Made Of Shade

MADE OF SHADE: Maury Povich in Black and White

Millions of viewers tune in daily to watch the Maury Povich Circus Show. White women appear on the show from time to time. They are the ones whom many would refer to as the ‘poor white’ folks of society.  If you look with a critical lens, the White women that appear on the show are mainly portrayed as women that are victims of circumstance. Because of the victim’s position and the circumstance at hand, these White women’s stories are told in the most sympathetic and bias ways. Something terrible happened and as a result, these White women carelessly got pregnant without knowing who the child’s father is. Almost as if an invisible male suitor robbed them of their ‘purity’ and in the morning, they awakened pregnant. At times, Maury will intervene not allowing the White women to make total asses of themselves.

Black women chosen to appear on the show, carry stories of deceit, rage and sexual shame. They are displayed as angry women that love sex without responsibility. The aim appears to never allow these women to portray themselves as pure victims of circumstance. No, they are seen by many as mean, ghetto bitches that have sex and ask questions later. These Black/Hispanic women are not seen as victims of circumstances. They are seen as innately sexual, deceitful and full of rage. Maury will most often allow volatile conversations to continue between the Black/Hispanic women and their potential child’s father. The ratings fly high when violence and rage are part of the discussion. Maury’s fake compassionate poker face is a product of good acting.

The stereotype of Sapphire, I suspect, is what prompts the show to invite certain types of Black women to appear. Sapphire is the stereotype of Black women as hands on hips, overbearing, hard to get along with, treacherous, loud mouths that put folks down when she ‘s feeling quite angry and bitchy. The stereotype of Black women as Jezebel is another image alive and rampant on the Maury Povich Show. Jezebel is the stereotype of Black women as sexual and seductive tempters, luring the penis at all costs.

Keep in mind the show possibly receives millions of inquires from folks wanting to appear and tell their story. From those large quantities of letters a myriad of diverse faces exist in the pile. The show loves Sapphire and Jezebel. It’s what makes for good television. It also forces us to get comfortable with the stereotypes rather than demand other, real representations of the black female.