Black America In White Hollywood: Why We Don’t Have it All
Black shouldn’t be synonomous with broken; we need to do more for ourselves
Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a wealthy Southern wife and mother who takes in an underprivileged black youth into her home, changing the lives of both the young man and her family. Granted, this was based on the actual events of Michael Oher and his adoptive parents Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy but as heartwarming as this story was meant to be, I found its advertising campaign to be patronizing and demeaning. Yes, the young man was born into unfortunate circumstances and worked hard to change the conditions of his life, but why does Hollywood seem determined to emphasize how these wonderful Christians “saved” this boys life? I’m not saying that what these people did wasn’t generous and uncommon in today’s world, but what if Michael Oher hadn’t already been enrolled in the Briarcrest Christian School? Had he been just another uneducated young black man on the street would they have still helped him? Better yet, would they have even cared? It’s all well and good for one kid to be the exception but why exactly is it that in 2010, a black kid who goes to college and makes something of him (her)self without extenuating circumstances is so completely unheard of?
Personally, I spent twelve years in public school; and as was expected of me from an early age, I applied to, attended and graduated college. However, when it came to my graduation day I was shocked to see the number of locals where I attended school congratulating me.
One man, a complete stranger at that went as far as to offer me money when he saw me in my cap and gown. Yet all the while I couldn’t see why my graduating was so special? White kids do it all the time. It was then that I fully comprehended the way black America is still scrutinized even within itself. It’s no wonder then that White America belittles us the way they do for we have no expectations of ourselves, giving other ethnicities every reason to continue their degradation of our community. When a young black woman is told by a middle-aged white man that she “doesn’t sound the way she looks on the telephone” that is far from a compliment. Every time the number of urban teen pregnancies increases, that’s yet another stereotype to overcome. Why else would movies like Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire not only excel in the box office but win two Academy Awards, it surely wasn’t because of its fictional nature. Oprah Winfrey herself went as far as to insinuate that we all know someone who has been molested or abused. I don’t know what kind of home Oprah grew up in but I personally do not know anyone who was abused and somewhat resent the assumption. I don’t understand why growing up in a dysfunctional home full of drug abuse, neglect and resentment has become the new social norm in our community. Are we honestly still that primitive where we can’t see that we too deserve the happy marriage, yes, I said MARRIAGE with the 2 kids and the house with the white picket fence. Where are all the happy black families, and why doesn’t anyone seem interested in pushing them into the Hollywood limelight?
I love being black, but I’m sick of niggas. Yes, I said it. Niggas who would rather live in a crack den and accept public assistance than return to school and get a well paying job. Niggas who are all “aspiring rappers” or “producers”, but meanwhile don’t have the potential of being the next manager of the local Popeye’s. Niggas who want everything handed to them and won’t work to provide a better life for their children. Niggas who say people like me are “acting white” because we choose education over apathy and speak properly. Niggas who would rather name their children after cars, wine, liquor and in some circumstances basic nouns or nicknames (i.e. Baby Gurl, Kisses) than something conventional and less absurd. Niggas who habitually impregnate multiple women, refuse to use protection, are anti-abortion while rejecting their own parental responsibility. Above all, I’m absolutely sick of the idiot girls who repeatedly get themselves in the same situation with no logical way to care for these children. What exactly is right about a fifteen year old having a baby! I’m sorry, but there is a law on the books for a reason and don’t give me that “Abortion is murder and against the Bible” bullshit because if you were that religious, you wouldn’t be having pre-marital sex to begin with.
I know I’m not going to win any fans with this Bill Cosby-esque rant but the man has a point and has for several years. Black America, wake up, get a job, wear a damn condom and pull yourself together. Nobody will respect you if you don’t start respecting yourselves. People like Oprah, Tyler Perry and Jay-Z are rare; extremely rare so stop thinking you’re going to be the next new rapper featured on MTV Cribs. I’m not saying you shouldn’t dream big, but why not aspire to be something more important than an entertainer. Last time I checked, Dr. Ben Carson might not have a platinum record, but he is one of the top neonatal neurosurgeons in the world with over fifty honorary degrees. If an uplifting movie should be made, he’s a great subject. After all we know how much Hollywood loves to exploit any story that involves black people becoming successful “against the odds”. Wouldn’t it be a true testament to those who fought and died to give us things like equal education and the right to vote; if we no longer had those odds placed against us. We’ve got a black President but that’s not enough and it won’t be until we have more of our kids finishing high school, graduating from college and well educated on the practices of safe sex. Not everyone is as lucky as Michael Oehr to have happy white people save them. Some of us are going to have to stop being lazy and save ourselves. Otherwise Hollywood will go right back to portraying us as maids, mammies and servants because it will once again be considered “art imitating life”.
Written by Melissa Geddis
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