“If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed,” the comedian Paul Mooney, sporting an Afro, says in the documentary “Good Hair,” which won a jury prize at the Sundance film festival and comes out in October. “If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.”Le sigh. There is no political related ideology in wearing our hair with or without chemical processing. It's a personal choice! This is why I am wary of having black men try to deconstruct issues that pertain specifically to black women. Or give dating advice when they themselves haven't had successful relationships. I mean I don't see any movies helmed by us about how their anatomy has been erroneously touted as a means of boosting their insecurities. It would be considered insulting, yet here we are having other people tell us what our "issues" are.
Friday, August 28, 2009
The White Media Sure Loves To Promote Black Woman Angst Don't They?
If I have to read another tired article about how black women have such a hard time with:
a) Our hair
b) Our dating prospects
c) Our bodies
I WILL SCREAM!
Ladies you shouldn't fall for it. Despite some of the serious issues we discuss here and across the blogosphere these discussions initiated in outlets like the New York Times don't necessarily have our best interests at heart. Considering how the majority of the staff - especially upper management is 99.99999% white and male - I have a hard time believing the our stories are of such interest. What has happened is a heightened combination of curiosity and contempt from numerous quarters since Michelle Obama became First Lady that serves as a catalyst for this.
Now one agenda is to do coverage that serves as the back-handed compliment and the white editors make certain to hire a writer with some black heritage to pen it. In other words to deflect any charges of bias they'll say the (condescending or derogatory) tone and content was at the discretion of that writer. They were of course pulling the puppet strings. At any time they could find a writer who could produce a quality piece of substance that is equally compelling and informative.
Another agenda is to do these types of black people 101 stories where they do a superficial exploration of something that has been a bone of contention for many. Like our hair apparently. It's either feast or famine apparently. They have gone from ignoring us completely or only reporting the worst offenders to having an axe to grind. When do these shrinking sources of legit media offer an exhaustive, inspiring or accurate portrayal? It's a fluke but it does occur from time to time.
Not that I don't welcome media coverage for things like the population of missing and exploited women and children. Or having our beauty touted in a favorable light. There's just no balance. It can't all be about our First Lady or some variation of " Black Woman It Sucks To Be You". There's a fine line to be had in discussing obstacles and in evaluating stereotypes or exposing pathologies. How we respond is equally as important for we can do things that help elevate our image or chip away at recent progress.
We need to be wary and evaluate who wants to engage in these conversations and why. It is often not designed to be helpful in removing barriers but to reinforce them. Why are we letting other people dictate what should be our own agenda with a message we take responsibility for and protect?