I concurr with what you have written.
Bridgerton: ideals of beauty and civility Bridgerton: my impulsive response, are expressed below. I have watched Bridgerton, and it has left a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, it is a beautifully shot piece, yes it is entertaining. Issues I have with the portrayal of blacks and people of colour in Bridgerton, it is riddled with racial and colourism stereotypes.
The father of the duke: portraited as the angry cold distance, Blackman, notice that he has the darkest skin colour, he is mean and emotionally cruel. He is also the character with the most prominent Afro features. Some have put forward that the colour of his skin does not matter because the series sets out to challenge the invisibility of blacks in period pieces. I see what I see a Blackman. If that was the intention why not portray the character as a person of colour or a white man.
His wife is mixed race a woman of colour, the poor damsel that sacrifices her life for her child: the nearer you are to the white skin shade the more human (civil) you are.
The duke himself is 'black' only in the shade of his skin colour, apart from this, he is a white aristocrat. I am aware that in America that he would be defined as black, because the historical precedence stemming from the ‘one drop of black blood’. His features are more aligned to those of a white European. The message: you can only become civilised if you adopt the aristocracy's mannerism: this, in my opinion, reinforces the ideology of racism and cultural hegemony. One can hypothesise that the target audience of Bridgerton, (in the U.K.) are the readers of the Daily Express and The Mail (the bastions of conservatism). One can say that this is not such a bad thing if they embrace the other nuances; one can argue that the program may highlight.
The other prominent Blackman is another stereotypical trope: a sportsman. One can argue one of the most questionable cultural caricatures, a boxer, (read thug with a heart), who resort to cheating to fend for his family. Yes, I know a white aristocrat persuaded him to cheat. Another question is, why is hardly anyone gushing about this character's physical appearance?
The woman of colour as a scheming seductress tries to trick the innocent young virgin male into marrying her. These beliefs stem from the days of colonialism of seeing women of colour as seductresses, and temptresses. In contrast to her, you have the young innocent morally correct white girl, who we find out at the end is not so innocent.
I guess to its credit; it overturns, the old stereotype of the Blackman forcing himself on the white virgin, instead, it is the woman who forces the man to ejaculate in her. Is she morally justified in doing so? After all morality one can argue is based on the concept of punishment.
Here comes the sting in the tale, and one that betrays the whole conceit of this story, the 'man of colour' is made to find his humanity through the love of a white woman. He stops him from becoming his father: the monster. She purges his souls of the demon of the Blackman, and in doing so, he completes the alchemy.
Bridgeton reinforces the demonisation of the Blackman, with non-European physical and behavioural features. I am aware that people of colour's portrayal makes the story more convincing; since the queen was mixed race.
Overall a commendable effort and a small step in the right direction in the portrayal of ethnic minorities. However, for now, I cannot fully embrace the messages it conveys.
In addition to the critic above:
One needs to enquire does Bridgeton represent equality of opportunities that many argue that it challenges? I would argue that it is a ruse. We (black and brown people) so long for visibility that we collude in bolstering the walls of the fiction factory. In these times, many aspire to fantasy. Some interpret this as sending out a positive message. The problem is that some cannot differentiate between fiction and reality; this in itself is a misnomer because reality is fiction; the issue is that some do not see it as such.
We need new voices, new writers, and visionaries. We cannot continually retread the same tired myths; this reinforces their notions of racial superiority. If you wish for period pieces with black voices, drama, and conflict built on exploring ideas of power wealth and race, why not go to other lands. In Haiti, you can find the ideas explored in Bridgeton. In Britain more contemporary drama should be create instead of these tired period pieces. No wonder the nation cannot leave the past behind, a past one can say is purely fiction. No alas, you desire acceptance, belonging to the master race (the so called bastions of civility). It is only then you will feel that you have arrived. Yet, you complain about visibility and acceptance. Alas, you need a white voice to speak for you. One has to view Bridgeton for what it is a product, with an alluring marketing ploy. It is created to maximize its audience and to sell. In these days we need escapism and fantasy. Distilled, Bridgeton represents corporate exploitation of social and cultural injustices.