[I've finally granted all requests for intvws in the comments of the last post. I havent been foloing up to see if yall all answered yet, but if you havent, get ta steppin! Anyone else wanna quiz me, speak now or... ~Management]
"Black women are the mules of the world."
I’ve been inspired.
Nikki’s recent post about images of sistas on TV, resonates because of its truth. But there is, I believe, also a hidden truth behind the truth…
Fact is, yup, we’re still largely relegated to 3 familiar roles on TV…angry asexual, marriage-obsessed neurotic, and whore. A shame really, because our truth is that we all know Black women to be a diverse and varied soul. We know this because we know each other. We know our mothers and sisters and girlfriends and neighbors. Hell, we “know” our fellow blog sistas.
Problem is folks, that white people don’t know us, and it’s all our fault.
When’s the last time you took a co-worker up on an invitation for a few drinks after work? Or said yes, when the white couple across the street extends apple pie or hot dogs or whatever the hell else they be cooking over there and offering? Or that you actually indulged in a frivolous convo on the elevator, in line at Wa’Mart, or on the A train?
Hell naw. Why? Because “white people so damn nosy!” Always in your business. Always tryna see what you about. Which kind of Black girl you is.
But we steady don’t let em.
So that leaves white people to their own devices. They basically “know” 3 Black chicks besides you…Opr.ah, Bey.once and C0ndi. All us others are a mystery.
Interestingly enough, though I’m very cool with white folks, having grown up with some good ones, I noticed something recently. The only time I go to a predominantly white social spot is when I’m with one of my (Black) homeboys. Otherwise, if it’s me and the girls, we’re heading to somewhere where there’s some nggas.
While brothers are undoubtedly more nondiscriminatory than we are when it comes to sexual conquests, they are also much more open to white folks in general. They stand around and talk baseball with the white guy in Accounting. They don’t mind grabbing a bite with the white chicks from down the block. They accept an invite to the Blessed.Sacrement fellowship picnic.
They are just not as guarded as us. In fact, I believe brothers are more open because they want to be accepted. And I don’t mean in a pathetic-smelly-5th grader kind of way. I mean, it is important that they are seen as a whole person, not as an image. Not as angry or thuggish or violent or stupid (like my pet peeve dude who apologizes for his girl's "attitude" when some white authority treats to play her, instead of having her back when she's justified). They want white men to see that they can look them in the eye without averting, because they are men too, and ought to be treated as such.
Sistas on the other hand, as Zora said, are the mules of the world. We know this. We resent this. And we don’t give a fcuk about proving you wrong. That’s on you for thinking it. We expect that when we work hard we ought to be seen as whole and competent and intelligent and nuanced and complex and human. Just like any other woman. Problem is, we don’t care for the follow up. We don’t want you in our business bec we refuse to be exploited. We refuse to give you the satisfaction of thinking you know us.
So we get the Big 3 when it comes to TV, and film for that matter. Because of course, white folks are the ones behind the lenses and the scripts. They are the ones reflecting to us what we have or have not projected to them.
So while you got brothas like Omar.Epps and Gary.Dourdan. and Isaiah Wash (RIP Burke) and Dennis.Haysbert and Shamar.Moore and Harold.Perrineau and DL.Hughley getting the opportunity to play such complex, meaty roles on TV…sistas, not so much.
We get to play Joan and Miranda and Whoreen. Cuz that's what they know.
But to be sure, Asians fare far worse on TV, and I’m betting for very similar anti-social reasons. Even Latinos who are pleasantly becoming more visible, are often, as in the case of the Solises on DHouse.wives, little more than white characters with tans and accented surnames.
I actually love Miranda’s character on Grey’s. She’s vilified for being a typical Mammy, but dammit, have YOU EVER spent any extended periods of time with emotional, neurotic, hard headed, know it all, young, overly ambitious white kids? Well, it’s her job to baby sit them muhfcukas. A job I couldn’t see none of them other Mcdreamy/creamy/schmeemy bastards pulling off. You’d be pissed off too.
As for Joan, well, she’s written by a sista, and her obsession with finding a soul mate and her life’s work is woefully authentic. Very familiar to me, not unlike many sistas I know, or many of you bloggers I read, for that matter.
Was Carrie.Bradshaw of Sex.And.The.City similarly criticized? Naw. And that chick was all about snagging Big, Manolos and living beyond her means. Basically a paler Joan. The difference of course is that for every televised Carrie or McBeal or Mary.Tyler.Moore, there’s a televised Blanche, Roseanne or Alexis.Carrington. A variety. A balance.
I’m very proud of the Wanda.Sykes, the Khandi.Alexanders, Tonya.Pinkinses, Tia/Tamaras, Epathas, Dianne.Carrols, Tischina.Arnolds, Latonya.Jacksons, and Ryan.Bathes that do exist and that do add a splash of diversity to TV.
And Im very proud of the real life sistas who every now and again accept an invitation from nosy white folk.