If you see a black person today, give them a hug. They most likely will need it (I’m being facetious). But seriously, black people have the propensity to be the most judgmental, hypocritical, and sensitive people you may ever know. And though our history in this country has contributed to some deep-seated issues, we need to actively work toward healing.
This week when I listened to several news outlets try to dissect Spike Lee’s “rant” on gentrification, I shook my head. I don’t know if I see gentrification as a big problem for impoverished communities. I actually embrace it. However, we should ask ourselves why black people are not gentrifying their own communities? So many black people, especially those who have acquired education, economic freedom, and status snub the black communities from which they originated. They are running to where white people are and integrating their communities. How can we criticize white people for doing the same exact thing? Those with the education and financial means should be helping to build their own communities.
Also in the news was the return of Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal on ABC. The show’s premiere did not disappoint. The thing is, shows like ‘Scandal’ and ‘Being Mary Jane’ are being criticized because they reflect educated and sexy women in less than virtuous situations. Olivia Pope, the lead character on ‘Scandal’ is the object of affection for white, married President, Fitzgerald Grant. The show has even addressed historic racial comparisons such as Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings. Characters like Julia Baker from the 70’s sitcom, ‘Julia’ and Claire Huxtable from the popular 80’s sitcom, ‘The Cosby Show’ do exist in real life. Black imagery in the media is important to destroying stereotypes but how long do we have to fight these myths in old propaganda? We should be more critical of the shows that are non-scripted television programming.
Pharrell also made news this week when he released the artwork for his album, Girls. He was at the center of criticism for being surrounded by white or unidentifiably black women on the cover art for his album. Black women spoke out as they usually do about this topic- but their cry is for black men to validate their unique type of beauty.
Lupita Nyong’o spoke out about praying for lighter skin because she was ‘teased and taunted’ for being too dark. She has now been embraced by mainstream Hollywood and the fashion communities. She is also linked romantically to Jared Leto, a white musician. We fail to love the many hues and shades of our black skin because of the pain we associate to our history, some which we find as shameful.
Some are going to disagree with my points, but I know that it’s the internal mechanisms working against the progress. We need to be proud of ourselves and what we contribute to society. So many of us feel like we have valid ideas about what the entire group should be, yet I beg to differ. Black people are complex, diverse, and individually valuable. I also suspect the latter, that we all bring something of value to the table is the thing that gets the most lost. And through it all, if we learn to respect one another and love who we are, we will find the key to burying this age-old topic.