African-American women are invisible

A study from Psychology Today stated that AA women are "invisible." Not only are we not noticed, and people have difficulty remembering our faces; but they also do not pay attention to what we say. They think that we are interchangeable with other AA women. Of course, we already knew that. The television tells us everyday, "We won't acknowledge you unless you look white." While we see male AA characters who actually look as if they are of African descent, virtually all female AA characters are subject to a paper bag test. Women who look Hispanic, mixed, or white with a perm are cast in our roles.
"Black" Daphne from Queer as Folk is a typical example
Television on the other hand typically uses male AA actors who actually appear to be Black, so it is no surprise to me that the study showed that they were listened to and noticed by the participants in the study. The phenomena of AA women being represented on TV by women who do not look like they're of African descent is related to why society does not acknowledge us, and I wish that another study would further explore this topic.

In addition, I can also see that AA women feel ignored as well, which is why many seem rather obsessive on topics concerning Interracial and Black-love relationships and dating. Perceiving that they are regarded as irrelevant, they feel a stronger need to get validation from men. When some women don't love themselves, they try to compensate by relying on men for attention.

A day or two ago, I came across a series of paintings by Margret Bowland that express the invisibility that AA women experience because we do not fit into the white standard. Besides their perceptiveness, what makes her paintings even more remarkable is the fact that she is European-American. She has such keen insight into what it is like to be an "other," to not be respected because you are not someone else.
Flower Girl #2 (2009) AnotherThe Artist, 2010
The following is a portion of a statement by Bowland on this issue. You can read it in its entirety here.

We inhabit a purely relative world, in terms of belief structures, yet each of us knows and in a sense, believes in, the need to be beautiful. My work is about beauty—what it means to be beautiful and what significance the idea has in the twenty-first century in the world of art. We all know that being beautiful is as important as being rich, that being beautiful is itself a form of wealth. One must be tall, thin and white. One’s features must be diminutive and regular. We recognize deviations from this norm, but recognize that these deviations, even if appealing, are far from ideal. The need to be beautiful fuels one of the largest and most ruthless industries in our world. 
Beauty makes sense to me, has weight for me, only when it falls from grace. It starts to matter when it carries damage. Sorrow allows it to cast a shadow. It becomes three-dimensional. It enters our world.
Looking at Manet’s Olympia, I wondered about the two women depicted—the young, naked prostitute and the black maid servant—about the relationship between them and to the man observing them. His implied presence began to unite them to me, not as lovers, but as the prey sharing a foxhole. In my imagination, the women of my paintings entered that room. What my century brings to the ideas of race and beauty and sexual allure began to overlay Manet’s.

The Myth of Traditional Marriage

So, I was reading in my sociology book today, and was struck by a passage that talked about love and marriage. Apparently, the two were, and remain in many areas around the world, separate from each other for most of history. Romance only began to be coupled with marriage in modern times, and the whole experience of falling in love emerged during the Middle Ages with aristocrats' extramarital love affairs. While they had romances with others, the relationships they had with their spouses were cold and distant.

I found this amusing because it reminded me of Conservatives "First comes love, then comes marriage..." idealistic view of relationships. They like to delude themselves into thinking that God has ordained one man and woman to fall in love and marry when really it hasn't been that way for most of our history. They don't realize that our perspectives on marriage are the results of centuries of social evolution, and that our perception of them will keep changing. God has not etched on a stone tablet how relationships are supposed to look, and we have not only recently deviated from some social norm. On the contrary, what Conservatives consider to be God's will for marriage is a recent development that the world hasn't seen before.

On a side note, it amuses me how Christians call one man-one woman "traditional marriage" when one can clearly see that polygamy is more traditional, at least in the Bible in any case.

African-Americans supporting racism and ignorance


I just read this article about Lil Wayne’s hatred of dark skinned women. Now, I don’t care about Lil Wayne nor his statements (as I’ve never listened to his music or that of any other rappers, for that matter), and I won’t discuss the irony of his disgust for dark women, considering that he is dark himself. Also, I’m not surprised by his comments as I’ve heard rappers say similar things. However, I am disappointed that when they make such statements, AAs not only do not bat an eye but continue to lap their music up. If anyone of European descent said that we were ugly or inferior in anyway because of our skin color, AAs would be appalled, yet they throw millions of dollars toward rappers who only demean our worth and refer to us as "bitches" and "hoes". How oblivious are we that we actually pay someone to insult us--especially AA women who idolize singers and other celebrities who have a paper bag test for the women they associate with and allow in their videos? I will not expect the conditions of African-Americans to change in this country while we continue to oppress ourselves. As long as we, and the people that we esteem, associate our worth to the color of our skin and the texture of our hair, the problems that plague our community will continue to persist.

Another reaction to Lil Wayne's statements that I find quite irritating are some people’s dismal of them as just a preference, as if our “preferences” just arise from nowhere and are therefore trivial. We are all aware of the racial hierarchy in this country from when we are just children. These “preferences” of men are merely the racism they learned during childhood manifesting itself when they are adults. We can’t remedy problems when we will not even acknowledge that they exist. The more that we have discussions about colorism, the more likely it is that people will confront the self-hatred and internalized racism that fuels their biases toward skin color. 

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