Sunday, April 24, 2005

The African-American Dilemma: Colorism - Real or Imaginary?

The African-American Dilemma: Real or Imaginary

Here we go again. Black Americans are still looking for an identity. Pick combs, Kwanzaa - or maybe Kanesha, Lavetta, Latonda, Lashonda - you name it. Offspring branded for life – and what a damn shame at that. From “boy” to “colored” to “black” to “Negro” to “Afro” to “African-American” and so on, it’s all become a sad joke – just hype and more African-American jive. Unless a substantial majority of one’s ancestry is from a “black” African country along with other qualifying characteristics, they’ll never be considered to be an “African-anything”, much to the delight of those who hail from the vast continent of Africa itself, and to the chagrin of many an unknown wannabe.

One Drop…

Just as in the old 1/32 rule (i.e., White America’s haunting but misguided attempt at racial purity), many black Americans have been unceremoniously sucked into the endless void of distinct colorization championed by nothing more than a bunch of hypocritical self-anointed “think tank” talking heads who themselves proclaim to be the defacto leaders of a non-existent black psyche. What is African American? Is the jury still out?

World View…

Funny thing - when U.S. residents of nationalities from abroad hyphenate themselves as in British-American, Jamaican-American, Chinese-American, etc., at least they have an actual country to identify with. The so-called U.S.-born “African-Americans” (i.e., blacks) in general can’t even trace their heritage to any single country in Africa, thus it seems as if they’ve hijacked “African” as a pathetic moniker for their own delusional misgivings about being a person of color more closely associated with the indigenous “black” peoples of the African continent. In other words, they don’t like the connotations associated with the color “black”. Last time I looked, black was just a color and theoretically, it simply represents the absence of light. That’s about it.

Colorism…

Isn’t it interesting that even though “black America” as a whole seems to be desperately trying to African-Americanize virtually everything in its domain from media to business to food, etc., skin color still is and will continue to be the defining factor within the black community when it comes to beauty, success, trustworthiness, aptitude and much more. Forget the hair, forget the nose, blue veins are where it goes, or at least they say – colorism, that is. And don’t think for a hot minute that white America isn’t satisfied with watching black Americans aggressively reaffirm themselves as African-Americans. As W.C. Fields put it, “there’s a sucker born every minute”.

Deception?

Just think what life must be like for those of mixed race (i.e., in this case, black and whatever). Despite a longing for their own unique and perhaps justified identity, they’ve been dragged down into the African-American quagmire. Is this simply a ploy by their elected “African-American” leaders to “pump up” the numbers and inflate the census, or is it something more sinister as in denying an entire group of people the intrinsic right to correctly self-identify themselves without fear of persecution from the “black” masses?

TV Time…

A brief look at the media – mainstream, cable, print, etc. Last time I watched BET, virtually every music video featured nothing more than a bunch of big-lipped dark-skinned non-singing jewelry-dripping “black English-speaking (Blinglish – is it language, or is it bling?)” “peasy-head looking” “brothers” parading around with a harem of long-haired fine-featured high-yellow ass sisters, white girls and island-hopping Buddha heads. Didn’t see Aunt Jemima in that crowd, huh? Nothing wrong with sporting a little high-yellow booty on your arm, now is it fellas? Brothers just kill me when they walk by – and you can just hear them saying, “look what I got!” I’ve “arrived. How insane. The only thing they’ve got is low self-esteem. Many of these guys are nothing more than “trophy hunters”, and many of the high-yellow honeys they conquer (i.e., as in “not appreciate”) don’t even realize just how short the end of the stick they’re getting really is. And by the way, lest our ears deceive us, will we ever see a “black” burger commercial without some kind of “black-themed” buffoonish hip-hop jingle tune dreamed up by some white guy who thinks the “hood” is in his pants? You know, it just amazes me how much advertisers struggle to depict the “African-American”. They get it wrong almost every time, because “we’re’ not African-American, and never will be.

On television, numerous “black” actors who are comedians, or who portray high-profile lawyers, prominent doctors, influential business executives, cutting-edge technologists, superior athletes and so forth are all sporting either a piece of high-yellow ass, or something close to it. Most if not all of them profess to be “African-American”. However, it will likely snow in hell before you’ll find a genuine “African-American” (i.e., person of significant African lineage) that is high-yellow, partly yellow, or anything in that neighborhood, to say the least. Niggas, puhleeze! Talk about – light-skinned blacks will date virtually anyone, but dark-skinned blacks will aim straight for the yellow, or the “cream” as some put it. Hypocritical, or what?

All chiefs, but no Indians…

Last time I looked, the genuine African-American U.N. Secretary General, the only living U.S. African-American Supreme Court Justice, the most well-known U.S. African-American entertainment promoter, and a who’s who of U.S. African-American business leaders, sports figures and entertainers are either married to or have a main squeeze that is so far from “The Color Purple” that the ink hit the floor before the book went to print. My, oh my.

Same old Jive…

Come on - give me a break. What is this African-American bullshit? Damn near every “black” person I know will be the first to tell you that their ancestors were from some American Indian tribe or from Europe or Asia well before they’ll tell you that their other ancestors from ten, twenty and thirty generations ago were African kings, queens and people of nobility. Yes, those niggers are full of shit and “The Last Poets” go it right. Good luck if you can still find that release on the shelf.

Damn, that hurts!

Well, well, well. The hair thing - big, isn’t it? Not that big, really. If you haven’t noticed, long flowing hair is in, or should I say hair weaves? Guess those famous tennis sisters had better look out for the rain folks. It’s just damn shame that blacks, mulattos, 50/50’s and the like are still hung up on the African-American crutch when as a whole, “African-American” really constitutes a wide and ethnically diverse group of people in their minds; but in reality – only the African-Americans from Africa justly claim that right. Too bad it’s not recognized and admired as such. Interesting enough, the term African-American seems to be “played on” more often when 1) there is an attempt to marginalize, 2) there is an injustice, 3) there is an effort to isolate or 4) it’s time to complain.

Rant & Rave…

We could go on and on and on, but you get the point, or maybe you don’t. African-American’s we’re not. Black Americans we’re not. Proud Americans we definitely are, with our own great culture that rivals the most renowned of the breed. Mixed Americans virtually all of us are. Of course, if we identified with that category, we’d certainly rob other groups of their opportunity to not be white, and definitely not be black, or African-American. Who’s being fooled here? Last time I looked, even the Asians were dying their hair blonde, surgically changing their eye shape, getting blue colored contact lenses, and just about everything else that could fit on a credit card.

Lights Out…

And yes, for all y’all black “blacks” out there (and I don’t mean yellow or cinnamon brown - you know what I mean), unless you’ve got MJ’s (skin color changing) type of money – you’re going to black and maybe even purple black (i.e., real black) for the rest of your God Damn black lives, so get used to it. And what exactly “is” an African-American?

People might not say it, but most of them play it. “The color game.” Don’t take it too seriously.

And So It Goes…

p.s., Oh, and by the way... For all of you intellectually-gifted thesis-professing scholarly-leaning movement-gathering folks and the like who by now might feel a burning urge to respond to this article with venom: “been there, heard that, seen that, blah, blah, blah”. I’ve already heard the retorts, and yes - B.S and M.S. and PhD – “Bull(Shit) and Mule(Shit) Pile Higher and Deeper”. I plead the 5th. All said.