“One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like theamount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.”
—Franklin Thomas, activist, philanthropist, and former president of the Ford Foundation
Ahh this topic takes me back to my second dissertation as a masters student (University of Bedfordshire, Luton Campus) I was always intrigued by “outcast” type topics that most either rarely spoke about or simply ignored because of how vast and very complicated it must be ( a different type of onions of the burning eye kind) ahh where was I, after writing on my first love which is the Japanese culture and it’s relation and showcase in main stream media via anime and live action, let’s just say I learnt my lesson real quick ( totally different story for another day.. well maybe never; you never know right?) and did a different topic for my second dissertation which was the perception of the black woman as shown or showcased in film productions: if I remember clearly For Colored Girls directed by Tyler Perry was one of my topic highlights.
For context, content and a less boring view, I will be talking about black people as a whole. Black people from a general point of view rather than my tenacious booky self. Now let’s get to it shall we?!
“Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face.”
—Carol Moseley-Braun, politician and lawyer
When it comes to be being black, I absolutely love it, the shine that bounces off my skin, the shimmer and glitter when oil is applied, my enviable nature of walking under the sun without burning to a crisp, my luscious woolly hair that changes texture when wet, my black beautiful god like skin is such a dream. Yet alas for every joy of being a being, there comes the downside of it and of course being black is one of them.
Now I know that cultures vary where blacks are concerned but some constant general problems keep cropping up like a weed that refuses to die. A black man is arguably one of the most envied in the world yet, one of the most hated and I cannot seem to understand why…scratch that I actually can. As a Nigerian we often say ‘it is your village people worrying you’, but what happens when you have no village people or concrete identity to fall back on? What next. In today’s article, we will be looking at THE BLACK PERSPECTIVE, various angles as to the problems that come with being black in today’s society; bear in mind that I seriously do not know it all, but will be sharing my opinion on it.
LOUD AND INCHARGE
“Whatever we believe about ourselves and our ability comes true for us.” —Susan L. Taylor, journalist
Black people for centuries have been regarded as very loud and very in charge, we have an innate knack for always having the loudest voices, always applying pressure and dominating whatever industry we find ourselves in…sounds like a boss move if you ask me, but a lot of people (including blacks themselves) find it annoying, overbearing and downright embarrassing at the same time.
As a black person or people, we are not small in nature, even those who are always carry some sort of respectable or feared presence about them. To me it is very godlike in nature stemming from our ancestors, the struggles, the trials, the pride, the privilege and so much more, I believe all that is deeply engraved in our genes. Our footsteps and presence naturally leave a mark because we as blacks are formidable and that is that. For years blacks have been made or viewed as the repressed, as those who should be regarded as minorities, as savages as people who must be suppressed especially their voice, for me it simply is a way for showing how envied the black person is.
Why does their voice or presence insight fear more than respect? Why must a people (be they home or abroad) why must they be quiet when they clearly need to be heard? As a Yoruba woman who grew up as a really silent child…I can tell you that finding my voice, finding that loud gene that was so buried deep within me, finding it, gave me a super power I never knew I truly needed and that was TO BE HEARD. Now as a Yoruba woman who is also well endowed in size and curves…I do understand I may look intimidating or in charge but still, I and many others like me are not to be feared.
Our frames and voices may often come across as intimidating but I can assure you beneath all that fat, muscle and loud voice…is a cute marshmallow looking to be adored; but hey if the loud factor works to my benefit… please go ahead and think of me as loud and in charge.
Blacks can be very passionate about anything or any one especially through expression. As a black person our level of passion can be fueled through hype and exaggeration that unfortunately can come across as aggressive and violent in nature. Look some of the black language too already sounds like its going to war even by simply saying I love you. So, it is important that people start to truly study, understand and conversate with black people so that a lot of assumptions can be thrown into the fire, never to be reborn again.
“Never be limited by other people's limited imaginations.”
—Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut
Look a black man always has jokes to tell, like the whole world could literally be on fire and he or she would talk about how we are too hot to handle! We joke so much you would wonder if a black person ever takes anything serious. Well ding dong…they always do, a black person can get so serious that they may come off as passive aggressive or just aggressive (look up, I mentioned something about it). Now to me, I feel that by nature or nurture, we as a people (black of course) have been through the ropes, the whips, the fires and the seas.
Often times I wonder if the need to constantly crack a joke or ten comes from sort of a trauma response, where one is resigned to accept their fate but find the humor while accepting such fate. As a Christian, growing up black, I was always taught to say “it is well” especially in times of trouble, this came from a need to take a closer, clearer much more spiritual outtake on the positive outcomes that came from a very negative situation or place. As a Nigerian I can tell you this for free…our unserious or ability to mock or downplay dire situations is more of a self-defense trait for the mind because there is a much more unspoken fear laced beneath the jokes.
A black man’s ability to seem unserious is more like a child developing personalities that protects it from the fear or reality of it, while the main character is buried beneath the many faces, it still yearns to be cared for and taken seriously. Unfortunately, as people of color, our need to protect our mind comes across as unserious. Can we do better? Yes! But the real question is do we want to? Do we want to open our mind to the reality of all of life’s horridness? No! safer for a black man, is always better than sorry. Like I said this is just my opinion, I am sure there are more educated professionals on the matter, feel free to check out their work, but till then, please understand that jokes don’t always mean unserious, it is usually a way to mentally and emotionally detach one’s self from one’s reality.
Jezebel, madingo, baby daddy, baby mama and so much more unprintable names (I would like to keep my column… thank you) have been used in ascribing black people with uncontrolled sexual libidos on crack. When I mean on crack, I don’t mean the literal thing (erm if that’s your thing then God’s speed…pun not intended) A black person’s sexual appetite can come up as intense, out there and sometimes downright shocking. Over the years, black people have been seen as breeders and I don’t mean the cute kind, breeders whose role was unfortunately to fund the master’s pocket; sex, breed, sell, repeat.
Horrible yes but hey it happened and that’s part of our history we will never be able to change. For years black people have had a very unsettling deep, gory history that has kind of been expressed through erotophobia (According to Google: is a phobia or excessive and irrational fear of sex. This condition is often complex as people with erotophobia may be scared of sex in more than one way. For instance, they may fear the act of sexual intercourse (genophobia) along with having a fear of being touched (haphephobia), strange but true… here’s the thing people of every race need to understand that for black people slavery existed as a sexual economy and this went beyond being shipped on the high seas.
It happened in communities, villages and the likes where certain traditions or cultures used sex as a power holder or monetary tool. Blacks, Africans or Nigerians are well known as baby breeders, concubines, tools (call it what you wish). Being black meant being erotic and exotic in a way that unfortunately fueled us/ them as simply commodities. Understand that although times have changed, a lot of it still trickles down to today’s society. Do we like sex? Yes! Just like everyone else! From the holy kind to the freaky by nature kind, everyone is doing the way they feel works for them, the difference is with a black person, for some reason ( I still don’t understand) we are seen as hyper, different, sometimes border line freakish in regards to it. Will I admit that sometimes black people can do the most? Yes! It doesn’t make them any less human, it just continues to show the very open nature that comes with the god like feeling of freedom and with sex…comes freedom of the Bacchus kind.
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
—Booker T. Washington
Look there are so many unfounded and ridiculous stereotypes that come with being black and honestly one article really isn’t enough. I know that black people can come off in certain ways that aren’t exactly kosher but here is the thing…SO DOES EVERY OTHER RACE. The only difference is black people are not trying to hide who they are. They are not trying to be self-righteous or holy (psst we have those but we aren’t talking about them because to me they are a minority). As much as black people can be fierce, intimidating passionate and what not; I believe more discussions should be had, exchange programs should be implemented within schools, the right facts of history must be taught so that other races including the black race itself can start to heal and understand why the assumptions are more prominent than reality.
I am proud to be a black woman, I am proud I have a voice, I am proud of my body and the gift of it and as soon as people start respecting what blacks have to offer to the table rather than what they assume can destroy the table… a true awakening can begin. So yeah, I hope this helps a little towards dispelling the black myth on negative stereotypes and can open the door for great things till then. Till then…see you next time.