A few months ago, I picked up a book called Is Marriage For White People? In it, author Ralph Richard Banks addressed the decline of successful black marriages in America. He attributed this to two factors: 1) African-American women attaining a higher level of education than their male counterparts, and 2) successful black men marrying outside of their race twice as much as within. So for simplicity’s sake, let’s just say that as soon as black men find success, they often marry outside their race, leaving behind a very small and mediocre dating pool to choose from. This lack of suitable, stable men in the black community forces women to either “marry down” or stay single, which limits opportunities for successful marriages.
With that being said, why has comedian Kevin Hart taken it upon himself to misrepresent the current and dyer situation by negatively and wrongfully stereotyping black women in this cartoon? Keep reading »
Move your nasty self over, Kelly Osbourne: there’s a new girl-on-girl hater in town. Talk show host Wendy Williams had some crap to say about Viola Davis’s decision to go natural at the Oscars and it was not nice. According to the blog Madame Noire, Wendy Williams said no one wanted to see a “‘Room 222′ look on the red carpet.” I didn’t know what that obscure reference meant, but Madame Noire explained that “Room 222″ was a TV show from the ’60s and ’70s about a black man with a short Afro who taught a history class. In other words, Wendy Williams was implying no one wanted to see Viola Davis with her short, natural hair because it made her look mannish. Keep reading »
The rampant white-washing of models, actresses, and musicians of color is not a new concept. Freida Pinto, Rihanna, and Aishwarya Rai have all previously fallen victim to white-washing on magazine covers and in promotional images. Beyoncé’s skin was lightened dramatically in a 2008 cosmetics ad by L’Oreal, where she is the spokesperson. These incidents can be contributed to digital retouchers and the outlets that choose to release the images … but what about your own album cover and promo ads? The photos accompanying Beyoncé’s most recent release, 4, have stirred up controversy and it’s not a struggle to see why. Beyoncé is a fairly light-skinned black woman and she generally keeps her hair lightened to a shade that’s more caramel than chocolate. But these shots have her looking straight up like Lindsay Lohan with a subtle tan. If you showed me this image on its own and asked me who it was, Beyoncé would be my last guess.
Again, these light-skinned images are promotional ads for Béyonce’s own album, which leads me to believe that she absolutely approved the photos. [NYMag.com]
“It’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and — you know? But that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’m some angry black woman. … You know, I just try to be me. And my hope is that over time people get to know me. And they get to judge me for me.”
– First Lady Michelle Obama reacts to portrayals of her as an “angry black woman.” Michelle has been dogged by this stereotype from the beginning of her husband’s campaign when rumors abounded that she ranted about “whitey”; more recently, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor’s new book, The Obamas, alleges Michelle sparred with her husband’s staff. It is sad in our culture that a woman — who just happens to be black, and may or may not have reasons to be angry (ahem, ahem) — gets dismissively painted with a wide brush as an “angry black woman,” as if she is just behaving the way stereotypes say she is expected her to behave. The new book by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women In America, is sadly quite timely. [Bossip]
If you’re not already a fan of Melissa Harris-Perry, you will be soon: she’s a Tulane University political science professor who appears often on “The Rachel Maddow Show” and just scored her own show on MSNBC. Last night she went head-to-head with another talking head, the inimitable Stephen Colbert, while promoting her new book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women In America. As was to be expected, Stephen is not too keen on talking about this “race” thing. or stereotypes experienced by black women. I dare you not to snicker a little when he asks, “Of these stereotypes, which one are you?” This is Stephen Colbert and Melissa Harris-Perry at their best. [Colbert Nation]
Don’t you hate it when one of your favorite hunks opens his mouth and says something boneheaded? Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa got in trubs this weekend when he made offensive comments about black hair. He was chatting with Guiliana Rancic on E! News about his new show, “Charlie’s Angels,” and she lobbed him a softball question about what he looks for in a woman. Mustafa then asked if she had taken a look at his hair, implying it looked bad, and how he wants someone to make him look better. Rancic then asked if he wanted a woman with “real hair” and he replied:
“Yes, it does have to be real hair. I want my kids to have nice hair so she better have good hair. Cause, I don’t know if you’ve checked my hair out lately. Aside from today it’s normally nice. Today it’s slightly nappy.”
Keep reading »
Not content to just shame black women for having abortions, an anti-abortion group is now targeting black men with their controversial billboards. “Fatherhood starts in the womb,” reads a new billboard in California paid for by Issues 4 Life and The Radiance Foundation (the same group behind billboards in other states that compared abortion to slavery and other offensiveness). It depicts a black man kissing his partner’s pregnant belly — which, judging by the size of it, is about nine months along. “The abortion industry has created a culture of abandonment. Responsibility has become someone else’s concern, and death the solution to ‘unplanned’ pregnancies — the natural result of sexual behavior,” anti-abortion activist Ryan Bomberger, told LifeNews.com. “There’s nothing natural about an industry that generates over $200 million, annually, by killing a child left defenseless by the absence of a father.” Keep reading »
I almost feel bad for black women. It seems like the majority of the time they’re written about in the mainstream media, it’s about one of two topics: Why aren’t any of them married? as a question or None of them are married! as a statement. How frustrating that their representation in culture is thinned down to their marital status, right? The latest example is a new book by Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks called Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone about the so-called “man shortage” among middle-class blacks. As promotion for his book, Banks also published a piece in The New York Daily News last week entitled, “Why Black Women Are Justifiably Bitter: The Bleak Relationship Picture For African-American Females,” which began with the paragraph:
“Stereotypes of black women as angry or bitter are pervasive. They are also more accurate than many people would like to acknowledge: many black women have perfectly good reasons to be angry or bitter.”
Oof. Keep reading »