Search results for 'stereotypes'

Respectability Politics: 4 Hints Your Approaches to Empowering Black Communities Are Harmful

18 Jul

There’s a running joke about whether or not black people should eat chicken in public.

When I’d bring a packed lunch with chicken wings to the office, I’d laugh at myself as I heated it up in the break room, thinking, “Am I really about to sit down with a plate of fried chicken in front of all these white folks?”

Of course I would. The chicken stereotype seemed silly to me, but there were other stereotypes I worked hard not to portray. 

I used to viciously side-eye anyone who argued that twerking was empowering. I’d quietly shame people who enjoyed reality TV shows like Basketball Wives and Love and Hip Hop. And I preferred artists like Janelle Monae over Nicki Minaj because I thought Nicki was a modern day example of the Jezebel stereotype.

I didn’t like anything that made black people look like we didn’t have home training. I wanted society to see positive images, like the high rates of black college graduates or the thriving black business owners.

To me, people who embodied stereotypes were enemies to black progress. These were my respectability politics.

Respectability politics are rules used by marginalized groups to help assimilate and survive in hostile environments that aren’t as accepting of other cultures. These rules define acceptable behavior based on mainstream values. They define how to act in front of (white) company.

These politics are frequently found in conversations about how to tackle racism and anti-blackness in America and how to uplift black communities.

For instance, some black parents will teach their children to dress and act a certain way around police officers, in hopes that their children will not suffer the fate of children like Mike Brown and Tamir Rice.

With the exceptions of a few “news” personalities whose intentions no one can be too sure of (ahem, Don Lemon and Stacey Dash), respectability politics typically comes from well-meaning people who love and support black people. Our mothers, teachers, friends, favorite musicians, and relatives use them to better our communities and protect loved-ones from oppressive situations… Read More at Everyday Feminism.

Celebrate Black History Month With These Quick Reads

2 Feb

Black History Month

Happy Black History Month!

If you’re like me, you celebrate Black history, present, and future all year. But February is special because the rest of the nation celebrates with us.

Though we all know Stacey Dash will be right around the corner with self-hating, Faux News check-cashing, moronic antics about how celebrating black people is racist *rolls eyes*, we’ll celebrate anyways.

I have a few articles in my editorial calendar to publish for the month of February (Yes, I’m back to blogging regularly), but I had to lead with this link-roundup. Here are some of AWW’s top Black History Month Posts:

So You Haven’t Heard of Afrofuturism?

So you haven’t yet heard of Afrofuturism?

AFROFUTURISM

Please, allow me to upgrade your life to a plateau of awesomeness where time travel is the norm, Androids reign supreme, and Janelle Monáe happily twerks in the mirror wearing, of course, black and white.

Picture a cultural meta-genre that encompasses some of the most incredible artists, musicians, entertainers, filmmakers, philosophers, and scholars—an aesthetic where Octavia Butler, Grace Jones, Janelle Monáe, W.E.B. Dubois, Will Smith, Michael Jackson, and Erykah Badu all take center stage with a common inspiration. Read more…

7 Unexpected Travel Destinations to Learn About the African Diaspora

Globe

After studying abroad in Argentina for several months where black people are few and far between and the porteños point, stare, and want to touch your skin because it’s much darker than their own, I was desperate to find a face that looked like mine. There weren’t many in Buenos Aires, other than the study abroad students like myself and a few Brazilians here and there. However, I did find blackness in the mammy figurines in a few restaurant kitchen windows. This made me curious about the countries past and relationship with people of African descent. Read more…

Uncovering Black History in a Seemingly White Nation

Mammy

On a jog one morning through the streets of Buenos Aires, where I’d been studying abroad, I caught a glimpse of a small black figure in the window of a bakery. I stopped and stared into the window for a while, until one of the workers in the shop came to see what the problem was. I couldn’t explain it to her, because I didn’t think she would have fully understood my feelings of shock and disappointment about the figure. Other than the two I’d traveled to Buenos Aires with, that ceramic mammy was the only black face I’d seen in weeks. Read more…

My Top 10 Novels for Black History Month

Novel image

(Written by incredible women writers)

1.      Beloved (Toni Morrison)

This Nobel Prize winning novel touches on issues of stereotypes in the media, a mothers’ limitless love, and the dehumanizing aspects of middle passage and slavery. A desperate mother slays her daughter in an attempt to escape her slave master; however, the daughter never dies. Her ghost rises and takes on human form to haunt the town. Trust me: “This is not a story to pass on.” Read more…

Enjoy Black History Month.

Photo courtesy of Enokson Flckr.

How NOT to be an Ankh N*gga

30 Jun

Dear Black men,

If you find yourself often posting and believing things like this: 

Stipper

Or this: 

NICKI

If you spend a good chunk of you time hating on certain “types” of Black women.

Then you may be an Ankh N*igga. 

According to the Curvellas of Black Tumblr, an Ankh N*igga is:

WHAT

If you fit the description, chances are, most of the Black Women on the internet can’t stand you. And though you stand preach Black unity, you spread a Black hate like no other. You need to be stopped, immediately.

STOP

So here’s help

Use these 3 steps to cease your Ankh N*gga tendencies:

Step 1: Check Your Respectability Politics at the Door

You may rock your Tutankhamun shirt with the Eyes of Horus chain all you want, but if you’re flashing your Kemet gear while criticizing Black women who own their sexuality and do not perform in ways that you agree with, your self-righteous, fake consciousness ain’t worth shit.

As I mentioned in a previous post, respectability politics, the view that only certain Black people who fit a narrow mold are worthy of respect, works to further restrict and shame, rather than liberate. By praising one idealized type of Black woman while shaming another, you create a very small prison cell for us to function inside of, a prison that is often demanded from our white counterparts. So you can hashtag #StayWoke til the day you die, but unless you learn to respect all Black women and drop your respectability politics, your views will constantly spew white supremacist ideology. You’re a walking oxymoron.

Step 2: Remember that #BlackWomenMatter. All Black women matter… the Janelle Monaes and Blac Chynas alike deserve your respect.

As I explained a while back when this meme was circulating:

back women COMPARISON

Black women are more complex than the Ratchet Hoe vs. Educated Sister dichotomy you seem to have engrained in your mind. Just like how you ask to be treated like a human being, we too want to be treated as people, not one-dimensional stereotypes. Just like you, we carry burdens from racism, white supremacy, sexism, and more. We have to show one another love. Remember, the rise of Black Americans requires the rise of all Black people, including women, children, the poor, and our LGBTQIA fam. 

Step 3: Uplift Black people with compassion and an open mind, rather than criticism and hate. 

There’s not really much to explain for this step: If you really cared for your people like you say you do, then stop dividing us into categories based on who is worthy of respect and who isn’t. You don’t uplift people with shallow judgment. You uplift with conversations. If you really love Black people, then show it.

Black men, I love you and will ride for you. Please show the same sentiments.

PS- Now, I know name-calling is not polite. No matter how fitting the name is, I won’t really be using it. It gives such a powerful symbol (the ankh) a bad name by associating it with a negative concept. But I did want to bring to light a problem in the Black community.

PPS- I also heard “Shea Butter Bitches” is the female equivalent. 

Sources (I learned of the concept “Ankh N*gga” from Black Tumblr): 

http://rootsexposed.tumblr.com/post/90562112704/hi-sorry-to-bother-but-what-is-an-ankh-nigga

http://witchsistah.tumblr.com/post/31439396164/dear-fake-conscious-brothas

http://curvellas.tumblr.com/post/87724549986/what-is-a-ankh-nigga

https://www.tumblr.com/tagged/ankh-niggas

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