Monday, July 07, 2008

'Chelle Obama: The Angry Black Woman Makeover

Wassup, Y'all!

Lost in the recent focus on the dress 'Chelle wore on her appearance on 'The View' was the fact that her appearance was actually part of a strategy to 'soften' homegirl's image. Since her vilification over her 'proud' comment (which the current First Lady classily brushed aside) political operatives on the right continue to tap into the stereotype of 'The Angry Black Woman' to try to scare voters away from Smooth Barack in November.

First, ol Ty thinks it's a damn shame that the Smooth camp thinks that it even needs to humor that foolishness, but in a time where 10% of the electorate *still* believes that Smooth is a Muslim, every pieces of nonsense that gets floated up by knuckleheads has to be explained or addressed. It wasn't too long ago that Smooth finally gave in and started consistently wearing a damn flag pin on his lapel to quash that persistent Internet nonsense that his not wearing one proved that he was unpatriotic. So now here we are with 'Chelle - out there tryin' to shed the perception that she's an 'angry black woman', unfit for the genteel mantel of First Lady-ship. Talk about some ol bull$hit...

So ol Ty got to askin' himself, 'Self? Where'd this ol 'angry black woman' bull$hit get started anway? Well for one there's the 'urban cycle'. That's where young southside shortys with no parenting skills are raising babies. They have no parenting skills because they themselves were raised by young southside shortys with no parenting skills. The concept of a nuclear family in that environment is foreign - no daddies around. And because there are no daddies around, the whole burden falls on those young southside shortys some of whom eventually become angry and hostile and all that negative energy is directed to either the new men in their lives or their kids. Y'all seen it at the mall. Sisters with no patience, hollerin' and blusterin' they way through a store, beratin' and draggin' their kids along, darin' any fool to step in and have a word with them. Standin' next to an unpinned handgrenade would be safer than that.

Then there's the pervasive touch of Hollywood. Can't have a TV show that features a black woman who's not caustically sarcastic or sassy (ok - there are a few but you get my point). And the movies? We get Angela Basset's Bernadine in 'Waiting to Exhale' dumpin' her (cheating) man's expensive suits in his high end car and settin' it on fire. We get Vanessa Williams' Teri in 'Soul Food' pullin' a knife on her (cheating) husband in the kitchen at a family gathering. We get Regina King's Lisa spraying the floor with baby oil outside her (cheating) husband's shower and then beating him with a belt when he exits the shower and slips on the baby oil. We get Halle Berry's Leticia in Monster's Ball beratin' her overweight son about his eating habits. I could go on forever but y'all don't have the time. You get my drift.

Of course all this overlooks the majority of southside shortys who are handlin' their business the way it should be handled. In many cases, southside shortys are handling the whole load and, consequently, they handle their business just like homeboys do. They don't suffer fools gladly and they're firm and assertive in their dealings - two qualities that tend not to sit well with homeboys who don't appreciate their authority challenged by 'a woman' nor with old school women who think that their place is in the home and decisions need to be made by 'a man'. Hence The Angry Black Woman stereotype.

There's no denying that 'Chelle is a high powered sister - but so is Condoleeza Rice and you don't hear folks droppin' that stereotype on her. If you ask me - I'm thinkin' the whole First Lady concept needs some shakin' up to bring it into the 21st century. Shortys ain't all about tea and crumpets and fine china and folded napkins anymore. Women have stepped up, jack and it'll be refreshing to see a First Lady that can drop it like it's hot and rock that role the way it should be rocked.



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