In our last class, Professor Pok’s lecture on “White Privilege” included the statement, “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.” (Peggy McIntosh) African Americans and more specifically African American women do not echo this sentiment. So I found it fitting when I came across this article on one of my favorite blogs, Necole Bitchie:
Earlier this week, Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Baby Boy) blasted TV guide for leaving her out of a cover story that featured her co-stars of the new CBS drama series, ‘Person Of Interest’. She wrote on her facebook:
WOW!!!! TV guide is NOT including me on the cover with my cast members…..I am the female lead of a 3 member cast and I’m not included on the cover!!!!!! Do you see the sh*t I have to deal with in this business…..I cram to understand!!!!”
Well, it looks like she’s [Taraji] not included on any of the Billboards, either. I think it’s time to take that up with the network, not TV Guide. You would think that her fan base, (over 3 million facebook fans and nearly a million followers on twitter), as well as past Emmy and Oscar Award nominations would attract more viewers to the show so why would she not be included in the promos?
As I read the article I couldn’t help but think of sociologist, Joe Feagin’s, theory on “contemporary racism” which states that blacks and whites differ in the way they see racism. Whites lack of awareness of their “white privilege” tends to present a distorted view of American society in which racism (with the exception of few extreme cases) is a thing of the past. (overt racism) Where African Americans are aware of the injustices they may face on a day-to-day basis. (covert racism)
With that being said a few questions come to mind, is Taraji being left out of the promos because she is African American and would not “appeal” to CBS’ primarily white elderly audience? Can this be seen as a form of covert racism? Or is racism in America truly considered “a thing of the past” since Barack Obama’s presidency?
The editor-in-chief of TV Guide Magazine and tvguidemagazine.com had this to say in response:
I made an editorial decision to do a story about the relationship between the two male characters on ‘Person of Interest’ and that’s who I was going to put on the cover. That has been my decision all along, ever since I saw the pilot. We’re certainly fans of Taraji Henson and her storyline on the show was never intended to be the focus of our cover story. I don’t know where there was a misunderstanding about this, but it’s been clear to everyone from the start. I don’t make decisions on who is put and not put on the cover based on race or gender.