|#RHOA: Overseer of Black Female Slave Syndrome and Our Unwitting Self-Destruction|
There are better analyses of our contemporary battles: Mrs. Ray Rice, domestic abuse victim and devotee to her assailant; the fisticuffs of the "Basketball Wives" or "Atlanta Housewives," who use their own brand of domestic abuse in their aim to be relevant. And many aren't even complaining because those reality television cases, though histrionic, are telegenic (who doesn't like to see wild women fight)? Black women of television are struggling for prime-time ratings (see the tempest that never was), but they doth protest way too much. Most of us are fighting battles to be relevant in our daily lives. Period.
Black women are some of the most misunderstood, if not "the" most misunderstood species that has ever existed in contemporary civilization. We are the creators of the human species (heard of "Lucy"?), we are the subject of Biblical lore (before Hollywood let Whites play African roles). We are lusted after, mostly behind closed doors, in cars, in streets, in bedrooms, and in cotton fields where our progeny sprang into our contemporary apotheosis as Negroes, coloreds, Blacks, and African-American "hoes," "girls," "tricks," "shorties," "bitches"--any others out there I've forgotten? Our big lips and butts were the stuff of ridicule, and are now the stuff of big money. We've been eclipsed by the White woman, who has perfected our Negritude in White face. We've been out-souled by a more visually pleasing imposter; yet it is we who are ridiculed for our "otherness."
While the White women triumphantly sang, "I am Woman, Hear Me Roar," some of us sisters were moaning while busily doing the heavy lifting, too tired to chime in while we did their labor. Yet, we have no manifesto to declare our lot as Black women. Our collective lament throughout the diaspora is only explained and heard using one adjective: angry. The appellation is cartoon-ish, lacks depth, and is a stereotype, just like the N-word, that must be rejected for what it is: a blanket adjective used to describe a complex human being, capable of dissection, but, most often, spray-painted by a dismissive appellation instead. Using the term "angry" to describe black women is the equivalent of describing crimson, mauve, carmine, or burgundy as simply red. Black women are as varied as the colors of grass that we call "green," or the colors of the sea in many parts of the world; for those who have had the privilege of seeing seas unspoiled by pollution, somehow the color "blue" doesn't do them justice.
|Nicki Minaj, born Trinidadian, now a disgrace|
to Black American women
Over the past twenty-plus years, I have introduced my own Black female concept to film and television, but each was changed and adapted to reflect Hollywood's preferred story about Black women: we are stern judges or crazy crack-fiends: television writers use the stereotype for dramatic pull. And, well, there is some anger out there. But that's only on the surface. Underneath the anger is disappointment--in our lot in this life, in walking a solitary path while all other women are escorted. Even Oprah Winfrey, a newscaster, at the time, had to hire her escort, now life-partner, to attend a gala event. Even her claim to fame is that she is not angry, but spiritual. She forgives and forgets, embracing the now. That's what America likes to remember. The Now. Not the Past.
Until Black women find the means to tell our own true story as women, not angry females, without Hollywood editing by white men or black slaves of White thinking, we will forever be marginalized by Hollywood caricatures and adjectives that objectify, reduce us to stereotype, and that will only further debilitate our position as citizens in our own American backyard.
ISIS or ISIL are vile terrorists. However, I dare say that Black American ideological self-loathing and its consequences will do more to hurt this country than any Islamic religious jihad fought overseas.
Here's an excellent post about prejudicial stereotypes of Black women
and an introduction to the concept of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which has begun a nation-wide dialogue about how slavery informs Black American behavior to this day: