Melting Pot – V

On the front end, I apologize for any offense that may be caused by these words. My blog, my opinion, comments welcomed. Erica raised an interesting point, one that is not lost on many Black women and some women of other ethnicities who attempt to successfully and unsuccessfully empathize. What is it like to be a Black woman in America? What is it like to be a successful Black woman in America?

I am going to make statements that may otherwise be seen as uncouth. A black woman must choose the bedroom or the boardroom. A Black woman’s success comes at the emasculation of a Black man. Black women are rude, bossy, loud and so on and so forth. Additionally Black woman is synonymous with hood rat, bitch and so on. These statements are a view from the media images be it MTV or BET, ESPN or CNN, the collective we (Black women) do not look to good. Over the years, we have had athlete’s and ‘musicians’ label us with every negative term they could come up, limited vocabulary and all. It has been said in mainstream media that we are not marriage material. We are gold diggers, we have been labeled too fat, skinny, dark, light, stupid, smart. The labels are endless.

All the above being said, we are not victims, I am not a victim and neither are my friends. We grew up in the ‘city,’ semi-urban sprawl. We were surrounded by in varying degrees family, teachers, community leaders, associates and many others who nurtured us. We applied to and gain admissions and went on to attend some of the best colleges and universities this country has to offer. Furthermore, we have gone on to earned graduate degrees with more coming and pursue careers and be at the top of our game in some tough profession. 90% of the time we have been the only person with even a touch of melanin at the table. People listen when we speak, pause when we enter the room, we are not victims. We have only ourselves to blame if we have not taken full advantage of the opportunities afforded to us. The ground is level at the foot of the cross, and the only thing America willingly gives out free to everyone is a high school diploma, and you still have to earn the diploma.

We have been victimized. The victimization is a self-inflicted wound from the collective ‘we,’ every time the latest hip hop artist puts a scandalously clad video ‘ho’ on stage or in the video. It hurts; every time a ‘sista’ hops in front of the news camera with a nasty baby, hair uncombed, speaking poor grammar. It hurts; furthermore every time a female artist shows up naked to an awards show or in her video. I will pause and say we have not cornered the market on this hurt either, there are plenty of women from other ethnic backgrounds doing the same. The difference, they managed to escape the collective ‘we.’ I will also inject the fact that I do not begrudge anyone ‘getting paid,’ do you? However, the banner in the black community is still waving, and we always represent ‘we,’ good, bad or indifferent that is how it is.

I do not have the answers nor can I solve the problem, I am comfortable in my skin, my life is not my own, I belong to God. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was the stigma that follows black women. I do not know if a non-black woman can understand. I do not know if I need them to. Empathy is good, Agape is better. Do not empathize with me, love me, and love everyone as Christ loved.

3 thoughts on “Melting Pot – V

  1. an “outsiders” point of view: this is an interesting conversation (shame on you, liz, for not sending me the link to your blog! 🙂 i love it!) for me, coming from a country where our national identity is not scarred with the same civil rights atrocities and history… i remember moving here and having to ask Luaskya questions about race all the time…each time prefaced with, “please tell me if i’m crossing a line here, because i don’t know where the line is.” i think she thought i was crazy! 🙂 but i was so ignorant. i’ve learned alot with having the girls in school in the south – we don’t study martin luther king jr. or rosa parks at home… it’s not part of our national landscape. i have noticed things like girlfriends shopping are rarely interracial, and when i ask a mom of a friend of my daughter from school who is melanin rich if we could have her phone number so the girls can play, they look at me like i’m crazy… but graciously give the number once it sinks in that i’m serious. i am struck by the idea that these divisions/differences are at once very real and yet also taught/caught generationally, and therefore not so real, in an unchangeable sense. if we could reframe it as cultural, rather than racial, i think we’d be moving in a better direction… because *all* of our cultures are different – going home this month reminded me how different canada really is! i am white, but my cultural background is vastly different…from both my white & non-white friends. the differences in our worship preferences & musical preferences & all the rest are a truer reflection of culture than they are of color. if we could say ‘my culture is different’ instead of ‘my color is different’ we could more easily enter into one another’s lives – more easily celebrate the beauty of our differences and educate with prejudice, and learn without shame. i love that my girls are color blind – it’s irrelevant to them, except that they are jealous of the braids and barrettes of some of their classmates! they are diggin’ the culture, and the color doesn’t affect the value of the person or the friendship. maybe i am waaaay of base – i’m just throwing in my two cents! 🙂

    Jesus was desperately concerned that we learn to love one another. i guess that’s my bottom line… in any debate.

    love to you, liz!

  2. oops… *without* prejudice… i was so busy trying to spell correctly i missed the “out” on “without”! eep! 🙂 sorry!

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