“Shark Tank” is a popular reality television show where prospective entrepreneurs attempt to propose their business or brand before a panel of investors called “Sharks.” During their presentation, the entrepreneurs aim to convince the Sharks to invest in them, for the purpose of starting ,growing, or saving their business. If the shark likes the entrepreneur’s idea they will invest their own money and fight one another for a deal. On the other hand, if he/she is reluctant to investment in the proposed business, they will abrasively express their lack of interest and send the entrepreneur on their way. Quite frankly, the show possesses more of an entertaining nature than a source of education, and things sometimes get really inordinate.
During a recent episode, two black female entrepreneurs requested an investment for their lipstick brand. As they were presenting details about their product, not only did Kevin O’Leary–a regular “Shark” panel host–inform the women that they weren’t going to succeed, but he also referred to them as “colorful cockroaches” while in the midst of explaining why he would not invest in their business. His “colorful” reference set social media on fire.
Many things can be inferred about O’leary’s comments to the black women with respect to racial discrimination. African Americans have long been deprived of fair access to capital as a result of the uneven monopoly of racism. Furthermore, it is fact that the media has manipulated society’s perception of black people as being “ugly.”
O’Leary’s comments not only perpetrated both of the mentioned racial injustices towards blacks, but also implicitly demonstrated the “extreme” judgments to which blacks encounter simply attempting to acquire an investment. His reasons for his position may be innocent in what he said to the women, but it is all about the hateful and ugly imagery linked with the thought of a white man calling two black women “cockroaches” on live television.