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What's Wrong With This Picture?

Poetry Analysis
by

Shavit Belo

on 8 November 2012

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Transcript of What's Wrong With This Picture?

A poem by Maxine Tynes What's Wrong With This Picture? What's Wrong With This Picture? The speaker of the poem Thanks for listening! After thirty-five plus years of
watching television
t.v
the tube
the box
I still can't see myself
I look hard and often
and everywhere
on every blue and flickering screen

I stay up round the clock
aiming and clicking the remote
in cycles of networks and channels
tracking the elusive Black face on screen
coming up empty
and snowblind in the night

the little white kids from the playground
are the big white kids
who mouth and smile out
my global news
who map and chart my weather
who sell adult diapers
and pizza and condoms and beer

don't look for the tokens in this poem
I know how to count them too well
as one talk show matriarch to the world
as one
as two
Paraphrase the poem Stanza 1- The speaker of this poem has been watching television for over 35 years but she can’t find a representation of herself.
Stanza 2- The speaker stays up at night clicking through the channels on T.V. and still she does not see a black face because everyone on T.V. is white.
Stanza 3- The speaker had grown up with white kids that she now sees on T.V.
Stanza 4- African-American people only have a couple occupations while white people are the ones who control the media.
Stanza 5- It’s mostly white people that are heard on the radio therefore the speaker has no one to listen to unless it is one of the few African-American artist.
Stanza 6- The only way the speaker can watch an African-American person on T.V. is through cable.
Stanza 7- The African-American host speaks about racism on television.
Stanza 8- There is no way to escape racism.
Stanza 9- The speaker is turning off the T.V. however it is waiting to be turned on again. Maxine Tynes
Woman
African American
Over 35 years old The tone Depressing and serious;

In the beginning of the poem, the speaker feels depressed because she cannot find any one of her kind while channel -surfing.

As the poem continues, it changes
into a serious tone as the topic of racism is an important issue to the speaker. The theme Only white people get represented in worldwide media, neglecting black people from that equation. Reflects the poem because the poem takes place in the 1960's, during the time of segregation. Historical significance & the poet Written in 1960s in times of racial segregation.

Written by Maxine Tynes, a famous poem writer known for writing poems about social issues that concerned her.

She wrote many poems having to deal with racism, including this one. The structural significance and powerful stanzas Three parts: the explanation of her feelings, the reason to her feelings, and a conclusion.
First paragraph- what she feels after watching television for 35 years (emphasizes words like "the tube";"the box")
Throughout poem, she explains herself in different situations
Shows how this situations happens over and over again near the end
The most powerful stanza: last one. Concludes the story behind it and makes readers imagine what happens later on. Thesis The racial background of any individual shouldn't reflect the lack of fame or respect they receive from the media.

When she channel- surfs, she struggles to see people of her culture due to the fact the media only advertises non coloured people. Why should the audience care more about this poem? Informs the readers on the issue of segregation in the 1960's, where African Americans were neglected from the media.
The speaker expresses an issue, rather than narrating a story or a song
Inspired me to reconsider how media portray others or six recycled stand-up comics
as a few all-purpose singers,
rappers, celluloid cops-and-robbers
and well-meaning but never caught in a kiss or a clinch
neighbour/assistant/partner/friend/pal/cohort
sidekick
the little white kids are
minding the t.v. store
my local evening news
never comes to me in Blackface

don't look to the airwaves for salvation
early morning radio
is a snowstorm of Celtic inflection
or of Middle America
no raucous or ethnic dialect
to wake up to

or to hum along to in traffic
unless it's a soundtrack of
Michael or Luther or Aretha or Diana

only Cable opens a door, a mike
a stage
and then, for the Black or minority market

the Black host and panel on Cable
talks racism and racism and racism you'll find no respite from the snowstorm here

and when I aim the clicker that turns you off
when my t.v. screen is still and black
you glow;etched and neon
eyes and lips waiting to
whiten and fill my world again.
Full transcript