In a blog entry at ColorLines, Akiba Solomon examines the recent Washington Post series, “Black Women in America,” saying it skims the surface. It doesn’t cover issues such as structural racism or why reductive ideas about black womanhood have been created.
… While the article briefly covers underemployment, tokenism and the stereotype of the “welfare queen,” it doesn’t dig into structural racism past or present. We don’t get how and why reductive ideas of black womanhood have been created, manipulated and consistently sold by mass media. This is an article about black women and stereotypes that doesn’t mention pesky ills like slavery, Jim Crow, reproductive injustice and mass incarceration but name-checks “Basketball Wives.” Without proper context, the black women respondents become self-sacrificing victims who haven’t learned to define themselves, shadowboxing with mysterious ghosts.
In 2012, that tact is at best naive and at worst a damn lie. Black women have been defining ourselves since before Sojourner Truth made her infamous 1851 “Ain’t I a Woman” speech. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, black women tell, no scream, about our humanity, complexity, legacy, pride, sisterhood, spirituality, money problems, romantic desires, bone-deep sadness, moral conflicts, sexuality and joy. Some of us are dying for a “Sunday Kind of Love.” Some of us think we’re cute and “Cleva.” Some of us aren’t that damn deep. The problem isn’t that black women haven’t defined ourselves for ourselves. It’s that mainstream media DON’T LISTEN.
And when media don’t listen, they publish black-women centered surveys that compare our responses to those of white women, black men and white men, as if there are no other groups of people in this damn country who help shape our collective experiences. They ask by-the-numbers questions about fundamental aspects of human life through the lens of race without interrogating why one would even need to ask these questions…
Read Akiba Solomon’s entire blog entry at ColorLines.