Monday, April 9, 2012

The flip side to all the racism and misogyny

Almost a year ago, Ellis Cose published his book The End of Anger: A New Generation’s Take on Race and Rage and wrote that African Americans are the new optimists.

As the United States struggles through its worst economic crisis in generations, gloom has seized much of the heartland. The optimism that came so easily to many Americans as the new century dawned is significantly harder to summon these days. There is, however, a conspicuous exception: African Americans, long accustomed to frustration in their pursuit of opportunity and respect, are amazingly upbeat, consistently astounding pollsters with their hopefulness...

Over the past few years, pollsters repeatedly have corroborated the phenomenon. Whereas whites are glum, blacks are upbeat—which is remarkable since the economic crisis has hit African Americans with particularly brutal force. Employment among black men, for instance, has dropped to an all-time low. When I asked Harvard Business School professor David Thomas about the CNN poll, he laughed. “It’s irrational exuberance,” he said.

This news flew in the face of many white liberals who assumed the Black community would join in their poutrage at President Obama based on the way the economic crisis was being felt disproportionately. And yet most African Americans seemed to react by saying, "that's old news...been there, done that." The new news was that this country had not only elected its first African American President, many were also seeing the fruits of their ancestor's struggle in their own lives.

And now, as the very real racist and misogynist attacks escalate from the white male patriarchy in its death throes, crunktastic over at The Crunk Feminist Collective is finding reason to celebrate.

So even though I’m not in the habit of quoting Nicki Minaj, I really do wish I could have this moment for life. This moment, when I can catch a Black girl (well, make that two Black girls) running things in primetime, a Black girl running things on cable news, a Black girl running her own network, a Black girl running the web, a Black girl running, and let the NYT tell it, a Black girl running hip-hop.

And to top all that off, there’s a Black girl running the White House.

I dare not close my eyes, cuz I feel like, in the blink of an eye, it could all be gone. And yet, I choose to savor this moment. Sometimes we Black feminist chicks, I guess because of our fervent desire to make this world reflect our best dreams for it, are quick to see the shortcomings, the wrongs. But in this moment, however brief it turns out to be, there are at least a few things going right.

And in a salute of that, I’m doing my Black girl dance, cuz this is what a Black girl world could look like.

So DO tha ladies run this? Hell yeah. At least for this one singularly exquisite moment. And right now, this one brightly shining moment is enuf. Because if I know Black girls, I know this. Don’t give us even an inch, because we will take over the whole she-bang. #watchoutnow

See...she's feeling the power. Its the flip side to why the white male patriarchy is so cranky these days. Please give her some love and go read the whole thing to get why she's so giddy. Its important that we keep all this in balance as we continue the struggle.


  1. "When I asked Harvard Business School professor David Thomas about the CNN poll, he laughed. 'It’s irrational exuberance,' he said."

    Well, I was all ready to call out Prof. Thomas as a white academic painting Black people as irrational, but I double-checked. It's on me for assuming wrong, but at least I had the sense to check myself.

    I'm not sure it's irrational. People can be happy for improvement even when things are still sh&#$y. In fact, it's entirely necessary to celebrate gains in the midst of difficulty. That's what tells a person that the effort they've expended was worthwhile.

    Thomas is making a point, and I'll give him that though anyone at Harvard Business School is suspect in my book. The problem is that it feeds into this line that people of color, on receipt of some concession from white America, should smile, be grateful, and shut up. That is to say, the implication of Thomas' point--not his explicit point--is that were one to be rationally happy then there would not be anything to be unhappy about. The discussion recently has been about power, and power as we know doesn't work like that.

  2. Hell yeah I'm optimistic for the future. The hard work is starting to bear fruit. Things would be better than they are but the GOP and certain segments of the population are stuck on stupid.

    Unemployment's bad for us? They shut us out of Social Security, the GI Bill benefits, proper housing, the Sundown Towns, degrading media, and too much more to name. Obama got elected with all of that in our recent history. What else can we accomplish?

    The Republicans and the White Supremacists are Bush League and all they have to present to us for at least 10 years are clowns with the usual dog whistling.

    Dave Thomas is one of those people that is proud of his distance from black folks. He wants things to stay the way they are. He suffers from the same mental affliction that Cornel West does.