Short Reflection 2
Aidee Tejeda Manzano
As a minority I always find myself looking for approval not in my own POC peers but in my white peers. It feels like I am striving for approval from white people, whether it is academically having to prove to the ignorant people, that my skin color didn’t give me a free ride to college or socially. Almost everything caters to white people, while pretending to praise “diversity” and “equality”.
While I do believe that 2 Dope Queens have worked very hard to get their HBO show, they disappointed me. In the media there isn’t many representations of brown or black women, and when there are, they are just stereotypes. I want to see more than the sexualized Latina or the ghetto black girl. The 2 Dope Queens did have their funny moments, but they were catering to the white audience. They dragged each other, instead of rising together like the strong black women I wanted to see. They brought out their loudness and their struggles for the people who have placed these struggles on them. Jessica told her partner to “stop dragging me in front of these white people.” To further make a white (male) audience interested and comfortable they had to have a famous white comedian validate them. On contrary, Dave Chappelle made no intent to make his white audience members feel comfortable. He called them out during his show, and he didn’t do it in such a way that he was “attacking” them. He asked his white audience members “how does it feel being the only white people on the front row.” He addressed the elephant in the room, which was that he wasn’t there to make them feel comfortable. He called out any marginalized group and large groups equally. I can acknowledge that Dave Chappelle is at the peak of his career and the 2 Dope Queens are still climbing the latter, but is it worth climbing that latter if with every step a piece of your brownness or blackness is faded?
From my own experiences, having been raised in predominantly white areas, I can proudly say no. But, I can also sympathize with 2 Dope Queens. These theme of putting the needs of white people first isn’t new, it is emphasizing in literature from 1800s.
Uncle Toms Cabin by the WHITE abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe was supposedly a novel that “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War.” I believe that this statement is true, but for the saddest reason. The reason being that it required a white person who had never felt the injustice of chains to tell other white people who have never felt the pain of being a slave that slavery was “bad”. “Bad” but tolerable, all the main character had to do was be a good slave for his Christian masa and wait for the freedom death gives. This book wasn’t targeting the black audience to offer support, instead it was targeting the white audience to make them feel okay for making human beings property. The cycle of what is frowned upon in society only has a way out when the person is white. In “Po’ Sandy” Sandy’s gruesome death was disguised as a tree being sawed, but the pain his wife felt was all there. If his death would has depicted a human being sawed into a pieces by his masa, I don’t think the Chesnutt’s Conjure Women would have been as successful.
In Djuna Barnes novel Nightwood, Robin ( a destructive women) uses children or dolls to control those around her. For example, she has a child for her husband Felix. She didn’t want this child; she did it to keep Felix interested so that she could leave when she wanted to. If Robin would have been a black woman, the interpretation of her having a child would have been that she was just trying to trap her rich baby daddy.
All of these pieces of art, with the exception of Nightwood, had the opportunity to be there for the non-white population but didn’t do it. On a side note, the movie Black Panther did an amazing job representing African culture and depicting pride in one’s color. It was truly a movie that wasn’t created to cater to a white audience. Wakanda forever.