All Articles Tagged "criticism"
Have you ever found yourself giving your partner the silent treatment, rolling your eyes, or blaming your partner for your own actions? Albeit small, if these behaviors occur high in frequency and intensity they are markers that often accurately predict whether a relationship will succeed or fail.
Developing relationship insight takes work and begins with identifying your own pattern of communication. Next, you must take ownership of your own contribution (i.e behavior) in the relationship. By doing so, you increase your sense of control and it opens the door to problem solve a possibly contentious situation. This month’s newsletter will review Dr. Gottman’s famous “Four Horsemen”, which are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. The ultimate goal is by identifying these behaviors you can work to change them, and be successful in creating a happy relationship.
One pattern of interaction that was found to increase the duration of a relationship was having high levels of positive interactions. In fact, the magic number turned out to be 5 positive interactions for every one negative interaction; couples that maintained this 5:1 ratio were happier and more stable. This 5:1 interaction can help to reduce the impact of negative communication, because negative interactions typically have a stronger impact than positive ones. This information is incredibly important in counterbalancing some of the damage that can be done when coping with negative communication.
Negative interactions known as the “Four Horsemen” were found to be associated with couples whose relationship was likely to end. These destructive interactions make up the second pattern that predicts the duration of a relationship:
Criticism: Making character attacks. This usually takes form by attacking one’s personality or characteristics. Generalization statements may commonly take place as a list of complaints about one’s past behavior to suggest a character fault. Examples include, “you never; you always; why do you always do; you’re the kind of person who; you’re so ___.”
Contempt: Insulting or causing psychological abuse with intention. This takes the form by attacking your partner’s sense of self. These behaviors convey a lack of concern for your partner, their feelings, and reflect an overall negative view of your partner. This may come in the form of body language, ex. rolling your eyes, sneering; name calling and insults “jerk, slob, ugly, fat;” and sarcasm, humor, and/or mockery.
Read more at YourTango.com
I had the opportunity to listen to Jay-Z’s “Open Letter” yesterday, and I definitely enjoyed many aspects of it. The beat was dope, the lyrics were witty, and as a hip-hop fan, I found it to be a pretty entertaining response to his critics, which are increasing. They, of course, spent the week on the rapper and Beyoncé’s case for celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary in Cuba with family.
But when he dropped lines like,
Boy from the hood, but got White House clearance
Obama said chill, you gon’ get me impeached/You don’t need this s**t anyway, go chill with me on the beach,”
I thought to myself, “This isn’t going to end well.” A day later, the White House felt the need to make it clear that they had nothing, especially President Obama, to do with the Carters getting clearance from the Treasury Department to vacay in Cuba. There was no conversation about possible impeachment, not even a joke about it–so basically, don’t look at President Obama, because his name is Bennett, and he ain’t in it.
While I could only imagine how amazing it would be to be able to say you are good friends with the President of the United States, it’s becoming clear that it’s not easy. Ever since Jay-Z and Beyoncé started pushing hard for the re-election of President Obama, and the First Family made clear that they were supporters of the couple, they’ve become closer and closer. The Carters hosted an event to raise millions for the Obama re-election campaign late last year, and they definitely did that. Jay-Z performed at a campaign event for the president the day before the election. Beyoncé could be seen all over her Instagram stanning for the president, wearing Obama earrings, Obama shirts and even showing us her early vote through her profile (bad idea). And when you show that kind of support, make it clear in your lyrics that you have “Obama on the text,” and that you take exclusive trips to the White House, a new type of critic is bound to come out that is much worse than folks on “urban” blogs and people who just aren’t fans. They’re like the boogie man, and they’re the Right-Wing nut-jobs searching for a conspiracy in every single thing to make you a target. And that’s what they’ve made Jay and Bey, when five or so years ago, they were just simple entertainers. From the backlash over her lip-synching performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” at the inauguration, to Donald Trump criticizing her performance at the Super Bowl, conservative haters going in about her outfit, Rush Limbaugh trying to mock “support” her song “Bow Down” by tying misogny to it, and now, this Cuba mess, the Carters have a new troll on their backs. We all know a rap song as a response might not be enough to hold them back.
On the other side of the fence, Jigga’s response and the couple’s trip as a whole has already become something of a small annoyance for the president and the White House, with people investigating two grown a** people’s decision to go to Cuba for the purpose of trying to see if the President had something to do with it. His song only made things worse, to the point that a statement had to be made about it all to prove that, look, Barack Obama has more important things to focus on and worry about. Gun control? North Korea anyone?
Who the president associates himself with has always been a target, dating back to Obama needing to separate himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright when he was vying for a first term, and they were even closer at one time. And Jay doesn’t have a spotless background, what with a past in selling drugs, some episodes of violence, and some very provocative lyrics over the years. Hell, when Bey told “b***hes” to “Bow Down,” even people at my job were wondering if that would reflect well upon the president, because all of a sudden, everything the couple says and does can now affect the Obamas. What’s up with that?? It makes no sense to us, but for the critics, it does.
So while I enjoyed “Open Letter,” for what it was worth, I think it’s best that Jay-Z and Beyoncé go back to doing what they do best–ignoring the criticism like they had done for years, because I can’t say that responding and calling folks in high places out makes things better at this point. And in reality, this is just the beginning. For uber-conservative folks still pissy about Mitt Romney losing last November and making that eight years that Republicans will not have the highest position, the President and anybody that is close to him have become fair game for their bull. So as a man who said, “I Got 99 Problems But Mitt Ain’t One,” and his lady who exclaimed “Take that Mitches” after President Obama’s win on loose-leaf paper, things will probably get worse. But I just hope Jay will do the President a favor and relax on all the name dropping he does of him in his lyrics and in everyday life to prove that he’s come further than anybody ever expected. We get it. You’re cool. No need to gloat about your connections, nor to drag his name in on diss tracks and leave the president and his people trying to fend off all the press that comes with that. Let’s leave him far, far away from that.
Continue doing you, and be ready for whatever lies and drama uber-conseratives, the folks who don’t listen to your music, try to throw your way–ready to “brush your shoulders off” that is. Because that’s just what comes with having a friend who’s the leader of the free world.
“Danielle, when did AJ start dressin’ like a hippie?”
My aunt asked my sister this question about me with a half-puzzled, half-disgusted look on her face a few months ago. I laughed when my sister told me. Thinking about it now, being able to laugh about it is remarkable.
Here’s the story: ‘Nappy,’ ‘pickaninny,’ ‘Buckwheat’ and ‘wild’ were the descriptors many of my family members met me with when I first decided to give hair straightening a rest in high school. So I went back to straight bangs and low buns to avoid any confrontation.
At 25, I cut my hair. I wanted the relaxed ends gone. I wanted my ‘fro back. Only this time I was scared out of my mind to reveal my ‘fro to my family. And I was met with the same downright mean, almost self-hating feedback from a family who – though God-fearing and most helpful – has always had SOMETHING negative to say about my unique ventures and style choices since I was small. So I tucked my hair away under wigs for the better part of three months, discontent with the short length of my hair and afraid of what they might say. But then, one family member got so incredibly disgusted with that and reamed me out for not wearing my own hair. I reached a boiling point. Internally, I was screaming, frustrated and confused. I craved acceptance from my own blood, the acceptance that an unknown passersby gave me in spades from time to time. I wanted my family to “get” me and I was tired of feeling like I had to adjust myself just to make them comfortable and keep them quiet. So, I took off the wigs and decided once and for all to walk in the glory of my ever-growing kinky curly hair. Eff what they thought. I needed to do what felt right for me. My kinks felt right and I wore them. A confidence I had never known started to sprout in me.
That confidence spilled over from my hair to my fashion choices. I had always dressed conservatively because it was safe. My family complimented the pencil skirts, kitten heels and starched shirts. That was acceptable. That was ‘right.’ Imagine their surprise when along with the ‘wild’ red frohawk, I began sporting gladiator sandals, cut off shirts and long flowy bohemian maxis? I was owning my style, my choices, my ideas. One decision to wear my hair how I wanted to, for MY own reasons, snowballed into my entire life changing. I was figuring out what felt right FOR ME. I wasn’t just agreeing with everyone else’s opinions for fear of being hounded for thinking outside my family’s box. I was proudly spinning their rough sneers into the fine silk of self-acceptance. And it felt darn good.
At first, I didn’t realize that I had stopped allowing myself to be a victim of my family’s criticism and had actually started embracing it. All I knew was that my life was passing me by as I conformed to someone else’s ideas instead of finding my own. I was in my mid-twenties and had no idea what my personal style was. Imagine that. Living life as a reflection of everyone else, always being too afraid or feeling guilty for wanting to look into the mirror and see just exactly who is staring back.
Once I got a good glimpse though, I made it my business to honor that girl staring back at me. Whatever choices I made from that moment on were guided by my God-given intuition and individuality. Sure I would take sage advice from those around me, but to be completely ruled by their opinions to the point that I lost myself? Never again. I had to really get it into my system that not everyone (least of all family, sometimes) is going to agree with the decisions I make. My preferences won’t rub everyone the right way all the time, but that’s all right. God created us to be individuals, not mindless clones of one of another.
So, a nappy headed hippie, you say? ‘Nappy headed’? Okay! It looks good on me so I’ll be that! Hippie? Well, all right! A lost concertgoer from Woodstock anyone? I’ll take that too, because life is too short to be boxed into a life stitched together by everyone else’s thoughts, insecurities, fears and standards. At some point, by breaking free and embracing the suck regardless of how anyone tries to spin it, I know who I am now and I’m comfortable in my own skin, my own ‘fro and my own style.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself and a passion for young women’s empowerment, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Check out her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and her Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
New York sidewalks and city buses are crowded, and if you’re lucky enough, you get to stand hip to hip with a woman on her phone, who is going off on her boyfriend/husband/lover about whatever ways he’s wronged her or whatever ways he’s messed up. No matter what the topic, one thing is painfully apparent–some women LOVE to dish it out. As proud women of color, we’ve learned to defend our own honor and when we can, we avidly state our dissatisfaction when we’re not comfortable with something. It’s a learned trait from our mothers, grandmothers or aunts who won’t let anyone disrespect them or treat them with any less regard than they actually deserve. We even do this within our relationships, vocal about what displeases us because in addition to offensiveness, it’s been instilled in us that honesty is key–particularly in terms of relationships. And in a way, it is. But if we as black women can openly share our opinions and disappointments with our men, how good are we at taking criticism back?
As a general policy, I like to be open and honest in all of my relationships. Because passive aggressiveness isn’t my forte, I try to verbalize concerns immediately, and if I have a problem communicating things vocally, I write people letters. Yeah, you read right. I’m just that anxious to get my point across. But, when the script is flipped, and it’s time for others to weigh in on me and my behaviors, I tend to get defensive or my feelings get hurt. That isn’t to say that I can’t take criticism, but like most women, my need to share my opinion doesn’t necessarily come from a place of anger or disrespect (unless intending to illicit a certain response), but a need to be heard, which is why it can be hurtful to hear a strong negative reaction from my partner. This is particularly true of relationships where the man’s opinions and emotions steer the relationship.
Moreover, offhand commentary can be heard as criticisms. Statements such as, “That dress looks tighter on you than it did before” or “You’re wearing a lot of makeup” can rouse anger because women assume that men, like us, lace our statements with underlining meanings. The two statements above could be heard as “You’re fat” and “You look like a clown” if you think too hard about it. Because men don’t usually communicate as effectively as women, women often search their statements for answers –finding criticism where there isn’t, and also, women tend to work in duality. When we share thoughts, more often than not, our words have multiple agendas, whereas men tend to be more literal. But, the matter of ‘if we can take it’ is still in need of an answer; and for me, that answer is yes. Women (women of color in particular) have a history of absorbing criticism; and historically, we weren’t always able to share our opinions/concerns. Men have gained the role of the insensitive partner and women have more recently earned the role of the nag because of this history. For the sake of relationships, however, women and men have to learn to be more receptive to our partner’s thoughts and opinions without feeling defensive or hurt, because ideally, whatever concerns are being addressed, it’s for the betterment of the relationship.
More on Madame Noire!
- Wait, How Did You Get That Role? 14 Of The Crappiest Casting Calls in Black Films and TV
- What’s Up With The Egg Freezing Reality TV Fad?
- Magazine Cover Curse: 9 Couples Who Shared Their Love With Us And Ended Up Yesterday’s News
- Cute Baby Alert: See Diana Ross’s New Grandbaby, And Kimbella’s Growing Baby Girl, Bella!
- Romantic, Cheesy or Somewhere In Between? 7 Corny Moves People Think Are Romantic
- I Know You Didn’t Just Say Dutch: Why Women Should NOT Split The Tab On A First Date
- Did You Know They Dated (Part IV)? 14 Celeb Couples We Were VERY Surprised By
Oprah’s rep as a media mogul who can do no wrong just keeps becoming more and more unhinged as the days go by. As of late she’s been heavily critiqued for the fails of her OWN network, side-eyed for the stars she’s chosen to feature in a race for ratings, and now she’s rubbed some segments of the Asian community wrong with her “Oprah’s Next Chapter” special on India.
Perhaps the most-telling of the critiques regarding the two-part series which aired in India this past weekend is one written in the popular Hindi newspaper Dainik Bhaskar under the headline, “Snobbish Oprah Mocks India.” The reporter wrote:
In a typical American snooty style the talk show queen tried to portray superficial ‘sob story’. Oprah was anything but a good guest when she went around the small 10 by 10 feet house interrogating the family members about their ‘poor’ living style and ‘miserly’ living.
The small family of five, stunned by the arrival of an unexpected guest were the most gracious host. On the contrary, the American guest left no stone unturned in mocking the family.
She asked the otherwise happy children how they could live in such a “tiny” room and actually wanted to know, “Don’t you feel it’s too cramped?” She also asked the six-year-olds whether they were happy.
She then interrogated the father about whether he was happy and satisfied. He got teary-eyed and said that he wished he could earn more and provide for a more comfortable life for his children. After making him weep in front of his family, Oprah said that she knows how awful it is for children to see their father weep.
She did look for a shower head in the toilet and seem amazed to hear they bathed with a bucket. And she marvelled at how all their clothes fit onto a small shelf.
She pointedly avoided any mention of the massive LCD TV which adorned their wall. That would have killed the sob story. When their older daughter told Oprah that she’d like to go to London to study further, Oprah also played her role as American ambassador to the hilt and said, “No. Come to America, it’s a lovely country. It’s the best”.
This was latest in a series of attempts made by west to show India as a poor misery ridden mystic land.
Next, Oprah Winfrey, ‘the Queen of talk shows’, immediately proceeded to the home of one of Bombay’s richie-rich families. And then displayed her haughty self there as well.
The joint family which was dressed in full Indian regalia served her a meal on silver thalis and katoris. She looked at the food and then made her best statement of the entire episode – “So I hear some people in India STILL eat with their hands.”
As pointed as this negative reaction was, it was far from the only one. MSN points out that the management of the leading Indian TV channel, CNN-IBN, posted an open letter to Oprah from an offended fan on its website, which reads:
“Oprah, your comment about eating with the hand is really not that big a deal to us; we are used to gross Western ignorance regarding our ancient country. But as a responsible public figure about to air a show that will be beamed across the world, you should have done your homework. Using our hands to eat is a well established tradition and a fact none of us are ashamed of. Our economic distinction has nothing to do with it. A millionaire here eats the same way a pauper does. You have been to Asian nations. You should know that.”
On Firstpost.com, Rajyasree Sen called the special “Myopic, unaware, ignorant and gauche,” while India Real Time notes the overarching point all critics have is that Oprah’s special depicted “India as Westerners imagine it, one stereotype at a time.”
A spokesperson for “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” sidestepped all of the criticism in a recent statement, simply saying:
“The intention of the program was to explore the beautiful culture and spirit of the country. We enjoyed the time we spent there and were touched by the people who so generously shared their stories for the show.”
They might have to come up with something better than that to combat all of this backlash. Check out the questionable clips from the special here. Do you think Oprah’s coverage mocked Indian culture?
More on Madame Noire!
- How Ya Going? 9 of Our Favorite Celebs Of Trinidadian Descent (There’s Some Surprises!)
- Baby, Bye! Celebs Who Took Their Baby Hair Too Far
- But He’s Not On My Level, Right? Why Women Should Seek Passion and Purpose in a Mate
- What’s Happened To R&B Music? The Real Men of R&B We Love
- Almost Doesn’t Count! Celebs Who Never Quite Made It Down the Aisle”
- Summer Essentials: The Curvy Fashionista Lists Her 5 Must-Haves
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of “New Jack City”
Apparently the folks over at HBO decided not to wait until season 2 to get around to adding some diversity to the cast of its new show “Girls” after all. Jezebel uncovered a casting notice for the new series and it looks like execs plan to add a little black and Asian flavor to the all-white mix. Here’s what they’re looking for.
[TAKO] FEMALE, AFRICAN AMERICAN, 23-26 years old. Adam’s best friend. A tough, tiny lesbian. RECURRING. Likes: biking without a helmet, making her own soap and preserves, bar fights, Brigitte Bardot. Hates: needy girls, most of Manhattan, the messages her mom leaves on her machine, when Adam lames out and stays home.
[SAKE BAR WAITER] MALE, ASIAN, 20S-40S, delivers sake that Marnie and Jessa did not order…(1 LINE)
[JUNKIE WOMAN] FEMALE, PLEASE SUBMIT ALL ETHNICITIES, WORN 30S/40S. Woman yelling loudly in the Emergency Room, demanding vicodin for pain. (1 SCENE)
[GAVIN] MALE, CAUCASIAN, LATE 20S, BURLY GUY, plays Adam’s overacting scene partner in his play. (2 SCENES)
Jezebel writers went in pretty hard on the not-so-outside-the-box casting of an Asian serving sake and a tiny butch black lesbian but I’ll just leave these details as they are and see what you think. One thing that seems to be apparent is HBO heard the cries for more color and they responded—quickly. Now we just have to see how its executed.
What do you think about “Girls” adding these characters?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Bad Never Looked So Good: Fine Fictional Characters That Scared Us For Real
- Does Your Life Revolve Around Men?
- Transgender Woman On Trial For Second-Degree Murder After Homophobic Attack
- Beyond Boycotting: Star Jones Calling High-Profile Women To Take A Stand Against ‘BBW’
- Kimora Lee Simmons Launches New Skin Care Line
- Skincare Q&A: Photo Sensitivity, Combination Skin and Dark Circles
- Hit or Ms.: Do We Really Need to Have Respect for Adults?
The media and tons of critics have taken HBO and Lena Dunham to task for its new series “Girls” which is essentially a younger, broker 2012 “Sex and the City,” for its lack of diversity, or as Slate contributor and cultural critic Debra Dickerson put it, having “an abundance of chicks with normal bodies, but somehow no negroes.” The issue is that the plot centers on four white main characters who are surrounded by white people in the midst of the melting pot mecca of New York City. I get the absurdity of women being in NYC (and in their residence of Brooklyn) and not ever coming into contact with any people of color—or the three that one writer counted in one episode—but I also think we’re grasping for straws by making a big deal out of the so-called whitewashing of this show.
We live in the world of niche media and though the broad use of the term girls would suggest you could turn the show on and see the girl you are on-screen, that’s not the case as far as skin tone, although interestingly everything else seems to be there. Rebecca Carroll, wrote on The Daily Beast:
“As relatable as I find ‘Girls,’ I can’t also help feeling, well, left out. There are no black girls in ‘Girls.’ I feel somewhat cheated. While I have decided that the show is for me, it has decided that I am not for the show.”
I wouldn’t take the omission of black characters quite so personally, although having seen the backlash the series has created, I wouldn’t be surprised if the show did try to ignore race altogether to avoid the inevitable criticism it would still receive. If this show were to throw in the token black girlfriend we’d still be having a fit about her skin tone, her hair texture, the lack of a developed storyline, etc., and I actually respect the fact that the network didn’t even go there if they weren’t going to execute it well. Furthermore, I find the mention of the women in the series having “normal” bodies as evidence that this show aimed to be sort of the anti-thesis to the “Gossip Girl” type of NYC shows we see on-air and everyone knows there’s just as much work to be done on the representation of healthy bodies as there is black women, this just isn’t the show that will break down the latter barrier and that’s OK. We can’t expect every show to be all things to all people.
Furthermore, it’s not our job to say what’s real to some people and not to others. I’m pretty sure the white circle of acquaintances shown in “Girls” is the reality for the creator Lena Dunham. If these girls were black, the immediate people around them would be black as well, despite whatever multiculturalism is in their backdrop. Yes, diverse cultures are all around you in NYC but that doesn’t mean everyone lives them. That’s not the focus of this show and I would venture to say that that’s not inherently problematic.
Others have argued that a simple change in the name could have made all the difference; that had the show been named “Some girls” or even “White girls” then there would be nothing to argue with. By the very appearance of four white women and the obvious realization that all girls are not a monolith, we know this depiction is only some girls. And calling the show white girls would place unnecessary emphasis on the women’s race much like the criticism against it has.
I’m fully in agreement with Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic when he suggests we shouldn’t be asking for inclusion on this show but to be represented on our own version of ‘Girls’” because after all, the response from the series’ writer, Lesley Arfin, to the criticism on Twitter was “What really bothered me most about Precious was that there was no representation of ME.” As he states:
“I think it’s only right to ask whether you really want black characters rendered by the same hands that rendered that tweet. Invisibility is problematic. Caricature is worse.”
Maybe HBO missed an opportunity with “Girls” and maybe it didn’t. Diversity isn’t on everyone’s agenda and that’s because white people simply don’t have to think about it. I’m sure if we were coming up with a series we wouldn’t think to throw in a token white character; the same is true for the other side. And while I know the history of exclusion is far deeper for us, I don’t think it runs that deep for this show. Debating “Girls” is a lost cause and a battle that really doesn’t need to be fought. The bigger picture is to create our own narratives and find a place for them on television not be threaded into a white one.
Do you take issue with the lack of black characters on “Girls?”
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Beauty and the Braids: 7 Celebrities Who Make The Look Fierce
- Vain is Your Middle Name: Celebs Who Love Themselves as Much as Their Fans Do
- Do You Want What You Can’t Have? Why You Keep Chasing the Unavailable
- Tuesday Talk: Melanie Fiona On Her Mother, Man And One MF
- Tableside Racism: Waiters Admit Discriminating Against Black Patrons Because They Don’t Tip
- Ladies, What Do You Do With Your Farts?
- Why Don’t Black Women Want to Breastfeed?
- The 7 Reasons Men Lie, According To A Man Who Doesn’t (Maybe)
Ever notice that any discussion on weight in the African-American community seems to only center on women?
I’ve noticed it. In blogs, on television and in news articles. Everyone wants black women to get fit, especially men. Boris Kodjoe once went on an ill-advised and bone-headed Twitter tirade/rant aimed at overweight black women. And NPR even ran a piece a couple of months ago on how half of African-American women in the U.S. are obese. It seems that everyone is obsessed with our weight and is out to save us from the terrible health dilemma associated with being fat. You could sort of understand as all the studies and crunched numbers show black women have the highest rates of being overweight and obese compared to other groups in the United States. Truth be told, it couldn’t hurt for us to focus more on our health and well-being. However our weight, as black women, is not the full story.
According to the latest statistics provided by the Office of Minority Health in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, while 78 percent of African-American women can be classified as overweight or obese, the number of black men classified as either overweight or obese is 71 percent. And while black women represent a disproportionately large number of those classified as obese (as having a Body Mass Index of 30 pounds or greater), black men as a group were more likely to be classified as overweight (as defined as having a BMI at 25 percent or greater than the standard) than black women. In other words, what we have here is a situation of the fat pot calling the fat kettle a fat a**.
So how did the conversation about weight within the community become so skewed? I think that one of the reasons why the issue of obesity in the community has transformed into a women-only issue is because of our societal impulse to believe that women, and more importantly their bodies, are for gawking. Women are more often described, judged and criticized in terms of what we look like, rather than what we think or do far more than our male counterparts. As such, our society has created numerous industries – from cosmetics, to fashion, right down to weight loss regiments and programs – which help to further reinforce the notions that a woman’s body, particularly her shape, holds more value than anything else she has to offer.
The ironic thing is that obesity rates have increased sharply in the United States over the past 30 years in general, and today, nearly one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. These children are developing diseases normally associated with adults, such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. African-American children ages 6 to 11 are more likely to be obese or overweight than white children. And yet we spend a majority of the time focused on women.
Likewise, black men are more likely to be overweight the older they get, have a shorter life span than black women, and according to the Center for Disease Control, are more likely to die from preventable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. While we either chide or celebrate celebrity women such as Mo’Nique, Gabourey Sidibe and even down to Rihanna every time their weight fluctuates, we as a community are virtually silent about their male counterparts like Heavy D and Patrice O’Neal and Rick Ross, whose own weight issues have either contributed to poor health or even death. This gender specific emphasis on weight management might be effective in shaming the fairer sex into shape, but only focusing on women has done a major disservice to our men in the community, who are almost equally at-risk for obesity related illnesses.
This past weekend, I went past my grandmother’s house to visit. Over the last 10 years she has had a heart attack, two strokes and eventually a triple bypass surgery. Now she is on oxygen. Unfortunately, watching my grandmother deteriorate in front of my eyes has been all the inspiration I need to ensure that I am eating right and in the gym at least three times a week. Yet my uncle, who lives and helps to take care of my grandmother and has been a vocal critic of my grandma’s inactivity for years, suffered his first heart attack a few months ago. And still, his main focus is on what my grandmother ain’t doing as opposed to what he needs to be doing for himself.
More on Madame Noire!
- Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind the Making of “Boomerang”
- Asymmetrical Hair Styles: 7 Celebs That Are A Cut Above The Rest
- Can You See Me? 6 Signs You May Be An Attention Seeker
- Will You Watch? Jim Jones and Chrissy Lampkin Snag VH1 Spinoff
- He’s Baaack: Larenz Tate Starring in New Film, ‘Gun Hill’
- Why There’s No Hope For The Real Housewives of Atlanta
- Too Soon? SNL Spoofs Trayvon Martin Coverage
- Nicki Minaj’s Family Says She Exaggerated Her Father’s Abuse
A friend of mine often gets labeled a self-hating negro. He’s black, young, vocal about issues that need to change in the black community, and as you may have guessed from the title of this article, married to a white woman.
He’ll often rant about how ridiculous the assumption is and I tell him from the outside looking in, I can see how people would draw that conclusion. Yes, he does a lot of good things in the black community, but not everyone is aware of them. And when all you see is a black man with a white woman who exposes a lot of issues about his people, it tends to scream modern-day Uncle Tom.
I thought about his experience more as I read responses to Brian White’s recent comments on black women and stereotypes. While some were in agreement with his stance, the majority of those who didn’t argued that he has issues with black women, as evidenced by his non-black wife. While I wasn’t in agreement with Brian’s generalizations about what “the majority of black women” act like, the questioning of the legitimacy of his argument because of who he’s married to made me wonder whether your ability to speak out on issues in the black community is trumped when you date outside your race?
When it comes to Brian, I think the most damaging part of his interview was the wording. It’s evident he has an issue with how black women are portrayed on TV—as many black women do—but the problem is that he presented the portrayals as true-life representations, and seemed more interested in proving that point than suggesting ways to combat the stereotypes or identify the many women who don’t fit those images—besides Taraji or Gabrielle. There was certainly an underpinning of “my mom and sisters aren’t crazy but the rest of ya’ll black women are,” in his responses, but if he was married to a black woman would that change the message? Would it have been better received?
As more black women begin to date outside of their race, I wonder whether this type of “he’s got a white woman anyway” dismissal will come back to bite us. Will black women’s comments on the black community and black men come to be dismissed for self-hating because they’re romantic partner isn’t black? Is that a fair assumption?
In general we tend to look at black men dating outside of their race as a way to get away from black women and black women dating outside of their race because there are no decent black men left. Those are two very different reasons and ones that garner different reactions. We say “go girl, and forget black men” when it’s us dating interracially but we think, “black woman issues” when it’s a man doing the same thing and from that point on, they are severely limited in their ability to critique black people in general. Are black women headed down that same path?
I can admit I’ve been guilty of it. When I wrote an article about repairing relationships between black men and black women, one women went off terribly about black men and how they’ve mistreated her and aren’t worth much and when I saw her husband is white, I immediately disregarded her opinion. In that instance, I took her stance and her choice of a partner as evidence of her hatred for black men and proof that she couldn’t make a legitimate statement about them that wasn’t based in that disgust. More than being rubbed the wrong way, I thought, you’ve given up on black men anyway, why do you care about relationships between black men and black women?
It wasn’t a fair reaction but it’s one that’s typically put on black men and has the potential to come right back on us as we broaden our dating pool. It’s also something I’ve thought about personally. If I were to date outside my race would it be odd to be so down for my people yet not have one of my own on my side, but as things currently stand, it seems black women get a pass.
Does having a white woman automatically make you dismissive of black men’s criticisms about black women? Do you think black women will soon fall into that same group or do they have more freedom to be critical while dating interracially?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
More on Madame Noire!
- Did You Know They Were Engaged?
- Quiet On The Set! Celeb’s Who Secretly Hooked Up At Work
- On The Brink Of A Break Up ? Make Sure You Don’t Do It This Way…
- Dangerously In Love: Warning Signs To Protect Your Heart From Harming You
- Neon Sense! Colorful and Playful Pieces to Brighten Up Winter Days
- LORD, Take Me Now! Signs You Hate Your Job
- How to Choose a Hairstyle That Fits Your Face
- Hair Q&A: Protein Treatments and Double Heat
(Black Enterprise) — Criticism can be tough to take and give, no matter how constructive it is. How should you respond when someone offers up their well-meaning advice? Or what if you’re the one providing feedback to others? Consider these tips for making sure the conversation goes smoothly.