Apr 24, 2012

**WARNING*** SENSITIVE SUBJECT MATTER 

 You have been warned.  I have touched on some issues on here that have turned into tinder boxes even when I didn't think they would be...BUT I am telling you up front, that I am taking the gloves off on this one and MOST of you are not going to like it.  You are definitely entitled to your opinion and that's what the comment box below is for but I am also entitled to mine and I am expressing it today.

I'm throwing Savvy Sista under the bus on this one because I really believe that she is the one who convinced me to watch Single Ladies last season (but I may be re-writing history, I may have brought it up to her).  Anyway, the point is, I watched it.  And though I didn't think there was anything ground breaking about it, I supported the show the entire season for a couple of reasons:

1) We complain about the lack of roles for Black actors/actresses and this show was giving them a paycheck and so I wanted to support that;

2) Although, I found the acting to be a little lacking, I liked the concept and loved that it was filmed in Atlanta, which meant my city was getting an economic boost and some positive exposure.

Now when I decide to support you in something, I also become one of your biggest cheerleaders, so I didn't just watch the show, I mentioned it to other people and recruited new viewers.   One of the new viewers I recruited, happens to be a long time friend of mine.  We'll call her "X".   X and I have been friends for well over 13 years now and we aren't the friends in I see you once in a blue moon kinda friends.  We are the meet once a month for lunch, talk on the phone at least once every two weeks kind of friends.  And because some of you may or may not feel this is important later in the story.  X is a white woman.

Anyway, with VH-1 promoting it up for the new season of Single Ladies, she hit me up on messenger today and this is how the conversation went.

X: New Season Single Ladies, where are we watching the season premiere, my place or yours? We can order Chinese food.
Me: uh, doesn't matter
X: What's wrong?
Me: Nothing, just not as excited about it this year.
X: Why?? Because Stacey Dash is gone? You were always complaining about them giving the skinny girl all the cute clothes while the curvy girl got the frump wear anyway.
Me: LOL!! I did say that. They did Lisaraye wrong.
X: Okay, so again, what's the problem?
Me: We can watch the show... besides you don't really want to know why I'm annoyed about it
X: If I didn't want to know I wouldn't ask!! DUH!! I am well aware of the fact that you need medication for your neuroses
Me: Okay, when they named the new actress a few months back, I had never heard of the chick so I googled her and the first things that came up were her interviews where she refers to herself as Latina instead of Black.
X: WTH are you talking about???
Me: She says she's Puerto Rican, Dominican and Greek
X: Wait a minute, you discriminating against her because she's MIXED??? You're MIXED!!
Me: I AM NOT MIXED!!! I am a BLACK woman.  I happen to be a by product of several interracial marriages.  And you are  missing my point. Puerto Rican is not a race, it's an ethnicity.  There are White Puerto Ricans who are descendants of the Spaniards who colonized Puerto Rico.  The are Native American Puerto Ricans who are descendant of the Taino Indians, the original inhabitants  of the Island and there are Black Puerto Ricans who are descended from the slaves that were brought to the Island.
X: I don't get you. I have met your family... and quite frankly they are a mixed bag.  You have white relatives, like as in your grandparents are not Black.  Your grandmother lived on a reservation until she got married, you are descended from Indian Chiefs, so if you are Black then why isn't SHE??
Me: That's my whole point. SHE IS!! But she doesn't want to be identified as such, so why is taking a role that was written for a Black actress??

After that we had to take the conversation offline so that I could explain myself.  In the end, we agreed to disagree. I will say that she brought up another interesting point on the phone.  According to her, I am ashamed to admit my white heritage (I don't think that I am, I just don't feel the need to broadcast it because at the end of the day, I'm still a Black woman) but I am now penalizing her for being on the other side of the coin.

Okay so I know people are going to have many thoughts on this subject and some of you will be too shy to say anything but the truth is that the only way we tackle these closet issues is if we pull them out on the floor and discuss them.  Maybe I am missing something but I just think that if you are actively seeking roles written for Black women, you should at least identify yourself as Black.  Years ago when Angelina Jolie was cast in the role of Mariane Pearl, people had plenty to say about a white woman playing a Black (Bi-racial) woman but there is nothing said when women who at least appear to be Black, deny that they are Black while taking roles meant for Black women.  Enlighten me as to why this okay...I'll be waiting with an open mind....
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