An Essence survey published last month revealed what many black women already know: Pop culture doesn’t depict them accurately. The ones polled by the magazine (with the help of a research firm) said the other black women they know tend to fall into positive categories like “Young Phenom” or “Acculturated Girl Next Door.” But images of black women “on TV, in social media, in music videos and from other outlets,” the survey found, were “overwhelmingly negative,” conforming to stereotypes like “Gold Diggers, Modern Jezebels, Baby Mamas, Uneducated Sisters, Ratchet Women, Angry Black Women, Mean Black Girls, Unhealthy Black Women, and Black Barbies.”
Had it been included, last week’s Saturday Night Live episode would have made the findings even starker. Scandal star Kerry Washington appeared in sketches as a nagging girlfriend; a sassy, eye-rolling assistant; and a rageful Ugandan beauty queen. There were no roles where her race and gender wasn’t an issue.
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