November 14, 2008

Black. Image.

I wrote this Livejournal post as a reaction to a comment I got on a different post regarding "typical black society", whatever that is. After blinking bemusedly at the comment for a few minutes I just wrote a semi-antagonistic post. Why semi-antagonistic? Because for some reason my LJ friends list is mostly white and 100% comatose & unresponsive when I talk about things of substance to me. I just fuck with them because I can these days. And now you see why I blog *side eye*

Since I've got about a little less than an hour 'til my next class, I figure I'd address something fairly important to me, that being the so-called "black image".

What do you envision when you think black? Do you see a man or a woman? If it's a man do you see a shaved head, broad nose, thick lips, preferably blue-black skin, bulging, wide, jaundice-yellow eyes, white beater, saggy pants & exposed undergarments? Am I getting close?

If you picture a woman, do you see large breasts, thick hips, ass, jangly bracelets, skin tight clothes, boots with da fur, silky lace front weave (or maybe even it's natural, I dunno), thicker, shinier, juicier lips than the male and some sort of salacious glance? Am I getting closer still?

Are these people named something acceptable like Jessica or James, or is it something totally made up and incomprehensible like Chaundicia or Jaewon? Do you hear "Lollipop" blaring for no reason? Am I close yet? Do you see it?

Do you know what the "black image" is? Do you hear the girl talking loudly in incoherent Ebonics, is the guy muttering in a low voice about his Glock? Do you think these people can spell, read, or speak properly? Are they high school drop outs? Does the girl have 4 kids by 3 men, has the guy impregnated 12 women over the last year? Is the woman receiving child support, is the man giving child support? Yes? No? Are you seeing it now?

I'll bet what you don't think of is a clean cut young man or a respectable young woman, high school graduated, maybe college educated, decent job and decent lives. No, that is not the black image that we're familiar with. That is not the black image that the community puts out. Unfortunately among the recent generations what I described above is either reserved for white people alone or other races.

We like to perpetuate ourselves. For some reason blacks are routinely seen as stupid and unsophisticated, not worthy of society so I suppose we figure why not, let's be the way they think we are. And when we confirm the fears of the pearl clutchers & purse grabbers then we perpetuate it. I wonder if anyone fears the loss of the black image and the black identity like I do.


  1. The delusion is that there needs to be any singular image at all. Snoop can be Snoop. Congressman James Clyburn can be James Clyburn. Mary J. Blige can be Mary J. Blige. Cosby can be Cosby. Oprah can be Oprah. Will Smith can be Will Smith and/or Fresh Prince. Mary Frances Berry (I love that woman) can be Mary Frances Berry. And Pres. Obama can be Pres. Obama. None of them have to embody the definition of "blackness" because there doesn't have to be a singular image.

  2. It's true that there is no singular image for black people (or really any race), and I think plenty of people realize this but they just either choose not to accept it or disregard it... I dunno. I know I shock a lot of people I know because I don't fit into whatever they're typical views of a black person is *rolls eyes* and I don't even know what "typical" is.

  3. I've been called Oreo since the second grade! Mostly by black people and I ask them " How do I act black" seriously I got some really out there answers. Some answers are just sad because they are just really negative stereotypes.

  4. Yuh, if you ask "how to act black" you'll either get stunned silence or just a rattling off of random ass stereotypes. I've even had this one guy tell me how to pronounce "huh" like a black person....go...figure.


Please share some knowledge. Or amuse me at least :O