19 February 2009

A Thought On Black History

Tomorrow Mandar and I are gonna go see Madea Goes To Jail (see theatrical trailer below... for some stupid reason, there is a teaser for another movie before the trailer for Madea... so no, I didn't put the wrong code in).



Tyler Perry's movie franchise is a strange one. Often dramatic. Hilarious. Heartwarming. Some people say that it portrays a negative view of the southern black community and enforces stereotypes. But unlike Cosby did in the 1980s, I think Perry actually portrays black (specifically Georgian) life in a far more accurate sense with a great balance that isn't afraid to take on tough issues. Hell, Maya Angelou is in the second movie, Madea's Family Reunion. What more do you need!?

Bill Cosby did something very different but I think he failed in avoiding all controversial subjects. He floated his sitcom around in this strange world where racism didn't exist. Althought that's nice, it's not reality. And if we're ever going to get to that reality, we need to address the issues that are still present today. After all, it isn't uncommon for me to overhear people at work or school or wherever talking about "President Nigger."

Now, Tyler Perry's series isn't perfect. And god help me I hate his television programmes, but I really love his movies. When it comes to dramatic comedies, there really isn't anything else out right now that I give a damn about.

Perhaps it's because Madea reminds me of my grandmother from Texas, or perhaps she's just fucking hilarious, but I love her. Below are a few of my favorite scenes from Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Madea's Family Reunion.





I don't really know what there is to say about Black History Month. To be honest, there really shouldn't be a black history month because black history is not black history, it's simply history. Human history. It's a history that we all can learn from and shouldn't dare pretend is a thing of the past simply because we've elected a black president. Hell, America elected a Catholic president once and still people today say they would be afraid to do so again.

It really saddens me how many young people today use the word nigger. At least half of my work says it without flinching. Several of the teenagers I work with are under the believe that "blacks have more rights that whites now days" and "niggers get away with anything because nobody wants to look like a racist." I could understand if someone in their seventies said something like this, but seventeen?

And why do we call Barack Obama our first black president? He's not fully black. In fact, most people aren't fully black. I'm not fully white. My mother is latina and my dad is white... and actually his great uncle is black so what does that make me? Am I white simply because I'm light skinned. What about Barack? If he's 50% white and 50% black, then why does the black part overpower the white part so much that we are forced to calling him the first black president and not the first multiracial president?

Here is a little test that I heard about from Richard Dawkin's "The Ancestor's Tale"...

Below are 10 squares of skin taken from people's faces. Try and guess before clicking on the pictures whether or not the person is black or white. Then see whether the color of the skin really is what determines a person's "color".




On a final note, you might have noticed that at no point did I refer to anybody as "African-American" and there is a good reason. I had my consciousness raised by a friend of mine back when I worked at Sears. She was black and told me that she didn't consider herself "African-American" because she and her parents and her grandparents were all born in America. None of them have even been to Africa. She called herself a black American, pure and simple. And true, we might say, yeah, but her lineage goes back to Africa. But if we say that, then aren't we all African-American's then?

So there's my random rant about black history. Thoughts?

4 comments:

Mandar Malum said...

can't wait to see the movie!

pboyfloyd said...

"..to overhear people at work or school or wherever talking about "President Nigger"."

These are probably the exact same people who would have us be in 'awe' of 'the Decider' as he bumbled his way through eight years of 'stupid greed'.

Asylum Seeker said...

"It really saddens me how many young people today use the word nigger. At least half of my work says it without flinching. Several of the teenagers I work with are under the believe that "blacks have more rights that whites now days" and "niggers get away with anything because nobody wants to look like a racist.""

Christians have Fatwah Envy. Whiny white kids have Civil Rights Envy. Poor wittle things.

Pandora said...

Wow. That was a great post. I was way off on the skin color test...haha. I thought Hillary was black!