Never underestimate the wider (dominant) society's need for using the socially marginalized to provide them with entertainment, amusement, distraction and to do the work which they feel is beneath them.
Untouchable do the dirtiest jobs in certain parts of South East Asia.
Indeed I have been told by those in the know, that black women in particular tend to be first in line to sell some product that has an unglamorous but necessary function or communicate an icky message. Yep ‘get rid of lice’, and the face of the black girl is flashed, or ‘do you have constipation?’ and the sad face of the black woman is brought into focus.
We have to understand the dynamic that brings into existence many of these images that embarrass black women and make their path through life difficult by miring their image and the ‘sense’ of black womanhood in unpleasantness.
There are books that have been written to explore how blacks have been used in the past to sell soap, toothpaste and the likes. Many of these adverts were blatant in negatively focussing on black traits e.g. soaps so effective they can wash out even blackness!
The need to sell unglamorous products has not gone away, neither has the need to provide a laughingstock or clowns or buffoons etc ceased. In addition the need to provide comfort to some by enabling them feel superior to others by these others, adopting an inferior posture or manner is increasing as overt forms of discrimination become generally resisted. Indeed sophisticated and subliminal ways are now employed to 'uphold' the general opressive narrative and working of society and the oppressed are choreographed to play their necessary role without which the oppressive structure itself would give way.
It is important to understand there will always be the seeking of those who will play certain ‘roles’ for society. It will always be there. What black women need to ensure is that they do not continue to be the obvious choice, and that the recruiters ‘think twice’ before they pick up the ‘black chess piece,’ to play the buffoon and the clown and the ‘diseased’ one, or the one who makes all the others feel secure by having her own attributes rendered less than. Remember the ‘need’ will always be there, and thus the ‘recruiters’ of the actors will always go out, the only variable here is who gets to play the sordid part, who gets to be pinned with the tail.
Politically black men have become too slippery for the role
Yes political backlash has placed a slippery film over black men, so that when the ‘recruiters’ come, they don’t feel comfortable reaching for them or they cant get a good grip. But they don’t need to leave disappointed, because black women are right there, without any slippery film of political protection around them, securing them against misuse. They are just ready and ‘right’ for use. No one makes too much of a fuss anyway, when black women have the tail pinned on. In fact, everyone, including the black women, find it all funny.
But there is a price to pay.
Soon black women don’t understand why others accuse them of being ‘aggressive’ even when they haven’t even said a word, or why the world is quick to believe they attacked a innocent white woman an innocent white woman (The discussion at Christelyn Karazin’s blog reminded me of this one). They don’t understand why their colleagues come to them seeking consolation for their latest drama yet never ask them how their life is going.
The coarsening of bw image is something that has happened over time. When a woman's image is coarsened as the black woman's has, she gets to play negative roles even those that society will wave away as not important to mention, or not serious issues, yet these unaknowleged 'positionings' play a powerful role in how she is perceived (the generally perception of black women) and ultimately adds to the lowering of the black female stock.
I been reading some of the 'general' media responses to the Pepsi advert and none of them are picking up the angle of bw's concerns at least as expressed her on BWE blogs ie being 'jealous' or black women made out to be less attractive and bitter and ready to do physical violence on or for a man. General society or general discourse space has no patience with certain debates for sure. But we all know how deeply impacting the idea of bw as less attractive (highlighted in the pepsi ad as an insecure response to her man and impacting the other woman) has on the self esteem of black women especially in addition to all other factors and actors that have a culmulative effect of tearing at the esteem of black women.
I want to point out that black women tend to define issues in terms that no one cares about.
In defending her image, the challenge of bw is to define issues in terms that society at present is willing to take seriously and enagage with and also which has the intended consequence of also sweeping up and away all the other 'deemed unserious' issues which are pretty serious to black women's peace of mind!
Having said all that, i have now received a link that the issue of bw being positioned as jealous of ww has been picked up and commented on but not in bw favour
Here’s a link to a petition that change.org started, in case anyone’s interested in signing: http://www.change.org/petitions/boycott-pepsi---racist-superbowl-commercial-stereotypes-black-women#signatures
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