American Popular Culture: Still Living with Racism In the article “Constructing Race: Readings in Multicultural Semiotics,” the authors Maasik and Solomon argue that America is not a place where racism exist. They also express that “American popular culture “Is a social experiment whose outcome is by no means certain… the implicit and explicit racial hierarchies of the past are visibly receding” (654). The reality show “America’s Next Top Model (ANTM)” created by Tyra Banks, contradicts Maasik and Solomon’s statement demonstrating that American is still inhabited with racist people.
This reality show is a women competition for becoming America’s Next Top Model and for their recognition as professional models by very popular companies like Covergirl. Up to today, the reality show, debuted in The CW TV channel, has 17 cycles, but some of them have been examples of how ANTM can be described as a racist reality show. Banks is a Victoria’s Secret model and is also the first black woman to dress with elegance a “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit. The creation of her own reality show made her more famous, but it also brought along several controversies.
In the castings for cycle 3, Eva Pigford, one of the semi-finalists, was being rude to the others especially to a girl named Amy, who was criticized for having an anorexic body look. Seeing Pigford’s behavior, Banks expresses that she does not want “another black bitch” in her reality show, criticizing black women’s behaviors as “too nasty,” in other words too discourteous. Banks, in this episode, goes against black people claiming that they do not know how to behave, that their behavior is “too black. Another example of behaving “too black” in this reality show is Tiffany Richardson’s behavior. In the auditions for cycle 3, she shared feelings with Banks saying that she wanted to change because she disappointed her family several times for being too tough, but in the same season Richardson got into a bar-fight, which affected her participation in season 4. In season 4, Richardson was eliminated for having a rude behavior and for not taking the competition seriously.
Banks criticized her for having a defeatist attitude; she expressed that Richardson disappointed the judges and that she must take responsibility of herself. This statement from Banks categorizes black people as those who are always getting into trouble, fight, and are rude. In ANTM, the women who participate are from all types of race. In the castings for cycle 15, there were controversies of racism from a white woman named Emily toward black woman. Emily wrote in her diary “I almost got stuck rooming with a black girl, ew! and one of the other participants read it and told De’yane, a black woman contestant, about it. De’yane, who apparently was going to be Emily’s roommate, went to discuss about it but Emily denied it saying that it was not written against her, that she wrote it because another black girl made her get mad. Even though Emily said she is not racist and did not mean to hurt anybody, what she wrote, only because she was mad, is a sign of racism. Today, American is a place inhabited with people from all races, but is also a place where a small percentage of the population is racist.
These three examples from America’s Next Top Model demonstrate that racism still exists and that the most people discriminated are the black community. The president Barack Obama was part of this type of racism when a CNN news reporter put in doubt his birthplace saying that he was not born in America and therefore he did not deserve the presidency. Even if there are fewer amounts of people who is racist, racism will always be there and not just against the black population, it has extended to all types of race.