It irks me that people (usually black men) keep saying that black women shouldn't love Olivia Pope because she is flawed. "Flawed" in this case usually equals "having an affair with a white guy". They don't realize it, but the concentrated hate that they hold for her is steeped in a very specific kind of racialized misogyny. Walter White was no hero, but somehow we managed to love him. Dexter was a serial killer and yet, we lauded him too. What do they have in common? You guessed it. Men. White men. Who also happened to be anti-hero characters whose virtues were valued alongside their flaws. But I'm going to set that aside for now.
I'm a black woman and I LOVE Scandal. I am not blind to Olivia's flaws. I love her because she has flaws.
Black women are so severely underrepresented in media that Kerry Washington's role has garnered a considerable amount of attention simply because she is a black woman in a lead role of a network television show. And because she remains the only black female lead on primetime (Megan Good's Deception unfortunately didn't get picked up for a second season) she is expected to be everything for everybody. But Aunty Shonda rebukes your bullshit notions of black respectability, and instead, has created Olivia Pope as a fully fleshed out person. She is neither completely good nor completely evil; neither stark black nor brilliant white. Olivia Pope is a beautiful mix of all the eternal shades of grey. She is composed of both light and dark. She is often morally ambiguous. Like a real person.
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