Can We Deny “Mammy”?
In the past few weeks I have been discussing, thinking, reading, and exploring racial stereotypes. From the Tyler Perry debate, to the classic documentaries on the history of racist figures in American Media the Black woman caricatures are plenty and prominent.
The “Mammy” figure, the over-weight Black woman who is motherly, often over bearing, and oh so happy to take care of ‘Ole Massa’ from the cooking of the food, tending of the clothes, to the rearing of the children. The “Mammy” stereotype has become synonymous with Black Womanhood. It has aided in relegating the Black Female Body to the position of nurturer—docile, weak, dependent nurturer.
However, White Gaze also produces this idea of Black Womanhood, we see the stereotype of “Mammy” as the central provider or dominate domestic figure within the Black home thereby belittling or invalidating the Black Male as “Man” and thereby denying the Black Woman her ability to be woman—defined according to her own terms.
But can we deny “Mammy”?
Of course we can deny the caricature of Black Women which it embodies—the propagation of a docile nature or an acquiescence to serving happily without question or comment. However, how many of us grew up with a Mother, Grandmother, Aunt or older Cousin who was the sort of maternal, caring, overbearing, and strong figure that “Mammy” often represented.
My Mother would never be forced to serve as the care giver for another child without being able to provide, protect, and raise her own, yet, can we dismiss the fact that as the women in our lives redefine the “Mammy” role in this time that it may not be so easy to deny and reject “Mammy” as a part of the Black experience.
If anything Tyler Perry’s Madea, Loretta (Terrence J’s mother in Think Like A Man), or even Anna Huxtable (the grandmother on The Cosby show) may point towards a shifting, a reclaiming of sorts. If in fact we are able to reject that racism of “Mammy” but allow our Mothers, Grandmother, and Aunts to be ours, squarely ours and not forced to serve someone else, is there not power in that?
Just some thoughts in my head.
(I in no way agree with the “Mammy” Stereotype or any stereotype or think any are appropriate.)
I Need a Favor: thehuproject
I am currently composing my final project for Freshman Seminar Project here at Howard. I am doing it in tumblr form. If you guys could please go and follow:
Feel free to check out the blog, submit, and leave stuff in the askbox. Any communicaiton would be great!
Hope you enjoy the content!
I really would like everyone to take the time out to do this as a personal favor. This is my final project for my Freshman Seminar class and I want it to be a success. Plus, I believe the content is awesome :) So go on, click the follow button and weigh in on the discussion.
"Where the Spirit of Encouragement meets you and tells you that you cannot be defined by those who seek to defeat you. That is where the Church is!"
James Cone, Lecturing at the “Black Liberation Theology Weekend” at Howard University
"I consulted the literature. I liked James Baldwin, Martin King was next. And Malcolm X is the last in my intellectual trinity."
James Cones, Lecturing at “Black Liberation Theology Weekend” at Howard University.
Barbies, A Little Black Girls, & Hair Grease
I remember one Christmas season my mother was distraught that she could find no more black Barbies (The big one that you can do hair on). My youngest sister was adamant about that Barbie, that was all she wanted, and all she talked about. Matter-of-factly I almost slapped her cause she was pissing me off; but that’s besides the point.
So fast-forward to Christmas Day and my sister opens the box to find her Barbie, a nice, pretty, Bright Ass WHITE one. Of course she didn’t mind she got what she wanted. My mom let go of the black Barbie issue and settled into a nice day at home with my sisters and I. So Christmas ends and we continue on in life.
Now, my little sister has ALWAYS been interested in hair, like she would be hovering over my mother when she did my hair or my other sisters hair, she was a hair scholar! One day I walk into the living room and what do I see but my adorable sister with my mother’s container of Kuza (R) 100% Indian Hemp and her contianer of Dax Promade (You know every black household has some of that stuff. Its like crack, hell I used to put it on just because. Gotta have it on hand). She was going to work. Twisting, pulling, braiding the hell out of that White dolls hair. And when she was finished, instead of the huge smile of accomplishment usually on her face, she looked…disturbed.
She came to my mom showing her the doll and asked, in her 6 year old voice, “Mommy, why doesn’t Barbie’s hair not look like mine?”. My mom, of course a bit taken off guard fumbled for an answer and said “Cause your hair is better and prettier baby!”.
With all of this discourse going around concerning Black Hair for women I thought I would rely this account. In hindsight, whether my mom got the black doll or not it wouldn’t have mattered, my sister would still have “done” its hair and it would still look bad because its synthetic, pin straight, and would never be like the hair she was used to. The hair growing out of her own head, the head of her brother and sister, or even her mother. This situation devastated my sister I know it, she stopped playing with the Barbie and eventually stopped asking for them at Christmas. As she grew up she just started messing with me and my sister’s hair, helping to braid it and take it out. I look back at how awesome of a little sister I had, she refused the white beauty standards all around her and did her thang with some of that good good that kinky, curly, thick, dark hair that crowns the head of all those she loves.
..Just some thoughts.
“Dad, what was it like having a black president?”
I can see my kids asking me this.
Obama’s election won’t result in a generation of kids that find a black president of the United States a normal thing. Folks would like to think so, but it simply isn’t true.
If it’s after four more years or not, when Obama is out, things are going to be strange for a while. Way stranger than these past four years have been. It won’t be strange for America. Just strange for us.
A sense of disillusionment will wash over all of us, regardless of how cautious you have been about your support for the man. It may not be a massive wave of crippling sadness, but something will be there. I half expect there be some sort of quiet “social depression of Black America”. Post-Obama syndrome.
Something will have to happen, though. We can argue whether or not the man had any direct impact in our communities, but look: we just had a black president. For four, or eight years. After 43 white faces, you have to admit that at least some re-calibration will be needed. And even if we don’t have to do some adjustments within ourselves, we will have to adjust to the shift in the national climate. Because to white America, once that man is out of office, that’s it. America is officially post-racial.
So things won’t be so cut-and-dry for the children of our future. I know that my kids will understand that they aren’t living in a “post-racial” America, as I have understood growing up. But unlike me, they will have been taught that theyhave been born into this post-racial America; that the America they know never had any issue with racism.
I know that we are taught this now, but imagine how explicit it will be twenty years from now. Today, the tale of Obama’s rise is still tied to historic racial struggle. They still talk about the movement. But you see how little of it they speak of now. Imagine how this story will be told in a decade or two. The folklore will be far simpler. And this grand story will be told while no other black man is elected into office.
So it may be that all my kids’ white friends won’t bat an eye. I can’t speak to that. But I know my kids will ask me about having a black man as president growing up. As if it is a fantasy or legend. Because it will be as strange to them as it was me. Hopefully a little less, but let’s be honest here.
What is funny is that I wouldn’t know what to tell them.
What was it like having Obama as president?
After the End:Racial Identity, Social Normality, and Morality within the “Black Community” In the Post-Colonial World
Since I promised that one day I would post my entire senior thesis from this past June; HERE it is. I hope it proves some good reading.
And, please comment on it via my ask box I am looking to further research it and refine my ideas.
“How Does it Feel to be a Problem?”
We all know this quote, it is the lead off from which DuBois builds his philosophy concerning Blacks in America. I have grown up with this quote, interpreted it under the tutelage of White teachers and Black. However, it now is apparent that this is a loaded term. It is a slighted insight into the gruesomeness that is Blackness.
Why would DuBois start with this? You start a discourse labeling the objects of this discourse a problem in order to make it clear that they will be treated as a problem, in the full sense.
The experience of Blacks in America is a history of attempts to solve a problem. Now, how do you solve a problem?
You try to remove it; social campaigns for “Go Back to Africa” countless lynchings of Black bodies. You try to break it; “Jim Crow laws”.
You try your hardest to figure out fix this problem. And when it seems that the problem will not abate, you deal with it the best you can. For Blacks this meant the subversification of the attempts against their life, the continual perversification of their right to live freely, and the innateness of the refusal of their autonomy. When the problem must be dealt with, when Whites realize they have to deal with us you get this world.
This world where Black boys can be gunned down because they are too Black to be in a White neighborhood, or too Black to not have robbed someone. The world where Black girls can not be raped because they are naturally overly sexual and were asking for it. This world were the problem is being dealt with by making and illegal murder worth a standing ovation in court, by throwing Black men into jail off of a false pretense to Stop-and-Frisk (more like Stop-and-Jail), by fetishizing and stereotyping the Black Community, by making us a problem to be solve; destroyed.
A question for white people.
Why the fuck is it so important to all of you to say nigga? Why? Why is this word so magical and amazing for you people? Every time I get on twitter, tumblr, or whatever the fuck else, all I see is white people going “Is it okay for white people to say nigga since black people say it? Is it okay if I say it in a song? Is it okay if my Black friends say its okay? Is it okay? Can I? You sure? Why not? That’s not fair!” Stop your whiny bullshit. No, you can’t fucking say it. There’s the answer. Why? Because for 200+ years white people have hammered that word in to the Black psyche in a degrading, disgusting and evil way. Its a part of our culture because you put it there. And now all of a sudden because we reclaimed the word for ourselves and made it in to something different you all want to join in? Fuck that. Furthermore, it will always be racist and wrong coming from you. Always. Until the end of time. There’s no assimilating in to it because Kanye West says it and you’re just singing along. Kanye West can say it. Why? Because he’s Black.
Now obviously, you’ll go on doing what you want. Some of you will stay racist pricks out of some misguided attempt to prove that you can say and do what you want. And you can obviously be a dumb ass if thats your prerogative. But stop fucking asking us if its okay and when its permitted and in what context and around who. NO, YOU FUCKING CAN’T SAY IT AND NOT BE RACIST. YES ITS FUCKING OFFENSIVE. YES, I SEE THAT YOU’RE FRIENDS ARE BLACK. NO, I CAN’T CALL YOU CRACKER. Now please shut the fuck up.
african culture(s): continental and diasporan
This right here! This thing right here! Oh every please read. This is the most helpful and insightful articulation African culture and the culture of those from the African diaspora.