Monday, May 3, 2010

Musing on Steve Harvey and Black Women


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via New Model Minority by admin on 5/2/10

^^Thowback For Colored Girls

Two things have me thinking about doing an oral history project on Black Women's Sexuality/ Life Choices.

The first is reading this line today on sexuality and race in early Philadephia in Sex and the Rabble, An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of  Revolution, Philadelphia 1730-1830.

"White Philadelphian's racialized constructions of sexuality became important tools in reconstituting racial oppresion without slavery."

In my mind I thought, wait, so chattel slavery is over, so ya'll are going to regulate Black women and low income white women (the rabble) by hyper monitoring and regulating our sexuality. Word? word.

It was then that I began to think that  when this democracy gets fragile the hyper regulation of women in general and Black women specifically comes out. Word to the 1980's.

The second was reading Fallon's blog post on the Hill Harper + Steve Harvey + Black woman can't find "no good men" meme…eh?

She writes:

"Yep, I'm going to beat this drum . . . black men are the problems. Perhaps, someone who has a glimmer of common sense  <strike>Hill Harper, Steve Harvey, or Kevin Powell</strike> should write a how-to-book with colorful pictures teaching black men how to become unconventional/atypical black men . . . the kind of man who allows a black woman to be herself . . . the kind man who does not mentally masturbate with black feminist heterosexual women, but who wants a lifetime of memories with her (yep, that's my personal gripe). . . the kind of black man who believes "iron sharpens iron, she will make a better black man out of me" . . . the kind of man who will endure many years of psycho therapy to understand his emotions so that he can be an emotionally available father and husband . . . the kind of man who is proud to say I am the husband of such and such using her maiden name . . . the kind of man who will smile and at times grin at her witticism/arguments deeply respecting her thoughts . . . I could go on forever listing how black men can begin to challenge their male privilege, but, hey, Random House is not ain't giving me no book deal they are too busy running behind the Steve Harvey's and Tyler Perry's of the world because clearly they speak for black women [pure sarcasm]."

This really hit me because it spoke to WHO gets to tell WHICH stories, and whose interests are being served by the stories being told.

Fallon goes on to say,

"Once again, I believe there is a political project afoot to make black women to feel woefully inadequate because they lack black hetero-male romantic partnership/marriage. And I think part of the political project is to cloak the dysfunctionality of capitalism and to warn other groups of women what will happen if they stray too far from appropriate feminine behaviors and identities—you will be blamed for the toxic social issues of your community and will be subjected to public ridicule on Nightline and other mainstream news shows—so be a good little girl . . . a "well behaved" black girl."

Be a good little Black girl or [Rabid US] Capitalism is coming for that ass, Word?

The voice and who has the right to speak for whom as been on my bird lately.

While doing research for my crack project, I was searching for articles on Friday on the psychology and how Black adolescent boys and girls made sense of the crime brought on by the crack epidemic, and all of the articles were about Black deviant boys and the code of the street. Im like the fuck? I knew dudes that hustled and were in college with good grades. Where is negro deviance in that situation? I was like wow…they really think our boys are animals.

Elijah Anderson's work, in many ways, is the nucleus of this narrative. Elijah is an Awesome ethnographer, but this "Black boys are deviant" narrative is janky.  Has Anderson read Barry Michael Cooper's "New Jack City Eats its Young?"

BMC provides both the conditions that allowed the crack epidemic to take root, but also historized it to show how violence works on a generational level and ties the crime commited by youth in the 80's to the riots that happend in the 60's in a really Martin Luther Kingian way.

Furthermore, BMC's piece is the only thing I have seen that tells the story of the hood, on paper, from the ground up, with the voices of people who LIVED during the crack epidemic. But then again, I also just discovered In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio, which I am looking forward to reading.

The issue with the pervasiveness of Andersons work is that the Department of Justice cosigns him as the truth and uses his theories to frame their polices on Black adolescent boys and violence.

But back to Steve and them.

Why are Black men on TV talking about WHO Black women are dating.

What does it mean that they are doing it on Nightline?

I am trying to wrap my head around what he is talking about and what I know about my life.

My crew is thorough.

One homie is a lawyer by day, an award winning filmmaker at night, who just completed her first  long form short that WE know will lead to her next deal.

Another runs a really popular blog,  with global reach, and is my writing/networking mentor.

Another homie is a photographer with The Post who is building her chops as a Black conceptual artist and getting ready to blow.

Another is working on teaching at a fancy liberal arts college and working on her dissertation in the north east.

Another is a doctoral student, heavily engaged in criminal justice and work rentry for Black women, church and archival work and a lecturer.

Another is in the throws of her dissertation, will be teaching in the fall and allways takes my phone calls, no matter what time (Love you.)

One more is a manager at a shelter for kids in NYC, who works from 10 to 10, is on call 24 hours a day 3 days a week, is exhausted AND LOVES her work.

You get my point. We thick.

And as I said to @Moyazb earlier today (which was really the genisis of this post,"

"The angst around dating is not at the center of our lives."

We Live. Love. Work to pay the rent/mortgages. Take care of our nieces and nephews, little brothers and sisters. Make Art. Party. Pray. And try and make all of the people who invested in us over the years proud.

Yes we do trip off of our dating and Love lives,  if we are having a dry spell or a relationship is breaking our heart into hella little pieces, or if a Lover is janky, or we got stood up, or if the person on Match dot come was hot for two weeks then kinda fizzled out, but daggumit.

We human.

But we we ain't as pressed as Steve and them make it seem. And when we do get that pressed, we feel it (we may marinate in some sorrows) and move on. Or hold on to it UNTIL can move on.

We human.

All this being said.

I am thinking of doing a Black Woman's Sexuality/ Life choices oral history project.

In talking to @moyazb today,  she brought up how some Black feminists write about dating, but in many ways don't do it personally which leaves some of what they are saying removed from readers in many ways.

Whereas, I'm trying to do some scholarly Zane shit. And that makes sense you know why? Because my grad school writing sample was based on this blog post. #ummhmm #getithowyoulive


The Nightline meme as punishment for not being feminine enough in the throws of rabid global capitalism?

Why are Black men talking about Black women's dating habits?

Rather than be up in our dating lives, why not write about creating healthy Black men?

Related posts:

  1. Musing on Harry Allen, Black Nationalism and Black Feminism
  2. Beyond/With Precious: Black Women, Incest and Rape
  3. Beyonce and Black Women's Empowerment


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