When All Else Fails, Blame Black People

I could not give two shits about the Imus thing, even on a bean and bran filled day, but sweet Jesus, the idiocy floating around our fair internet about this is staggering.

Over at Blue Coller Republican, Austin Farley says:

How many millions have the “Urban” Rappers made while using the same terms and far worse? Why is it when an old, white dude says one silly thing the Sharptons of the world blow it out and then the fellow gets suspended? We do not have the freedom of speech in this country. We are free to speak what others like to hear, but nothing more. How is it that blacks can talk about whitey enslaving them, beating them down and much more, but nothing is said?

(Yes, I know, I KNOW.  But let me take it: Mr. Farley, black people can talk about whitey enslaving them and beating them down because white people did those things. White folks enslaved black people and, for fun, regularly knock the shit out of them and kill them.  Less frequently now than in the past, but the past was not that long ago.)

Jay Bush sounds a similar theme:

However, what’s most interesting about the Imus incident is that the allegedly racist terminology he used (“nappy-headed hos”) doesn’t have it’s roots in white culture. Terms like pimpin, hos, ghetto and nappy-heads are regularly heard in hip-hop music and black comedy. Hip-hop especially is heavily marketed to a white audience, in fact it’s been written that as much as 80% of rap music is purchased by whites. Given this reality, is anyone surprised that some white people have adopted the language and mirror the image of popular rappers?

(Yep, again, I KNOW!  Bush, please, Imus is not a rap fan and you and I both know it.)

I mean, when fucking Kleinheider has the most reasoned post on the whole thing (‘reasoned’ being in the context of what folks on the right are saying), we’ve clearly entered the Land that Brains Forgot.

So, let me spell it out for you.  First, rap artists don’t use those terms in an uncontested fashion.  Black women are not running around cheering about how every time they turn on the radio or television there’s someone’s brother or cousin or friend or lover or husband–a person they ought to be able to count on to really understand them and what they’re going through–calling women ‘bitches’ and ‘hos.’

Pam Spaulding, a black woman at a prominent blog, talks about that today.  Shoot, the women at Spelman were pissed off about this very thing back in ’04.

The problem is not that black folks are just sitting back quietly accepting whatever vomits forth from the record industry; the problem is that most white people don’t have the thoughts and opinions of their black peers even on their radar.  I doubt they even know how to find out what regular black people are thinking and saying about things.

And why would they?  Because as much as they grouch about Sharpton and Jackson, Sharpton and Jackson are on their TV screens spouting out opinions.  Most white people don’t have to do any work to discover what’s on the minds of Sharpton or Jackson, whereas hearing from actual black people who can’t get on cable takes a little more effort.  Far better to triangulate from the appearances of black folks on the news, ESPN, and BET what’s going on in the black community.

Never mind that that’s a little like watching CMT in order to figure out what white Nashvillians think about life.

So, yes, point one–blaming black people for not speaking out against the misogyny in rap when you don’t actually know if black people are speaking out against the misogyny in rap is a bullshit move and you should be embarrassed.

Point two: it is wrong to call someone a “nappy-headed ho.”  Period.  It’s wrong to use trait closely associated with someone’s race in a disparaging manner.  It’s wrong to say that a woman sells herself in a degrading fashion as an insult.

Both of those things are wrong.  They don’t become less wrong just because you can find examples of other people using those words.

Really.  You really want to argue that it’s okay for Imus to hate black women because some black men hate black women?  That’s your big moral stand?  If some black men can hate and degrade black women, it’s not fair that some white man can’t hate and degrade black women?

Need I remind you that no one should be hating or degrading black women?

Again, Sweet Jesus.  I can’t believe that has to actually be articulated.  It’s wrong to hate and degrade black women.  Period.  Regardless of who else is doing it.  It doesn’t matter if every man in the country and most of the women were to degrade and hate on black women.

It would still be wrong.

It is seriously gross to hear grown ass folks who seem to be able to think and write coherent thoughts excusing the hatred and degradation of anyone.

And, just to top it all off, there’s a level of white-loathing in this whole discussion that I find disturbing.  “Boo hoo, a lot of white people buy rap music and we’re too idiotic, even though we’re grown-ups, to not repeat what we hear.  Boo hoo.  Poor us. If only those black men with their seductive music would stop brainwashing me into opening my wallet and buying it and listening to it, then I wouldn’t have to use those words that I know, if I said them to my mom, would cause her to cry or slap me.  Woe is me!”

Nevermind that this whole “but rappers say it!” is bullshit and we all know it, because Imus is not some huge rap fan.

Even if it were possible for, say, the Three 6 Mafia to brainwash him (“Inside peanut butter, outside jelly”–who does not want a car like that?), Imus would actually have to listen to them for that to happen.

And he doesn’t.


Boy Nostalgia

I had a friend in college, a giant of a guy, sweet as all get-out, who had the best stubble. He was blond, so when he had whiskers of just the right length, his whole face would sparkle in the sunlight. He also had a nice voice. Deep, but not too deep, and I would sit for hours just leaning against him just feeling his voice rumbling around in his big ole body against the side of my face.

I wonder what ever happened to him.

A Short Post about Beyonce

What is wrong with me?  I swear, I’m running around all day singing “A little sweat never hurt nobody” and shaking my butt like I just discovered that I had one.

Between “Get Me Bodied” and “Suga Momma”… Seriously, it’s all I can do to not start calling random people and being all “Come sit on Momma’s lap, now.”  These must be the two perfect summer songs.  I want to drive around with them in my car.  I want to dance around my bedroom to them.  I want to sit outside drinking cold beers tapping my feet along to them.

Beyonce is a genius and when she writes a good song, it’s damn good.

That is all.

The Pretty, Pretty Princess and Her Plain, but Smart Sidekick

Belledame222 is hosting the next Carnival of Feminists and she wants us all to write about women/woman relationships.

I want to write about the pretty, pretty princess and her plain, but smart sidekick.  I don’t know if I have enough for a whole post about it, but I want to start mulling it over.

This is a dynamic between women that, I think, starts very young.  Some girls get a sense that they’re special and that, in order for them to get what they deserve, it’s going to take an army of folks to promote them.  Other girls get more into book-learning and smarts-having and never get the sense that they’re anything special.

Then, both kinds of girls run headfirst into the Patriarchy (or, for those of you who hate that term–sexism in our society).  And they quickly discern that most women are helpers–they run around making things go as smoothly as possible for others.  And some women are cute enough to make men swoon and to get what they want because our sexist culture rewards beautiful women.

Still, it’s hard work to be a beautiful woman, especially because, even though they’re more rare than the plain girls, they’re not really that uncommon.  And so, it becomes even more of a necessity to have a plain, smart sidekick to help.

I cannot tell you how often I see this dynamic play out, but damn.  Just about all the time.

The pretty, pretty princess expects to be the one having all the adventures and she just kind of expects the obvious plain, but smart sidekick to enable those adventures.  There’s a hierarchy and if you don’t stick to it, you are a bitch who must be taken down.

It’s hard to talk about this kind of stuff–the roles that women expect each other to play.  We can talk about the Madonna/Whore problem, but that’s outside society prescribing roles for us.  Talking about the ways we organize our own social world, actually putting a name to the weird damaging things we do in our friendships?

That’s hard.

I feel like I’m floundering.

And yet, I was at a wedding recently where the pretty, pretty princesses we knew in college seemed pissed off that one of the “plain, but smart” girls had found a guy, planned a wedding, and gotten married all without taking their needs into account.

Still.  We’ve been out of college over a decade and they all sat there acting like we were supposed to go over and swoon about how awesome it was that they’d dared deign to bless us with their presence.

Or how about when you and the pretty, pretty princess both enjoy spending time with the same guy?  Will the pretty, pretty princess pitch a fit about how she deserves that man’s attention more than you do?  Yes, she will.

And here’s the part that pisses me off, just from an internal perspective, I find myself backing off.  ‘Well, she is the pretty, pretty princess and I’m just the sidekick.  It probably was ridiculous for me to think he’d like me better than her in the first place.  Best to back off now rather than wait and be hurt.’

I mean, fuck me, y’all.  From the time I was little, my favorite Disney movie was Robin Hoodand I always related to Lady Kluck.  Yep, somehow I always got that my job would be to help the heroine get her man and hope that I’d end up married off to the hero’s sidekick.

Hmm.  I don’t know.  There’s probably more to be said about all that, but I wonder what other kinds of roles we women try to force each other and ourselves into.

Any thoughts?