The Policing of Black Female Sexuality

Another graduate school paper written in 2015

Abstract
The current paradigm concerning black female sexuality has been constructed from beliefs about black women that began as a result of white patriarchal ideologies established during slavery. These stereotypes about black female sexuality in particular have been used to shape U.S. public policy concerning social welfare and because of these stereotypes, black women have been blamed for passing down a “culture of poverty” from one generation to the next. This paper will discuss the policing of black female sexuality and pose the question: Why is black female sexuality considered dangerous to the status quo?


The Policing of Black Female Sexuality
It is a strange lot to be a Black woman in American society. She was brought to this country to be an unpaid worker, a concubine and a broodmare. Her body and her sexuality has been reviled but from the various brilliant shades of brown Black people come in, is curiously loved. This paper will examine the reasons for the policing of black female sexuality and why even in 2015, black women are not allowed to embrace their sexuality in the way white women are.


The Beginnings
The policing of Black female sexuality began during slavery. White males who were attracted to their slaves had to justify their attraction to them by labeling Black women as deviant, sexually aggressive creatures and whose sexuality had to be regulated. It also had to do with white male views on female sexuality. “Barbara Omolade asserts that the sexual stereotyping of black women’s bodies is rooted in colonialism. She argues that European male colonists read African women’s sexuality “according to their own definitions of sex, nudity, and blackness as base, foul, and bestial.” (Maurer, 2000).


This narrative fit very nicely with the “Cult of True Womanhood” in which white women were considered pure, dainty, innocent, and deserving of protection while the Back female slave was considered “primitive and incapable of chastity, purity, and moral virtue.” (Maurer, 2000). White men could then have unrestrained sex with the female slaves with no responsibility for their actions while protecting the virtue of white women.


Thus, the degrading images of black women being less than human and not worthy of respect was born. The hyper sexualized stereotype of black women as a femme fatale was used during slavery justify sexual relations between white men and black women, especially sexual unions involving masters and their female slaves. The black woman was depicted as a woman with an insatiable appetite for sex. She was not satisfied with black men and needed.”


Slave women were considered chattel and legally they had no rights so they could be raped with impunity with no repercussions. Often white male plantation owners would give their sons the “gift” of a young slave girl to be his concubines. “Nevertheless, as John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman state in Intimate Matters: A Sexual History of Sexuality in America, ‘the rape of a female slave was probably the most common form of interracial sex during that time’.” (Rhymes, 2007).


The idea that black women were more sexually immoral than white women was reinforced by slavery. “Slaves whether on the auction block or offered privately for sale, were often stripped naked and physically examined. This was done to ensure that they were healthy, able to reproduce, and, most importantly, to look for whipping scars – the presence of which implied that the slave was rebellious. In practice, the stripping and touching of slaves had a sexually exploitative, sometimes sadistic function. Nakedness, especially among women in the 18th and 19th centuries, implied a lack of civility, morality, and sexual restraint even when the nakedness was forced. Slaves, of both sexes and all ages, often wore few clothes or clothes so ragged that their legs, thighs, and chests were exposed. Conversely, whites, especially women, wore clothing over most of their bodies. The contrast between the clothing reinforced the belief that white women were civilized, modest, and sexually pure, whereas black women were crude, immodest, and sexually deviant.” (Rhymes, 2007).


The Exploitation of Black Female Sexuality in Advertising and Film
The portrayal of black women as amoral, sexual deviants had its beginnings in slavery, was used during the Jim Crow period, and was used in modern times to entertain and sell products and advertising was a great medium to do this. Although the Mammy stereotype was used to sell everything from food to soap, the depiction of black women as sexually free whores was a common theme in selling products. “A metal nutcracker from the 1930s depicts a topless black woman. The nut is placed under her skirt, in her crotch, and crushed. Were sexually explicit items such as these made in the image of white women? Yes. However, they were never mainstreamed like the objects that caricatured Black women. The seamy novelty objects depicting white women were sold on the down-low, the QT and always hush-hush. An analysis of these racist items also reveals that black female children were sexually objectified. Black girls, with the faces of pre-teenagers, were drawn with adult sized buttocks, which were exposed. They were naked, scantily clad, or hiding seductively behind towels, blankets, trees, or other objects.” (Rhymes, 2007).


As society entered the early 1970s, another way of exploiting the sexuality of black women was the image of the supersexualized black female protagonist and heroine in film with black female characters being portrayed as prostitutes or women using sex as a means to get revenge on those who wronged them or their families. These films are now called “blaxploitation” and were a very popular genre of film during this time period amongst black people. Although these films claimed to be about the black experience of living in the ghetto, these movies were produced and directed by predominantly white males. “Daniel J. Leab (1976), the movie historian, noted, “Whites packaged, financed, and sold these films, and they received the bulk of the big money. The world depicted in blaxploitation movies included corrupt police and politicians, pimps, drug dealers, violent criminals, prostitutes, and whores. In the main, these movies were low-budget, formulaic interpretations of black life by white producers, directors, and distributors. Black actors and actresses, many unable to find work in mainstream movies, found work in blaxploitation movies. Black patrons supported these movies because they showed blacks fighting the “white establishment,” resisting police corruption, acting assertively, and having sex lives.” (Pilgrim, 2002).


Public Policy and Black Female Sexuality
Stereotypes about black women’s sexuality were also used against them during the eugenics movement of the early 20th century. “Stereotypes about black women’s hyper-fertility fueled the call for government regulation of the reproduction of non-whites” (Maurer, 2000). Public policies and public management practices at both the state and federal level supported this movement and its policies lived on after its demise (Maurer, 2000). By 1970, “20 percent of all married black women in the United States had been sterilized and accounted for 43 percent of sterilizations funded by the U.S. government” (Maurer, 2000).


During this time period, the image of welfare changed from deserving white widows to black women who had children to get a check. This change was once again by the stereotyping of black women as promiscuous breeders whose fertility must be regulated. Single mothers, in particular, black women who have children and no husbands violate the patriarchal dominant sexual norms of American culture. Although massive changes in popular culture in the last fifty years have challenged the understanding of sexuality, the sexual morality of mothers without husbands is still suspect.
When single mothers find themselves in need of financial assistance from the state, the government is in a position to dictate changes in sexual behavior in exchange for financial aid.

Contemporary welfare policy explicitly aims to convince women to marry and not produce children out of wedlock. If receiving public assistance and pregnant, a mother-to- be is spoken to about future birth control options and whether or not does she wants to undergo tubal ligation (Weedon, 1999). Social welfare programs in this country have been used, since their inception, to control the sexual behavior of program recipients. Yet, people who apply for other types of government assistance such as unemployment compensation, are not faced with marriage incentives or family caps. Control of sexual behavior through financial assistance has only been attempted through welfare, the public assistance program intended for poor single mothers (Adair, 2000).


Public policy rarely acts completely independently from public opinion. Public opinion polls confirm that Americans are less supportive of spending on welfare than on other types of assistance to the poor, such as social security benefits. Many researchers have tried to discover the source of this disdain for welfare. Race clearly plays an important role in shaping public views about welfare. Jill Quadagno’s, The Color of Welfare (1994) solidly establishes race as a driving force in the history of US welfare politics. Racial inequality in the US has created an economic system in which America’s poor are disproportionately black and Hispanic. This in turn means that racial minorities are disproportionately likely to need welfare assistance. The history of welfare provision in the US is also a history of the governmental response to racial inequality.


Welfare was designed to keep deserving (widowed or abandoned) white mothers from entering the workforce. But after federal regulations limited state discretion in the 1960s, these same regulations were attacked for allowing morally suspect black women to remain out of the workforce. Welfare has a long history of being used as a tool to reward or punish impoverished single mothers regardless of race. While some policies seem to have been designed only to confer benefits in accordance with recipient race and immigration status, other welfare rules (midnight raids, for example) were used to control behavior of single mothers (Quadagno,1994).
An important change in welfare policy was made in 1996 when AFDC was replaced with TANF. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families introduced block grants, thus reintroducing significant state control over program administration. Strict time limits, family caps, permanent exclusion for even minor drug offenses, and work requirements were all presented as tools for the states to use in reducing their welfare rolls. Under TANF, the explicit primary goals of welfare are reducing welfare dependency and encouraging heterosexual marriage.


Sex and the Language of Welfare

The language used in the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) that created TANF reveals its patriarchal, paternal intentions. Take the name of the act, for example. It states that welfare reform as primarily being about the failure of personal responsibilities of the women who receive welfare. A number of other explanations of the poverty of single mothers could have been entertained: women, on average, are paid less than men when they do engage in wage labor; women are more likely than men to take lower paying part-time or temporary work to accommodate family responsibilities; the cost of quality, reliable childcare makes low wage labor even less attractive to single mothers than it otherwise might be to employees without children; single mothers often do not get financial or emotional support from the fathers of their children (Abramovitz, 1996).

But welfare reform as it currently exists is not about ending the feminization of poverty, not about holding Corporate America accountable for failing to pay living wages, and the failure of society to help provide for the basic needs of its poorest citizens. It is about punishing and controlling the poorest segment of the American population for being poor and not adhering to traditional “moral” values.


“Personal responsibility” is a supposedly neutral phrase. Yet, the way that it is used in the PRWORA is distinctly biased against poor black women. The phrase pretends that poor single mothers have the same range of opportunities and choices as any other citizen (even though reality suggests otherwise). The use of this phrase implies that the misfortunes of poor black single mothers are the result of irresponsible choices. To use it in this fashion ignores the range of responsibilities that poor single mothers do have (protecting their children in impoverished and sometimes dangerous neighborhoods, nurturing their children emotionally often without help of a partner, providing for children’s educational needs despite impoverished school districts) and focuses instead on the ‘responsibility’ to take low wage labor.


Further, the title of PRWORA implies that work opportunities are being offered to welfare recipients. This is not true. In reality, the legislation calls for limits on the length of time recipients can receive welfare benefits, and mandated employment, and limits on educational opportunities for welfare recipients. Clearly, the lawmakers who crafted this legislation were not interested in simply providing work opportunities for the single mothers on welfare. PRWORA addresses welfare recipients as failed women in need of strict behavioral guidelines from the government (Abramovitz, 1996) and the assumptions underlying language are clear. Welfare recipients are poor because they have failed to marry (Abramovitz, 1996).

Character flaws, including sexual promiscuity and lack of devotion to the traditional institution of marriage, are to blame for the poverty of single mothers. The way to fix this problem is for the government to encourage poor women to get married. These “findings” presume that welfare mothers are heterosexual, that marrying the (probably also poor) father of her children will bring financial security, that the decision to depend on a man (husband) for financial support will bring financial security, and that the decision to depend on a man (husband) for financial support is morally superior to relying on the man (the state).


Why does welfare reform language begin with value laden statements about traditional marriage? The assumptions underlying language are clear. Welfare recipients are poor because they have failed to marry. Character flaws, including sexual promiscuity and a lack of devotion to the traditional institution of marriage, are to blame for the poverty of single black mothers. The way to fix the problem is for the government to encourage poor black women to get married. These “findings” presume that welfare mothers are heterosexual, that marrying the (probably also poor) father of her children will bring financial security, and that the decision to rely on a man (husband) for financial support is morally superior to relying on the man (the state) Abramovitz, 1996). Whether or not the single mother wants to be married is outside the realm of this discussion: that she should marry is a moral imperative. The public assistance programs designed for other poor populations (Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Social Security) do not promote marriage as a way out of poverty. This solution is only presented as appropriate in a program designed with poor single women in mind.


The concern with the marital status of welfare recipients is deeply rooted in racial politics. Blacks are less likely to marry than whites. Black families often violate the normative white middle class nuclear family structure, and conservatives have long seen this violation as an indicator of moral failure and as a problem that needs to be solved with government intervention.


The “Purpose” section of PRWORA explains that the legislation is intended to “…end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage” (“Personal responsibility and,” 1996). Lawmakers are aware that nearly all welfare recipients are single mothers. By using the gender neutral phrase “needy parents,” lawmakers willfully ignore reality, reinforcing the norm of the two parent heterosexual household. This willful ignorance allows lawmakers to pretend that “dependence” is not based on gender specific assumptions (Fraser and Gordon, 2002).


Controlling the reproductive behavior of poor women is a key part of this discourse about welfare. The purpose section of PRWORA continues, listing blatantly patriarchal goals: “to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies (“Personal responsibility and,” 1996). There are no other federal public assistance programs in the US that promote abstinence and contraceptives as a way out of poverty. Middle class women are encouraged, through tax breaks, to reproduce. This language of controlling reproductive behavior is used only within the context of programs design for poor black women.


US welfare policy is based on the set of patriarchal assumptions that lawmakers hold about marriage, reproduction, and appropriate gender roles for poor black women. These patriarchal assumptions are evident in the history of US welfare policy, and in the language of current welfare policy. Sex has everything to do with welfare and the policing of black female sexuality.


Conclusion
The paradox of being a black woman in American society is a quandary in swirling emotions. From the moment they were brought here, they have been used to build up the image of white women from a certain economic class as inviolate: beyond reproach. Sexually, they are considered on the low end of the social and economic totem pole in American society, but from research and reality, they are the origins of mankind. Perhaps this is the reason for the stereotypes: the realization that if it was not for this woman, the world as society knows it, would not exist. That for all of the black woman’s lowly status, she is needed because societies would cease to exist if she disappeared. Black female sexuality is powerful; so much that American society has shaped social welfare policy because of them, for better or worse.

References
Adair, Vivyan. (2000). From Good Ma to Welfare Queen: A genealogy of the poor woman in American literature, photography and culture. New York: Garland.

Abramovitz, Mimi. (1996). Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present. Boston, MA: South End Press.

Fraser, Nancy and Linda Gordon. (2002.) “A Genealogy of Dependence: Tracing a key word of the US welfare state.” The Subject of Care: Feminist Perspectives on Dependence. Eds. Eva Feder Kittay and Ellen Feder. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
Maurer, S. (2000). Embodied public policies: the sexual stereotyping of black women in the design and implementation of u.s. policies. Journal of Public and International Affairs, 11(Spring), 150-166.
Pilgrim, D. (2002, July). Jezebel stereotype. Retrieved from http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/jezebel.htm
Quadagno, Jill. (1994). The Color of Welfare: How racism undermined the war on poverty. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rhymes, E. (2007, May 18). A ‘ho’ by any other color: The history and economics of black female sexual exploitation.
The United States Congress, (1996). Personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act of 1996.
Weedon, C. (1999). Feminism, theory and the politics of difference. Malden: Blackwell Publishers.
Wyatt, G. E. (1997). Stolen women: Reclaiming our sexuality, taking back our lives. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Yarbrough, M., & Bennett, C. (2000). Cassandra and the “sistahs”: the peculiar treatment of african american women in the myth of women as liars. The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, 3(3), 626-657.

Ten Ways to Find Out if You Are a Brainwashed Negro

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Brainwashed Negro: A Black individual who has internalized every negative stereotype about Blacks and their culture and is seething with self-hatred and low self-esteem. Usually believes that the only path to success and true happiness is to marry or assimilate into White culture, hoping to escape the sins of blackness.

One of the biggest problems in the Black community is a lack of unity caused by years of self-hatred. Self-hatred in the Black community is due to centuries of brainwashing by the dominant culture into believing that Blacks and their contributions to mainstream society are worthless and that Blacks themselves are worthless and ugly. Self-hatred has caused some Black folks to demean themselves and other Blacks in many hurtful ways that are not productive to anyone.  Here are 10 ways to find out if you as a Black person have been brainwashed by the dominant culture:

uncle-ruckus-prayer10.  If you are still running around claiming that your family has “Indian Blood”, particularly, Cherokee. I wonder why the only Native American tribe some Black folks can name is Cherokee, as if Iroquois, Mohicans, Seminoles and others do not exist.

9, If you believe that all Black NBA players are married to White women. 86% of married African American NBA players are married to Black women.

8. If you deny the African within by stating that your descendants are from the Caribbean. How in the hell did you think all those Black folks ended up on those islands?

7. If you believe that all White people are rich, beautiful, educated and are endowed with special magical powers.

6. If you tell a dark-skinned Black woman, “You are so pretty to be dark”.

5. If you give an automatic pretty pass to light-skinned women just because they are light-skinned and have long hair.

4. If you refuse to frequent Black-owned businesses because you believe that their services are sub-par as compared to White-owned businesses.

3. If you believe that “Good Hair” consists of hair that is long, flowing and silky, not kinky.

2. If you believe that it’s perfectly okay for other races to demean Black people by dressing in Blackface or if you are completely silent when other races demean black culture because you are so worried about losing your spot as the Anointed Negro and want some of that magical White fairy dust to sprinkle on your trifling ass.

1. If you make statements such as “Black women have too many problems” or “I cannot find a Black man that is on my level” to justify dating outside your race. There is nothing wrong with interracial dating unless you are using it as a way to escape the deep psychological problems of hatred for one’s race. Perhaps the problem is not Black people collectively but YOU personally and all YOUR issues and burdens of being Black in America.

Struggle Love, Music, The Social Media and the Black Woman

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One of my favorite songs is by the artist Richard “Dimples” Fields, a soul artist from back in the day and the song is called “She Got Papers on Me” and it features the wonderful Betty Wright. The song is about the “plight” of a married man stuck in an unsatisfactory relationship with his wife and he sings plaintively about “the sweet little thing” he has on the side (side hoes have been around since Juvember but folks want to play brand new and act like we used to have morals).

The song would be very forgettable if it was not for Betty Wright’s 2 minute primal scream as the unsuspecting wife who walks in on her husband singing in the shower about his bae towards the end of the song. Hurt and angry, she hurls out a rant that will be always remembered in black music history. She talks about how everything on his back, she paid for, from his drawers to his shoes. How she paid for the car he drives to go see his mistress.  How she paid for him to go to school and how she still pays the mortgage without his assistance. That he needs to pay her now (although how can a man who never paid for shit be expected to pay for alimony) and he should take his little albums and his raggedy component set that never worked and scat.

This song was released in 1981 and when I was a little girl, I thought it was the funniest thing in the world.  Like “she checked that nigga!” That is until I grew older, analyzed the song, and realized that she was bragging about taking care of a grown ass man. How she put him through school and he still wasn’t financially sufficient enough to take of her and the family they created together. And now because he’s cheating, he has to go. Not because she’s working like a dog to fund a grown ass man and his habits but because he is fucking someone else.

And folks that is the very definition of struggle love.  Telling women it is okay to take care of grown ass men in the name of love. He can beat your ass, use for your money and when he gets on, he is going to remember your never-ending loyalty and stupidity and reward you. Just as long as he does not fuck someone else. Yeah right. The era of the ride or die chick that will doing anything for her man from going to jail for the dirt he did to working three jobs while he works none needs to die a painful death.

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Black music has been selling struggle love for years to black women via love songs such as the one above and several other songs that normalizes dysfunction in black relationships. From blues songs such as “No Good Man” by Nina Simone to “He’s Mine” by Mokenstef, black women have been sold a bill of goods that tells them that pain is love. Love is about struggle and conflict. It is about putting up with a man’s physical and verbal abuse, infidelity, children conceived by other women, financial instability, and a multitude of other unhealthy, irrational ideas about love. Just so a woman can say “At least I got a man!” to her friend who is merely trying to give her some advice about leaving the sorry bastard.

The ironic part is that struggle love is never sold to black men through the music, the media or anywhere else. There has not been a song created in the history of black music that tells black men to find them a welfare queen in the projects with five children who just need the love of a strong black man.  Black music tells black men to find the baddest chick in the club with longest hair, lightest skin and the biggest ass.

The social media is not helping with this struggle love concept either. Daily black women are bombarded with memes that ask stupid questions such as “Would you be comfortable with going to McDonald’s on a first date?” or “Would you give up a $5,000 a month alimony check to marry a man making $8.50 per hour for love since a stipulation of your alimony agreement was if you got married again, the monies would be cut off” and all sorts of nonsensical, unrealistic bullshit. Black women are expected to jump through hoops of fire to prove themselves to black men who do not have a pot to piss in, a window to throw it out, and another pot to catch the piss when it comes out the window.  What is crazy though is that every time one of these memes is posted to a group on Facebook,  legions of parched, thirsty heifers respond with “Yes I would! Pick me!!!!,” not understanding if one of them decides to take a chance and actually date one of these men, have a child with him, and he turns out to be a deadbeat, she will be blamed for not “choosing better.”

These irrational beliefs about love  have black women stuck in unhealthy relationships for years only to wake up eventually and find themselves angry and hurt when they look at all the time and energy they wasted on a man who was not worth two dead flies. Because a man that truly loves a woman is not going to sit on his ass and watch her work like a mule while he walks around like he’s King Ding a Ling. A man that is truly interested in getting to know a woman is not going to make her jump through hoops with silly ass tests such as taking her to an expensive restaurant to see if she orders the most expensive thing on the menu to see if she is a gold-digger. A man like that is not worth a woman’s time and energy.  And somehow, someway, someday, black women will realize this too.

 

Keepers of Blackness Powers Deactivate!

theartofblackness

The social media can be both a curse and a blessing. It is a blessing because you have the opportunity to read the viewpoints of millions of people and interact with others. However, it is also a curse because very often, you are also exposed to the ignorant arrogance of people. Especially when it comes to defining “Blackness” because some Black folks have declared themselves The Keepers of All Things Black and will attempt to “school” you about how you are not “Black” enough for their “tastes”.  Let me explain.

Every couple of months, a blog written by some random Black person will come out complaining about how Black women should not like Marilyn Monroe and should only pay attention to Lena Horne or Dorothy Dandridge.  Or how pissed off  some Black men are about Black women having a variety of hairstyles they can choose from and accuse them of wanting to be White because they happen to have weave in their hair. And don’t get me started on being a feminist. Some Black people, especially Black men and their merry band of mules have a real problem with a Black woman declaring herself a feminist because feminism is that White chick, bra burning shit and a Black woman is supposed to be down with the Black Movement. How dare she have an original thought in her head that was not placed in there by a Black man!

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This ongoing war about “Blackness” is the silliest shit ever. As a Black woman, I happen to love Marilyn Monroe and have read several biographies and the one autobiography about her life. But I also love Lena and Dorothy and loving Marilyn does not make me any less “Black” than the next Black woman.  And in regards to hair, I have been woven, relaxed, and natural and currently, I am woven to the max with a glorious Chaka Khan look.  Underneath the weave is my crowning glory, a nappy, kinky forest of blackness but every now and then, I want a different look. And that’s my fucking business and does not have anything to do with me wanting to be a white woman. I mean what kind of asinine shit is that?  I could have a long flowing blond weave down to my ankles like Rapunzel complete with blue contacts and I will still be a black woman. Jeez.

And I can be both a Black woman and a feminist if I want to. What is the problem with women having choices in their everyday lives without criticism? That is what being a feminist means to me; I do not want to rule over men (too much work because in so many ways, they are just like children). I just want to be left alone without men trying to tell me something for my own good as if I was a wayward child without direction. I am not turning my back on the Black community by being a feminist; I am becoming a greater person by becoming a better woman through ownership of my agency. Ruling over my own autonomy.

I guess I will never be one of members of The Keepers of All Things Black club because I cannot dance and have no rhythm, I do not know how to French braid hair, and it took me almost ten years to learn how to fry chicken properly. I also have one of the most eclectic tastes in music ever known, loving all type of genres of music from R.E.M to Too Short. I also do not have the proverbial big booty and stood too long in the titty line so I guess I would not be considered “Black” enough for some folks although my brown skin, broad nose, full lips and hair of wool declare me a Black woman every time I look in the mirror. But see how silly this shit sounds? Black people come in a variety of shades and a variety of backgrounds so please open your mind and remember this: your Blackness is not everyone’s Blackness, so stay in your lane.

 

White Supremacy, Reality TV & The African-American Woman

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Black women are some of the most versatile and multifaceted individuals on this planet and despite being stereotyped as the lowest of the low, they have managed to become the most educated group in America and are quickly rising in the entrepreneurship field. But sadly, none of that matters to the dominant culture who wishes to keep black women on the bottom rung on the latter of American society.

That is why it is quite suspect that VH1, a major cable network channel has seen its ratings skyrocket since its debut of negative reality televisions marketed towards black women during this era of the rising Black Woman. In an article on The Grio’s website from April 2011, VH1’s VP of original programming and production, Jeff Olde said “We constantly have to evolve and tell our audience different stories. I love that we’ve been able to get more diverse with our audience by — in large part — attracting African-American women to the network. We got them in the door with some shows, and now I’m excited about where we’re going and how we’re telling them different kinds of stories.”

And it has worked. Due to the success of reality shows such as Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and Basketball Wives, Viacom, the parent company of VH1 has seen its ratings go up by 20 percent in prime-time among adults 18–49 in 2014 — the biggest rise among the top 25 basic cable networks. However, the shows on VH1 geared towards the African-American female audience are nothing more than modern day minstrel shows showcasing Black women displaying stereotypical behavior such as fighting, cussing, and showing their asses to the world. Sapphire, Jezebel, and the latest, Gold-Digger for a new generation. One cannot help but wonder if this was a plan.

I have noticed since the election of President Obama, the first Black president who happens to be married to a Black woman, there has been a concerted effort by the mass media to portray African-American women in a negative light. Examples include the rise of Black reality television, articles about how single African-American women’s net worth is listed as $5 dollars, and depending on the news source, African-American women either have the most children out of wedlock or abortions. On a regular basis, the American public is assailed with these negative stories and shows about African-American women which in turn make them become subject to stereotypes as the images presented become fixed mental images and are exaggerated and applied to all Black women as a whole.

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Whites, who are the dominant culture, watching these shows, grow to believe that all Black women are less intelligent, more violent, and generally less human. Additionally, Black women themselves can develop reactions that are turned inward and create a sense of hopelessness, despair, and self doubt that can lead into even more sociological problems in the form of alcoholism, drug abuse, aggression, and crime. Now those white folks who believe these stereotypes are not worth two dead flies but they do exist and are sometimes the very people black women interview with.  I wonder how many black women did not receive a job that they were fully qualified for based on these stereotypes.

I have come to the conclusion that the only solution to the problem of negative portrayals of Black women on reality television is to boycott the advertisers, not the producers of this muck. Black women need to realize how powerful they are and take a stance to demand that these images be taken off television. The advertising industry is a billion dollar a year industry and if advertisers refuse to run their commercials during these shows, producers of these shows will be left with a limited number of options to present negative images of African American women. Television has a wonderful opportunity to present shows that celebrates and reflects the strength and tenacity of African-American women instead of stereotypical portrayals and that tells stories about the lives of the African-American women as human beings, not just as pieces of meat and a source of unlimited funds for greedy network executives.

The Rise of the Bum Ass Man

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A relatively new phenomena in the Black community is black men who do not have jobs, income, or ambition but always seem to have girlfriends. These girlfriends pay for everything, allow these men to drive their cars, discipline their children, talk to them like they are shit, beat their asses, have threesomes with them, and all they receive out of it is mediocre sex, venereal diseases, and some lump lumps. I simply do not understand it at all.  In a community plagued with violence, fatherlessness, poverty, and a multitude of social ills, how can some men be content with laying up with women for their daily bread and butter? And why do some women believe that a piece of man is better than no man at all?

I know that Black women be taking a beating online these days but they are partially to blame for this for being so damn parched and thirsty enough to drink the kool-aid that has been sold to them since childhood that tells them that the only thing that matters in life is having a man.  Because if some of these chicks were not so damn desperate for male companionship, these men would not have a choice but to man up and get their shit together. But no, these women are taking care of of these bum ass men better than their children in some cases. And will have the audacity, the unmitigated gall to try and borrow money from their girlfriends to help support these sorry bastards. And will turn around with a funky attitude and tell you that you are jealous of their relationships because you don’t have a man. Like I need another child to support. Bitch please.

keep-calm-bitch-don-t-nobody-want-yo-bum-ass-nigga

But honestly and sadly, I do not see this phenomena changing anytime soon. As long as black culture embraces the idea that a woman is not complete without male companionship, black women will continue to take up with bums and take care of these shiftless, trifling, no ambition, no self respect having, cotton for balls ass men.  Passing down this dysfunction to their daughters, who grow up thinking that this type of behavior is normal. God save the children or what’s left of them.

A Letter to My Molester

This letter was originally written five years ago a few months before my fortieth birthday.  Unfortunately, this bastard was let out of prison in 2013 and is currently non-compliant.  Which means there a convicted child molester who spent 16 years in prison for the rape of a six-year-old girl running the streets of Chicago. He was 62-years-old at the time. Now he is 82. An old ass nasty child molesting bastard.

pamgrier

Lawrence Correctional Center
10930 Lawrence Road
Sumner, IL 62466
Dear Mr. Hunt:
This letter to you has been a long time coming. If you don’t remember me, my name is Kathy Henry, your ex-girlfriend, Gertrude’s daughter. You came into my life when I was ten-years-old and from the moment you appeared, I knew you was not shit. My mother thought that I was just jealous because I never had to share her before, but instinctively I knew that your presence would mean no good for me.
At first, you seemed like a good man for my mother. You helped pay her bills, gave me an allowance and pretended that you were a stand-up guy and father figure but you weren’t shit. You were and still are a child-molesting, motherfucking pig who took away my innocence when I was eleven-years-old.

PhotoELF Edits: 2014:10:08 --- Batch Resized

Do you remember coming into my bedroom when my mother was asleep and feeling on my-then-budding body? I used to lie in my bed, fearing when you would come over because that meant I would have to sleep in my street clothes instead of a nightgown to protect myself. No little girl should have to go through that but that was my life for four years. Four fucking years.
You never penetrated me vaginally, but the damage you inflicted on my psyche was immeasurable. I was just a little girl whose only thoughts were of Barbie Dolls, books and my cat Boogie-Woogie and you made me feel like a filthy whore because the feelings you stirred in my body felt good. How could a good girl feel like that? From then on, I believed that I was no good and I blame you for that.
I became sexually active at the age of fifteen and was the mother to two children by time I was twenty-one-years old. No one put a gun to my head, but you made me feel like I was just a piece of ass and for a long time I believed that no decent man would want a nasty, dirty female like me who got herself molested because I was wearing a size 38 Double D bra at the age of eleven.
I never told my mother you molested me because I was afraid that she would not believe me. I only told her after you got arrested for taking away the innocence of another little girl, age six and the pain in my mother’s face is something that will haunt me until my dying day.
You are scheduled for parole on July 21, 2011, nine days before your 78th birthday, but the system kept your sorry ass in prison and if I have my way you will never get out because I plan on doing everything in my power to make sure your slimy ass stays behind bars for the rest of your life. You do not deserve to be free on the streets to have another opportunity to ruin another little girl’s life. God knows how many little girls you molested, but as long as I have breath in my body you will never walk the streets of Chicago again.
It is not fair that you are alive to see another birthday and my mother is dead. She died five years ago from complications from diabetes, and I still mourn her passing every day. But the world is not fair. She is in a better place and not in pain but you have been in pain every day. No freedom, referred to as a number, no normal sex life. Oh, I forgot, you are not a normal man anyway, but a fucking pervert.
I hope that the last fifteen years of your life has been hell on earth and that you are getting molested by some big, burly dude on a nightly basis. Child molesters get treated like shit in prison and I know that you have received your comeuppance. Do you lie on your bunk at night, scared and shaking, hearing the footsteps of your predator, knowing what is going to happen? Good.
Just one more question and I will leave you alone, Mr. Hunt. How could you destroy my life so willfully? I was a little girl, and with one-act you took away my innocence and my ability to ever trust a man fully. I have come to the conclusion at the age of forty-one that I will probably never get married because I do not have it in me to give myself totally in a relationship because I do not trust men.
In a just society, you would have been sentenced to life in prison for your crimes, but unfortunately that is not the way of the American judicial system. Maybe you have repented, but I doubt it. A leopard doesn’t change his spots but learns to camouflage. God may have mercy on your soul, but I don’t and I hope that you rot in hell.
Sincerely,
Kathy M. Henry

Unfinished Business – Race Relations between Blacks and Whites in America

One of the least known facts about the concept of race is that that it is a socially constructed ideology. Race and subsequent racism was created by Europeans and Americans (white people) in order to justify the enslavement of millions of people (black people) for profit. When people feel guilty about an action they committed, they will often try to find ways of justifying their actions. This is what Europeans and Americans did when they decided to explain away the actions of human bondage by declaring Africans subhuman. In doing this, they changed the interpretation of history itself. A land where complex civilizations had existed for centuries was reduced to the “Dark Continent” and its people declared savages. All in the name of profit for the status quo and converting the “natives” to Christianity. The history of Africa was rewritten to make whites the conquerors who ‘civilized’ the natives. Just like in the movies.

Although ‘race’ as a description of the physical condition probably dates back to the dawn of the human species, most scholars agree that it was primarily through European expansion in the 16th to the 19th century that ‘race’ as a physical description emerged. It was when European colonizers, whose aim was mainly to seek out valuable primary products such as sugar, tin, rubber and human labor, came into contact with ‘native’ populations who were ‘people of color’ that racism became a dominant force in Western society. In order to maintain control of these populations, they were defined as inferior human beings primarily because of their different cultural practices as well as not being white, the desired and ‘normal’ skin color. However, pushing such people to the margins of society did not stop European and American men from sexually mixing with African women, producing an entire group of people cannot trace their ancestry and have no history as a result. In order to make money and conquer, race as a biological factor was constructed and became a major factor in discrimination against people who who taken against their will and stripped of their culture. This ideology rapidly spread throughout Europe and the Americas, spreading the doctrines of alleged black inferiority and white supremacy that still exist to this day. Just turn on the television.

The ideology of racial dictatorship and hierarchy quickly took root in American society by the signing of a famous document, “The United States Constitution.” This document states emphatically, ‘We the People of the United States.’ The question proposed from this statement is, who exactly are “the People?” It certainly was not the enslaved Africans because they were considered to be three fifths of a human being. In addition to the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence also posed many questions of racism. The Declaration of Independence was written to sever ties in which people were denied their unalienable rights. However, the Constitution was still denying several people of their life, liberty, and or the pursuit of happiness on the basis of the some as mundane as skin color. It is obvious to see that the Constitution laid the framework for a segregated, racial society in America.

Enslaved Africans were just as human as the white men whose rights were secured through the signing of the Constitution, but their rights did not matter. Because they did not have any rights, they were forced to live in a society in which the government officials did not represent them. Equality and justice was not for all, just for wealthy, land-owning white men. Almost like today. The practice of discriminating on the basis of skin color was born and would be legal until the six decade of the twentieth century. Even in the new millennium, racial inequalities still plague America and until this country can admit the wrongs done to enslaved Africans and their ancestors, this country will be plagued.