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Feeling bad about being black..

March 9, 2018

I’m not black, and I hadn’t planned on writing this post.

However, I’m often on a question and answer website called Quora.com. People ask practically any kind of question imaginable, and other people answer those questions.

Here is my prologue, which I posted on facebook just now (yes, I’m a nut.. I post long essays on facebook), but not on Quora..

“Ok, so.. another very long, controversial essay.. maybe I’m sort of trying to court the ire of people.. not good. I write for a variety of reasons, and potential self harm might just be one of them (ok, it is one of the reasons).

Writing is also damn hard. But I like getting my ideas out there, and not just keep them in my head. I think a lot about things.. and some people – so far at least – have liked what I’ve written.

Tonight, I’m tackling the subject of racism against black people. I wasn’t planning on doing this, but I’m often on a question and answer website called Quora, and I found this question, which I decided to answer:”

I am starting to hate my own race? I hate being black? Am I wrong for feeling like this?”

And here is my answer..

It’s possible whoever wrote this question did so with the intention of seeing if any white people would be stupid enough to answer it.

It’s also possible that the person who asked this question was being sincere.

Regardless, I’m white, and I’m going to answer the question. Some people will object to a white guy answering, but I don’t care.

My answer is lengthy, and I get deep. I’m probably also going to piss some people off. This is not my intention. I’d just rather be truthful than politically correct.

Don’t feel bad for feeling the way you do. You are feeling that way in large part because of societal conditioning that goes back centuries. Negative portrayal of black people in the media, and in society in general. Still happening today. Some of the negative black stereotypes are self-inflicted by black people. This doesn’t help. More on this in a bit.

Decades ago, there was an experiment. Young black girls were given dolls that looked like white girls, and dolls that looked like black girls. When asked which dolls they liked best, the black girls chose the white dolls. Every time.

Things aren’t so bad now as when the study was conducted, but still pretty rough for black people in a lot of ways.

Negative portrayal of black people in the media..

Let us consider pretty much all action movies. Who dies first, or who is the most likely to die in pretty much any action movie, especially if the characters are minor, such as cops, security guards, random people? The incidental characters who are black are more likely in general to be killed.

There are spoilers in the examples I’m about to list.. I’m mentioning the films “Logan,” “The Dark Knight,” “RED,” “Hitman,” “The Black Panther,” “Thor,” “CA II: The Winter Soldier,” and “The Blind Side.”

One example, in the film “Logan.” It is a black rural family that gets wiped out when the people chasing Logan track him down to a farm.

Another example – watch the fate of various black characters in the second Christian Bale Batman film, “The Dark Knight.” Who gets a pencil jammed into his brain through his eye ball by the Joker? A black guy. The Joker is so white he’s wearing white makeup. You’ll see other black guys meeting unfortunate ends in that film. Horrible things happen to white guys too, of course, especially Harvey Dent, but more often to black guys, or at least, more noticeably.

And there’s “RED,” an action film with Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and others. Who plays the character who sacrifices his life, while the others go on to more glory and having a good time? Morgan Freeman. Yes, his sacrifice is noble, but wouldn’t it be cooler if something unexpected happened, and Bruce Willis played the dude who sacrificed his life, and Freeman’s character lived on?

How about “Hitman?” Timothy Olyphant (white guy) plays the title character. There’s one scene where he has to fight off and kill a bunch of other hitmen. Who is the only one that is strangled by Olyphant’s character? The black hitman. I was shocked. This was a lynching.

How about “The Black Panther?” Black empowerment film, right? Yes, in a way, but.. Consider this.. The Black Panther is the only male superhero who is helped almost entirely by a group of really strong and smart women. (Yes, while Thor is on Earth, he is helped by a smart woman, played by Natalie Portman, and a comic relief woman, played by Kat Dennings, but he is also helped by a male scientist, played by Stellan Skarsgard).

T’Challa’s bodyguards and elite warriors are a group of bald, rather masculine women. He is also helped by his sister and ex-girlfriend. This seems emasculating to me. (And no, I’m not a misogynist, just making a point.. gosh I’m going to take a lot of heat for this quora answer. I don’t tend to respond to comments, so write whatever you want). I was really hoping “The Black Panther” would be a better film, since the character is awesome, and so is the actor who plays him. Chadwick Boseman is a phenomenal actor! We’ll be seeing a lot more of this guy, in a variety of roles, I hope.

What about Captain America? Yes, Cap is teamed up with Black Widow in CA II: The Winter Soldier, but she is only one woman. Not a whole group of women.

Also, in “Black Panther,” the man who is head of the rhino tribe is the lover of one of the main bald female bodyguards, and she is tougher than he is. The filmmakers make sure we notice this.

And there is a gorilla tribe.. possibly another racist connotation. Black people in times past have been called “monkeys” and “apes.”

Black men are even being dissed in “The Black Panther,” which is more a black female empowerment movie, (and a female empowerment movie in general) than a black male empowerment movie, in my opinion.

Black characters might die first in horror films as well. I’m not sure, since I’ve not watched many horror films. (Of course, there’s “Get Out,” which is blatantly, horrifically racist, but racist against white people. Payback time, folks).

There’s even a line in a comedy-horror film called “Evolution.” Orlando Jones, the black actor in the cast, is faced with a monster, and a dangerous situation, and says something like, “Oh no, I’ve seen this one. The black guy dies first.” (He doesn’t die though, at least).

There’s racism in other movies too. Consider “The Blind Side” – a mentally slow, huge black kid is given lots of help by a very very wealthy white woman and her family. I was offended by that film, and I’m white. A terribly condescending movie – and Sandra Bullock won a Best Actress Oscar (completely undeserved) for her portrayal of the generous southern white woman.

I would have liked to have seen the reverse of that film. A really rich black family takes in a slow, huge white kid, and helps him. But not many folks would take that film seriously.

How about daytime TV (which I try to avoid). On daytime talk shows, it’s usually black people, especially black women, who are going crazy and pulling each other’s hair out. This is self-inflicted negative portrayal of black people in the media.

And there’s the show “Cops,” which used to be on a lot. Seems like almost every time a person was getting arrested, that person was black. (I could be wrong though, I only watched a few episodes). But it could be that whoever made the program chose to show more black people being arrested than other folks, to make black people look bad.

It’s likely mostly white people who made that show, and who chose to put it on the air. And lots of the cops are white too, right?

Black people make life rough on themselves too. I read a statistic awhile back – don’t know how accurate it was – but it was something like 73% of black children being born out of wedlock. Not good. Just about every black person I’ve seen interviewed on TV talks about being raised by a single mom, and who knows where dad is.

And then there are your role models.. some good, some OK, and some, many, in my opinion.. bad.

Do you pay attention to the lyrics of most rappers? Astonishingly horrible stuff! I listened to less than 3 minutes of Kanye’s album, “Yeezus,” before I turned it off. I felt sick.

Donald Glover – I like him a lot! – As an actor. But not as a rapper. His lyrics get really foul too.

And look what so many rappers do with their money – they go crazy, and live ridiculously lavish lifestyles – for awhile at least, until many of them go broke.

And what about how so many of them look? Pants down below their backsides, tattoos on their faces, diamonds in their teeth. Kinda tough to take such people seriously if they look like that. At least, as far as I can tell, the members of Goodie Mob were looking that way ironically – being playful, making fun of that sort of image. But I could be wrong. A better than average rap group though, even if some of their lyrics get raw.

Best rap group? Public Enemy. Their classic albums don’t have much profanity, are very positive about being black, express better values than most rappers, (although I am not fond of their promotion of the Nation of Islam -considering some of the things said by its leaders), and Flavor Flav was clowning on purpose.

What about black people using the “n” word as a term of endearment? Confuses the heck out of those of us who are not black. Yes, I know, “it’s a black thing.” Something I of course cannot understand.

If you are black in America, especially a black male, the deck is truly stacked against you.

But you can be strong and smart, reject negative stereotypes, look to more inspiring role models, listen to better music – most music created by black artists in this country – jazz, blues (and we would not have rock music without blues), soul, funk, even some hip-hop – is amazing – behave wisely, and be an awesome person, no matter what others might think, and no matter how negatively black people are so often portrayed in the media.

And above all else.. don’t hate yourself.. whoever you are.

 

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