Darker-complexioned blacks have always had a rougher time in this country. They
were the field hands while their lighter-skinned brothers and sisters got to
work in the shade of the slave-holder's house. This visceral hatred by many
whites of darker blacks contaminated our own community to some degree until this century, when we finally began seeing gorgeous dark women on music videos. Much of white America has not caught up with us. I often wonder if Michelle Obama was as light as her husband or looked like a Beyonce, they wouldn't be quite as crazy in their hatred.
This is also because she does not fit their Euro standard of beauty.If/when he gets elected, frequent exposure of Michelle will become normal to many of them and gradually these ones will accept her. Others will never accept a black couple in the White House even if they could restore the economy and bring peace to entire world. It's too threatening to their illusion of white supremacy.
Maybe some of their children won't be so ignorant.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
BLACK LIKE ME, YOU, AND US
I was perusing a post about Michelle Obama over at Gina's blog What About Our Daughters? and came across a comment written by someone name KIT (Keep It Trill). Here is the comment in its entirety:
The comment has some good merits, but stumbles at the start because of the fundamentally deficient assumption that "Field Negroes" somehow endured or more dehumanizing and harsh form of slavery than the "House Negroes". This irritates me to no end because it smacks of a litmus test for one's authenticity of blackness. For anyone who purports to be an aficionado of African American History or Black Studies, this is assumption understates the inherent wrong of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. I'll get back to this later, but I do want discuss the notion that blacks with light skin are treated better than blacks with dark skin, using the FN vs. HN ideal as the basis for that assumption.
In order for the the argument to be true from a philosophical perspective one would have to assume that all FN are dark skinned blacks and that all HN are light-skinned blacks. How would one be able to know this without thoroughly reviewing slave masters records to determine who was purchased, for what jobs, and after arriving at the plantation after "seasoning", assigned to what living quarters?
If it cannot be done, and we don't know this to be true, let's stop using this as a basis for the FN vs. HN argument.
Let's also look at the practice of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade. According to Dr. Marimba Ani (Dona Richards), she coined the term Maafa or "widespread destruction" to describe the TAST. She made no distinctions among classes or colors of enslaved Africans because anyone stolen from Africa during the Maafa was subjected to equally abusive treatment by their white slave owners. Unless the practice drastically changed as enslaved Africans were delivered to the U.S., which I surmise that it didn't given our current racial climate, then the FN vs. HN argument is further negated.
With this in mind, I think it's historically accurate to say that regardless of one's complexion, if they were enslaved and black (not excluding the native indigenous people whose land was stolen from them, but for this argument they aren't relevant...yet), they were treated with disdain and disgust by the white people who owned them. The Field Negro may have had to work all day in the field, be beaten and abused, and in many cases killed, but does that automatically mean that the House Negro did not have to endure the same level of treatment? How about the rape, sodomy, pedophilia, destruction of family, psychological abuse, and overall ill treatment by the white woman because you're mulatto appearance is a constant reminder of her sexual inadequacy and her husband's wanton lust for black flesh? Does that sound like a less caustic form of forced labor and deprivation of freedom and dignity?
There's also the common misconception that the HN actually LIVED in the "big house" with the "Massa". This could not be further from the truth. Enslaved blacks were not considered people then and they were still some white person's property. They were forced to live in conditions as deplorable as the FN and in most cases they lived together. The HN ONLY worked IN AND cleaned the house. They didn't get to sip lemonade on the Veranda and regale Massa with tales of how they used to wrestle Lions and Tigers in the bush.
When I was about 13 years old I competed in a talent show by reciting a piece I had written called Black Is, Black Was, and Black Will Always Be. I won. However, the runner-up to my oratory was a team of two black girls who both wrote a short skit about what it meant to be black. The title of the play was called "Blackness in Your Soul". The skit was about 15 minutes long, but it was VERY powerful and so relevant to our color obsessesed culture. They were both slaves, one was the HN and the other the FN. When they compared each other's first hand accounts of their experiences as slaves, they cried and hugged each other. They also apologized for thinking one had it better or worse than the other.
I'll paraphrase one quote that I can remember (this was 20 years ago). It went like this, "Blackness is in your soul because don't you know that the darkest brother can sell you out when you fairest sister will give her life for you?"
My point is that the authenticity of one's blackness cannot be measured by one's phenotype. We are not a monolith. What makes us black is our collective, systematic oppression by white people. I am no less threatening to a white person as a light-skinned black man. They simply see me as part of a monolith. This thinking is dangerous and KIT talks about this in the rest of their comment and they do make some salient points. Conversely though, I am left to wonder if they truly believe that because my skin may be slightly lighter than theirs that it makes me less likely to experience the hell that all black people have gone through.
Light, Dark, Brown, Pecan, Caramel, Burnt Sienna, Red... we are ALL black and for that, I am proud, unapologetic, and most important of all, unashamed.