By Darryl James
It’s not that Black men in general hate Black women.
Truthfully, a small percentage of Black men may dislike Black women, just as a small percentage of Black women may dislike Black men.
But there is money in pandering to the hatred of Black men.
There always has been.
Since the founding of this nation, there have been cartoons, literature and verbal propaganda spread about the “danger” of Black men, stoking the fire of hatred toward us for the harm we may visit upon society.
Black men have been blamed for everything from the defiling of white women to vicious crimes of varying types, and from the destruction of communities we move into as well as various and sundry crimes against humanity, except the plague.
Wait—if AIDS is the new plague, then, well, Black men have been blamed for the plague, especially if you give credence to the “down low” propaganda which dictates that Black men are secretly having sex with other men so that they can infect their wives and girlfriends with HIV and kill them and their babies.
The problem with Black male bashing used to be that it came from the hearts and minds of vicious racist mongrels who were too ignorant to realize that one group of people could not be responsible for the destruction of an entire society. Well, perhaps one group can, but we’ll leave that for another column.
Currently, some of the meanest, hateful propaganda about Black men comes from Black women.
And, now the old Black male bashing is becoming the new Black male bashing because “The Color Purple” just won’t seem to die and thanks to the sellout of all Black manhood personified in Tyler Perry, more Black male bashing drivel is being recycled.
I wrote two years ago that while some may cheer for Perry’s success, making claims of what it may portend for other Black films, I weep for what it portends for the Black male image.
What of the Black male, relegated to specific extremes of hypermasculinity or emasculization near eunuch status? What of the Black boys who are taught by Black women to hate/despise their fathers? What of our new culture of Black male effeminization?
Perry is demonstrating clearly where he stands in all of this.
I now consider him an enemy of Black men.
I’m shocked that he didn’t don the dress and force a role for Madea in his new male bashing film.
“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” had all but died, except for the book that has been given to new generations of Black women as some pathological rite of passage. But Perry, who has enough success to create or purchase stories that uplift the entire race, has chosen this story out of all stories over time as his new watermark.
Certainly, “Sounder” was available for the remaking, as was “Imitation of Life,” or “Nothin’ But A Man.” And even though Puff Diddy nearly destroyed “A Raisin In The Sun,” the piece would still make a fine remake for the silver screen.
The problem with the likes of “Color Purple,” “Waiting to Exhale,” and “For Colored Girls…” is that they completely crap on the Black male image by presenting us as one-dimensional characters who appear in the stories for the mere purpose of harming Black women.
Seriously. Name one fully fleshed out positive Black male character in either “Color Purple” or “For Colored Girls…”
No I won’t. Because we all know there are none.
“For Colored Girls…” does nothing new, showing evil Black men who rape, toss babies from windows and, of course, have secret sex with other men.
And the subsequent destruction carried by promoting such ignorant stories is that Black women all over begin to identify with the downtrodden Black female images in the stories, which means that they identify the Black male images as representative of Black men all over.
This goes far in promoting the Black man as the omnipresent boogeyman with one true goal—the destruction of the Black female.
Of course, some Black men harm some Black women, but not all or even most. And portraying horrible images of Black men in stories proclaimed to “uplift” Black women serves only to drive a wedge between an already divided home. It makes it more and more palatable for more Black women to view Black men in general as their source of destruction and accordingly, their enemy.
So, what is the solution?
I’m not suggesting that we only present positive images of Black men. But I am suggesting that we demand and create more positive images of Black men and Black women, particularly images of us loving each other.
But that won’t happen until we show Hollywood collectively that we just don’t want to see another tired story full of Black women harmed by destructive Black men.
But first, we have to show Black women just how destructive these kinds of movies are to the Black male image and to gender relations in our community.
At some point, Black women will have to understand that their empowerment/freedom should not/cannot come at the expense of Black men. Those Black men who love them want them to be powerful with freedom–we just don’t want to be diminished in the process.
There is harm and destruction coming from both sides of the gender divide.
There is also love.
We decide which to promote, and right about now, I think that Black Love is in desperate need of promotion.
As a writer, I’ll be doing my part with my upcoming stage play and film, both scheduled for 2011.
What will you do?
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Now, listen to Darryl live on BlogTalkRadio.com/DarrylJames every Sunday from 6-8pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at firstname.lastname@example.org.