Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Dexter Kills Serial Killers... Not Stereotypes

The television show Dexter is a crime series about Dexter Morgan, a serial killer who is also a blood spatter analyst for the Miami PD. This series, which ran for eight seasons from 2006 to 2013, is beloved by Americans across the country. Different characters in the television show are aligned closely with stereotypes present in American culture. While the television series has a widely diverse cast, the show perpetuates many deep rooted stereotypes of race and gender. 

The show Dexter is set in the city of Miami, a very diverse area of the United States and so it is clear why it’s cast reflects its’ diversity. Unlike similar shows from the same time, Dexter has a widely diverse cast. Although the main character is white, most of the supporting characters are minorities. In fact, the cast includes representations of Hispanic, Korean and Black men and women but from the first episode it is clear that some of these representations are not positive. In the first episode, Maria LaGuerta, a Cuban American Woman, is revealed as the captain of the homicide department of the Miami PD. Although this seems to be a step in the right direction for the portrayal of women and minorities in the workplace, it soon becomes clear that the other characters resent her for being “bossy”. In a scene from the first episode, during a meeting at the police department, it is clear that Morgan’s sister, Debra, disrespects LaGuerta. Debra complains to Dexter about LaGuerta’s “bossy behavior”. This representation of women in the workplace reinforces the ideology that women in power are bossy and not respected.

Another instance in which the show perpetuates stereotypes is through the character, Vince Masuka, a Korean-American, who works as a forensics analysis. Masuka is portrayed as a slightly awkward, nerdy, forensics geek which follows closely to a stereotype of Asian Americans in today’s culture. In the first episode, Masuka talks excitedly to Dexter about an interesting find in a case. This perpetuates the ideology that Asian’s are the model minority being smart and somewhat shy.

In conclusion, Although Dexter’s cast is a much needed departure from television shows with all white casts, it reinforces the preexisting stereotypes of these minorities.

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