For the past 24 hours I have been nursing my inner angry black woman. Ok for the past 24 years… I guess the most irritating part of any discourse regarding my race is being told by educated white girls about the way things are and how they’re working on it. They have no idea what it feels like to constantly have to police your emotions to be heard because hundreds of years ago some black woman got angry and murdered an entire Macy’s department store full of white women…ok so maybe those aren’t the facts, but I am not allowed to be harsh and I have the obligation to check my swing when I respond to obvious racism.
When I was a little girl my Mother purchased our first black Barbie dolls. I can’t actually explain why there was a delay in the acquisition of playthings that reflect what I see in the mirror, but regardless my Mom attempted integration after my initial introduction to Barbie’s pink fabulous white lady world. My Mother was brought to tears because she noticed that we just didn’t take to new dolls the way she expected. When asked why these other dolls didn’t see the same action as the white dolls she received the following response:
“They aren’t as good.”
It wasn’t virtue of being the first dolls and thus more loved, it was the fact that these different dolls, with their attempt at coarse yet flowing hair (weave) and purple lipstick and accessories weren’t a part of our reality. Black women weren’t all over the television, we didn’t have a Black Disney Princess, and all of our friends were little white girls who also played with white Barbie. If you haven’t played Barbies in a minute the point is to create little stories and these stories usually build from reality. Would white Ken be into black Barbie? The reality of the situation is that Black women in a position of power being regarded as beautiful or interesting just didn’t seem possible. Black Barbie couldn’t drive the Mustang, sleep in the dream house, be a Dentist, or train plastic scale sized Shamu in the bathtub (God forbid her hair get wet).
In great big ways my Mom drove home the point that we are just as good as our counterparts, purple accessories are as good as pink, and though you may go through the world walking on eggshells, biting your tongue until it bleeds, your opinions and worldview are relevant. I told you that story because I want you to understand that this practice of not listening to what I’m saying because it is difficult to hear and challenges your self perception is hard for me to stomach because I’ve known since I was 5 that it was going to be this way and I’m still trying to like to you despite it.
My sister is dropping some serious truth on her blog right now.
Ahem. Black folks, bell did just come for our wigs. When Black people DEMAND stereotypical depictions of Blackness and reject anything that deviates from the stereotypes (or the one-dimensional reaction to the stereotypes as “positive” characters) as “unrealistic,” there is a problem Houston. Internalized White supremacist thought is a helluva drug.
*cough* Broomhilda in Django Unchained *cough*
Quick pre-text: I am going to periodically and randomly do a post called “Hi, I’m Black” and sort of delve into racial discussions—no worries, we can all learn something from seeing a different perspective and learning is fundamental amiright?
Unpopular Opinion Time: Quentin Tarantino directed a movie called Django Unchained starring a bevy of superstar actors (Foxx, DiCaprio, Washington, Waltz, and even Don Johnson!). The premise is that a freed slave becomes a bounty hunter and tries to get his wife (who was sold to a different owner at auction) back. I keep reading the same TIREDtiredTIRED excuses for why we shouldn’t all go see it, but I did see it, and I loved it, and I’m putting this crap to rest.
1. “Tarantino likes the N-word and says it too much so we can’t go see it!” This is a civil war era film, set in the South, during slavery. Those three ingredients mean that there was probably even more N-word slinging that occurred than Tarantino could fit into a 2-hour movie. Also, I didn’t see you all raising your hands in my Kentucky high school when we had to read “classic literature” that was just “the N-word” broken up by a few verbs and some punctuation. Nobody said a thing. So it’s funny that now that there’s a movie about a FREED SLAVE avenging himself, we’re worried about what people are calling him…
2. “Kerry Washington plays a wilting flower and I can’t believe Quentin Tarantino would make the first black leading female character he writes weak!” For starters, no, Quentin Tarantino had that character from Kill Bill (played by Vivica A. Fox) who fought like crazy until she got shanked through a box of cereal—so this is not the first. [EDIT: A few good friends pointed out that I’ve completely forgotten Jackie Brown, which in itself is a good enough rebuttal to this claim] This is the same static I heard when Mindy Kaling decided to play a pretty, vapid Indian woman on her hilarious sitcom instead of a stereotypical smart, nerdy, sexually invisible character. Maybe it’s fine that Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) wasn’t some crazy super heroine. Name one film about Black women where they are allowed to just be human instead of having to be super strong, tough, and against what is typically considered feminine. I think it’s good in some respects that Quentin Tarantino wrote a black female character that was depicted as worthy of saving and delicate and deserving. Also, I think we can all agree that Kerry Washington is the best and you should all start watching Scandal on ABC if you don’t already.
3. “I heard there’s a scene that makes light of the KKK. I’m against that.” Well you didn’t see the movie, so shut up. It doesn’t make light of the Klan— it very distinctly makes fun of the Klan. It is uproariously hilarious to make fun of the Klan, because they are not worthy of serious consideration. They are abysmal, and they get what they deserve in the movie. Go see it. And while you’re at it, watch this sketch from Chappelle’s Show.
4. “Spike Lee said to boycott it, so…” I respect Spike Lee in the highest, but you all need to think for yourselves. Spike Lee doesn’t want you to see it because Spike Lee has a personal feud with Quentin Tarantino about filmmaking. I’m sorry, Spike, but you decided to come out with Red Hook Summer, and it wasn’t as enticing as this film was. Get over it. Make another poignant film like “Do The Right Thing” and maybe I’ll take your cinematic suggestions to heart.
5. “There’s too much gore!” It’s a Tarantino film. There will be blood. There will be ladle-dropping-into-tomato-soup-splashy blood. If that makes you squeamish, then by all means skip it. That’s like the only valid argument I can see for choosing not to see the film.
We all need to be more open-minded and think for ourselves. Do you seriously think that Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Jamie Foxx would agree to do a movie that would cut down a group of people instead of raising them up. As a black woman, it was probably one of the only Civil War era films I could commit to seeing more than once.
Now would be a great time to start following my OTHER BLOG.
Hi, I’m Black. What’s up? Cool….
We’ve all seen a million blog posts and articles arguing that because Barack Obama is darker than a paper bag, Black people just cannot hold back their votey-lust for him. I’m not entirely sure why it’s okay to not only assume, but also defend that Black people are so ignorant about issues and so blindly loyal to a President with such a solid economic, diplomatic, and social issues track record—but that’s old news. Didn’t we cover this in 2008? I wanna talk about White people.
For the record, I mean White people as a whole.
I could acknowledge that White people are individuals too and that they perhaps vote on issues that matter to them or for other …I could not care less about your individual White feelings in this context, because this is how you report on things in 2012… Just let me wax poetic about your entire race and why they vote the way they do. It goes a little something like this:
A brief overview of American History will tell you that we have had 43 White US Presidents. It will also tell you that we’ve only had 44 US Presidents. Under the premise that people simply vote based on race, I guess that means White people have a predilection for voting for other White people. Perhaps, then, the 11% of voters that are African American only really impacted the 2008 election because Barack Obama is actually half-white, thus getting 50% of the White Vote as well (this is just science based on nothing—like most blog posts about politics).
Or maybe, there is a secret bi-racial voting demographic that only voted for the first time in 2008, too.
Did you know that not one single Black person ever voted before the year 2008 (shhhh….who needs facts?). After all, you can’t vote for a Black person if no major political parties have a Black nominee. In a non-satirical article, this might be the part where you delve into the reason why there haven’t been any Black presidential nominees for a major party going into a November election prior to Barack Obama, and what greater meaning that voting for him might symbolize to the world as a whole…
Regardless, Mitt Romney may be the whitest presidential nominee we’ve ever seen. I literally saw a picture of him eating a mayonnaise sandwich just yesterday.* I can understand why that might wake up some of those White voters that remembered Obama’s White mama just 4 years ago. Maybe, they will switch their vote back to what is oh-so normal for people of different races.
I think the bottom line is that people can pretty much vote for whatever reason they want. I think it’s much easier (albeit much more lamentable) to make assumptions about people who vote differently than you, who also look differently than you. Perhaps instead of wasting anymore time throwing race into every election with someone who hasn’t had a sunburn, perhaps it’s time to grow up and talk about the issues that really matter.
*It may have just been a guy that looked like Mitt Romney eating a mayonnaise sandwich.
this. is. something. i. wrote. it. is. controversial. i. ain’t. mad.
Often black people, especially non-gay folk, become enraged when they hear a white person who is gay suggest homosexuality is synonymous with the suffering people experience as a consequence of racial exploitation and oppression. The need to make gay experience and black experience of oppression synonymous seems to be one that surfaces much more in the minds of white people. Too often it is a way of minimizing or diminishing the particular problems people of color face in a white supremacist society, especially the problems ones encounter because they do not have white skin. Many of us have been in discussions where a non-white person – a black person – struggles to explain to white folks that while we can acknowledge that gay people of all colors are harassed and suffer exploitation and domination, we also recognize that there is a significant difference that arises because of the visibility of dark skin. Often homophobic attacks on gay people of all occur in situations where knowledge of sexual preference is established – outside of gay bars, for example. While it in no way lessens the severity of such suffering for gay people, or the fear that it causes, it does mean that in a given situation the apparatus of protection and survival may be simply not identifying as gay.
In contrast, most people of color have no choice. No one can hide, change or mask dark skin color. White people, gay and straight, could show greater understanding of the impact of racial oppression on people of color by not attempting to make these oppressions synonymous, but rather by showing the ways they are linked and yet differ. Concurrently, the attempt by white people to make synonymous experience of homophobic aggression with racial oppression deflects attention away from the particular dual dilemma that non-white gay people face, as individuals who confront both racism and homophobia.