Friday, August 13, 2010

Pondering the outbreak of people making absolute statements about black people…


There’s been an outbreak of people making absolute statements about black people.  You name it and there’s some asshole making a statement about how all black people do it or believe it or want it or say it.

I’ve often wondered if these believers in a black monolith think black folk get a complimentary weekly newsletter telling us how to be black when we sign up for our Race Card.
 
Shit.

Dear people who make absolute statements about black people,

Some of us don’t go to church…some of us do.

Some of us can’t dance…some of us think we can dance…and some of us can dance.

Black comes in every gender…and when you talk about how black people feel about same-sex marriage you should know that some black people are also lgbt people.

There are black people in other countries…and black people speak lots of languages. 

We did not elect Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson as our official spokesperson.  But some black people dig their shit…some of us don’t.

Some black people play hockey…some of us are HUGE hockey fans (go Blues!!).

Some black people use hash tags while getting their tweet on…lots of black people could give a shit about hash tags on Twitter.

Some black people find the name of my blog offensive...some don't.

And, while some black people use the n-word, lots of us don’t.

Are you getting the theme?

Yeah, well...fuck it.

This black person is tired of your bullshit.

***logs off to read the Post Racial, My Black Ass Edition of the Official Guide to Blackness***

32 comments:

Mr. Toddy English said...

What is a Twitter Hash Tag?
Sincerely,
A black person who does not use Twitter.

Museling said...

Ah, damn! You ALL can't dance? Really??? How disappointing. ;)

the only daughter said...

here. here.

Mark L said...

Black comes in every hue of color, too. Although one of my former friends, a dark-skinned black woman, did complain about how light-skinned women are over-represented in the media and make it difficult for darker women to feel pretty. Somehow certain people ended up with the mentality that if an African-American woman DOESN'T look like Lena Horne, she's somehow at fault, which is BULLSHIT cause I have seen some great-looking women right out of Africa who were gorgeous and certainly were people of "color".

And whenever someone tells me what I can or can't do (I'm disabled) I look to fantabolous black folks like Grace Bumbry.. a Saint Louisan like yourself ought to look Bumbry up if you don't know who she is. She is one of the most famous black opera singers.. born and raised in Saint Louis, the daughter of a Pullman porter. She won a singing competition, got rejected for a Bachelor of Music by her segregated local school, and then applied to Boston University and Northwestern, where she studied with the great sopranos of her day. She then went to grad school in Santa Barbara.. She was the first black person to sing in places like Beyreuth, Germany, where opera purists did not like the presence of a 'colored' person, but were won over by her awesome performance. Miss Bumbry made her version of 'Carmen' famous. She is now fluent in German, has a Rolls Royce, show horses, jewels, furs, and houses in Switzerland and in Salzburg, Austria. Whenever I think of my own limitations I give a fluff of the Afro to Grace Bumbry.. if I am able to accomplish half as much as her, I will feel fulfilled. LOL

roslynholcomb said...

Yeah, I had a white woman who just happens to be married to a black man tell me that dog fighting is a part of black culture. Uh, not withstanding the fact that you fuck a black man, I've been a black woman for 45 years, and I can assure you that no the hell it isn't. Dog fighting is a part of CRIMINAL CULTURE, and some black folks, like some white folks, like some Asian folks etc... are criminals.

Bradley said...

Applause!

libhom said...

I think part of the problem is that corporate media are beholden to advertisers who want people segmented into uniform groups for marketing purposes.

pitbullgirl65 said...

roslynholcomb said...
Yeah, I had a white woman who just happens to be married to a black man tell me that dog fighting is a part of black culture.

Oh I wish she'd said that to me.
It was (hopefully) a "sport" in England, Ireland, and of course Japan, with the famous Tosa Inu bulldoginformation.com/Tosa-inu.html
Tell her thanks for White splaining black culture for you.

Delux said...

Libholm, people felt compelled to analyze and describe black folks like this long before there was a corporate media.

ABB, awesome post. I have to say though, that "#browntwitterbird shot biggie" will never get old.

Shark-fu said...

Delux...
I can't bullshit on that... #browntwitterbird shot Biggie will still crack me up a decade from now. Classic!

Delux said...

Very classic! I have to say tho, speaking of classics, you come v close to the edge what with that 'we didnt elect al sharpton' stuff, b/c *I* got a ballot in the mail.

Anonymous said...

that white woman had nothing better to say out of her damned mouth! She's an idiot. Whats that saying If you don't have anything to say that makes sense don't say shit at all!

becks said...

*grin*

Loving your blog in Atlanta.

Shark-fu said...

Delux...
...just when I had convinced myself that my Race Card really did get lost in the mail, you have to come back and tell me I didn't get to vote in the Official Black Man to speak for all Black People Whenever Something "Black" Happens election.

Shit!

Is this because I don't like watermelon?

Joanna said...

I am going to monitor this comment thread to see how long it takes for a white person to come on here and tell you "you are being to sensitive!"

My father's wife is very vocal about how much she "loves" her "biracial" nephew, and how his father is a "great guy".... and in the next breath warns me to "be careful" when dating a Black man, because "he will have a baby with you, then run off and have more kids with another woman and not take care of any of them"....

ummmm, sure, ok.... then she goes on to state that she "doesn't have a racist bone in her body"...

Of course, the fact that HER son has kids by multiple women says NOTHING about the quality of WHITE men, huh???

(Still pondering THAT one!)

Delux said...

I'll have to get back to you on that. In the mean time, I suggest carrying around a bottle of hot sauce as a temporary measure.

Ravan Asteris said...

You can't expect black people to have a monolithic culture any more than you can expect white people or asian people to have a monolithic culture. I second the hearty "fuck it" when dealing with that kind of BS.

I mean really, do they have to get a "Certified Genuine Black™" card to be a "Black Spokesman™"?? (You notice how all of these are male, BTW.)

But what do I know. I'm a housecat.

NancyP said...

Grace Bumbry had a great Voice when she was active, and her discography is extensive.

(Professional singers have Voices, the rest of us have utilitarian voices.)

awol said...

This has been going on for a long, long time really. Arguably all the way back to the 17th century when European "scholars" were making absolutist statements about the black race. The Atlantic slave economy could only be justified by making absolutist statements about the characteristics of black folk.

Its never really stopped since then. In fact its gotten worst in the last 20 years and even more acute with the election of Obama. It seems clear to me that as we have collectively lost control of most of our communities, and have allowed ourselves to be pigeonholed by institutional racism, we no longer control our own narrative as a people. Therefore a bunch of idiots led by Beck&Limbaugh et al., get to run their mouths about the qualities of Black folk.

Individuality is great, and we as individuals have had wonderful success stories but the truth of the matter is in the jungle of North America we aren't doing well at all collectively.

I cite as a modern literary example of the lost of our own narrative, the book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett. An egregious abortion of truth and accuracy.

TheEvilOne said...

If you want to get really riled up, I suggest you read "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander. It is about the sterotyping black people as criminals using the drug laws and via that to stripping them of civil rights.

If you can encourage others to read the book that would be good. There is a good review at Alan Bean's Friends of Justice website.

TheEvilOne said...

If you want to get really riled up, I suggest you read "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander. It is about the stereotyping black people as criminals using the drug laws and via that to stripping them of civil rights.

If you can encourage others to read the book that would be good. There is a good review at Alan Bean's Friends of Justice website.

Royal Ranch said...

Well, I'm a little afraid here, because of course my ass is as white as it comes, but I do have a couple of things I would like to say. One you're being too sensitive, NOOO I'm totally kidding!!!! But what I do want to say is that I wonder if where we are going wrong is to try and cover up our differences, which I believe should be celebrated. I see black people acting as if they are white and vice versa, probably all because they think that is what is expected of them. If we learn to embrace our own selves and body views and backgrounds and oddities, yes, that's all they really are, because we all have them, maybe we could see each other for the cool colors we are. I'm not sure why racist is such a bad word, to see each race separately means that you acknowledge its privilege in my opinion, it's when you take it to such a negative level that it becomes a problem. Again, easy for me to say, sitting in my "white" lily chair-ha!

Jimmy said...

I had to repost this piece because i needed the context you provide in talking a the DR. Laura drama.

You're awesome, as usual.

thevixenne said...

Dear Royal Ranch,

What exactly IS "acting white"? As a college-educated black metalhead with a short blonde afro, I'd really like to know. While I think your heart is good, you're totally missing the entire point of ABB's post, which is there is NO one way of being black. And 'racism' is NOT just a word--it's a state of mind that has nothing to do with celebrating differences and everything to do with using those differences to oppress others.

Just as white people are diverse in their interests, so are we black people. We're just sick and tired of stupid white people painting us with the same brush because what they know about black people comes from watching BET (aka The Minstrelsy Channel).

awol said...

A couple of things here Royal Ranch:

You state: "I wonder if where we are going wrong is to try and cover up our differences, which I believe should be celebrated. I see black people acting as if they are white and vice versa."

Is there normative behavior for whites? What about Blacks?

I think the point of ABB's post here (and correct me if I'm wrong ABB) is that there can be no accurate generalizations about a whole group of people. There are always ample exceptions.

While your overall point is, lets say interesting, it does nothing to address the systemic caricature of Black and Brown people (and even whites) nurtured by the U.S media, and all of its supporting organs. We cannot begin any honest assessment of each other while simultaneously swallowing the filth we see and read everyday on tv and in our newspapers that 'color' our perceptions about each other.

Also, in light of your statement that your: "not sure why racist is such a bad word"; I would ask what your definition of racist is?

awol said...

Damn it, thevixenne beat me to the punch.

Valkyrie607 said...

Urg. It didn't take dating a black man for me to realize that it's foolish for me, a white woman, to make pronouncements on what constitutes "black culture." Foolish, and arrogant.

Royal Ranch, you mean well, but you're kind of an idiot. Exchewing racial stereotypes is not "covering up our differences." Racial stereotypes obscure differences within groups. They emphasize differences between groups. These inter-group differences have been sufficiently normalized to the point that you really think there's this real concept called "acting white." You know, as opposed to "acting professional" or "acting repressed" or "acting like a jerk." You chose to elide any of those possible meanings in favor of using one label, "white," which really shouldn't have anything to do with any of those things. That fact alone shows me that racial stereotypes have gotten more than enough play already in our society.

Royal Ranch said...

Well, I am glad I checked back in here, I was worried I had somehow said something stupid out of ignorance, certainly not idiocy. My apologies.

Royal Ranch said...

I woke up this morning wondering why I had not suffered a shark attack and had been left to flounder in the fish pond. I am hoping and praying, oh please-ha!, that it is because she chose to look at the entire message instead of dissect it like a, well a ...

Although stupidly said, my overall point is that I feel if we are all more proud of our own individuality and race, and stand up for it, just like ABB is doing with this post; then soon the pieces of shit from each race will no longer be getting the attention.

Scheez, I thought you all (geez, there I go again!) were sick of us white people saying we didn't see color, and here I am saying I think the problem is not celebrating it enough, and I'm still an idiot. Really, how is a white person supposed to learn (and grow) without getting into trouble?

The words are not always the right ones, but the message is always the same; Peace.

Shark-fu said...

Royal Ranch...
I think I get what you were trying to say...but I also think you'd agree that you say it better in your last comment.

So, thank you for coming back and sharing...and my advice is to continue on your journey.

My hopes for my comment section are that folks will share freely...and sometimes that means you're gonna get critiqued for what you say, but it is through this process that we have the opportunity to grow.

Peace back atcha.

Red said...

Grace Bumbry? Holy cow, that woman can sing. I took operatic lessons for two years in high school and never heard of her. Thanks for educating me.

Colonel de Guerlass said...

I suppose there is a general trend in reducing one's personality to a percentage of melanin:
25 yrs ago, a smuggler (with very nice shoes and a beautiful shirt : I remember all the girls looked at him) told me : " you are like every white man the 1rst time they come into Africa: you will remember that I am black, without noticing my face and my personality..."
He was not that wrong, but I do not remember the axact amount of melanin he had, nor his features...
And when I married, I had to take care not to reduce my wife to her color : though uncommon in Europe, it would have led to misunderstandings...