Monday, September 25, 2006

Images and the Power That They Convey

No Images by Waring Cuney


She does not know
Her beauty,
She thinks her brown body
Has no glory.
If she could dance
Naked
Under palm trees
And see her image in the river,
She would know.

But there are no palm trees
On the street,
And dishwater gives back no images. . .




I first read this beautiful poem when I was just entering junior high school. It made quite an impact on me. It was then and there when I began to read all the history I could of black people's struggles and survivals in this country which sought so hard to destroy us. I began to look at the images constantly shown and reinforced by the dominant white society on what was considered beautiful in America's eyes----"Barbie"; The Breck Girl Shampoo ads; the Miss Clairol Dye ads: "Does she, or doesn't she", which for so long showed the image of the blond, white ice-goddess as the epitome of all things beautiful in America; the Miss America Pageant, which for so many decades said with its selection of white women contestant winners, that black women had no place, or beauty in the eyes of America. That unless a black woman fit the molded image of light skin, fair eyes, long straight hair, that she was to be considered not beautiful; that she was to be considered as less than a woman.

Black women and girls are reeling from the vicious onslaught on their character, and the world's skewed stereotypical views of them. Black women have been under attack in this country ever since they set foot on its shores more than 350 years ago. Their beautiful dark skin, full lips, tightly coiled hair that defies gravity, their lovely hips, all the beautiful attributes that God and Nature saw first to bless black women with, were denigrated by a white society that sought to debase and degrade all things black and beautiful.

As I read more and more of my history as a black person, as a BLACK WOMAN in America, the more I saw all the beauty that came before me. Beautiful black women from Sene-Gambia, Sierra Leon, Ghana, Nigeria. And as I read more and more, I learned of the beautiful women of Haiti, Bahamas, Bermuda, Columbia, Panama. Black women who were secure in their beauty, their walk, their stature, their place in this world.

The more I learned of my history, the more I learned and appreciated that I was born a black woman. We are most unique among all women on this Earth. We are the original "Earth Mothers", we are the women whose lovely attributes all the other women of the world covet. We are the holders of the ultra-feminine ideal, the ideal which can only be obtained one of two ways---either naturally as a black woman, or through cosmetic means of surgery.

Many envy us what we have come by naturally---never-fade, ever-lasting natural tans; hair that never needs a curling iron, breasts and hips that need no surgical enhancement or padding, full, luscious lips that make men swoon.

Yes, there are some women of other races who have physical attributes such as ours. But, those women are few and far between.

We black women still own the monopoly on the original beauty standard, and it is time now for all black women and girls to embrace and claim their place in the Sun; their place on the throne.

We can all start by learning of our history as black women in America. We can all learn of those who came before us, those who paved the way for us in their own beautiful way. For by knowing our history as black people, as black women in America, we learn of ourselves and all that we have accomplished. All that we can accomplish as black women. There is power is learning; there is power in knowing.

All of our black ancestors who came before us "paid for you and me." Many thousand gone---parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-great grandparents, uncles, aunts---everyone of us here today, has been paid for by all the enduring hope of these many people who came before us.

I exhort all black women today, to learn of our beautiful history as black women in America. To learn that before all the hated stereotypes, before all the disparaging slander, before all the "gold-diggers", "hard and bitter", "angry black woman", "chickenhead" slurs, there were, and STILL ARE, beautiful black women--then, as now. Beautiful black women who set the standard on true natural beauty. Beautiful black women who had spines of "steel". Beautiful black women who have made an inpact on America and its history. Black women are already beautiful. We do not need anyone else's images to be beautiful.

We are beautiful black women who still have within, and without, that "brown body" beauty that dances underneath the palm trees, in the moonlit glow of the river within us all.

3 Comments:

Blogger Stephanie B. said...

Hi Ann.

Ann, here's my honest to God opinion on the images of Black women in American society:

Stephanie B.:"What I'm trying to explain that the reason for the stereotype promulgated by people in power to deflect the reality of interracial relationships in the past is that these men in power cannot bring themselves to admit their desire for the black female physique, so they use their women as props, i.e., the beauty and femininity standard, so that they can pretend that they are not attracted to sistas. They also propagated the ideology that is still in effect today that most successful black men covet white women.

Social scientists, sociologists, demogogic politicians, and experts in both 19th and 20th centuries promoted the white supremacists' belief that people desire and covet whites and that white women are the most beautiful of all. This idea has caused so much grief and suffering in the Black community. Would you care to explain or rebut, if you would like, my opinion concerning mainstream obsession with Black men/white women relationships? The current media trend is to place Black men with nonblack women while Black women are deliberately neglected.

Your answers are always welcome.

Sincerely,

Stephanie

27 September, 2006 09:30  
Blogger Ann said...

Hey, Stephanie.

Yes, white America has lied to and deluded itself into believing that all a black man wanted with "social equality" was a white woman. For so long after the end of slavery, ALL black people wanted to put the hated life of slavery behind them. All black people wanted to take on a life of cherished autonomy: earning a living, finding as many of the children they could who were sold away from them, being able to finally and truly MARRY, being able to create and have a HOME they could call their own.

All through the decades, white men, because of their sexual degradation towards black women, felt that the black man could not wait to get close to a white woman. After the legal dismantling of Jim Crow segregation, the white man sought ways to further destroy the black community. Through incessant, excessive 'round the clock bombardment of media, TV and magazine advertising, the white man assualted the subconscious mind of black men with the white woman as the ideal woman, as the epitome of beauty, as the purest of the pure.

Sadly, SOME black men succombed to this lie/belief. Sadly, SOME black men now believe that the only good woman is a white woman; the only beautiful woman is a white woman; the only woman on Earth who should be treated with the utmost love, devotion and respect---is the white woman.

All the while, the white man lusted after, coveted after, ran after and ran down the black woman---mainly for sex. Except in extremely rare instances, never, ever for marriage.

The saying among white men was "Would you want your daughter to marry one?", never "Would you want your son to marry one?" And this hypocrital treatment of each race of woman polluted and muddied the minds of non-white men in regards to the treatment that should be accorded to women of both races.

It was always subconsciously understood that the only way a black man had better be with a white woman was if he was married to her.

On the other hand, black woman could not expect, nor recieve any such care and consideration from white men. After slavery, it was the same 'ol same 'ol. Business as usual.

Now, the legacy of this brainwashing has caused SOME black men to take after white women, at the detriment of the black community.

Successful black men who covet white women? Yes, there are some.

But, just are there are SOME black men who have bought into the lie that white women are all that and a bag of chips where a good and decent woman is concerned, there are also MANY black men who have not forgotten or abandoned their black women, families and communites.

The white man has been successful of cramming the image of the white woman down the throats of so many men around the world.

Black women are no less than white women. We have always been
"women" in all the truest sense of the word, even when the rest of the world, white and non-black, was trying to lie and defame us.

We are beautiful, and we know to give our love and bodies to those men who will truly appreciate us.

And many of us are laerning not to cast our pearls before porcine types of men.

Many black men prevail against the myth of the white woman as ideal.

Many REAL men out there in the world, know a good woman when they see one.

And many men are letting the world know with their walk to the altar that black women are what is beautiful, just like any other woman out there.

28 September, 2006 15:14  
Blogger Stephanie B. said...

Ann,

That was well-put. Case in point: Kevin Federline, Strom Turdmond, the Duke Lacrosse Team, etc. These reprobates have used Black women, then marry White women in order to keep Whiteness going. These reprobates are to exposed for the evil they do.

Whenever a certain successful Black man have status, some of the men, not all, for 95% of Black men are married to Black women, marry nonblack women. Example: Kobe Bryant, Quincy Jones, Tiger Woods, etc. Society makes sure that such women get compensated whenever problems the couples have in their marriages.

This goes to show that society has zero respect for Black women around the world.

Stephanie

29 September, 2006 09:48  

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