black women, Lorde Royals, multi-racial, negative bias against black women, negative portrayal of black women in media, The Mindy Project

The Beginning

“Ouch!  That hurt….” was all I could think.  And there was this sharp pain in my stomach, or was it my heart?  It was a feeling beyond the feelings of being offended, being angry, being shocked, and confused… Like did that just happen?!  Did they really just say that?  I felt all of those feelings at once, it’s like I went through the stages of grief all in an instant.  At the end of it all was pain, real pain.  That shocked, sneak-up-on you type of pain.  Like that first moment of discovering you’re being lied to, cheated on, let go, fill in the blank.   But why was I having That pain over these words on a sit-com I’d only watched once before, The Mindy Project, and was only half watching now while I did the dishes?  I know why, it’s because it caught me off guard.  My defenses were down.  I had purposely picked this show because I was looking for something upbeat and not negative on black women.  I guess I was drawn in by the ad that showed two people of color highlighted in this particular episode.  I was even more drawn in when I began watching the episode and saw an African American woman who was a prominent side character, and was cute, professional, smart, and likable.  As the episode progressed, and my family’s dinner dishes seemed never ending, there were a few things about the show that I didn’t really like, but I hung in with it because of her.   And then the words came.   I wasn’t actually looking at the screen at the time, I just heard something to this effect, “Well, you know, in our society, that’s just how it is if your a lesbian, or a black woman, or a person of filth.”  Wow!  Even writing it right now gets me angry.   I wish I could write more specifically about the context of the comment in the show, but that would require re-watching it, which I’m not willing to do.  From what I could gather, three nurse characters (a queer woman, an African American woman, and a white man) were trying to convey to the doctor character what it was like to be treated as second class citizens.  The white male nurse was referring to himself as a person of filth (I’m not sure why).  What gets me is that for some reason, the writers of the show made a point to put the black woman, a woman like me, into the same category as a “person of filth”.

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