11.17.2010

Food for thought: The color complex


When I first started my blog, I told myself that I would always present a diverse set of topics on my blog. I have never been one to embrace the over saturation of a particular topic.In fact, I find it a tad bit annoying when people continue to stress about the same topics day in and day out. I have many layers to me, tons of different emotions, and a basket full of issues that are important to me. So it should come as no surprise that I would write about tons of different topics. I don't believe in cookie cutter politics. I write from the heart, or I don't write at all.

With all of that said, I find myself once again blogging on the issue of race. Last week I blogged about Tyler Perry's new movie 'For Colored Girls', and the 'Black Girls Rock' event that aired on BET. Finding a bevy of positive press for black women is sometimes an awful challenge. Too often black women are depicted as mean,conniving,and downright bitter. Never mind the reasons why...they just are! At least that's the way society has pegged us. We walk around rolling our necks and snapping our fingers cussing out our Baby Daddy. When you see us in the store, we have four kids, no husbands, and we carry food stamps. Okay STOP right there! I'm sorry, but not ALL black women fit into that category. While there is a significant gap in the Black community for educated women with middle class lifestyles, there are still plenty of us who do fit the mold of a woman (not just a black woman) living the American dream. I have a problem with the stereotypes that the media has bestowed upon us, because unlike what the networks and Mediatakeout.com tend to report, my inner sister circle is cut from a different cloth. We carry briefcases, we hang our degrees on the wall, we read the classics, we go to PTA meetings. But somehow this all gets overlooked. I guess the image of the Black June Clever doesn't make headlines.

What's even worse for black women today is that we are also often stereotyped by our own community. Now I know that this may be a little forthright. I never intend to step on anyone's toes, but I tend to call it like I see it. It is shameful to me that for the past 33 years of my life I have had to 'prove' my blackness. My skin is a lot lighter than most of my friends, but my pain is the same color. Unless you've experienced it firsthand, perhaps you may never understand. For some of us, our experiences with racism are few and far between. I'm not naive enough to think that my plight is as difficult as my darker skinned sisters. In fact it angers me that the people I love should have to go through leaps and bounds to prove themselves on a daily basis. As if the history of American racism wasn't enough, our society has now created another divisive issue on 'being black'. Sadly enough black women are now dealing with the stereotype of being a "sell out". Because I have a degree, because I have white friends, because my kids speak proper English I am automatically black-balled. "She's not black enough, She's too black, she's trying to be white, she's trying to be black". Well excuse me for trying to continue to carry the torch that my ancestors carried. I refuse to apologize for upward mobility.

It pains me to think that the next generation may possibly inherit our ignorance. The beauty of being a woman is that we have a supernatural bond. It amazes me that we can turn such a beautiful thing into an issue that will divide us for life. When I speak about 'Colored Girls' I speak about ALL colored girls, not just African American women. I guarantee you that every colored girl on this planet has had her fair share of painful moments. Unfortunately its how the world works. If all else fails, at least I can pass on knowing that I did my part to change things. So here's to Colored Girls, and hoping we all enjoy the rainbow.

1 comment:

Mommy Glow said...

Yes, Yes, and Yes. Black women are painted to be such awful mean creatures. But I have to wonder, do we (some of us) add to that negative stereotype. I totally agree that Black Women in general get a bad rap. But we can’t generalize all black women, because like you said, we do not all act the same. Not all of us are single and have babies daddys and living off the government as society likes to portray us.
My question and concern is that why when Black women see a women in a suit or nice car, or carrying herself with pride and integrity, why do some black women start thinking that that women is suddenly snobby and acting better than the rest of the Black female population? Why is it so hard to congratulate and support our fellow black sisters? Why is it so easy to judge and pass judgment? Why is it so hard to black women to form and create partnerships and come together?
And your right, somehow the Black women whom carry briefcases and are attentive to their children’s lives are invisible.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the media loves a trainwreck. That society thrives on negativity.
The issue of blackness and being black enough and being a sell-out is def another thing that I can connect with. I wrote a post about it on my blog. I grew up in the suburbs and my Mother was extremely strict and we had manners (black people with manners-oh my!!) and my whole family talks proper, which for a lot of people is a complete shock. They hear me talk, then look at me and they don’t put the 2 together. I connect with people I have similarities with, I don’t choose my friends by skin color. It’s funny when people look through some pictures and say, where are the black people…don’t you have black friends? My reaction is um yes I have black friends do you want their names, numbers, addresses? Like, why is that important????
It also pains me that the poison that is ignorance… The beauty of being a woman is that we have a supernatural bond. Wow-how powerful is that statement? We need to remember that, we need to embrace this and act on it.
When I also speak and think @ For Colored Girls, the message transcends to all women, because we ALL go through struggles and hardships, they are not just stainoned within Black women. The movie was a great opportunity to begin a dialogue and create a sisterhood with women we may never have thought to talk too or get to know.
As you can tell by the length of my post, I truly truly enjoyed this post, it got my heart racing and my mind going in a million directions. It angers me that black women cannot see the beauty and friendship in others. We all have so much to gain from each other.