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Posts Tagged ‘black women’

Just when I thought Black men and women had reached a semi-truce, here comes ANOTHER article from ANOTHER sister impugning the character of Black men. Watch out fellas, INCOMING!!! 

Beyond-the-Lights

 

In the words of Oprah Winfrey, “ALL MY LIFE I HAD TO FIGHT lol!”

I joke, but that was my first reaction to only the latest article about Black men (and our incessant wrongdoings) to come across my Facebook news feed.

I should have known something was up when I saw the title, “The Worthless Black Woman” followed by a photo of a young black woman (blonde weave sold separately) laying on her side, revealing pretty much all that would send any father of girls to go see Elizabeth if that was their daughter. 

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As expected, the blog read like most articles, blogs, Youtube videos, tweets, and instagram memes crafted by some sisters about Black men that supposedly passes for insightful social critique nowadays.  In typical fashion, the author bemoaned media vehicles such as BET, VH1 and various black male rappers and singers for their hand in the degradation of black women. But one thing was missing – her disgust for the black women that make it all happen.

For some reason, whenever sisters discuss their discontent for the media’s portrayal of black women, the typical approach is to nearly always lump black men in with FOX, NBC, BRAVO, BET and VH1 and ABC as some sort of corporate co-conspirators or willful perpetrators against black women; and then go on to portray the grown STRONG, INDEPENDENT black women on these shows as puny, innocent and insignificant bystanders who want to improve on their lives but just so happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong damn time. [INSERT SAD EMOJI FACE].

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It just doesn’t make sense to me to continue only blaming the vehicles but never the many female drivers who joyride willingly each week with fake eyelashes and hair to match from NYC, ATL, and LA, throwing drinks and snatching weaves while calling each other out their name.

However, after reading the blog, I can see why these type of HE vs. SHE articles make their rounds. They are like bees to honey, Solange to old bearded rich men, Bill Cosby allegedly to …,  or Sunday brunch with mimosas to the black woman about town – IRRESISTIBLE; but sadly they tend to oversimplify our reality.  You see, when you add the fact that the head of BET is a Black woman, Shaunie O’neal (black woman) created Basketball wives, and Shonda Rhimes (another black woman) is the reason you get to see Kerry Washington tossed around each week between the title of head mistress and convict girlfriend, the exact place to point your finger can become a little less clear.100914-b-real-style-beauty-on-newstands-now-magazine-cover-Shonda-Rhimes-The-Hollywood-Reporter 

Also, the author refers to the hip hop industry as cruel for what its female participants endure but seems to forget that the women aren’t the only ones being packaged and sold.  She laments Nicki Minaj and K. Michelle’s surgeries to “achieve these unrealistic body images” but pays no mind to the tatted up, smoked out brothers that are transformed and manipulated just as well to perpetuate stigmas associated with black men. From this, she concludes that “Because this is what black men often see and bob their heads to, they believe this to be the true essence of the “real” black woman.”  

Wiz-KhalifaWell, if she actually believes this mumbo jumbo (I hope not), could the same not be said for the average black women on the street and her perception of black men as all being hip hop’s depiction of the chain-swinging, tatted up, thuggerized black male? Hmmm… 

Lets be honest, black men and women are not drones merely informed of each other’s existence through the eyes of the larger society from 4-minute Youtube music videos and reality shows. Whatever Black men say in chorus about Black women is reflective of REAL experiences and interactions with black women across the nation, and should be grappled with and taken seriously rather than written off as some cable TV-sponsored perception, and I would hope Black men would think the same of Black women’s claims about us.

wiz khalifaBut by the author insinuating that Black men en masse are looking for wives or partners “in the club every weekend”or judging a potential partner based on who is “showing their body parts on social media,” it lends itself to the idea that deep down no matter how educated and worthy a black man may be like Nate Parker’s character in the new movie “Beyond the Lights,” more than likely, in the back of her mind deep down we’ll all forever be just one of “Dem Boyz” Wiz Khalifa was talking about. Sucks to be you Nate. #THISCOULDBEUS

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In a moment that SHOULD engender love for the humanity of black bodies, For Harriet’s founder, Kimberly Foster, chooses the tragic and untimely murder of Eric Garner to draw a line in the sand between black men and women.

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“I can’t breathe…”
This time there weren’t any guns.
“I can’t breathe…”
No conveniently accidental firing that we’re all somehow supposed to accept.
“I can’t breathe…”
No sudden moves for his wallet.
“I can’t breathe…”
But the result still all too familiar.
“I can’t…”

I’m not supposed to be writing this.

I’m not.  I’m not supposed to be writing about how, once again, another black person has been stripped of their dignity and senselessly taken from this earth by those sworn to protect and serve; and, for seemingly no reason at all but occupying space in the land they fought for and toiled. No, I’m not supposed to be writing this.

In a moment that should engender love for the humanity of black bodies, and push our mindschoke21n-17-web to reflect and remember those sadly known more for dying than living — Amadou, Aiyana, Sean, and Oscar — tragic statistics of the forgotten work of our nation.  Unfortunately, we are not talking about them, nor are we talking about the systems/powers that make this nightmarish headline a recurring one. Sadly, for the past few days since the Garner murder, we have been talking about Kimberly Foster and her essay.  As I said before, I’m not supposed to be writing this.

Almost as soon as the air that Eric Garner used to take his last breathes became unobstructed on that Staten Island sidewalk, mere hours before he would be pronounced dead — the same air that should have been reserved for his memory, the Garner family, and those who live under the constant threat of police brutality — this same air was almost immediately obstructed again by Foster’s essay last Tuesday.

In it, the self-proclaimed black feminist and founder of For Harriet, a popular women’s website dedicated to ‘celebrating black womanhood’, dug in her heels and proclaimed that “if the NYPD or the City of New York fail to act [on Garner’s behalf],” she would not be marching for the murder victim because she was reserving her “mental and emotional energy for…Black women.” Yeaaa, she actually said that.

yeIn an odd way, Foster’s Janet Jackson-esque “what have you done for me lately, black men” rebuttal (to what I don’t know) seemed to parallel Kanye’s drunken antics at the 2009 MTV VMAs. As you may recall, the superstar rapper/designer spontaneously interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for Best Female Video mid-sentence, to point out that he felt Beyonce was the more deserving artist (and I agreed) for her hit “Single Ladies”; and overnight, created a firestorm of criticism that even the President couldn’t resist, calling his Chi-town neighbor, in a word: “asshole.” 

To me, Foster was channeling Kanye’s interjectory “Imma let you finish…” idiocy all over again. Instead, this time it was more along the lines of, “Yo Garner family, black men, I’m really sad for you and all; Imma let you mourn but Black women have had the most ish to deal with of all time!” Man, where’s President Obama when you need him? Oh yea, getting sued. Nevermind.

At best, her words were a rude and insensitive, tone-deaf call to arms for the plight of black women, and, at worst, it was an outright declaration that black men and women no longer shared the same fate in her eyes.

Yo Garner family, black men, I’m really sad for you and all; Imma let you mourn but Black women have had the most ish to deal with of all time!”

After my first time reading it, like you, I read it again and again in disbelief; hoping a smidget of sympathy could be mustered somehow, someway, but none could be found.  I was totally disgusted with her reasoning altogether.  How could a black woman, the very one who births the black boys who grow up into men like an Eric Garner or Sean Bell, resign herself from the very destiny of that which she gives life to?

On her site, the tagline reads celebrating the ‘fullness of black womanhood’ but when did the cost of AP_esaw_garner_al_sharpton_rally_jt_140719_16x9t_384the party come at the expense of black men?  As an African-American male, I never thought concern for the black family was based on gender. Aren’t we in this thing together? Growing up, I remembered the Tawana Brawley case in NYC and the Duke Lacrosse case in my home state, and how the victims at the center of it were black women; as well as the Rodney King trial out west in LA. Never once did it occur to me that the injustices faced by black women were somehow detracting or pulling away precious “mental or emotional energies” or resources for the many black men falsely imprisoned in correctional facilities or enduring discrimination on the job. To me, the plight facing black men and women in America was never an “either or” endeavor, but always one of “both and.”

When Garner died last week, he left a black woman to become a single mother of six kids. When Sean Bell died, he left a black woman to become a single mother of one. Obviously, what affects one affects the other. You see, what Foster fails to understand is that our paths as black men and women are forever intertwined; and a house divided against itself will surely never stand. 

But, of course, there is always room for improvement. With any strive for progress there is bound to be criticism, and I think that we can all agree that it has been more than -7711cf00f0a81e71warranted on both sides; but we have no choice but to stand and work together if we are to ever gain any kind of significant ground.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr once said that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and the faster women like Foster realizes this, the better.

And besides, Harriet Tubman, the woman for which Foster names her site, didn’t reserve her physical energies for only black women during slavery, so how can she justify reserving her mental and emotional energies now? Or maybe, just maybe, her site is really “For” someone else?

 

Curtis A. Thomas is former Hill staffer and blogger residing in the Washington, DC area. He can be reached at thomas.curtis.a@gmail.com.

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