ARE BLACK WOMEN TRULY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE TOTEM POLE?

MARCH 22ND, 2018 | BY MICHAELA SHELTON

I am an avid watcher of the Freeform show “Grown-ish”, and I must say one episode deeply resonated with me. Season one episode ten explored the truths of dating as a black woman and I can wholeheartedly relate to this plight.

 

The episode opened with Yara Shahidi’s character Zoey dropping some statistics. Zoey declared, “Online dating sites such as OkCupid and Tinder have proven that statistically white women are the most highest rated, asian women are the highest rated across the board and 82% of black men show some bias against black women”. Hmm sounds about right.
 

The episode focuses on the twins Jazz and Sky and the situations they deal with as black women desiring to date in college. In the beginning of the episode, the twins analyze how white women, latina women and mixed women get more attention and praise than African American women. They go on to explain that black women are on the bottom of the totem pole and black men desire women with black features who appropriate black women, but not an actual black woman.

 

The next scene shows Jazz complaining about her drink to the waiter at the restaurant and her friend insinuating that black men aren't checking for black women because of how outspoken they are. However, Jazz rebuttals at Nomi by mentioning how she returns her drinks even more, but it is no biggie, because she isn’t an “angry black woman with an attitude”. This was a super realistic example, because there are constant memes being posted with messages such as “Get rid of loud Keisha and get you an Ashley.” If this is one of the reasons black men abstain from us black women this is an absolute shame. Especially because most of the times we are perceived to have an attitude we don't actually have one, but I digress.

 

Having attended a predominantly white institution, I witnessed first hand how most black men would pursue relationships with women any race other than full black. My friends and I were just like the characters in Grownish wondering why no one wanted us and what was going on!

 

The episode gets more interesting when Jazz begins talking to a white man inside of the bar. They are laughing and joking and her sister comes up and checks her for doing so, accusing her of suddenly wanting white men. Sky then goes on to say “Good luck bringing Chad home to daddy.” In response, Jazz explains that she’s going to talk to who she wants to and tells her sister to kick rocks if she has a problem with it. It is extremely ignorant to not be open to dating someone of a certain race or skin tone. The color of someone’s skin has absolutely nothing to do with who the person is… but we already knew that. Despite this widespread knowledge, colorism and racism still exists in 2018.

 

In the episode, Aaron mentions how “the list” of most desirable women does not speak for everyone and Jazz mentions how pop culture says otherwise. Furthering this notion, she says “Was there some event, some movie, some Drake song that said black guys should stop dating black girls?” In addition, a collage of the most popular black athletes, musicians and actors and their significant others is shown to display how they are all with women who are non black. Does this actually have an influence? I believe so.

 

Malcolm X once said, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” This remains true today. But why?

Michaela P. Shelton is Managing Editor of CSUITEMUSIC.com

Read more from Michaela at Darealmichaela1.com

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