3. Don’t send for Shonda Rhimes on Twitter unless you want her to come for you. When some viewers tweeted their disapproval of “gay scenes” in last week’s How to Get Away with Murder, Shonda took them to task. #ShondaRhimes
@Dabdelhakiem If you are suddenly discovering that Shondaland shows have scenes involving people who are gay, you are LATE TO THE PARTY. — shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) October 19, 2014
. @Dabdelhakiem If u use the phrase “gay scenes”, u are not only LATE to the party but also NOT INVITED to the party. Bye Felicia. #oneLOVE
Racists really need to update their stereotype references. When it comes to black people at least, they seem stuck on…well, they’re stuck on stupid, as many of us know, but also stuck in the old days. Music evolves, the amount of clothing women wear (or don’t wear) evolves, our language evolves, yet racist Americans don’t appear to take pride in their racism enough to keep up with the times.
For example, Jennifer Olsen, chairwoman of Yellowstone County’s Republican committee in Montana, allegedly shared the following “hilarious” image with her Facebook followers:
She deniesany involvement with this posting. In short, she says a hater is responsible. I’m sure her best friend is black, she prays to the black Jesus everyday of Black History Month and loves a scrumptious Kwanzaa cake. In 2000, Montana had a black population of less than half a percent. HALF A PERCENT! Where exactly are all these black people who Jennifer – oops, I mean, “Jennifer’s hater”- sees indulging in watermelon grubfests?
Where do these racists get their black-people-eat stereotypes? Is there a watermelon eating show on BET that I don’t know about? Um, also, because people keep forgetting, President Obama is half-white, so…
These racists need to up their game. If you’re going to decide that all people of one race (ignoring that all of us humans are ridiculously genetically similar) eat the same things, at least be current people! For you racists, I submit three popular black-people-eat stereotypes that are old as hell and implore you to consider modernizing your racist jokes.
This racial weapon has been around since the days of slavery. Watermelon was one of the foods masters deigned to feed their captives. Slavery has ended; this black chick is free and happily riffing on racists. So why does the watermelon obsession persist? Why are some racists so fixated on black people eating watermelon?
Are their hordes of black people across America buying up all the watermelon, keeping them from melon-loving racists? Was there a run on watermelon during the depression and black people were first in line, hogging the watermelon from the other poor, starving, depressed non-black folk? Do some people have a watermelon allergy and are thus jealous of those of us that can easily digest the juicy melon? Do watermelons speak to black people in special language?
Hey black girl, I wanna be in yo’ belly. Let’s do this!
Do we look hotter eating watermelon? Maybe I should try this: sit down at a public place, chow down on some watermelon, wind machine blowing a breeze through my hair, making seductive eyes at my luscious, red fruit and see how many men start throwing themselves at me. Ah, sweet watermelon, thank you for getting me a man!
You know what’s interesting? China is the largest producer of watermelon. The USDA led a super-important study on the lives of watermelon. Know what they found? Asian people actually consume a whole lotta this melon. More than black people. So BAM, racists! Check your stats, fools!
These lame racists living in the past don’t care though. This is why I don’t eat watermelon in mixed company: stereotype threat.
From time to time I’ll order a side of fruit at brunch. Sometimes, watermelon is in that mix. I don’t request it specifically; it just shows up in the bowl. If there are suspect people nearby who seem overly interested in the fruits of my bowl, I’ll loudly say to the server, loudly enough to be overheard, using my best diction: “Excuuuuuse me, sir. I did not ask for this wayward melon. It repulses meeeeeuh. Soooo guh-ross! It’s unnatural. Take it away. I said: take it away, sir! Have you people never heard of apples? Darn watermelon ruining the fabric of our society! Have a good day, sir. I said, GOOD DAY!”
Another old stereotype. Wouldn’t you know, black Americans and eating chicken goes back to the days of slavery? Chickens were one of the few animals slaves were allowed to own.
People eat fried chicken throughout the world: it’s popular in the American South among not just black people, but Southerners of all colors. If you’ve ever go to a Japanese restaurant and order “chicken katsu”, you’re presented with a patty of fried chicken. Koreans have their own version of fried chicken. Visit one of the many fried chicken shops in Los Angeles’s Koreatown and you’ll see not just Koreans enjoying it, but white hipsters too!
As mentioned in a previous post, I stopped eating fried chicken in high school. Fried food = fatty boombatty. No thanks. However. Yes, HOWEVER. I do love Popeye’s, mainly for the red beans and rice, but the chicken is pretty hot and tasty.
I do not enter Popeye’s in recognizable form. My alter ego, Diane, goes. Diane seems like a ethnically-neutral name, right? I’ve met Dianes of all colors. Diane wears a red wig, think Carrot Top’s style:a big curly mop. She also dons a white theater mask (the comedy one, not the sad tragedy one). She speaks in a deep, saccharine, Southern drawl:
“Hey y’all, I’m just a sweet ole girl from Jo’gia. I love me some fried chicken. Mmm, mmm, mmm, deep down in my churchin’ soul. Y’all know how you go to church and you just feel the spirit of the Lawd in ya? That’s how I feel when I get me some Popeye’s. Mmm. Mmm. What’s that? My mask is scary? Well, you know, I got protect myself from the cancer. That skin cancer’ll kill ya. Thanks for the chicken. Have a nice day, y’all!”
Kool-Aid (Oh yeah!)
Kool-Aid is cheap as hell. If you are trying to save a dollar or quench the thirst of a large family who enjoys uber-sugary bevvies on a tight budget, Kool-Aid is an option. If you aspire to have a crayon-colored tongue, get you some Kool-Aid. If you just like the taste of artificial powders: hell yeah, Kool-Aid. Me, I haven’t had Kool-Aid since I was a kid. Though I do love a good Kool-Aid man cameo on Family Guy.
Some more knowledge for you racists, Kool-Aid was invented by a white man in Nebraska in the 1920s. Nebraska had how many black people then? Like 2? And who engineered a cult’s group suicide making the term “Drinking the Kool-Aid” part of our lexicon: Jim Jones. Not black, not even brownish. Kool-Aid started with white people. So suck it.
I am black, therefore I am an expert on what this black person eats. Should you be the type to assume that what one black person does, all black people do, here are some ideas for new racial stereotypes. Try: spinach, low-fat milk, Sour Patch Kids, protein shakes, udon noodle soup, sushi, wonton noodle soup, pasta, coffee, fajitas, crawfish…
If you’re stuck on stupid and find yourself obsessed with what black people eat, ask yourself this: what is so shameful or insult-worthy about eating healthy fruit, tasty chicken or washing it all down with a sickeningly-sweet, cold beverage? Perhaps you are the one with the issue?
This year’s election and the 2008 election have shown me a side of some Americans that I find abhorrent, disgustingand sad. I cannot say I was / am proud to call them all my fellow countrypeople.
At times I feel very unwelcome in my own country. I’ve worked and continue to work hard. Once I left my parent’s house to attend college, I was fully on my own. I worked an average of 30 hours a week while taking 12-15 hours a semester and still managed to have an active social life and hold leadership roles. I’ve struggled through jobs that I didn’t like or that didn’t pay well, usually both at the same time. I am an active contributor to American society. I volunteer my time, I give to charities, I give money to the homeless. I pay what seems like more than my fair share in taxes. Yet, there will still be people who look at me and assume the worst.
There are people who claim racism in America doesn’t exist anymore. We’re “post-racial.” That black people don’t have it hard. That slavery ended over 100 years ago and we should stop complaining. We’ll just ignore the Jim Crow laws, segregation in schools, and voter disfranchisementthat occurred after the end of slavery.
Ever heard of implicit racism? How about systemic orinstitutional racism and the far-reaching impacts of it on longstanding institutions like standardized tests that may be biased toward people of certain socioeconomic groups?
Or the influence of a teacher’s personal biases and the effect it may have on how well their students do. Or economic discrimination? Or implicit bias and how it affects how doctors treat their black patients? These are the less visible forms of prejudice, bias and discrimination that black people experience over the course of our lives that are easily overlooked by those who don’t walk in our shoes.
Sometimes it’s exhausting being black in this country. I even get angry sometimes. But, god forbid I’m angry or I’ll be seen as an “angry black woman.” I can’t just be angry: I’m black, female and angry. My emotions aren’t my own. They belong to a stereotype. But, more than angry it makes me sad. And sometimes I cry. I hate to admit it, because I’ve been told and taught not to show weakness, not to let ignorant, hateful people get me down. To live my life the best I can to prove people wrong. But, sometimes I get tired. It’s tiring feeling like you have to be the best, because if you’re not, someone inevitably will think, “Yep, just another lazy n-.”
Some people claim not to see color. That’s not helpful either. We AREN’T all the same and it’s disingenuous to pretend we are. Some people say, “Why are black people always bringing up race?” Because other people WON’T LET US FORGET IT!
If black people are only voting for Obama because he’s black, what’s motivating Latinxs, Asians and other non-Black groups have for voting for him? Are they color struck as well?
If you posit that black people are voting for Obama because he’s black, what does it say about themajority of white men who support Romney?
Why do some people assume that a black person would vote for Obama because he’s black and not because they’ve made an informed decision to choose him between a choice of two candidates? What does that say about the person who makes this assumption and their view of black Americans?
I thought the one-drop rule was supposed to be a thing of the past in this country? Yet, people still refer to Obama as black when in fact he’s biracial. Yes, I’m aware that he self-identifies as black. But, which came first? Other people treating him as a black person or him self-identifying as such? Do people forget that Obama is half-white? Can we be real and admit that people in this country still socially categorizes people based on skin color?
Will there ever be a time in this country where people don’t assume members of a racial or ethnic group will behave as one large block?
Can I just have an opinion on something or someone and not have someone attribute the reasoning for it to me being black?
Why is it that some people think whenever the topic of race is brought up by someone of color that they are “playing the race card?” I can’t speak for all people of color or all black people, but games with race aren’t games I care to play. If I bring up the topic of race, it’s not to play some damn game. I’m certainly not “winning” anything holding a black card, especially given the latest AP poll findings that a majority of Americans harbor negative views of blacks.
I have never claimed to be a victim.
I have a college degree.
I pay my bills.
I have never asked for a handout, unless you consider taking out student loans that are like an albatross around my neck for tens of years a handout.
I don’t immediately assume that anyone who looks at me oddly or is rude to me is racist.
I don’t have a chip on my shoulder. You try living in America as a black American for 30+ years and see how it changes your view of the world.
Americans watch black athletes play sports, listen to music performed by black people, laugh at black entertainers, but seemingly ignore the contributions of the hardworking black people in finance, law, technology, science, education and blue-collar jobs who are not in the public eye, but quietly work hard to achieve the American dream (whatever that is these days) and see little to no representation in the media.
We get to hear positive rappers like Common called a hoodlumjust because of his chosen career.
We get to hear Michelle Obama, the First Lady of the United States reduced to nothing more than her behind. It’s disrespectful. She is the goddamned first lady of the United States of America and you’re a Congressman. Why are you talking about her backside?
Is there a place I can live where people don’t make these asinine assumptions? Some place where I can just be Keisha?
There’s no hate in my heart. I love learning about different cultures, trying new things and opening myself to new experiences, which sometimes is scary and intimidating, but overall I think I’m a better person for it. It’s why I travel. It’s why my friends and I could model for a Bennetonad. I wish more people were open to experiences and people outside of their comfort zone.
Race and ethnicity should not be a taboo topic in a country like the United States where we truly have people of all kinds. Let’s not make excuses in the face of blatant or latent racism. Racism exists in this country, let’s not deny it, pretend it’s a thing of the past, gloss over it or act like only people of color ever discuss it. We’ll never get past it if people insist on living in denial and get uncomfortable talking about it. Instead of accusing people of “playing the race card” or living with a chip on their shoulder: think about it, engage in a dialogue about it and examine your own beliefs.
I'm Keisha ("Kee-shuh", not to be confused with Ke$ha). I am a (later) thirty-something, non-mommy, non-wife, who lives in San Francisco, California New York and has lots of opinions on lots of things.