The question I keep on thinking about is, why are black men on the American soaps treated differently than white males? This topic is an issue that has been bothering me for a while. Now I know daytime soaps are considered frivolous entertainment. Yes, soaps are a form of fantasy, a way to esacpe from our boring mundane lives. Yes, I do watch the Young and the Restless every chance I get on Global TV. I also watch Passions as well.
The picture on the left is of Kristoff St. John he plays Neil Winters on Y&R. The second picture is of Bryton McClure, his character is Devon Hamilton on Y&R. The third picture, is of Charles Divins he plays Chad Harris on the NBC soap Passions.
The topic I want to discuss today, is an issue that has been pissing me off for a while. Why don’t t Devon Neil, & Chad Harris have love lives? Yes I know Dru died and Neil is a widow but even before Dru Winters died I still have problems with the way the writers on Y&R write about the lives of black people.
Bryton McClure’s character, Devon Hamilton was adopted by Neil and Dru Winters and now Dru is dead and Neil is alone. On the show Bryton’s character Devon has been single FOREVER. The writers will once in a while show Devon talking to a girl he likes to hint that Devon has a pulse and that he’s heterosexual. However, its clear to me that the fear of exploring Devon’s heterosexuality is like hiting a brick wall due to the fear of the young black man.
White women have been craving and chasing black men for centuries, so I don’t see the big deal if Devon had a white girlfriend on the show. Y&R won’t even allow Devon to have a black girlfriend! Is it so disgusting and sickening to the executives at Y&R for a black man to kiss a woman on television? Maybe its the white female fans that want Devon to be asexual? I don’t know? The fact is soaps cater to the interests of the white female demographic and not to black women and other women of colour?
In fact, I think it would make perfect sense if Devon had a girlfriend regardless of her race. Soaps are about heterosexual romantic relationships about falling in and out of love. So why doesn’t Devon have a girlfriend? Its obvious that Devon’s race is what is holding him back from having some romance. Why is there silence in the mainstream media about this obvious offensive racism?
I believe the powerful white studio executives want to maintain the status quo of white male domination. White men simply do not want to see black men romancing “their women” or even “black women” on TV. The issue is much larger then TV soaps it strikes the heart and soul of a legacy of the dehumanization of black men by white males that has gone on for centuries.
The Y&R writers have been so desperate for storylines they made Devon go deaf for a while, and then they wrote about Devon’s drug addict mother coming back into his life and all that. It appears to me the writers on Y&R have run out of ideas with Devon. They have been avoiding Devon having a love life FOREVER. Yes I know Bryton McClure won an Emmy this year for his acting on the show. And I am glad he won. However, it still doesn’t take away from the fact his character Devon is so UNDER DEVELOPED. I think it is disgusting and racist what the writers at Y&R have done to Bryton’s character.
Devon is just there he is just a stereotype and a quota. Devon is depicted as the classic stereotypical “angry” young black man. Devon is always angry, miserable, and depressed. ”Anger” is an important because sometimes we need to express ourselves to highlight issues that upset us. Sometimes “anger” is not a negative thing. In fact, I believe its important to be fired up about something and do something proactive and constructive. However, all we see is one side of Devon he’s always angry. We never see Devon happy.
I have never seen Devon with a smile on his face, or see Devon eyes melts when he sees the girl he loves and I would love to see Devon have a love life and have a fully balanced life. We all need love, passion, sex, its a part of life. Yet because Devon is a young black man American culture wants to rob and steal happiness from young black men. Some people say soaps are not important but the racist messages soaps are sending to society are abhorrent. Devon is just depicted as this noble savage, a young black man with no self control with no heart. And that’s wrong. Devon may be a TV character but I cannot help but think Bryton McClure must be cognizant to what’s going on with his character. I have never seen Devon kiss a girl. There is absolutely no reason in this world why Devon cannot have a love life.
Victoria Rowell quit Y&R, because she felt her character Dru Winters wasn’t treated fairly compared to her white female counterparts on the program. Y&R has NEVER submitted Victoria’s work for consideration for a best actress Emmy nomination, despite the fact she’s one of the main reasons Y&R became so popular with black audiences.
Victoria and Kristoff are the main reason Y&R became so successful for the past seventeen years. You cannot fake the chemistry Victoria and Kristoff had with one another. And now Dru Winters is gone and the show will never be the same.
Yet Devon is just there in the background emasculated and unloved and I wonder why? Why does Y&R have Devon on the show if he cannot have a love life? All the other white guys around Devon’s age on the show JT, Kevin, and Daniel have love interests. Why can’t Devon? Are the writers and producers of Y&R trying to tell me that Devon cannot have a love life due to the fact he’s black?
Is Devon not attractive or sexy enough? Now that is whack! Its painfully obvious though Devon has no love life due to racism. Devon is always treated as an outsider and he also never gets any juicy storylines.
In fact, the character Daniel is in an interracial relationship with Lily she is Devon’s adoptive sister. Daniel also has feelings for a white girl named Amber. So the white guy Daniel can get the black girls AND the white girls but Devon cannot have anyone? Devon has to be asexual. Everyone knows that the white American male is the dominant male on American TV.
And in American history white males have attempted to circumvent black male sexuality through public lynchings, miscegenation laws, violence, death threats you name it white American men have done it. Its all in the history books and its taking place as I write this post.
The pernicious racist message the writers of Y&R are sending is that black men cannot have love lives on Y&R UNLESS they are paired with black women. And its not because the writers on Y&R believe in black on black love either. The Y&R and other American soaps care about is not upsetting their white audiences. Black on black romance is actually CONSIDERED SAFE.
Now for the record I do not mind Black on Black romance. I welcome black on black romance. I think its a good thing. However, its the year 2007 and I also believe on the soaps there is an imbalance. Interracial relationships between black men and white women are a REALITY in the real world and I think TV and popular culture should reflect that. Yet the love between black men and white women seems to be the last taboo to crack open.
Black women have been having romances with white men on the soaps in large numbers since the 1980s. However, given the fact there are NO black women on Y&R right now wouldn’t it make sense for Neil and Devon to be paired with women they work with and know? The logical and smart thing to do would be to pair Neil and Devon with the white women on the show. However, the truth is this is never going to happen.
It is indeed a disgusting racist message the Y&R writers and producers are sending. The black female character Lily Winters has been in an interracial romance with Daniel for years. No one was complained at all. Yet Devon cannot have a girlfriend? Devon is just supposed to be the asexual black man while all the white guys on the show getting the girls? Are the writers trying to say black men are LESS sexually attractive or not good enough to get white women or women of other races? Its disgusting and deleterious what the Y&R writers are doing and no one is speaking out about it UNTIL NOW.
For a long time the writers have been making suggestions that Devon still has sexual feelings for his adoptive sister Lily. Yes I know this is so gross. It also highlights the issue of racism on Daytime TV. The writers at NBC Passions and CBS Y&R are trying to “PLAY IT SAFE.” On Passions, Whitney has had white male love interests and no one said anything. And now they are going to do a total 360 and make Chad bisexual. Why don’t the writers of Passions make some of the white male actors bisexual?
Could you imagine the white women in America flipping out if Fox or Ethan were suddenly turned gay? Now you would think because I am a gay black male I would love for Chad to be gay. Chad is cute but I also believe in shows being REALISTIC. Chad cannot suddenly turn gay. The only reason the writers did this is because they had NO OTHER OPTIONS FOR CHAD. Chad already has been with Whitney so the only option was to turn him gay?
Its a powerful statement when a TV network is so dead set AGAINST the black male character having a RELATIONSHIP WITH A WHITE WOMAN. So they change Chad’s sexual orientaiton to gay? Even though I am gay and yes I think Chad is hot. I think its a total disgrace what NBC is doing. Its incredibly insensitive and racist and it makes absolutely no sense. In fact, the Chad and Vincent down low storyline is a perfect example of the racism and the fear and loathing of black male sexuality.
Its the same pathetic and disgusting storyline that the writers of Y&R would pair Devon and Lily together just due to their race. Its also abhorrent because their characters are adoptive brother and sister. The exact same storyline is taking place on the NBC show Passions. Whitney and Chad were lovers and then the writers said they were brother and sister but now they are saying they are not. Chad has NEVER had a female love interest OTHER then Whitney. And to top it off Chad is now supposed to be on the down low? Give me a break. The racist, sexist, and pernicious storylines for the black male characters on soaps is really so horrible.
The black men are depicted as sexual savages that lust after their sisters? Give me a break. The ONLY reason Devon and Lily would hook up is because the writers of Y&R are TOO RACIST to put Devon with any other female on the show. And the fact is all the other females on Y&R are WHITE and NOT BLACK. Its the year 2007 but this racism is still going on TV.
It is easy to discern that Neil and Devon cannot have white female love interests because there is still the untalked about truth about the fear of black male sexuality on the Daytime soaps. Even though black men have been dating and marrying white women in higher numbers. The daytime TV does not reflect the reality of society.
I have noticed on Y&R that Devon when he first came on the show he had the stereotypical storyline of the young black male that had a harsh life and lived on the streets. Now Devon’s character has evolved and he’s in college. Devon is gorgeous! So why can’t Devon have a girlfriend? Is Devon too black for that? It appears to me the writers and producers of Y&R are trying to make the show appeal to the middle to upper class white American women. And even though its well known that some white women chase, lust, and crave black men they seem to have a problem accepting black men as love interests for white women on the soaps. There is a paucity of black male characters on the soaps in interracial relationships.
In the past, Y&R used to hire a black actress to play Neil Winters new love interest whenever he had problems with Dru. Neil Winters is Devon’s adoptive father. Now last year Y&R hired a Latina actress to play Neil’s mistress, and I didn’t mind that. However, I would of liked the writers to move beyond the whole minority actress thing and let Neil have an affair with a white woman.
Why can’t Neil have a relationship with Sharon? Sharon and Neil share a sexual chemistry. I doubt the writers at Y&R would EVER go there. I think it would of been more controversial and explosive. Its obvious the writers chose the Latina actress to be Neil’s love interest because it was “safer” for Carmen to be Latina instead of a “white American woman.”
Even though, there are indeed Latinos that are white since Latin is not a race its simply a culture. However, now that Neil Winters wife Dru has died. I wonder what the writers of Y&R will do? Will Neil be with a new woman of colour or not? Will Neil ever have romance with a white female lead on Y&R such as Sharon? Will Devon have a love life and NOT some sick incest romance with his adoptive sister Lily? Its the year 2007, and the writers at Y&R and Passions have demonstrated once again the same racist and sexist stereotypes of black male sexuality still exist. I will not hold my breath for change to occur.