When Jemele Hill’s Trump tweets reflected the concerns of millions of Americans, including her white male colleagues, she was condemned because, well, “You know how they can be.”
When Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) echoed the sentiments of her fellow lawmakers (both Democrat and Republican), Bill O’Reilly said, “I didn’t hear a word she said.”
The story is one you hear often about black women—from Serena Williams to countless black co-workers. If a black woman raises her voice above a whisper, she immediately transforms herself into the oft-repeated trope of “the angry black woman.”
Ad Age reports that a group of 15 educators, lawmakers and advertising executives have started an initiative that seeks to measure the impact of “the angry black woman” myth, raise awareness in the entertainment industry, and recommend countermeasures on how to dispel it once and for all.
When the consortium sent out a survey to African-American and white women about the portrayals of black women in the media, 60 percent said that they were “argumentative,” 46 percent said that TV and film portrayed black women as “lazy,” while 45 percent thought that black women were cast as “corrupt” in the entertainment industry.
These images not only inform viewers’ impression of black women but also become the aspiration of young women, according to Zeta Phi Beta international President Mary Breaux Wright, who told Ad Age, “Our girls were being enticed by these harmful images of African-American women, some seeing reality TV and ‘social media celebrity’ as their chance for success over their education.”
According to the survey’s findings, only 12 percent of African-American and white women find the media’s portrayals of black women to be positive. The group released the survey at the 47th Annual Legislative Conference for the Congressional Black Caucus and hopes to influence brand marketing and consumer spending as well as make people inside the industry aware of the stereotyping of black women.
The group working to combat this stereotype includes Zeta Phi Beta Sorority; Sandra Williams Simms, chief diversity officer of the marketing company Publicis; Howard University; and female executives from well-known marketing and media companies.
When asked for comment, Mona Scott-Young briefly paused her extended remix of “Bodak Yellow,” stopped working on the script for her next “reality show” hit series Real Housewives of Instagram Models Who Slap-Fight on Reunion Shows and issued this statement: “Who gon’ check me, boo?”
Read more at Ad Age.