Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I am Tired of the Ole "Angry Black Woman" Meme

Inside Nature

Poem: It Couldn't Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn't be done, But he with a chuckle repliedThat "maybe it couldn't," but he would be oneWho wouldn't say so till he'd tried.So he buckled right in with the trace of a grinOn his face. If he worried he hid it.He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn't be done, and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;At least no one ever has done it"; But he took off his coat and he took off his hat, And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,Without any doubting or quiddit,He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,There are thousands to prophesy failure;There are thousands to point out to you one by one,The dangers that wait to assail you.But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,Just take off your coat and go to it;Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

It Couldn't Be Done
I was truly impressed After reading Stereotyping Black Women. I Love Me Some Michelle Obama Pics! The subject in this blog is very real to me as a black/Caribbean woman living in USA, just as I am sure it meant a lot to other minority women and evolved women everywhere.

After Michelle Obama gave her interview on CBS where she responded to the newly published 'revelations' about who she 'really' was in Jodi Kantor's unauthorized biography, I felt an even deeper sense of pride and joy in the First Lady. Finally, she was speaking up and saying no one speaks for her but her. How many times have I and, I guess, many others like me had to stop ourselves from yelling at one pundit or the other on television who seemed to talk for the First Lady and her husband? I cannot even count anymore.

Yet, I found myself yelling once again the other night when Ed Schultz was wondering why Michelle Obama had to even respond to what was in the book. There I was not refraining from yelling as I told him off real good. I yelled "well, it is 'bout dam time! Why? Because she has sat there and taken this crap from all these people who know nothing about her day in and day out, with a smile on her face. However, she finally communicated that enough was enough by saying to Gayle King:

"But that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced (his presidency) -- that I'm some angry black woman."

You go Mrs. O!

I am so sick and tired of this stupid stereotype that is leveled at strong black women. Even though I am not in her position I feel this everyday in my life and I know many other strong black sisters feel the same way. I feel sometimes that I have to tamp down how I might truly feel about a situation because if I said how I truly felt then I might not get the writing gig I want or connect with the people I want or even cause problems for my daughter with her friend's parents etc. Most of the time I have to do a dance in my head about if I should really put down what I want to say on paper before I commit. Usually, I do commit but not without an internal struggle of what if and who might not like it etc, etc.

However, lately I have decided to hell with it. I am no longer going to sit back and hold back because others might not like what I have to say. So what if my story/journey/perspective is not one that is traditional or simple or neat and tidy? So what? It is my journey and I am going to write and talk about it whenever I get the chance. Hell, I teach my daughter to be always honest and authentic no matter what and it is about time that I fully embrace that honesty and authenticity for myself.

This is why I take every opportunity to celebrate and show my daughter's artwork because if I do not who will? If black women do not share and celebrate our achievements who will do it for us? My daughter (AmaSepiaChan) is an amazing artist and I am teaching her to be proud of that and to push on even when others ignore or dismiss her. She knows right now at 12 that she wants to be a comic book artist and is working towards this goal and we support all her efforts. Yet, some say she is only 12 what does she know? Well, what did famous comic book artist Jeff Smith know when he was 9 years old and started drawing his characters? Today he is the author of BONE the famous comic book that anybody who is into comics has read. If he knew at 9 why couldn't she know at 9, which is when she started creating her characters. Why must she hold back? Why must she feel that she should not share and celebrate work that is obviously beyond her years? Why should she "wait until she is 18" as told to me by a prominent person in Boston's art scene who saw her work? Why should she wait if she knows what she wants and is working towards her goals now? The girl is only 12 and has a concept in place, characters drawn and fully realized and is almost done with the required page layout for submission. She has done all the research for her story and works on the project daily in order to get it done by her summer deadline. These illustrations are not on the website but are closely guarded by her.

Reading the blog entry yesterday about Mrs. Obama made me strengthen my resolve to continue pressing forward regarding her efforts to publish her first comic book. I have nothing in common with Mrs. O than my skin color but I do feel that a spirit such as hers resides within me and I really need to tap into it so that I can help my African-American daughter realize her dream of Comic Book Artist even though others tell me it is a waste of time.

If we all sit back and listen to all those who tell us "it couldn't be done" then we are doing a disservice to ourselves and the world. Michelle Obama has shown us women of color and women in general that it could be done. So I give thanks once again for her and her wonderful family for inspiring us everyday to be better. If some people think that in the process of doing this she is "angry" then let them. I am tired of the ole "angry black woman" meme! Mrs. Obama is one hell of a woman and I am proud that she is our FLOTUS. She makes all that once seemed impossible or implausible possible and plausible and I thank her for it!

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