I am not a regular watcher of RHOA, those Hip Hop minstrel shows (Flava of Love, Love and Hip Hop, T.I.& Tiny, et al), or any reality TV actually. I have seen some of the episodes and have read other people’s commentary but that’s about it. I didn’t watch weekly episodes of Scandal or even the Wire; I watched entire seasons all at once on Netflix after the hype. I was usually disappointed. I have, however, watched every episode of “The Unwritten Rules.” “the Unwritten Rules” is a web-series based on the book, 40 Hours and an Unwritten Rule: The Diary of a N**ger, Negro, Colored, Black, African-American Woman, by Kim Williams, the executive producer and writer of the show. Each episode revolves around a young, black woman, Racey (Aasha Davis), and her life as the “Black Co-Worker” in a white workplace. Last week’s episode, part of the new Season 2, may have been my favorite.
In just one, rather short episode, there is a parody of the WWCW (white woman crying at work), the transracial adoption of (Madonna’s) African children, the attack on the head black official as a socialist, issues around black hair & discipline with white parenting, the difference in expectations of black female labor vs. white female labor, and the definition of white privilegitis… now this is TELEVISION, honey! After Issa Rae’s success, an opening was created (inkSpotEntertainment and BlackandSexyTV are my favorites) for these shows and the hits seem to keep coming.
This is, by far, my favorite workplace comedy because the comedy actually depicts experiences that I can relate to and call my own. For some of us, racial micro-agressions, institutional racism, and anti-black hostility are as everyday as taking a lunch break. Isn’t it ironic then that for most of the television viewing of my life, these everyday realities have been relegated, at most, to a special episode? For me, “the Unwritten Rules” also highlights how politically and ideologically bankrupt our requests for “representation” often are. We constantly ask to see larger numbers of ourselves on film and television but that is meaningless unless our request also demands a sharp airing of the social and political issues that we face. This web series is a step in the right direction.