All Articles Tagged "aggressive"
Comedian Wayne Brady went on a very public tirade about recent comments made by fellow comedian Bill Maher, for making oft-color jokes about his blackness.
Brady, probably best known for his role on the comedy sketch show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” blasted the “Real Time” funnyman for referring to President Obama as “your Wayne Brady.” The implication, of course, is that Obama isn’t black enough – at least from Maher’s perspective – just like Wayne Brady. Speaking with Aisha Tyler on her podcast, Brady said, “I’ve had Bill Maher twice now when referencing Obama…he’s like ‘yeah, with your Wayne Brady’…so that means it’s a diss to Obama to be called me because he wants a brother brother.”
Brady also took the time to point out that Maher shouldn’t claim to know Black folks as he says, “just because you f–k black hookers.” *side eye* He also added that he would “gladly slap the sh!t out of Bill” to prove just how black he is: “…I’d get sued and lose my house and it’s not worth it for me. But the black man part of me would be so satisfied to slap the sh!t out of him in front of Cocoa and Ebony and Fox, the three ladies of the night that he has hired.”
Okay, I’ll say it: Does Wayne Brady have to choke a b***h?
I love it when television and reality clash into the perfect meme inducing moment. Anyway, this is serious for Brady. After years of being clowned as the non-threatening black man, he is ready to start swinging, quite literally, on those who question his blackness. From what I gathered from previous stories, Brady has long had to battle the notion that his mild-mannered persona is in contrast to the ideal nature of typical black masculinity. Paul Mooney once joked in his classic Dave Chappelle Show Negrodamus sketch that “White people love Wayne Brady, because he makes Bryant Gumbel look like Malcolm X.”
In an interview, Brady would reveal that while we all thought it was funny, Brady was less than amused, especially when white kids use Mooney’s quote to get his attention via Twitter. It bothered Brady so much that he would confront both Chappelle and Mooney about the skit and that is what eventually led to the whole classic, I’m Wayne Brady, B***h sketch.
In the same interview, Brady goes on to say, “I get offended from a bigger level, in the fact of black people, we are one of the only races that I feel, if someone is judged as not being black enough, no matter how well they’re doing, the thought isn’t, “Hey, look how good that brother’s doing, and he represents us, and if he can get in that door, we can get in that door.” People take it to be, “Ugh, look at him. He only got there because white people put him on. Listen to how he talks. He’s not hard, he doesn’t do this, he’s a square.”
I get where Brady is coming from. I hear that same sentiment thrown around casually not only in our communities but also among some white folks, like Maher, who usually say it to express their displeasure that a particular black man is not politically aggressive enough. In some folks’ mind, it is a given that any black leader is supposed to be reeking with all sort of menacing yet cool anti-establishment aggression, directed towards white people. Black men are supposed to be cool ladies men (and/or pimps) like Black Dynamite. He is supposed to walk like George Jefferson and have the unapologetic righteous bravado of H. Rap Brown. I’m talking about the kind of black cool which makes old white people cross the street upon fear that they might be on the receiving end of a strong hand just for being white. And those black men, who lack that certain rough and tough exterior, are instantly concluded as non-threatening Negroes.
Of course, like every stereotype, there is some truth to the troupe. In fact there are a number of celebrities and political figures, who have completely bought into the same power structure, which seeks to disempower us as a community, in order to ascend into the higher rungs of society. If we are being honest, there are probably a few people that instantly come to your mind. However, not every square can be, or should be, considered a non-threatening black man.
When we watch the images of Black men in pop culture, we see clearly how black men have been reduce to a single definition of manhood, which includes how aggressive they are, the size of their balls, and their ability to play cool. In essence, that perception of black manhood has become the alter-ego to non-black folks across the globe, who, on occasion, fantasize about a contrast to their homogenous existence. And there is no better contrast to white than black. Sort of like a young boy’s fascination with Clark Kent/Superman but instead of a white guy in a red cape, they dream of Shaft.
Folks like director Quentin Tarantino have long expressed infatuation with black manhood, which can be seen in films like Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown and yet again in the soon-to-be released Django Unchained. Even places where the black population probably is mostly reserved to military bases, the mainstream perception of black manhood is very much evident. This too is illustrated in the new Japanese feature film called Afro Tanaka, which is about a Japanese loser with messy hair who only gains respect from his peers after growing a gloriously big Afro and assuming the “traits” of a black man.
As I have mentioned before, what we see in the media does influence reality. And unfortunately, there are many black men who willingly play the role of aggressors because it is what they too have been lead to believe are their roles as men. Real men. The irony in Brady’s situation is that in order to prove himself and have his version of black masculinity taken seriously, he too had to embody the aggressive black man stereotype, down to the threats of violence and the disrespect of black women (i.e., the black hooker remark). I would say that without even opening his mouth, Maher has already won this battle.
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When a new study came out earlier this month suggesting that assertive black women receive less backlash than white women on the job because they’re expected to be strong, it seemed like a bit of a catch 22. But the researchers behind the study say black women can use this information to their advantage in the work place because what the results really show is that they are good leaders.
“There’s this idea that acting dominantly is explicitly proscribed for white women and explicitly proscribed for black men,” says Ashleigh Shelby Rosette, co-author of the study and an associate professor at Duke. “However, for black women there is this stereotype out there of the ‘angry black woman.’ Some of these behaviors we often think of as extremely negative but actually, if you think about it, that angry black woman stereotype is also congruent with things like being aggressive, dominant, assertive, and self-assured—and those are our typical leader characteristics.”
In an online survey of 84 non-black participants conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, subjects were asked a series of questions based on eight different scenarios with executives either communicating dominant or communal behaviors. When the results were tabulated, aggressive and direct leadership reflected negatively on white females and black males, but surprisingly it was seen as positive coming from black women and white men.
The reason for this, Rossette says, is that in the minds of most people, “Black women aren’t just a mirror image of white women—they occupy a new and unique space.” When you think of women, white females typically come to mind, and when when it comes to race, there’s usually an image of a black man. Because black women fall in between the two, they are seemingly safe from the negative outlooks placed on either group.
Rossette says these results require a new way of thinking about the power black women currently hold in the workplace, yet there is still much to do.
“When a black woman occupies a leadership position, she may have more behavioral freedom than we previously thought to communicate more forthrightly and recognize that she won’t necessarily be penalized because of that.
“But the presumption in our research is that she currently occupies the position. It’s completely counterintuitive to what we thought would happen when black women occupy these top positions, but the next aspect is how do we get them into these positions.”
Do you agree with this study’s findings about black women’s assertive nature making them good leaders?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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If you don’t want to dance, why did you come to the club?
As my friend and I like to make clear to men, it’s not that I don’t want to dance. In fact, I want to dance the night away! Just not with you…
I’d also like to make it clear from jump that I’m not the type of chick you’ll find in the club every weekend, dressed up in the tightest wannabe Herve Leger dress and in heels so high that I can do nothing but two step while I sip my drink. Actually, I’m the type who will wear something bright with lots of jewelry (that will fling off me when I dougie), and will be the tacky chick in the corner trying to take off wedge heels so I can act a fool in the flats I brought with no pain or trouble. After a busy couple of weeks of work, I’ll make my way out, ready to hear some eclectic and popular music and have a good time dancing with my homey-omey (my friend). Should be fun, right?
Or maybe not, because I’ve been noticing a ratchet trend: What’s up with the overly aggressive and thirsty guys in some clubs nowadays trying to low-key assault you when you just came to have a good time? This past Saturday, all in one place, I had a guy try to forcefully turn me around to dance on his lap after I basically ignored his signals to “juke” on him (even though I was dancing with him face to face for like two minutes…), as well as another who kept dancing up behind me though I was standing up straight and not moving. I literally had to step out of the way from his freakiness. I don’t mind dancing on a guy from time to time, especially if he’s hot, but seriously, that can’t be me on every song every time I go out.
Then, I saw another trifling guy harass a woman around the place as she tried to get away from him after he touched her backside twice when they were dancing together. She was so shaken up that it pissed ME off. The same guy got in my friend’s face and yelled at her when she said she didn’t want to dance. When he got too close and a little too aggressive, I pushed him like he stole something. I’m pretty much known not to make the best decisions in heated moments (remember that whole domestic violence situation I jumped in?), but luckily, whether he was drunk or just crazy, the look on my face (and the fact that we were the same height) kept this fool from trying anything else. After that incident, it was clear that it was time to go home before someone caught a black eye and I caught a case (or that black eye).