Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I try to be a happy black feminist. I really do. But people keep insisting on making me an angry one. Lots of things on the Internet have been pissing me off this week and it's only Wednesday. 

Exhibit A



One in three women will be victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence in their lifetime, yet some people still think that the abuse pop star Rihanna suffered at the hands of Chris Brown is a joke. According to MSN, the Atlanta-area restaurant Chops & Hops dedicated its "Black & Bleu" sandwich to Rihanna and posted on Facebook: "@chrisbrown, @rihanna and us teamed up for a award winning celebrity sandwich. Put your hands on this caribbean black and bleu sandwich ... Chris Brown won't beat you up for eating this unless your name starts with a R and ends with A."

After major backlash the folks in charge apologized and said they would donate six times the sandwich's proceeds to a domestic violence charity. But I've already lost my appetite. Furthermore, the comments from people on Facebook defending the sandwich truly made me sick to my stomach.

Exhibit B

**Spoiler Alert! Skip to Exhibit 3 if you haven't read The Hunger Games novel or seen the movie** 

Back in November I blogged about the negative reactions that some Hunger Games fans had when the movie trailer and promotional posters revealed that major characters like Cinna, Rue and Thresh would be played by black actors. Well, some of these racist fans weren't paying attention back then and were in for a surprise when they saw the movie this past weekend. Recent reactions on Twitter include statements like "why does rue have to be black not gonna lie kinda ruined the movie" and "call me racist but when i found out rue was black her death wasn't as sad." You can check out this Jezebel post for more disgusting examples. 

In my previous post I stated that I believed people couldn't accept black Hunger Games characters (even though Rue and Thresh are both clearly described as having dark skin) because black people are usually relegated to so-called black movies and white is seen as normal or the default. But this latest string of comments point out an even more disturbing truth: as Dodai Stewart says in her Jezebel article, in the eyes of these people black lives lack value. These people are angry that they bothered shedding tears over the death of a black girl. 

Georgia Mae reader Mariam, commenting on my previous post, made another observation: "It's also incredibly disturbing to see these kinds of comments from people who I assume are the book and movie's target audience: teens. We're quick to assume bigotry is only in the hearts of old people. If we can't even depend on young people not to be racist, Lord, help us."

Exhibit C

And another thing pissing me off this week: people trying to cause division within the natural hair community. Over at the blog Around the Way Curls, one reader commented saying she takes issue with the authors of the blog referring to mixed hair and curly hair as natural hair, saying natural hair is a term that only refers to afro-textured hair. She writes (in all caps): "MOST MIXED RACE OR CURLY HAIRED BLACK WOMEN DO NOT FIT INTO THAT CATEGORY OF NATURAL HAIR. THE REASON WHY I AM STATING THIS CLAIM IS.. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU WERE TO WALK INTO A SOCIAL EVENT, OR INTO PUBLIC WITH YOUR HAIR NOT CHEMICALLY OR HEAT STRAIGHTENED, IT WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED STRANGE, AKWARD, OR GROSS. BUT IF A WOMAN WITH KINKY TYPE 4 HAIR WALKED INTO THAT SAME SITUATION, SOME WOULD CONSIDER HER HAIR TO BE UNATTRACTIVE, TOO KINKY, GROSS, UNPROFESSIONAL, BEING DIFFERENT, OR SOME OTHER NEGATIVE VIEW, ESPECIALLY FROM BRAINWASHED BLACK MEN."

I can appreciate this woman's frustration and in no way do I want to diminish the pain that she's experienced due to people's ignorance. But the assumption that curly-haired girls have it easy is incorrect and unfair. Yes, I have a texture of hair that is considered by some as so-called "good hair" but that didn't keep my boyfriend or even my own family members from telling me I needed to get a perm when I went natural. And then on top of that, as this reader's comment proves, we also have trouble even being accepted by other naturalistas. We need the support of the natural hair community just as much as ladies rocking afros and locs. Even many white women I know with very curly hair (such as the founder of JessiCurls) have struggled with accepting their tresses and have stories very similar to those of black women. We're all in this together, people. 

So what's pissed you off this week? Or, better yet, know of any news to cheer me up?


4 comments:

  1. Oh wow! It looks like we read similar articles this week!

    First, I love Mariam's comment. I was, quite honestly, very surprised to see the racist remarks about the characters in Hunger Games. Not because they were racist but because they were so open. Good grief. I was hoping teenagers were joining the peace-loving and universally-open crusade.

    Second, finding out that women are eating their own placentas is very disturbing to me. That definitely ticked me off this week. Women already have it incredibly hard trying to be good mothers in a judgmental society, full of everything and more that can damage a child. To find out they're eating parts of their own bodies to be better mothers is really upsetting to me. When does it end?!

    Finally, great post on the natural hair battle Jai! As a woman with Type 4 hair, it is most certainly a struggle both professionally and personally. However, having beautiful friends like you and others with curly hair, who have some of the same struggles as I do, opened my eyes. Maybe the female poster needs to expand her network.

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  2. Thanks so much for your comment Chantay. You had me cracking up tonight on the phone when we were discussing the placenta eating. That's been a big trend for a while. I learned about it when I lived in Berkeley. But don't worry, if I get knocked up I won't be eating mine.

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  3. That Hunger Games stuff made me irate--both over the fact that wow, suddenly the murder of a 12-year-old girl is less sad because she isn't an "innocent white girl" and over the fear that Amandla Stenberg will see the horrible things said about her and feel like her huge performance is ruined. (She has responded in a statement, and sweet heaven that is a girl with poise.)

    There was the similar controversy (although not quite as vicious) about the casting of Lenny Kravitz as Cinna. Apparently, because the book didn't specify that he had brown skin, they shouldn't have cast a black actor. Because black actors can't play roles that weren't specifically written for POC. All this despite the fact that Kravitz was the very embodiment of Cinna and also is as hot as a summer sidewalk.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing the post with Amandla's response.

      And thanks for this awesome quote: "Kravitz was the very embodiment of Cinna and also is as hot as a summer sidewalk."

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