Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Erin Harper: Still Watching? Basketball Wives, Dope Dealers, Psychology and Modern Day Slavery

Basketball Wives LA 2011

by Erin Harper, Your Black World 

Several people have sent me messages saying how they think Basketball Wives (BBW) LA is even more heinous than the original version of the show. Others have asked if I would write another Open Letter to Shaunie O’Neal. Although over 10,000 of you read the letter, some of whom have joined my boycott of BBW and similar shows, the Open Letter strategy leaves rooms for improvement as millions of people, including some of my friends, cannot seem to turn the channel.

We all know this issue is bigger than Basketball Wives and any other television show or film that promotes similar behavior. As I stated previously, as consumers of media, we must reduce demand for such programming and let networks and producers know that we want less of what we currently see. Continuing to watch such programming while criticizing it is like saying, “Gee those drug dealers and killers sure are bad” while helping Pookie and Ray Ray (Shaunie and friends) fund their daily activities.

For you wankstas (Cent, 2002) who have not reduced your weekly smut intake, I have something for you. I did not want to resort to trickery, but it looks like I might have to this time. The very least I can do is present you with two options:

Plan A

Some of us weirdos, I mean, psychologists, have a little technique we sometimes use called aversion. Aversion is used in behavior therapy to treat individuals attracted to harmful stimuli during which an attractive stimulus is paired with a noxious stimulus in order to elicit a negative reaction to the target stimulus. For example, as you sit on your couch to watch smut (attractive stimulus) I kick through your living room door with a deep dish fried chitterling and monkey neck casserole (noxious stimulus) and make you eat the whole thing in thirty seconds. Surely, you will immediately become noxious and head for the lavatory to puke (negative reaction) as I cross my feet on your ottoman and turn to Animal Planet. However, because I can only kick through one door at a time, there is a strong chance I will have to resort to plan B.

Plan B

All jokes aside, I want you to consider the following. As you watch your show(s) of choice, I want you to think about something you could be doing to help someone (e.g., a service project) or yourself (e.g., exercise or meditation), even if you already serve your community and pray more than a credible religious leader. For example, think about what you could do to help a girl like the one Rachel Lloyd, Executive Director of Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), writes about in her memoir, Girls Like Us.

“She likes swimming, SpongeBob, Mexican food, writing poetry, getting her nails painted (pink is her favorite color), and Harry Potter books…When she smiles, huge dimples crease her chubby face and are still capable, as she moves into awkward adolescence, of melting hearts. She’s much like any other eleven-year-old girl in America, except for one critical difference. Over the last year of her life, she’s been trafficked up and down the East Coast by a twenty-nine-year-old pimp and sold nightly on Craigslist to adult men who ignore her dimples and her baby fat and purchase her for sex.”

While you are viewing your favorite show, think about her.


about her.


about the 1 in 3 American girls and boys who run away from home or are “thrown away” each year and will be recruited by a pimp within 48 hours of leaving home.


about them, while you are focused on which TV personalities are going to fight this week or how much Wife X’s handbag costs.


about the approximately ten times more humans who are enslaved today for forced labor and sex than during the transatlantic slave trade.


about the countless other things you could be doing with your time that matter.

There is too much work to be done.

Turn off the TV,

and get to work.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better. I keep trying to explain this to my wife, but she thinks there is nothing wrong with following this "stuff". It causes great friction.

Anonymous said...

Bless you for the courage to seek out positive ways to use your "free" time. I hope your movement gains needed momentum.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. Word of advice, don't waste your time following things which will not benefit you in any way, shape or form. Follow you. Please keep enlightening people, Erin.

Anonymous said...

I mean is it that deep it does come on in the center of the eve when most WOMEN who watch are just doing things with their families prepping for bed in the house. lets not make such a big deal about every damn thing black people! REMEMBER TROY DAVIS we do and we love BBW it helps me keep track on why my team sucks right now just my thoughts tho to each is own i guess