Scandal’s writers had the kidnapped Olivia Pope auctioned off to the highest bidder, and the most recent episode ended with her being sold to Iran and trotted out in the desert to meet her new owner. Let’s just think about this for a minute.
Now I am a fan of this show and have been from the beginning, but the imagery of a Black woman being sold –during Black History month no less– does not sit well with me.
Olivia started off as a powerful, well-connected fixer who was highly sought out for her political prowess. She was beautiful, brave and smart. Oh, and the clothes. They had me from the first episode.
We could relate to Olivia because brilliant and accomplished though she was, she had one weakness – a man. Don’t we all? So many of us have just about every other aspect of our lives together except for the personal portion. Hers is an extreme situation, but it resonated with a lot of us.
Season three is when things started changing. There was less fixing and more personal drama between her and her married boyfriend and the other guy she is sleeping with regularly.
The winter finale ended with her being kidnapped and when the new season started Olivia advised her captor to sell her to the highest bidder instead of waiting to be rescued. The idea is as absurd as it is offensive.
Human trafficking is a real problem, and I do not see why the writers would use this as a plot device. Out all of the ways to bring Olivia out of this predicament they opted for this one?
I have overlooked a lot for the sake of dramatic license, and it’s been well documented in my recaps, but this commodification of Black women is going too far.
And for those who would argue “It’s just a tv show!” I challenge you to dig a little deeper because entertainment shapes our culture in many ways. No, I do not think that Black women are at risk of being herded back to the auction block wholesale, but this is terrible imagery, and I do not like it.
Are we so hungry for images of ourselves on tv that we are willing to blindly accept anything that is dished out? And the fact that a Black woman helms the show makes no difference to me in this case.
It’s okay to not to care about the implications of this plot twist, but please do not characterize those of us who do care about it as angry militants because that is not true.
My deep appreciation of this show has not dimmed my critical thinking skills, and as mother Iyanla would advise us “Let’s call a thing a thing.”
I’ll keep watching for now, but I need this show to get back to what it was and tone down the craziness.