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December 2012

The Charming “White Male Asshole” Character On Television

"Dr. Gregory House." "Dr. Sheldon Cooper." "Patrick Jane."

I won’t lie. I love these characters. They are certifiable assholes. They are memorable characters. They make me laugh. I watched every episode of House M.D. when it was on the air. I am catching up on any missed episodes of The Big Bang Theory. I’ve seen every episode of The Mentalist.

Still though…keep their behavior the same and make them White women. Still lovable? Now, make them Black women. Still lovable? (Not even close to most people.) Sexism, racism, and white privilege says no.

"But it’s just TV!" - people who refuse to think

Actually no, it’s not “just” TV. Nothing in art or media is “just” anything. This came to mind as I thought about a great essay that I read a few months ago titled The Glorification of White Crime. It mentioned:

…fictional white criminals get to have a deep fanbase who loves these white criminals, receive accolades and awards, get called amazing television that portray the complexities of human nature. Viewers of these characters see past the atrocious crimes and into their humanity, a luxury that white characters always have while characters of color rarely do.

This easily applies to any type of character, truthfully, even amidst comedy and dramedy. Not only would the characters I mentioned at the start of the post not be deemed lovable, as Black women, they would no longer be deemed nuanced, complex or having an anger that is relatable. They would be reduced to being both unlovable and simplistically bitter.

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    This is so true. I read a post on Racebending about Star Trek Into Darkness, and they mentioned how villains are often...
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    Although this is a valid theory, I’d just like to point out that on House MD, Foreman is a pretty big jerk too. And he’s...
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