Coffee Rhetoric: Stereotypes
Showing posts with label Stereotypes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stereotypes. Show all posts

October 10, 2015

Thats So Raven: Raven-Symoné Won't Hire You If Your Name is Too 'Ghetto' Despite Her Own

I been gone for a minute, now I’m back with the Jump off.  And what better way to dive back in than through unfettered snark aimed at a short-sighted celebrity’s misguided ways?

The last time I expended energy on our, now be-cockatooed , friend Raven-Symoné, she engaged Oprah Winfrey in a bold (and awkwardly worded) ramble about her identity, and how she’d rather be considered as American rather than African-American. Despite Oprah offering Raven an opportunity to clarify her comments, she stood her ground and let her awkward, hippy-dippy b.s. ride the wave of stupidity.

Since my aforementioned post, Raven has been christened as the latest co-host on ABC’s The View (another in a revolving door of hosts), and her newly minted position has enabled her to curse us with several gaffes in-between being an American with a "nice, interesting grade of hair" and now. Perched on a nationally televised platform, with the Blackety-Black name Raven-Symoné, our sad clown has seemingly committed herself to playing The View’s resident Supreme Troll… a crown she quickly made haste, and snatched from Whoopi Goldberg--'cause let's be real, despite intermittent moments of clarity, Whoopi says some simple-minded shit too.

October 29, 2013

Examining American Horror Story: Coven

FX's Exercise in Witchcraft, Sex, Gender, and Race


Prior to season three’s Coven, I’d never watched the American Horror Story series. I had a brief dalliance with the first season’s Murder House installment, but my interest waned, and I gave up after the first three episodes. I didn't bother with season two and, fortunately, American Horror Story unfolds like an anthology, and features a new story each season, so there’s no sense of urgency for late-pass stragglers like myself, to play catch up via weekend Netflix marathons.

When I learned that Angela Bassett, Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange (a series regular), and Gabourey Sidibe were among the cast for AHS: Coven and saw the gothic trailers and dark cinematic look of season three, I was giddy, primed, and ready to watch, especially after seeing Angela Bassett in one promo, languorously draped on a throne, all  flawless skin and Senegalese twists, menacingly warning, “She done messed with the wrong witch.” Season Three takes place in New Orleans, at a boarding school for young witches learning how to channel their powers, evade attention from the public, and protect themselves.

February 15, 2013

Madness & Reality Radio: Angry Black Women, Hoodrats, & 'Othering'

This past Wednesday night, I was invited to weigh-in on Madness & Reality Radio’s hot-button topic: ‘The Voyeuristic Fetish of Angry Black Women’in hopes of contributing to a nuanced conversation about the 'Angry Black Woman' trope; but alas, as most conversations about Black women do, the discourse veered a bit off course. Additionally, due to technical difficulties, I wasn't able to be patched through successfully, so I could offer my two-cents, as planned. I sat on the sidelines clenching my mug of hot apple cider, racked with a wicked case of the WTFs; caused by guest commentary from a popular pod-caster at the helm of a movement called, “Die Hoodrat Die”, who calls himself HaterArazzi. Most of the more incendiary comments came from male-callers (undoubtedly loyal fans of Generation X forumsTommy Sotomayor HaterAzzi's podcast)- who were able to get patched through and make some incendiary comments about “those” Black women who act ‘ratchet’.

May 11, 2012

NY Times Writer, "Black Women Want to be Fat"


In case you’ve been napping from the fatigue beating a dead horse induces and haven't heard, brace yourselves, because yet another article has surfaced, throwing Black women under the bus. Black women are not only the Face(s) of Spinster-hood apparently. Now this country's obesity problem is being framed to be an affliction suffered solely by that demographic.  In a growing list of articles and blog posts seemingly aimed at acquiring a paycheck and garnering blog hits as opposed to informing, thinking critically, and helping resolve; writer Alice Randall penned a “Black Women are Proud Fatties; Proud Fatties are Black Women” piece that ran in this past Sunday’s New York Times op-ed section. Through a couple of personal anecdotes and random stories about acquaintances, Randall surmised that most Black women are fat, because they want to be that way. And you do know that Black women are a monolith sans the capability of acting and thinking singly, right? (This is asked with the utmost sarcasm, of course).
“What we need is a body-culture revolution in black America. Why? Because too many experts who are involved in the discussion of obesity don’t understand something crucial about black women and fat: many black women are fat because we want to be."  Randall writes in her op-ed piece.
She goes on to opine…
“How many white girls in the ’60s grew up praying for fat thighs? I know I did. I asked God to give me big thighs like my dancing teacher, Diane. There was no way I wanted to look like Twiggy, the white model whose boy-like build was the dream of white girls. Not with Joe Tex ringing in my ears.”
Needless to say, Randall’s article sparked a flood of rebuttals via New Media, mostly penned by Black women, fed up with being publicly dissected and made to shoulder a burden that should be shared by Black men and actually a good portion of this country.  Go ahead and add this post to the 'exasperated' list of folks who eye-rolled at Randall's article.

While I've gleaned that Randall is attempting to advocate for health and wellness, I can’t help but take her to task for using her own personal experiences to speak for and judge everyone else. Across my social media platforms and/or timelines, I read nothing but updates by Black women (including and especially women of size) checking-in at the gym and touting the benefits of “cleaner eating”. A lot of us are in fact, taking our health seriously. As a relatively healthy, fuller-figured Black woman myself-- (full-disclosure, I did have a brief stint with an eating disorder when I was a teen and again as a young adult, in an attempt to will my body slimmer) --  and contrary to what Randall suggests; I don’t walk around fist-pumping in the name of fat nor do I have an aversion to healthy eating habits-- (up until about five years ago, I’d been a long-time vegetarian)-- or being active. More importantly, I’m not fuller-figured via some man’s request and my experiences don't mirror every other plus size woman's. While I admittedly grapple with my body's fluctuating weight, I don't wrestle with the idea of being mostly comfortable with myself like many people would prefer... at least not beyond the norm of any woman who fusses over her looks. And it took a bit of work to learn to accept maintaining my body in its fullness, while shirking the opinions and judgement of others who haven't a clue about my well-being or social life. 

Randall also makes the foolish (and common) mistake of generalizing the preferences of Black men (once again, due to her own personal experiences), suggesting that most of them prefer a woman with a fuller-figure and will express dismay at their partner’s weight loss…
“How many middle-aged white women fear their husbands will find them less attractive if their weight drops to less than 200 pounds? I have yet to meet one.
But I know many black women whose sane, handsome, successful husbands worry when their women start losing weight.”
The backlash from Randall's article has been palpable, and she has felt the impact and responded to it:
“My statement was that many black women are fat because they want to be. I said the word, “many,” there was no “all.” When I talk about, “want to be,” I use an example of husbands. Let me use an example that’s even more profound to me—grandmothers. My grandmother was big as three houses. She was a brilliant, strong woman who ended up having grandchildren and great-grandchildren that went to Harvard and MIT and the like, to do big things.

When I think of what it is to be powerful and beautiful, I think of her. That’s something I wanted to be. In the heart of my hearts, when I think of strength and beauty, the first thought I have is of her. I am acknowledging her influence on me. I wrote and published four novels in 10 years. That’s doing a lot of work. The way I get that work done is not sleeping much or taking time to exercise and take care of myself. Those are choices I’ve made.

I haven’t gotten fat because of eating horrible foods, but by overwork. That’s a choice that most blacks make—going out and working the job as a domestic servant."  (source)
And there she goes once more... Alice Randall has made a blanket assumption about Black men, based on her experiences. Even when she attempts to personalize the article in her follow-up statement by asserting her own internal issues with her body, she seemingly projects it onto other Black woman.

This brand of writing, which analyzes Black women’s bodies, rarely ever features anything particularly revelatory we aren't already aware of or haven't read lately. The emphasis is always put on Black women and is often written by other women (who are just as culpable for trying to police female bodies).
Living our best lives is important. Indulging a sedentary and excessive lifestyle is detrimental to anyone's health, so enough with the "Fat Black Women Represent Obesity in America" trope; last year it was "Single, Educated but Sad and Unattractive Black Women” -- and that one gets resurrected every now and again.  When it comes to Black female bodies and obesity,  there’s an amalgamation of factors at play and it’s not as cut-and-dry as Alice Randall -- (who has a agenda book to promote, apparently) -- and other people would like it to be, whether you like and/or agree with it, or not.

For once I’d like to read an analysis about the issue of Black people's (not just women) health and wellness, which advocates healthful lifestyles, but is supportive in its exploration while presenting carefully documented reasons and solutions. I’d like to read more commentary from licensed experts, who’ve done the field work and painstaking research. Because honestly, these Bloggers, quasi-social scientists, and journalists playing couch-Physician while wagging their fingers at Black women for not “fitting-in” or to try to shame them into submission, is not the way.

March 02, 2012

Date Like A Dummy, Think Like a Foolio, REDUX

Foreword: Overcoming Interracial Dating Myopia

I realize this is the second time I've re-posted an essay but I've been a bit lazy busy working on a few other things and I've got a few topic ideas I need to mentally sift through before blogging them. Additionally, I've been reading some rather… disappointing things across the Black Blogosphere and feel that certain posts apply. Rather than blogging the same thing in some other written variation, I figured I'd offer a brief foreword as a prelude to the re-post. I've been reading some interesting articles (none of which I care to link) and some equally as interesting-- (if not downright disturbing) -- commentary from readers... many of whom are Black women. It seems as if a certain sub-group of my sistren has the dating game all twisted and are vigilant about 'White Knighting' other ill-informed forum commentators… throwing other Black women under the bus in the process.
The concept of agreeing to disagree, respectfully, seems to get lost in translation whenever the issue of interracial dating comes up.

Living and letting live, would be the ideal way for one to date however, those of my sistren (mostly) and brethren who are emphatic about dating other don't seem to be genuine in their dating intentions, as they almost seem to be political. In pushing their agenda(s); climbing on a soapbox and using their respective relationships to antagonize others for who they're attracted to-- (even going so far as to resort name-calling). In being completely frank in my assessment, much of the vitriol I read, came (and comes) from a collective of Black women who are seemingly still hurt by prior relationships and harbor feelings of resentment (despite proclamations of feeling empowered and free). I actually just learned about terms like "DBR" (Damaged Beyond Repair) - Black men and have read pointed attack-words like "stupid, weak, (fat) Black women" and my favorite, "DBR enablers".  Language like this is counterproductive and sanctimonious, as the people at the helm of the hate, demand to have the right to love who they want to love yet, can't seem to do so in earnest.

I never understood why the topic of interracial dating has us (the Black community) at such odds with one another; or why some folks are supposedly so happy with the opportunity to explore their options, yet are so pressed by who someone else is sleeping with or dating and seem bent on projecting their personal aesthetic on others… and will lash out when all their prodding is rejected.
What the hell is wrong with us? Why can't folks just genuinely like who they like, date and marry who they want to date and marry, without there needing to be a motive or agenda behind it; and leave other folks to their own dating devices? Do we really need a How-to manual written by a few self-righteous proselytizers with an axe to grind on something as superficial as "how to attract a White man", belittling other Black women for not trying "something new" and demanding that they mold themselves to fit a beauty mold, dictated by societal norms? Additionally, do we need to be subjected to rap songs ridiculing Black women for not having the right complexion or hair? People who are genuinely empowered, free, and secure with their dating choices, don’t need to indulge in extraneous foolery. Folks have got the game all twisted and need to succumb to the four G’s (Good Goddess Get a Grip!) Just... stop.

Anyway, without further ado...

January 23, 2012

Blogging Elsewhere: Think Like a Dummy, Date Like a Foolio- The Myth of the Great White Hope

In the wake of all of the media attention aimed at Black women, which included but wasn’t limited to; ill-advised dating advice from comedians turned quasi-relationship experts, speculation about why we’re single and unmarried, No Wedding No Womb baby-mama campaign, why we are supposedly threatened by Kim Kardashian’s elegance, grace, and beauty, and play-play scientific charts documenting why we’re unattractive, many of us were flustered by the Tragic, Angry, Single Black Woman meme and exasperated with defending ourselves. The Black woman’s sensibilities definitely took a bit of a hit in the press and in popular culture. At Ariana Proehl’s (of Know This! TV) urging, I also resolved to put the tired trope to rest.  I didn’t want to lend the insanity any more credence or energy.
That promise notwithstanding, no agenda geared toward Black women is equally as annoying as the Black Women Are Better off  With and Simply MUST Date White Men or Will melt Into a Sticky Puddle of Nothingness and Despair propaganda, pushed by certain ones of my sistren is. Of late, articles are cropping up using another angle to access and publicly analyze our dating lives and there have been videos featuring groups of giddy Black women promoting bulleted lists of reasons why dating White men is somehow essential to our survival and livelihood. And it has to absolutely be White men… and none other, or else we’re doomed!
Author Niki McElroy has been making the social media rounds, promoting her book A Black Girl’s Guide to Dating White Men and espousing the attributes that will allegedly get Black women picked by a trophy husband (let’s cut the double-standard and call it what it so obviously is). In a video clip from a show called Everyway Woman, McElroy suggests that her current dating choices are relegated to White men and she wrote the book to placate her curious girlfriends’ queries. While I have no issue with interracial dating, believe in dating with an open mind, and have done so several times for no particular reason or sans any ulterior motives other than shared interests/mutual attraction/because I just wanted to make-out with a willing partner,  I do have a problem with people who date other, purely for opportunistic and superficial reasons or to prove some myopic argument. READ THE REST...
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