It seems that it sucks to be a black woman these days. Or at least that is what the media wants us to believe. Every time you turn on the tube or visit a news site, there is a report concerning our messy lives. Or a movie. Or documentary. Between the effects of “Precious” and “Good Hair” alone, half of America must think most black women need to be locked up in padded cells, or at least taken in for psychiatric evaluation. Because mainstream America is truly concerned for our welfare.
This concern seems a bit out of the blue, as we have been in this country for some time. I wonder what the motivation is. We were among the original settlers in Jamestown. I am taking it back, work with me now. In 1619, three of the first recorded settlers in America’s history were black women. Folks didn’t care enough to note their names, but they sure as hell care about us now.
They care so much that they are peaking into our bedrooms with pity. Black women have been complaining about a lack of mates since we first saw this continent, but now that producers of nightly news shows have discovered our suffering they need to help. On one show, producers scoured the nation to find a location with the most attractive black women they could find with the sorriest love stories they could tell — Atlanta. Then to help them out, they put them in a room and asked Steve Harvey to give them advice. That’s thoughtful, but who puts a bunch of desperate women who want a hot man in a room with Steve Harvey?
Only someone who wants to see a black woman suffer. Or get clowned on by the world. I think I see the motivation.
And the latest revelations? Why, didn’t you know that 48% of black women have herpes? Plus, the median wealth level of a single black female is five dollars.
Five dollars? Hold on now. As my dance teacher Ned used to say: “Something in the milk ain’t clean.”
Do we have all that money Chris Rock says we are wasting on weaves in “Good Hair,” or not? Are we bitter and alone, or getting so much action that every other sister is packing a major STD? Who are they polling to get these results anyway? Of all the black females in my life who are financially secure, married (some two or three times), and don’t take Valtrex, I’ve never heard one say: “This scientist stopped by and asked me detailed questions about my life, because she wants to paint an accurate view of black women and promote it to the press.” That sounds so unrealistic that it could be the set up for a great joke.
Maybe that is because there is a long-running joke in the works with the black woman as the fall guy – or chick, if you will. It’s only becoming obvious, because now that we’ve got power, some folks are desperate to keep the joke going. Many are so invested in the charming image of the black woman as a down-trodden soul that our social issues have been projected at a huge scale in the news to ironically keep us small. Sambo flicks are not PC, so this is the new coon ‘toon. Even our deepest beauty sensitivities are fodder for comic gold, thanks to Chris Rock. People must really enjoy consuming our problems as entertainment. But the joke will soon be on those who are riveted by these portrayals.
Yes, we black women have our problems. What is remarkable is that despite the pressures we confront, many excel by society’s standards and even more thrive according to individual standards that are not recorded by statistics alone. This realization makes us inwardly shine.
Black women may often be poor, but even the creators of that five dollar study admitted that one reason our wealth level is so low is that we often give our money away to loved ones who need it. Imagine that. No, we can’t get a headline that reads: “Black Women – The Most Generous People On The Earth.” Then the joke would lack a punch line. But we see the truth.
News creators, instead, are fixated on the scraps of information that have been collected about black women’s complex lives from a distance, not realizing how racism, classism and sexism have distorted the very structure of their data collection mechanism – that mechanism being their brains. They are looking so hard at this data, because they just do not want to see First Lady Michelle Obama, at almost six feet tall, married, educated, rich and I assume STD-free. She’s hard to miss. But, just as those first black female Americans, some of the first Americans, are often ignored, the heroic black female gets minimized today.
While some choose to waste their precious resources blowing up our flaws, if history proves itself an accurate predictor of future trends, we are going to keep improving until we leave our detractors in the dust wondering how we surpassed them.
If people could see us accurately, they would see that we have gone from slavery to the White House in a short time with little help. From our humble start at the foundations of America to the current day, we have shown that no amount of silencing, whether through force or statistical ambushing, will stand in our way. Some are accustomed to the joke being on us. When we come out on top, possibly smiling down on the jokers, I wonder — will their misrepresentations still be so amusing?