Trash TV: Black Viewers' Double Standards?

Would we tolerate Real Housewives of Atlanta from BET? Roland Martin says no.

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Cast of The Real Housewives of Atlanta (Rick Diamond/Getty Images Entertainment)

During a predictably high-drama and decidedly non-uplifting episode of Bravo's Real Housewives of Atlanta, many viewers who changed the channel from BET's Black Girls Rock special launched into a fifth season of hate-watching, taking to social networking to gleefully criticize the antics of the RHOA cast.

From Clutch magazine:

The first episode of the season delivered a heavy dose of drama with a series of confrontations between enemies (Kenya Moore and Cynthia Bailey’s claws were out at a casting call for Jet Magazine‘s Beauty of the Week) and frenemies (Kim Zolciak criticized Kandi Burress’ new house, ironically while the former faces eviction). Many viewers laughed, discussed and fervently watched. There was criticism of the characters for their behavior, specifically Kenya Moore, but few addressed the network airing the show.

CNN's Roland Martin was watching, too, but his criticism was for black viewers rather than the behavior of the series' stars. In a series of tweets, he attacked those who would chastise black networks like BET or TV One for programs that perpetuate negative images but who then give Bravo a pass for its equally problematic Real Housewives content.

To be fair, there was a massive petition encouraging a boycott of VH1's Basketball Wives spinoff, Eva and Ocho, earlier this year, suggesting that nonblack networks aren't at all immune to scrutiny. (The creator of the petition wrote, "Evelyn Lozada is a bully. The violence on 'Basketball Wives' is horrible and disgraceful. Physical assaults, threats, verbal abuse, and harassment. VH1 is rewarding this behavior by giving Evelyn a spinoff. Don't reward negative behavior.")

That aside, is Martin on to something? And if he is, is there anything wrong with holding networks that purport to represent and entertain the African-American community to a higher standard than their mainstream counterparts?

Read more at Clutch magazine.

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