I really liked Dyer's article that we just read. Although it was a little dry at times, and seemed too much preoccupied with the three movies it described, I really enjoyed the beginning of it.
The first part of the Dyer article, talks about the normative whiteness as seen among the media. Dyer argues that the white actors on TV are not seen as white, but instead they are seen as "the natural, inevitable, ordinary way of being human" (p.141). the audience do not think of these white actors as being white, but instead they see them as the norm that can be applied to any and every human beings in the society.
On the contrary, Dyer argues, whenever there are any actors of color on TV, they are seen as something that is not the norm, something opposite of the ordered whiteness, and something that can only be applied to specific individuals/groups within the society. Dyer argues that "whiteness can be associated with order, rationality, rigidity, qualities brought out by the contrast with black disorder, irrationality, and looseness" (p.145). So even though the Black actors would be casted in the same roles as the White actors, they would be seen as something extraordinary, and not as something proper and normal.
I was thinking about a different example of this, than Dyer gave (his argument is pretty dated, from 1988). And then I thought about sitcoms that talk about the struggles of different families-- something, that the majority of the population could relate to. And I came across 8 Simple Rules and The Bill Cosby Show. Both shows are similarly structured: both talk about the families that deal with teenagers, and younger kids, and the problems that they create, as well as their parents who try to run the household, and raise their children in a proper way through teaching them some lessons.
But these two vary in one, great, detail: 8 Simple Rules presents a White family, while The Bill Cosby Show presents a Black family.
And I think that it is important to see how people think about these shows.
When asked, people often say that 8 Simple Rules is a show about this family where the teenage kids are the main focal point, and where the drama goes on constantly. Also, they say that they can easily relate to the issues presented in the show, if they have/are a teenager.
But then when asked about the Bill Cosby Show, people usually tend to say that it is a show about this Black family who is trying to focus around the lives of the teenage children in the family. But in this scenario, it is less likely for people to say that they can relate to that show, unless they are the people of color.
So what do you think? Does color really matter? And does it even make a difference whether a family is Black or White? I think not. But I also think that many people simply over exaggerate these stereotypes, thus causing their thinking to be affected by their preconceived ideas and experiences.
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