'Scandal' Exploits Black Women's Images?

This TV season's stereotypes are "masquerading as something new," says media insider Tom Burrell.

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TR: Is it possible that scripted TV is just the wrong place to look for images of and messages that help rather than harm black people? What if we look at other formats?

TB: Melissa Harris-Perry's show is wonderful. Absolutely the best. MSNBC is doing an excellent job with the way they are casting their shows and their panelists. And she injects a lot of humanity into the education. She's entertaining while she is putting out really solid, deep education and information. I think it comes from her being an educator and being a good one. If we could have a few more of those, and if we could get them past cable, then those kinds of things would really help to balance out the stuff that's not doing us any good.

When you do communications programming that distracts and anesthetizes people, you're taking them out of the game. You don't have to do any direct harm to them. So anybody who sits around and watches this mindless stuff, as many of us do -- the data shows that we [African Americans] watch way more television than anyone else -- it's just taking us out. It doesn't do anything for constructive critical thinking. So, we need more Melissas.

Jenée Desmond-Harris is The Root's staff writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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