Sorry I’ve been quiet lately, friends. Please check out this piece I wrote for The Feminist Wire.
Here’s a quote from the piece:
“In most episodes Pope is little more than a political mammy mixed with a hint of Sapphire who faithfully bears the burden of the oh-so-fragile American Political System on her shoulders. The mammy characterization has always had the goal of redeeming the relationship between black women and the white people whom they serve, particularly in the slave economy. Post-slavery, the mammy image has been repackaged time and time again in order to imbed itself within an every shifting culture. Pope is one of the latest manifestations of this characterization. Similar to how the mammy of slavery was normally portrayed as neat, clean, and well-dressed; she understands the inner-workings of the massah’s house; Olivia Pope is neat, clean, and well-dressed; she understands the inner-workings of massah’s house – The White House, and tirelessly works behind the scenes to ensure the house continues to function as expected. Furthermore, just as the mammy stereotype would have us believe, Pope is happy with her life of service to the good white folks running the country.”
And one more:
“Olivia Pope is actually a supporting actress in Scandal. The American Political System takes center stage and sets the tone of every episode. It is quite easy to miss if one isn’t looking for it. Because the show wants us to believe that Kerry Washington’s character is the protagonist – the great black female hope – the trut protagonist cannot be embodied as a white man as it normally would. So instead the American Political System – with its foundation of imperialism and white patriarchal reasoning – is very subtly casted as the invisible protagonist.”
To read more click here: Olivia Pope and the Scandal of Representation.