Thursday, October 11, 2007


Oprah's Imbalanced Depiction of Black Men

by Shavar Jeffries

I love Oprah. She's a historic figure in Black America. Not only for her pioneering role both in front of and behind the camera, but more importantly for her legendary efforts to uplift some of the most dispossessed people of the world. I'm especially proud of her work to expose and undermine the patriarchy that too often confines the potential of women and warps the self-image of men.
But advocacy for women doesn't require denigration of men. If all I knew about Black women came from the Oprah Show, I'd believe they were strong, intelligent, beautiful, sensitive, caring, compassionate, spiritual, and selfless. In short, I'd know truths about Black women that are infrequently told by mass media. Yet if all I knew about Black men came from the Oprah show, I'd suspect they were lazy, womanizing, criminal-minded, predatory, and irresponsible. In short, I'd know stereotypes about Black men that are routinely signaled by mass media.Brothers, of course, have problems, and those problems should be discussed and challenged. But the world already knows that. The world doesn't know about the good, decent, hard-working Black men of character who struggle every day to do right by themselves and their families. Let's hope that Oprah can be a more meaningful part of balancing the depiction of Black men.

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