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The Wire: The Invisibility of Black Women
By
Candis Tate
eason One of The Wire critiques capitalism by
focusing on the War on Drugs in urban
Baltimore. Because the show critiques
capitalism, the show mostly focuses on the Black men
who are selling drugs and running the drug trade. The
Black women are not selling drugs within the Barksdale
organization, however, and their storylines are minimal
throughout Season One. When Black women in “The
Game” are present, they are shown in the context of
capitalism. Due to this emphasis, we never learn about
D’Angelo Barksdale’s upbringing, for example, but that
story could be very important to his character
development if there were a broader examination
including race and gender. This becomes problematic
because we only see Brianna Barksdale, D’Angelo’s
mother, through a capitalistic lens, which is why she
seems as though she only cares about money rather
than exhibiting concern about her son’s well-being.
Solely looking at Black women in terms of their roles in
the capitalistic structure allows the White gaze to fill in
what is missing, thus replicating negative stereotypes
of Black women. Yancy defines the White gaze as
“The performance of distortional ‘seeing’ that evolves
out of and is inextricably linked to various raced, and
racist myths, white discursive practices, and centripetal
processes of white systemic power and white
S
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