I just caught The Soup about four minutes into the show. So, of the twenty six minutes remaining, I saw, a white girl who was so drunk she was vomiting on Party Down South, Snooki’s wedding, Honey Boo Boo’s mother talking about a child molester she was dating, The Real Housewives of NJ has a cast member that’s either in, or going to prison, negligent violence on Ax Men, Kourtney & Klhoe Take the Hamptons, A male The Soup staffer wearing a yellow bikini top with a whip in hand, Justin Bieber, Extreme Escapes, True Tori, Vanderpump Rules, 90 Day Fiancé, Only Happens in Japan, and The Amazing Challenge.
The only stories involving black people that I saw were, Bill Cosby resigning from Temple U’s board of trustees, Iyanla’s home being fixed, The Soul Train Award, because of John Travolta, and a black woman on The Amazing Challenge, who was one of three woman screaming while getting some kind of painful massage.
A lot of my people complain about the amount of negative images on reality TV. But the truth is, there are far more whites on reality TV, and they are not portrayed well at all. They are criminals, they fistfight, they get fall-out drunk, they get high. Many of them are just not good people, period. But, some of us look at ourselves and say “You know black people don’t know how to act.”
I think one of the primary steps we need to take is to stop vilifying and demonizing each other about the things we do, as if our sins are the greatest of sins. We don’t have a monopoly on bad, unattractive, immoral, or uncouth behavior. We don’t even have a majority stake hold on those behaviors.
Stop saying things like “black people don’t know how to act”. People period don’t know how to act! We need to start seeing each other as human with regular human fuck ups like everyone else. I’m not talking about how white people see us. There are whites who call the president a monkey. There is no amount of achievement or decorum that we can have that will make those particular kinds of whites look at us as equal or more than. It’s not all whites, but those that are racist are going to see us in the way that suits their prejudgments. It’s part of an egotistical power trip that makes them feel superior. I’m talking strictly about how we see and talk about each other.
The biggest deceit of the power structure, in any colonized country, and/or culture of enslavement, has been to structure racism and classism in such a way that the sufferers take on the act of demonizing themselves. They are forced by law, by violence and by shaming, to turn away from their cultures and replace them with those of the people in power. They then see themselves as inferior, and talk about themselves in the most negative of ways. They hate their skin and physical features. They see the evil of the oppressing class, but they see themselves as worse. Some of them go so far as to suffer from a form of Stockholm syndrome. They begin sympathizing with their persecutors and oppressors. They fall under the illusion of inclusion. It all serves to keep the ruling class in their ruling spot.
So, please, consider the energy of your words. I absolutely loathe when I hear anyone black say things like “you know how our people are,” or “you know you can’t give black people shit,” “you know black people don’t do that,” even, “you know black people don’t swim,” or any of the number of things some of us say to and about each other that degrade us. By no means is it all of us, but it’s far too many of us. We need to reprogram the way we view ourselves. Stop demeaning, downgrading and not believing in our abilities. Self-esteem is more important than anything. It’s the basis of every individual’s future. Our collective future depends on us believing we are human, no more or less than anyone else. We fuck up just like everyone else, not more than everyone else.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, and do not, necessarily, express the feelings of every black person in the world, in America, in New York, in the Bronx, or even in my neighborhood. We are not a monolithic group, so please stop viewing us as one single mind.
Thank you for reading.