This week Black women have been very vocal about the atrocities of male misogyny and racial bigotry on Twitter. It started with the hashtag #solidarityisforwhitewomen started by @karnythia which spoke to the issue of black women not having an available seat at the table among white feminists. The social cause for issues of feminism appears to trump gender over race. The following night, another popular hashtag called #blackpowerisforblackmen started by Jamilah Lemieux questioned black male privilege which was left to have black men question how their role affects the progress of black women. I jumped into the hashtag myself questioning the social construct of nerdiness in white culture.
I’ve had the discussion before on this blog and on Twitter that nerdiness has always been equated with whiteness and that black nerdiness is perceived in mainstream culture as an oddity. I would love to vent for the next few paragraphs about the fact that the premiere of Heroes of Cosplay on the SyFy network have absolutely NO nerds of color on there. We are yet again dismissed in nerd culture as a subculture that exists.
My beef right now is with Russell Simmons. I will be honest and say that Russell Simmons is the last person I would ever expect to see release vile content such as this:
I am appalled and disgusted at the fact that this video, which is a part of his new All Def Digital YouTube channel, is somehow supposed to be depicted as comical. The joke is actually on us as Black women who have been raped, beaten, and brutalized during the years Harriet Tubman was valiant enough to risk her life to free slaves via the Underground Railroad. The perpetuating and malicious stereotypes of Black women appear to gain more traction and put many of us that do not fit those stereotypes at a major disadvantage. It’s easy to cry a protest when someone who is white says the N-word and a sudden outpouring of criticism and vitriol is smacked across the face of Paula Deen, however when it comes to women of color being humiliated and disgraced, it's simply satire.
This video, among several other racist tropes that take place in the world of social media, have a low regard for Black women. This is why Black women have so much difficulty getting the opportunity to “Lean In” and have our seat at the table. We have been labeled as monoliths by the Jezebel, Sapphire, and Mammy tropes. We are either sexualized divas, the angry black woman, or the mother hen who takes care of all. You know, the “strong black woman”
That sounds like me alright.
There is a change.org petition online to have the video removed. I highly suggest you go to the link and sign the petition. I also encourage you to make noise about this through social media that this tasteless video is unacceptable and it is incredibly disrespectful to the memory of Harriet Tubman. I’m not an uber fan of Russell Simmons nor his hip hop enterprise, so if you want to ban his products, that is completely up to you. I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s career or affect their well-being because of a moronic move.
However, I hope that Simmons will offer a public apology to Black women for this abhorrent video. I would expect a man who lives on an animal free diet, practices Yoga, and allegedly lives a centered and balanced life would do some more soul searching to find out why there is some self-hatred of his own culture? I can only assume---and yes, I’m speculating here, that someone who agrees that this kind of “satire” is acceptable and dare I say funny, seriously has some issues with their self-worth. After the hashtag #blackpowerisforblackmen started trending, a black man tweeted to me, for those of us who are listening, what can we do? My initial reply was to simply support our efforts. However, now this video has gone viral I ask that you simply sign the petition and sound off just like the rest of us to remove trash like this from the interwebs.
If Black people can rally together to castigate a White person from uttering racist remarks about us, then let us not turn a blind eye when one of our own uses racist content to exploit us for their own financial gain. Our loyalty should be to the social cause of eliminating these racist tropes and no one should be immune to criticism simply because we share the same color. Black women can stand up for themselves, but every once in a while we would like the opportunity to have someone stand up for us.