I’m Tired of the “Isms,” So Click On This


People, it’s been a deep couple of weeks, during which time all kinds of crazy “-isms” reared their proverbial ugly, need-some-blue-hair-grease heads, especially racism and sexism. Let’s start with the attack on black women, which is not backed by the law, at least not obviously.

Rather, these current attacks on black women are subtle—nuanced, as my mama can say. Instead, what the mainstream media is doing is hopping into the heads of black women and beating them from the inside out, making them—us—feel not good enough. It’s working with some of us, too. That’s another issue.

This is nothing new, but it is new that the interior beat-down that black women have experienced for many, many years, has moved, yet again, into the white mainstream. This happened once before with the Moynihan Report back in the sixties, when some old white guy who didn’t know Jack or Jill about African Americans blamed the breakdown of the black family on female-headed households. We still haven’t gotten over that, really, in the black community. I still encounter brothers in Stacy Adam’s gators and flare-legged pants telling me all about Moynihan, and blaming my “singleton” status (to paraphrase Bridget Jones) on my big, brother-man-hating mouth.

Sidebar: And by the way, after these attacks on Sisters, I’ve been thinking about getting all militant and putting a big “B” on my “black.” I think it’s time, at least in my non-fiction prose. My mother has been chastising me about my little “B”s for years.

Anyway, last week ABC News hosted a Nightline “Face-off” which asked the question: “Why Can’t a Successful Black Woman Find A Man?” I’m not kidding you. A major news outlet descended into that pathetic Tyler Perry zone, when there are wars and famine and earthquakes going on.

There were four guests on the panel, Sherri Shepherd from The View, Jacque Reid from Vh-1, Hill Harper—who is, I must admit, super-fine, but after his performance on Face-off, I lost a lot of respect for him—and Jimi Izrael. I have had the absolute displeasure of meeting Jimi Izrael back in the 90s, when he was writing his anti-Black woman rhetoric for some independent magazine in Cleveland, and now, this brother is writing for The Root and has a book out called, The Denzel Principle. (There’s a reason there isn’t a link for book. If you want to purchase this piece of misogynist manure, you have to do your own research, baby. I’m sorry.)

Steve Harvey was supposed to be one of the moderators, but of course, he couldn’t keep his opinions to himself, so he chimed in with the (supposed) voice of reason when he felt the other panelists weren’t coming correct, explaining to Black women why they needed to change their romantic outlooks. And of course, we really needed to hear from Steve, being the cheating, twice-divorced, thrice-married expert on long-term marital commitment to Black women that he is.

The internet has been blazing with rebuttals by Black women. I haven’t wanted to jump the gun and post on this issue, because I know what I am going to say is going to piss off some Black folks—and some Black women–and so, I have to gather my courage because I know I might get a public beat down. For now, I will say that I’ve been thinking about this whole Black woman’s dating thing for years, and I’m convinced it’s time for serious measures. Public desperation on the part of Black women is not one of those serious measures.

I told you I was going to piss some folks off. I will expound on my theory next week, but here are a few public responses until I move out of coward mode:

Farai Chideya goes hard—and brilliant—on ABC News.

Cocoa Popps says this is war against the Sisters. (I gotta tell you, I’m not digging the name, but Ms Popps does have something very intelligent to say so give her a chance.)

Melissa Harris Lacewell of Princeton University (and you see her all the time on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC) breaks down the meaning of the statistics, sister-intelligentsia-style.

Now, let’s move on to the exterior beat-down that The Law has put on Mexican folks in Arizona. It’s a scandal.

A few days ago, the senate of Arizona voted to pass SB-1070, which requires “suspected” illegal aliens to show identification to prove they are legal. Here’s the problem: how do you suspect one somebody who is Mexican of being illegal and not suspect another somebody who is Mexican of being illegal? This is what you call arbitrary. It’s also what you call racist, mean-spirited, and reminiscent of Fugitive slave laws for slaves back in the nineteenth century.

All together now: Shame on you, Arizona. Shame, shame, shame.

It’s amazing to me that all these really nice, well-meaning white folks—and a few bewilderingly misguided Black folks—were JUST talking about we had now entered a “post-race” society now that Obama is president. That was last year, remember? Instead, it seems like the racists have climbed out of the woodwork with no shame at all and are using the law to push people around. Again.

It reminds me of when I used to live in this funky apartment in a bad neighborhood (on Campbellton Road in Atlanta—eh, Lord!) back in the 1980s when I was attending Clark College. When I went into the kitchen and turned on the light, the roaches would be everywhere. I would scream and scream, but those bad boys were so bold, they would just look at me like, “Girl, what?”  Those roaches remind me of them Tea Party people.

Here’s a mindblowing blogger piece called “Imagine If the Tea Party Was Black.”

And I don’t mean to mix my state metaphors, y’all, but you can best believe that if this type of racism is boldly going on in Arizona, the 2012 presidential election is going to be an Alabama dog fight. Get ready for the white racist crazies to get ugly—I don’t mean verbally ugly; I mean physically ugly—because white crazy racism has gone mainstream. These crazies are making good white folks just look so bad. I feel sorry for y’all nice white folks who are trying to make the world a better place for all of us, but them Tea Party folks are just bringing y’all down. But now y’all how I feel every time I see Lil Wayne on a music video, embarrassing the Black Race. That child needs Jesus bad.

I still have panic attacks thinking about what would have happened if McCain had been elected president. And you know where he stands on this immigration issue. Click on this.

Here are some reasonable (in my opinion) responses to the Arizona law.

A Yale University study finds that they don’t just pick on Hispanic and Latino folks in Arizona. They do that in other parts of the country as well.

Dr. Boyce Watkins talks about how Black folks and Brown folks could use this issue to come together.

My former colleague and my present friend, the brilliant Native American (Osage) scholar and the president of the Native American and Indigenous Scholars Association (NAISA), Robert Warrior writes the governor of Arizona. Warrior (as some good folks like to call him) was polite and nice, but you know he got the governor told.

Tayari Jones, bestselling novelist and blogger extraordinaire puts her money where her mouth is. She TURNS DOWN A PAYING WRITERS GIG in Arizona. Brava, Sister-woman!

Tayari went to Spelman College where they raise up young Sisters up the proper way. How do I know? Y’all know my mama (better known as the Black Goddess of Eatonton, Georgia) is a Spelmanite, right?

‘Nuff said.

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