*Stop reading right now if the ‘arrogance’ of me being true to myself offends, I repeat. Stop reading. If this is a popularity contest, I’m not going to lose, badly, after this one.
During my lengthy BB&W contributor hiatus, I began to examine my relationship with the black female community online and throughout Los Angeles. A thread I wrote, about difficulties I had faced attempting to befriending black women to no avail. Under said thread, a woman made a comment with such duality, I think it earned a deeper dive:
“…Black women are not allowed to have flaws or make mistakes, especially toward other black women and people. We forgive blondes and brunettes but write off our own people if they offend us once.”
First thought: This same logic, is somehow, inapplicable to me?
Place that same comment as a through-line woven between the greater black female community.
To backtrack a bit, I wrote the piece in distress that I wanted more black women in my corner, as I wanted to be the safe, loving sister that I sought after. So I took to action. I begun hosting meet-ups for black female filmmakers in LA. All over, the San Fernando Valley, South Bay, DTLA. Many were invited, few showed. Regardless, there is no love like that of a brown fox. Women I’ve introduced have become best friends, colleagues, shopping partners. Women I’ve clicked with became blood.
These women did not affirm me, but they did edify me with blind love and acceptance. We shared our shortcomings and made lemonade, as the saying goes. Screwdrivers!
One night, on the quiet zip home in my Prius, I slinked down the 101 south, back toward the Staples Center. Skyscrapers lurch stories above my narrow street. Ripped the fridge open and filled my glass with Lambrusco. My mind began to wander:
What is it about the interconnectivity of the present day that makes those on the other side of the screen or sidewalk feel they have the right to triage? How can there be such a community of faith and love, yet women are vicious and snarky, drunk with keyboard courage? Why is it socially acceptable to diagnose a stranger? Where does the comments section get that lofty, unattainable wisdom? In a pro-black femme forum, of all places, why is empathy so conditional?
Let the comments section tell it, they’re free of flaws, debt, problems, relationship and family issues, employment advancement struggles, hatred, jealousy, and all human emotion. The commentators are FLAWLESS. Get your shine on girl!
As an artist and creative professional, I found it impossible to be representative of the black female community, be true to myself, be virginal, be flawed and honest, and speak to my generation. As a writer, my only job is to speak for and to. If I have said or done anything to offend, I’m not sorry. One. Little bit.
Query for black women, what personality am I allowed to have? Is it okay that I don’t pander to your correctness or what you perceive is behavioral superiority?
I’m the daughter of a Vietnam and Desert Storm war veteran who later joined law enforcement. I don’t know how to be meek or refined. I’ve tried and it’s incredibly fake. From what I’ve experienced even the black people in this “safe space” won’t allow me to draw from my hard wiring. Every female member of my family is exactly as I am — brash and quite crass. A choice and by design. Therefore, my definition of a black woman is not 100% gentility.
That can be your definition of YOU as a black woman.
Are black women less forgiving of other black women? My answer: depends on the woman. I do know black women team up to oppose others over what is classy, what’s refined, what’s natural hair, you don’t love yourself if you wear a weave. Blah, blah, fucking blah.
In 3D, on this website or any other, it should be a congruous meeting of healing, full disclosure, acceptance, a refuge from the American shit show. As the Netflix dramedy “Dear White People” so boldly reflected, there are so many different types of blackness. I will never be your definition of a classy black queen. And fucking dandy, I quit trying to do that at puberty. To reside beneath your preferred level of palatable blackness, is that a fate worse than death? Nah.
Am I nice person every second of everyday? Nope. Are you? If you died this very hour, would the minister lie just a bit during your eulogy?
Why isn’t someone admitting that they are flawed, enough?
DO NOT blindly support someone because they’re black. But do give people the room to define themselves outside your liking. And being that black America is outside damn near EVERYONE’S liking pretty much validates why it’s okay for us to be unlike any other black person.
Let us, be us.
The same judgement we don’t want white America to subject us to, we adjudicate by. Stop it.
Or keep it up, just don’t refute the choice words thrown in your direction.