Chickenhead. Bitch. Ho. Gold Digger. Sapphire. Jezebel.
Apparently as a Black woman, I am everything and I am nothing.
Thug. Uncle Tom. Gangster. Sambo. Homo Thug. Dope Dealer.
Gang Member. Drop Out. Uncle. Sell Out. Uppity. Nigger.
Perhaps, Black men are everything and nothing as well.
Black gender myths operate similar to American racial myths,
interdependently. In this way you can’t have a Barack without 50,
and you can’t have a pimp without a trick, and you surely
can’t have Black without White. To take a step back, I am not
in any way saying that Barack and 50 are in any way similar to
a pimp and a trick. What I am saying is that in order for myths
to work they have to operate on binary, Black/White, A/B level.
Any attempt to seperate the two will leave you without a leg to
stand on, argument wise.
The notion of how Black masculinity is performed was on my
mind as I watched the trailer for Byron’s new film “Barack and Curtis”
which is set to be released this week on October 10th. I found
it interesting that their “swagger” was mentioned twice by two
different men. I also found it interesting that the white gentleman,
Kurt, wanted to talk about rappers in general but not 50 specifically.
Barack and Curtis operate within their on kind of binary. Curtis
has been shot umpteen times, has an impressive rags to riches
story and has appeared as hyper masculine as a human man
can get. Barack on the other has had his masculinity questioned
throughout the campaign. He has been called, soft, weak, and
presumably unfit to lead the free world.
Barack has had an interesting impact on influencing our willingness
to talk about how we map race onto a binary of Black or White.
Whenever I hear someone speaking about whether he should
be categorized as Black or White, all can I think is, whose interests
are being served by thinking about race that way?
Which brings me to race and the 2008 election. The fact that some
white folks are so cagey about speaking honestly about race is
indicative of how pervasive and deeply rooted race is in our
everyday lives. For instance, just today there was an article on
assessing how honest white voters have been about voting for
Obama and the impact that this may or many not have on the accuracy
of exit polls.
All of our myths, from mammies and jezebels to thugs and uncle toms
serve the function of keeping us trapped in neat tiny boxes of invisibility
and stereotypes. And don’t get me started on Soccer Moms, Wallmart Moms,
Nascar Dads, and Joe Six Pack. These myths
We are all interdependent, whether we like it or not, whether we acknowledge
it or not. Accepting our interdependence is the first step towards transformation.
Which brings me to the question, what stops us from accepting the fact
that we are our history?