Tuesday, June 24, 2008

For Colored Girls who Considered Homicide When Patricarchy was Enough


These days and times are trife for Black women. You will rarely hear

me speak from the stance of victim-hood
, as i try my hardest to keep
agency on mines.

My rationale is that as long as you are reactionary, someone else
will always be setting your agenda and you will not gain any sustainable

However the
skin issues, sexual access issues have been on
my bird lately.
The sexual access issues arose at the Spinna
Party on Saturday. I was standing with Filthy near the bar
debating how
long it is going to take Spinna to play Shook Ones or Who Got
the Props.
There were two clusters of white women there. In each group
there was one women wearing a veil.
They were toasted.
Light-weight Girls Gone Wild toasted.

For the past six or seven years, New York City clubs have been making
extra cake by throwing bachelor/ette parties
earlier in the
evening from 8-11pm with the regular party running from 11-3am.
However there tends to be carry over, which is what I think happened
Saturday. My homie K-boogie confirmed this later that night as she
went to a bachelor party at the same spot last week.

I am standing there, minding my own business and a woman walks
by me to order a drink. She apparently was a bachelor/ette party
attendee, stripper or
both. Either way she was lit, blond, and hootered out.

The first time she passed me she complemented
my earrings.
(My earing game is mean.)

Second time she rubbed passed.

The third time, I was leaning over talking to Filth, so his ear
was toward me, and she kissed me near my other ear. I was Frozen like a Robot.

Then she turned to me and said something inaudible.

Filthy caught on and was like awwwww sh*t. Here we go.

What went through my mind both how patriarchal that shit is and
how the club
is a space for people to try and do what they think
about doing in the streets. I was reminded of a post that I came
across when I wrote the Mobb Deep and Patriarchy piece I wrote a month ago.
The piece is titled Dance Floor Studies Feminism and Booty Base.
The comment by Benjamin Mako Hill caught my attention
because he articulated the notion of sexual access and the role that the
club plays. He writes,

Booty bass is not just playing around with the idea of the dance floor being highly sexualized. In practice, it’s about serving the sex market and all about glamorizing and making palatable, laughable, and perhaps even justifiable everything that happens in that market.

Sometimes it’s not just about making fun of, toying with, or hinting at sexual domination in a safe context like the dancefloor but about creating, quite literally, a soundtrack for the real thing.

Back to what was running in my head. That good old fight or flight.
I didn't want no war with her. The Oakland in me says put my elbow in her throat.
The Martin in me know that this will solve nothing. That I will be charged with
assault and battery. It just gets real tiring to be constantly defending your body
and your space against strangers, against both men and women, who presume
that they have access to your body.
I don't know where she as been and I
am paranoid. Herpes is the package that keeps on giving, don't touch me.
1 in 4 people in New York city has it. Don't touch me.

I asked him why did she do that? He responded simply , "Patriarchy".
She probably thinks that its cute and she enjoy's being the aggressor.

I responded saying, "if that was a dude, I wouldn't have though
twice about turning his skin purple or shoving him off of me, and
letting it do what it do". The woman played off her femininity and
the likelihood that she would get away with it, because she was
a woman and not a man. Alcohol played a role as well.

Then I thought, why should I give her a pass? Its the behavior,
not the gender that matters.

She is just as bad as the Black men on the street that treat
me like property.

Bringing bell hooks to the Spinna party is not what the streets

Which brings me to the skin issues. Last night I listened to Phonte's
and he has a segment called the Light Bright
list. What he meant was "Light Bright and Damn Near White" as my
momma would say. The Light Bright list is a list of light skinned Black women
that he finds attractive. In the podcast he went down the line naming the
greatest light skinned Black women ever, Lena Horn, Jennifer Beals, etc.

I am yellowish-red, and more copper in the summer time. As you will see
in the video above that skin color shit is no joke for Black people. Especially
the children. The whole time I am listening to Phonte, I am thinking about
the little black girl, at 4:30sec, who said that the black doll is the ugly doll,
then when asked which doll does she look like, she hesitates, and
reluctantly choose the black one.

That shit was heart breaking.

While I haven't recovered from the "black doll is ugly" and the "light bright
list" the Michelle Obama ain't feminine shit came to my attention. Recently,
feminist were in arms over Hillary being portrayed as a "ball buster",
"masculine" and un-lady like.

It wasn't clear to me how this related to Michelle, so I asked Filthy
why. He responded saying that, Hillary was being called masculine,
and the feminists came to her defense.

So the question is where is the defense of Michelle Obama
when the same criticism are being lodged at her?

I immediately thought of Phonte's list and the video with the inference
being drawn from that dark equals ugly, and presumably

Can you imagine the kind of Black Girl Fatigue this shit produces?

The skin issues, the sexual access issues are enough to make a
Black Girl Consider Homicide when Patriarchy is Enough.


RPoeta said...

Such a DOPE essay!! I don't even know where to start. There are so many experiences that I can share with you that definitely touch on the argument you have raised.

I think you answered a lot of the questions you have raised. The fact that Michelle is not feminine enough..which (we know) she can't be cuz Hilary would not be considered feminine if Michelle was. I think that girl in the club (which by the way, i am sorry that happened to you) who protected patriarchy also performed femininity in a way that mae you the other. And you made that point in the essay. i.e.Patriarchy, white supremacy, hetersexism rely on the other.
I really like how you connect your lived experience with these critical issues. I know you not feeling Patricia but your examples raise the very think she discusses in BFT. =)

Thank you for writing this piece!!

Model Minority said...

Girl, thank you. you welcome.
Its good to come from the heart and be felt. That shit is rare and I appreciate it.

I think that girl in the club (which by the way, i am sorry that happened to you) who protected patriarchy also performed femininity in a way that mae you the other.
This is NY. Women Flirt. Men Flirt.
But that "D-Bo, Gimme Yo number or imma sock you shit" is NOT acceptable.
The tools that you need to navigate this ish is incredible.

I didn't want to write this post. I am cool off whining. Then I was listening to Phonte and saw that video and was like The Fuck?

Shit...now I am working on some "What if Dee Barnes Was Dee Greenberg?"

Dre would have done 10/years in ThePen. Feel me. So yeah.

Shit, far as i am concerned, "I" could have been Dee Barnes.

Where "IS" Dee Barnes.

vincentlopez said...

Interesting. Makes me wonder why you didn't sucker punch sis in the mouth but I understand that you have to keep your cool and be nonviolent sometimes.

Also, this makes me think about my girl and her frequent discussions about Black women's self esteem issues in regards to their skin color and hair texture. She's from New Orleans and tells me that they practice a more upfront racism down there than up here in Philly.


Model Minority said...

Heyyy Vince...and again Congratulations on your Love Bears!

Dude. Don't get me started on the Self Esteem.

I never thought about how Different places/cities treat the skin/hair/body trifecta differently.

I got into Spellman, but didn't go. One of the reasons was hearing the story of a light skinned girl on campus, with long hair, was held down, and her hair was cut off. I know. Bad urban stories.
Sometimes, I wish I gave the decision more thought, because of the support Network that Spellman has. But that hair shit scared the death outta me.

Its like. Fuck. Between the skin, the hair and the video vixens...Colored. Girl. Homicide.

Dame said...

The club is nothing more than a mating ritual that humans particapate in

Period point blank

It's homospapian Discovery channel ish...

Gender always plays a role in how we respond to shit.....admitedly most time in the wrong, a sometimes in a good way to

"Herpes is the package that keeps on giving, don't touch me.
1 in 4 people in New York city has it. Don't touch me"

lol wow.....

I agree that that video will hurt a persons soul, that ish crushed me for a quick min and I can only imagine what its like for a Black Women

I do haft to wonder aloud, and ask, why when someone praises a certian type of female, other types of women look at it as a neggive slight against them or as a form of rejection? I didn't listen to the Phonte podcast so I dont know if, the show disparged other shades or not, or if you took in it the way I described (I'm known to be wrong sometimes) but that is how it comes off to me as I type this.

"Black Girl Consider Homicide when Patriarchy is Enough."

Crazy Powerful last Line

Model Minority said...

What up Ill...Thank you for the JSTOR...that shit made my day...Uhhh Listen to the phonte...

The issue isn't the praise. The issue is the praise and the little girl calling the black doll ugly then choosing that as the one that looks like her. Its the two-fer. The pacakge as dig dug would call it.

The club is nothing more than a mating ritual that humans particapate in
Since when did mating rituals have to do with Spandex, cologne and Loud assed music. But, now that I say that, uhhh...You are letting folks off too easy ock.

Dance floor or not, we have an obligation to respect each others humanity. Or be prepared to duck bullets.

Dame said...

Anytime yo on the J-Stor

I'll peep the Phonte..I've been meaning to, Tiggalo is a funny dude

On the club...We might be advanced...but we are still just avanced mammals...And we create are rituals...and some are just imbedded.

I hear you loud and clear on the Respect issue and consiqunces of not paying it tho ma

Anwar said...

This piece especially the video, stirred a memory from last year shared between my daughter and I from last year.
My daughter that is of mixed heritage, Mom is Puerto Rican and I am a Black man. She is a beautiful honey colored girl that catches a serious tan in the summer time with big, green eyes that light up the room. During the school year, she lives with her mom and in the summer time, she spends it in the city with me. When she is in school she’s surrounded by schoolchildren from various backgrounds; Asian, White, Black and Spanish. On the flip side when she is with me she is surrounded by Black and Spanish kids with street knowledge and attitude. One day last year, she came home from the Y upset and distant. At first, she didn’t want to talk and tell me what was going on but after dinner I got it out of her. The local kids down at the Y and some of her friends got into an argument about what she is. One of the little girls called her a ‘white girl’ because of eye color and her hair. Another girl told my daughter that she was too dark to be Spanish and that her hair was too straight to be black so she had to be white. Damn kids are mean right… So I did what any father would do..
I hugged my daughter and gave her a big kiss told her to forget them. Then I went to the photo album and showed her a picture of her great-grandmother. Grandma is almost a splitting image of my daughter being of the same mixed heritage but different eye color. When I started to point out the similarities of the two, that toothy smile returned. Mission accomplished right…nah. She looks at me with those green eyes and asks me, Why is so bad that I look black? Why can’t I just be me and people like me for me and not make fun? I told her that she has the privilege of being of a mixed family and she has the best of both worlds when it comes to being a human being in this life, not to worry about other people’s labels about what is what and just worry about being the best person that you can be while you are alive. Strive to acknowledge your own existence and what it is that you are here to accomplish in life: love, education and honesty. Those things can never be taken away from you.
I told this story because I think that it is important for the parents of these children and other children to be held accountable for relaying the message. What is beauty? Is it black, is it white, is it being accepted by your peers whether it be girls or boys? Or, is it a question of the proper time and effort put into recognizing that all LIFE is beautiful. We cannot help what the media portrays as beauty. We can just try to reinforce these young people in their darkest hour when the tears fall along with their confidence and let them know that beauty or image has a lot to do with how you feel inside. Reinforcement of these values can only come from the parents and such important values cannot be left for the children to decipher.
Say word

All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

my query
how do blk women contribute to this

Model Minority said...

Damn kids are mean right… So I did what any father would do..

While Kids are Mean, they LEARN EVERYTHING from us.

I told her that she has the privilege of being of a mixed family and she has the best of both worlds when it comes to being a human being in this life,
Understand that I ask this, because I have struggled with HOW we can build of the self esteem of one w/o doing so on the backs of others.

By framing it is a privilege, do you set the stage for her to think, perhaps at a later date, that she is better than those who are not mixed (at least in the conventional sense).

Why can’t I just be me and people like me for me and not make fun?
Because love, making fun is a tool that people will use to try and control you. They will do it now and for the rest of your life. Nothing personal. We just develop the tools to recognize and cope.

You remind me of a piece I want to write on how much more sensitive Black men are to our hair/skin/body shit AFTER yall have daughters of your own.

I am grateful that you were there for her.

Shit I just had a lecture from my DAD in APRIL 2008, on allowing people to control me through guilt (an aunt) and bullying ( a boss).
That shit changed my life.

corto said...

I don't know if I'm late, but they re-did the doll test in 2006.
Equally distrubing.
Equally troubling.

A.u.n.t. Jackie said...

I come from a large family of mixed heritage and my Grandmother and I had a joke between ourselves that we were lucky to just be brown...

I don't have my father's green eyes, nor my mother's fair skin. I have more blond haired blued eyed cousins that I can count with folks who take great pride in how long their hair grows and all kinds of stuff I thought was bullsh*t until I heard the stories...

Of what it was like to get chased, or beat up, or teased cuz you had funny colored hair or eyes, or didn't speak good English...that made me love my brown skin even more.

But on another note the hyper sexualized advances of women is such disturbing to me. It's as though some women have learned to emulate the disturbing traits of the men whom they resent. A vicious cycle.

Model Minority said...

But on another note the hyper sexualized advances of women is such disturbing to me.

Girl thats that patriarchy.

The gender means nothing.

Just like with that DL shit, the label means nothing.

Its about the actions of the individuals, feel me?

I am thinking of putting together an anthology of (black) women writing about, hair, bodies and sex. General sh*t that we talk about in the beauty shop or brunch. You down?

A.u.n.t. Jackie said...

I'm always down to write a lil something something..

by the way i love this title because the original play For Colored Girls was developed in my Grandfather's club and my cousin was the choreographer of the Broadway show.

My Poppa was always taking care of the up and comings of the times, gave Maya Angelou drinks on the house when she was down on her luck, as well as Christopher Garder (the dude from Pursuit of Happyness)

and at my beauty shop we talk shit about women driving Benzes living in the projects!!

Model Minority said...

Yeah man. I wrote that shit and I was Whoop...there the Title Is For Certain....Built in recognition....but that ish is going to be used for those Crack Essays and what not...what I am envisioning
is a kind of "To Be Real" remember Rebeccas ish, but all brown girls on some Post Hip Hop, Post Crack shit with specific goal of taking the minds of a 14 Black adult/child somewhere else..... (for a least 200 pages)

Grandfather's club
Dude...as I have always contended your families social justice background is beastie...

Unknown said...

The post is something I identify with too much.

It's too much to wish that a crowded bar was the proper place to ask Ms. Patriarchy about her familiarity with your personal space, right?

But where are these conversations going to be held
between black women and white women about gender, stereotyping and Michelle Obama...not as thought provoking posts but face to face conversations about stuff that has been whispered, acknowledged in bits and pieces.

I wonder if Gloria Steinem or Melissa Harris Lacewell will start it with another op ed in the Times?

I'm going to be thinking about this all weekend.

M.Dot. said...

I am glad you identify love.

Gurrrlllll wait until you see what I just wrote about about David "keep you legs closed" Banner.

Glad to see you stopped by tho.

On your byrd for the weekend? Shiiit. It is what it is.

jpollard said...

Damn Neen patriarchy in full effect. Sorry that bullshit ruined a good night of Spinna. The scary thing about patriarchy is that is seeps into all aspects of our existence and affects in ways that most people aren't (or are and just don't care) aware of.
The skin color topic hits close to home because me and Nic always talk about it, especially after she saw a pic of my Grandad (father's father) with my grandmother(he was very dark and she was very light) and wondered if that preference ran in the family. Great post.

M.Dot. said...

The skin color topic hits close to home because me and Nic always talk about it, especially after she saw a pic of my Grandad (father's father) with my grandmother(he was very dark and she was very light) and wondered if that preference ran in the family. Great post.
Say word?
Thats bugged out.

Espec w/ little sis & the younce conversation too.

neo said...

Black Girl Fatigue sounds like a song title fam!

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