Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 113

“A Man Must Have a Code”: A Contrast of Black and White Masculinity in The Wire By Graeme Wilson Abstract: The Wire, which aired on premium channel cable HBO from 2002 to 2008, is one of the most acclaimed series ever produced for the medium of television. Set in Baltimore, The Wire examines American bureaucracy and ruminates on the shortcomings of public institutions. Notably, more than half of The Wire’s ensemble is African American, and while this accurately reflects Baltimore’s racial demographics, such diversity remains a rarity in American dramatic television. Thus, The Wire provides a unique opportunity for scholarly research on cultural representations of race and gender in popular media, particularly regarding how they intersect. The goal of this critical studies essay is to determine if The Wire perpetuates or challenges popular notions of hegemonic masculinity, and how they differ across racial representations. This is especially important given the prominent role that popular media plays in influencing expectations amongst male viewers towards idealized masculinity in society. Keywords: The Wire, bureaucracy, racial representation on television, masculinity, racialized masculinity Resumen: The Wire, que estuvo al aire en el canal premium de cable HBO de 2002 a 2008, es una de las series más aclamadas que se ha producido para el medio de la televisión. The Wire tiene como escenario a Baltimore y examina la burocracia estadounidense y se enfoca en los problemas de las instituciones públicas. Notablemente, más de la mitad del elenco de The Wire es afroamericano, y mientras esto refleja correctamente la 113