Sunday, July 13, 2014

African-American Women: They Hate You BECAUSE You Cape For Them

I’ve always gotten very bad, woman-hating vibes off the whole male-dominated transsexual and transgender movement. It always registered to me as a bunch of quirky men encroaching on and violating actual women’s spaces. And doing so with a hateful, ultra-sexist, and demented spirit.
So, I wasn’t really surprised to run across a blog that lists some of the transgender and cross-dressing male predators who use their access to women’s shelters, women’s locker rooms, and women’s bathrooms to sexually assault women and girls. See the post at GenderTrender titled, "Christopher “Jessica” Hambrook, serial rapist, sexually assaulted and terrorized women after being placed in Toronto area Women’s Shelters." 

I also wasn’t very surprised to learn that most of these so-called transgender “women” choose to keep their penises. I highly recommend Roslyn’s post about all of this titled, "Stop Taking Crazy Pills. They Only Have One Look." UPDATE: The next time somebody comes to you with a sob story about some transgender man, please direct them  to this post by Roslyn, "Connecticut and the Jane Doe Case: Stand Up for His Victims!!!"

Well, in recent years, I’ve also felt the same very bad, woman-hating vibes coming from the White gay male led-“official” gay movement.

Since it’s impossible to talk about these matters without listing one’s “I support justice for gays and lesbians” street cred, here are some links to posts where I’ve denounced African-Americans’ mass bigotry against gays and lesbians. HERE. HERE. I also mention this fake-religious based bigotry against gays and lesbians on page 44 of my book.

I was one of those rare straight African-Americans (especially rare for a Muslim Black Nationalist, which is what I was at that point in time) who spoke out in favor of justice for lesbians and gays long before it became acceptable to do so. I spoke out—and had lots of silly Black folks looking at me cross-eyed—back in the 1980s and early 1990s. During the AIDs plague. So, for those African-American Black women (AABW) who are addicted to caping for gays, lesbians and trans-individuals, please try to refrain from accusing me of anti-gay bigotry.

It’s been pretty clear to me that these sexual minority movements are NOT about basic justice for gays and lesbians anymore. They haven’t been about basic justice for a long time. I’d say for at least the past 10 or so years. At this point, these sexual minority movements are about grabbing the political power and influence necessary to shove active approval of homosexuality down everybody else’s throat. And since AABW are the only unprotected (and therefore vulnerable) “weak link,” the basic plan is to use AABW as stepping stones for their own advancement. I’ll explain:

White male-led sexual minority movements have appropriated the image and spirit of the AA civil rights movement for their own purposes. They’re riding our dead civil rights martyrs’ coattails just like the Latinos, Asians, foreign Blacks, and everybody else and their mama.

In terms of the whole transgender thing, they are appropriating the images of AABW. It’s not a coincidence that the so-called transgender “women” who are being promoted in public are Black MEN like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock. It’s not a coincidence that the main Black female character on a show like Orange Is The New Black that’s allowed to look feminine is a transgender Black MAN. Furthermore, I’ve read that the Buckwheat-looking* BW character called Crazy Eyes on that show literally urinated on the floor like a dog—to mark her territory because she was crushing on the white woman character.

What you need to understand as an AABW is that a lot of gay men as well as cross-dressing and transgender men HATE women. With a passion. Lemme make it real plain so that even a cave person can understand the dynamics underlying this: What’s the primary obstacle standing between gay men, cross-dressing men, transgender men and the erect heterosexual male penis that many of them crave? Answer: Heterosexual women. Many gay and cross-dressing/transgender men hate straight women because straight men are sexually focused on women, and not on these men.

But it’s not safe for gay/cross-dressing/transgender men to act on that hatred when it comes to WW and other nonblack/non-AA women. Because nonblack/non-AA women are protected by the straight men of their group. Furthermore, non-AA women don’t have the habit of caping for other people. Guess which category of women that leaves for gay/cross-dressing/transgender men to freely and publicly lash out at? Like THIS video mess. Incidentally, the transgender negro male in this video is ranting in response to THIS article.

Guess which category of women that leaves for gay/cross-dressing/transgender men to use as scapegoats when the White community votes against their political causes? I discussed the hate crimes committed by White gay men and the scapegoating of AABW in the aftermath of Proposition 8 HERE.

This is the same pattern that we’ve seen with Latinos, other so-called “people of color,” BM, and so on. Ladies, these other people disrespect, demean and hate you in large part because you cape for them.
The pattern is consistent: people generally only respect people who DON’T and WON’T cape for them.

Straight AABW, stop caping for gays, lesbians and cross-dressing/transgender men. Stop caping in general. Just stop caping.

*Addendum about modern dating* If you plan on keeping AA males in your dating pool as an AABW (particularly those who live in Atlanta), I would strongly urge you to watch the following two videos by an out gay BM. I can see why many other gay BM are angry with this man, because he's telling a lot of truth in these videos and he's not sugarcoating anything.

He's essentially warning women about how to avoid involvement with a down-low gay BM. In the first video, he suggests that women get gay male hook-up website apps for their smart phones so they can see if any of the men around them are on those sites looking for a hook-up. In the second video, he warns about the numbers of down-low BM who are in Black fraternities. And who use their fraternity membership as a cover story while meeting other men for sex.

[*Notes in the margin about these minstrel show images: Here’s a comment I made about that in response to THIS excellent post:

It almost goes without saying that I will boycott every Black individual connected to this TV show. They will never get any form of support from me. Ever.

Another aspect to all of this that I find troubling is how apparently most AAs are unaware of our history in Hollyweird. It seems to me the only way any AA could—in good faith—be sincerely confused about these images is if they aren’t familiar with these degrading tropes for Black performers. These degrading, racist tropes and “norms” for Black performers are not new. Not at all. In fact, they’re 150+ years old in the U.S. (These racist minstrel show tropes pre-date the U.S. Civil War.

I would strongly urge progressive BW to look into the history of Black performers and get familiar with this very old mess that keeps getting trotted out. Here’s a good site to start with.

I saw the top poster of this “Crazy Eyes” creature, and immediately recognized it as yet another incarnation of Mantan Moreland and that big-eyed “Buckwheat” expression from Little Rascals. I know my history. Ladies, do you know yours? When you know your history, you’re not confused when presented with this type of mess.

This SAME bug-eyed, “crazy eyes” look STAYS on frequent rotation for Black performers.

The same way that “Aunt Jemima” look STAYS on frequent rotation for Black actresses.

Because certain folks in the entertainment industry reward Black performers for portraying minstrel show-style images. Any BW who is okay with those of her great-great-great grandbabies who are Black being presented with the SAME minstrel show-images as “entertainment” should keep watching and supporting this mess. One would think that after 150+ years of this mess, 99.999% of AAs (including AA performers) would’ve had enough of it. I guess not.

The only point of (mild) curiosity in this for me is about the Nigerian-heritage actress that portrays this Crazy Eyes creature.

I just find it fascinating that—without being part of this American minstrel-show history—she apparently knew precisely what kind of minstrel-show-type, “crazy eyes” look would be rewarded by whoever (presumably nonblack) is running that show.]

Friday, July 4, 2014

I’ve Changed My Mind About Two Major Issues

After watching the fallout regarding the recent Curly Nikki mess, I’ve changed my mind about two major issues that affect African-American Black women’s (AABW) interests. First, I’ve changed my mind about remaining silent about the growing pattern of younger AABW bloggers backing away from the term “Black.” Let me emphasize that I don't think younger AABW bloggers are doing this as a conscious, fully thought-out, or deliberate choice. I have the impression that it's something they gravitated to without really thinking about it.
Second, I’ve changed my mind and concluded that the vast majority of AABW can’t afford any attempts at nuance when considering biracial issues. For the sake of younger AABW’s mental health, ALL biracials (whether they’re individually loyal to AA Blacks or not) must be removed from our “African-American Black” category and placed in a totally separate category.

I believe these are intertwined and interlocking issues.

Younger AABW’s Curious Choice to Give Their Online Spaces and Conferences Titles Like Breaking Brown, Blogging While Brown, Brown Sistagirls, Etc. Instead of Breaking Black, Blogging While Black, Black Sistagirls, etc.
Please note that I’m not singling out any particular blogger or writer. There are a lot of AABW using “Brown” instead of “Black” when giving a title to their online presence. I’m mentioning these titles as examples of what I’m talking about.

The labels we choose when describing ourselves say a lot about our levels of consciousness and level of comfort in our own skin. AAs have historically had a tortuous relationship to identity. Our kidnapped ancestors started off self-identifying as members of whatever African ethnic group they were members of. That African tribal identity was deliberately destroyed via mass torture and rape. Despite a few holdouts, such as the founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (which was founded in 1816), our ancestors abandoned the label “African.”

Instead, most of our ancestors began to self-describe as “Negroes” or “colored.” Until the mid- to late 1960s, to be called “Black” was a slur among most African-Americans. With the exception of the Nation of Islam who referred to AAs as “Asiatic Black men and women.” Unfortunately, hypocrisy tainted their efforts at claiming the label “Black” and reclaiming racial self-respect, which I’ll discuss later in this post. Most of our efforts as reclaiming ethnic and racial self-respect and pride are tainted with hypocrisy. It’s a human frailty, but there are some other poisonous ingredients.

When I was a small girl during the 1970s, AAs used the terms “Afro-American” and “Black” interchangeably to describe ourselves. A couple of decades later, AAs started using the terms “African-American” and “Black” interchangeably.
It literally took CENTURIES for us to get the word “African” back into our mental self-description.

Likewise, it literally took CENTURIES for us to get comfortable with self-describing as “Black.”
Also keep in mind that whatever terms we used to self-describe our racial and ethnic group were used by both AA men and women. There was unity and a perceived shared interest in those labels.

Something has changed over the past decade or so. I’ve noticed that younger AABW are running away from the label “Black” and instead using the term “Brown” in giving titles to their online presences. Up until now, the label “Brown” was claimed by Latinos in the U.S.

Latinos are now self-identifying as “White” (and for a variety of political and demographic reasons, American White folks are cooperating with Latinos describing themselves as such). AABW are calling themselves “Brown” online. AABM are still calling themselves and their online spaces “Black.” Do you see the change with this? Do you see the divergence between AABW and AABM in this matter?
It looks like this is  largely a generational thing. Younger AABW who’ve grown up during the hip-hop and c/rap era had their self-images formed by the 30 Year War On BW. When you stop to think about it, it’s no wonder young AA Black women are running away from calling themselves “Black” to using the term “Brown.”
For the past three decades, AABM in hip-hop and c/rap have been actively degrading Black womanhood in favor of lighter and Whiter women. This rabidly anti-BW poison has permeated throughout modern AA culture. All these younger women know (and have internalized) is an atmosphere of downright rabid gendered racism. All they know is Black women being openly devalued and degraded by the toxic modern AA culture created by hip-hop and c/rap’s warped values. By contrast, younger AA Black males don’t feel mental pressure to run away from self-describing as “Black men” because their identity as Black males has not been under heavy attack from the AA collective.

AABW in my age group are relatively blessed. We were already teenagers when that hip-hop and c/rap mess started up. By the time hip-hop c/rap emerged, our self-image had already been formed by other, mostly healthier cultural influences. Unlike younger generations of AAs, we also grew up listening to our parents’ records. And listening to our parents’ older siblings’ records. So we were familiar not just with the Black music of our era. We were also familiar with the Black music our parents and their older siblings had listened to when they were teenagers.

My teenage friends (male and female) and I hated hip-hop c/rap; and saw it for the talent-free, self-degrading garbage that it was from the very beginning.

We were also repulsed by hip-hop and c/rap on an aesthetic level. We liked music that involves acoustic instruments and musicians who can either actually sing or play instruments. We liked coming from a people who (prior to the hip-hop c/rap age) could harmonize and sing a cappella at the drop of a hat. We were not at all impressed by the influx of no-singing, no-instrument-playing "musicians" yelling and cursing over recordings of other people's melodies and beats.

Since, unlike modern AAs, we were familiar with our parents’ generation of Black music, we automatically recognized the stolen melodies, refrains, and beats the c/rappers were yelling over. And we knew the original versions of these stolen songs were qualitatively so much better than the ripped-off, c/rap version.

As a teenager who played the piano and flute and appreciated the craftsmanship that goes into composing music, I was particularly disgusted by all the “biting” involved in hip-hop c/rap. When you don’t have any talent, you have to bite off real musicians’ work.

But we ultimately allowed ourselves to be silenced by other AAs who accused those AAs who disliked hip-hop c/rap of being “bougie.”

Prior to the Curly Nikki debacle, I had decided not to say anything publicly about how so many AABW were running away from calling their online endeavors “Black” to using the term “Brown.” I didn’t want to say anything potentially divisive unless it was truly necessary. The Curly Nikki episode showed me that it’s necessary to say something about this.

I wasn’t so much shocked by what Curly Nikki did. I had mistakenly assumed that she had built up her own brand. I didn’t know that she had been a Trojan horse for a White-owned media entity from the very beginning. The pattern of White-controlled entities using Black faces to lure Black consumers is not new. I discussed this pattern in terms of upstart cable TV stations during THIS post:

Sojourners know that the traditional opening strategy for many upstart, minimal-quality cable TV networks is to pimp the AA consumer zombies. These networks use cheap, low-quality Black-oriented programming to build an initial audience of faithful AA consumer zombies.
After establishing a stable base audience of AA consumer zombie-viewers, the cable network uses the financial base created by AA slave viewers to develop more expensive programming designed to appeal to their true target audience: White viewers.
Once the new network develops a stable of programs favored by a sizeable audience of White viewers, the network then discards the AA consumer zombies and the Black-oriented shows used to attract AA consumer zombies. The network throws the slaves away like yesterday's trash. Two good examples of this strategy are the WB Television Network and UPN.

I wasn’t shocked at Curly Nikki. I was shocked to see so many AABW caping—hard—in support of that WW’s choice to insert herself into AABW’s “natural hair” issues. I couldn’t believe what I was reading from these Cape-Wearing AABW.
Not only are many of these younger AABW numb (as veteran Common Sense blogger Evia has noted), but they also have NO affirming sense of self. When you don’t have any affirming sense of self, it’s impossible to have boundaries with other people. When you don’t have any affirming sense of self, you try to latch onto somebody else’s identity. By hook or crook. It’s all interrelated.

I never liked or wanted to do anything to encourage the AABW Natural Hair Jihadis because I always knew there was a rotten core of hypocrisy underlying their non-stop screeching about how their natural hair styles reflected elevated, self-affirming consciousness levels. First of all, these women use a hair typing system that puts straight WW’s and Asian women type of hair at #1. While the more typical hair textures and curl patterns found among BW are at #4. What’s up with that? Yet again, we’re buying into something that positions somebody else as first and #1.
While these hypocritical natural hair fanatics were berating other BW for wearing processed or straightened styles, they were doing the same thing. The only difference is that the natural hair fanatical hypocrites called their relaxer type products “pudding,” etc.  

This type of hypocrisy among the most strident “Blacker Than Thou” types is an old pattern. We saw it with all the 1960s-era Black-talking BM activists who chased and married WW. The Nation of Islam also has this problem. While they (correctly, in my view) criticized AA Christians for worshipping the image of an Aryan Jesus, here’s some photos of “Master” Fard Muhammad. The old NOI taught that “God came in the person of Master Fard Muhammad.”
The idea of rejecting the historically inaccurate, Aryan images of God that the slavemaster taught our ancestors to worship is a good one. The idea of rejecting the servile identities the slavemaster forced upon our ancestors is a good one. The problem has always been with the execution of these good ideas. The same applies to the modern day Natural Hair Jihadis. The underlying idea of affirming your own natural beauty and your own natural hair texture is a good one. As always, the problem is with the execution.
The problems with the execution crop up because AAs have a tendency to import the same old, self-hating thinking into any new and good idea. So, instead of teaching AAs to rally around “Black,” the old NOI was latching onto somebody else’s identity by saying “Asiatic Blacks.” Instead of celebrating our own natural hair textures, many of the modern day Natural Hair Jihadis and followers have been latching onto (and using zillions of products in an attempt to achieve) somebody else’s hair textures—hair textures and curl patterns that are typically only natural for mixed-race women.
Let’s be clear: I wore my hair in a natural and braids during the height of the 1980s Jheri curl era. I wore my hair in these natural styles without using any so-called curl activator-type products. My natural naps were on display in all their unaltered glory. These modern day Natural Hair Jihadis aren’t doing anything new. And they’re doing these natural styles at a point in time when these styles are in fashion. It does not require courage to wear natural hair styles nowadays. In other words, most of the current day Natural Hair Jihadis are following a fad and are NOT on any sincere “hair journey” toward acceptance of their natural hair textures.
Which brings me to why we must—without any nuance—remove Black biracials from our AA Black category. I still have the concerns I raised in THIS post. But after I saw the multitudes of AABW who were caping hard in support of White and other women inserting themselves into AABW’s natural hair issues and spaces, I reconsidered my views.
Because I grew up under different circumstances, I’m not numb like so many younger AABW. I can tell the difference between a pimp slap and a caress. I can see and maintain boundaries between myself and others. I can maintain my own positive sense of self while dealing in nuances. Most AABW can’t. Especially not most younger AABW. This ties into the replacement and erasure of BW that I discussed HERE. It’s all related. And I now see that it’s also generational to a large degree. I agree with the comments that Evia made in the comment section to THIS excellent post.

As you may know, I’m an “old school” AA woman from a certain place and time, so it’s always been easy for me to connect all the dots. But the question that has stymied me since the time I started blogging is WHY is it that so many younger AAbw and similar bw of all income classes and educational levels CAN BE COUNTED ON to act suicidal in so many situations as if it’s a reflex. As y’all point out, even when they’ve been told over and over the smarter or reasonable way to flip the script, they still CHOOSE to make suicidal moves. Even when they’re taking their last gasp, they still make suicidal moves!

So, my approach to this mystery is the same one that scientists use in studying lower life forms to determine why water animals, might for ex., crawl out of the water–to die on land-deliberately. I’m NOT trying to offend anyone but I think that it’s time to “study” these very detrimental choices that SO MANY AA women make and dig out–no matter the underbelly of it–what’s really going on. I call it a death wish. I notice, too, that the bw who do these things rarely ever speak up and say exactly WHY they’re doing them–and some of them do know why. “Low self-esteem” has been worn out!

So, in the last year, I’ve been trying to drill down deep to find out what’s at the bottom of this “death wish.” We’ve got to be brutally frank about this because AA women don’t have much more time. We’re seeing this more clearly now.

I’m convinced that ONE reason they do it is because negative attention (slave movies, reality shows, etc.) is better to them–than no attention at all. And I believe that some darker bw live life vicariously through their lighter friends or lighter other women. That, to them, is better than nothing. AAs have NEVER dealt ruthlessly with the massive colorism that sits in the heart of the typical AA man, and it IS AA men who are the chief makers and distributors of this poison. so it will continue to kill the spirits of many black females since they WILL be rejected in favor of lighter-whiter women.

. . . One of the key reasons I’ve been able to pinpoint for some of this suicidal behavior is that the bulk of AA women feel VERY alone and apart from other WOMEN, as well as men. That’s the #1 reason they’ve stated to me for why they continue with the BAU (business as usual). They feel unsupported and virtually hopeless that things will change.They don’t feel they have anyone at their back and I think this is because they really don’t have anyone at their back. And this has occurred for a number of reasons but we can see some of this online, where bw (who need each other the absolute most will attack and tear each other to pieces psychologically, if they can.) This is because “hurt people hurt people.”

. . . @neurochick, Yep, I know–from interacting with various younger AAbw, that something profound occurred to large segments of them that caused many of them to become numb, and to completely doubt their value.

This replacing of Nina Simone by Zoe Saldana and the whole replacement thing could NOT have occurred in the 70s and 80s. Nina, herself, would have ripped her clothes off in Times Square, if necessary, to bring worldwide attention to her being replaced. LOL! Let’s face it-there were more than enough clueless bw back then, BUT there would have been way more than enough LOUD, unceasing protests from enough of us. A great WRONG is occurring with this replacement campaign, but judging by the overall silence, the bulk of AAbw can’t “feel” that wrong occurring. Like I said, they seem to be numb. Not only do I “know” it’s wrong, but I also FEEL it.

Insofar as going to see any of these movies where AAbw aren’t being lifted up–and spending money on them, the fact is that spending money on anything sends a clear message of APPROVAL and/or that we just don’t care. That’s the message that is being received. And if we don’t care or do approve, then we should never be surprised or not even bat an eyelash when that thing comes back to bite us in the butt. We can’t have it both ways. If there were ample roles for AA women–roles that we could be proud of–I wouldn’t have a problem with supporting selected one of these movies, but there aren’t. And self-preservation is the FIRST law.

I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t understand the mindset that makes it possible for so many AABW to cape in support of WW and others intruding into AABW’s natural hair spaces. I just don’t get that at all.
But I do know that AAs are in freefall and moving backwards in terms of self-respect, self-acceptance, and self-love. I do know that AABW rejecting “Black” in favor of “Brown” is not going to help AABW in either the short term or the long run. I believe it would be better actively work on affirming one’s actual self. The first step is to disconnect from the poisonous, anti-BW media that so many of us continue to lap up.
I suppose many women would justify this self-description by saying that they're simply noting their actual skin color. My response would be to note that “Black” (like “White” for persons of European descent and “Brown” for Latinos) has been a short-hand, political racial self-description. The point was not to delineate everybody’s actual skin color. Few European-descent Whites are actually White, many of them have alabaster skin tones with varying degrees of pink undertones.

The other thing about AABW formally self-describing as “Brown” based on actual color is that it opens the door to yet more fragmentation. Because if I picked a self-descriptor based on my actual color, I’d end up calling myself “Beige.” Once we open those floodgates, it’s guaranteed that lots of other formerly “Black” AA women will be calling themselves beige, tan, manila folder and anything else that’s not Black. Foreign-origin Blacks will increase their efforts to avoid the “Black” label by self-describing based on their African, Latino or West Indian ethnicity only. There are nuances to all of that that I discussed HERE.  

AABM have already retrogressed by staging 30+ years of 1800’s-style quadroon balls in their music videos and movies. Do we as AABW really want to join AABM by working our way back . . . step by step . . . (from Black to Brown to whatever the next lighter descriptor will be) toward self-describing as “colored”?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thank You, Kola Boof!

Thank you, Kola Boof!

I've always been a firm believer in giving credit where it's due. I was greatly relieved to see the news story "Zendaya ‘no longer involved’ in Lifetime network's Aaliyah biopic."

Ms. Boof's online petition against this blatant miscasting regarding Aaliyah raised awareness about the ongoing whitewashing of BW, and surely played a major part in this outcome. As Ms. Boof has said, it's not about this teenage actress. This girl's management put her in a bad position. Furthermore, since she's as much White as she is Black, her management can send her to audition to portray Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, or other historical White women in upcoming biopics. Let's see if Hollywood allows this actress or the rest of the biracial actresses (like Paula Patton, etc.) to portray historical White women.

It's not about this actress, it's ALL about the systematic whitewashing, replacement and erasure of Black women in the entertainment industry. As I discussed HERE, things have escalated to the point that roles portraying African-American Black women are increasingly reserved for women who are not African-American Black women.

Furthermore, it’s obvious that if Angela Bassett, Diahann Carrol and Vanessa Bell Calloway were starting their acting careers now, they would never get hired. As many of the comments I've read in the online discussions inspired by Ms. Boof's petition have noted, the same whitewashing is entrenched in today's music industry. If Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight, Dinah Washington, Dionne Warwick and Donna Summer were starting their careers now, they'd never get any recording deals.

Hopefully, this marks the beginning of the end of the whitewashing and erasure of African-American Black women.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

If Angela Bassett, Diahann Carroll & Vanessa Bell Calloway Were Starting Their Acting Careers Now, They’d Never Get Hired—And Many Of You Are Okay With That Result

I would strongly urge everyone to read the latest excellent post over at Not Your Girl Friday. Because she describes the “perpetually surprised” mindset that far too many African-American Black women* (AABW) embrace:
  There are a number of black women online, and I am POSITIVE it transfers to real life, that simply believe ANYTHING.  This is not meant as an insult, but for many black women whether this happens from a lifetime of being gas-lighted or simply refusing to listen to reasonable people assert reasonable things. These black women absolutely refuse to access the system upgrade required to practice discernment.

 These black women, yes I’m probably speaking to you, have the mind-boggling problem of  simply ACCEPTING ANYTHING AT FACE VALUE  without ever doing what is called “fact checking” first.

 This lot, because of their denial of the necessity of fact checking, their absolute refusal  to check the fruit of the vine BEFORE they irresponsibly jump in head long; and their outright dismissal of anyone who has gone before them and knows with certainty the ending results, consequently, leaves many of these women * perpetually surprised*  as many BWE writers have described.

 . . . These women, only after they have been perpetually surprised over and over again (be honest its happened to YOU), then bemoan the fact that their lots have been cast and they are stuck perpetually at the bottom of “whatever” totem pole they have found themselves.

[*By AABW, I’m referring to modern-day BW who have 2 Black parents and who are descendants of the Africans who were held in slavery in the U.S. Since a lot of y’all choose to play “confused” about who’s a member of the AA tribe.]
But here’s another feature of  The Girl Who Believes Anything (TGWBA) mindset that’s even crazier than what One Less Soldier described in her post: A lot of y’all who are TGWBA can’t even see things that are obvious AT FACE VALUE!

You can’t see that AABW are being replaced in the American entertainment industry. You can’t see that AABW can’t get hired to portray other real-life AABW. The roles portraying AABW are increasingly being reserved for women who don’t have 2 Black parents; and for those women who are not descendants of the Africans who were held in slavery in the U.S. In other words, roles portraying AABW are increasingly reserved for women who are not AABW. This casting pattern is obvious AT FACE VALUE:
Good God, they won't even let a BW play a BW cartoon character:
Instead of seeing the erasure, whitewashing, and replacement of AABW that’s been going on AT FACE VALUE, a lot of y’all have been making various convoluted excuses for why you’re okay with AABW being replaced by non-AA women and non-Black women.
There's nothing random or benign about this pattern. We've had several decades of an all-out assault on AABW's image. This was accomplished through the anti-BW denigration promoted by hip-hop and c/rap; the accompanying worship of the lighter, whiter-looking, half-other and "Cablanasian" women. All at the expense of BW who have 2 Black parents and who look like they have 2 Black parents.

So, to add it up:
  • 50+ years of the Harry Belafontes, Sidney Poitiers, OJs, Wesley Snipes, Arsenios, Yung Bergs, Neyos, etc.;
  • a little over 30 years of hip-hop, c/rap and the virulent denigration of BW that is part of that mess;
  • a little over 30 years of masses of AAs openly worshipping the half-others and "Cablanasians" in our midst at the expense of AABW who look like they have 2 Black parents.
Instead of seeing the whitewashing that's been going on for decades, a lot of y'all don't seem to notice the entrenched pattern that's been in place. You somehow don't notice that, in particular, the bulk of the entertainers who've been occupying "Black" roles and "slots" in the American entertainment industry are White women's children. Here's a partial list:

Halle Berry
Lisa Bonet
Shemar Moore
Persia White
Rashida Jones
Jennifer Beals
Jasmine Guy
Victoria Rowell
Boris Kodjoe
Lonette McKee
Sidney Tamiia Poitier
Clark Johnson
Mario Van Peebles
Most recently, yet another WW's child has been chosen to portray Aaliyah. But a lot of you can't and won't see the pattern here. Even after decades of this. Even as this pattern escalates.

This pattern and the destructive fallout associated with it mostly started with negro male celebrities and their insistence on having only lighter, whiter, White and other nonblack women cast in their music videos and other projects. But the majority of AABW aid, abet and perpetuate this pattern by supporting these negro male entertainers. And by supporting entertainment products that erase, displace, and replace AABW.
AABW do have a choice. We can make the conscious, deliberate choice to only support the entertainment products that lift us up.
When you look at the pattern of what’s going on, it’s obvious that if Angela Bassett, Diahann Carrol and Vanessa Bell Calloway were starting their acting careers now, they would never get hired. Even though she’s dark-skinned, a young Cicely Tyson might be able to slip into today’s industry if she emphasized the fact that she’s of foreign Black (West Indian) heritage. You may be *perpetually surprised* to hear the end result described in this manner; but this is what the casting choices YOU support with your money add up to.

I accuse you of being okay with that end result because: You financially support the casting decisions that EXCLUDE today’s AABW actress equivalents of Angela Bassett, Diahann Carrol and Vanessa Bell Calloway from ever being cast to play AABW.
We’ll probably never know who all of this generation’s Angela Bassett, etc. are because today’s Angela Bassett and others can’t get work. They can't get work and they won’t "do for self" to create their own productions.

I’m sure you’ll be *perpetually surprised* when things get to the point that the only roles in which White Hollywood and negro male directors and producers are willing to cast AABW are either in porn or “reality TV.”

THIS is where all of this is headed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

African-American Women: Here's Some Of The Fruit That You've Earned With Your Knee-Jerk, Rabid Support of “12 Years a Slave,” Part 4

I'll keep this relatively short because the point is [should be] self-evident. {smile}

A lot of y'all got mad when I originally questioned your knee-jerk, rabid, UN-reciprocated crusades in support of 12 Years a Slave.

I've been keeping track of the many bitter fruits y'all are going to reap as a result of this entrenched knee-jerk behavior pattern of constantly throwing on your Superwoman cape in support of any and all random Black-skinned faces. All without ever asking the simple questions of:

(1) What's in it for me and African-American women like me to support this?

(2) Who benefits from this [movie, TV show, record deal, etc.]?

(3) Who benefits the most from this [movie, TV show, record deal, etc.]?
Well, let's see . . .

So far, there's the Vanity Fair magazine cover I discussed HERE. There's the growing bad feeling some of y'all are belatedly experiencing that I discussed HERE. There's the casting of two foreign Black performers as Dr. King and Coretta Scott King in an upcoming biopic about Dr. King that I discussed HERE.

And now there's this: Lupita Nyong'o joins 'Star Wars' cast. Your unsolicited caping in support of 12 Years a Slave has worked out VERY well for the foreign Blacks who are reaping the lion's share of the material and career benefits from that movie. Meanwhile, you and AA actresses are still empty-handed.

Thirty-four (34) years ago, the first negro male actor was cast in the Star Wars franchise (Billy Dee Williams). The second negro male actor was cast in the Star Wars franchise in 2005 (Samuel Jackson).

And now that the first BW will appear in the American Star Wars movie franchise, your unsolicited caping for 12 Years a Slave has helped a foreign BW become that first (and most likely last) BW cast to appear in Star Wars.

Nyong'o's casting is also the first time a black woman will appear in a Star Wars movie. The first time in franchise history, spanning six movies. That's something worth celebrating. But it also makes you wonder what's been going on at one of the most lucrative franchises in movie history for the last 30 or so years. When Nyong'o and co-star John Boyega make their debuts, they will be the third and fourth black characters — Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) were the only two black characters before this upcoming movie — in Star Wars history to have speaking roles. 
Full article HERE. I agree with this observation by a commenter named Karen over at Not Your Girl Friday about this:

“Caping” has worked out well for Lupita, if reports are correct she will be in the latest Star Wars. Apparently, there were no AA BW actresses to be found and given that in all of the Star Wars movies to my knowledge no AA BW actress was ever given a visible role, it does not bode well for AA BW actresses when they are not even be selected in home grown American movies. Other “tribes”/countries will not go out of their way to cast an AA BW in their movies because they maintain their boundaries and ethnic pride for their own which is normal.
It again shows what happens when AA BW blindly “cape” for others that never asked for their support and therefore will show no reciprocity in return –> namely, AABW receive nothing in return and the reward/benefits go to “others” while we continue to be marginalized and erased. Unless we begin voting with our wallets and send a clear message, this trend will continue and accelerate.
Yep, that sums it up.

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Importance of Context and Nuances

Tl; dr version: Stay fluid and stay away from binary thinking and ideological thinking. Take whatever position works for YOU in each situation.
Short version: Do what Whites do, and apply various “rules” in whatever way works to your benefit. Reject the “one-drop rule” in situations when doing so brings you a benefit as an AABW. For example, don’t let modern-day half-Black women replace and erase you.

Adopt the one drop rule when doing so benefits you. For example, don’t let other people use rejection of the “one drop rule” as a way of stripping the AA tribe of those of our historical heroes who happened to be mixed. Our historical heroes that were mixed were (and are) Black in that context. Be flexible and take whatever position works for YOUR benefit in each situation.
Long version: Unfortunately, African-Americans generally don’t “do” nuance. We like to think and operate in hard binaries. We also usually fail to think through the costs/benefits of the binaries we adopt. We lock ourselves into positions, even when doing works to our disadvantage. Meanwhile, other people are experts at keeping context in mind and in keeping their options fluid. All of which works to their advantage.

This post is the result of a couple of things. A few things that I’ve had mentally marinating for a while, and then a more recent question asked at another blog.
For a while, I’ve been thinking through my mixed reactions to the thoughts expressed in reaction to THIS reprinted post. On the surface, this sounds good and self-affirming for AAs. But, as the original writer emphasizes, she’s African. She’s not AA. The positions she advocates won’t necessarily work for you in your AA context the way they work for her as an African. It might not cost her “tribe” anything to reject the American historical “one drop rule.”

But in some contexts and situations, there’s a price tag for AAs in the blind, uncritical and universal application of this “I’m rejecting the one-drop rule!” position. Because many of us are blindly taking this position AFTER we’ve invested heavily—for years— in newly-described-as-biracial folks that we’re now absolving of any responsibility to repay our support.
The pattern with how many AAs use the “biracial” label is that we use it to absolve biracial persons of any responsibility for reciprocating the material, monetary, and career support that AA Blacks have already given them. And the support that most of us continue to give them.

And so, with our hip new slogan of rejecting the one drop rule, we preserve the same old pattern of our resources flying out to others while nothing ever flows back in our direction.
Somehow, we never use the “biracial” label as a reason to CUT OFF the flow of our resources toward these people. We don’t say—like I did when I was in law school—“If this person is saying they’re not really Black, then why are they allowed to have their hand out for a Black student scholarship from a Black women’s auxiliary organization?”

My friends and I had great respect for the monies that had been raised by Black AA church ladies, Black lawyers’ wives,  secretaries, school lunchroom workers, and other BW for the benefit of AA Black students. That money was precious to us because it represented the hopes, dreams and aspirations of generations of AAs who didn’t have access to professional schools. We wanted that money to stay in house among loyal members of the AA Black tribe.
Unfortunately, the older AA Blacks who ran these various organizations and church programs didn’t agree. They were okay with giving the money raised by elderly AA church ladies to mixed students who only said they were Black when there was something to be gained by saying they’re Black. And so some of that Black student scholarship and stipend money went to several mixed individuals who did not speak to other Blacks on campus, and who never reciprocated that material support. During our final year of law school when it was time to give back to the same AA Black organizations who had given all of us material and monetary support during our first two years, these no-speaking mixed people refused to give.

Which brings me to a peculiar position I’ve heard said by some AABW who are in interracial marriages and are raising mixed children. Some of them are making a point of raising their children to reject any connection to AA Black people. So they’re basically pouring ALL their material resources into children they’re deliberately raising to have ZERO affection, respect or loyalty to these women’s own tribe. Sounds to me like a fast track to becoming the Black grandmother whose descendants claim was just a family servant and not a relative.
I don’t get that point of view because whenever I invest in anybody I expect a return on my investment.

Then there was a recent question asked in the comment section to THIS excellent post. The commenter basically asked how membership in the AA ethnic group is defined. I thought it was a good question because it highlights a couple of points about nuance and context. Essentially that there’s a huge difference between modern notions of technical, legal citizenship versus traditional understanding of tribal and ethnic membership.
All the way back from caveman times, membership in most tribes, ethnicities and nations are based on BLOODLINES. In other words, based on SHARED ancestral descent.

The modern, Western, technicality-driven (like “anchor babies”) view of citizenship does not trump bloodlines and shared ancestral descent. Anchor-baby-driven, technical U.S. citizenship does not change a foreign-origin person's bloodlines or ancestral descent.
The children of White/Black/Latino/whatever type of NON-Korean immigrants to South Korea don't get to wake up one day after growing up in South Korea and proclaim themselves as being part of the Korean people. It wouldn't even occur to anybody who lacks Korean bloodline ancestry to try that. Folks only presume to do that with African-Americans because we've been negligent in setting boundaries with other people.

African-Americans (AAs) are those Black folks in the U.S. who are descended from the African captives who were held in slavery in the United States. Anybody who's not part of this shared bloodline is not part of us. Pres. Obama married into the AA bloodlines. His children are AA. But his bloodline (continental African and WW) has ZERO connection to AAs. He's not descended from the African captives who were held in slavery in the United States.
There are nuances to all of this. I'm not as annoyed with Pres. Obama calling himself AA because he's married into my “tribe.” *And I let that slide in mixed company because I feel that overall, it operates as a “credit” to my tribe.

I'm also not annoyed with Min. Farrakhan calling himself AA (even though he's of West Indian bloodlines) because he's married into my tribe (IIRC); and he's been loyal to my tribe. And most of all, he was willing to follow and SERVE the leadership of an AA man (Elijah Muhammad). Too many foreign Blacks want to preside over AAs in the U.S. And tell us what to do about OUR issues—like some of the folks who have entered this conversation and the earlier post's comment section. Which is our own fault because we generally don't set boundaries with people.
*Side note to other AA readers:  I'm leery of people who want to strip the AA ethnic group of anybody and everybody who might be perceived as an accomplished person. I feel that some of y'all need to watch that. In your excitement to call yourself discarding the “one drop rule” you're making it easy for non-AA bigots to subtract a lot of historical AA heroes/sheroes from our tribe.

There are folks out there who hate AAs so much that they don't want us to be credited with anything or anybody who's productive. These bigots are in a hurry to find a way to describe any accomplished AA Black person as anything other than AA and/or Black. And in your fervor to call yourself discarding the “one drop rule,” you're helping these bigots do exactly that—subtract illustrious historical persons from our Black AA tribe.
I notice that there’s an ongoing, persistent effort to change the historical narrative and either destroy, erase or distort AA history. Like THIS situation. I've never watched this TV show, so I can't speak to the merits (or lack of such) regarding this character.

But I was extremely disturbed by this clip in which the fictional head of the historical Universal Negro Improvement Association (which was Garvey’s organization) goes straight from hosting a UNIA meeting in which he's telling members about the equivalent of a “talented tenth” uplifting Black folks to placing an order for $80,000 worth of heroin from White gangsters.
Regardless of whomever the actor involved (and I like and respect Jeffery Wright’s work as an actor) claims to be modeling his character after (a West Indian policy king named Casper Holstein that I mentioned in THIS post), he physically resembles W.E.B. DuBois with that handlebar moustache. That bit about referring to Blacks as "Libyans" is a riff on how the real-life historical Moorish Science Temple calls all Blacks “Moors.”And the writers have apparently used the name of the real historical Black organization, the UNIA.

The writers are showing a DuBois-resembling, historical Black leader character as somebody who peddles heroin to other Black folks. This is a problem because most AA sheeple get their history from TV shows.
In specific terms of lifestyle optimization for AA women, you can see what happens when your history is erased and distorted: People start selling you lies such as the notion that the masses of AA women have always been overweight.

I reject the one drop rule when it benefits me to do so. But if I see that somebody is using the rejection of the one drop rule to subtract some of our historical heroes from my tribe, then I’ll adopt the one drop rule for the purposes of that particular discussion. Context and nuances.

Lest we forget: The historical reason why so many of our early leaders and accomplished ancestors were more immediately “mixed” than is typical for us is because those were the first AAs who were positioned to have access to education. Either as the slavemaster's direct offspring or as (already) “free persons of color.”. In that moment in history, out of all of us, those were the types of Black folks who first gained access to education.

The productive, loyal tribe members Black folks that many of y'all new school individuals are in a hurry to call “biracial” and not Black—like the slavemaster's son Booker T. Washington—used their resources to help lift up other, NON-mixed AAs. Back to nuances, I disagree with a lot of things Booker T. Washington advocated. Nevertheless, he created a college that is still educating AA Blacks today. Not everybody’s going to get into Harvard, like W.E.B. DuBois. Washington built something that is still serving AAs’ needs today. As a Black AA business owner, I’ve seen for myself just how very hard it is to create a functioning institution. Especially one that uplifts AAs.
Ladies, please learn to examine the costs/benefits angle with everything. It helps the AA tribe to distance ourselves from and discard toxic, useless people by calling them “biracial.” It does NOT serve our interests to subtract any of our tribe's esteemed historical members by referring to them as “biracial.” 

Rhetorical question—Why is this so hard for so many of us to understand? White folks have this down pat. When somebody who is half-White & half-Other is a “credit,” they're quick to claim racial & tribal connection to that person. Folks like Keanu Reeves are identified as White by many (most) other White folks. When somebody who is half-White & half-Other is a turd (like this half-White/half-Asian creep who did the latest mass shooting), they're quick to distance that miscreant from the rest of their race & tribe. Nuances, ladies—nuances.
In closing,

My concern is that more AABW learn to perceive nuance and context. And learn to be flexible with rules, the way everybody else is. Instead of AABW continuing the behavior pattern of rigidly applying slogans and rules in ways that undermine their own interests.
I disagree with throwing the “biracial” label on esteemed historical AA/Black heroes/sheroes. Because that serves to subtract too many justifiably acclaimed and loyal people from our tribe.

This is a separate issue from the identification of modern-day biracials and multiculturals. These modern-day folks are mostly used to replace and erase “un-mixed” AA Blacks. Half-Black women in particular have been used to replace Black AA women in the media. I draw a distinction between myself as an AA Black woman and THESE modern-day half-Other folks because it serves my interests to do so. The modern-day biracials, Cablanasians, and multiculturals don’t represent me or AA Black women like me. As far as I’m concerned, there’s a world of difference between these modern-day biracials, Cablanasians, and multiculturals and our esteemed, loyal ancestors who happened to be half-nonblack.