANDAL, at least is more frequently painted in darker hues, while the blemishes on the “WHITE” hats are invisible under all of the sun they’re constantly basking in.

I don’t think I’m crazy, but do y’all? LOL Anyone else que in on something a little off? How do we feel about crafting the media with out viewership and taking charge of representation? I’m not here for respectability politics but I’m also not here for exploitation and one-dimensional representation….I would love to hear your thoughts/critiques!


One thought on “Racial Tropes and a Closer Look at SCANDAL

  1. I definitely feel where you’re coming from, but I’d have to disagree with the statement about one-dimensional representation/darker hues=evil. The one thing I truly like about Scandal is that no one is purely evil or purely good. As we know, even the white hats did and continue to do things that may be considered wrong. Everyone tends to be on their own good to evil spectrum at different points in the show in my opinion. When Jake first came on the scene, he was horrible! He was sent by Fitz to spy on Olivia and ended up sleeping with her! Now, he seems more good than bad but sometimes we get our doubts. Yes, Papa Pope seems like the devil incarnate but of course he thinks he’s doing what he needs to do for the preservation of America. Remember when the series first started? Did anyone else almost like him? Maybe that was just me lol. Basically, I’m just saying that I don’t feel like too many people on the show are good or bad consistently and it kinda depends on your perspective. That’s my two cents but I have had my questions about Scandal in the past, especially when Olivia was auctioned. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that if you haven’t written anything on it already.


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