Media Watch: Black Women and The Blind Side

I sorta liked this movie. Yet, I was also disturbed by it.

I happen to like Sandra Bullock, even though her taste in men is dreadful. 🙂 So my criticism is of the film itself, and not her as an actress.



Also, I’ve learned not to expect anything meaningful from Hollywood, especially with movies including black women. For these people, it’s about, “Which stereotypes shall I use today?” Quality drama is reserved for “special” white men, white women and a favored ethnic token or two. The writers, producers and directors will probably never evolve meaningfully or intelligently into viewing non-white women as human beings. Hollywood is composed of limited, talentless, shortsighted creatures – no matter how many Oscars they hand out to themselves as examples of excellence.

They only wish they knew better.

And I know people mean well, but enough with the, “That’s why we gotta make our own films,” mantra. I have no bloody frigging interest in making films. Seriously. I just don’t watch anything they put out if I’m not satisfied. Plenty of Korean dramas, foreign films, and classics to watch, or books to read. End of story.

But I’ll criticize the crap if I want to.

A Familiar Theme

The Blind Side tapped into a familiar storyline that I’ve seen (or heard about) in a number of films or TV shows. Guess what Six Degrees of Separation, Fresh Prince of Bel-AirAntwone Fisher and The Blind Side have in common? A young black male gets taken in or is saved by someone. Admirable stories, of course. I applaud those efforts.

I’ve watched a lot of movies – I’ve been searching my frazzled brain – have there been any versions where young black females, alone, no siblings, have been helped? Maybe I missed those nice Lifetime flicks. I’m sure there have been some. How about TV shows? Any major film releases in the last decade? Someone lemme know if you’ve found any. And Precious doesn’t count.

Is it because people have this notion that no one would see a film where a young black girl / woman is taken in and assisted by a wealthy white family? Is it because people realize a white women would see the young black girl / woman as a threat to her stable white family? Maybe she’d end up in the sack with the husband, grandfather, uncles or Gawd Ferbid, her studly sons?

Or is that no one thinks a black girl / woman is worth saving in the first place? Do folks think she will land on her feet like a cat falling off a highrise balcony?

No One Is Coming To Rescue You

The message from those films, and TV shows, I’ve mentioned – like the elimination of black women from history (a la Red Tails) – is that you’ve already been sacrificed. You shouldn’t wait to be rescued, like Antwone Fisher, or any other black male, or white woman, or favorite token ethnic, because no one cares. Those groups are established and recognized “victims”. Black girls / women are not.

Remember that each and every time someone starts a project, foundation, scholarship, or organization to solely benefit black girls / young black women, the inevitable whining begins. But what about my boys? What about black boys? And it needs to be asked, “What about them?” Why is everyone so stingy, mealy mouth, about something just for the girls? If the whiners want change, they can start an organization for their boys, although gazillions of them already exist.

I wonder why there has not been any TV shows, movies or media stories celebrating the taking in and uplifting of a black girl / young black woman? We had The Secret Life of Bees, a story where black women take in a little white girl. Would the movie have been made if she was a black girl? Even in stories where a young black girl is given a home, like in I Can Do Bad All By Myself, it’s done with her male sibling. And predictably someone tries to rape the child. Would the movie have been made if the siblings were girls?

If the young girl is always at threat of being sexually abused, why is she regarded as the problem?

Boys Are Preferred

The reason why movies, TV shows, and media stories focus on the rescued boys is this: they’re “endangered”, more vulnerable than girls, don’t get pregnant, wont seduce your male family members (heh), aren’t a hassle (no worries about sassiness), and at least with the boy, his saviors can get a decent return on their investment if he excels at sports.

Who said it wasn’t a man’s world? Those things right there prove that if a young black male pulled himself together, with plenty of the “right” assistance, he could step higher into mainstream America by virtue of having a penis. There is a support structure in place. Those who whine about, “What about my boy?” miss this fact entirely. His color matters less than if his head(s) is in the right place. Black mothers (and plenty of fathers) seem blind to this opportunity.

Black Girls Be Gone

See how everyone misses the sexism and racism against black girls? No one is thinking of them. It’s always about saving the “brothas”, save the endangered black male, or save our black boys. Worthwhile efforts. Yet, all children need help. Not just one gender.

People ignore the plight of black girls, because they are regarded the same as stray feral cats: able to take care of herself (even at ages as young as 8 years old) and it’s not a topic worth bothering about.

Blindsided Opportunities

Every movie that pretends to be uplifting, is also in danger of spreading another message that isn’t as compassionate or endearing as they’ve imagined. Some people are likely smeared in the process. Like black women.

The Blind Side was about a “good white Christian” family, specifically a southern woman, taking in a homeless black boy, Michael Oher, (who’s really big, seems mentally slow, but he’s really a gentle giant – think Michael Clarke Duncan in the Green Mile). Throughout the film, I had this imagine of a family seeing a big stray dog by the road, taking it home and not realizing it’s a wolf.

Sandra Bullock’s character had that irritating “white woman’s moxie” that worked my last nerve throughout the film. That whole pushy, obnoxious, y’all gonna do what I say because I am sooooo special routine was so annoying…. But hey, she was doing it for the boy. That po’ boy. She was gonna save him. ‘Cause if he was a homeless she, well, um, things would sort themselves for the girl. Couldn’t bring that home. A black boy, yes. A black girl? Nevah.

Two Sides of the Same Negative Coin

There were two black women in this film. Neither one served in a good light.

Oftentimes on TV shows, or movies, we get the tough talkin’ ball bustin’ black chick who comes in and runs game. Rarely likeable. Rarely attractive. If she is good looking, it’s guaranteed that by time her acting is done, her performance has drained her femininity away. And that’s done on purpose. Some of us are fooled into thinking that’s a power position or a positive thing. Trust me on this one: you’re not being served when presented as the tough talkin’ ball bustin’ black chick who comes in and runs game. That character always has a black woman’s face.

Remember now, it’s called, “Othering”. Don’t ever forget that.

Both Equally Bad: Dark and Light

Michael Oher’s mother was shown in a dark, dank and dilapidated apartment. Of course, she was a shamed-faced crack addict, who had her children taken away. When Sandra Bullock’s character came for him, she passively accepts the “purchase”, oh sorry, releasing of her child to this “good Christian white woman” (GCWW).

The GCWW may have listened to the sorry story of Michael Oher’s momma, but did nothing to offer her help. Hey, we all know by now that a (poor, black) drug addict is a lost cause. And no one is supposed to help a black woman anyway. You’re on your own, pardner.

However, the son is worth something. He could be used for sports. His mother? She done served her purpose. She popped out big boy!

Remember back when the last saving grace of a black mother was that she’d do everything for her children? Now, that’s even been taken away. A GCWW makes a far superior mother as well.

The image of black motherhood, black womanhood and self-sufficiency has been completely tarnished.

On the flip side, we get a light and bright black woman who’s brought in, by the NCAA, to interrogate Michael Oher’s decision to attend good ole Miss (segregation history). I believe he was interrogated, but by a black woman? Pshaw. Gimme a break.

But the movie required that an evil tough talkin’ ball bustin’ black chick comes in and runs game. Hate those characters. Hate ’em all. These mannish black women roles have to end. Let white women keep them.

Oh, and that “mean black woman” is edjumacated, articulate, smart and very bitchy.

They put her and Oher in a nice bright room. And she attacks him like a hungry feral cat. She’s cold, offers no comfort, and doesn’t behave like an ally. The assumption is that a man (white, black or other) would have some sympathy for Michael. But by having that “mean black woman” we see how they are presented as being in the way of this young black man.

Did You Get The Message? Black Women Are in the Way of Black Male Progress

Michael Oher’s first impediment in life was his mother. I’m sure if the movie had time for more they would have tossed in more black women who get in his way. The last hurdle was the NCAA interrogator. If she stops him – his ability to play football and his new life would be hampered.

Way to go black women!

And who showed the black male the way forward? Those GCWW. Showing him what a real mother is like, what a real wife is like, what a real sister is like, what a real nurturing spirit is like, what a real woman is like, and what real femininity is like. So good, that women like her would make an excellent wife.

Lemme recap real quick: this movie made a deep comparison between two sets of women. The GCWW and white “sister” versus the crack head black “mother” and black corporate ball buster.

Guess what black women: you lost. And I bet you weren’t even paying attention, because Michael’s story was so “uplifting” and “wonderful”.

In Summary: Separate Shouldn’t Require Elimination

We have, in theory, talked about black women (who are “free”) moving out of the regressive, dwindling, faux or non-existent “black community” to integrate with the rest of society to improve their lives and explore it to the fullest extent.

I’d say black men have been freely doing it for years. However, the media has made it quite clear you, black women, were dumped curbside quite a while ago. The message is that it is the black male who is better off without you. Somehow, if he’s not succeeding, it’s your fault, whether he’s family or a stranger.

I don’t know about you, but I find that to be a dangerous message. I hope it wont be repeated.

It’s different to want to disengage and live the way you see fit – as a black woman. That’s different than messages sent via film that black males aren’t succeeding, because black women (family or not) are crippling or denying him access to a better life.

And we often hesitate to push back against any message that seems anti-black woman, due to not wanting to be viewed as hampering black male achievement. But it doesn’t have to be an either or situation. Black men  aren’t the least bit worried about the well being of black women. Frankly, they’re running full tilt somewhere else. Try visiting an all white “hipster” club and watch the usual 2-4 negroes freak out. How dare you intrude into their special space and have a social life? They’ve made it clear that they don’t respect you.

Besides, other folks will take care of him, which takes a load off your back….

So, let’s not be blindsided anymore, black women. Be an advocate for yourself. Be an advocate for young black girls.

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For Black Women: Don’t Ever Ask For Permission To Live

Spring is coming. Well, up here in the Northeast it’s coming. I’m sure for those of you around the country (or world) the weather is different. Could be blazing hot right now, eh?

I haven’t been pro-active enough lately, or the last couple of months. I think I’ve spent more of it catching up, because I’ve let so many personal things go by the wayside. I’m a procrastinator. It’s true. 🙂

I want to encourage those of you who are feeling a bit blue to look forward to the next few months, or years, of your life. I think the last two or three years have been a wake up call. We’re seeing relatively “young” celebrities, rich folk, public intellectuals and entertainers die way way way before their time. And here we are simple, regular folk, slogging through each day wondering how people with “everything” could pass so easily.

There you have it: even the wealthy, famous and “perfect” can suddenly die.

Oh, I meant to cheer you up. Sorry. 🙂

I want to encourage you. Push you. Gently. To refocus.

Think about what you want. What you want! What you NEED. What you DESIRE. What you feel you DESERVE.

You ain’t here to please nobody. So don’t let any naysayers, toxic people, or the crabs in your life know about your wishes. Only share it with those who really do love you.

And that’s another thing. Please run away, right now, from anybody who makes you feel less than. Who leaves a bad taste in your mouth after every discussion. A “frank” conversation shouldn’t leave you feeling sad, sorrowful, down-in-the-dumps or DISCOURAGED!

I meant this to be short, but I’m asking all of you to think of yourselves. Treat yourself better. Love yourself. Find people who adore you to surround you. And tell the vampires in your life to hit the road. There are people out there who are NOT entitled to invade your personal space or life.

Okay?

Make that list. Follow through. Do what pleases you. Do the impossible. And remember: Don’t ever ask for permission to live.

Take good care of yourself.

Cheers. 😀

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For Black Women: R.I.P. Whitney Houston

I did not know her personally. Yet, there’s so much hear-say that black folks like to pass along – gossipy nonsense – just so they could pretend they knew her. You know, a friend of a friend of a friend. I live in New Jersey. So, I’ve heard my share of crap.

Back in the day, pre-innernets, Bossip and TMZ, et al, I couldn’t read a black magazine or go to a hair salon without people talking about Ms Whitney. It was the same for Eddie Murphy, and a few other fresh faces of black super-stardom. That’s because there are neighborhoods in NJ where some wealthy (famous and non-famous) blacks clustered. I can recall people who saw her in person – shopping at a local store – and they spoke about not only how beautiful she was, but nice and graceous.

I grabbed this image from: http://praisedc.com/videos/praisedc/whitney-houston-sings-yes-jesus-loves-me-in-final-performance-video/

Acting Black / Acting White Dogma

The criticisms of her back when she was a rising star, collectively uttered from the Black Thought Police, had very little to do with her supposed attraction to roughneck DBR (damaged beyond repair) black males. It was actually the opposite: she was criticized for being extremely tight with her own crew of close-knit female friends, and being very accommodating – polite and very willing to mingle – with white people. Folks were also up-in-arms, because her music writers were white. I kid you not.

Black critics complained about Ms Whitney like they were frightened of her becoming – I dunno – white or something? The accusations were so bizarre and idiotic. I think they just hated the fact that she was classy, well spoken, and kept to her own little group. Yet, isn’t this the weird stigma that blacks who do well in school have to face? Being smart and well spoken is being white?

I recently had some chicks at my job ask me why I’m always well dressed. Digest the stupidity of that for a moment. You don’t need to ask if they’re black. 🙂

Think of it this way: wasn’t the fear of her “escaping” somewhat similar to the grief black women get for thinking for themselves? You know, dating IR, leaving the neighborhood, getting a better job, finishing school, and living to the best of your ability? Do you think it’s an accident Tina Turner left the country? Or how Diana Ross ran from black folks? Isn’t Halle Berry running away too? These women have self-preservation utmost in their minds. They know that kowtowing to the Black Thought Police is detrimental.

The Hood Chick Fiction

I’ll be honest. I hate reading about people trying to make Ms Whitney into a rough neck girl or a hood-rat that hid it well from the public, because she grew up near or in Newark, NJ. Come on, now.

You ever watch Whitney during her early days when she was being interviewed by the mainstream media nationally and internationally? You cannot fake that kind of class. You cannot fake speaking that well unless you went to a good school and learned how. You ever watch some our illiterate, uneducated and gangsta wannabe athletes struggle to utter a coherent sentence? So, why are people trying to put Whitney down there with them? Come on, now.

How could she be hood, when her mother is Sissy Houston, a well-known R&B singer, a famous cousin that is Dionne Warwick, and a father that was in the music business long before she was born? Come on, now.

And don’t we always say we speak differently depending on the environment? There’s relaxed “I’m among friends” speech, and then there’s formal speech. Listen to Whitney sing: she could enunciate like nobody’s business. Try listening to Mary J. Blige and some of these girls who really are hood. Good luck figuring out what they are singing about. (And I like Mary J., so don’t get me wrong.)

Even if she was from a tough neighborhood, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t a sensitive, delicate, vulnerable and emotional woman. That’s the part that bothers me the most when people are dismissive of black girls or women who come from rough neighborhoods. They have feelings too. Just because they are better at masking it doesn’t mean they still don’t hurt. You think it’s easy to be dogged on a daily basis? That’s emotionally damaging, folks.

Anyone coming out of that environment untroubled is miraculous and highly improbable. The damage lingers for years, the scars cannot be seen, because they are the emotional kind.

An American Icon

She was one of the last true divas whose music I purchased. I cannot think of anyone who can hold a candle to that voice.

“I’ll Always Love You,” makes me cry every time I heard it.

You think any of these synthetic, Auto-Tune, overly-dramatic, yipping like a dog struck by a car, too cute to be for real, computer assisted chicks really know how to sing? Come on, now.

She blew the roof off with her rendition of the National Anthem. Now, look at how many twits cannot even remember the lyrics to give a decent performance singing it. They have no shame. They have no class. They show up for themselves. They aren’t there for the fans who made them rich. I cannot stand most of them.

What I loved about Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson is that they were old school in their professionalism. They showed up and gave 110% of themselves to their fans. I’ll give Madonna and Prince the same props – they’re performers who give it their all.

The music business keeps wondering why the sales of their music declines every year. It’s because they’re running out of real talent, here in the USA, that appeals to everyone. And passing restrictive Internet laws isn’t going to recoup those losses either.

I’ll miss you Ms Whitney Houston, because I was rooting for you to come back and blow everyone away again.

**Update**

Kevin Costner Stays Mum About Their Relationship
He Will Speak at Her Funeral

***Extra***

Lessons In Synchronicity & Love: Kevin Costner On Whitney Houston – A fantastic post from Faith’s Blog. Check it out.

Had no idea they were friends....

 

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Black Actress Update: Hollywood’s Shrinking Box Office

I know if I made money the way Hollywood did, I’d be ecstatic. Especially when you have the most creative accountants in the world who can turn billions earned into “losses”. All legally, of course. That’s what you get for having the US Congress in your back pocket. I expect when their earnings decline even more, they will be asking for public funds to keep the business afloat (See General Motors). That will occur right after they make it illegal for anyone to say or watch anything on the Internet (pending legislative as of now).

But I digress, imagine being able to push garbage at people and compel them to head to a filthy, loud and uncomfortable theater just to sit through crappy schlock for nearly three hours? That clearly takes genius to run this con year after year, week after week and day after day. If they think they are losing money now, wait until everyone can download a film in the blink of an eye and re-create a movie theater at home without the nuisance, annoyance and hassle of a public one.

Nothing To See Here, Move Along

The box office take for Hollywood has been weak: headlines blurb about the lower attendance rates. A money quote from the BBC article:

“It’s unbelievable how bad it is,” said Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Are we supposed to weep for them? I thought this would be a bonanza year, since they have defenders, who say that films with too many black people – men and women, not just the guys – wont make money. This was the year of the whitest films around.

I’m usually a movie fiend, but this has been the year where I missed many of the “blockbuster films”, except for X Men: The Lamest Generation and Mission Impossible: Making Tom Cruise Hot Again. There may have been another, but I often forget a film the minute I leave the theater.

Come Back, Again, Ya Hear!?!

This was the year of sequels, remakes, prequels, comic books and animation. Proof of Hollywood’s emptiness.

The top 20 films of 2011, according to Box Office Mojo. I have a page that shows the same content of all the Top 100 films.

1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 $381.00 WB
2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon $352.00 P/DW
3 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 $272.00 Sum.
4 The Hangover Part II $254.00 WB
5 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides $241.00 BV
6 Fast Five $209.00 Uni.
7 Cars 2 $191.00 BV
8 Thor $181.00 Par.
9 Rise of the Planet of the Apes $176.00 Fox
10 Captain America: The First Avenger $176.00 Par.
11 The Help $169.00 BV
12 Bridesmaids $169.00 Uni.
13 Kung Fu Panda 2 $165.00 P/DW
14 X-Men: First Class $146.00 Fox
15 Puss in Boots $143.00 P/DW
16 Rio $143.00 Fox
17 The Smurfs $142.00 Sony
18 Super 8 $127.00 Par.
19 Rango $123.00 Par.
20 Horrible Bosses $117.00 WB (NL)

 

The fresh entries: The Help, Bridesmaids, Super 8, Horrible Bosses, Rio and Rango. So, out of the top 20, roughly 6 of them were “original”, fresh-out-of-the-box material. Heh.

The Non-Mystery of the Twilight Lure

Honestly, doesn’t Breaking Dawn sound like a porn title, or is that just me? 😀

Breaking Dawn In

The funniest thing I’ve read were reports of women having “seizures” at this latest Twilight film, and no one knew what it was. It’s called an orgasm, people. Sheesh. It’s the 21st century and female biology is still a mystery. Um, women like Twilight and Vampire flicks, because of the eroticism. The yearning, withholding and anticipating. He’s a bad boy, and an eternally powerful man who bites and licks the neck, targeting one of the erogenous zones of the female body.

Yeah, “seizures.” Okay.

The Black Actress: Inclusion or Exclusion?

Forgive me for not listing all shows, or movies with a black actress. If you find some with a black actress of interest, please add it to the comments section. Let’s look at the top films of the year and see if that hypothesis is true, you know: less black women (or nice black male actors) equals more money per film.

When I glance at cast credits, I look at the first 5 to 10. They get the most speaking roles, so even if a black actress gets one line and is part of the scenery – to me – that doesn’t count.

Films that include black women in starring roles also (animation doesn’t count):

1. The Help – love it or hate it, we got a film about being maids, in 2011. Thank you, Hollywood. Thanks so much. All we black women can do is still be maids in the 21st century. A black woman is First Lady, but these people have us doing roles cleaning some white woman’s toilet with dignity! whilst pretending that’s got something to do with civil rights. Alrighty, then.

2. Bridesmaids – big hit – from the people that brought us Hangover. Not sure how much of a role she played, but Kali Hawk (love the name) is in it.

Update: Somehow I missed Maya Rudolph, and she’s one of the stars!

Thank you for the tip, Vonnie!

3. X-Men – Does not have a black actress with two black parents, but a half-half of two half-half was in it. So, I flipped a coin and decided to include Zoë Kravitz.

 Here’s the bottom 20 movies of 2011 for comparison:

80 In Time $36.00 Fox
81 Colombiana $36.00 TriS
82 Sucker Punch $36.00 WB
83 J. Edgar $36.00 WB
84 Larry Crowne $35.00 Uni.
85 The Descendants $35.00 FoxS
86 50/50 $35.00 Sum.
87 Drive (2011) $34.00 FD
88 A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas $34.00 WB (NL)
89 Courageous $33.00 TriS
90 The Rite $33.00 WB (NL)
91 Arthur (2011) $33.00 WB
92 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) $32.00 Sony
93 The Adventures of Tintin $31.00 Par.
94 The Debt $31.00 Focus
95 Priest $29.00 SGem
96 The Mechanic $29.00 CBS
97 Abduction $28.00 LGF
98 Beastly $27.00 CBS
99 Winnie the Pooh $26.00 BV
100 Killer Elite $25.00 ORF

 

Anything Else We Need to Know?

An action film with a black actress is a miss, but the black actress as a maid might be up for an Oscar? Oh well.

1. Columbiana – Zoe Saldana. Perhaps she should stick to romances or something. Seriously, no one is going to believe that a 55 pound woman – soaking wet – can kick anybody’s ass.

2. Drive – Tiara Parker – don’t know if she has much of a role.

3. Larry Crowne – Tarina Pouncy – don’t know if she has much of a role.

4. Courageous – Eleanor Brown – don’t know if she has much of a role.

Notice that a lot of the big stars made spectacular flops this year? People are tired of them too.

Some of the bottom films are likely new releases, so those numbers will change for next year.

And that’s all folks….

Happy New Year. 😀

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Black Culture As Defined by the Japanese

MsMellody writes:

I would like you (Betty) to write a blog piece on the following Japanese news story. I came upon this video while just looking around on the web…to say that I was shocked would be an understatement.

Let me add this last bit of info – seeing that I am well past this age demographic ( young 20 somethings) I STILL was sadly impacted by this seeming caricature.

And when I say caricature…I really mean it in all it’s glory..a total summation of all the GLARINGLY tacky … outlandish … ways. But somehow the Japanese have synthesized everything we the audience of these blogs would NEVER want to be associated with- nor glamorized!!


That’s A Lot of Black Folks They’re Talking About

Oh man, we need to shut down the music and entertainment industry immediately. Forget Free Speech. Ignorance and stupidity on this level shouldn’t be allowed – in any country on this planet.

There are roughly 150,000,000 Japanese people in the world. I padded the number to include those scattered outside the country.

People who are pure blooded African and of African descent might roughly be nearly a billion, if not slightly more. ‘Cause as you know, there’s too many of us, at least according to the environmentalists who love to only show pictures of black people when they talk about overpopulation. What’s fascinating is that they reason in the same unpleasant direction as the white supremacist sites. Same difference on a bad day, right?

Am I to understand that the twits in Japan claiming they know “black culture” think this represents 1 billion people? I know I am being rhetorical here.

Whose Culture You Talkin’ About, Willis?

Unfortunately, it is a global world. Overflowing with toxic “entertainment” waste. The context of this is garbage in, garbage out. Nothing more. Even the mother in the clip is hip to her daughter’s optional lifestyle, “Sooner or later it will get boring.” Momma is right. Her chubby unattractive crooked teeth offspring might go into Goth next.

‘Cause it doesn’t make a person black or a part of “black culture”, if one:

  • Has hair that turned “frizzy” in primary school.
  • Goes to a tanning bed monthly, weekly, or even daily.
  • Reads magazines showcasing “cool blacks”. WTF does that even mean?
  • Watches music videos full of “cool blacks”.
  • Attends late night clubs to hear hip hop.
  • Has hair braided into small plaits. Even the ancient Romans and Greeks did that, along with the Egyptians.
  • Has multiple piercings, wears tattoos and brightly colored or tacky clothing. I mean, seriously now? (Useless data: the first folks to wear tattoos in the USA among the “mainstream” folks were sailors. That was cool, because you understood – life was rough for them. That’s what tattoos represented. Tough guys making marks of their adventures.)
  • And as we know, the list of stupid, made-up dumb stuff passing as “black culture” could go on…

Let’s be real: being black or of African descent is not an optional lifestyle, something that can be appropriated or worn like the latest fashion.

We Are Not Accessories For Any Funking Group

As Oshun eloquently stated:

I am trying not to throw up at that vid. Ok, this is not “Black Lifestyle”, but a lower class black subculture they are mimicking.

Perhaps a letter writing/email campaign is in order to make them recognize that this is not us and they need to be careful of their labels – to further delineate the separation?

I say glamorize and mimick away. It is a subculture. I don’t care what happens to the cretins that created this trash. I hope it all comes back to bite all the woman hating negroes in the butt. There are already new school white MCs thinking they can call ni@@@s ni@@@s – so good luck to all of them with that.

What I do not like is this, and this may not be the right word, appropriation, co-option of the Black woman’s image whether she be working class or lower class or not. What is up with these folks and thinking that that is ok?? First some WW do it on the sly and now this mess? Is this everyday black face? I am feeling some type of way about this and it is not good.

I can understand the entertainment value of hip hop. It serves to amuse and distract for the period of time one gets immersed in it. That’s all. Just like other forms of “art”.

Hey, Do That Thing You Do

And in similar fashion to Oshun, I would tell this group of Japanese:

“Go ahead. We know it is a strange, bizarre, weird, and artificial construct on your part, since you have no idea, and will never know the true essence of any black culture. There are multitudes of them. Just like you would be thrilled to tell my black behind I could never appreciate, understand, emulate or become Japanese. There’s no way on earth you could ever appreciate and understand what black culture is, or even know what a real black woman is like.

But keep playing at it: for me, it’s entertaining to watch you all look stupid.”

But Y’all Can’t Do That

Folks, lemme ask you this: Imagine if groups of us walked around with faces painted white, spoke a little Japanese, bowed at everybody, carried swords (I don’t think I’d mind that), wore kimonos, along with those odd flip flops and said we were living a “cool azz Japannezzy lifestyle”, having never stepped one foot in the country? Honestly, I think people would be calling up President Obama and asking him, “What’s up with that?”

To wrap up, I’ll say why this is a problem. In the words of Ms Mellody:

The very idea that people from other countries only take in and synthesize what they see on MTV, Youtube, BET, VH1 and the like. Just the very idea that  THEY think this is the TOTALITY of Black culture..is just shocking in this day and age. ….And yet this is exactly the way some BWs present as well as BMs present to the world.

Just because some of us easily invite disrespect – and call it entertainment or “art” – for a few dollars, doesn’t mean all of us will.

We ain’t asleep, folks. We see what’s going on.

Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

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Media Watch: Korean Dramas – How the Media Creates or Changes Perceptions

Language Skills

I started watching these shows, since Hulu added this category. What’s interesting to me, is that I’m beginning to understand what the characters are saying in Korean. Words are floating around in my head, because they’re repeated so often. I can read a few words in some languages, but I’ve never picked up a language as fast as this one. I’ve always viewed myself as foreign language impaired. I’ve had Spanish in school. I’ve listened to Spanish for years, and I still cannot make heads or tails out of most of it.

In the Korean Dramas, the people speak slow enough that I can tie the English subtitles to the spoken words. The dialogue isn’t complex, very long or involved. On occasion, some characters that supposedly spent time in the US, or are Americans, make a determined effort speak to English. Although badly. Nearly everyone mumbles words they need to enunciate.

Media Image is Everything

Since watching these programs, I’ve come to realize that they aren’t made just for a Korean audience. They are created with an awareness that the rest of the world will be paying attention.

These shows have given me a different impression of Koreans, as opposed to the ones I’ve been acquainted with here in the USA. Do I see the portrayals as realistic? I don’t think that’s the point of the programs. Whatever images there have been of Korean men, have been modified, if not overhauled, by these shows.

According to a Washington Post article (from 2006), the success of the revamped or enhanced image of Korean men have done the following:

In recent years, the wild success of male celebrities from South Korea — sensitive men but totally ripped — has redefined what Asian women wantGone are the martial arts movie heroes and the stereotypical macho men of mainstream Asian television.

…Yoshimura signed up last year with Rakuen Korea, a Japanese-Korean matchmaking service, to find her own Korean bachelor. And she is hardly alone. More than 6,400 female clients have signed up with the company…

In part, the new allure of Korean men can be traced to a larger phenomenon known as the “Korean Wave”…

…the number of foreign tourists traveling to South Korea leapt from 2.8 million in 2003 to 3.7 million in 2004. The bulk of the growth, South Korean tourism officials say, stemmed from Korean Wave-loving Asian women. Partial statistics for 2005 indicate the feminine tide has not yet let up.

For the South Koreanswho have long suffered discrimination in Japan and who have hardly been known as sex symbolsit all comes as something of a shock.

Entertainment industry leaders in Seoul credit the phenomenon to good marketing coupled with an uncanny response throughout Asia to the expressive nature of the South Koreans — long dubbed the Italians of Asia. A hearty diet and two years of forced military duty, industry leaders and fans insist, have also made young South Korean men among the buffest in Asia. Most important, however, has been the South Korean entertainment industry’s perfection of the strong, silent type on screen — typically rich, kind men with coincidentally striking looks and a tendency to shower women with unconditional love….

Throughout Asia and other countries, women are watching TV shows and movies to such an extent that they have become enamored of the fictional representation of a specific group of men. So here we have proof that there is a direct connection between a positive image of a group and the corresponding response to it.

What Some of the Guys Look Like

I find some of the Korean male actors smoking hot, some cute and others moderately good looking. Although I find the “fashion” on the shows rather odd looking, but hey, I congratulate men who aren’t afraid of being edgy.

Cha Seung Won

Cha Seung Won: He's able to look so different each time.
Jung Gyu Woon: I have yet to see a show where he doesn't end up fighting.

 

Kim Sung Soo: Love those lips. Puts my dirty mind into overdrive.

 

Kang Ji Hwan
Kang Ji Hwan: I love his nose.

 

Positive propaganda: is enhancing imagery to increase the desirability of a group.

The entertainment industry, basically the media, alone is responsible for the complete overhaul of the image of Korean men, so much so it has made the men hot commodities for the women who travel the country looking for one as a husband. It’s overturned reality and made such an indelible impression on women just from watching Korean Dramas.

In case you ever wonder why black women have negative, degrading stereotypical images, always remember to thank Hollywood and our media. Think about it the next time you think it’s important to embrace the “othering” of black women with those “keeping it real” negative images.

If anyone really wants to improve the desirability, popularity and increase of desire for black women: the best looking have to be highlighted, the most sophisticated has to be highlighted and the most engaging, lively and lovely ones have to be embraced.

Otherwise, we’re just shooting ourselves in the foot.

So, think about who you are embracing if the only thing they highlight about black women is constantly negative or off-putting. Those people aren’t doing you any favors. They’re deliberately sabotaging you.

****

Update: Korean Men Marriage Rates

I was asked to provide some data, so I dug up some stats. If they seem funky to anyone, please put up the correct numbers.

Throughout the world, more males than females are born. This imbalance is natural. However, in Asian countries it is exasperated by female reduction from sex selection in the womb (abortion), export adoption of girls, and other extreme methods. The result is a population of males outnumbering females. Based on the gender imbalance in Korea, social changes, population movement to urban areas, there are more men than women available and interested in marriage.

So, whom do Korean men marry? Funny enough, it turns out they marry all women. Although black women are a miniscule portion of the population in Korea, there are likely marriages between the two. With the USA having 1.3 plus million Koreans, it turns out that they are the East Asian men black women are most likely to marry. Certainly not in significant numbers overall, but it does happens.

And I’m just as surprised as y’all are by that information.

In 2005, 14% of all marriages in South Korea were marriages to foreigners (about 26,000 marriages); most were Korean men marrying other Asians. Government figures show the number of Koreans marrying foreign spouses increased from 4,710 in 1990 to 33,300 in 2009. And numbers are expected to continue rising. More than 100,000 women among South Korea’s 1.2-million foreign population are estimated to be foreign brides.

Bonus

YouTube link: the marriage between a Korean man and an African American woman. The wedding is awesome; sexy and sweet too.

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Relationship Barriers: Black Women, White Men and Other Non-Black Men

Note: Let me put my caveats up front. This post obviously does not apply to each and every black woman, since some of us are flexible, flirtatious, and at ease with white and other non-black men.

The Swirl Imperative: Becoming More Social

There is no shame in lacking a flirting game or being a bit socially inadequate in mixed company – at this juncture in your life. You know how it goes: sitting at a table with your girlfriends, like a hostage, segregated from everyone else, because they’re uncomfortable at that social event and by design do everything to keep you from getting your groove on.

I believe in the power of a couple of Cosmos and Fuzzy Navels! 😀

I’m always hopeful we’ll grow out of staying socially segregated, because when we integrate – that increases our interactions with white, Latino, Asian and other non-black men. The more men you meet, the more likely you are to meet Mr. Right for marriage, 2.5 kids and picket fences. And all that good stuff.

Relationship Barriers: The Strange Tensions

I appreciated the candor of this testimony. It reveals why some white men, and by extension other non-black men, are wary of approaching black women.

The following comments are by Carlos, which I edited to highlight some points:

  • I’m a white man in my late 30s… Well, not completely white, but basically white for other people’s perception. I love women, and I’m also a bit of a sex addict- always have been, since my teens. I love sex, and more than anything I love to give women pleasure.
  • That said, the intesity of the debate and people’s feelings around BW/WM relationships and sex have always been challenging for me. I am attracted to so many types of women, and appreciate so many different things, and black women are no exception.
  • But where I’m normally just lustful and girl-crazy, I am more cautious with black women. The controversy, history and frankly less clear flirtatious interest from black women definitely factor in and give me pause. And it’s not for lack of adoration for black women on my part, trust me.
  • But it feels more complicated, potentially, than with other women. Of course I’m generalizing, but I hope you get the idea. And really, I think that tension reflects race relations and race (mis) undertanding in general.
  • My first girlfriend and sex partner in high school was a black girl, and I have had two relationships with black women since- one lasting for 3 years monogamously and another a friendly casual sexual relationship with a neighbor that was off/on for five years.
  • I hope for more in the future.
  • On a cultural note, I think a lot of Generation X white guys like me who were raised in liberal post-hippie households, growing up and learning about sex involved a positive open attitude about sex that fostered a lot of emphasis on women’s pleasure and orgasm. I basically learned that that defined good sex. Works for me, and I think that might explain the scenario that white men are versatile, creative, long-lasting and giving lovers.

Thank you for your perspective, Carlos.

Yeah, I know he’s talking about SEX, SEX and more SEX, but he’s also admitting – as a regular guy – that he finds black women as attractive as other women. Far too often some of us like to hang our hats on men not finding us attractive, so that’s not the case here.

He’s interested, but he cannot tell if you are. He’s interested, but he hesitates, because of the historical racial and sexual “drama”.

So, I have a few questions for everyone:

  1. Do we stress the racial aspect in our interracial relationships too much?
  2. Are we working the topic of race to the point of fracture?
  3. Is our flirting ability impaired? Would it make a big difference getting it fixed?
  4. Are we the ones bringing racial tension(s) to our interactions with non-black men?
  5. Are we letting outside forces create this tension? You know, taking control of your love life where they have no business being involved.
  6. What would it take to alleviate those sexual and racial tensions? (Aside from great sex.) 😀

And everyone is free to add their own thoughts….

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Black Women: Why is the Wall Street Journal, and the media, still talking about our marriage prospects?

I liked this comment by Daphne so much, I made it a separate post. Check out the following.

Regarding the WSJ* article making the rounds:

I found it bizarre that this was in the The Wall Street Journal*, just like I thought it was bizarre there was a similar article about black women in The Economist** several months (maybe a year?) ago. To me, it reeks of “let us observe these strange creatures known as black women,” similar to zoo animals.

Plus, the author’s subtext is disturbing: more black women should marry out, to potentially improve the rates of black marriage. To me, marriage is a non-sequitur in this context, particularly given that some serious cultural issues aren’t magically repaired by marriage (i.e. ability and desire to provide, being an effective father, knowing HOW to maintain a relationship). I mean, I’d hate for a black woman to have her black man propose primarily because he’s afraid of her being taken off the market rather than….wait for it, actually wanting to be married and prepared for that stage. Not to mention how unfair it is for a non-black man to be a consolation prize because a black man isn’t available or willing to marry. But hey….as long as they’re married, I guess.

I get the supply/demand, economics side of it: more black women date out, fewer are available to black men, black men step up their game. Which is fine, for future generations, I suppose. But for the women NOW who want the best partner for them, it’s entirely possible that even willing black men aren’t the best partners because of the aforementioned cultural issues.

I also give the side-eye to any author who misuses statistics, which the WSJ author did in a major way. That 70% of unmarried black women? Includes widows and the divorced. It is also includes age 15 and up. You would think a law professor would either dig a little deeper with the stats or be more more precise in using them.

Now, I’m not denying cultural differences between whites and blacks with the marriage rate. But it’s certainly convenient for these article to throw out that 70%, as if nobody wants da po’ black woman. Not to mention using the quotes of THREE black women as representative of the majority. And when you correct for college education, the marriage disparity between black and white women is significantly smaller.

Thank you for the contribution and sparking this post, Daphne. 🙂

GoldenAh:

That article does have an air of “What can we do about these black women no one wants?”, right? 😀

As far back as the 1990s, perhaps even earlier, the NY Times periodically ran articles about the large number of college educated unmarried black women without children along with the high rate of out-of-wedlock births of single black women.

The angle changes somewhat, but it still has the familiar reek of: Black women’s relationships are a problem for society. Although I suspect they really mean, Black women’s existence is a problem for society.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Breaking It Down

You did a terrific job of nailing what’s wrong with the WSJ article. It’s not doing us any favors, but it wasn’t meant to anyway. This article insults a number of people, but the main recipients are black women and white men.

Imagine if there was a shortage of marriageable partners for white men, and black women were offered up as the last choice, second rate hope for them, because it would improve their group’s prospects with other, or the same race of, women? Even though they purportedly have a white woman shortage.

Say, what kind of logic is that?

  1. Logic that reinforces a negative image of black women. So, no surprise a black man wrote that article for a major newspaper that reaches around the world. Anything for a couple of dollars to denigrate black women is not a hard task for some black men. Regardless of how well meaning he thinks is.
  2. The logic is to continue presenting black women as racially, socially and bizarrely backward thinking: we’re worried about our HAIR, the complexions of our children, and our inability to be comfortable with non-black men. Oh, what superficial, silly, non-normal, non-female creatures we are. We are still “othering” ourselves. Those selected black women presents an image of people living in a self-imposed prison who lack any sense to free themselves of it.
  3. The logic used is a sneaky backhanded method of blaming black women for the lower rate of black marriage compared to other racial groups. The author cannot directly say that black women must do the asking, since to a mainstream audience it would be outside the norm and viewed as ridiculous. Instead, he indirectly makes the case for marrying non-black men, again like we could make them marry us somehow, to prompt black men into asking.

The key ingredient missing from the entire WSJ article is, What makes a black woman happy? What would make her feel good? What are the ways to approach her if she appears socially remote? Examples of their femininity, their normalcy, or exotic allure, would be enticing to the non-black  men reading the WSJ to look at black women positively. It would peal away at least one thin layer of separation between black women and non-black men.

However, making black women attractive, approachable and normal was not the intention of the article.

As you’ve noted, Daphne, the actual  purpose is: How do we eventually get black men to do X, Y, and Z? Because it always has to be about them, beginning, middle and ending. People need to let that go and forget about closing the barn door.  The horse that ran out is now a great-great-grand mare to her offspring. Black men cannot be cajoled, conned or bribed into marrying black women, especially when they have no desire or interest to do so.

Black women have to be happy on their own terms.  I’d respect the mainstream media if there were more articles pertaining to black women, without the insincere hand-wringing, making their own decision to integrate intimately with non-black men: by working with, making friends with, dating and marrying them. And solely for their own benefit.

 


 

* The Wall Street Journal – An Interracial Fix for Black Marriage

** The Economist Article – Print Edition – Sex and the single black woman

** The Economist Article – Blog – The unintended consequences of mass incarceration

 

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Black Woman: Would You Marry a Blue Collar White Man?

The Question

Asked of me by C.B.:

If you are educated, would you or have you married a blue collar wm? Many folks are quick to suggest bw take or accept a lower level bm on the academic and economic label. Why is this a problem if a bw marries a wm on a lower scale. (I do know a lady who married a produce manager wm, and she is a phd level. They just had a second baby.)

The Answer

The following is from my personal perspective. It is not intended as follow-what-I’m-doing advice (which is never my intention on this blog), but it’s an example of how I think. Your own dating and marrying philosophy may differ. 🙂

Education

About me: I like to joke that I am over-educated. It doesn’t mean I know everything, but I am excessively curious about a lot of things, and I always need to know more. Since I was eight, I loved reading encyclopedias and dictionaries. Today, I enjoy scanning the internet(s) for obscure information.

I used to want to be a fireman, police officer, and an artist. Then I wanted to be an astronaut, research scientist of weird diseases, writer, and a lawyer. My interests continued to change, but my desire for information and knowledge did not.

I graduated from high school, wishing I left a few years early, then proceeded to obtain an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree and finally a Master’s Degree. It took a lot of years of hustling to achieve these diplomas. I often worked while attending school, and for the advanced degree, my employer(s) paid for the education.

Do the diplomas make me happy? They were not attained for personal happiness. The purpose of my education is for personal self-fulfillment and is a necessary tool, among others, in working as a “professional” in a white collar corporate environment or pursuing self-employment. For the time being, I am done with obtaining another degree, but I will go  for additional certifications and a license or two.

Blue Collar vs White Collar Men

Not all men favor extensive schooling, and they are able to work at not just good, but great blue collar jobs, without a need for a high school diploma or college education. They even make more than anyone in a white collar profession would earn in their lifetime.

I’ve known a variety of men. My Mom likes to tell people I date the United Nations. Some of the men didn’t finish college. Some of them were self-taught in order to work in their office profession.

The odds are always low that I would encounter an available blue collar white man, based on my social circles, work environment and personal interests. In addition to that, based on observation, blue collar men marry earlier than white collar men. They start working right after, or even during, high school right into a stable well paying position, with excellent long term benefits. Whereas the potential white collar worker will spend the next 4-8 plus years studying and putting his life on hold.

Final Answer

I don’t believe I would ever find myself marrying a blue collar white man, because I don’t think we would be a good fit. It is not easy to meet men who like women with a college education or advanced degrees. I don’t care what his race is. I don’t volunteer my educational background unless asked, but once they find out they’ll lose that “loving feeling”.

On the flip side, I will be real here: it is not easy talking or relating to a man with definitive educational gaps. Now, I know everyone who loves exceptions will offer up a spate of their genius IQ high school or college dropout friends*, but I’m talking about what I’ve met on average in the general course of life.

I don’t play Jeopardy with every man I meet, but for fun I’ll look for some indication that this guy keeps himself informed or has an intense interest in anything beyond his nose. Usually, I find that he’s satisfied with his lot in life. Good for him. He will not even have the slightest desire to know more, travel, explore or fulfill some lifelong aspirational ambition. Nope. He’s happy as a pig in s&!t (although, in fact, pigs put their stuff in one corner and do not wallow in it).

But hey, who am I to decide he needs more? So, where he sees bliss, I see stagnation. And I’m happy for the guy, but I realize that we wouldn’t last long as a couple.

My philosophy is this: if I like learning, studying, schooling, travel, and seeking opportunities to explore, why would I expect to get along with a man who doesn’t? I’m old enough to know that I cannot.

 


 

* For example, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Michael Dell and men like these don’t count in this relationship equation. Steve returned to college to continue learning, but focusing only on classes that served his interests. Gates and Dell left college a number of credits shy of their degrees.

The difference with these men is that they are ambitious, eternally curious and they never stopped learning….

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