Monday, January 11, 2010

The Jersey Shore and Stereotypes

I watched a horrible TV show yesterday called The Jersey Shore. It's a reality show on MTV, and it bases 8 roommates of Italian-American descent into a beach house on the New Jersey Shore in the United States for the summer season.

The problem is, these kids are in their early 20's, and they are filled with Drama, Steroids, Silicone, Hair extentions, collagen lips, alligator skin, and enough hairspray that would light up an entire room if it were exposed to a lit match. Throw in the demeaning language, and their foolish behaviour, and you have a recipe for stereotype disaster.

These kids are proud of their Italian-American descent, but they do nothing to promote the beauty of their culture. Instead, they perpetuate the image of that bad Italian stereotype and then broadcast it on TV. These kids aren't bad examples of Italian-Americans, they are just bad examples of people. Period. -The fact that they ARE Italian, only fuels the outside perception of what others categorize Italians as in one big group.

But these kids don't care about the perception that they are weaving on their culture, their parents' family names, or their ancestor’s country because they are getting their 15 minutes of fame.

I had a hard time even decided to make this show an example today on my blog, because I didn't want to give it any more attention. But then I thought, this needs to be said. If people from a certain race are tired of the perceived stereotypes, it starts within their own people. However, not being of Italian descent, I don't pick this battle. I pick the battle for every race that is trying desperately to escape itself from being held down by generalizations.

Besides this example, I have a hard time with African-Americans and their attraction to Rap, Hip-Hop and R&B music, and the glorification of the word "Nigger" This word was obviously a racial slur to demean a race, but has now been "banned" by anyone who isn't black to use. In fact, African-American rap artists use this word to make millions of dollars despite of it's known roots. This stereotype certainly holds back a culture embattled for hundreds of years to escape its slavery roots. The Bling, treatment of women, crime, gratification of violence and guns, and ghetto way of talking certainly hold back the advancement of their culture. I've said this before, and I truly believe it. But it's not just me...African-America icons such as
Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby and many more have tried to some out against the stereotype other AA's are projecting against their race. But to no avail....

You can pick any culture or identity, and I bet that you could pick out a stereotype that many of that group personify. A few examples:

Gay men: all have lisps and act feminine, while gay women are butchy, and have short hair

Scottish: Are considered cheap people, and shag sheep.

Irish: Stubborn, potato-eating, grudge-holders with bad drinking problems.

Italians: Pasta-eating, hand talkers, hairy, gold chain wearers, who scream at each other and then 5 minutes later forget what they were arguing about.

I've given a few here to make light of the situation, but when it gets down to destructive stereotypes of what is considered of Native Indians, Jews, African-Americans, Latin Americans, I bet you could think of every stereotype that fits each race. And it doesn't even have to be a race. It could be applied to Politicians, The Police, Government workers, and the list goes on.

Some say that if the shoe fits, that's the way it should be. If the stereotype exists, the behaviour exists to bring that stereotype to the forefront. And so it continues on, and on...

So how do you stop a stereotype? It almost seems endless. Without the power of change, education and the ability to want to change, people will always resort back to what's easiest for their brains to categorize. And every human regardless of race, does this to every other human around them.

I found the Hollywood movie "Crash" as a great example of this. Each character in that movie thought that they did not discriminate against other races, and they all felt victimized by their fears of other races. They never looked at themselves, and would not listen to reason that they were racist in their own way. They simply lived their life with the crutch that they had given themselves to walk through life with.

And maybe that's the way most people want to live...

But not me.

That's why it drives me crazy when I see young black men looking like gangsters, white people who act like "Trailer park trash", and others trying to FIT IN to a negative stereotype. And this TV series "Jersey Shore" is certainly one that falls into that category.

People have died for the advancement of that race; only to have future members of its own destroy and demean its culture and beauty. And that is a crime.

It may not be enforceable as such, but it should be...


  1. After watching one episode of this show, I come to the conclusion that Jersey Shore is a show for the "mindless souls" (and the girls on the show are nothing more than "socialites" that have no goals in life--other than to mooch off people). I don't want to hear complaints from the youth on Jersey Shore b/c they are "Being portrayed" as a stereotypical Italian-American. After all, I am sure those folks read the script of the show before signing the contract.


  2. I hate when people say that they don't want to give things more attention, as if YOU giving the show more attention is really gonna do anything



  3. Hey Gino, have you heard of this thing called the Internet? Of course it creates more publicity for it!! It's not like I'm talking to myself in a room of guidos at a hockey game...
    This gets broadcasted everywhere...

  4. Careful now! You don't Captain Cliché there to out you all Springer-like in the comments section of an otherwise good article... Particularly if it starts to draw a like-minded element (if I may use the term "mind" in teh broadest sense).

  5. I agree with most of the article and that show is a wasteland anyway.

    Keep up the opinion and commentary I like it!


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