The Cost of Dignity
Being a member of a marginalized group in a white racist society such as the United States is a constant trial. Society creates an image to which you are suppose to become. Usually it’s unflattering, and down right degrading. Yet, the world around you expects you to be that image. You try not to succumb as hard as you can, but you know that it’s basically useless. There are members within your group who fit that image, and to the larger community, you are the same as them by association.
For over 400 years or so, blacks in America are stigmatized by inhuman stereotypes because blacks were not seen as “fully human”. Some stereotypes die. Some continue. But in this world, you are one, a few or all of those stereotypes because you have one thing that’s considered a curse in this world, black skin.
I already know some people who will read this will think that I’ve whining, that I’m looking for a free hand-out or some shit. Both are considered negative stereotypes as well. Still, it makes what I’m saying no less true. I digress.
In what our older generations consider “the future”, the old ways of entertainment for White America has been increasing. Some people call it a new form of minstrelsy where black people, for the right price, will become the stereotypes their people have fought so hard to stamp out. To some black people who witness this, this is more than a slap in the face. It’s more like a punch in the gut.
The biggest culprit has always been the mainstream media who’s been taken over by a hand full of white males that seem to want more and more media to control. Even though these negative stereotypes of blacks were born before the births of Viacom, Disney and News Corp., major media companies helped maintain its lifespan for profit and ratings to satisfy an uncivilized nation’s guilty pleasures.
Like it or not, one of those guilty pleasures are that this country loves to see black people act the way they want them to act. And some of us are willing to entertain them.
Some people will call me a hater or even a racist for saying this, but it is what it is. In order to become “famous” you most likely have to become what White America always think of us.
We have to become outlandish buffoons to earn a laugh or two. We have to become thugs with nothing but money, women and violence in our minds if we hope to gain a record deal. We have to become that same persona to likely get a role in a movie staring white people as the main characters. We have to become loud, obnoxious, violent and “ghetto” if we hope to get on reality-based TV. We have to be helpless, unintelligent paupers who need the help of the always benevolent white man/white woman to save us from our own pathologies. And we have to be as sexual as possible if we are to earn clicks online.
We see it in the media all the time, and the usual excuse is “It’s just music, a TV show or a movie.” But why is that the only kind of entertainment that is allowed to saturate the air waves and film reels most of the time!? Why is society so in-tune with the inferiority of black people so much that that is the only kind of “entertainment” they will accept and like? And if it’s just entertainment, why do you allow those images to shape your view of black people in general?
Case in point, how many of you have cited a movie, TV show, music video, or even the news to make your point about how black people act? How many of you are even honest enough to admit that you allow the media to tell you what to think even though you claim that you can tell fact from fiction?
Let’s be clear. This is not an exclusive problem that blacks deal with. For the right price, even someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger can become a pregnant man. However, with the case of blacks in America, this is a special case. Whites have never been degraded and dehumanized anywhere near to the degree of black men and black women on a constant basis for hundreds of years by anyone. Whites have always been seen as the superior human being, the normal human being, and the default human being. They are seen as individuals as opposed to a collective. And no matter what, their skin signifies purity, intelligence, kindheartedness, and righteousness first and foremost before they can be proven to be anything but. And even in that moment, there is still some doubt as to their sinfulness no matter how extreme it is. That is the privilege of being white.
That is why there are black people who have a problem with the media. In turn it has a problem with black people. Since it is ran primarily by white men, they too have a problem with black people. And since the public seems in love with the concept of black inferiority, they definitely have a problem with black people.
Yet, what’s sad is the reality that there are black people with a problem of internalized racism. They are enveloped in a cocoon of whiteness until the moment they burst out as an ugly and shameful caricature ready to prove society right for fame and fortune. When will the madness end?