Tuesday, February 07, 2006

race woman

(a warning - i have some expletives in here today, cause it's just how i felt while typing this gripe, which, i'll warn you, is long, and all over the place. i'd like to add that i think i probably contradicted myself in here a few times. it's okay if you point it out, i don't mind. i reserve the right to have imperfections and bad logic. this is a rant, after all, not a doctoral thesis.)

sometimes, i get tired of this black shit. really sick and damn tired. sometimes i just want to take a vacation from this shit, really.

i go to turn on the radio in the morning to hear some music on the way to work, forgetting (again) how much i hate all that cooning on the ignent ass to.m j.oyner morning show and the country ass ste.ve harve.y morning show. tired of all those clowns in music videos representing black men to our children and to the world like buffoons who are fascinated to the point of lost sense with shiny objects, including diamonds, gold, platinum, and hypersexed butt naked women.

i'm tired of the co.lor purp.le, which is sure to be in the top five list

i just didn't have

the tolerance

of movies black women love. i'm so sick of that damn movie... i grew up on it, watching it over and over, memorizing the lines, quoting it in conversations with my friends. i can't even watch it now. the mess between mister and celie... the mess between whitefolks and sophia... i can't mentally witness that shit over and over again anymore. it just makes me angry and bitter on a level i feel increasingly intensely, commensurate with the amount of life i live and experience. it came on monday night. i couldn't make it past fifteen minutes. that miss millie bitch going on about how those black men were about to attack her when they were only trying to help her drive home... i just didn't have the tolerance to get through the scene. shoot, i haven't even watched roo.ts in years. i might need to abstain from all racial media images for a little while before some innocent person gets hurt if i hear the wrong tone of voice one day. i'm realizing now why i was such an angry, militant young lady when i left home for college - i had been watching too much damn television.

now something new was a cute little movie. i made it a point to support it during opening weekend. i'd heard the radio ads, seen the billboards, caught wind of the




previews, and thought, "well this movie's pretty much for us, by us, and it seems to sidestep the cooning, so let me be sure to go add to the opening weekend tally." like how blackfolks crowded around radios whenever joe louis had a fight. like how everybody and they mama wanted me to watch j.amie fox.x's tv special the other week. imagine my disappointment upon hearing that the movie only grossed half as much in opening weekend as others that debuted to a similar audience, like st.ella or brow.n s.ugar, about 4 million dollars less than expected. i'ma chalk that up, in part, to big m.omma's ho.use 2 splitting the audience (which doesn't make any sense, because one is a comedy and the other a romantic comedy, but since we're talking about blackfolks, it somehow inexplicably makes sense all of a sudden to lump those two movies in together and see them as competing against each other).

however, i realized my disappointment wasn't even a surprise, since i've anecdotally heard black person after black person dismiss the movie as a commercial for black women to get down with the swirl. how 'bout first of all, it was more about reexamining silly inhibitions, it just used an interracial relationship to center the point around. secondly, damn, what's wrong with dating white guys anyway? (warning: very very very hypocritical statements are about to come from the keyboard of a woman who, on the way to the car after leaving the theatre, said, and i quote, "yeah, aight, but i still ain't dating no white boys. can i 'let go, let flow' with a brotha?") date who you want. and at the point it seems everyone is dating interracially EXCEPT black women, i think it's about damn time we started to let go of our collective inhibitions about the taboo of "stepping out on the black man," whether or not we are individually able to take that mental leap.

why didn't we want to see this movie? why did we choose m.artin law.rence in padding in a dress over sana.a lath.an and company? a brother was talking about this movie, and how he wouldn't go (in the midst of a whole boatload of things he felt like complaining about as a black man). he said that he didn't want to witness

maybe people get tired

of always bringing it back

to color

white men "taking" our women when they are the cause of the shortage of black men in the first place. i took offense to that, as if white men are forcibly making us abandon black men - no, actually, i think some women are just trying to get some loving, and if a white man is there to provide it, more power to her - i certainly wouldn't attribute such a relationship to a white man "taking" a damn thing. or maybe certain sisters get tired of hearing brothers like him griping about "the man" this, "the man" that. i had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a man who did that to the point of disturbing me. there were times, while i was dating him, that i wondered what it would be like to be with a man who just went through his personal struggles without always bringing it back to color (e.g. a white man). but i digress.... a black woman told me she had no intention of seeing the movie, as she wrinkled up her nose and said she didn't want to see another movie with some black woman getting down with a white guy. this movie is sooooo not gu.ess who, or mo.nster's ba.ll, but i guess you'd have to give it a chance to know that.

this movie (and some of sana.a lath.an's interview comments) incited responses by black men who are all employed, educated, outside the penal system,

the bane of the single professional black woman's existence

and straight. seems these men are all sick and tired of the dead/gay/in jail litany that has become the bane of every single professional black woman's existence (and which litany, not surprisingly, plays a supporting role in this movie). on their behalf, and on mine, i would like to say that i am sick and tired of hearing that shit too.

just one day, i'd like to know what it's like to be a single woman, and not a single black woman, lowest on the totem pole of single women who are likely to marry, because even black men don't like me or don't "qualify" to be with me. i mean, it comes up all the time. and people love to fall back on that because they don't see me as unattractive or mean or repulsive. but does the problem have to be the black numbers game? could it possibly be that whatever relationships

we are people,

not statistics

i've been in just haven't worked out for whatever reason? or that i have poor relationship skills? or that i make bad choices in men? or that i just haven't met the right one? nooooo, it's always got to go back to my brothers. yes, i am pulling the "my brothers" card. yes, i am taking the stereotypical stand-by-your-brothers-ange.la-da.vis-afro-fist-in-the-air stance on this one. yes, i am. to do any less would be to disrespect my dad (and men like him), who is one of the greatest men i've ever known, and who happens to be a black man. who was my first and best example of how this thing can go. and no, i don't think that if i dated or married white, that it would per se disrespect my dad (we'll ignore for a moment that he doesn't want me to even marry lightskinned, which is a whole 'nother rant). but to dismiss brothers as a dating possibility, or to lie down complacently in the face of the dead/gay/in jail litany, or to blame my singleness on their statistics would, because his life, his intelligence, his strength, his achievements, and his love are a testimony - we are not all statistics. we are people.

and see, it's that we are people thing that gets me. it's just not true. we are, more often than not, not just people who happen to be black - we are black people. there's a part in the movie, something new, where the possibility of being able to just live life without the ever-present burden of race/class dynamics hanging over your head is addressed. i could choose to try to listen to "white"

we're not just people

who happen to be black

stations in the morning instead of just the black ones and still have the same damn problem of senseless chatter interrupting the music. i could go see a movie without regard for who's in it and just choose based on the subject matter and whether or not i think it'll entertain me (wait a minute, i already do that, but work with me here) instead of worrying about which types of images of blackfolks i'd most like to support. i could act at work as if my idiosyncrasies, successes and shortcomings don't impact my all-white co-workers' perceptions of blackfolks' capabilities. but i can't and don't want to shake this skin. i can't change the statistics. i can't bury my head in the sand when my friends and family come complaining about being black in this country, as much as i want to tell them sometimes to just shutup and stop complaining (like how i've been complaining in this entire blog entry). shit really does happen. and sometimes it really is directly attributable to color. and every time, we really do have to deal with it, whether it's mushed in our face or it's the elephant in the room noone wants to talk about.

this legacy is a heavy load. i'm just saying that sometimes i'm only carrying it 'cause i have to, not because i would if i had the option not to. don't get me wrong, i love being brown - i love who i am and where i've come from. it's just i could do without some

it's exhausting sometimes

of this shit that comes along with it. people getting shot by bullets instead of cameras at video shoots... wasting time hearing about the yo.ung-and-the-r.estless-like he say/he say of na.s and ja.y-z and camro.n and re.my ma and fat jo.e when there's aids cases to prevent, and welfare-to-work mothers struggling, and kids getting sentenced to ritali.n and special ed, and other kids who only know r.osa parks and m.artin lut.her ki.ng but not arthu.r ashe or ca.rter g. woodson or m.ae jem.ison. it's just exhausting sometimes seeing and feeling so many negative things happening among a sea of yellow, red, brown and black reflections of myself.

but it is what it is. as much as i cry out for the chance to experience humanity without the burden of race/class politics, i know that those politics shape everything about me, from my upbringing, to the decisions i make on how to wear my hair, to the food i eat, to the way i express myself, to the postage stamps i use - i and my blackness are inseparable, whether or not i want a vacation, and though i may complain sometimes, i wouldn't have it any other way. and the truth is, every one of every culture carries their culture with them every day, like a thread running throughout a tapestry. it's just the circumstances of my birth made me a minority in perhaps the most racially charged place on earth, which heightens my (and my people's) self cultural awareness more than your average bear.

like another ethnic group is fond of saying, "whaddaya gonna do?" every morning i wake up, i will get up and keep on trucking, 'cause i'm standing on the shoulders of giants who made this trucking possible for me - more tolerable, in fact. i owe them at least that much, and as tired i might get sometimes, i ain't got nothing on what they had to deal with.