Chocolate or Milk Chocolate?
Race has long time been a crucial issue for the American society. The representation of people of color is especially tricky in the media, where the mainstream discourses are produced and reproduced largely by and for the white community. The recent debut of the comedy, “Chocolate News,” unrolls with the idea of creating a black sitcom “by and for” the African-American community. The French theorist, Michel Foucault, has noted the relationship between power and the production of knowledge. In Foucault’s sense, those who have the ability and legitimacy to create and re-create prevailing knowledge, are those who are in the position of power. The reproduction of knowledge establishes discourses for the society, which informs our activities and how we perceive the environment we are placed in. Often times, the rights of social minorities to represent themselves are controlled and taken over by the dominant groups, resulting in distorted and denigrating images. The “Chocolate News” is a manifestation of a social group creating their own images by themselves and through their own point of view, within the realm of mainstream media. As David Alan Grier, the script writer and host of “Chocolate News,” noted the distinction between “audiences laughing with you because they get the joke,” and “audiences laughing at you in a dehumanizing way,” shows the crucial differences of who are in charge of media representation. However, could a show hosted and written by a black person be genuinely “black,” despite all of the other social factors in play which creates intra-racial segregation? For example, could we ignore the influence of class and gender in such context?