Olivia Pope and the Scandal of Representation

February 7, 2013
By

By Brandon Maxwell

On April 5, 2012 Shonda Rhimes premiered yet another television drama that would entice millions of viewers to faithfully return to their couches weekly to watch her newest production – Scandal. In case you haven’t seen it, this drama purportedly centers on protagonist Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a “Professional Fixer,” and her efforts to make political problems go away. While this is the drama’s claim, a closer examination reveals that Scandal actually centers on the seemingly salvific protagonist of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy* and the lengths to which all people – women and men, black/brown and white, gay and straight, etc. – will go to preserve it.

This should not surprise viewers. Today, very few films, plays, and TV shows take seriously the task of not only imitating life but also critiquing it, and thus turning it on its head. One might even argue that they fail to truthfully imitate life. In an essay entitled Mass Culture and the Creative Artist, James Baldwin echoes this sentiment. Critiquing a couple films of the late 1950s, he writes,

These movies are designed not to trouble, but to reassure; they do not reflect reality, they merely rearrange its elements into something we can bear. They also weaken our ability to deal with the world as it is, ourselves as we are. (Baldwin 4)

Rhimes’ canon of work is no exception. Her most acclaimed productions to date – Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice – rely greatly on the indistinct subtext, which reassures us that anyone can survive (thrive, even) within the white male patriarchal world. That is, as long as they play the role demanded of them. Sadly, Scandal falls into the same trap. Though the characters are diverse in many ways, they are the same to the extent that each of them plays their role to preserve the system at all costs. And it is not just any system they are fighting to preserve: it is the American Political System under the fictional portrayal of the leadership of the Republican Party. The show relishes in essentialized representations of Republican Politicians (see characters Sally Fields and Hollis Doyle). However, these somewhat essentialized, fictional portrayals highlight an extreme irony of the show. Constituents whose support the actual Republican Party has in recent years struggled to garner – people of color, particularly black women (Olivia Pope), and gay folks (Cyrus Beene) – are fighting tooth and nail to uphold it.

On the surface, the show seems progressive. It is rare to see such a diverse and unlikely group of characters come together to fight for a shared cause within a mainstream TV show. Furthermore, Rhimes appears to break the normative Hollywood modus operandi wherein the protagonist is typically both male and white.  In fact, she is portrayed as “the great white hope” who is required to save the day alone. But the assumed central character of Scandal, Olivia Pope, is neither white nor male: the flesh of a black woman appears to be at the center of this drama.

Although a black woman is allegedly at the center of the storyline, the standard “ingredients that make Hollywood Hollywood – sex, violence, violation and action – “ (hooks 122) are an ever-present force in Scandal. Little changes about the normative Hollywood M.O. other than the fact that Olivia Pope, a black woman, is the one allowed to save the day alone; or in her case, with a team of “gladiators.” But ultimately, everything hangs on Pope’s shoulders alone and her ability to work her magic. [Is Kerry Washington joining the ranks of Hollywood’s magical Negroes?]

And we love it! We love seeing someone – especially a black woman –wield so much power at the flip of her hair, quiver of her lip, or with her cold blank stare. It is exciting to see a black woman playing the political game just as well as, if not better than, her white male counterparts. Moreover, there is something historic about the show. In a recent interview on Oprah’s Next Chapter, Kerry Washington discussed the fact that it has been nearly 40 years since a black woman has stared in a network drama in this capacity. The last time the American public saw similar casting was with the 1974 ABC drama “Get Christie Love!” starring Teresa Graves.

christie-loveSo the excitement over the show and the calls to celebrate a seemingly progressive image of a black woman on television are in some ways understandable. However, I contend something else is also happening on Scandal. The subtle clothing of Olivia Pope – black female flesh – in the garments of “the great white (male) hope” narrative should also give viewers pause.

While some may call for us to celebrate the portrayal of a black woman in a way that seems new and creative, Scandal is actually peddling the same tired societal representations of black womanhood albeit under the guise of progressivism. When a white man is the protagonist the story is typically one of redemption for the white man and salvation for his non-white, non-male counterparts through and by his own redemption. But black flesh does not behave the same way when it is clothed in the garments of “the great white (male) hope” narrative. When black female flesh is at the center of the drama the result is quite different. Scandal shows us that even when black female flash is wrapped in “the great white hope” narrative, the restraints placed on black bodily performances in media are just too strong for that narrative to succeed.

First, let’s acknowledge that Olivia Pope is an amazingly flat character. While the incessant presence of yelling, sexual antics, conspiracies, cover-ups, etc. keep us glued to the television, they distract us from the fact that Pope possesses no real depth. The writers seem to believe that as long as all the parts are moving, and Pope is tugged to-and-fro by various political demands, we will not notice that nothing is actually happening with her character. We know little-to-nothing about her family/personal life, her educational/professional trajectory beyond the Grant Presidential Campaign and Administration, nor do we know the passions and motives fueling her actions. If this were standard for all characters on the show, this would be a moot point. However, we know quite a bit of background information about other characters on the show, particularly President Fitzgerald Grant, III (Tony Goldwyn), Olivia’s love interest.

When compared with the information we know about Fitz, the limited information we know about Olivia is magnified. We know Fitz’s wife and father, as well as a generous amount of information about his estranged relationships with each of them. We know about his (scandalous) military career. One might even suggest that the aforementioned relationships and career give us a better understanding of what possibly undergirds the passions and motives of the character.

And what of Olivia? Viewers are not privy to this type of information where her character is concerned. All we know is that this black woman committed herself to Republican Presidential Candidate, Fitzgerald Grant, and has been a fixture of his campaign and administration to varying degrees throughout the show. Thus, any depth Pope possesses is always connected to the American Political System and/or Fitz.

One might argue that this is a way of providing the character with a deep and meaningful storyline. It is, however, problematic when the type of information we are allowed to know about Pope is limited in this way and that limiting is not standard for other characters in the show. To date we know the least about the show’s three black recurring characters, Olivia Pope, Harrison Wright (Columbus Short), and Edison Davis (Norm Lewis).

The type of information we are allowed to know about Olivia is quite reminiscent of the ways black actors and actresses accent the story lines of white folks in television shows that do not claim to place them at the center of the drama. As a result of this sacrifice of significant character development, the character of Olivia Pope must rely on stale media representations of black women for the semblance of substance.

In most episodes Pope is little more than a political mammy mixed with a hint of Sapphire who faithfully bears the burden of the oh-so-fragile American Political System on her shoulders. The mammy characterization has always had the goal of redeeming the relationship between black women and the white people whom they serve, particularly in the slave economy. Post-slavery, the mammy image has been repackaged time and time again in order to imbed itself within an ever shifting culture. Pope is one of the latest manifestations of this characterization. Similar to how the mammy of slavery was normally portrayed as neat, clean, and happy to serve and maintain the inner-workings of the massah’s house; Olivia Pope is neat, clean, and well-dressed; she understands the inner-workings of massah’s house — The White House, and tirelessly works behind the scenes to ensure the house continues to function as expected. Furthermore, just as the mammy stereotype would have us believe, Pope is happy with her life of service to the good white folks running the country.

But she’s not always all smiles as we’d expect a typical mammy to be. Pope just as quickly puts her hands on her hips, hardens her facial features, and roles her neck ever-so-slightly letting us know that she won’t take anything lying down. Just like the Sapphire representation, Pope is up for a fight. But to only portray Pope as a political mammy with a hint of Sapphire would be too obvious to viewers and would make her character even more noticeably flat. So, the show utilizes the ingredients of sex and violation masked as a romance to make her character seem a bit more complex.

[Enter Jezebel stage left.]

When Pope is not gleefully maintaining the house or being overbearing, thus undesirable, she’s in the back shed with massah — the Oval Office — Fitz where we realize she’s actually quite desirable (see Season 1 Episode 1). President Fitzgerald Grant can’t keep his hands off of her. He continuously expresses his incalculable love for her, but can only seem to express this “love” by forcefully grabbing her and feeling her up whenever he gets the chance. In the very first episode he forces himself on her while she attempts to decline his advances. But because of our conditioning, we see Pope as a Jezebel: she really wants it, we think. So, we accept the violation and believe there’s nothing wrong with Fitz’s unwelcomed advances; apparently “no” really doesn’t mean “no” in this case. The problem is, sexual intrigue and force do not equal love. We have seen no actions that support Fitz’s claim to love Olivia; but we do have plenty that suggest she is the object of his sexual desire.

One must acknowledge that Rhimes has seemingly attempted to address these race and gender concerns in Season 2. The most clear ‘race’ conversation occurs in Season 2 Episode 8, when Olivia tells Fitz she’s starting to feel a little “Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings” about their relationship. Initially this seems like a point where the plot may turn and Pope may move on from the constant violation. Shortly thereafter, however, Fitz and Olivia meet in a garden where he accuses her of playing the race card because she knows he has a role to play as the leader of the free world. In a fit of rage he yells at her saying, “There’s no Sally or Thomas here! You’re nobody’s victim, Liv. I belong to you; we’re in this together!” And before Olivia can rebut he storms off. Fitz gets the final say in how their relationship is to be defined. But no matter what Fitz may claim or how romantic the storyline seems, the script is all too familiar, and we already know how the story ends. And the moral of the story, you ask? Black female flesh = object to be desired sexually; white female flesh = desirable/acceptable in every other way.

The second explicit conversation about ‘race’ occurs (briefly) in Season 2 Episode 12. Fitz, having recently cuddled with death, is now ready to divorce Mellie and move on with life – presumably with Olivia by his side. Cyrus quickly reminds Fitz, however, that Mellie, his wife, is pregnant. What’s more, he tells him “Now Liv is a lovely, smart woman – I can’t get enough of her – but she’s not exactly a hue that most of your Republican constituents would be happy about.”

Both of these ‘race’ conversations merely graze the surface of the complex race and gender concerns at play. Neither conversation seems to be an opportunity for transformation. Additionally, neither conversation seems to take seriously the web of representational dominance that Pope’s character is caught in. Both conversations function as tools to make the characters and viewers continue accepting the status quo. In an almost undetectable fashion, Rhimes highlights the problematic race/gender concerns at play, only to dismiss them and make them appear not to matter as much – at least not in her stories.

In spite of the crafty stereotype switching that occurs on a weekly basis, the character of Olivia Pope is the ultimate amalgamation of three of the dominant media narratives about black women. She seamlessly switches between each in ways that would lead us to believe she transcends them.  In this way, Scandal very subtly tricks us into celebrating these images as opposed to being critical of them and demanding better.

So, all things considered, can we honestly suggest that Olivia Pope is the protagonist of this drama? The “great white (male) hope” narrative she is being forced into just doesn’t seem to fit her properly. Furthermore, the played out representations of black women that her character relies on for substance suggest that she is not truly the center of this drama, but merely ornamenting someone else’s story.

[Enter imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy stage right.]

Olivia Pope is actually a supporting actress in Scandal. The American Political System takes center stage and sets the tone of every episode. It is quite easy to miss if one isn’t looking for it. Because the show wants us to believe that Kerry Washington’s character is the protagonist – the great black female hope – the true protagonist cannot be embodied as a white man as it normally would. So instead the American Political System – with its foundation of imperialism and white patriarchal reasoning – is very subtly casted as the invisible protagonist.

While we would normally rely on the storyline of a white man named Jack [i.e., Jack Bauer (24), Jack Shephard (Lost)] to orchestrate the proceedings of a weeknight television drama, we must rely on the ebbs and flows of the American Political System to coordinate the plot in Scandal. Every episode centers on something that threatens to crack its foundation. In the same way that characters in 24 mindlessly respond to the intuition and violent interrogation techniques of Jack Bauer to save the country, the characters in Scandal also mindlessly respond to the ever-cracking foundation of the American Political System in order to do the same. Their ultimate goal? To make sure that the cracking foundation remains unnoticed, or at the very least accepted as okay/natural, by the general public.

Everyone plays their role in the process. Olivia Pope leads the other characters in this role playing by example; playing not only the one role that the system demands of her, but three of them. The only way Pope is empowered and seemingly in control is through service to the system that demands her powerlessness and capitulation. Ultimately, Scandal is not concerned with the life of Olivia Pope or portraying a black woman in a new way in spite of our celebrations of the show. It is concerned with the fragile foundation of the American Political System. It’s goal is to subtly train us in the ways of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and teach us that playing our roles is the only way to truly succeed and be happy within its confines. The show merely rearranges the elements of our world to make them more bearable and reassure us that political mammies like Pope are out there tirelessly fighting to maintain the system we so greatly desire to uphold.

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*Term coined by bell hooks

bell hooks. Writing Beyond Race.

James Baldwin. “Mass Culture and the Creative Artist: Some Personal Notes.” The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings.

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Brandon is a blackmalefeminist, culture critic, and budding theological historian whose primary interests include identity, faith, and the intersectionality of oppression. Brandon is an M.Div student at Emory University and is currently studying abroad at the University of Göttingen (Germany). There he is ethnographically exploring Afro-Germanism, and searching for connections between theological responses to German Holocaust, South African Apartheid, and American Slavery.

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204 Responses to Olivia Pope and the Scandal of Representation

  1. Rebecca on February 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

    So Olivia is Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire, Sally, AND a slave taking care of massah’s house? Pope’s character fits into a particular Hollywood generic story of the mysterious anti-hero. You don’t know much background, and that may or may not be revealed. Because it is tv an not a movie, it probably will be. Moreover, Olivia’s heroism is very questionable, and we are supposed to wonder at times if she is the bad guy,

    Was the star of the West Wing the U.S. polotical system? If we follow your argument, I think it has to be. But that doesn’t mean that the stars were superfluous. I think Scandal has some problems, among them the Republican basically acting like a moderate democrat, but I think if we are going to situate the show in terms of genre we have to understand the genres it is in. It is not a progressive show in content. It is not a show depicting radical political reframings. But if we miss how truly different Kerry Washington’s character is in terms of black characters and genre representation on TV, we are missing something significant. I support reading black representations historically, but I think that this can mean that all of us, and not just characters on TV, need to constantly craft identities where we are reacting to the possibility that we will be read that way. And maybe we do. But part of the fantasy of Scandal for me is that she doesn’t.

  2. Rebecca on February 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

    So Olivia is Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire, Sally, AND a slave taking care of massah’s house? Pope’s character fits into a particular Hollywood generic story of the mysterious anti-hero. You don’t know much background, and that may or may not be revealed. Because it is tv an not a movie, it probably will be. Moreover, Olivia’s heroism is very questionable, and we are supposed to wonder at times if she is the bad guy,

    Was the star of the West Wing the U.S. polotical system? If we follow your argument, I think it has to be. But that doesn’t mean that the stars were superfluous. I think Scandal has some problems, among them the Republican basically acting like a moderate democrat, but I think if we are going to situate the show in terms of genre we have to understand the genres it is in. It is not a progressive show in content. It is not a show depicting radical political reframings. But if we miss how truly different Kerry Washington’s character is in terms of black characters and genre representation on TV, we are missing something significant. I support reading black representations historically, but I think that this can mean that all of us, and not just characters on TV, need to constantly craft identities where we are reacting to the possibility that we will be read that way. And maybe we do. But part of the fantasy of Scandal for me is that she doesn’t.

  3. Rebecca on February 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

    So Olivia is Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire, Sally, AND a slave taking care of massah’s house? Pope’s character fits into a particular Hollywood generic story of the mysterious anti-hero. You don’t know much background, and that may or may not be revealed. Because it is tv an not a movie, it probably will be. Moreover, Olivia’s heroism is very questionable, and we are supposed to wonder at times if she is the bad guy,

    Was the star of the West Wing the U.S. polotical system? If we follow your argument, I think it has to be. But that doesn’t mean that the stars were superfluous. I think Scandal has some problems, among them the Republican basically acting like a moderate democrat, but I think if we are going to situate the show in terms of genre we have to understand the genres it is in. It is not a progressive show in content. It is not a show depicting radical political reframings. But if we miss how truly different Kerry Washington’s character is in terms of black characters and genre representation on TV, we are missing something significant. I support reading black representations historically, but I think that this can mean that all of us, and not just characters on TV, need to constantly craft identities where we are reacting to the possibility that we will be read that way. And maybe we do. But part of the fantasy of Scandal for me is that she doesn’t.

  4. Rebecca on February 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

    So Olivia is Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire, Sally, AND a slave taking care of massah’s house? Pope’s character fits into a particular Hollywood generic story of the mysterious anti-hero. You don’t know much background, and that may or may not be revealed. Because it is tv an not a movie, it probably will be. Moreover, Olivia’s heroism is very questionable, and we are supposed to wonder at times if she is the bad guy,

    Was the star of the West Wing the U.S. polotical system? If we follow your argument, I think it has to be. But that doesn’t mean that the stars were superfluous. I think Scandal has some problems, among them the Republican basically acting like a moderate democrat, but I think if we are going to situate the show in terms of genre we have to understand the genres it is in. It is not a progressive show in content. It is not a show depicting radical political reframings. But if we miss how truly different Kerry Washington’s character is in terms of black characters and genre representation on TV, we are missing something significant. I support reading black representations historically, but I think that this can mean that all of us, and not just characters on TV, need to constantly craft identities where we are reacting to the possibility that we will be read that way. And maybe we do. But part of the fantasy of Scandal for me is that she doesn’t.

  5. Camille on February 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    This article is problematic. How can Olivia be both Mammy and Jezebel? Those are polar opposites. And to top it off the writer asserts that she’s Sapphire too. Essentially, Olivia Pope is every working stereotype of the black woman rolled in one.

    The argument presented basically states that there can be no representation of black women as “neat, clean” leaders, who are intelligent go-getters, and in control of their own sexuality. And that is the problem with this (and other) criticisms of Scandal. A black woman is not allowed to be anything. Not even at the helm of her own firm, which is completely entwined with the political workings of this nation (Judy Smith anyone?).

    Is Olivia Pope flawed? Yes. But she’s also complex and multi-dimensional. Just like every human being that has ever existed on this great, green earth. And I agree with the comment above. Olivia’s story, like several other characters, will likley be revealed over the course of the show.

    • Elena on February 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      I agree with your comment, first of all I question the writer’s ability to critique Ms Pope. Well anyway, is Pope is anything but the “magical Negro” and why? First of all she is based on a real black person (female) and she does not fit the media negative stereotype of how black people (male and female) should act. Please stop with this negative pandering, it is not helping us as black people. We are great just like anybody else in this planet. So Mr Brandon, I don’t get what you point is and why exactly you are tying to say. Maybe this requires and wider platform.

  6. Camille on February 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    This article is problematic. How can Olivia be both Mammy and Jezebel? Those are polar opposites. And to top it off the writer asserts that she’s Sapphire too. Essentially, Olivia Pope is every working stereotype of the black woman rolled in one.

    The argument presented basically states that there can be no representation of black women as “neat, clean” leaders, who are intelligent go-getters, and in control of their own sexuality. And that is the problem with this (and other) criticisms of Scandal. A black woman is not allowed to be anything. Not even at the helm of her own firm, which is completely entwined with the political workings of this nation (Judy Smith anyone?).

    Is Olivia Pope flawed? Yes. But she’s also complex and multi-dimensional. Just like every human being that has ever existed on this great, green earth. And I agree with the comment above. Olivia’s story, like several other characters, will likley be revealed over the course of the show.

    • Elena on February 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      I agree with your comment, first of all I question the writer’s ability to critique Ms Pope. Well anyway, is Pope is anything but the “magical Negro” and why? First of all she is based on a real black person (female) and she does not fit the media negative stereotype of how black people (male and female) should act. Please stop with this negative pandering, it is not helping us as black people. We are great just like anybody else in this planet. So Mr Brandon, I don’t get what you point is and why exactly you are tying to say. Maybe this requires and wider platform.

  7. Camille on February 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    This article is problematic. How can Olivia be both Mammy and Jezebel? Those are polar opposites. And to top it off the writer asserts that she’s Sapphire too. Essentially, Olivia Pope is every working stereotype of the black woman rolled in one.

    The argument presented basically states that there can be no representation of black women as “neat, clean” leaders, who are intelligent go-getters, and in control of their own sexuality. And that is the problem with this (and other) criticisms of Scandal. A black woman is not allowed to be anything. Not even at the helm of her own firm, which is completely entwined with the political workings of this nation (Judy Smith anyone?).

    Is Olivia Pope flawed? Yes. But she’s also complex and multi-dimensional. Just like every human being that has ever existed on this great, green earth. And I agree with the comment above. Olivia’s story, like several other characters, will likley be revealed over the course of the show.

    • Elena on February 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      I agree with your comment, first of all I question the writer’s ability to critique Ms Pope. Well anyway, is Pope is anything but the “magical Negro” and why? First of all she is based on a real black person (female) and she does not fit the media negative stereotype of how black people (male and female) should act. Please stop with this negative pandering, it is not helping us as black people. We are great just like anybody else in this planet. So Mr Brandon, I don’t get what you point is and why exactly you are tying to say. Maybe this requires and wider platform.

  8. Camille on February 7, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    This article is problematic. How can Olivia be both Mammy and Jezebel? Those are polar opposites. And to top it off the writer asserts that she’s Sapphire too. Essentially, Olivia Pope is every working stereotype of the black woman rolled in one.

    The argument presented basically states that there can be no representation of black women as “neat, clean” leaders, who are intelligent go-getters, and in control of their own sexuality. And that is the problem with this (and other) criticisms of Scandal. A black woman is not allowed to be anything. Not even at the helm of her own firm, which is completely entwined with the political workings of this nation (Judy Smith anyone?).

    Is Olivia Pope flawed? Yes. But she’s also complex and multi-dimensional. Just like every human being that has ever existed on this great, green earth. And I agree with the comment above. Olivia’s story, like several other characters, will likley be revealed over the course of the show.

    • Elena on February 11, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      I agree with your comment, first of all I question the writer’s ability to critique Ms Pope. Well anyway, is Pope is anything but the “magical Negro” and why? First of all she is based on a real black person (female) and she does not fit the media negative stereotype of how black people (male and female) should act. Please stop with this negative pandering, it is not helping us as black people. We are great just like anybody else in this planet. So Mr Brandon, I don’t get what you point is and why exactly you are tying to say. Maybe this requires and wider platform.

  9. AAH1909 on February 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    This is a BRILLIANT article. Right on point. It would be great to see Black women with healthy relationships, with a career without sacrificing family or work life balance. It is easy to get sucked into because often the narrative given is that Black women cannot have it all. At best they have to settle. Great career may equal no love life or no family. The affect of internalized oppression is real. Our liberation will have to begin with our abiltiy to imagine something different. I hope Shonda Rhimes reads your article and it changes the direction of the show going forward.

    • Stefani Zinerman on February 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      It was great from 1984-1992 when Phylicia Rashad played Clair Huxtable. Back then, the critique was that she was not “real” because no Black women could be an attorney, a wife, mother of five and keep her house clean. Apparently, a “Black women with healthy relationships, with a career without sacrificing family or work life balance” wasn’t liberating enough to be remembered.

      • Cil on February 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

        Brandon, you’ve offered an intriguing and thought-provoking critique. I just happen to patently disagree with your conclusions. But I believe that leads to interesting conversation.

        I’m echoing Camille’s comment above about the problematic nature of having one characer embody each of the primary stereotypical characterizations of Black women. Wouldn’t one cancel out the other? I’m not sure how that works.

        And, Stefani, you had such an astute and important comment. I do remember all too well how “we” castigated the Clair Huxtable character just as you described – saying that it wasn’t realistic to portray a Black woman as thriving professionally, having a loving, stable marriage, and being a nurturing mother and role model.
        *sigh*

        I believe the Olivia Pope character is breaking all kinds of ground. She’s flawed, she’s unlikeable at times, she’s confusing and confused, she’s strong, she’s vulnerable. She’s human.

        I believe it’s a giant leap forward that such a character could even exist on prime time television.

        We need to see ourselves on TV in all kinds of incarnations. If we can have Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love and Hip-Hop foolishness, we can certainly have Olivia Pope,yes?

        • Ivan on February 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

          I too think lost in all of this is our history as a people where at the end of slavery, during Reconstruction and Jim Crow the number of two parent households in the black community was in the 80 percentile range. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights movement and Welfare rules that basically forced the black from the home.

          Diversity yes, but the problem is that right now on the small screen or the big screen Clair Huxtable, is noticeably absent.

  10. AAH1909 on February 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    This is a BRILLIANT article. Right on point. It would be great to see Black women with healthy relationships, with a career without sacrificing family or work life balance. It is easy to get sucked into because often the narrative given is that Black women cannot have it all. At best they have to settle. Great career may equal no love life or no family. The affect of internalized oppression is real. Our liberation will have to begin with our abiltiy to imagine something different. I hope Shonda Rhimes reads your article and it changes the direction of the show going forward.

    • Stefani Zinerman on February 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      It was great from 1984-1992 when Phylicia Rashad played Clair Huxtable. Back then, the critique was that she was not “real” because no Black women could be an attorney, a wife, mother of five and keep her house clean. Apparently, a “Black women with healthy relationships, with a career without sacrificing family or work life balance” wasn’t liberating enough to be remembered.

      • Cil on February 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

        Brandon, you’ve offered an intriguing and thought-provoking critique. I just happen to patently disagree with your conclusions. But I believe that leads to interesting conversation.

        I’m echoing Camille’s comment above about the problematic nature of having one characer embody each of the primary stereotypical characterizations of Black women. Wouldn’t one cancel out the other? I’m not sure how that works.

        And, Stefani, you had such an astute and important comment. I do remember all too well how “we” castigated the Clair Huxtable character just as you described – saying that it wasn’t realistic to portray a Black woman as thriving professionally, having a loving, stable marriage, and being a nurturing mother and role model.
        *sigh*

        I believe the Olivia Pope character is breaking all kinds of ground. She’s flawed, she’s unlikeable at times, she’s confusing and confused, she’s strong, she’s vulnerable. She’s human.

        I believe it’s a giant leap forward that such a character could even exist on prime time television.

        We need to see ourselves on TV in all kinds of incarnations. If we can have Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love and Hip-Hop foolishness, we can certainly have Olivia Pope,yes?

        • Ivan on February 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

          I too think lost in all of this is our history as a people where at the end of slavery, during Reconstruction and Jim Crow the number of two parent households in the black community was in the 80 percentile range. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights movement and Welfare rules that basically forced the black from the home.

          Diversity yes, but the problem is that right now on the small screen or the big screen Clair Huxtable, is noticeably absent.

  11. AAH1909 on February 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    This is a BRILLIANT article. Right on point. It would be great to see Black women with healthy relationships, with a career without sacrificing family or work life balance. It is easy to get sucked into because often the narrative given is that Black women cannot have it all. At best they have to settle. Great career may equal no love life or no family. The affect of internalized oppression is real. Our liberation will have to begin with our abiltiy to imagine something different. I hope Shonda Rhimes reads your article and it changes the direction of the show going forward.

    • Stefani Zinerman on February 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      It was great from 1984-1992 when Phylicia Rashad played Clair Huxtable. Back then, the critique was that she was not “real” because no Black women could be an attorney, a wife, mother of five and keep her house clean. Apparently, a “Black women with healthy relationships, with a career without sacrificing family or work life balance” wasn’t liberating enough to be remembered.

      • Cil on February 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

        Brandon, you’ve offered an intriguing and thought-provoking critique. I just happen to patently disagree with your conclusions. But I believe that leads to interesting conversation.

        I’m echoing Camille’s comment above about the problematic nature of having one characer embody each of the primary stereotypical characterizations of Black women. Wouldn’t one cancel out the other? I’m not sure how that works.

        And, Stefani, you had such an astute and important comment. I do remember all too well how “we” castigated the Clair Huxtable character just as you described – saying that it wasn’t realistic to portray a Black woman as thriving professionally, having a loving, stable marriage, and being a nurturing mother and role model.
        *sigh*

        I believe the Olivia Pope character is breaking all kinds of ground. She’s flawed, she’s unlikeable at times, she’s confusing and confused, she’s strong, she’s vulnerable. She’s human.

        I believe it’s a giant leap forward that such a character could even exist on prime time television.

        We need to see ourselves on TV in all kinds of incarnations. If we can have Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love and Hip-Hop foolishness, we can certainly have Olivia Pope,yes?

        • Ivan on February 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

          I too think lost in all of this is our history as a people where at the end of slavery, during Reconstruction and Jim Crow the number of two parent households in the black community was in the 80 percentile range. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights movement and Welfare rules that basically forced the black from the home.

          Diversity yes, but the problem is that right now on the small screen or the big screen Clair Huxtable, is noticeably absent.

  12. AAH1909 on February 7, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    This is a BRILLIANT article. Right on point. It would be great to see Black women with healthy relationships, with a career without sacrificing family or work life balance. It is easy to get sucked into because often the narrative given is that Black women cannot have it all. At best they have to settle. Great career may equal no love life or no family. The affect of internalized oppression is real. Our liberation will have to begin with our abiltiy to imagine something different. I hope Shonda Rhimes reads your article and it changes the direction of the show going forward.

    • Stefani Zinerman on February 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      It was great from 1984-1992 when Phylicia Rashad played Clair Huxtable. Back then, the critique was that she was not “real” because no Black women could be an attorney, a wife, mother of five and keep her house clean. Apparently, a “Black women with healthy relationships, with a career without sacrificing family or work life balance” wasn’t liberating enough to be remembered.

      • Cil on February 11, 2013 at 10:32 am

        Brandon, you’ve offered an intriguing and thought-provoking critique. I just happen to patently disagree with your conclusions. But I believe that leads to interesting conversation.

        I’m echoing Camille’s comment above about the problematic nature of having one characer embody each of the primary stereotypical characterizations of Black women. Wouldn’t one cancel out the other? I’m not sure how that works.

        And, Stefani, you had such an astute and important comment. I do remember all too well how “we” castigated the Clair Huxtable character just as you described – saying that it wasn’t realistic to portray a Black woman as thriving professionally, having a loving, stable marriage, and being a nurturing mother and role model.
        *sigh*

        I believe the Olivia Pope character is breaking all kinds of ground. She’s flawed, she’s unlikeable at times, she’s confusing and confused, she’s strong, she’s vulnerable. She’s human.

        I believe it’s a giant leap forward that such a character could even exist on prime time television.

        We need to see ourselves on TV in all kinds of incarnations. If we can have Real Housewives of Atlanta and Love and Hip-Hop foolishness, we can certainly have Olivia Pope,yes?

        • Ivan on February 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

          I too think lost in all of this is our history as a people where at the end of slavery, during Reconstruction and Jim Crow the number of two parent households in the black community was in the 80 percentile range. It wasn’t until the Civil Rights movement and Welfare rules that basically forced the black from the home.

          Diversity yes, but the problem is that right now on the small screen or the big screen Clair Huxtable, is noticeably absent.

  13. beks on February 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I think that the author should explore his own relationship to this character, as a male..then black, and the emotions that are formulating his scholastic interpretation of the show. I think forcing her character from free choices of an individual into pre-formed codes and forms not created by black women is problematic (i.e Mammy, etc.). These can also be used to force a type of respectability politics that constrain the life and choices of black women. It is important to note the vast upset by black men and the vast happiness by black women regarding this character (although there a detractors on both sides) is also a function a past sexist idea of ownership of black women’s sexuality as the sole domain of black men. This character challenges that lens in important ways and as a black man, ethically, it deserves a response with regard to feminist ideas. This isn’t to say that I disagree with everything that author is saying but that lack of exploration is both glaring and telling. I would love to see a kelly brown douglas treatment of this article and the show.

  14. beks on February 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I think that the author should explore his own relationship to this character, as a male..then black, and the emotions that are formulating his scholastic interpretation of the show. I think forcing her character from free choices of an individual into pre-formed codes and forms not created by black women is problematic (i.e Mammy, etc.). These can also be used to force a type of respectability politics that constrain the life and choices of black women. It is important to note the vast upset by black men and the vast happiness by black women regarding this character (although there a detractors on both sides) is also a function a past sexist idea of ownership of black women’s sexuality as the sole domain of black men. This character challenges that lens in important ways and as a black man, ethically, it deserves a response with regard to feminist ideas. This isn’t to say that I disagree with everything that author is saying but that lack of exploration is both glaring and telling. I would love to see a kelly brown douglas treatment of this article and the show.

  15. beks on February 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I think that the author should explore his own relationship to this character, as a male..then black, and the emotions that are formulating his scholastic interpretation of the show. I think forcing her character from free choices of an individual into pre-formed codes and forms not created by black women is problematic (i.e Mammy, etc.). These can also be used to force a type of respectability politics that constrain the life and choices of black women. It is important to note the vast upset by black men and the vast happiness by black women regarding this character (although there a detractors on both sides) is also a function a past sexist idea of ownership of black women’s sexuality as the sole domain of black men. This character challenges that lens in important ways and as a black man, ethically, it deserves a response with regard to feminist ideas. This isn’t to say that I disagree with everything that author is saying but that lack of exploration is both glaring and telling. I would love to see a kelly brown douglas treatment of this article and the show.

  16. beks on February 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    I think that the author should explore his own relationship to this character, as a male..then black, and the emotions that are formulating his scholastic interpretation of the show. I think forcing her character from free choices of an individual into pre-formed codes and forms not created by black women is problematic (i.e Mammy, etc.). These can also be used to force a type of respectability politics that constrain the life and choices of black women. It is important to note the vast upset by black men and the vast happiness by black women regarding this character (although there a detractors on both sides) is also a function a past sexist idea of ownership of black women’s sexuality as the sole domain of black men. This character challenges that lens in important ways and as a black man, ethically, it deserves a response with regard to feminist ideas. This isn’t to say that I disagree with everything that author is saying but that lack of exploration is both glaring and telling. I would love to see a kelly brown douglas treatment of this article and the show.

  17. Rashid Darden on February 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I want to be real-life friends with Brandon Maxwell.

  18. Rashid Darden on February 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I want to be real-life friends with Brandon Maxwell.

  19. Rashid Darden on February 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I want to be real-life friends with Brandon Maxwell.

  20. Rashid Darden on February 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I want to be real-life friends with Brandon Maxwell.

  21. meguest on February 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    TheFeministWire.com should have invited someone who actually works in politics and political campaigns to guest contribute an opinion piece about Scandal, not a grad student. The piece is trite, predictable, and so last century. A political operative could have told your audience that the pressure cooker of a political campaign is where many relationships are born and/or end–marriages, friendships, divorces, affairs, life-long bonds forged. It’s a workplace at the end of the day. A CareerBuilder.com survey says one-third of people meet their spouse at work. At least your grad student got an article printed for his portfolio. Right…a dude analyzing a female character. Now that’s some black male privilege I’d like to write about. Gimme a break. Enough, already!

    • Wynetta Devore on February 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

      How is it that the male view is taken to heart. This is a trite TV show as are so many. But, it is fun to what good conquer evil. Any number of TV shows have a leader (Leverage) who rallies the troops to do “good.”

      And, on the other hand, is more demanded of Olivia than any other woman in a soap opera..perhaps this critique can be applied to the doctors, lawyers, or other female professionals on any other soap opera…
      This is entertainment for an evening a week. This is not world changing drama..not perfect, but don’t we want to good guys to save the day! That is Olivia & her posse’s task each week…

  22. meguest on February 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    TheFeministWire.com should have invited someone who actually works in politics and political campaigns to guest contribute an opinion piece about Scandal, not a grad student. The piece is trite, predictable, and so last century. A political operative could have told your audience that the pressure cooker of a political campaign is where many relationships are born and/or end–marriages, friendships, divorces, affairs, life-long bonds forged. It’s a workplace at the end of the day. A CareerBuilder.com survey says one-third of people meet their spouse at work. At least your grad student got an article printed for his portfolio. Right…a dude analyzing a female character. Now that’s some black male privilege I’d like to write about. Gimme a break. Enough, already!

    • Wynetta Devore on February 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

      How is it that the male view is taken to heart. This is a trite TV show as are so many. But, it is fun to what good conquer evil. Any number of TV shows have a leader (Leverage) who rallies the troops to do “good.”

      And, on the other hand, is more demanded of Olivia than any other woman in a soap opera..perhaps this critique can be applied to the doctors, lawyers, or other female professionals on any other soap opera…
      This is entertainment for an evening a week. This is not world changing drama..not perfect, but don’t we want to good guys to save the day! That is Olivia & her posse’s task each week…

  23. meguest on February 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    TheFeministWire.com should have invited someone who actually works in politics and political campaigns to guest contribute an opinion piece about Scandal, not a grad student. The piece is trite, predictable, and so last century. A political operative could have told your audience that the pressure cooker of a political campaign is where many relationships are born and/or end–marriages, friendships, divorces, affairs, life-long bonds forged. It’s a workplace at the end of the day. A CareerBuilder.com survey says one-third of people meet their spouse at work. At least your grad student got an article printed for his portfolio. Right…a dude analyzing a female character. Now that’s some black male privilege I’d like to write about. Gimme a break. Enough, already!

    • Wynetta Devore on February 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

      How is it that the male view is taken to heart. This is a trite TV show as are so many. But, it is fun to what good conquer evil. Any number of TV shows have a leader (Leverage) who rallies the troops to do “good.”

      And, on the other hand, is more demanded of Olivia than any other woman in a soap opera..perhaps this critique can be applied to the doctors, lawyers, or other female professionals on any other soap opera…
      This is entertainment for an evening a week. This is not world changing drama..not perfect, but don’t we want to good guys to save the day! That is Olivia & her posse’s task each week…

  24. meguest on February 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    TheFeministWire.com should have invited someone who actually works in politics and political campaigns to guest contribute an opinion piece about Scandal, not a grad student. The piece is trite, predictable, and so last century. A political operative could have told your audience that the pressure cooker of a political campaign is where many relationships are born and/or end–marriages, friendships, divorces, affairs, life-long bonds forged. It’s a workplace at the end of the day. A CareerBuilder.com survey says one-third of people meet their spouse at work. At least your grad student got an article printed for his portfolio. Right…a dude analyzing a female character. Now that’s some black male privilege I’d like to write about. Gimme a break. Enough, already!

    • Wynetta Devore on February 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

      How is it that the male view is taken to heart. This is a trite TV show as are so many. But, it is fun to what good conquer evil. Any number of TV shows have a leader (Leverage) who rallies the troops to do “good.”

      And, on the other hand, is more demanded of Olivia than any other woman in a soap opera..perhaps this critique can be applied to the doctors, lawyers, or other female professionals on any other soap opera…
      This is entertainment for an evening a week. This is not world changing drama..not perfect, but don’t we want to good guys to save the day! That is Olivia & her posse’s task each week…

  25. Maxine Shaw on February 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    *low whistle* You’re a brave man. Once the rabid “Olitz” shippers get a hold of this, you’re going to need to go into a relocation program. You’re spot on, though. Kudos to you.

    • Jacquie on February 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      @Maxine Shaw I definitely agree with you. I liken the “Olitz” people to be as rabid as Beyonce fans- no room for reason because they need the comfort of fantasy. Full disclosure: I watch the show. As a matter of fact it was family viewing until the last two episodes of the first season when the affair was revealed. My Civil rights era parents said no thank you and have not returned.

      I on the other hand watch on Hulu on the weekends and enjoy it for what it is: fast moving on the edge of your seat television. (similar to 24 for me as well. But the scenes of the affair usually make me roll my eyes.

      BTW-I find that all of Shonda Rimes shows always seek to uphold White as right, or worthy. I was very disappointed with Private Practice which had two fine men of color (Taye Diggs and Benjamin Bratt) fighting over a frankenstein looking mess of a woman – who was so deserving of love- mainly she simply existed. Also, we were constantly told that she was “beautiful” and “amazing”. Blah, Blah, Blah.

      However, the women of color, Black and Latino, had to basically beg to be loved. It is astonishing that this comes from the mind of a Black woman.

      What good is progress if we uphold the status quo. Needless to say I watch the show in conflict.

      • UrbanWhim on February 23, 2013 at 1:51 am

        Taye Diggs doesn’t date black women so his character wasn’t a stretch. Oh wait, black men dating outside- progressive. Sorry, I forgot the rules

  26. Maxine Shaw on February 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    *low whistle* You’re a brave man. Once the rabid “Olitz” shippers get a hold of this, you’re going to need to go into a relocation program. You’re spot on, though. Kudos to you.

    • Jacquie on February 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      @Maxine Shaw I definitely agree with you. I liken the “Olitz” people to be as rabid as Beyonce fans- no room for reason because they need the comfort of fantasy. Full disclosure: I watch the show. As a matter of fact it was family viewing until the last two episodes of the first season when the affair was revealed. My Civil rights era parents said no thank you and have not returned.

      I on the other hand watch on Hulu on the weekends and enjoy it for what it is: fast moving on the edge of your seat television. (similar to 24 for me as well. But the scenes of the affair usually make me roll my eyes.

      BTW-I find that all of Shonda Rimes shows always seek to uphold White as right, or worthy. I was very disappointed with Private Practice which had two fine men of color (Taye Diggs and Benjamin Bratt) fighting over a frankenstein looking mess of a woman – who was so deserving of love- mainly she simply existed. Also, we were constantly told that she was “beautiful” and “amazing”. Blah, Blah, Blah.

      However, the women of color, Black and Latino, had to basically beg to be loved. It is astonishing that this comes from the mind of a Black woman.

      What good is progress if we uphold the status quo. Needless to say I watch the show in conflict.

      • UrbanWhim on February 23, 2013 at 1:51 am

        Taye Diggs doesn’t date black women so his character wasn’t a stretch. Oh wait, black men dating outside- progressive. Sorry, I forgot the rules

  27. Maxine Shaw on February 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    *low whistle* You’re a brave man. Once the rabid “Olitz” shippers get a hold of this, you’re going to need to go into a relocation program. You’re spot on, though. Kudos to you.

    • Jacquie on February 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      @Maxine Shaw I definitely agree with you. I liken the “Olitz” people to be as rabid as Beyonce fans- no room for reason because they need the comfort of fantasy. Full disclosure: I watch the show. As a matter of fact it was family viewing until the last two episodes of the first season when the affair was revealed. My Civil rights era parents said no thank you and have not returned.

      I on the other hand watch on Hulu on the weekends and enjoy it for what it is: fast moving on the edge of your seat television. (similar to 24 for me as well. But the scenes of the affair usually make me roll my eyes.

      BTW-I find that all of Shonda Rimes shows always seek to uphold White as right, or worthy. I was very disappointed with Private Practice which had two fine men of color (Taye Diggs and Benjamin Bratt) fighting over a frankenstein looking mess of a woman – who was so deserving of love- mainly she simply existed. Also, we were constantly told that she was “beautiful” and “amazing”. Blah, Blah, Blah.

      However, the women of color, Black and Latino, had to basically beg to be loved. It is astonishing that this comes from the mind of a Black woman.

      What good is progress if we uphold the status quo. Needless to say I watch the show in conflict.

      • UrbanWhim on February 23, 2013 at 1:51 am

        Taye Diggs doesn’t date black women so his character wasn’t a stretch. Oh wait, black men dating outside- progressive. Sorry, I forgot the rules

  28. Maxine Shaw on February 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    *low whistle* You’re a brave man. Once the rabid “Olitz” shippers get a hold of this, you’re going to need to go into a relocation program. You’re spot on, though. Kudos to you.

    • Jacquie on February 10, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      @Maxine Shaw I definitely agree with you. I liken the “Olitz” people to be as rabid as Beyonce fans- no room for reason because they need the comfort of fantasy. Full disclosure: I watch the show. As a matter of fact it was family viewing until the last two episodes of the first season when the affair was revealed. My Civil rights era parents said no thank you and have not returned.

      I on the other hand watch on Hulu on the weekends and enjoy it for what it is: fast moving on the edge of your seat television. (similar to 24 for me as well. But the scenes of the affair usually make me roll my eyes.

      BTW-I find that all of Shonda Rimes shows always seek to uphold White as right, or worthy. I was very disappointed with Private Practice which had two fine men of color (Taye Diggs and Benjamin Bratt) fighting over a frankenstein looking mess of a woman – who was so deserving of love- mainly she simply existed. Also, we were constantly told that she was “beautiful” and “amazing”. Blah, Blah, Blah.

      However, the women of color, Black and Latino, had to basically beg to be loved. It is astonishing that this comes from the mind of a Black woman.

      What good is progress if we uphold the status quo. Needless to say I watch the show in conflict.

      • UrbanWhim on February 23, 2013 at 1:51 am

        Taye Diggs doesn’t date black women so his character wasn’t a stretch. Oh wait, black men dating outside- progressive. Sorry, I forgot the rules

  29. Faith on February 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    This review reads like a bit of a reach with a lot of academic jargon thrown in for good measure. Based on your description we surely cannot be watching the same show. This is typical black male envy for being the while male patriarchy crumb-snatcher in disguise as a critique.

    Isn’t this hilarious a so-called FEMINIST media outlet chooses a black (gay) male to bash a show about a black woman character while if you look to the left of this tawdry essay, the editors praising the Ebony editor who supports a black woman rapists in the pages of that magazine (Genarlo Wilson).

    Where’s all of the commentary about the ways black women are misaligned and brutalized as an agent of black male capitalist patriarchy and their insecurity and constant need to bash their betters?

    This has nothing to do with being an Olitz shipper. This is the equivalent of a temper tantrum that misconstrues the plots of the show. Olivia Pope is front and center of of this show and has it confirmed by the other characters every episode.

    This was an intentional hatchet job by the white women editors to restore “order” to their social standing and they used an idiot black person to do it. You’re not fooling anyone.

    • LS on February 10, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Thank you!!

    • BRI on February 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Really Faith? “A black woman rapist”, Genarlow Wilson. I was with you until you went there. Now I’m going to have to reread the article and find a way to agree with Brandon.

  30. Faith on February 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    This review reads like a bit of a reach with a lot of academic jargon thrown in for good measure. Based on your description we surely cannot be watching the same show. This is typical black male envy for being the while male patriarchy crumb-snatcher in disguise as a critique.

    Isn’t this hilarious a so-called FEMINIST media outlet chooses a black (gay) male to bash a show about a black woman character while if you look to the left of this tawdry essay, the editors praising the Ebony editor who supports a black woman rapists in the pages of that magazine (Genarlo Wilson).

    Where’s all of the commentary about the ways black women are misaligned and brutalized as an agent of black male capitalist patriarchy and their insecurity and constant need to bash their betters?

    This has nothing to do with being an Olitz shipper. This is the equivalent of a temper tantrum that misconstrues the plots of the show. Olivia Pope is front and center of of this show and has it confirmed by the other characters every episode.

    This was an intentional hatchet job by the white women editors to restore “order” to their social standing and they used an idiot black person to do it. You’re not fooling anyone.

    • LS on February 10, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Thank you!!

    • BRI on February 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Really Faith? “A black woman rapist”, Genarlow Wilson. I was with you until you went there. Now I’m going to have to reread the article and find a way to agree with Brandon.

  31. Faith on February 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    This review reads like a bit of a reach with a lot of academic jargon thrown in for good measure. Based on your description we surely cannot be watching the same show. This is typical black male envy for being the while male patriarchy crumb-snatcher in disguise as a critique.

    Isn’t this hilarious a so-called FEMINIST media outlet chooses a black (gay) male to bash a show about a black woman character while if you look to the left of this tawdry essay, the editors praising the Ebony editor who supports a black woman rapists in the pages of that magazine (Genarlo Wilson).

    Where’s all of the commentary about the ways black women are misaligned and brutalized as an agent of black male capitalist patriarchy and their insecurity and constant need to bash their betters?

    This has nothing to do with being an Olitz shipper. This is the equivalent of a temper tantrum that misconstrues the plots of the show. Olivia Pope is front and center of of this show and has it confirmed by the other characters every episode.

    This was an intentional hatchet job by the white women editors to restore “order” to their social standing and they used an idiot black person to do it. You’re not fooling anyone.

    • LS on February 10, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Thank you!!

    • BRI on February 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Really Faith? “A black woman rapist”, Genarlow Wilson. I was with you until you went there. Now I’m going to have to reread the article and find a way to agree with Brandon.

  32. Faith on February 7, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    This review reads like a bit of a reach with a lot of academic jargon thrown in for good measure. Based on your description we surely cannot be watching the same show. This is typical black male envy for being the while male patriarchy crumb-snatcher in disguise as a critique.

    Isn’t this hilarious a so-called FEMINIST media outlet chooses a black (gay) male to bash a show about a black woman character while if you look to the left of this tawdry essay, the editors praising the Ebony editor who supports a black woman rapists in the pages of that magazine (Genarlo Wilson).

    Where’s all of the commentary about the ways black women are misaligned and brutalized as an agent of black male capitalist patriarchy and their insecurity and constant need to bash their betters?

    This has nothing to do with being an Olitz shipper. This is the equivalent of a temper tantrum that misconstrues the plots of the show. Olivia Pope is front and center of of this show and has it confirmed by the other characters every episode.

    This was an intentional hatchet job by the white women editors to restore “order” to their social standing and they used an idiot black person to do it. You’re not fooling anyone.

    • LS on February 10, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Thank you!!

    • BRI on February 10, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      Really Faith? “A black woman rapist”, Genarlow Wilson. I was with you until you went there. Now I’m going to have to reread the article and find a way to agree with Brandon.

  33. Nefer on February 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    It is not news that Black men have a strong distaste for Scandal. On the surface it seems as though the Olivia Pope character plays to the fiddle of a White President, which could illustrate a forceful, sexual Massa/slave relationship to some. However, if the President were Black you would essentially have a Mary J. Blige song, loving Mr. Wrong.

    The fact that so much emphasis is placed on the romantic story in critiques also leads me to believe that these are not people who have watched and paid attention to anything more than two or three episodes. Why not dissect the messes she fixes or the people she takes on as a basis for character analysis? Personally, I was caught up by the Amanda Tanner storyline.

    While I agree on some points that the Pope character can be problematic. I also don’t know enough about what it would be like to be a Black woman politics. Although, I do see a single Condi, while Hillary has the family and career, which leads me to believe that the Struggle is real.

    Ultimately, criticism should be constructive. Saying we want to know more about Pope’s background, fine. However, saying she is Mammy and Jezebel sounds like someone hurling insults in the hopes no one notices you secretly want 24 back because patriarchy as perpetuated by Black men is OK. Viewers have accepted Pope isn’t perfect, because we aren’t and hopefully there will be seasons more to unravel it all and hush the haters.

  34. Nefer on February 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    It is not news that Black men have a strong distaste for Scandal. On the surface it seems as though the Olivia Pope character plays to the fiddle of a White President, which could illustrate a forceful, sexual Massa/slave relationship to some. However, if the President were Black you would essentially have a Mary J. Blige song, loving Mr. Wrong.

    The fact that so much emphasis is placed on the romantic story in critiques also leads me to believe that these are not people who have watched and paid attention to anything more than two or three episodes. Why not dissect the messes she fixes or the people she takes on as a basis for character analysis? Personally, I was caught up by the Amanda Tanner storyline.

    While I agree on some points that the Pope character can be problematic. I also don’t know enough about what it would be like to be a Black woman politics. Although, I do see a single Condi, while Hillary has the family and career, which leads me to believe that the Struggle is real.

    Ultimately, criticism should be constructive. Saying we want to know more about Pope’s background, fine. However, saying she is Mammy and Jezebel sounds like someone hurling insults in the hopes no one notices you secretly want 24 back because patriarchy as perpetuated by Black men is OK. Viewers have accepted Pope isn’t perfect, because we aren’t and hopefully there will be seasons more to unravel it all and hush the haters.

  35. Nefer on February 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    It is not news that Black men have a strong distaste for Scandal. On the surface it seems as though the Olivia Pope character plays to the fiddle of a White President, which could illustrate a forceful, sexual Massa/slave relationship to some. However, if the President were Black you would essentially have a Mary J. Blige song, loving Mr. Wrong.

    The fact that so much emphasis is placed on the romantic story in critiques also leads me to believe that these are not people who have watched and paid attention to anything more than two or three episodes. Why not dissect the messes she fixes or the people she takes on as a basis for character analysis? Personally, I was caught up by the Amanda Tanner storyline.

    While I agree on some points that the Pope character can be problematic. I also don’t know enough about what it would be like to be a Black woman politics. Although, I do see a single Condi, while Hillary has the family and career, which leads me to believe that the Struggle is real.

    Ultimately, criticism should be constructive. Saying we want to know more about Pope’s background, fine. However, saying she is Mammy and Jezebel sounds like someone hurling insults in the hopes no one notices you secretly want 24 back because patriarchy as perpetuated by Black men is OK. Viewers have accepted Pope isn’t perfect, because we aren’t and hopefully there will be seasons more to unravel it all and hush the haters.

  36. Nefer on February 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    It is not news that Black men have a strong distaste for Scandal. On the surface it seems as though the Olivia Pope character plays to the fiddle of a White President, which could illustrate a forceful, sexual Massa/slave relationship to some. However, if the President were Black you would essentially have a Mary J. Blige song, loving Mr. Wrong.

    The fact that so much emphasis is placed on the romantic story in critiques also leads me to believe that these are not people who have watched and paid attention to anything more than two or three episodes. Why not dissect the messes she fixes or the people she takes on as a basis for character analysis? Personally, I was caught up by the Amanda Tanner storyline.

    While I agree on some points that the Pope character can be problematic. I also don’t know enough about what it would be like to be a Black woman politics. Although, I do see a single Condi, while Hillary has the family and career, which leads me to believe that the Struggle is real.

    Ultimately, criticism should be constructive. Saying we want to know more about Pope’s background, fine. However, saying she is Mammy and Jezebel sounds like someone hurling insults in the hopes no one notices you secretly want 24 back because patriarchy as perpetuated by Black men is OK. Viewers have accepted Pope isn’t perfect, because we aren’t and hopefully there will be seasons more to unravel it all and hush the haters.

  37. Nicole on February 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. Even if you love the show, you should be able to see the validity of this critique. Nice work. Also, what’s the author’s twitter handle? Anyone know?

    • Damone on February 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Agreed, Nicole! Loving ‘Scandal’ to bar it from critique. I love the show, and it critique the hell out of it. :-)

      If you find his Twitter handle, let me know!

      • Leea on February 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

        @branmaxwell

    • Khathu on February 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

      As a huge fan of the show, I definitely agree with most of the article. LOVE IT

  38. Nicole on February 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. Even if you love the show, you should be able to see the validity of this critique. Nice work. Also, what’s the author’s twitter handle? Anyone know?

    • Damone on February 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Agreed, Nicole! Loving ‘Scandal’ to bar it from critique. I love the show, and it critique the hell out of it. :-)

      If you find his Twitter handle, let me know!

      • Leea on February 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

        @branmaxwell

    • Khathu on February 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

      As a huge fan of the show, I definitely agree with most of the article. LOVE IT

  39. Nicole on February 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. Even if you love the show, you should be able to see the validity of this critique. Nice work. Also, what’s the author’s twitter handle? Anyone know?

    • Damone on February 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Agreed, Nicole! Loving ‘Scandal’ to bar it from critique. I love the show, and it critique the hell out of it. :-)

      If you find his Twitter handle, let me know!

      • Leea on February 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

        @branmaxwell

    • Khathu on February 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

      As a huge fan of the show, I definitely agree with most of the article. LOVE IT

  40. Nicole on February 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. Even if you love the show, you should be able to see the validity of this critique. Nice work. Also, what’s the author’s twitter handle? Anyone know?

    • Damone on February 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      Agreed, Nicole! Loving ‘Scandal’ to bar it from critique. I love the show, and it critique the hell out of it. :-)

      If you find his Twitter handle, let me know!

      • Leea on February 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

        @branmaxwell

    • Khathu on February 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

      As a huge fan of the show, I definitely agree with most of the article. LOVE IT

  41. mythoughts on February 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Noted film critic and historian Donald Vogel covered these issues in his respected books 40 years ago, right down to the mammy, sapphire, etc. language. Since then, the needle HAS moved. Interracial relationships are also generally accepted. I am VERY CONCERNED that this piece with dated concepts was allowed to be published on the feminist wire dot com. What would have been impressive is a looking-forward piece, not a regurgitation of ideas I studied in film class decades ago. Thank you for reading my comment.

    • Jacquie on February 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Interracial relationships are accepted to a certain degree. We all know as black people that there is alot of mess behind some of these relationships that we as a people and as a nation do not want to acknowledge.

      All of these relationships are not founded on a strong foundation of mutual love and respect and I am speaking as a person who has cautiously participated in them.

      • mythoughts on February 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        As with all matches, one’s surroundings, upbringing, and perspectives on life impact relationship success. I’ll leave it there. I’m glad we’re all able to comment. Cheers

  42. mythoughts on February 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Noted film critic and historian Donald Vogel covered these issues in his respected books 40 years ago, right down to the mammy, sapphire, etc. language. Since then, the needle HAS moved. Interracial relationships are also generally accepted. I am VERY CONCERNED that this piece with dated concepts was allowed to be published on the feminist wire dot com. What would have been impressive is a looking-forward piece, not a regurgitation of ideas I studied in film class decades ago. Thank you for reading my comment.

    • Jacquie on February 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Interracial relationships are accepted to a certain degree. We all know as black people that there is alot of mess behind some of these relationships that we as a people and as a nation do not want to acknowledge.

      All of these relationships are not founded on a strong foundation of mutual love and respect and I am speaking as a person who has cautiously participated in them.

      • mythoughts on February 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        As with all matches, one’s surroundings, upbringing, and perspectives on life impact relationship success. I’ll leave it there. I’m glad we’re all able to comment. Cheers

  43. mythoughts on February 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Noted film critic and historian Donald Vogel covered these issues in his respected books 40 years ago, right down to the mammy, sapphire, etc. language. Since then, the needle HAS moved. Interracial relationships are also generally accepted. I am VERY CONCERNED that this piece with dated concepts was allowed to be published on the feminist wire dot com. What would have been impressive is a looking-forward piece, not a regurgitation of ideas I studied in film class decades ago. Thank you for reading my comment.

    • Jacquie on February 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Interracial relationships are accepted to a certain degree. We all know as black people that there is alot of mess behind some of these relationships that we as a people and as a nation do not want to acknowledge.

      All of these relationships are not founded on a strong foundation of mutual love and respect and I am speaking as a person who has cautiously participated in them.

      • mythoughts on February 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        As with all matches, one’s surroundings, upbringing, and perspectives on life impact relationship success. I’ll leave it there. I’m glad we’re all able to comment. Cheers

  44. mythoughts on February 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Noted film critic and historian Donald Vogel covered these issues in his respected books 40 years ago, right down to the mammy, sapphire, etc. language. Since then, the needle HAS moved. Interracial relationships are also generally accepted. I am VERY CONCERNED that this piece with dated concepts was allowed to be published on the feminist wire dot com. What would have been impressive is a looking-forward piece, not a regurgitation of ideas I studied in film class decades ago. Thank you for reading my comment.

    • Jacquie on February 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      Interracial relationships are accepted to a certain degree. We all know as black people that there is alot of mess behind some of these relationships that we as a people and as a nation do not want to acknowledge.

      All of these relationships are not founded on a strong foundation of mutual love and respect and I am speaking as a person who has cautiously participated in them.

      • mythoughts on February 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

        As with all matches, one’s surroundings, upbringing, and perspectives on life impact relationship success. I’ll leave it there. I’m glad we’re all able to comment. Cheers

  45. mythoughts on February 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I meant to type Donald Bogel, not Vogel.

  46. mythoughts on February 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I meant to type Donald Bogel, not Vogel.

  47. mythoughts on February 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I meant to type Donald Bogel, not Vogel.

  48. mythoughts on February 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I meant to type Donald Bogel, not Vogel.

  49. blah on February 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I have to admit, even though the author criticisms of the show are valid, I am tired of the old “mammy/Jezebel” frame of view being brought up, as if NOTHING has changed in the portrayals of black people onscreen in the past 50 years. It’s about damn time we let that way of looking at things go and start looking at things in a more up-to-date way that acknowledges how things have changed and how black folks are representing themselves here and now in the 21th century through the media,and of course not through some rose-tinted “we are all colorblind/post-racial” BS.

  50. blah on February 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I have to admit, even though the author criticisms of the show are valid, I am tired of the old “mammy/Jezebel” frame of view being brought up, as if NOTHING has changed in the portrayals of black people onscreen in the past 50 years. It’s about damn time we let that way of looking at things go and start looking at things in a more up-to-date way that acknowledges how things have changed and how black folks are representing themselves here and now in the 21th century through the media,and of course not through some rose-tinted “we are all colorblind/post-racial” BS.

  51. blah on February 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I have to admit, even though the author criticisms of the show are valid, I am tired of the old “mammy/Jezebel” frame of view being brought up, as if NOTHING has changed in the portrayals of black people onscreen in the past 50 years. It’s about damn time we let that way of looking at things go and start looking at things in a more up-to-date way that acknowledges how things have changed and how black folks are representing themselves here and now in the 21th century through the media,and of course not through some rose-tinted “we are all colorblind/post-racial” BS.

  52. blah on February 8, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I have to admit, even though the author criticisms of the show are valid, I am tired of the old “mammy/Jezebel” frame of view being brought up, as if NOTHING has changed in the portrayals of black people onscreen in the past 50 years. It’s about damn time we let that way of looking at things go and start looking at things in a more up-to-date way that acknowledges how things have changed and how black folks are representing themselves here and now in the 21th century through the media,and of course not through some rose-tinted “we are all colorblind/post-racial” BS.

  53. L. Michael Gipson on February 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    There are so many things that black women characters, and by extension black actresses, cannot be without fear of partially stepping into one of the academia denouncing archetypes of Sapphire, Mammy, and Jezebel traps, that one has to finally question are these movement limitations leading black women characters/actresses left to play nothing at all? And, are these dramaturgy limitations that are never placed on any other ethnic woman, save possibly Latinas, a kind of race-based oppression all on its own. I get cultural criticism as someone who has written it and used the author’s language in my own critiques of Black Arts, but I cannot help but wonder as a fellow dramatist what are we leaving folks left to play? Dramatically speaking, what meaty dark content of the human soul does not offend? There are so many things that black actresses should not play to avoid a knuckle rap by the intelligentsia/middle class elite that soon there is little left to act at all. Drama by its very nature requires flawed, passion-driven characters, conflict, tension, unease, power dynamics, discontent, revenge, retribution, and sometimes redemption after a dark, torrid path, all the things some ardent critics would dilute to the point of the mealy mouth and milquetoast. Every film isn’t going to be “Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored” nor should it (not if it actually wants to make a profit, and TV/film are profit-driven businesses), nor is every show going to be The Wire or Training Day, miring black bodies in darkness and survivalist pain. By all means critique when and where it’s due, but offer some real solutions that don’t leave black artists playing works with little dramatic heft or comedic folly at all. It’s the least we can do.

  54. L. Michael Gipson on February 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    There are so many things that black women characters, and by extension black actresses, cannot be without fear of partially stepping into one of the academia denouncing archetypes of Sapphire, Mammy, and Jezebel traps, that one has to finally question are these movement limitations leading black women characters/actresses left to play nothing at all? And, are these dramaturgy limitations that are never placed on any other ethnic woman, save possibly Latinas, a kind of race-based oppression all on its own. I get cultural criticism as someone who has written it and used the author’s language in my own critiques of Black Arts, but I cannot help but wonder as a fellow dramatist what are we leaving folks left to play? Dramatically speaking, what meaty dark content of the human soul does not offend? There are so many things that black actresses should not play to avoid a knuckle rap by the intelligentsia/middle class elite that soon there is little left to act at all. Drama by its very nature requires flawed, passion-driven characters, conflict, tension, unease, power dynamics, discontent, revenge, retribution, and sometimes redemption after a dark, torrid path, all the things some ardent critics would dilute to the point of the mealy mouth and milquetoast. Every film isn’t going to be “Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored” nor should it (not if it actually wants to make a profit, and TV/film are profit-driven businesses), nor is every show going to be The Wire or Training Day, miring black bodies in darkness and survivalist pain. By all means critique when and where it’s due, but offer some real solutions that don’t leave black artists playing works with little dramatic heft or comedic folly at all. It’s the least we can do.

  55. L. Michael Gipson on February 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    There are so many things that black women characters, and by extension black actresses, cannot be without fear of partially stepping into one of the academia denouncing archetypes of Sapphire, Mammy, and Jezebel traps, that one has to finally question are these movement limitations leading black women characters/actresses left to play nothing at all? And, are these dramaturgy limitations that are never placed on any other ethnic woman, save possibly Latinas, a kind of race-based oppression all on its own. I get cultural criticism as someone who has written it and used the author’s language in my own critiques of Black Arts, but I cannot help but wonder as a fellow dramatist what are we leaving folks left to play? Dramatically speaking, what meaty dark content of the human soul does not offend? There are so many things that black actresses should not play to avoid a knuckle rap by the intelligentsia/middle class elite that soon there is little left to act at all. Drama by its very nature requires flawed, passion-driven characters, conflict, tension, unease, power dynamics, discontent, revenge, retribution, and sometimes redemption after a dark, torrid path, all the things some ardent critics would dilute to the point of the mealy mouth and milquetoast. Every film isn’t going to be “Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored” nor should it (not if it actually wants to make a profit, and TV/film are profit-driven businesses), nor is every show going to be The Wire or Training Day, miring black bodies in darkness and survivalist pain. By all means critique when and where it’s due, but offer some real solutions that don’t leave black artists playing works with little dramatic heft or comedic folly at all. It’s the least we can do.

  56. L. Michael Gipson on February 8, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    There are so many things that black women characters, and by extension black actresses, cannot be without fear of partially stepping into one of the academia denouncing archetypes of Sapphire, Mammy, and Jezebel traps, that one has to finally question are these movement limitations leading black women characters/actresses left to play nothing at all? And, are these dramaturgy limitations that are never placed on any other ethnic woman, save possibly Latinas, a kind of race-based oppression all on its own. I get cultural criticism as someone who has written it and used the author’s language in my own critiques of Black Arts, but I cannot help but wonder as a fellow dramatist what are we leaving folks left to play? Dramatically speaking, what meaty dark content of the human soul does not offend? There are so many things that black actresses should not play to avoid a knuckle rap by the intelligentsia/middle class elite that soon there is little left to act at all. Drama by its very nature requires flawed, passion-driven characters, conflict, tension, unease, power dynamics, discontent, revenge, retribution, and sometimes redemption after a dark, torrid path, all the things some ardent critics would dilute to the point of the mealy mouth and milquetoast. Every film isn’t going to be “Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored” nor should it (not if it actually wants to make a profit, and TV/film are profit-driven businesses), nor is every show going to be The Wire or Training Day, miring black bodies in darkness and survivalist pain. By all means critique when and where it’s due, but offer some real solutions that don’t leave black artists playing works with little dramatic heft or comedic folly at all. It’s the least we can do.

  57. Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) on February 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I love how the Scandal lovers are railing against this article, calling it “cultural criticism” gone too far. Apparently, if you look too critically at this show, and any Black show, we will be left with no roles for Black people to play because we only want respectable/sanitized depictions of the world we live in. I can’t help but laugh. It’s amazing that the same people who were only too eager to throw Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby’s Mamas” under the bus are not rushing to the defense of Scandal, and calling this author and his writing all kinds of names. I tried to warn people, I really did. Politics of respectability is a beast that cannot be satiated. Unless we admit that all productions are potentially problematic, we end up with a situation where NO show is safe, and you end up becoming a hypocrite. People are rightly finding fault with Scandal, because IT IS NOT above critique. Cultural criticism ain’t all of a sudden become worthless or pointless. You just don’t like it when a show that YOU like is placed under the microscope of criticism. But, I suppose, it was all good when it was just those ignorant/uneducated Blacks like Shawty Lo who were under the microscope. Your beloved Scandal couldn’t possibly be taken to task. Hmph.

  58. Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) on February 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I love how the Scandal lovers are railing against this article, calling it “cultural criticism” gone too far. Apparently, if you look too critically at this show, and any Black show, we will be left with no roles for Black people to play because we only want respectable/sanitized depictions of the world we live in. I can’t help but laugh. It’s amazing that the same people who were only too eager to throw Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby’s Mamas” under the bus are not rushing to the defense of Scandal, and calling this author and his writing all kinds of names. I tried to warn people, I really did. Politics of respectability is a beast that cannot be satiated. Unless we admit that all productions are potentially problematic, we end up with a situation where NO show is safe, and you end up becoming a hypocrite. People are rightly finding fault with Scandal, because IT IS NOT above critique. Cultural criticism ain’t all of a sudden become worthless or pointless. You just don’t like it when a show that YOU like is placed under the microscope of criticism. But, I suppose, it was all good when it was just those ignorant/uneducated Blacks like Shawty Lo who were under the microscope. Your beloved Scandal couldn’t possibly be taken to task. Hmph.

  59. Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) on February 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I love how the Scandal lovers are railing against this article, calling it “cultural criticism” gone too far. Apparently, if you look too critically at this show, and any Black show, we will be left with no roles for Black people to play because we only want respectable/sanitized depictions of the world we live in. I can’t help but laugh. It’s amazing that the same people who were only too eager to throw Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby’s Mamas” under the bus are not rushing to the defense of Scandal, and calling this author and his writing all kinds of names. I tried to warn people, I really did. Politics of respectability is a beast that cannot be satiated. Unless we admit that all productions are potentially problematic, we end up with a situation where NO show is safe, and you end up becoming a hypocrite. People are rightly finding fault with Scandal, because IT IS NOT above critique. Cultural criticism ain’t all of a sudden become worthless or pointless. You just don’t like it when a show that YOU like is placed under the microscope of criticism. But, I suppose, it was all good when it was just those ignorant/uneducated Blacks like Shawty Lo who were under the microscope. Your beloved Scandal couldn’t possibly be taken to task. Hmph.

  60. Anti_Intellect (@Anti_Intellect) on February 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I love how the Scandal lovers are railing against this article, calling it “cultural criticism” gone too far. Apparently, if you look too critically at this show, and any Black show, we will be left with no roles for Black people to play because we only want respectable/sanitized depictions of the world we live in. I can’t help but laugh. It’s amazing that the same people who were only too eager to throw Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby’s Mamas” under the bus are not rushing to the defense of Scandal, and calling this author and his writing all kinds of names. I tried to warn people, I really did. Politics of respectability is a beast that cannot be satiated. Unless we admit that all productions are potentially problematic, we end up with a situation where NO show is safe, and you end up becoming a hypocrite. People are rightly finding fault with Scandal, because IT IS NOT above critique. Cultural criticism ain’t all of a sudden become worthless or pointless. You just don’t like it when a show that YOU like is placed under the microscope of criticism. But, I suppose, it was all good when it was just those ignorant/uneducated Blacks like Shawty Lo who were under the microscope. Your beloved Scandal couldn’t possibly be taken to task. Hmph.

  61. Tarani Joy on February 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    So much unnecessary shade in these comments (here and on Facebook) that have less to do with the content and seem to be attacking the author (for being a grad student? come now…), but I can’t help but notice people’s visceral reactions to this piece. I’m reminded of the time that the CFC critiqued ABG’s use of offensive terms in their webseries and the internet exploded. Apparently, you’re not allowed critique things that black women love, and Lorde forbid being able to do so if you’re not a black woman.

    As another grad student who studies the stereotypes of Black women and as a fan of Scandal, I’m certainly not unbiased in my reading of this piece, but I don’t fundamentally disagree with the analysis given. However, I think we have to be careful that we’re not holding up Scandal or its characters and their characterizations up to some higher standard of entertainment just because it stars a Black woman, who I think is the rightful protaganist. There are plenty of things wrong with the show, as riveting as it is, and it’s unfair to shine a light on how the Black characters are mischaracterized without also recognizing other obvious flubs (like the president’s alleged other children? Talk about sloppy character development). But I think the lack of development behind Washington’s character is purposeful. I don’t think Rhimes is trying NOT to portray the various classic tropes of black women representation on screen, and perhaps it’s (sadly) inventive that one Black woman is allowed to portray them all (though, I’m not entirely convinced with the “political mammy”), but we also see Olivia as none of those, even the amalgam of the stereotype of the “Strong Black Woman,” in that we see her as vulnerable, scared, broken, wrong, and tired: human. All things that Black women aren’t given room to be on television or in real life, and that is refreshing.

  62. Tarani Joy on February 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    So much unnecessary shade in these comments (here and on Facebook) that have less to do with the content and seem to be attacking the author (for being a grad student? come now…), but I can’t help but notice people’s visceral reactions to this piece. I’m reminded of the time that the CFC critiqued ABG’s use of offensive terms in their webseries and the internet exploded. Apparently, you’re not allowed critique things that black women love, and Lorde forbid being able to do so if you’re not a black woman.

    As another grad student who studies the stereotypes of Black women and as a fan of Scandal, I’m certainly not unbiased in my reading of this piece, but I don’t fundamentally disagree with the analysis given. However, I think we have to be careful that we’re not holding up Scandal or its characters and their characterizations up to some higher standard of entertainment just because it stars a Black woman, who I think is the rightful protaganist. There are plenty of things wrong with the show, as riveting as it is, and it’s unfair to shine a light on how the Black characters are mischaracterized without also recognizing other obvious flubs (like the president’s alleged other children? Talk about sloppy character development). But I think the lack of development behind Washington’s character is purposeful. I don’t think Rhimes is trying NOT to portray the various classic tropes of black women representation on screen, and perhaps it’s (sadly) inventive that one Black woman is allowed to portray them all (though, I’m not entirely convinced with the “political mammy”), but we also see Olivia as none of those, even the amalgam of the stereotype of the “Strong Black Woman,” in that we see her as vulnerable, scared, broken, wrong, and tired: human. All things that Black women aren’t given room to be on television or in real life, and that is refreshing.

  63. Tarani Joy on February 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    So much unnecessary shade in these comments (here and on Facebook) that have less to do with the content and seem to be attacking the author (for being a grad student? come now…), but I can’t help but notice people’s visceral reactions to this piece. I’m reminded of the time that the CFC critiqued ABG’s use of offensive terms in their webseries and the internet exploded. Apparently, you’re not allowed critique things that black women love, and Lorde forbid being able to do so if you’re not a black woman.

    As another grad student who studies the stereotypes of Black women and as a fan of Scandal, I’m certainly not unbiased in my reading of this piece, but I don’t fundamentally disagree with the analysis given. However, I think we have to be careful that we’re not holding up Scandal or its characters and their characterizations up to some higher standard of entertainment just because it stars a Black woman, who I think is the rightful protaganist. There are plenty of things wrong with the show, as riveting as it is, and it’s unfair to shine a light on how the Black characters are mischaracterized without also recognizing other obvious flubs (like the president’s alleged other children? Talk about sloppy character development). But I think the lack of development behind Washington’s character is purposeful. I don’t think Rhimes is trying NOT to portray the various classic tropes of black women representation on screen, and perhaps it’s (sadly) inventive that one Black woman is allowed to portray them all (though, I’m not entirely convinced with the “political mammy”), but we also see Olivia as none of those, even the amalgam of the stereotype of the “Strong Black Woman,” in that we see her as vulnerable, scared, broken, wrong, and tired: human. All things that Black women aren’t given room to be on television or in real life, and that is refreshing.

  64. Tarani Joy on February 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    So much unnecessary shade in these comments (here and on Facebook) that have less to do with the content and seem to be attacking the author (for being a grad student? come now…), but I can’t help but notice people’s visceral reactions to this piece. I’m reminded of the time that the CFC critiqued ABG’s use of offensive terms in their webseries and the internet exploded. Apparently, you’re not allowed critique things that black women love, and Lorde forbid being able to do so if you’re not a black woman.

    As another grad student who studies the stereotypes of Black women and as a fan of Scandal, I’m certainly not unbiased in my reading of this piece, but I don’t fundamentally disagree with the analysis given. However, I think we have to be careful that we’re not holding up Scandal or its characters and their characterizations up to some higher standard of entertainment just because it stars a Black woman, who I think is the rightful protaganist. There are plenty of things wrong with the show, as riveting as it is, and it’s unfair to shine a light on how the Black characters are mischaracterized without also recognizing other obvious flubs (like the president’s alleged other children? Talk about sloppy character development). But I think the lack of development behind Washington’s character is purposeful. I don’t think Rhimes is trying NOT to portray the various classic tropes of black women representation on screen, and perhaps it’s (sadly) inventive that one Black woman is allowed to portray them all (though, I’m not entirely convinced with the “political mammy”), but we also see Olivia as none of those, even the amalgam of the stereotype of the “Strong Black Woman,” in that we see her as vulnerable, scared, broken, wrong, and tired: human. All things that Black women aren’t given room to be on television or in real life, and that is refreshing.

  65. TJ Williams on February 9, 2013 at 5:03 am

    I think I can be objective in saying this is way off base. Also let’s be mindful of not reconstructing these character types in order to fit modern discomforts. Jezebel and Saphire are certainly not here.
    First the Jezebel comparison:
    All of Shonda Rhimes female leads have had problems with sex. Meredith came to Seattle and had sex with every man in site. Addison slept with her husbands best friend then her best friends husband.
    Olivia is actually the least over-sexed of all the women on any show Rhimes has ever written. Also Jezebel is an active character whose most recognizable trait is the demise of good christian white men. Olivia is doing everything but planning this man’s demise. Merely having sex that some feel is inappropriate does not a Jezebel make and the author’s judgment of her sexuality as Jezebel-like is constricting and well let’s just say not very feminist.
    Saphire-
    Ummm what. Saphire is loud and obnoxious. Olivia Pope is simply giving people directives based upon her position in HER own organization. The idea that she should be running around saying please and thank you to people who have agreed to work for her is again constricting. Furthermore again let’s be mindful of what these archetypes are. Saphire is myopic, loud and powerless. Olivia is powerful, overly considerate and clearly very powerful. It’s insane to call her Saphire simply because she’s a black women exercising power she’s received vis vi her occupation and position.
    Mammy-
    Is where I can almost agree with you. It’s a bit absurd for a black woman and a gay male to be so ridiculously obsessed with supporting/protecting this man (who maybe in this fantasy world is a Republican who supports civil rights) when he clearly is not worth the effort. The problem with that is that Mammy is sexless. The idea of Mammy sexing up her children’s is absurd. Mammy is also universal in her need to protect white children and the manor. I’d argue that Olivia is almost indifferent towards Fitz children.
    Last but not least all of these stereotypes require a power dynamic that may still be present in reality but doesn’t exist in the world of the show.

    My problem with Olivia is that she thinks she’s a good guy and she’s clearly not. I also am on the complete opposite side of you on the race issue in that they could switch Olivia out for a white woman and absolutely nothing about the character would change. Rhimes runs away from race like its the plague but then theres all this “first black” nonsense. And yes you are correct in saying she’s not really the star of the show in that the serial drama doesn’t revolve around her it revolves around Fitz. In the more stand alone “Law and Order” type of episodes they do tend to be about her and her team.

  66. TJ Williams on February 9, 2013 at 5:03 am

    I think I can be objective in saying this is way off base. Also let’s be mindful of not reconstructing these character types in order to fit modern discomforts. Jezebel and Saphire are certainly not here.
    First the Jezebel comparison:
    All of Shonda Rhimes female leads have had problems with sex. Meredith came to Seattle and had sex with every man in site. Addison slept with her husbands best friend then her best friends husband.
    Olivia is actually the least over-sexed of all the women on any show Rhimes has ever written. Also Jezebel is an active character whose most recognizable trait is the demise of good christian white men. Olivia is doing everything but planning this man’s demise. Merely having sex that some feel is inappropriate does not a Jezebel make and the author’s judgment of her sexuality as Jezebel-like is constricting and well let’s just say not very feminist.
    Saphire-
    Ummm what. Saphire is loud and obnoxious. Olivia Pope is simply giving people directives based upon her position in HER own organization. The idea that she should be running around saying please and thank you to people who have agreed to work for her is again constricting. Furthermore again let’s be mindful of what these archetypes are. Saphire is myopic, loud and powerless. Olivia is powerful, overly considerate and clearly very powerful. It’s insane to call her Saphire simply because she’s a black women exercising power she’s received vis vi her occupation and position.
    Mammy-
    Is where I can almost agree with you. It’s a bit absurd for a black woman and a gay male to be so ridiculously obsessed with supporting/protecting this man (who maybe in this fantasy world is a Republican who supports civil rights) when he clearly is not worth the effort. The problem with that is that Mammy is sexless. The idea of Mammy sexing up her children’s is absurd. Mammy is also universal in her need to protect white children and the manor. I’d argue that Olivia is almost indifferent towards Fitz children.
    Last but not least all of these stereotypes require a power dynamic that may still be present in reality but doesn’t exist in the world of the show.

    My problem with Olivia is that she thinks she’s a good guy and she’s clearly not. I also am on the complete opposite side of you on the race issue in that they could switch Olivia out for a white woman and absolutely nothing about the character would change. Rhimes runs away from race like its the plague but then theres all this “first black” nonsense. And yes you are correct in saying she’s not really the star of the show in that the serial drama doesn’t revolve around her it revolves around Fitz. In the more stand alone “Law and Order” type of episodes they do tend to be about her and her team.

  67. TJ Williams on February 9, 2013 at 5:03 am

    I think I can be objective in saying this is way off base. Also let’s be mindful of not reconstructing these character types in order to fit modern discomforts. Jezebel and Saphire are certainly not here.
    First the Jezebel comparison:
    All of Shonda Rhimes female leads have had problems with sex. Meredith came to Seattle and had sex with every man in site. Addison slept with her husbands best friend then her best friends husband.
    Olivia is actually the least over-sexed of all the women on any show Rhimes has ever written. Also Jezebel is an active character whose most recognizable trait is the demise of good christian white men. Olivia is doing everything but planning this man’s demise. Merely having sex that some feel is inappropriate does not a Jezebel make and the author’s judgment of her sexuality as Jezebel-like is constricting and well let’s just say not very feminist.
    Saphire-
    Ummm what. Saphire is loud and obnoxious. Olivia Pope is simply giving people directives based upon her position in HER own organization. The idea that she should be running around saying please and thank you to people who have agreed to work for her is again constricting. Furthermore again let’s be mindful of what these archetypes are. Saphire is myopic, loud and powerless. Olivia is powerful, overly considerate and clearly very powerful. It’s insane to call her Saphire simply because she’s a black women exercising power she’s received vis vi her occupation and position.
    Mammy-
    Is where I can almost agree with you. It’s a bit absurd for a black woman and a gay male to be so ridiculously obsessed with supporting/protecting this man (who maybe in this fantasy world is a Republican who supports civil rights) when he clearly is not worth the effort. The problem with that is that Mammy is sexless. The idea of Mammy sexing up her children’s is absurd. Mammy is also universal in her need to protect white children and the manor. I’d argue that Olivia is almost indifferent towards Fitz children.
    Last but not least all of these stereotypes require a power dynamic that may still be present in reality but doesn’t exist in the world of the show.

    My problem with Olivia is that she thinks she’s a good guy and she’s clearly not. I also am on the complete opposite side of you on the race issue in that they could switch Olivia out for a white woman and absolutely nothing about the character would change. Rhimes runs away from race like its the plague but then theres all this “first black” nonsense. And yes you are correct in saying she’s not really the star of the show in that the serial drama doesn’t revolve around her it revolves around Fitz. In the more stand alone “Law and Order” type of episodes they do tend to be about her and her team.

  68. TJ Williams on February 9, 2013 at 5:03 am

    I think I can be objective in saying this is way off base. Also let’s be mindful of not reconstructing these character types in order to fit modern discomforts. Jezebel and Saphire are certainly not here.
    First the Jezebel comparison:
    All of Shonda Rhimes female leads have had problems with sex. Meredith came to Seattle and had sex with every man in site. Addison slept with her husbands best friend then her best friends husband.
    Olivia is actually the least over-sexed of all the women on any show Rhimes has ever written. Also Jezebel is an active character whose most recognizable trait is the demise of good christian white men. Olivia is doing everything but planning this man’s demise. Merely having sex that some feel is inappropriate does not a Jezebel make and the author’s judgment of her sexuality as Jezebel-like is constricting and well let’s just say not very feminist.
    Saphire-
    Ummm what. Saphire is loud and obnoxious. Olivia Pope is simply giving people directives based upon her position in HER own organization. The idea that she should be running around saying please and thank you to people who have agreed to work for her is again constricting. Furthermore again let’s be mindful of what these archetypes are. Saphire is myopic, loud and powerless. Olivia is powerful, overly considerate and clearly very powerful. It’s insane to call her Saphire simply because she’s a black women exercising power she’s received vis vi her occupation and position.
    Mammy-
    Is where I can almost agree with you. It’s a bit absurd for a black woman and a gay male to be so ridiculously obsessed with supporting/protecting this man (who maybe in this fantasy world is a Republican who supports civil rights) when he clearly is not worth the effort. The problem with that is that Mammy is sexless. The idea of Mammy sexing up her children’s is absurd. Mammy is also universal in her need to protect white children and the manor. I’d argue that Olivia is almost indifferent towards Fitz children.
    Last but not least all of these stereotypes require a power dynamic that may still be present in reality but doesn’t exist in the world of the show.

    My problem with Olivia is that she thinks she’s a good guy and she’s clearly not. I also am on the complete opposite side of you on the race issue in that they could switch Olivia out for a white woman and absolutely nothing about the character would change. Rhimes runs away from race like its the plague but then theres all this “first black” nonsense. And yes you are correct in saying she’s not really the star of the show in that the serial drama doesn’t revolve around her it revolves around Fitz. In the more stand alone “Law and Order” type of episodes they do tend to be about her and her team.

  69. Nia on February 9, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I have never really watched the show but I’m amused by the excitement and controversy it has inspired. Let’s not forget that Ms. Pope is strongly based on a real person…perhaps the most influential black woman in politics – a powerful, fascinating woman who worked behind the scenes, so this series actually serves to illuminate her previously unknown story and is a representation of the work she actually does/did; she was extremely close with a Republican president, leading some to speculate that they could have had a deeper relationship. As far as the political analysis of this article, isn’t that what we are all doing…going to school, working, enlisting in the military, taking out loans, shopping at Walmart, all with the cummulative effect of preserving the political, economic, and social status quo? Why single out this one woman, and put everything on her (every black woman stereotype), cuz she’s amazingly effective at her job? Or maybe we are conditioned to identify black woman stereotypes in everything a high profile black woman does? She’s being “sassy” = sapphire…she’s a protector = mammy…she’s sexy = jezebel. I think the critique overreaches a bit, but again, I might change my mind if I actually watched.

    Another point on the lust/love issue, I do think that when a married man becomes romantically involved with another woman, it is typically more of a lust thing than a love thing. Almost any relationship between a black woman and a white man could be unfairly construed as a massa/jezebel situation…it is very likely that he will have more wealth/power than her, and they are likely to have made initial contact through a working relationship. I do not think that these relationships are inherently more dysfunctional than the average black male/black female relationship that comes from initial contact in the workplace. It’s also a realistic depiction, arguably written to seem more romantic than it would have probably have been in real life – it could have been more of a straight up booty call situation…how exactly does a married U.S. President show his mistress “true love”? I’m pretty sure he is not using the bell hooks “All about Love” definition of love when he expresses his affection for her. Anyway, interesting article.

  70. Nia on February 9, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I have never really watched the show but I’m amused by the excitement and controversy it has inspired. Let’s not forget that Ms. Pope is strongly based on a real person…perhaps the most influential black woman in politics – a powerful, fascinating woman who worked behind the scenes, so this series actually serves to illuminate her previously unknown story and is a representation of the work she actually does/did; she was extremely close with a Republican president, leading some to speculate that they could have had a deeper relationship. As far as the political analysis of this article, isn’t that what we are all doing…going to school, working, enlisting in the military, taking out loans, shopping at Walmart, all with the cummulative effect of preserving the political, economic, and social status quo? Why single out this one woman, and put everything on her (every black woman stereotype), cuz she’s amazingly effective at her job? Or maybe we are conditioned to identify black woman stereotypes in everything a high profile black woman does? She’s being “sassy” = sapphire…she’s a protector = mammy…she’s sexy = jezebel. I think the critique overreaches a bit, but again, I might change my mind if I actually watched.

    Another point on the lust/love issue, I do think that when a married man becomes romantically involved with another woman, it is typically more of a lust thing than a love thing. Almost any relationship between a black woman and a white man could be unfairly construed as a massa/jezebel situation…it is very likely that he will have more wealth/power than her, and they are likely to have made initial contact through a working relationship. I do not think that these relationships are inherently more dysfunctional than the average black male/black female relationship that comes from initial contact in the workplace. It’s also a realistic depiction, arguably written to seem more romantic than it would have probably have been in real life – it could have been more of a straight up booty call situation…how exactly does a married U.S. President show his mistress “true love”? I’m pretty sure he is not using the bell hooks “All about Love” definition of love when he expresses his affection for her. Anyway, interesting article.

  71. Nia on February 9, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I have never really watched the show but I’m amused by the excitement and controversy it has inspired. Let’s not forget that Ms. Pope is strongly based on a real person…perhaps the most influential black woman in politics – a powerful, fascinating woman who worked behind the scenes, so this series actually serves to illuminate her previously unknown story and is a representation of the work she actually does/did; she was extremely close with a Republican president, leading some to speculate that they could have had a deeper relationship. As far as the political analysis of this article, isn’t that what we are all doing…going to school, working, enlisting in the military, taking out loans, shopping at Walmart, all with the cummulative effect of preserving the political, economic, and social status quo? Why single out this one woman, and put everything on her (every black woman stereotype), cuz she’s amazingly effective at her job? Or maybe we are conditioned to identify black woman stereotypes in everything a high profile black woman does? She’s being “sassy” = sapphire…she’s a protector = mammy…she’s sexy = jezebel. I think the critique overreaches a bit, but again, I might change my mind if I actually watched.

    Another point on the lust/love issue, I do think that when a married man becomes romantically involved with another woman, it is typically more of a lust thing than a love thing. Almost any relationship between a black woman and a white man could be unfairly construed as a massa/jezebel situation…it is very likely that he will have more wealth/power than her, and they are likely to have made initial contact through a working relationship. I do not think that these relationships are inherently more dysfunctional than the average black male/black female relationship that comes from initial contact in the workplace. It’s also a realistic depiction, arguably written to seem more romantic than it would have probably have been in real life – it could have been more of a straight up booty call situation…how exactly does a married U.S. President show his mistress “true love”? I’m pretty sure he is not using the bell hooks “All about Love” definition of love when he expresses his affection for her. Anyway, interesting article.

  72. Nia on February 9, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I have never really watched the show but I’m amused by the excitement and controversy it has inspired. Let’s not forget that Ms. Pope is strongly based on a real person…perhaps the most influential black woman in politics – a powerful, fascinating woman who worked behind the scenes, so this series actually serves to illuminate her previously unknown story and is a representation of the work she actually does/did; she was extremely close with a Republican president, leading some to speculate that they could have had a deeper relationship. As far as the political analysis of this article, isn’t that what we are all doing…going to school, working, enlisting in the military, taking out loans, shopping at Walmart, all with the cummulative effect of preserving the political, economic, and social status quo? Why single out this one woman, and put everything on her (every black woman stereotype), cuz she’s amazingly effective at her job? Or maybe we are conditioned to identify black woman stereotypes in everything a high profile black woman does? She’s being “sassy” = sapphire…she’s a protector = mammy…she’s sexy = jezebel. I think the critique overreaches a bit, but again, I might change my mind if I actually watched.

    Another point on the lust/love issue, I do think that when a married man becomes romantically involved with another woman, it is typically more of a lust thing than a love thing. Almost any relationship between a black woman and a white man could be unfairly construed as a massa/jezebel situation…it is very likely that he will have more wealth/power than her, and they are likely to have made initial contact through a working relationship. I do not think that these relationships are inherently more dysfunctional than the average black male/black female relationship that comes from initial contact in the workplace. It’s also a realistic depiction, arguably written to seem more romantic than it would have probably have been in real life – it could have been more of a straight up booty call situation…how exactly does a married U.S. President show his mistress “true love”? I’m pretty sure he is not using the bell hooks “All about Love” definition of love when he expresses his affection for her. Anyway, interesting article.

  73. karima on February 9, 2013 at 11:40 am

    i watch the show and see it as shining a light on just how corrupt our system is .. in no way do i find myself condoning or being desensitized to the ill’s of the american political system or olivia pope. As a watcher i see olivia bending morals for love and politics and while i am intrigued i never even begin to think that her plight is a part of the good fight. i think if you watch the show and think it’s supposed to show olivia as a beacon of hope or morality you aren’t watching properly. you make good points , especially if you’re looking for racist or sexist angles. but, if you look at it from another angle and see the main character is shonda rhimes and realize that her story is NOT a mammy , Jezebel or any other stereotypical archetype you realize that in fact, we black women are moving forward and olivia pope IS in her creator and creation a part of that.

  74. karima on February 9, 2013 at 11:40 am

    i watch the show and see it as shining a light on just how corrupt our system is .. in no way do i find myself condoning or being desensitized to the ill’s of the american political system or olivia pope. As a watcher i see olivia bending morals for love and politics and while i am intrigued i never even begin to think that her plight is a part of the good fight. i think if you watch the show and think it’s supposed to show olivia as a beacon of hope or morality you aren’t watching properly. you make good points , especially if you’re looking for racist or sexist angles. but, if you look at it from another angle and see the main character is shonda rhimes and realize that her story is NOT a mammy , Jezebel or any other stereotypical archetype you realize that in fact, we black women are moving forward and olivia pope IS in her creator and creation a part of that.

  75. karima on February 9, 2013 at 11:40 am

    i watch the show and see it as shining a light on just how corrupt our system is .. in no way do i find myself condoning or being desensitized to the ill’s of the american political system or olivia pope. As a watcher i see olivia bending morals for love and politics and while i am intrigued i never even begin to think that her plight is a part of the good fight. i think if you watch the show and think it’s supposed to show olivia as a beacon of hope or morality you aren’t watching properly. you make good points , especially if you’re looking for racist or sexist angles. but, if you look at it from another angle and see the main character is shonda rhimes and realize that her story is NOT a mammy , Jezebel or any other stereotypical archetype you realize that in fact, we black women are moving forward and olivia pope IS in her creator and creation a part of that.

  76. karima on February 9, 2013 at 11:40 am

    i watch the show and see it as shining a light on just how corrupt our system is .. in no way do i find myself condoning or being desensitized to the ill’s of the american political system or olivia pope. As a watcher i see olivia bending morals for love and politics and while i am intrigued i never even begin to think that her plight is a part of the good fight. i think if you watch the show and think it’s supposed to show olivia as a beacon of hope or morality you aren’t watching properly. you make good points , especially if you’re looking for racist or sexist angles. but, if you look at it from another angle and see the main character is shonda rhimes and realize that her story is NOT a mammy , Jezebel or any other stereotypical archetype you realize that in fact, we black women are moving forward and olivia pope IS in her creator and creation a part of that.

  77. B on February 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I agree that a strong political perspective would be useful here (but a grad student w/ a political background would probably be fine). I’m not one, but I took poli sci courses in college and remember all the talk about how charismatic authority/cult of personality works in politics. To me, that’s one of the interesting things about the “behind the scenes” look at (shady!) politics on this show. I’m struck by how ALL these intelligent characters with successful political careers (and yes, these successes depend on Fitz) talk about their sacrifices and compromises made for the president in terms of Fitz making them fall for him.

    But in the case of Olivia Pope, I never lose sight of the fact that whatever’s happening personally/socially with other characters on the show, she loves being good at her (highly paid) job more than anyone or anything–even when it doesn’t serve her well. That’s interesting to watch because it says much more about how we think about career and capitalism than her being a (rich, powerful and corrupt?) mammy.

  78. B on February 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I agree that a strong political perspective would be useful here (but a grad student w/ a political background would probably be fine). I’m not one, but I took poli sci courses in college and remember all the talk about how charismatic authority/cult of personality works in politics. To me, that’s one of the interesting things about the “behind the scenes” look at (shady!) politics on this show. I’m struck by how ALL these intelligent characters with successful political careers (and yes, these successes depend on Fitz) talk about their sacrifices and compromises made for the president in terms of Fitz making them fall for him.

    But in the case of Olivia Pope, I never lose sight of the fact that whatever’s happening personally/socially with other characters on the show, she loves being good at her (highly paid) job more than anyone or anything–even when it doesn’t serve her well. That’s interesting to watch because it says much more about how we think about career and capitalism than her being a (rich, powerful and corrupt?) mammy.

  79. B on February 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I agree that a strong political perspective would be useful here (but a grad student w/ a political background would probably be fine). I’m not one, but I took poli sci courses in college and remember all the talk about how charismatic authority/cult of personality works in politics. To me, that’s one of the interesting things about the “behind the scenes” look at (shady!) politics on this show. I’m struck by how ALL these intelligent characters with successful political careers (and yes, these successes depend on Fitz) talk about their sacrifices and compromises made for the president in terms of Fitz making them fall for him.

    But in the case of Olivia Pope, I never lose sight of the fact that whatever’s happening personally/socially with other characters on the show, she loves being good at her (highly paid) job more than anyone or anything–even when it doesn’t serve her well. That’s interesting to watch because it says much more about how we think about career and capitalism than her being a (rich, powerful and corrupt?) mammy.

  80. B on February 9, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I agree that a strong political perspective would be useful here (but a grad student w/ a political background would probably be fine). I’m not one, but I took poli sci courses in college and remember all the talk about how charismatic authority/cult of personality works in politics. To me, that’s one of the interesting things about the “behind the scenes” look at (shady!) politics on this show. I’m struck by how ALL these intelligent characters with successful political careers (and yes, these successes depend on Fitz) talk about their sacrifices and compromises made for the president in terms of Fitz making them fall for him.

    But in the case of Olivia Pope, I never lose sight of the fact that whatever’s happening personally/socially with other characters on the show, she loves being good at her (highly paid) job more than anyone or anything–even when it doesn’t serve her well. That’s interesting to watch because it says much more about how we think about career and capitalism than her being a (rich, powerful and corrupt?) mammy.

  81. MaximusConfesses on February 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I think there are some misreading this piece very badly. Folks seem to be construing Brandon’s critiques of the show as critiques of Olivia Pope and her agency or power or sexuality. However, I think Maxwell is pretty clear from the beginning that his critique is about white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and the transformations it enacts upon black female bodies regardless of how they themselves actually are. That is to say that Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope can be a black woman who has it together, has agency, and controls her sexuality, and is powerful, and she can still be burdened by black female stereotypes because white supremacist capitalist patriarchy works that transformation upon her even when she is not herself responsible for enacting it. Just because one understands oneself to be powerful and having it together doesn’t mean you are treated that way in a white supremacist society.

    I think Maxwell is trying to show the ways that media representations of black women fail when they come into contact with the black female body precisely because they cannot represent them without excavating these racist tropes as underlying insinuations. This is not to say that Olivia Pope is the problem. He’s saying the problem is the social and political climate that she is situated within. Which is why I think his point regarding white males led shows is so crucial. Because they are already the normative bodies, they are ‘free from’ the haunting of these stereotypes.

    And while I think in their traditional sense the Jezebel and Sapphire tropes are not point for point represented by Olivia, I think Maxwell points to a convergence and transformation of these stereotypes that dresses them up more in bougie clothes even while in EFFECT they are creating the same type of role for black women.

    Finally, I just don’t see how anyone can get around Fitz’s problematically agressive treatment of Olivia. His consistent disregard for her assertions of separation, needing to not see him, not wanting his sexual advances, etc., all in the name of a romance. That black women especially want to read this as progressive is odd to me. What it is is displaying how much white men continually disregard black women’s agency regardless of her position or power because they have sexual needs that don’t find it problematic to take advantage of a black woman.

    I like vulnerability in my characters and I don’t have a problem with Olivia being vulnerable or in love with a white man. What I do have a problem with is that her veneer of agency falls apart whenever Fitz is in the picture while she’s so quick to dump Edison, to give him a countdown of his faults, to refuse him sexual intimacy, whereas with Fitz he is completely forgivable all the time. It is an odd inconsistency in her character that does take on racial undertones because Edison is black and Fitz is white. But more than that, because even though Edison clearly treats her better she continues to put up with Fitz’s terrible treatment of her. It’s so close to the edge of being an abusive relationship I can’t even stand it.

    • Nature on February 11, 2013 at 7:43 am

      This entire last paragraph is the truth.com! This has been my problem since the beginning. This powerful, capable woman left a job at the WH to get away from her lover. Presumably because the guilt got to her. However, no matter how many times she says no,I don’t belong to you, stop calling, let me go – it falls on deaf ears until HE decides it is over. Which he shares in a completely empty restaurant and then leaves her there by herself. Of course, she is the love of his life – so his married self says.
      That said, I love the show. However, I am glad he went beast at the funeral. Now, maybe she will move on and the next time He NEEDS her she can put her stiletto in his political throat and get a REAL good guy elected.

    • a. on February 19, 2013 at 5:59 am

      “Maxwell is trying to show the ways that media representations of black women fail when they come into contact with the black female body precisely because they cannot represent them without excavating these racist tropes as underlying insinuations.”

      so then – what exactly does this have to do with scandal as opposed to any other show? if what you say is true (im not saying it isnt) then it is true every single time a black woman appears on screen. at which point i have to ask, are you going to write a critique like this every single time? it reaches a point of absurdity. what you are talking about is a problem of our culture in general, not of this show in specific! to put it upon this show is silly.

      im not discounting his entire critique. i think the show has flaws, and the point about the lack of development of the backstory on every single black character including olivia is spot on. however, the show is breaking bounds in a lot of ways, and i think a fair critique would have recognized this and not been solely negative.

      oh and re: your last paragraph – the factors youve discussed ive observed in relationships that women (and men) of all colors are in. and as a woman i really actually appreciate that rhimes is exploring this type of a relationship. and, how refreshing that olivia can have. a relationship like this but still be (and be shown as) a smart, capable professional woman! how this is not an upending of the jezebel character, i fail to see. anyway – so i dont see this particular aspect of their relationship as being a commentary on black woman – white man relationships specifically. not EVERYthing has to be taken as attributable to race!

  82. MaximusConfesses on February 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I think there are some misreading this piece very badly. Folks seem to be construing Brandon’s critiques of the show as critiques of Olivia Pope and her agency or power or sexuality. However, I think Maxwell is pretty clear from the beginning that his critique is about white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and the transformations it enacts upon black female bodies regardless of how they themselves actually are. That is to say that Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope can be a black woman who has it together, has agency, and controls her sexuality, and is powerful, and she can still be burdened by black female stereotypes because white supremacist capitalist patriarchy works that transformation upon her even when she is not herself responsible for enacting it. Just because one understands oneself to be powerful and having it together doesn’t mean you are treated that way in a white supremacist society.

    I think Maxwell is trying to show the ways that media representations of black women fail when they come into contact with the black female body precisely because they cannot represent them without excavating these racist tropes as underlying insinuations. This is not to say that Olivia Pope is the problem. He’s saying the problem is the social and political climate that she is situated within. Which is why I think his point regarding white males led shows is so crucial. Because they are already the normative bodies, they are ‘free from’ the haunting of these stereotypes.

    And while I think in their traditional sense the Jezebel and Sapphire tropes are not point for point represented by Olivia, I think Maxwell points to a convergence and transformation of these stereotypes that dresses them up more in bougie clothes even while in EFFECT they are creating the same type of role for black women.

    Finally, I just don’t see how anyone can get around Fitz’s problematically agressive treatment of Olivia. His consistent disregard for her assertions of separation, needing to not see him, not wanting his sexual advances, etc., all in the name of a romance. That black women especially want to read this as progressive is odd to me. What it is is displaying how much white men continually disregard black women’s agency regardless of her position or power because they have sexual needs that don’t find it problematic to take advantage of a black woman.

    I like vulnerability in my characters and I don’t have a problem with Olivia being vulnerable or in love with a white man. What I do have a problem with is that her veneer of agency falls apart whenever Fitz is in the picture while she’s so quick to dump Edison, to give him a countdown of his faults, to refuse him sexual intimacy, whereas with Fitz he is completely forgivable all the time. It is an odd inconsistency in her character that does take on racial undertones because Edison is black and Fitz is white. But more than that, because even though Edison clearly treats her better she continues to put up with Fitz’s terrible treatment of her. It’s so close to the edge of being an abusive relationship I can’t even stand it.

    • Nature on February 11, 2013 at 7:43 am

      This entire last paragraph is the truth.com! This has been my problem since the beginning. This powerful, capable woman left a job at the WH to get away from her lover. Presumably because the guilt got to her. However, no matter how many times she says no,I don’t belong to you, stop calling, let me go – it falls on deaf ears until HE decides it is over. Which he shares in a completely empty restaurant and then leaves her there by herself. Of course, she is the love of his life – so his married self says.
      That said, I love the show. However, I am glad he went beast at the funeral. Now, maybe she will move on and the next time He NEEDS her she can put her stiletto in his political throat and get a REAL good guy elected.

    • a. on February 19, 2013 at 5:59 am

      “Maxwell is trying to show the ways that media representations of black women fail when they come into contact with the black female body precisely because they cannot represent them without excavating these racist tropes as underlying insinuations.”

      so then – what exactly does this have to do with scandal as opposed to any other show? if what you say is true (im not saying it isnt) then it is true every single time a black woman appears on screen. at which point i have to ask, are you going to write a critique like this every single time? it reaches a point of absurdity. what you are talking about is a problem of our culture in general, not of this show in specific! to put it upon this show is silly.

      im not discounting his entire critique. i think the show has flaws, and the point about the lack of development of the backstory on every single black character including olivia is spot on. however, the show is breaking bounds in a lot of ways, and i think a fair critique would have recognized this and not been solely negative.

      oh and re: your last paragraph – the factors youve discussed ive observed in relationships that women (and men) of all colors are in. and as a woman i really actually appreciate that rhimes is exploring this type of a relationship. and, how refreshing that olivia can have. a relationship like this but still be (and be shown as) a smart, capable professional woman! how this is not an upending of the jezebel character, i fail to see. anyway – so i dont see this particular aspect of their relationship as being a commentary on black woman – white man relationships specifically. not EVERYthing has to be taken as attributable to race!

  83. MaximusConfesses on February 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I think there are some misreading this piece very badly. Folks seem to be construing Brandon’s critiques of the show as critiques of Olivia Pope and her agency or power or sexuality. However, I think Maxwell is pretty clear from the beginning that his critique is about white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and the transformations it enacts upon black female bodies regardless of how they themselves actually are. That is to say that Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope can be a black woman who has it together, has agency, and controls her sexuality, and is powerful, and she can still be burdened by black female stereotypes because white supremacist capitalist patriarchy works that transformation upon her even when she is not herself responsible for enacting it. Just because one understands oneself to be powerful and having it together doesn’t mean you are treated that way in a white supremacist society.

    I think Maxwell is trying to show the ways that media representations of black women fail when they come into contact with the black female body precisely because they cannot represent them without excavating these racist tropes as underlying insinuations. This is not to say that Olivia Pope is the problem. He’s saying the problem is the social and political climate that she is situated within. Which is why I think his point regarding white males led shows is so crucial. Because they are already the normative bodies, they are ‘free from’ the haunting of these stereotypes.

    And while I think in their traditional sense the Jezebel and Sapphire tropes are not point for point represented by Olivia, I think Maxwell points to a convergence and transformation of these stereotypes that dresses them up more in bougie clothes even while in EFFECT they are creating the same type of role for black women.

    Finally, I just don’t see how anyone can get around Fitz’s problematically agressive treatment of Olivia. His consistent disregard for her assertions of separation, needing to not see him, not wanting his sexual advances, etc., all in the name of a romance. That black women especially want to read this as progressive is odd to me. What it is is displaying how much white men continually disregard black women’s agency regardless of her position or power because they have sexual needs that don’t find it problematic to take advantage of a black woman.

    I like vulnerability in my characters and I don’t have a problem with Olivia being vulnerable or in love with a white man. What I do have a problem with is that her veneer of agency falls apart whenever Fitz is in the picture while she’s so quick to dump Edison, to give him a countdown of his faults, to refuse him sexual intimacy, whereas with Fitz he is completely forgivable all the time. It is an odd inconsistency in her character that does take on racial undertones because Edison is black and Fitz is white. But more than that, because even though Edison clearly treats her better she continues to put up with Fitz’s terrible treatment of her. It’s so close to the edge of being an abusive relationship I can’t even stand it.

    • Nature on February 11, 2013 at 7:43 am

      This entire last paragraph is the truth.com! This has been my problem since the beginning. This powerful, capable woman left a job at the WH to get away from her lover. Presumably because the guilt got to her. However, no matter how many times she says no,I don’t belong to you, stop calling, let me go – it falls on deaf ears until HE decides it is over. Which he shares in a completely empty restaurant and then leaves her there by herself. Of course, she is the love of his life – so his married self says.
      That said, I love the show. However, I am glad he went beast at the funeral. Now, maybe she will move on and the next time He NEEDS her she can put her stiletto in his political throat and get a REAL good guy elected.

    • a. on February 19, 2013 at 5:59 am

      “Maxwell is trying to show the ways that media representations of black women fail when they come into contact with the black female body precisely because they cannot represent them without excavating these racist tropes as underlying insinuations.”

      so then – what exactly does this have to do with scandal as opposed to any other show? if what you say is true (im not saying it isnt) then it is true every single time a black woman appears on screen. at which point i have to ask, are you going to write a critique like this every single time? it reaches a point of absurdity. what you are talking about is a problem of our culture in general, not of this show in specific! to put it upon this show is silly.

      im not discounting his entire critique. i think the show has flaws, and the point about the lack of development of the backstory on every single black character including olivia is spot on. however, the show is breaking bounds in a lot of ways, and i think a fair critique would have recognized this and not been solely negative.

      oh and re: your last paragraph – the factors youve discussed ive observed in relationships that women (and men) of all colors are in. and as a woman i really actually appreciate that rhimes is exploring this type of a relationship. and, how refreshing that olivia can have. a relationship like this but still be (and be shown as) a smart, capable professional woman! how this is not an upending of the jezebel character, i fail to see. anyway – so i dont see this particular aspect of their relationship as being a commentary on black woman – white man relationships specifically. not EVERYthing has to be taken as attributable to race!

  84. MaximusConfesses on February 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    I think there are some misreading this piece very badly. Folks seem to be construing Brandon’s critiques of the show as critiques of Olivia Pope and her agency or power or sexuality. However, I think Maxwell is pretty clear from the beginning that his critique is about white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and the transformations it enacts upon black female bodies regardless of how they themselves actually are. That is to say that Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope can be a black woman who has it together, has agency, and controls her sexuality, and is powerful, and she can still be burdened by black female stereotypes because white supremacist capitalist patriarchy works that transformation upon her even when she is not herself responsible for enacting it. Just because one understands oneself to be powerful and having it together doesn’t mean you are treated that way in a white supremacist society.

    I think Maxwell is trying to show the ways that media representations of black women fail when they come into contact with the black female body precisely because they cannot represent them without excavating these racist tropes as underlying insinuations. This is not to say that Olivia Pope is the problem. He’s saying the problem is the social and political climate that she is situated within. Which is why I think his point regarding white males led shows is so crucial. Because they are already the normative bodies, they are ‘free from’ the haunting of these stereotypes.

    And while I think in their traditional sense the Jezebel and Sapphire tropes are not point for point represented by Olivia, I think Maxwell points to a convergence and transformation of these stereotypes that dresses them up more in bougie clothes even while in EFFECT they are creating the same type of role for black women.

    Finally, I just don’t see how anyone can get around Fitz’s problematically agressive treatment of Olivia. His consistent disregard for her assertions of separation, needing to not see him, not wanting his sexual advances, etc., all in the name of a romance. That black women especially want to read this as progressive is odd to me. What it is is displaying how much white men continually disregard black women’s agency regardless of her position or power because they have sexual needs that don’t find it problematic to take advantage of a black woman.

    I like vulnerability in my characters and I don’t have a problem with Olivia being vulnerable or in love with a white man. What I do have a problem with is that her veneer of agency falls apart whenever Fitz is in the picture while she’s so quick to dump Edison, to give him a countdown of his faults, to refuse him sexual intimacy, whereas with Fitz he is completely forgivable all the time. It is an odd inconsistency in her character that does take on racial undertones because Edison is black and Fitz is white. But more than that, because even though Edison clearly treats her better she continues to put up with Fitz’s terrible treatment of her. It’s so close to the edge of being an abusive relationship I can’t even stand it.

    • Nature on February 11, 2013 at 7:43 am

      This entire last paragraph is the truth.com! This has been my problem since the beginning. This powerful, capable woman left a job at the WH to get away from her lover. Presumably because the guilt got to her. However, no matter how many times she says no,I don’t belong to you, stop calling, let me go – it falls on deaf ears until HE decides it is over. Which he shares in a completely empty restaurant and then leaves her there by herself. Of course, she is the love of his life – so his married self says.
      That said, I love the show. However, I am glad he went beast at the funeral. Now, maybe she will move on and the next time He NEEDS her she can put her stiletto in his political throat and get a REAL good guy elected.

    • a. on February 19, 2013 at 5:59 am

      “Maxwell is trying to show the ways that media representations of black women fail when they come into contact with the black female body precisely because they cannot represent them without excavating these racist tropes as underlying insinuations.”

      so then – what exactly does this have to do with scandal as opposed to any other show? if what you say is true (im not saying it isnt) then it is true every single time a black woman appears on screen. at which point i have to ask, are you going to write a critique like this every single time? it reaches a point of absurdity. what you are talking about is a problem of our culture in general, not of this show in specific! to put it upon this show is silly.

      im not discounting his entire critique. i think the show has flaws, and the point about the lack of development of the backstory on every single black character including olivia is spot on. however, the show is breaking bounds in a lot of ways, and i think a fair critique would have recognized this and not been solely negative.

      oh and re: your last paragraph – the factors youve discussed ive observed in relationships that women (and men) of all colors are in. and as a woman i really actually appreciate that rhimes is exploring this type of a relationship. and, how refreshing that olivia can have. a relationship like this but still be (and be shown as) a smart, capable professional woman! how this is not an upending of the jezebel character, i fail to see. anyway – so i dont see this particular aspect of their relationship as being a commentary on black woman – white man relationships specifically. not EVERYthing has to be taken as attributable to race!

  85. Patricia King on February 10, 2013 at 2:56 am

    I appreciate the thoughtful critiques and the sociological and psychological themes and subtexts. I am a professional with a post-graduate degree. I rarely watch television these days. I listen mostly to NPR and watch PBS.

    But I am throwing all that out the window. I am drinking wine and shouting at the TV and writing smart-ass remarks to my Facebook friends, watch party style.

    If Olivia Pope is a magic Negro, so what. See it for what is–Pulp Fiction.

    Lighten up.

    • sharonsue on February 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you, Patricia. Indeed, your reaction was the same as mine– lighten up!!

    • Marilyn Howard on February 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Amen! It’s just a TV show, people! One a lot of people enjoy for purely entertainment purposes.

      • sweeta on February 13, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Yes, and Birth of a Nation was just a movie. Not at all comparing the two works, in content or stylistically, but hardly anything, especially concerning representations of individuals in non-White, non-male bodies, ever is just what it is.

  86. Patricia King on February 10, 2013 at 2:56 am

    I appreciate the thoughtful critiques and the sociological and psychological themes and subtexts. I am a professional with a post-graduate degree. I rarely watch television these days. I listen mostly to NPR and watch PBS.

    But I am throwing all that out the window. I am drinking wine and shouting at the TV and writing smart-ass remarks to my Facebook friends, watch party style.

    If Olivia Pope is a magic Negro, so what. See it for what is–Pulp Fiction.

    Lighten up.

    • sharonsue on February 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you, Patricia. Indeed, your reaction was the same as mine– lighten up!!

    • Marilyn Howard on February 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Amen! It’s just a TV show, people! One a lot of people enjoy for purely entertainment purposes.

      • sweeta on February 13, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Yes, and Birth of a Nation was just a movie. Not at all comparing the two works, in content or stylistically, but hardly anything, especially concerning representations of individuals in non-White, non-male bodies, ever is just what it is.

  87. Patricia King on February 10, 2013 at 2:56 am

    I appreciate the thoughtful critiques and the sociological and psychological themes and subtexts. I am a professional with a post-graduate degree. I rarely watch television these days. I listen mostly to NPR and watch PBS.

    But I am throwing all that out the window. I am drinking wine and shouting at the TV and writing smart-ass remarks to my Facebook friends, watch party style.

    If Olivia Pope is a magic Negro, so what. See it for what is–Pulp Fiction.

    Lighten up.

    • sharonsue on February 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you, Patricia. Indeed, your reaction was the same as mine– lighten up!!

    • Marilyn Howard on February 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Amen! It’s just a TV show, people! One a lot of people enjoy for purely entertainment purposes.

      • sweeta on February 13, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Yes, and Birth of a Nation was just a movie. Not at all comparing the two works, in content or stylistically, but hardly anything, especially concerning representations of individuals in non-White, non-male bodies, ever is just what it is.

  88. Patricia King on February 10, 2013 at 2:56 am

    I appreciate the thoughtful critiques and the sociological and psychological themes and subtexts. I am a professional with a post-graduate degree. I rarely watch television these days. I listen mostly to NPR and watch PBS.

    But I am throwing all that out the window. I am drinking wine and shouting at the TV and writing smart-ass remarks to my Facebook friends, watch party style.

    If Olivia Pope is a magic Negro, so what. See it for what is–Pulp Fiction.

    Lighten up.

    • sharonsue on February 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you, Patricia. Indeed, your reaction was the same as mine– lighten up!!

    • Marilyn Howard on February 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Amen! It’s just a TV show, people! One a lot of people enjoy for purely entertainment purposes.

      • sweeta on February 13, 2013 at 10:45 am

        Yes, and Birth of a Nation was just a movie. Not at all comparing the two works, in content or stylistically, but hardly anything, especially concerning representations of individuals in non-White, non-male bodies, ever is just what it is.

  89. humanist on February 10, 2013 at 10:31 am

    While this “dissertation” on the evil that is Scandal & all the responses in agreement with, or in oppression thereto, what many seemingly fail to understand is that Scandal is a work of FICTION! In my humble opinion, there are far more REAL LIFE issues facing the Black community, in general, and Black women, in particular, let’s open a dialogue & start seeking solutions to those! Let’s deal with real sh*t, like teen domestic violence, & the abduction, rape, & forcing of young black women & girls into the sex trade. Let’s just start there…

  90. humanist on February 10, 2013 at 10:31 am

    While this “dissertation” on the evil that is Scandal & all the responses in agreement with, or in oppression thereto, what many seemingly fail to understand is that Scandal is a work of FICTION! In my humble opinion, there are far more REAL LIFE issues facing the Black community, in general, and Black women, in particular, let’s open a dialogue & start seeking solutions to those! Let’s deal with real sh*t, like teen domestic violence, & the abduction, rape, & forcing of young black women & girls into the sex trade. Let’s just start there…

  91. humanist on February 10, 2013 at 10:31 am

    While this “dissertation” on the evil that is Scandal & all the responses in agreement with, or in oppression thereto, what many seemingly fail to understand is that Scandal is a work of FICTION! In my humble opinion, there are far more REAL LIFE issues facing the Black community, in general, and Black women, in particular, let’s open a dialogue & start seeking solutions to those! Let’s deal with real sh*t, like teen domestic violence, & the abduction, rape, & forcing of young black women & girls into the sex trade. Let’s just start there…

  92. humanist on February 10, 2013 at 10:31 am

    While this “dissertation” on the evil that is Scandal & all the responses in agreement with, or in oppression thereto, what many seemingly fail to understand is that Scandal is a work of FICTION! In my humble opinion, there are far more REAL LIFE issues facing the Black community, in general, and Black women, in particular, let’s open a dialogue & start seeking solutions to those! Let’s deal with real sh*t, like teen domestic violence, & the abduction, rape, & forcing of young black women & girls into the sex trade. Let’s just start there…

  93. Shenard on February 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I think the article hits on several points of concern to a modern sense of feminism from a male perspective. The argument being that men as feminist is still a fairly new field of study, if you will. With that said, the thought plays out that men critique women through a historicized understanding of feminism (a shift according to changes within feminist thought oppose to a stagnate representation–still it is what has happened oppose to what is happening or will happen). I think also, the multidimensional character you desire is coming as the show continues to develop and sustain interest. That’s the beauty of narrative (television in particular). The story progresses in a manner to reward faithful viewership, or to express a particular creative viewpoint. I happen to think that the Olivia Pope character is indicative of her world: a woman, a successful black person, a voice within the current administration, someone charged with leading, and most importantly, defining herself while all eyes are on her. The future of the story is what I believe keep people tuned in. However, learning about Olivia through the people she interacts with challenges the viewers to suspend what they have learned, and that’s learning about people through self-expression, or this is who I am. I think it’s interesting the choices the characters make when they are aware of who the other person is based on issues critical to them within the moment, if you will. Case in point, did Cyrus seriously consider killing his partner, father of his child, because of national security or personal preservation? I think it would be extremely interesting to view Olivia through the lens of a foreigner struggling with the challenge of assimilation. This, according to both the writer’s field of study and national consensus, notion that history is revisiting American shores by creating a nation of immigrant concerns, and whose voice will champion the best way forward. How will this character portend what colored representation will look like in a world that is no longer predicated on an American sentiment of white capitalist supremacist patriarchy (or, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy).

  94. Shenard on February 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I think the article hits on several points of concern to a modern sense of feminism from a male perspective. The argument being that men as feminist is still a fairly new field of study, if you will. With that said, the thought plays out that men critique women through a historicized understanding of feminism (a shift according to changes within feminist thought oppose to a stagnate representation–still it is what has happened oppose to what is happening or will happen). I think also, the multidimensional character you desire is coming as the show continues to develop and sustain interest. That’s the beauty of narrative (television in particular). The story progresses in a manner to reward faithful viewership, or to express a particular creative viewpoint. I happen to think that the Olivia Pope character is indicative of her world: a woman, a successful black person, a voice within the current administration, someone charged with leading, and most importantly, defining herself while all eyes are on her. The future of the story is what I believe keep people tuned in. However, learning about Olivia through the people she interacts with challenges the viewers to suspend what they have learned, and that’s learning about people through self-expression, or this is who I am. I think it’s interesting the choices the characters make when they are aware of who the other person is based on issues critical to them within the moment, if you will. Case in point, did Cyrus seriously consider killing his partner, father of his child, because of national security or personal preservation? I think it would be extremely interesting to view Olivia through the lens of a foreigner struggling with the challenge of assimilation. This, according to both the writer’s field of study and national consensus, notion that history is revisiting American shores by creating a nation of immigrant concerns, and whose voice will champion the best way forward. How will this character portend what colored representation will look like in a world that is no longer predicated on an American sentiment of white capitalist supremacist patriarchy (or, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy).

  95. Shenard on February 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I think the article hits on several points of concern to a modern sense of feminism from a male perspective. The argument being that men as feminist is still a fairly new field of study, if you will. With that said, the thought plays out that men critique women through a historicized understanding of feminism (a shift according to changes within feminist thought oppose to a stagnate representation–still it is what has happened oppose to what is happening or will happen). I think also, the multidimensional character you desire is coming as the show continues to develop and sustain interest. That’s the beauty of narrative (television in particular). The story progresses in a manner to reward faithful viewership, or to express a particular creative viewpoint. I happen to think that the Olivia Pope character is indicative of her world: a woman, a successful black person, a voice within the current administration, someone charged with leading, and most importantly, defining herself while all eyes are on her. The future of the story is what I believe keep people tuned in. However, learning about Olivia through the people she interacts with challenges the viewers to suspend what they have learned, and that’s learning about people through self-expression, or this is who I am. I think it’s interesting the choices the characters make when they are aware of who the other person is based on issues critical to them within the moment, if you will. Case in point, did Cyrus seriously consider killing his partner, father of his child, because of national security or personal preservation? I think it would be extremely interesting to view Olivia through the lens of a foreigner struggling with the challenge of assimilation. This, according to both the writer’s field of study and national consensus, notion that history is revisiting American shores by creating a nation of immigrant concerns, and whose voice will champion the best way forward. How will this character portend what colored representation will look like in a world that is no longer predicated on an American sentiment of white capitalist supremacist patriarchy (or, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy).

  96. Shenard on February 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

    I think the article hits on several points of concern to a modern sense of feminism from a male perspective. The argument being that men as feminist is still a fairly new field of study, if you will. With that said, the thought plays out that men critique women through a historicized understanding of feminism (a shift according to changes within feminist thought oppose to a stagnate representation–still it is what has happened oppose to what is happening or will happen). I think also, the multidimensional character you desire is coming as the show continues to develop and sustain interest. That’s the beauty of narrative (television in particular). The story progresses in a manner to reward faithful viewership, or to express a particular creative viewpoint. I happen to think that the Olivia Pope character is indicative of her world: a woman, a successful black person, a voice within the current administration, someone charged with leading, and most importantly, defining herself while all eyes are on her. The future of the story is what I believe keep people tuned in. However, learning about Olivia through the people she interacts with challenges the viewers to suspend what they have learned, and that’s learning about people through self-expression, or this is who I am. I think it’s interesting the choices the characters make when they are aware of who the other person is based on issues critical to them within the moment, if you will. Case in point, did Cyrus seriously consider killing his partner, father of his child, because of national security or personal preservation? I think it would be extremely interesting to view Olivia through the lens of a foreigner struggling with the challenge of assimilation. This, according to both the writer’s field of study and national consensus, notion that history is revisiting American shores by creating a nation of immigrant concerns, and whose voice will champion the best way forward. How will this character portend what colored representation will look like in a world that is no longer predicated on an American sentiment of white capitalist supremacist patriarchy (or, white supremacist capitalist patriarchy).

  97. Dae on February 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Tropes will always be used in media.Can it be bad and detrimental to the people watching and the people involved, yes, but not always! Pope is the mysterious anti-hero whose actions are questionable, and the motivations for those action are never really revealed. We can assume, but then again, everyone is just assuming and until she states the why and how, you’ll never know.

    Funny enough, it doesn’t seem to click with black people critiquing the show that if Olivia Pope was a white character her seemingly flatness would be exciting and oh-so-mysterious because you would just know there is something in her past making her do all these very chaotic things! However, it appears that because she is a black woman all those exciting and mysterious reason automatically get tossed out the window by hypercritical blacks who want to pin her as nothing more than Sapphire magical negro!

  98. Dae on February 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Tropes will always be used in media.Can it be bad and detrimental to the people watching and the people involved, yes, but not always! Pope is the mysterious anti-hero whose actions are questionable, and the motivations for those action are never really revealed. We can assume, but then again, everyone is just assuming and until she states the why and how, you’ll never know.

    Funny enough, it doesn’t seem to click with black people critiquing the show that if Olivia Pope was a white character her seemingly flatness would be exciting and oh-so-mysterious because you would just know there is something in her past making her do all these very chaotic things! However, it appears that because she is a black woman all those exciting and mysterious reason automatically get tossed out the window by hypercritical blacks who want to pin her as nothing more than Sapphire magical negro!

  99. Dae on February 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Tropes will always be used in media.Can it be bad and detrimental to the people watching and the people involved, yes, but not always! Pope is the mysterious anti-hero whose actions are questionable, and the motivations for those action are never really revealed. We can assume, but then again, everyone is just assuming and until she states the why and how, you’ll never know.

    Funny enough, it doesn’t seem to click with black people critiquing the show that if Olivia Pope was a white character her seemingly flatness would be exciting and oh-so-mysterious because you would just know there is something in her past making her do all these very chaotic things! However, it appears that because she is a black woman all those exciting and mysterious reason automatically get tossed out the window by hypercritical blacks who want to pin her as nothing more than Sapphire magical negro!

  100. Dae on February 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

    Tropes will always be used in media.Can it be bad and detrimental to the people watching and the people involved, yes, but not always! Pope is the mysterious anti-hero whose actions are questionable, and the motivations for those action are never really revealed. We can assume, but then again, everyone is just assuming and until she states the why and how, you’ll never know.

    Funny enough, it doesn’t seem to click with black people critiquing the show that if Olivia Pope was a white character her seemingly flatness would be exciting and oh-so-mysterious because you would just know there is something in her past making her do all these very chaotic things! However, it appears that because she is a black woman all those exciting and mysterious reason automatically get tossed out the window by hypercritical blacks who want to pin her as nothing more than Sapphire magical negro!

  101. sharlimar on February 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    i am disappointed that seemingly Black female feminist have chosen to belittle a man a Black man. Some of the comments are small minded. Debate the actual content but as scholars, students and Black feminist more is expected. a man is allowed to have a differing opinion. he may have one we disagree but we should not belittle him.
    i have written in my private journal about my discomfort with the writers portrayl of Black men and women in all three of her prime time shows. once or twice i thought about publicly sharing my reflections. i am grateful at this moment that i have not. i was certain that i, sharlimar, would be attacked. i was certain that Black women in particular would come for me. i am a Black female feminist. Black folk really get into their feelings/history when a person of the race disfavorably critiques President Obama and Oliva Pope. Just because a Black woman is the lead writer etc. of these shows does not mean we will not see evidence of internalized oppression, repression, supression and consumption.
    Maxwell, i hope you will continue to write and share your thoughts out loud. i hope you will grow from this experience and not silenced. peace and truth, sharlimar
    you can find me on twitter @1solodynamite
    ddddd

  102. sharlimar on February 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    i am disappointed that seemingly Black female feminist have chosen to belittle a man a Black man. Some of the comments are small minded. Debate the actual content but as scholars, students and Black feminist more is expected. a man is allowed to have a differing opinion. he may have one we disagree but we should not belittle him.
    i have written in my private journal about my discomfort with the writers portrayl of Black men and women in all three of her prime time shows. once or twice i thought about publicly sharing my reflections. i am grateful at this moment that i have not. i was certain that i, sharlimar, would be attacked. i was certain that Black women in particular would come for me. i am a Black female feminist. Black folk really get into their feelings/history when a person of the race disfavorably critiques President Obama and Oliva Pope. Just because a Black woman is the lead writer etc. of these shows does not mean we will not see evidence of internalized oppression, repression, supression and consumption.
    Maxwell, i hope you will continue to write and share your thoughts out loud. i hope you will grow from this experience and not silenced. peace and truth, sharlimar
    you can find me on twitter @1solodynamite
    ddddd

  103. sharlimar on February 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    i am disappointed that seemingly Black female feminist have chosen to belittle a man a Black man. Some of the comments are small minded. Debate the actual content but as scholars, students and Black feminist more is expected. a man is allowed to have a differing opinion. he may have one we disagree but we should not belittle him.
    i have written in my private journal about my discomfort with the writers portrayl of Black men and women in all three of her prime time shows. once or twice i thought about publicly sharing my reflections. i am grateful at this moment that i have not. i was certain that i, sharlimar, would be attacked. i was certain that Black women in particular would come for me. i am a Black female feminist. Black folk really get into their feelings/history when a person of the race disfavorably critiques President Obama and Oliva Pope. Just because a Black woman is the lead writer etc. of these shows does not mean we will not see evidence of internalized oppression, repression, supression and consumption.
    Maxwell, i hope you will continue to write and share your thoughts out loud. i hope you will grow from this experience and not silenced. peace and truth, sharlimar
    you can find me on twitter @1solodynamite
    ddddd

  104. sharlimar on February 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    i am disappointed that seemingly Black female feminist have chosen to belittle a man a Black man. Some of the comments are small minded. Debate the actual content but as scholars, students and Black feminist more is expected. a man is allowed to have a differing opinion. he may have one we disagree but we should not belittle him.
    i have written in my private journal about my discomfort with the writers portrayl of Black men and women in all three of her prime time shows. once or twice i thought about publicly sharing my reflections. i am grateful at this moment that i have not. i was certain that i, sharlimar, would be attacked. i was certain that Black women in particular would come for me. i am a Black female feminist. Black folk really get into their feelings/history when a person of the race disfavorably critiques President Obama and Oliva Pope. Just because a Black woman is the lead writer etc. of these shows does not mean we will not see evidence of internalized oppression, repression, supression and consumption.
    Maxwell, i hope you will continue to write and share your thoughts out loud. i hope you will grow from this experience and not silenced. peace and truth, sharlimar
    you can find me on twitter @1solodynamite
    ddddd

  105. Nikki Lane on February 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    My thoughts were long enough to require a post of my own. I hope people interested might check it out:

    http://thedoctorlane.com/2013/02/a-reply-olivia-pope-scandal-of-representation/

  106. Nikki Lane on February 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    My thoughts were long enough to require a post of my own. I hope people interested might check it out:

    http://thedoctorlane.com/2013/02/a-reply-olivia-pope-scandal-of-representation/

  107. Nikki Lane on February 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    My thoughts were long enough to require a post of my own. I hope people interested might check it out:

    http://thedoctorlane.com/2013/02/a-reply-olivia-pope-scandal-of-representation/

  108. Nikki Lane on February 11, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    My thoughts were long enough to require a post of my own. I hope people interested might check it out:

    http://thedoctorlane.com/2013/02/a-reply-olivia-pope-scandal-of-representation/

  109. African in American on February 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    On a lighter side, if everything were fixed then we’d have no show. On a serious note, where were you when Susan Rice was recently bullied? Even Obama stood by and watched because he did not want to upset the American political process. It’s quite a shame when we demand the best out of fiction when real life is no better.

    The other part; Scandal has the ingredients of a contemporary drama. (the successful ones). Look at Homeland, Breaking Bad, Girls, … Scandal! The protagonist is no more the hero in a standard format. To demand perfectly fixed status out of leading black characters could easily have the show cancelled. Not that they are black, but because we can’t have what we want.

    So, chin up, and in any case, Scandal is only beginning. Whoever said Olivia Pope will not run for office? But she needed to be in that position first where she realizes all she’s been doing was live a lie. When she sat in that chapel at Sally Langston’s funeral, discarded by the ‘white hope’ she’s been serving, we saw her life unfold before her, and so did she. So should every other black woman. Because real life is no better, so far!

  110. African in American on February 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    On a lighter side, if everything were fixed then we’d have no show. On a serious note, where were you when Susan Rice was recently bullied? Even Obama stood by and watched because he did not want to upset the American political process. It’s quite a shame when we demand the best out of fiction when real life is no better.

    The other part; Scandal has the ingredients of a contemporary drama. (the successful ones). Look at Homeland, Breaking Bad, Girls, … Scandal! The protagonist is no more the hero in a standard format. To demand perfectly fixed status out of leading black characters could easily have the show cancelled. Not that they are black, but because we can’t have what we want.

    So, chin up, and in any case, Scandal is only beginning. Whoever said Olivia Pope will not run for office? But she needed to be in that position first where she realizes all she’s been doing was live a lie. When she sat in that chapel at Sally Langston’s funeral, discarded by the ‘white hope’ she’s been serving, we saw her life unfold before her, and so did she. So should every other black woman. Because real life is no better, so far!

  111. African in American on February 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    On a lighter side, if everything were fixed then we’d have no show. On a serious note, where were you when Susan Rice was recently bullied? Even Obama stood by and watched because he did not want to upset the American political process. It’s quite a shame when we demand the best out of fiction when real life is no better.

    The other part; Scandal has the ingredients of a contemporary drama. (the successful ones). Look at Homeland, Breaking Bad, Girls, … Scandal! The protagonist is no more the hero in a standard format. To demand perfectly fixed status out of leading black characters could easily have the show cancelled. Not that they are black, but because we can’t have what we want.

    So, chin up, and in any case, Scandal is only beginning. Whoever said Olivia Pope will not run for office? But she needed to be in that position first where she realizes all she’s been doing was live a lie. When she sat in that chapel at Sally Langston’s funeral, discarded by the ‘white hope’ she’s been serving, we saw her life unfold before her, and so did she. So should every other black woman. Because real life is no better, so far!

  112. African in American on February 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    On a lighter side, if everything were fixed then we’d have no show. On a serious note, where were you when Susan Rice was recently bullied? Even Obama stood by and watched because he did not want to upset the American political process. It’s quite a shame when we demand the best out of fiction when real life is no better.

    The other part; Scandal has the ingredients of a contemporary drama. (the successful ones). Look at Homeland, Breaking Bad, Girls, … Scandal! The protagonist is no more the hero in a standard format. To demand perfectly fixed status out of leading black characters could easily have the show cancelled. Not that they are black, but because we can’t have what we want.

    So, chin up, and in any case, Scandal is only beginning. Whoever said Olivia Pope will not run for office? But she needed to be in that position first where she realizes all she’s been doing was live a lie. When she sat in that chapel at Sally Langston’s funeral, discarded by the ‘white hope’ she’s been serving, we saw her life unfold before her, and so did she. So should every other black woman. Because real life is no better, so far!

  113. Mariam on February 15, 2013 at 10:30 am

    True, Olivia and Harrison need more back story, more depth. We really don’t know what drives her to be the fixer, and while that doesn’t bother me much–I watched 24 and never knew why Jack Bauer was such a patriot, and come to think of it, I don’t think I know the full, “what drives them” story behind any fixer/hero types besides comic book characters–it is something I would like to know.

    It’s also true that every character goes to great lengths, including murder, to uphold the system, and that system is a white male patriarchal one, because that system is … the earth.

    My one problem with this entire critique is that it wouldn’t exist without race. It’s part of my job to examine depictions of black people, and especially black women, in media and entertainment, but sometimes we miss the point. Has it ever occurred to the critical thinkers and examiners of the world that the producers just cast the best people for the role, and the race they happen to be is just the race they happen to be? I know that’s far-fetched, and I won’t pretend there’s no casting bias in Hollywood, but in the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, that is what Shonda Rhimes claimed she did when people complained that having a black chief of surgery, a black attending surgeon (and a heart surgeon at that) and an outstanding black resident all in one hospital was unrealistic. Perhaps Rhimes has kept the race card in the deck on Scandal because she would rather we see addictive drama every week than racial power structures.

    On the other hand, maybe that upheld system is one of the reasons why 10 million people are watching it.

  114. Mariam on February 15, 2013 at 10:30 am

    True, Olivia and Harrison need more back story, more depth. We really don’t know what drives her to be the fixer, and while that doesn’t bother me much–I watched 24 and never knew why Jack Bauer was such a patriot, and come to think of it, I don’t think I know the full, “what drives them” story behind any fixer/hero types besides comic book characters–it is something I would like to know.

    It’s also true that every character goes to great lengths, including murder, to uphold the system, and that system is a white male patriarchal one, because that system is … the earth.

    My one problem with this entire critique is that it wouldn’t exist without race. It’s part of my job to examine depictions of black people, and especially black women, in media and entertainment, but sometimes we miss the point. Has it ever occurred to the critical thinkers and examiners of the world that the producers just cast the best people for the role, and the race they happen to be is just the race they happen to be? I know that’s far-fetched, and I won’t pretend there’s no casting bias in Hollywood, but in the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, that is what Shonda Rhimes claimed she did when people complained that having a black chief of surgery, a black attending surgeon (and a heart surgeon at that) and an outstanding black resident all in one hospital was unrealistic. Perhaps Rhimes has kept the race card in the deck on Scandal because she would rather we see addictive drama every week than racial power structures.

    On the other hand, maybe that upheld system is one of the reasons why 10 million people are watching it.

  115. Mariam on February 15, 2013 at 10:30 am

    True, Olivia and Harrison need more back story, more depth. We really don’t know what drives her to be the fixer, and while that doesn’t bother me much–I watched 24 and never knew why Jack Bauer was such a patriot, and come to think of it, I don’t think I know the full, “what drives them” story behind any fixer/hero types besides comic book characters–it is something I would like to know.

    It’s also true that every character goes to great lengths, including murder, to uphold the system, and that system is a white male patriarchal one, because that system is … the earth.

    My one problem with this entire critique is that it wouldn’t exist without race. It’s part of my job to examine depictions of black people, and especially black women, in media and entertainment, but sometimes we miss the point. Has it ever occurred to the critical thinkers and examiners of the world that the producers just cast the best people for the role, and the race they happen to be is just the race they happen to be? I know that’s far-fetched, and I won’t pretend there’s no casting bias in Hollywood, but in the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, that is what Shonda Rhimes claimed she did when people complained that having a black chief of surgery, a black attending surgeon (and a heart surgeon at that) and an outstanding black resident all in one hospital was unrealistic. Perhaps Rhimes has kept the race card in the deck on Scandal because she would rather we see addictive drama every week than racial power structures.

    On the other hand, maybe that upheld system is one of the reasons why 10 million people are watching it.

  116. Mariam on February 15, 2013 at 10:30 am

    True, Olivia and Harrison need more back story, more depth. We really don’t know what drives her to be the fixer, and while that doesn’t bother me much–I watched 24 and never knew why Jack Bauer was such a patriot, and come to think of it, I don’t think I know the full, “what drives them” story behind any fixer/hero types besides comic book characters–it is something I would like to know.

    It’s also true that every character goes to great lengths, including murder, to uphold the system, and that system is a white male patriarchal one, because that system is … the earth.

    My one problem with this entire critique is that it wouldn’t exist without race. It’s part of my job to examine depictions of black people, and especially black women, in media and entertainment, but sometimes we miss the point. Has it ever occurred to the critical thinkers and examiners of the world that the producers just cast the best people for the role, and the race they happen to be is just the race they happen to be? I know that’s far-fetched, and I won’t pretend there’s no casting bias in Hollywood, but in the early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, that is what Shonda Rhimes claimed she did when people complained that having a black chief of surgery, a black attending surgeon (and a heart surgeon at that) and an outstanding black resident all in one hospital was unrealistic. Perhaps Rhimes has kept the race card in the deck on Scandal because she would rather we see addictive drama every week than racial power structures.

    On the other hand, maybe that upheld system is one of the reasons why 10 million people are watching it.

  117. Phitz on February 18, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Personally I think she’s a glorified bedwench.

    It’s like she can have all the power, credentials, attributes, and skills available to her for saving the day, but at the end of it she’s still only good enough to be the master’s side peice. yeah I said it.

  118. Phitz on February 18, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Personally I think she’s a glorified bedwench.

    It’s like she can have all the power, credentials, attributes, and skills available to her for saving the day, but at the end of it she’s still only good enough to be the master’s side peice. yeah I said it.

  119. Phitz on February 18, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Personally I think she’s a glorified bedwench.

    It’s like she can have all the power, credentials, attributes, and skills available to her for saving the day, but at the end of it she’s still only good enough to be the master’s side peice. yeah I said it.

  120. Phitz on February 18, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Personally I think she’s a glorified bedwench.

    It’s like she can have all the power, credentials, attributes, and skills available to her for saving the day, but at the end of it she’s still only good enough to be the master’s side peice. yeah I said it.

  121. MeMe on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    What is New? Another Black Man criticizing Scandal and the Olivia Pope character. SMH. It is just a TV show. Black People wonder why there has not been a Black female TV lead in years. Articles like this is one reason. Black People are putting so much pressure on a TV show and it is sad.
    Olivia Pope is a complicated character. She is not perfect. I like flawed and imperfect characters. It is more realistic. Not Every Black Female character should be Claire Huxtable on TV. It is very unrealistic.

    Where are your articles on Reality TV and how they make Black Women look on TV. Instead being so concern with a fictional TV show. You should be writing articles on how to stop our Black Youth from dying on these streets from Gun violence. How we deal
    With high Unemployment in the Black Community. Instead of spending so much time discussing Scandal and the Olivia Pope character.

  122. MeMe on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    What is New? Another Black Man criticizing Scandal and the Olivia Pope character. SMH. It is just a TV show. Black People wonder why there has not been a Black female TV lead in years. Articles like this is one reason. Black People are putting so much pressure on a TV show and it is sad.
    Olivia Pope is a complicated character. She is not perfect. I like flawed and imperfect characters. It is more realistic. Not Every Black Female character should be Claire Huxtable on TV. It is very unrealistic.

    Where are your articles on Reality TV and how they make Black Women look on TV. Instead being so concern with a fictional TV show. You should be writing articles on how to stop our Black Youth from dying on these streets from Gun violence. How we deal
    With high Unemployment in the Black Community. Instead of spending so much time discussing Scandal and the Olivia Pope character.

  123. MeMe on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    What is New? Another Black Man criticizing Scandal and the Olivia Pope character. SMH. It is just a TV show. Black People wonder why there has not been a Black female TV lead in years. Articles like this is one reason. Black People are putting so much pressure on a TV show and it is sad.
    Olivia Pope is a complicated character. She is not perfect. I like flawed and imperfect characters. It is more realistic. Not Every Black Female character should be Claire Huxtable on TV. It is very unrealistic.

    Where are your articles on Reality TV and how they make Black Women look on TV. Instead being so concern with a fictional TV show. You should be writing articles on how to stop our Black Youth from dying on these streets from Gun violence. How we deal
    With high Unemployment in the Black Community. Instead of spending so much time discussing Scandal and the Olivia Pope character.

  124. MeMe on February 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    What is New? Another Black Man criticizing Scandal and the Olivia Pope character. SMH. It is just a TV show. Black People wonder why there has not been a Black female TV lead in years. Articles like this is one reason. Black People are putting so much pressure on a TV show and it is sad.
    Olivia Pope is a complicated character. She is not perfect. I like flawed and imperfect characters. It is more realistic. Not Every Black Female character should be Claire Huxtable on TV. It is very unrealistic.

    Where are your articles on Reality TV and how they make Black Women look on TV. Instead being so concern with a fictional TV show. You should be writing articles on how to stop our Black Youth from dying on these streets from Gun violence. How we deal
    With high Unemployment in the Black Community. Instead of spending so much time discussing Scandal and the Olivia Pope character.

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