Skip to main content

View Diary: Is Tyreese "Made to Suffer"? In The Walking Dead TV Show There Can Be Only One Black Male Character (342 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  are you kidding? (4+ / 0-)

    you don't have anything to do with your analysis time except to harp on your perceived racism and african american stereotyping in a show about zombies? why is this drivel on this site?

    my favorite: "Whatever the contextual logic, Carl, a white male child, has more authority than Tyreese, who is a black man.

    uhh, yeah, he does. they were at the prison first, and he has a baby sister to look out for when presented with strangers (who he also helps save, but of course that kind of detail always get "lost" in the, you know, racism and all...)

    "whatever the contextual logic" indeed. set aside for a moment the "logical context" of the zombie apocalypse, and realize that, in human relationships, context is everything.

    get a life.

    •  when you hit the nail on the head someone usually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      cries...thanks for proving my point about how so many are deeply invested in the white racial frame and the normativity of Whiteness even if its means denying the obvious about a clearly problematic TV show. I

      f you can, please explain the black guys rule of one on the show? How come only one can live at a time?

      You are making a classic mistake in how you are not reading the show properly/in a sophisticated way. This show is not a documentary. It is a fictionalized piece of work that involves choices by the writers, directors, etc. They chose to cast people the way they did; they chose to marginalize people of color; they chose to make sure that white characters were central and people of color "naturally" peripheral.

      The writers of the Walking Dead TV show should be asked fair and hard questions about those choices.

      •  This is the kind of diary that makes people fear (3+ / 0-)

        liberals and the left, due to its overblown and self-important "Cultural Revolution" style political analysis.  

        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

        by shmuelman on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:08:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Damn, dude. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        capsfan1978, WereBear Walker, liberte
        You are making a classic mistake in how you are not reading the show properly/in a sophisticated way.
        Really advancing your argument there, aren't you?  

        Don't agree? Well you must be doing it wrong/too dumb to figure it out.

        As others have pointed out, your example of Carl and Tyreese is off base and overreaching for a number of reasons, but you simply dismiss the entire argument as the person "not being sophisticated."

        In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

        by Cixelsyd on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 08:20:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's his schtick (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WereBear Walker, fidel

          He claims authority and expertise on the subject by hinting at his academic credentials, but never reveals them.  

          If you question his worldview, you just aren't educated enough.  

          When you make counterarguments, he doesn't address them - he just digs in on the ones he already made and throws in some canned response.  

          He seems partial to "gollum" when describing the black man as a silent protector.  Gollum is a character in LOTR, I think he means "golem" from Jewish mythology.  He also likes using "Blindside" too, as some kind of stereotypical trope.  I wonder how Michael Oher, feels about that - considering it's his life story.

          •  i like you, we have tangled before (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Prof Haley

            and you can't advance a claim. you also cannot rebut the obvious. if you think i am a day player with no expertise that is your choice. engage what i am offering here.

            blindside fits the magical negro trope with a black kid and his white saviors and his underclass mother with no redemptive people of color around him. there is a reason that movie was so popular among conservatives. Oher has not had kind things to say about the movie.

            a golem can be a mute creature reanimated to serve the wishes of a master. as for gollum that would just be funny.

            refute my claim about the highlander rule of 1 for the black actors? please explain away their marginalization or type casting? advance an argument?

            why the hate friend? bored?

            •  No hate here (0+ / 0-)

              Michael Oher hasn't really said negative things about the movie, besides not liking that he was portrayed as being dumb, rather than just not exposed to formal education (which is how I saw it and I remember his teachers saying something to that effect in the movie) and having to learn football from his adopted family's young son (nice scene but unrealistic).  

              I'm not advancing a specific claim or position, just that your interpretation may not be correct.  No agenda here.

              I'm also not trying to knock your credentials or discredit them.  In fact, I'm just trying to get you to provide some of your scholarly work so I can learn more about your position.  Maybe there's something in those that communicates your viewpoint more effectively than these blog posts.

              The marginalization?  It's simple, this is Rick's story.  I'm still waiting for the Tyreese storyline to develop, so we'll see how that goes.

              And yes. I am bored.

              •  that is something specific no? (0+ / 0-)

                "Michael Oher hasn't really said negative things about the movie, besides not liking that he was portrayed as being dumb"

                Given that the whole point of the movie is that he is a big black dumb man child saved by white people. Ask yourself, why did the writers choose to make him look so infantile and stupid? Who was the audience for the movie? Those are choices. Would white audiences--the clear demographic target of the movie--not want want to see the same story with an intelligent black person in the role?

                I hear your curiosity. I try to make my framework clear and to the point. If you want to dialogue more come over to WARN where I post more often. As I mentioned before, there is a whole literature out there on the very racist depictions of people of color in Hollywood. My concerns do not come out of the ether; in many ways they are pretty standard.

            •  So gollum is golem misspelled? (0+ / 0-)

              That helps. Seriously, calling T-Dog a gollum really threw me off.

              into the blue again, after the money's gone

              by Prof Haley on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 03:04:43 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  for example? (0+ / 0-)

          "Carl and Tyreese is off base and overreaching for a number of reasons"

          Do explain with some examples, and by addressing the bigger picture be offered.

          And yes, there are some folks who are not taking a step back, considering the framework being offered, and then considering what is being offered. they are doing what is come, where their relationship to a cultural text and if they like it or not, plus their own level of racism denying, then overdetermines their conclusion. very common.

          •  For example: (0+ / 0-)

            Tyreese was with a larger group that included several white individuals as well.  Carl locked the entire group out of the cell block, not just Tyreese.  You've offered no evidence that Carl's actions were racially motivated in this instance.  

            Instead, the more logical reason for his actions are that Carl was operating out of (justified) fear and paranoia, based upon his many interactions with outsiders prior to that point.  Add to that the fact that Carl was tasked with protecting the weakest members of his group (a teenage girl, a one legged old man, and an infant) and his actions seem entirely logical and justified with no need to bring race into the picture.  The new group could have easily overpowered his group and he was simply taking justifiable precautions.

            Carl's actions also mirror his father's earlier actions when Rick forced the inmate to live in another cell block and locked them out of his own out of fear of what they might do.  Again, this group of prisoners included several races.

            It's funny that you accuse others of overdetermining their conclusions, when you offer this incident as support for your overarching thesis, even though there is significant evidence that there was no racial motivation to this scene.

            In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

            by Cixelsyd on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:13:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  you misunderstand the nature of the claim and this (0+ / 0-)

              type of analysis. I am not interested if x character overtly said "hey i am locking up the black guy and his crew."

              In film and other texts there is meaning which is coded for and has resonance in context. if my concern is about symbolic power and authority around issues of race and gender, a white child locking up black adults has meaning.

              you prove my point again--yes, Carl is mirroring his father's actions. Do you get where we are going here?

              the language of racial motivation leaks into colorblind post-racial discourse all of the time. a person will say, "he didn't mean it to be racist" so it isn't. that is how colorblind white racism works. intent is peripheral and secondary when we are talking about systems of power.

              i don't care if someone does not mean to be racist or sexist or homophobic as they are not the final decision maker on how their deeds are received and perceived.  

              if you can learn to understand popular culture and other types of cultural texts in terms of a system of codes, symbols, relationships, etc. you will be better equipped to see the bigger picture. what patterns of relationships have we seen on the show? what is the racial and social context of the show relative to society and this moment? what are the choices being made by the creators to reinforce that "common sense" or to subvert it?

              when reading a text those micro-examples where you focus on stated intent as a means of disproving larger issues of narrative, genre, trope, etc. are insufficient.

              you also miss nuance, in my own essay I said in context locking up strangers makes sense. that does not mean that how it unfolded or the agents involved are irrelevant.

              •  Again... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                you are changing the story to fit your argument:

                a white child locking up black adults has meaning.
                A white child locked up a group of adults who were outsiders to his group, some of whom happen to be black.  Any charge beyond that is unsupported.

                Also, as an aside, I ran across this interview today with the actor playing the the locked up black guy you are so concerned about:

                Thoughts on Walking Dead's habit of killing off African-American characters.

                I have a very dear friend who I think is very much leading the online charge... I can't say anything there, but slow down, be easy, you're gonna be incredibly proud. [Exec. Producer] Glen Mazzara and all of these folks have the highest of integrity and character. We matter as much as anyone else, you're gonna see that played out on the show. I don't think there's any kind of agenda on their parts, it's just how storytelling unfolds sometimes. You guys are going to be incredibly proud of Tyreese and Michonne and Sasha. You're gonna be so satisfied.



                In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

                by Cixelsyd on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:53:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  we shall see, let's see what happens (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Prof Haley

                  a given person of color's approval for what is happening on a show does not neuter it from interrogation on this or other questions. one, this is a business so he has to say such things. two, be weary of the classic "my best black friend says it isn't racist so it ain't" defense.

                  again, yes he a white child locked up black people who happen to be strangers. you are not thinking about codes and symbols. i have explained this textual approach. you can choose to agree or not. there are lots of other folks who have written about such types of analysis and i have mentioned them here in this thread. choose to read them or not.

                  i have changed nothing about my claims; i am trying to be patient and help you understand.

                  •  You condescension is noted. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Dr Swig Mcjigger, newjeffct

                    However, you have still failed to acknowledge that the white child in this instance did not lock up "black people who happen to be strangers."  He locked up strangers of multiple races, some of whom happen to have been black.

                    In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

                    by Cixelsyd on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 01:00:37 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  and who was the leader of that group? (0+ / 0-)

                      a black man. you are so desperate to disprove the obvious, why? what is your investment here?

                      •  Can't refute the argument (0+ / 0-)

                        so you attack the motives of the arguer.

                        In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

                        by Cixelsyd on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 08:10:54 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  i have engaged your claim, i am interested in (0+ / 0-)

                          the motivations behind it. no biggie. i am legitimately curious about you can make sense of T-Dog a stock black mute man servant right out of the White Hollywood Gaze. Many many folks, across the color line, have noticed what is so obviously wrong with the character.

                          I am asking how you as a black man reconcile the type of character he is, with your fondness for him...and excuse making for the writers.

                          •  You appear to have me confused with someone else (0+ / 0-)

                            I am neither a black man, nor am I defending T-Dog.  He was a fairly useless character.

                            I was simply pointing out that your argument appeared to be overreaching and poorly supported in many of the examples you offered.

                            In the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope.

                            by Cixelsyd on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 08:42:53 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  When I saw Carl lock up the newcomers (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    my reaction was to the inversion of traditional authority based on seniority. The woman in the new group orders Carl to let them out, as if a child must obey an adult. In fact, Hershel even defers to Carl in this situation. I thought the drama here came not from the outcome expected from the frame of white privelege, but from the outcome being the opposite of pre-apocalypse cultural norms. You may assign and read the racial and sexual codes and symbols as you will, but the important thing about the scene for the characters in it is that the kid with the gun is in charge, and everyone on both sides of the bars acknowledges that. The norms being upended are more important than the tropes being reinforced.

                    There are other areas where your analysis is more appropriate - as a white viewer, I resent the producers' notion that I can't tell two black men apart, or that they can't think of anything for a black man to do except die to make way for the next one.

                    into the blue again, after the money's gone

                    by Prof Haley on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 01:42:24 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i think age is a huge part of authority (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Prof Haley

                      as you duly noted. but even that inversion is powerful--a white child who is the son of the white authority figure has control.

                      white children have historically had more power than black adults. so the historical allusion is powerful. also, black adults were considered "children" in the eyes of the law; paradoxicallyl black children are/were considered adults for purposes of incarceration. but, I digress.

                      these frameworks about age, race, gender, and authority need not be monocausal or one dimensional. as in the "real world" they overlap and interact with one another.

                      good observation though. as i said, i am not trying to divine what is the heads or minds of characters. that is a separate and potentially productive project. again, as in the real world, folks engage in all manner of behavior that is motivated by racism, sexism, and the like without being mindful of the motivations for their behavior. heck, look at the research on implicit bias.

                    •  That's a great point. (0+ / 0-)

                      I had somewhat the same reaction myself, and it was jarring -- but it also fit in with Carl's story arc, a somewhat typical "young man coming of age" -- and I say typical, in that the "young man coming of age" is a very common storyline in lots of speculative fiction, almost nauseatingly so.

                      On the other hand, throughout the episode, Hershel, as patriarch, is obviously grooming Carl for a leadership role, and actively encouraging him to grow into that role, which actually fits quite well with chauncey's thesis in many respects.  Reminds me of some of the scenes in "Master and Commander" wherein some of the officers in the Royal Navy are notable (to us in the modern context) primarily because of their youth -- yet in that film, and in the time period it is set in, it was frequently the case that even very young (white) boys assumed powerful positions, and their authority was unchallenged.  And Southern Literature is, again, nauseatingly over-filled with similar storylines.  Patriarchy, with all of it's racist and sexist connotations, seems to me to have been the overall story arc ever since the group found the farm -- witness Rick's confrontation with Lori over her pregnancy, his determination that she will not have an abortion, and her inevitable "tragic" demise.  The entire second season is about the pissing match between Shane and Rick over who will be the alpha male, and Lori's pregnancy becomes little more than a proxy fight between them, nevermind the risk to her life and health.  

                      Which leads me back to my theme for this discussion, which is that a lot of these tropes seem inevitable, given the setting.  Rick and Lori's conservative attitude regarding abortion is laughably out of keeping with the context in which they find themselves, but fits in very nicely with what one would expect a rural, conservative white couple to obsess about while the world turns to shit around them, even to the point of blinding them to a very real threat to their own survival.  But of course, that fits in with the t.v./hollywood trope that pregnant women in difficult situations talk about abortion, but always end up not having one.  The whole artifice of that storyline, that Glen and Maggie go into a small Georgia town, and find abortifacents in a hole-in-the-wall size pharmacy, is just another example of trope dictating story, instead of vice versa, with Southern Patriarchy being the primary driver of "conflict" in the story.  

                      We are the first to look up and know, with absolute certainty, that the sword we ourselves have forged, is real.

                      by Jbearlaw on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 01:16:47 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

      •  hahahaha. (0+ / 0-)

        Of course, every show, book, play, band and on and on that doesn't shed special light on people of color is somehow marginalizing them. Give it a rest man. It's getting quite old. Sorry, but I for one don't feel like I owe anyone anything because I am a white male. I've been working since I was 12, and put myself through school (culminating in an MIT PhD that I busted my ass for). Maybe if other people stopped feeling like somebody owed them something they might be able to move on. I don't hear you, for example, decrying why there aren't any latinos of note on the show. But, that's probably because you don't care about inequality, but really about your narrow version of it and how you think it pertains to you (speaking of an unsophisticated way of viewing things).

        We could get to the hard numbers of it all if you like I guess: this country is consistently 10-12% african american. So, I guess, to be fair, there should be that level of representation on the show (and elsewhere in our representative democracy, but I digress...). According to the cast list, there appears to be 3 of 19 african american characters that have been worthy of making a "cast list" before last week's episode (15.7%), not bad. As of this episode, there were 2 more highlighted, along with other members of their party who were clearly left in the "extra" category. That brings it up to 26.3%. So, I guess my question is: what are you bitching about again?

    •  Here's all the contextual logic I need... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WereBear Walker

      Carl has a gun, Tyreese has a hammer.   Authority established. Skin color irrelevant.

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:45:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But you're not looking deep enough into why the (0+ / 0-)

        white boy has a gun (albeit with a silencer, signifying a muting of the boy's authority compared to that of his father the prototypical white male authority figure with his big loud revolver) and the black man has a hammer.

        See how easy that was?

        Never mind that in a zombie apocalypse, a hammer is actually a smart choice.  Guns, most don't have silencers, are noisy and attract the undead and other unwanted attention.  Guns also require ammunition which is in short supply.  No ammo, and a gun is no better than a club - except you wouldn't even want to use it for that since you could damage it and then make it unserviceable the next time you do find ammo.

        •  funny or how the gun with the silencer (0+ / 0-)

          is now a larger phallic symbol. guns in action movies and horror etc. are almost always symbols of penises. there are lots of great articles from a psychoanalytical framework on gender which point that out.

          the movie Predator, the original, is basically a bunch of men running around in the jungle with the huge penises out fighting aliens. much of 1980s action stuff can be read that way. provocative. don't be scared.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site