The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Reality of black women not depicted in media

The Collegian Logo
The Collegian Logo

By Jamil Oakford/managing editor

Nichelle Nichols was the first visible black woman on American television to take a major role on a popular show that wasn’t a maid or a step-and-fetchit character.

It was a sight to see in 1966. But the weird part is it’s still a sight to see 50 years later. Black women in media are rare, and if a black person is cast, it’s typically a black man whose role on a show or in a film can vary dramatically. But black women? Hardly ever.

And when they are? It makes one wish casting directors never bothered.

Black women are typically depicted as single mothers, overwhelmed by misbehaving child(ren), always angry and/or uneducated. It’s an image that doesn’t reflect reality and further proves white men writing black female characters are about as sensible as letting cosmetologists perform root canals.

But some hope is on the horizon for those yearning for real representation for black women in the media.

For starters, Black Panther features a cast filled with black women as T’Challa, the Black Panther, has an all-female royal guard. Not to mention, his sister Shuri is a genius with science and technology and develops high-tech gadgets while keeping Wakanda’s technological advancement far ahead of even Tony Stark’s inventions.

This spring, A Wrinkle in Time will feature a young biracial girl who is smart and interested in science and must find her white father after he’s created a deadly wrinkle in the time-space continuum.

On television, we have Iris West of The Flash, a race-bended character who is poised, a journalist and madly in love with the fastest man in the world. She’s both educated and coherent if she ever has lines to express in anger.

Black Lightning, another DC television show, features the main character’s daughter discovering her powers. Not only is Anissa Pierce smart and powerful, but she’s a black LGBT woman too. That’s untouched territory for mainstream media and a major step in the right direction.

All of this is great development, and we need more.

Black women are multi-dimensional people just like any white male character written or drawn into existence. As soon as Hollywood realizes it, the box office would reflect the celebration of such an awakening.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian