Wisdom Wednesday: The Reality of Reality TV

About a week ago, I happened upon an episode of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta (The Reunion), and I must admit I was disgusted by what I witnessed.  Beautiful people of color donned the stage to engage in dialogue epitomizing the show’s past season, and what ensued was nothing short of a disgrace.  One of the cast members stormed the stage and initiated a brawl of epic proportions.  The animalistic pandemonium forced taping of the show to cease, only to resume after order was eventually restored.

I don’t appreciate the fact that when it comes to reality TV, people of color tend to make up the majority of the cast.  Of course, there are a few exceptions.  Generally speaking, the reality shows that highlight the ability to think, build communities, and survive amid challenging circumstances, tend to be dominated by whites.  When I watch Survivor, The Bachelor/Bachelorette, and The Apprentice, these shows have some type of ultimate goal or prize to be won.  The ability to reason, strategize, and work together as a team becomes paramount.  In other words, there is a method to the madness.  Whether it’s being dropped off in the middle of nowhere, and being left alone (with a camera crew, of course) to test survival skills, or being whisked away to paradise in order to choose a potential mate, these shows glamorize the great qualities of their stars.  Conversely, the negative portrayal of African-Americans (especially women) on reality shows like Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, and R&B Divas creates a mockery resembling a modern-day minstrel show.  The sad truth about these shows is the “black face” is not painted on, they’re actually real.  There is no point…there is no prize…there is no goal.  Ultimately, all that comes out of this madness is more madness.  Week after week the fights ensue, the gossip gets juicier, and class goes flying out of the window.  When the season is all over, and the dust settles, these “celebrities” of color have been stripped of all dignity and class for the purpose of gaining ratings and riches.

Is this really what we have resorted to for our entertainment purposes?  What was once reserved for twelve rounds in a boxing ring can now be seen on your average African-American reality television show.  Our generation has pushed the limits of what is acceptable on television.  From violence to borderline pornography, our senses have been saturated with debauchery far beyond anything ever imagined.  The rise of the reality TV age has brought to light some pressing questions concerning the effect it has on our society.  There is such a hypocritical overtone that surfaces when we express our outrage against issues like women’s rights, domestic violence, and infidelity, when all along, our appetites for this pseudo-reality continue to grow.  It shouldn’t surprise us when we see the same type of degeneration translating and manifesting in real life.

I consider this a real epidemic and a state of emergency.  When I see two women whaling on each other for ratings, I want to ask…why?  What would cause such emotional unrest as to think this type of behavior is acceptable?   How much are you willing to sell your soul for?

In no way am I saying that reality TV is to blame for all of the social ills we see in our society.  However, I am saying that reality TV, in its present state, seems to contribute to the negative image of women especially women of color.

So let’s talk about this.

 

What type of image is reality television portraying when it comes to women and people of color?

Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

Editor: Jaime Evans

Keep Learning ♦ Keep Loving ♦ Keep Living

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

 

 

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Wisdom Wednesday: Domestic Violence with a Twist

In light of the Ray and Janay Rice debacle, once again, the issue of domestic violence has recently earned the title of  “breaking news” in the media.  It’s unfortunate that such a sensitive part of people’s lives can be so readily accessible and publicly splayed for all to dissect.  What’s even more unfortunate is  the average person does not have sufficient knowledge or experience to appropriately discern and distill the totality of truth from the situation. 

Domestic violence is real, and it deserves to be in the spotlight of awareness much more than it has been. 

According to a well-known survey by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives

1.3 women are assaulted by their partner every year

85% of domestic violence reported is against women (key word: reported)

 

These statistics are commonplace among feminists and domestic violence activists and can often be quoted verbatim, but there is an important statistic that rarely surfaces.  According to a survey taken by the CDC in 2010:

40% of the victims of severe, physical, domestic violence are men.

Of course there are many factors that influence this statistic, as with all statistics, but it is worth mentioning.  Often, the focus is on violence against women for various reasons.  Politics, marketing, and ratings often muddy the waters, thus creating a huge disparity between the sexes, in terms of the cases of violence that are actually reported.  Many times, details such as provocation, self-defense, and mental illness surface that later shed more light on domestic violence cases.  As a male, I can most assuredly say that I have never (and will never) hit a woman, although there have been situations where I would have felt totally justified in doing so for the purposes of self-defense (disclaimer: In no way am I referring to my current marriage relationship). 

Am I condoning violence against women in any way?  Of course not.  I reiterate, I have never hit a woman.  In my opinion, there are many alternative measures, other than striking, that men have to defend themselves against violence inflicted by women (which does happen) .  However, I think we all know that some women can be very volatile, and often take advantage of the laws of the land that are in effect (Violence Against Women Act of 1994) where women can easily fill the role of victim, even though many times they are the aggressors.   Of course we can witness this type of behavior whenever we look at reality television.  Although one may argue that all these shows are “scripted,” it doesn’t negate the fact that many of the behaviors seen by these reality stars seep into the psyche of many faithful viewers; and as the old adage goes: Life imitates art far more than art imitates life (Oscar Wilde-The Decay of Lying)

So let’s talk about this:

Is it ever OK for a woman to hit, scratch, bite, spit on, or physically harm a man?

Does a man have the right to defend himself against violence even if it’s by the hands of a woman?

 Editor: Jaime Evans

 

As always, thanks for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE

Your Struggle: The Gateway To Glory

If you are reading this post, there is one thing I can tell you about yourself without knowing anything about you.  With a reasonable amount of cerainty, I know that you have a struggle.  Not just any struggle, but one that plagues you perpetually like an opponent that just won’t fall.  The struggle that I’m referring to is the one that keeps reappearing at the most inopportune times, just to fight against all of your best laid plans and your most optomistic motivations.  Whether it’s persistent illness, addiction, a problematic personality flaw, a criminal record…(and the list goes on); these things can make us lose confidence and self-esteem. 

But wait…NOT SO FAST!

Before you tap out and throw in the towel, I’d like to submit to you a profound truth.  One that comes from an authority much higher than all of us.  Consider this:

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.  (2 Corinthians 4:17)

In essence, your struggle activates the perfect strength and ability of God, but only when you learn how to tap into it properly. 

 

God’s R.O.I.

God is proactive, not reactive.  In other words, nothing about you shocks or intimidates Him.  He knows everything, and I do mean everything, about you.  He knows all of your sins, struggles, and shortcomings (past, present, and future).  He knows the decisions you will make and your motives behind those decisions. He has even made provisions for you when you stray away from Him.  In fact, God has invested His most precious commodity in you…the Blood of Jesus His Son.  He did it because of your sins, and He is “banking” on your struggle becuase in your struggle is where He receives the R.O.I. (Return On Investment) from your life.  That return on investment is called GLORY. 

That’s right!

Right in the middle of your weakness and your struggle, God’s grace is standing by ready, willing, and able to make tremendous power available to you through the Holy Spirit.  The sooner you humble yourself, acknowledge God’s power, and receive His grace, that is when you qualify for more grace.

“But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:7)

 

God’s Glory Revealed

I have been ruminating a very interesting question.  As a matter of fact, that question combined with a powerful message entitled, “An Incredible Invitation,” taught by Pastor Shomari White (Senior Pastor of Have Life Church in Charlotte, NC), gave birth to this post.  Consider this:

Why didn’t God heal Moses of his speech impediment at the burning bush? (Exodus 3) 

We all know that God could have just touched Moses’ mouth like He did when He called Isaiah (Isaiah 6).  But He didn’t.  Instead, when Moses brought it up, God’s response was:

Now therefore go, I will be with thy mouth and teach thee what thou must say.  (Exodus 4:12)

Of course those who are familiar with the account know that He did allow Aaron to accompany Moses, but that was not God’s ideal plan.  Upon closer scrutiny, I realized that this wasn’t the only time God refused to be moved by a person’s weakness.  Let’s take a look at Paul and his infamous “thorn in the flesh.”  I believe it is by design that no one really knows for certain what Paul’s “thorn” was, because it is indicative of our “thorns.”  It’s not labeled specifically in the Bible, so that we all can label it ourseleves, and know that just like God’s grace was sufficient for Paul; His grace is certainly sufficient for us.  Some may say that Paul’s thorn was not significant, but I beg to differ.  It was significant enough for Paul to talk to God about it three times.  Eventually, God answered Paul’s request to remove it and take the thorn away by saying:

My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Finally, let’s take a look at Jesus, who was God incarnate.  One day as Jesus was heavily involved in his travelling ministry, he received a message that Lazarus, one of his good friends, who lived in Bethany, was sick and close to dying.  At that point you would imagine Jesus and his crew would have packed up and started the trip to Bethany.  Instead, Jesus took his time getting there.  Needless to say, his friend Lazarus died, and by the time he got to Bethany, Lazarus was four days in the grave.  Upon Jesus’ arrival, he was met with statements of disappointment from the grieving sisters of Lazarus (Mary and Martha) as they approached him and said, “If you had been here, our brother would not have died.”  I love Jesus’ response to their folly:

“Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.”  (John 11:25)

Then, he proceeded to call Lazarus forth from the dead.

AWESOME STUFF!

 

Fight the Right Fight

Many times the message of grace is misconstrued and misunderstood by the masses. People filter the message through perverted, itching ears, thereby disseminating wrong information.  In no way am I saying you should just lay down and succumb to your weaknesses.  When your struggle ceases to be a struggle, then it’s time for a reality check.  You’re a soldier and your battle is in the arena of your mind.  That’s where the battle is either won or lost.  The skirmish between flesh and spirit is a heated one at times, but we have been guaranteed victory through the name of Jesus.  Paul said it best:

“I keep under my body and bring it into subjection…” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

The friction that comes from this fight within us produces the spark that sets our lives on fire for Christ.   As we humble ourselves, acknowledge God, and fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12), we open the gateway for God’s grace and glory to flood our lives and shine through us.  God’s grace works best in the presence of our frailty, and shines brightest in the dungeons of our deepest struggle, if we choose to acknowledge Him.  This is why Jesus came clothed in grace and truth, so that we may behold the perfection of his person.  Christ carried the burden of perfection so that we wouldn’t be required to. 

I encourage you to speak faith.  Say what God has already declared about you ,and let this be your confession:

“For when I am weak, then am I strong.”  (2Corinthians 12:10)

Now go forth, and expect to see God’s glory revealed in your life today.

 

 Acknowledgements:  I would like to thank Pastor Shomari White, Senior Pastor of Have Life Church (Charlotte, NC ) for allowing me to reference his inspirational words in this post.  Thank you for living a life that demonstrates the power of the Holy Spirit.  You are truly an inspiration to me.

As always, thank you for visiting Wisdom’s Quill.  See you soon.

BE