When examining the representation of race in media texts, the television show Weeds is interesting to consider. This show prides itself on being offensive. Most television shows appear only to stereotype minorities, leaving the Caucasian characters to represent the norm. However, I argue that Weeds does not discriminate when it comes to stereotyping, as it examines all races from a critical perspective not only by placing these characters into their typical racial roles, but by over exaggerating these characteristics in order to transcend these roles.
In the show, it is apparent that many of Juan Artega's "Hollywood's 6 Favorite Offensive Stereotypes" exist. Primarily, "the Latino maid" is represented by the Botwins' maid, Lupita. Artega claims that this character, among other things, "runs around in the background with a vacuum cleaner, or waving a duster..." which is mostly true of the television show. Lupita 100 percent fits into this role - she is constantly muttering Spanish under her tongue while shaking her head at the Botwins, and manipulates her insider knowledge of the family to her own advantage.
Other examples of racial stereotyping would have to include prominent African American characters Heylia and Conrad. These roles, while a bit harder to classify according to Artega's model, fulfill certain well known African American stereotypes such as the "angry black woman" as demonstrated through Heylia, outspoken yet all about the family and a good cook; and the "tough black guy", Conrad, who partakes in criminal activity, yet on the inside is a sensitive, caring man.
In the show, there is also a tendency to use Caucasian stereotypes for certain characters placed in a typical upper middle class suburban community. For example, the "overbearing, perfect soccer mom" could arguably be exemplified through the role of Celia Hodes, who portrays the some of the more extreme characteristics of that role.
While most media texts position these roles at a higher angle and connote an element of normalcy, Weeds is able to place Caucasian stereotypes on the same level as that of the other roles. For this reason, the television show seems much more balanced than other TV shows. In Weeds,everyone is a victim. No one gets left out.
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