Angry complaints about not being included in white media, culture or conversations doesn't help. Taking affirmative action does.
This post might ruffle a few feathers, but hey, what positive change ever happens without that?
I continue to quietly observe trends in black woman world. Why? Simple, because I love black women, and I really want us to enjoy the success and respect that we deserve as a dynamic group of women.
One thing that I have noticed after a while is that a lot of the young black feminist and womanist voices seem to be stuck on constantly comparing or weighing our black woman experience with that of white women.
The current war cry seems to be "it's just not fair!"
But is this the right way to go about dealing with the constant slights that black women obviously experience in the media and in every day life?
For instance, there was a Miley Cyrus twerking "scandal." Black women were upset that this young white girl was the one who suddenly made twerking mainstream, when black women have been doing it in clubs probably for decades.
I can't count how many times I've seen a story about this girl Miley in Black social media conversations and on sites designed for black women since the MTV awards. What's ironic is that we're giving her more relevance while white media is pretty much disgusted by her behavior and really just wants her to go away. Never mind that the girl pretty much made an absolute fool of herself on stage, playing into stereotypes of oversexualized women.
But some of us still want to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR that black women were the ones who created an overtly sexual dance emulating the act of bouncing up and down on... well you know what it is.
Then there was the recent twitter hashtag #SmartBlackWomenofTwitter
The concept is much needed. The basis of the hashtag is questionable. When I found out that the hashtag was simply a response to a white publication leaving black women out of their list of smart women I was a little disturbed by that.
Then there was that whole thing with the TV show Girls. The producers decided that only white girl transplants to Brooklyn would be represented in their show (hello, Sex and the City was pretty much the same concept, and we all still watch it to this day) and some sisters had a problem with that. Why? There are a number of black web series starring mostly black people that we could watch and support instead if that really bothers us.
Another case was the #SolidarityIsforWhiteWomen hashtag. Yes, we all know that it is true, but do you really think that white feminists give a damn? And if they did, what can they do about it other than patronizingly pat us on our heads and then continue to enjoy their current privileges in society?
Sorry guys, but this is all starting to sound a whole lot like certain black voices are still begging to be a part of the "popular" kids club when we really should be concentrating on creating our OWN exclusive and extensive club of cool kids. Come on now, we are the originators of cool, so why do we want to be in someone else's club so badly in the first place?
What's the End Game?
Let me be clear. I don't disagree with raising a ruckus when black women are missing from the conversation. What I disagree with is the ultimate goal of the conversation AND to whom we are directing our grievances.
Instead of complaining to WHITE publications, producers and movies about not including us in their stuff we should be voicing these concerns to EACH OTHER. We should be directing our grievances and ideas to other black women who are in a position of influence -- women who can help bring more of our positive, inspirational and interesting stories to light. That includes powerful women like Mara Brock Akil, Amy DuBois Barnett (the editor-in-chief of Ebony magazine, heck, even Oprah, as well as influential black film makers and the countless black woman bloggers that reach millions of black readers across the world every month.
We also should be talking about pooling our resources and talents to create more black production companies and media outlets that address our specific needs. Can you say Kickstarter? Look at what Spike Lee just did.
To get what you want, you put your money and resources into what you believe in rather than expending all your energy complaining about what you don't want.
One thing is for sure, simply complaining about an issue isn't going to help anything. There needs to be a meaningful goal and affirmative action behind the complaint in order to make a positive change.