Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Misrepresentation and Disrespect of the Black Woman

As I sit here in my office, the door closed drowning in my thoughts, I can't help but blast Jay Z's, 'Take Over' as my face is etched in 'game.' Yeah...I got my game face on because I am not going to sit here a second longer without addressing an epidemic that has taken over social media, politics, our damn brains and every where else that garbage can collect and spread.

The title of this blog is, 'The Misrepresentation and Disrespect of the Black Woman.' As a little girl, I was raised to have pride in myself. That was essential for my development, especially since I was raised in a majority Jewish and White neighborhood and there were only a handful of 'us.' As a little black girl growing up in this tiny slice of American pie, I soon came to realize that not everyone thought I was very 'tasty', and they hadn't even tried me yet. Now, this is not a sexual innuendo, it is simply a metaphor once I understood that being a 'black girl' was synonymous with being socially undesirable. I was too young to understand the origins of this and what was completely happening, but as I matured, I soon realized that no matter what I did, said, carried myself, etc. I would always be blamed for someone elses' transgressions or behavior, simply because they were the same race and gender as I.

I found that perplexing. No where else were others suffering this same fate. For example, if a white woman robs a store this evening, and it is on the news, there is not then a call to action against all white women. White women are not suddenly portrayed as thieves and stains on their heritage. If a Chinese American man sets his wife on fire, there is not then a call to action, against all Chinese American men.  Now sure, some racial jokes from racists will no doubt take place, but the entire Chinese American race will not been tagged as 'Wife arsonists' based on this one person's deeds. Yet in still, there are degenerates, derelicts, defiled humans and the like, in every single race, ethnicity and sexual identification. But let a black woman do something...oh, it's on!

There was a chapter in my life, where I literally looked in the mirror and asked myself, 'Tiana, what the f**k is wrong with you?" Why is it, that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you do, you are still put in the same bucket with the 'Atlanta House-Wife' mentality women? Hmmmm... Inquiring minds wanted to know.  I was not gold-digging, I went to college and got my degree. I didn't have 50 kids out of wedlock, mater of fact, I had none. I took care of myself. I knew how to cook, and cook well if I say so myself. I cleaned, and was self-reliant. I wasn't overly aggressive or 'rough'. I wore my natural hair many times. I had my own car, bills in my name that were paid on time every single month. I didn't speak in Ebonics, I wore quality clothing that fit me. I exercised and cared about my health. I had a career. I had a sense of humor. I had a spiritual foundation. I cared about my culture and my self esteem. I didn't deem myself as ghastly to look at, appearance wise. I knew of course I would not be everyone's cup of tea, no one is, but surely, there had to be one or two people who found me attractive in this big, wide world.

Regardless of all of this, I continued to meet and date men who did not appreciate such a person. Was I perfect? No, but almost every man that I ever dated, tried to get me back after the breakup, regardless of who called it off because that grass being greener on the other side was a real phenomenon and once they saw what they'd lost, the double-back was a sign of the Tiana times. I made the mistake of taking one of these DD's back, but that is another story for another time.

I eventually did meet someone who found what I had to offer extremely appealing, and also had something to bring to the table himself. He was a breath of fresh air, especially since I was out there on the sidelines while my exes kept comparing lawns. What I came to conclude, from my own past as well as many of my sistas who fit similar descriptions as what I relayed, it is not only that we are we being tossed into one bucket and stamped with, 'All The Same' across our foreheads and being thrown completely under the bus, it is also that there is a blatant misrepresentation and disrespect of black women in this country. It is horrendous! Even other races of people are noticing it, and speaking amongst themselves in hushed voices.

Hell, some aren't so hushed any more, they've joined the bandwagon and are heading the brigade.  As a writer of romance books for black women, I must say that we need all the upliftment and support we can get! We sure as hell aren't getting it from the media, music, many men, and any other 'm' you can throw in there. No other race of people, disrespects their 'same race' women this way. We are the ONLY ones, in which nasty-gram videos are being made, over and over again based on our race and gender. Now, I have actually no problem with anyone voicing their honest opinion, even if I hate and/or don't appreciate what they are saying...if it is the truth. Truth sometimes hurt, and people need to hear honest interpretations, perceptions as well as facts.

What is a fact, is that we are being blamed for all the woes of an entire nation. What is also a fact, is that there are many black women co-signing this bull in order to 'look good' in the oppressors eyes, that it is sickening and so blatantly obvious. So sorry sweetheart, you didn't get a 'golden' promotion or increase in status because you 'Aunt Thomasina'ed' yourself out. You are STILL seen as lower than low, only now you've been elevated to mule status. For any men who speak out against these attacks against us, especially if they are black men, they are labeled, 'Manginas', 'Ankle lovers', 'Bitch a** N***" and so it goes...  If anyone goes against this agenda publicly, they are ridiculed and hung by their toenails. Yes, the idea that the black woman is God, which many don't adhere to anyway, but for the sake of argument, has now turned into, Black women are demons - will cause your physical and spiritual death if you get with us. Now...let's say this is all true. Let's say the majority of us are EXACTLY what is being said:

1. Gold diggers
2. Loud
3. Obese/unhealthy
4. Unattractive
5. Artificial (fake hair, eyes, nails etc.)
6. Unintelligent
7. Ghetto
8. Lovin' thugs
9. 'I don't need a man' automatons
10. Baby Poppers

If this is all true, and let's pretend that it is, then the current addressing strategies of said 'situation' does not help nor aid in the ceasing of this 'disease.' (That's because the goal is not to empower the black women, it is to destroy, but let me stay on task here.) What is TRULY a disease, is our obvious hatred for ourselves and other women that are in our same camp. The inner-bickering about colorism in which lighter complexioned black women are told they are NOT black (not talking about biracial women) or that their lives have been wonderful, chock full of sparkling daisies, fairy dust and pink sunrises because of their skin tone, thus, they must 'pay' by being harassed and degraded by some of their own darker sistas due to what OTHER ignorant, backward ass, self-loathing black women did to them. Yes, that makes PERFECT sense to me...just go right ahead and attack the people that had nothing to do with it and are still just as likely to be racially profiled, harassed, etc. kinda like when we burn our own buildings down during rioting, but again...I must stay on task.

The arguments about WHO is black in this country and WHO is not, allowes others from the outside looking in, to pick up our torches, the war of sexes, etc. NONE OF THIS is helping! Has it made a difference?! If so, where? Where are the improvements due to this attack on black women? How has it changed and improved lives for black women? It has been going on for decades, but all of this in-fighting is Bullsh**t and getting us no where. I have no desire to tell someone their pain and experiences are not valid, but the same thing we are experiencing from 'outside forces', we should NOT do to one another!

We are ALL black women! Yes, people can say what they want, how they want and when they want, and some of these 'hateisms' are coming from people that show a high level of intelligence, but intelligence does not equate being RIGHT all the time or even being SANE. Now, this attack and disrespect of black women, has been going on for years but due to easily accessible social media and blogtalk radio (people having their own radio shows), there is an influx of this disease. Let's take the ten points mentioned above, and give a very brief response to each.


1. Gold diggers

Okay, gold digging... Gold digging is when a person, usually a woman, has gotten with a man or (another woman) in a romantic way, in order to obtain access to his/her material goods/wealth. This could be in the form of cash, shopping sprees, his connections, etc. I find it rather interesting that a person's need for perseverance and stability is connotative with 'gold digging', but I digress. Now, with that said, I also don't believe in asking that a person give you something, that you don't currently have and/or are not close to having yourself. What I mean by that is, say a woman demands/need a man with a 2014 BMW, when she herself drives a Ford Escort. There is nothing wrong with a Ford Escort as long as it gets her from A to B, but it is unfair to then act like 'you are too good' for a mate that has the same as you.

Black women are perpetually being coined Gold Diggers, however, historically, we are the ones that were with 'broke ass men' and carrying the load. Don't believe me? Look at the unemployment rates of black men in the 60s, 70s and 80s and tell me who had the jobs in those households. It was black women! This is a fact. Look at the employment rates during these three decades, the household demographics, and then try to tell me this isn't true. Now sure, some of this was due to systematic and economic racism, but regardless of the reasoning, we were the ones putting food on the table, and yet in still, we stayed with them. We did not turn coat, we did not holistically dog them out. No, we worked and took care of home. Yet, we are notorious gold diggers, huh?! Really? MFer, please! Also, when other races of women, such as celebrities, are 'gold digging' they suddenly get a pass or are overlooked, especially if they are attractive.

Example: Kim and that entire Kardashian clan. Why? Because Kim is attractive and she likes black men. She is also a 'rich black man' celebrity chaser, aiding in stroked egos across the globe, but this little observation is rarely mentioned. You can't have a debate with someone about this topic if you are overlooking this simple fact. In other words, people see what they want to see, despite the obvious truth that contradicts their argument.

2. Loud:
It has been stated many times, that black women are uncouth and verbally belligerent. Now, I will be honest and say that culturally, as I compare us to other races, we do appear to be more vocally demonstrative. Our white counterparts can compete with us for this title only when they've been drinking heavily, lol. Also though, Jewish, Latin and Italian folks, especially the women, have been known to have voices that carry, especially during passionate debates, so, I am going to chalk this up to cultural. Now, it appears that the media is hellbent on finding the women who are notorious for this as their basic 'default' setting however. Most of us do not wake up ranting and raving, with our fist bawled up tight talking about, "You gone learn today!" On the news, they'll find the woman with curlers in half her head, the other side wild and crazy and in colors of purple and pink, talking about, 'I saw tha whole thing!" When this is constantly being portrayed on television, movies and in magazines, of course it is going to look like we have diarrhea of the mouth and then with all these ratchet reality shows showing us beating the daylights out of one another, sleeping with so and so's man etc., it is no wonder that this perception has been adopted.

3. Obese/unhealthy:
Black women die the most of heart disease. We also have some of the greatest diabetes rates in the entire country. This is a problem and it is linked directly to our overall lack of physical activity and consistent poor eating habits. Now, this is not an excuse, but it is an offering of understanding to a greater problem. We also suffer greatly from depression, but it is rarely addressed. We feel we don't have 'time to be depressed', because we have children, etc. that need tending to. Depression is directly linked to part of this epidemic regarding our health. We have GOT to address this. Not to 'look cute', though that is in the top 10 reasons, lol, but more importantly, so we can be alive long enough to see our children into adulthood and enjoy our senior years. So many times I hear, "But my grandmama ate bacon and eggs every day, and she lived to be 112!" Well, you know what? I bet she was on 20 damn different medications, could barely walk and some days was in a lot of pain. I don't care to live to 112 if I feel like death warmed over. Also, grandmama didn't have the steroid pumped up food we have, and she more than likely ate more fruits and vegetables than we do today. McDonalds sells mummified apple slices, old salads and fries...that is the closest you are going to get from them, towards good health. Don't talk to me about the long life of grandmama, tell me how she felt!

This is not about attacking womens' body shapes and sizes. It is about being truthful about a problem in our community so we can address it. We do all come in different packages, and not everyone is supposed to be a size 3, but NO ONE is supposed to be wheezing out of breath, unable to walk up their steps without getting winded, etc. We have to start loving ourselves again. This is tied into our self esteem that is partially plummeting due in fact, to the misrepresentation and disrespect of the black woman. We are buying the hype, believing we are exactly what we are being portrayed as, which results in a defeatism attitude. We shrug our shoulders and give up. Don't. If you don't cherish yourself, no one else will. We teach people how to treat us.

4. Unattractive:
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and society has told us that darker skin tones, kinky hair, full lips, etc. are not attractive. Let's put the age old argument aside that we know that some other races are getting tans and lip and ass injections, they are still NOT black, so understand, they get a pass, and we don't so all that but so and so does it, doesn't mean a hill of beans. There is nothing that can be done about the laws of basic human attraction. Either someone finds you attractive or they don't, and you know what? The Eurocentric standard of beauty is just that, Eurocentric. We are not nor will we ever be white, nor should we adopt this notion that anything other than what we are naturally, is better and something to aspire to. Again, this ties into self esteem, and ours has been on the decline for eons.

5. Artificial (fake hair, eyes, nails etc.):
Again, let's be honest. We are keeping these weave importers in business. As more and more black women embrace their natural tresses, the numbers are declining, but there is still a need for it, due to wanting a change of pace as well as protective styling. Now, I must also mention, many white female celebrities are wearing weaves, too. However, we rarely hear about them, though they often openly admit that they have weaves, colored contact lenses etc. When a white woman gets a fake tush, no one accuses her of trying to be black. When a black woman gets a weave, suddenly, she has been having dreams of being a white princess and hates her black self down to the little brown core. It is utterly ridiculous.

Ancient Egyptian women were dying their hair ,making wigs, putting on make-up, etc. long before a white mofo even stepped FOOT in their land. Were they trying to be white? How can you try to be something that you've never even seen?! Not all black women that wear weaves, wigs, etc. want to be a non-black women. This is so old and stale, I think some people need to come better than this. Now again, the other side of the coin is this: Yes, there are SOME black women who more than likely hate their physical appearance due to their afrocentric features, and try to change them in order to feel better about themselves, however, I'm so sorry, I don't believe for one second this is the majority. Women of all races, are notorious for enjoying changing our hair and appearance for the sake of fashion. Even women in indigenous tribes are doing body modifications, it doesn't mean they hate themselves. It is a form of expression, period.

6. Unintelligent:
Is this based on test scores? It is based on personal observations of the majority of black women in this country? No. This argument is used by those that can't come up with anything else. It is like two children fighting and one says, "You're ugly." and the other says, "Oh yeah? Well you're stupid!" NEXT!

7. Ghetto:
People behave in the manner in which their environment dictates until they are taught and/or see better. Yes, there is a such thing as a ghetto mentality. I didn't write this blog to sugar-coat s**t and have some little chit chat with cocoa around the fireplace. No, I did this to be totally open, honest and frank. Here's the thing about 'ghetto' though, it is similar to what some coin, 'white trash.' Funny how, we don't hear about the WT when the ghetto argument is being used to degrade black women, while women of other races are put on a pedestal and twirled around for all to see. Oh no, my dear, the focus is only on US since we are the target. Again, cherry picking and straw-manning are common argumentative tactics that fail, but sound good to untrained ears.

8. Lovin' thugs:
I never understood this one. I've personally never been attracted to a man that went in and out of jail, drank himself silly, smoked weed like his last name was Dandelion, wore his pants saggin' so that the crack in his ass was visible to the world and other nonsense. I never wanted to date thugs, have sex with them, let alone be in a relationship with one. That was never my speed, and last I checked, I'm a black woman. I am not convinced that the people that say that all black women love thugs, have run into a few 'ghetto women' and because they had horrible luck or poor judgement in character with women telling them they didn't want their ass, now, we all want thugs because they got rejected, so now they are butt hurt. And what's the next step? That bucket I spoke of earlier is removed from the dusty ass shelf, and we are all thrown into it and pushed down the basement steps. I wanna, thug, huh? Give me a m**** f**** break!

Do some women like thugs? Sure, and so do a lot of white women chasing black penis for the Mandingo myth! Yet, I don't see billboards, massive amounts of videos, vlobs and blogs about these women. Hmmm, interesting! Get the hell outta here with that. Thugs are not reliable. They are not good communicators. They don't understand the importance of family. The only know now how to screw, not make love. Their intelligence, if it exists, is hidden because being smart is considered 'uncool' to them. They are rarely spiritually grounded. They don't help keep bills paid. They don't care who they impregnate. They have little respect for women in general and a treasure trove of other issues. A lot of women like alphas, not thugs. There is a BIG difference.

9. 'I don't need a man' automatons:
I've never heard any woman ever actually say this in the last ten or so years, yet so many of the oppressors out in the field, keep hurling it in our direction. The fact of the matter is this. No one should NEED anyone. We should greatly desire someone, and want them, but need them? No. Needing someone denotes dependency...and didn't you just say you didn't want a gold digger? I'm just sayin'...

10. Baby Poppers:
We pop out kids like rabbits. I suppose we got pregnant on our own. There is some magic invisible penis in the sky, that is getting all of these black women pregnant as soon as they go to sleep at night, right? None of these babies are coming from an actual flesh and blood man, correct? We are just making our selves pregnant and then popping the babies out in order to get that check and that child support and keep his behind tied up in court even though he told us that he didn't want that child. Shame on the black woman! This is a two-blame game. Unless there was a sexual assault, both parties are to blame when an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy occurs. Now, he is being forced to take care of a baby that he never wanted, and we trapped him, right? Well of course we did! It is because we are ghetto, loud, obese gold diggers who are teaching our daughters that they too, don't need a man. But should they get one,  make sure he has had several stints in prison, has a bunch of kids from different women, no job, only listens to music where black women are perpetually called h**es and b****ches and sluts. Yes, make sure he fits that description or we simply couldn't be happy. (((eye roll)))

In conclusion, people see what they want to see, especially when they have an agenda. Anything that doesn't match their agenda, is the exception or not acknowledged at all. Whenever someone is in mental/psychological pain, and they can attribute that blame to one person or people who fit a certain criteria, you will see a diseased mentality. The problem with diseased mentalities, is that they often become obsessed with one or two topics, and their vision is narrow because they are so INVOLVED in one topic, that they don't EVOLVE into providing a bigger solution. When someone vilifies another, one must look at the motive. Never trust a person who is obsessed with only or two negative topics and whatever those topics of choice are, 9 times out of 10, they ramble on and on about it in an unsavory fashion. I personally don't talk over and over about mess I hate.

What is the point? If I'm talking about it day in and day out, it means I'm thinking about it, day in and day out and that means a part of me is obsessed with that topic, day in and day out. That could very well mean that I am confused about my TRUE obsession with that topic, thus, I focus on everyone and everything else, instead of asking myself, "If I find a certain person hopeless, stupid, unattractive and reprehensible, then why are they on my mind from sun up to sun down?"Hmmmm!

I'd rather focus on things I love and things that can help people. These same people have already stated I've given up on. So why continue on making broadcasts about it? If I hate broccoli, you won't see me making 100 videos about that vegetable. If I do, that shows I have a compulsion that needs to be evaluated. I'll tell you why this is happening. It is because it is all smoke and mirrors. People who do this, well,  it shows that they are either: garnering for attention while they build a larger audience based on controversial ramblings for fame, money, a sense of self, etc. or two, they truly are mentally ill and need an outlet. Yes, and a crazy mofo who is also an attention whore can be your worse nightmare.

Black women, you are being put down, beat down and placed in the ground. We have to take our power back and live another day. We need to be honest with ourselves and understand that we are all we have, thus, more of us will have to brain storm to address these matters. When the black man disrespects us, it tells other races that they can do the same, because we have no protection from our male counterpart. Rather we like it or not, we live in a patriarchy. I tell you this, and hear me loud and clear. We can not wait for anyone to treat us how we deserve to be treated, we have to take the initiative ourselves. We have to love ourselves and build what we need. No one will respect you, unless you respect yourself.

Black woman, it is time to pick up your crown, look in the mirror, and tell yourself the truth. After which, we must address our deficits. Stop chasing people who don't want you and trying to convince them that you are not how they think, that you are different than what they claim you are when they don't even know you, and don't  give a crap about you. Stop trying to be something you are not. There is someone out there who will love you JUST the way you are and even if there wasn't, you still must love yourself, just the way you are because you are beautifully made, and from you, and entire world was born.


Tiana Laveen