I’ve been watching Bravo’s reality show REAL HOUSEWIVES OF POTOMAC. First off, I had never heard of Potomac, Maryland as many of us had not. I thought, “Wait…they live in a river? How does that work?” Anyway, the ladies are six Black, well-to-do (either through marriage or their own capital ventures or a combination of both) women. They range in age from mid-20s to, I would say, 40s. I only want to touch on one topic here: Race. All but one of the ladies look as though they could be of mixed-race ancestry. It seems every episode one or more of the ladies is iterating about their ‘light skin and light eyes,’ but own their Blackness. Power to them! One standout, who looks Black, identifies herself as biracial. Okay. We clearly SEE one of the races is Black. She never says, “I am not Black,” she simply says, “I am biracial.”
Well, Good Googamooga! Two of the ladies have made it their life’s mission to get this woman to say she is Black and THAT’S ALL. They and Twitter, have accused this woman of “hating her Blackness,” “being ashamed to say she is Black,” “she not proud (enough).” Honestly, I’m baffled by it all. The green-eyed ones seem to be the aficionados on the Black race. They make statements in their interviews like, “Black people don’t act like that,” “I don’t know any Black girl that does that,” “She’s been around White people way too long.” These are the same women who make this brainiac statement, “People think I’m White until I open my mouth, then they know I’m Black.” Why? How? Because Black is a sound, right? What?!
I. Have. Not. Missed. An. Episode.
Any-who, I wrote all of that to say this: I have a problem with people stereotyping Black people; all people for sure, but I am focusing on my Black people because I am Black; not African American, Black. When people look at me they do not mistake me for any other race nor bi- or multiracial; just Black. When I speak, people know that I am American. I do not produce an accent that can be confused with any part of Africa, Australian Aborigines, India, nor the Caribbean Islands; just America. I have been Black long enough to know that all Black people do not look, behave, or believe identically. We are as diverse in cultural and political experiences and influences as we are in skin tones and hues. All of us do not enjoy or promote the same types of entertainment. Many of us are diverse even in our ancestral histories as to how and when our particular ancestor(s) made it to these New World shores.
I am befuddled, but slightly forgiving, when non-Black people lump us all into the same categories. Befuddled because with all of the research they have done on the Black American “culture” (acquired, because slavery stripped Blacks of the originals), one would think they would see that we are far more than one culture. I’m slightly forgiving because they are not Black, so they do not and never will care as much as I do to research us any further. That would be a never-ending undertaking, anyway. So, some non-Blacks absorb just enough about us to be borderline insulting, using terms like “you people;” not reasoning along the path of “you’re our people, also.” I kind of forgive them for this reason.
When Black people stereotype Black people, I am flat out floored. We KNOW there is diversity amongst us and it has nothing to do with “house slave/field slave” ancestry because they were ALL slaves. There are Black people whose ancestries comprise of free Black people in the sense that they were not owned by anyone. They were, however, terribly restricted by laws fashioned just for them in living here in America. Just like every other race of people, we have Blacks who were raised in the country, some in the city, some in the suburbs; some play the piano, harp or accordion and some play dice; some like to live amongst a variety of other races of people and some do not.
Silly me, I thought all Black people KNEW this about each other, but again, with the differences in “culture” and experiences, some of us do not know this and will not research nor ponder it any further than our personal environment. So, I am not so forgiving of Blacks who stereotype Blacks. I believe this lack of empathy contributes to the race problem in America kind of through the intellectual ‘back door;’ seemingly, not knowing that what they do to and think of one Black, they do to and think of themselves.