All Articles Tagged "black people"
Whether it was Lisa Turtle on “Saved by the Bell,” The Black Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, or the appropriately named Token from “South Park,” they all have one thing in common: they play the token among a cast of predominately white characters whom we might not otherwise relate to. When it comes to film and television, the 80’s and 90’s were filled with sassy assistants, intimidating sidekicks or soul-singing Grandmas who were never the main character. Maybe it’s something that’s been historically oppressed on African-American culture, but some us have definitely kept the “token mentality” ball rolling by not allowing our people as a whole to achieve any significant level of success. What is the token mentality, exactly? It’s the belief that only one of us at any given time can be the educated one, the pretty one or the funny one. The only area of our culture that this doesn’t take place is Hip-Hop. Otherwise, before any of us can make some progress, we begin to pull one another down when it seems any one of us is getting just a bit more shine than the others. As a result, a majority of us usually end up at the bottom together complaining about how “the man” is holding us down.
I think on some level we all do it to ourselves. How many times have you driven through a different neighborhood feeling slightly uncomfortable until you spot another black person? They may have zero in common with you, but instantly you’re relieved because if you’re going down, at least it’s together…or so you hope.
There are certain things inherent to black culture that others have difficulty picking up on, but as I get older I learn more and more stereotypes are not about your race as much as it’s about how you were raised. For example I can’t cornrow, just recently learned what a “dub” is and people actually set mailboxes on fire? Where they do that at?
It’s OK that we don’t always stick together and there’s nothing wrong rolling with other people that don’t share your race if you actually have things in common, because honestly you’re not obligated to like other black people just because you’re black. The problem comes when you think that having white friends equals having white privileges and when those friends don’t truly look at you as a friend but, well a token. Here are ten signs you may be just that:
On Tumblr, I follow some very militant black folk. Yesterday, and really for the past week and a half, I’ve seen some very extreme posts in support of Chris Dorner. In a series of posts, one woman said she wanted Chris Dorner to win, to get away, that those people, his victims, deserved to die. No, baby. If we can all agree on one thing, it’s that Dorner’s victims did not deserve to die. That’s not the answer. Chris Dorner killed the daughter of the police chief who defended him in his case against the LAPD and her fiancé. That’s in addition to the two police officers he killed. If the LAPD fired him unjustly or for some racially motivated vendetta, they don’t deserve to die. And even if they did, it’s not Dorner’s decision to make.
In all of this, it’s clear that Dorner is mentally unstable, a sociopath who succumbed to evil in an attempt to avenge himself against what he claimed was years of racism. All of that being said though, I couldn’t help but empathize with him. While I would never defend Dorner’s method, being black in America affords you the “opportunity” to identify, in one way or another, with his story. How many of us have been mistreated, overlooked or blatantly disrespected simply because of our blackness? In his manifesto, which Dorner wrote to explain his actions, he said that since elementary school, he’d grown up in predominately white environments where he was often the victim of racism. Though the media has said that Dorner’s manifesto was an extensive rambling, full of incoherent thoughts and media shout outs; how many of us can relate to that story of growing up in or coming to work in a racist environment?
I have a friend who, in high school, transferred to a predominately white, private school and went through all types of hell, culminating in one of his classmates spitting on him in the hallway. It sounds like something from the ‘50s or ‘60s, but this was in the early 2000s. Would he have been wrong to retaliate? Maybe, who knows? But if he decided to strangle his classmate, (He didn’t.), you would understand his reaction. Racism is still very much alive in this country. It’s not a stretch for me to imagine the LAPD, or any other law enforcement agency for that matter, being discriminatory. They have plenty of history to support that claim. Like Dorner, I don’t believe the racism and discrimination against blacks stopped with Rodney King. And over time, these repeated incidents of disrespect, unfairness and human indecency can work on a sane person’s nerves, patience, and compassion. It can gradually enrage you. Yet, despite centuries of enslavement and subsequent racial injustices, black folks are expected to just endure it, forget it and move on, be above it. It was Audre Lorde who said, “Oppressors always expect the oppressed to extend to them the understanding so lacking in themselves.” That was just too much to ask of Chris Dorner and I get it.
I get it the same way I can understand Nat Turner rising up. It’s the reason I loved Django as much as I did. (Who wasn’t rooting for him to win?) True, Dorner has been afforded far more opportunities and didn’t have it nearly as bad as the men I just mentioned. But the attitudes that contributed to Dorner’s mistreatment are akin to the mentality that made it okay to enslave blacks in this country, to legally consider them less than human and then torment them once they were freed. They’re the same attitudes that make the killing of an unarmed, black teenager remotely arguable in the court of law.
There’s a lot this country has to learn about racism and its detrimental effects to not only its victims but also its perpetrators. And in a completely unnecessary, sick, twisted and immoral way, I think that’s what Dorner was trying to do.
Joy DeGruy, an educator and author who writes and teaches about “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” said that even Thomas Jefferson, who is widely regarded as racist, knew that Americans, both black, white and people in between, would struggle with the effects of slavery. In an interview with “Like It Is,” a local, public affairs television show DeGruy explained Jefferson’s position:
Thomas Jefferson was fully aware of what the impact of—the long term impact of enslavement would be—on white people and black people. He talked about the horror associated with what slave masters did. And that their children imitated the behavior among their friends and younger children that were enslaved. And that that built into a sickness on the part of Europeans and a hatred and antipathy on the part of Africans. And his greatest fear is that it would end in the extermination on one or the other race. He says because God cannot side with us, meaning Europeans, in this contest. He cannot side with us which means God will side with them. He says ‘Indeed, I tremble for my country when I consider that God is just and that His justice cannot sleep forever.’ So Thomas Jefferson not only knew at the time the wrongness associated, but recognized the long term impact.”
What saddens me most about this whole Dorner incident is that innocent people died in his attack against institutionalized racism. And not only did innocent people die, I fear that because of the way he went about accomplishing his mission that America will simply disregard him as an angry, crazy, dangerous big, black man instead of an extreme representation of the feelings, sentiments and grievances black people in this country have been harboring for centuries.
Normally I don’t like to engage in stereotypes however if there is one behavior, which could be classify along racial lines, I would think it could be black folks love affair with napkins.
Yesterday I was at McDonalds, getting some sort of salad with what tasted a lot like crushed up Doritos on it (that is what I get for getting a salad from McDonalds), when I notice that the drive thru cashier forgot my napkins. I asked her for a couple. She apologized and then reached behind her cashier’s terminal and came back with what can be best describe as a small evergreen shrub. The stack was so fat that if you counted the leafs, you could probably determine from what tree in which deforested part of the rainforest your napkins originated.
Why would she think I wanted all of these napkins? Oh I see: it’s because I’m black. I give the cashier the side eye. She, overworked, underpaid and probably not knowing what my problem is, gives me one right back…
Yeah I know, generalizations are bad and most times are not reflective of an entire community. Hello? Like, some of us actually use paper towels. However with my years of experience in the restaurant industry (working through high school and college in some capacity as a waitress/bartender), has made me witness to how glaringly neurotic our napkin consumption is at times. A good server worth his or her apron in tips, knows that if your guests happen to be folks of a darker hue, you better make damn sure to come to the table fully equipped with the right amount of disposable napkins. What is the right amount? Who knows for sure. But to be on the safe side, just bring about half a sleeve.
I have never been a napkin hog. Two to four (depending on the ply-count) disposable napkins per dining experience is enough for me – unless I am eating something messy like ribs. In which case I will grab about two or three more. However in instances where the napkin distribution power is out of my control, I also end up with more napkins that I could possibly need. So then I am stuck with all this paper product, which I really don’t have a use for but as an Eco-friendly citizen, just can’t seem to garner the necessary fortitude to throw them away. So I stick them in my drawer in the kitchen with intentions of eventually finding some purpose or task around the house to us them. That chance never comes. Mainly because I always forget that this accumulation of fast food restaurant disposable napkins even exists – until I come home again with a fresh stack to add to the collection.
The most contradictory thing I have noticed about black folks disposable paper consumption is how even in our waste, we can still manage to conserve. For instance, last summer my brother and I, along with my four nieces and nephews, were having lunch at the buffet (Oh shut up! It was the kids choice and the children love the buffet). After noticing that none of us grabbed anything to clean our hands with while eating, my brother goes, retrieves some napkins from the dispenser and then plopped them in the middle of the table. The pile was so thick that it made a thud sound when it hit the table top. I spent the rest of the lunch counting how many napkins we used. The answer: sixteen. Out of the gazillion napkins my brother took, we only ended up using less than a third of them. Curiously, I asked my brother, “Why the heck did you get all of these napkins?” He shrugged, “they free, why not?” Then he paused, thought about it some more and said, “Plus the kids stay spilling stuff.” Well I guess in some instances having lots of napkins makes sense but what about the fate of the rest of these napkins? My brother shrugged again, “I dunno. I usually leave them on the table. What they [eatery] do with the unused ones is on them.” He has a point there too.
Internationally, but more specifically to Western countries, our environmental policies are pretty warped and there are certainly a lot more impactful ways we can reduce our carbon footprints as a species than worrying about how many disposable napkins black folks have stuffed into the glove compartment box of their vehicle. And according to this article in Treehugger, the disposable paper napkin produces less grams of greenhouse gas emissions than its cotton counterpart. However as it has been reported that the average American goes through 2,200 napkins a year, I can’t help but also cringe at the little ways in which we basically co-signed the mindless degradation of the planet – even if we are just talking about a flimsy napkin.
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Black people debate over the n-word all the time and though there’s mixed opinion as to whether we have the right to use the word and should use it, one thing that’s unanimous is that white people should not use the word under any circumstances. Unfortunately, a lot of non-black people seem to have missed that memo. Consequently, they try to sneak in the word any chance they get, whether in a greeting, a rap song, or on the news. We can’t for the life of us understand white people’s fascination with using the n-word; so, we brought it up to the ladies of The Frisky to get their take on this phenomenon and fess up to whether they’ve used the word themselves and think they should be able to.
Check out the episode and weigh in below.
KEEP THE DISCUSSION GOING WITH MORE EPISODES OF I ALWAYS WANTED TO ASK.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH!
There are double standards in life. Always has been and always will be. That’s why men get props for having multiple sexual partners while some women get dogged out for it. Somehow, double standards have also crossed over to interracial relationships and with them come lowered expectations, flawed thinking, and poor dating decisions.
Once upon a time, people used to choose mates based on their overall attractiveness, their personality, what they brought to a relationship, and the qualities they deemed acceptable. In today’s world, for some people, race is becoming the lone factor when choosing companions. Some very nice looking, successful, and intelligent men and women are increasingly finding themselves in ratchet relationships with people of the opposite race who have nothing to offer. Why? Because they actually have a beef with men and women from their own race that they don’t want to be honest about.
Time after time, people display their disdain for those within their own race that are too dumpy, too frumpy, too fat, too lean, too angry, too unambitious, too trifling, too hateful, too independent, too this, too that. Yet when those same characteristics appear on someone of the opposite race they become acceptable. When a black woman ditches black men altogether because of one terrible relationship and then puts up with just about anything from a white man because she thinks the end results will be better, it makes no sense. When a black man says he doesn’t think a weave wearing black woman is attractive but then parades a heavy makeup wearing white girlfriend around with the same love for extensions, his double standards become painfully obvious. When this hypothetical scenario made its way into reality for me, that was when I realized how common double standards are in interracial dating.
I have a black male friend that has an affinity for white women. He’s a great person, always treats me with respect, and we always have a lot of fun. One of the best qualities my friend has is the fact that although he exclusively dates white women, he’s never really bad-mouthed black women. His fondness for white women was a non-issue with me until the fateful day he reached the point of no return.
We were having a discussion about our preferences in potential partners when he jokingly said he could never date a woman with fake hair, bad credit, and no job. When he stated these reasons were what kept him away from black women, I couldn’t help but be bothered by the stereotype he tried to use to justify his appreciation for women of other races. I mentioned that some of his white former girlfriends were uneducated, unemployed, and wore excessive makeup and extensions on the regular. In response, he explained that his former girlfriends wore makeup because they had bad skin and that they didn’t work because they were trying to pursue their passions, so it was all good. I tried to tell him that I didn’t understand his stance, but he continued to make ridiculous statements supporting his views. His asinine, stereotype-based explanations for his basis of eliminating black women from his dating life made me think it wouldn’t matter what a white woman had going on: as long as she was white, she was all right.
My friend is not alone in his line of thinking. There are black women, white women, and white men, Asian women and Asian men, basically people of all backgrounds, who also fall prey to the double standards of dating interracially–what they claim they can’t take about one group of people, they’ll ignore for another. Like who you like and do what you want when it comes to your dating life. One of the best aspects of the freedom we get in this country is the opportunity to date whomever we choose. However, it would be wise to fairly apply the same standards to everyone without regard to race. All I ask is that people be more honest about what they like, and why they like it, as opposed to using stereotypes and a few bad experiences with a certain kind of individual to blacklist and bash a whole group of them.
Feel like going surfing? Sorry, but that’s for white people. How about some golf instead? Nope sorry, once again that’s too white. You’re going to eat salad for dinner? Nope, that’s white people food. How about fried chicken instead?.. Yes, this sounds kind of ridiculous doesn’t it? Believe it or not, people still have to deal with this sort of negative feedback everyday. As much as we all know that a person’s character should not be defined by their race, we still see it happen time and time again. This friend is an Oreo, that person is whitewashed, that girl thinks she white. We all agreed with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he said that people should be judged on the content of their character, not by the color of their skin. It’s unfair for people to think you are a certain way based on your race. So why do some black people still think it’s okay to do this is a reverse way? In other words, they think that a person’s character should be a certain way based on their race and to be any other way is not being black enough. Either way, they’re both unfair. That’s why it’s time dismiss some of these unfair judgments about black people that some people call “being white.”
If someone ever got around to creating a dance to go along with the Black National Anthem, it would definitely be a soul line dance.
Think about it: “Lift every voice and sing…” sway to the right. “till earth and heav’n ring…” sway to the left. “…Let us march on till victory is won.” Let me see you bust a victory slide… Actually, an official Black National Anthem Slide is not a bad idea. Somebody needs to get on that – stat!
So last Friday, I was co-hosting an outdoor movie night for the community. Because we are black folks working in a mostly black neighborhood, needless to say that our event didn’t start on time. But as we scrambled about, rushing to set up the projector and screen to the annoyance of an awaiting movie watching crowd, one of the co-hosts, who also works part-time as a DJ, decided that some music would be a great distraction from our obvious lack of time management. He put on the Wobble.
Instantly, the skies got darkened, filling with flashes of lightening and roars of thunder. A horde of black folks appeared from out of nowhere. They came from around bushes and crawled out of sewer drains. Negros flowed out of their houses, still in house clothes and head scarves, dragging behind them frying pans and telephone cords and television remote controls and whatever other semblance of activities they were engaged in at the moment. A random guy driving past our event, heard the music, tucked and then jumped out of his moving vehicle, rolling perfectly into the line formation. And a little infant boy, possibly around six weeks old, leaped out of his stroller and miraculously hobbled across the pavement. By the time that the V.I.C got to “Hey Big girl, make him back it up…,” we were surrounded by a swarm of four, maybe five, rows of foot shuffling, hand snapping, Cha-Cha sliding, zoned-out black folks. It was the stuff of nightmares – or at least Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
Okay I am exaggerating a bit (a lot) but folks really did liven up – and they forget about our tardiness, which is the most important part of this story.
Seriously though, no event, wedding, or function with at least 75 percent of black folks in attendance is complete without the Cha Cha Slide, the Cupid Shuffle (original or remix) or the grandfather of all soul line dances, the Electric Slide. Heck, no black film could truly call itself an official black film without the inclusion of at least one of those line dances. I don’ care if the film is a tragic slave narrative, in which the main character dies after being whipped to death by Massa. You better believe that the surviving slaves in the film would be memorializing their fallen comrade, in a perfect 22-count line formation to some horrible dance music, deep within the woods behind Massa’ house.
But what has always befuddled – as well as amused – me about our love of soul step is that technically it is completely adverse to everything we have come to believe about dancing in the black community. First, it’s in a line, which means that there is no bumping and grinding on a partner. Second, it is the same old five or six repetitive moves for the entire 3 to 7 minutes of the song, which means no letting your body move in free-flowing unabashed motion. And lastly, the music pretty much sucks. Honestly every song sounds like a soulful version of the Hokie Pokie. In theory, line dancing should be the laughing stock of black movement. But for some reason, we all love it!
And no one is immune. Not the prissy cute girl who sort of, kind of, does the steps, but not too much because she doesn’t want to risk sweating out her perfectly coiled hair. Not the guy with the two left-feet, who always goes right even as the call and response instructs him to go left. And definitely not the ever entertaining show-offs, who takes line dancing to the extremes, incorporating extra slides, intricate footwork, arm isolations and even back flips like they are auditioning for America’s Best Dance Crew.
While it is widely believed that soul line dancing is a derivative of country western line dancing done with cowboy hats and boots, no one can claim ownership, especially not white folks, to the origins considering that all cultures including Africans have historically done dances in line formations. But more modernly there are some that believe that line dancing is the evolution of popular swing dance routines from as early as the 1920s including The Shim Sham Shimmy, a tap and jazz step routine, which was allegedly started as a warm-up exercise for Lindy Hop dancers at the legendary Savoy Club. Traces of line dancing can also be found in The Stroll, which got its roots in the Black community but only became popularized after it appeared on American Bandstand, the popular TV dance party that began in 1954. By the time the 70s arrived, the line formation dance had evolved into The Bus Stop, later christened The Hustle, which was popularized during the 1970s dance classic Saturday Night Fever. And towards the end of the 70s came The Electric Slide, which was created by choreographer Ric Silver (who coincidentally holds copyright claim to the creation of the dance although anecdotal evidence suggests that he just added extra steps to a dance already being done in the Jamaican club scene) set to the Marcia Griffiths’ song “Electric Boogie ushered in the four wall line, 22-count dance routine into the mainstream.
Wherever it has derived from, it is fully and securely part of the African American experience now. In fact, if you go on YouTube you can see that black folks are keeping the tradition alive by exercising their creative mojo in a variety of self-created stepping routines from the Soul Food to the Sanctified Slide to to more contemporary offerings like the Booty Work and the Feeling Single. And quite frankly, what’s not to love about soul line dancing? It’s the ultimate form of communal bonding where everyone in the family, no matter how old or how young can get into the groove once the song comes on.
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Why are black folks so infatuated with interracial dating?
It sounds like a blanket statement. Of course, all black folks aren’t obsessed with interracial dating. However, it seems like almost daily I come across a news post, and columns in magazines and blogs dedicated to black folks, speaking about the glory of dating outside of the black community. They ask stupid questions like Are Black Women Better off with White Men? and write guidebooks about snagging a white man (including the helpful tip of how to order wine the “white” way). And if they are not expounding on your personal choice on whom you date, than they are highlighting all the wonderful interracial couples in Hollywood. There are swirling sites run by black men and women and even a forthcoming coming film, which hopes to appeal to the “Rainbeau” dater in all of us.
So yeah, excuse me if I generalize by saying that nobody talks more about interracial dating than black folks. I mean, you just don’t see the topic broached in mainstream magazines like GQ or Vogue. You don’t see white therapists or white relationship experts or other white folks with alphabets behind their names and a platform, spouting the virtues of dating black men and women. Let’s face it: when it comes to reporting about “Jungle Fever,” this virus is only at epidemic proportions in the African American press.
But while the topic has no doubt been beaten to death by the black media there are still no shortages of articles directed towards interracial relationships. So obviously these stories are very popular, which is why these publications continue to put them out. After all, stories mean page clicks, and page clicks equates to dollars. And if there are folks willing to read it, than you can place the blame solely on black media for continuing to cater to their audience.
Which leads me to ask: If the color of the person we choose to date doesn’t matter, why do we talk about it so much?
Here is the standard disclaimer: I don’t have a problem with two folks of different races – or same gender for that matter – hooking up. Some people really do date outside of their race out of love and not some underlying motive. Okay, now that that’s out of the way; it’s the other would-be Rainbeau daters, who bother the hell out of me. These folks are the ones that go around touting anything but black as proof positive of equality, social advancement and worse, the magic solution to cure all problems within the black community. Unemployment rate is high? Get a white girl. Violence plaguing the community? You know what could solve that? Dating a white man. Can’t find your car keys? Girl, get yourself a white boy. They never lose their keys!
Let’s face it, no matter how far we think we have come in this society, as a race, too many of us are still looking, waiting and idolizing the white savior.
Yet science says that some of the same problems we find within the community can also be found interracially: In fact, the rate of divorce and domestic violence is much higher within interracial relationships and the incidence of spousal homicide is 7.7 higher in interracial relationships than in monoracial relationships. So much for thinking that the milk is less spoiled on the other side.
Truth is, championing dating interracially to empower the black community, particularly black women, is no more logical or rational than the colorblind racists, who believe that breeding ourselves into one in-between race will fix the world (yeah, like that worked for the Chinese and the Japanese). How we empower our people is by teaching self-love and by erasing those mental chains that tell us that “we” are inherently bad. We heal the world by recognizing cultural differences, and yes skin tone, and by ensuring that our differences do not lead to inequality. That is how we live interracially.
However, if you are using love and sex as some sort of political statement, position for advancement or weapon of revenge and conquest, than you are no better, and odds are, you’re more part of the problem than you think.
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Remember in Save the Last Dance where Kerry Washington’s character, Chenille, told Julia Stiles (Sara) that black people and white people live in two different worlds? Julia Stiles quickly blurted, “There’s only one world, Chenille!” to which she responded, “That’s what they teach you. We know different.” Whew! Now, I can’t say I completely agree with Chenille, but I will say there are plenty elements about black culture and heritage that a lot of white people know very little to nothing about. And since we don’t have time to educate all of the world’s ignorant, there may be so behaviors we don’t exhibit in the presence of those who just might not understand. Click on to see what I mean.
Considering that Black people experience so much racism in the world, is it possible for us to be “racist?” Per our usual, we took to the streets of New York to find out from the people themselves. Let us know what you think in the comments section. We want to know!
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