The treatment of the Black characters in the series The Walking Dead has raised a lot of controversies, especially in the Black community. It was impressive at first to see the series embracing the non-white actors especially the people of color, as there is no zombie film, which has portrayed them to survive the apocalypse in a heroic nature. The ideology has also been discussed in the social media platforms where the topic was that the black community never survives a zombie apocalypse to indicate the white community is the superior race that can survive anything. However, as the series continues things change and it becomes a white domination project where the whites dominate the entire film even amongst the zombies.
According to many black fans of The Walking Dead, they decided not to follow it when they realized that they were being portrayed badly, and the characterization was not fair to them as a community. However, many might argue that the series was never planned to target a black audience since it did not represent them well as they are in the society. Many of the faithful black viewers of the film started watching it from the beginning as the appeal to watch it was the unforgiving tone of the grim of the world where the dead decided to walk in the world as the .living prayed to be dead since they were clinging to their life. The concept was an indication that the world would never resemble the one that we know while at the same time, it maintained some level of civilization associated with their humanity.
The idea was great until the audience noticed that there were a few things, which were a miss in the entire series in as much as it has a speculative nature of portraying a factious ideology. For instance, the setting of the show was in the Deep South, which is a representation of Atlanta that they decided to have an all white cast. It is true to indicate that the American South is a region that is populated by the black community where 60% of the Atlanta population is Black, but only two of the cast members were from the black community. Besides, the number of the black characters does not increase in the entire series as they have to kill one in an episode so as to replace him in another episode later.
For instance, the emulation of the comic is different with the film as it portrays a different black man in the society. It starts with T-dog whose name suggests that he was supposed to be in a gang or even one of the black athletes. The film shows him as a flavored man who is composed and smooth in his approach to things. After he dies, which was not a surprise, as he was a weak black gentleman, we are introduced to Tyrese whom we expected to be a fierce black man who did not take nonsense in the society. To many blacks, T-dog did not portray the aggressiveness of a black man in the society as he behaved like somebody who was weak and it was surprising that he even survived the apocalypse.
The character Tyrese did not represent the majority of the black men in the society as he was emotional, moral centered and not the person to survive the apocalypse as far as the black society is concerned. However, he has physical strength and uses a hammer to kill zombies still he does not portray an aggressive black man in the society. The viewers are made to know his position in the food chain to be at the end as he is beaten by Rick, who is smaller in size compared to Tyrese.
On the other hand, the filming crew and the editing team as the actions on scenes that shows a black man as a heroic person are just brushed or rolled faster. For example, there are two instances where Tyrese could have been seen as a hero for his deeds but were not shown properly. In one scene he is overrun by the zombies, and he did not succumb and found himself breaking away by fighting his way out using a hammer.
The other scene he finds himself locked out of the hut by the rednecks where he protects a child who was inside by killing all the zombies that were outside. From the black societys point of view, it is the same ideology that has always been used to depict the black heroes in the society. For instance, there are many black people who do heroic things in the society such as getting to stop drugs and stay away from criminal gangs and yet they are never recognized on the limelight. There stories would be brushed off by the media, and one would not notice the good deeds they have done. However, the story would be different if a successful black man makes a mistake in the society, as the media would give them more airtime to make the society know that they have messed up.
Additionally, the film continues to portray the black man as a weak man in the society who needs the protection of another person to survive. This was the case when Tyrese played a second fiddle to Carol during the time he was handling the problem child. There is a notion in the society that the black man cannot survive on his own and has to be led to do the correct thing, which has always been weak and offensive. For instance, when a black man marries a white woman, it would always be said that it is because the woman is rich and the man would have a mutual benefit.
On the other hand, the film has other black men playing as extras though they are not even given a line to speak as they are as quickly as they appear. This was unfair compared to the part played by governor Chow or Zombie Chow. Therefore, when the movie decides to add another black man in the film, it introduces Bob Stookey who is a bland wanderer. In the film, Bob is weak-willed alcoholic whose retaliation to the apocalypse was to be in a flooded store and some liquor.
The concept is another negative depiction of a black man who is desperate in life and would have to find something as a form of refuge and in this case, it was alcohol. There are numerous films that always depict the black man as desperate and confused in life just waiting to die. Bobs death was foreseen since he was weak to survive. Though I believe that Bob would have been given time to grow as a character since he was a survivor who did not have a group to protect him.
Bobs replacement was Noah, who was passionate, idealistic and motivated since he was young. One would have thought that he was going to be the true representation of the black man in the society since he was vibrant and expected to turn the tides. However, he was quickly injured in the early part of his scene, and he spent a better part of his life in the series limping. He still did not show a true picture of a black man in the society.
In conclusion, it is easy to say that the television series The Walking Dead failed to give a true depiction of the black woman and man in the society. At the same time, the people are given the part to portray a black man fails to deliver their representation to the society as they are weak and vulnerable. Moreover, the representation of the black society has failed since the setting of the film is in Atlanta and the black society makes a bigger number of the population. The film is also biased as it would have at least added the people of color in their list of zombies. Finally, one can say that the black man is weak in the society to survive the apocalypse or even be among the zombies as they are all dead living the largest number of the survivors to be from the white society.
Darabont, Frank, Scott M. Gimple, Tom Luse, Denise Huth, Robert Kirkman, ArdethBey, Glen Mazzara, Evan Reilly, David L. Johnson, Angela Kang, Ernest R. Dickerson, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Phil Abraham, Billy Gierhart, Guy Ferland, David Boyd, Michelle MacLaren, Clark Johnson, Greg Nicotero, Laurie Holden, Andrew Lincoln, Jeffrey DeMunn, Sarah W. Callies, Jon Bernthal, Steven Yeun, Chandler Riggs, Norman Reedus, Scott Wilson, Robert Kirkman, Charles Adlard, and Tony Moore.The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season. Beverly Hills, CA: Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2012.
Eberhart, Richard. "I Walked Out to the Graveyard to See the Dead." (2011). Print.
Higson, Charles. The Dead. London: Puffin, 2010. Print.
Kirkman, Robert, and Jay R. Bonansinga.The Walking Dead: The Fall of the Governor: Part One. , 2013. Print.
McMurtry, Larry. Dead Man's Walk: A Novel., 2015. Print.
The Walking Dead. BioMed Central Ltd, 2011. Internet resource.
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