Reality shows have taken over a large percentage of what is shown on network television. Whether we admit it or not, it is exciting knowing what is going on in the lives of others. Now, we don’t even have to leave our living rooms to be intrusive. Reality TV like everything can be too much of a good thing. Bad representations and stereotypes of certain groups begin to arise and mess with an individual’s perception. The popular reality T.V. show “College Hill” is a perfect example of everything that is wrong about the way black people are described and portrayed in the media.
In my opinion, they shouldn’t have ever aired that show. If they were going to market it as the “black real world” they should have filled the airspace up with actual news or a funny sitcom. I personally miss shows such as “A Different World” and “Martin”. They were funny, smart, and you didn’t come away from the show thinking black people were loud-mouth, uncivilized criminals.
I will admit that I was excited to watch the show when I first heard about it. I had never heard of a show that was centered on black college students. In previous reality TV shows black people have not been shown in a good light. On some shows there is always the token black person in a sea of non-black people. On other reality programs like “COPS”, the black people always end up in jail. I really thought “College Hill” was going to be different. I guess I was wrong.
You can sum “College Hill” up in two words: sex and fighting. When they are not sleeping around, they are having sex. When they are not having sex, they are fighting. I am sad to say that every season there has not been much change. Yes the drama can be entertaining for a while, but as a black person in America it puts such a negative connotation on what it means to be black. Once they are on the show they rarely mention school. The show is supposed to be about black college students AND school. Some of the “students” even go to community colleges. It seems as if they are moving further and further away from the academic requirement of the show. After a while the only requirement to be a cast member will be you have to be black. So much for the college thing, right?
As with most reality shows they have the different personalities like the macho man, the girly girl, the annoying person, and so on and so on. They only have one studious person on there and everyone always says they are boring. It sounds ridiculous to say that someone is boring because they do not pick fights and have drunken one night stands. If that makes me boring then I will be boring for the rest of my life.
The thing that worries me the most is the stereotypes that are being shown to those who do not have regular contact with black people. If they don’t spend too much time with a black person they will form their opinions on what they see on TV and there will definitely be some fear and misunderstandings. A friend of mine went to France recently and she said that the French (if they didn’t know any Americans personally) thought all Americans were country bumpkins with hill- billy accents. We as Americans would be appalled and maybe even offended by this way of thinking. The same thing can happen with those who watch “College Hill”, but do not have any black friends. This show only reinforces those ideas about black people being rowdy thugs with nothing else to do.
It saddens me that B.E. T would endorse this type of television program. B.E.T is arguably the largest television channel dedicated to black music, news, and other sources of entertainment. I think it should be their responsibility to uplift us as a community and be a beacon of hope and creativity to America’s black youth.
“College Hill” has not yet made it to NCSU and in the back of my mind I hope it does not. I’d rather not have drama from my university displayed across the televisions of America. If it does come here I would hope that the cast members would remember that they are students and need a good reputation if they want to succeed academically. If they want to be a reality TV star that’s a different story. Make good choices and do not take your life lessons from programs such as “College Hill.”