Sistahs

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I’m not sure if you know this or not, but I’m black. And not just on the outside where you can see it. I’m black to the bone. I ride hard for my brothas and sistahs. I want nothing more than peace for every person who shares the human experience but I will always have a special place in my heart for the black community because I want the best for all of us.
That’s just how I’m wired.

Recently I was watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta with my mother. She places no moral value in the show and mainly watches it because they make her laugh. And I, too, find a sick perversion in watching those overgrown 12 year old girls cackle, whine and fight for no other reason than they’re being filmed and paid to act like assholes.

And that’s when a thought hit me; What about our daughters?

We spend so much time worrying about our sons because it is a valid and justifiable concern in this day and age. It’s Open Season on young brothas with no end to the hunt in sight. We have to make sure that all of the young men in our lives turn into positive, productive members of society. We implore them to find a way to become the best and refute the limitations society puts on them. And for the most part, they listen. It may be hard for them to get the message, but they are getting it.

Are there still some young men who don’t have the resources to become all that they dream of? Yes.

But we, as a community, continuously empower our sons, look after our sons and sometimes, unfortunately, mourn our sons so much that I had to stop and wonder;

What about our daughters?

Because the same messages that we try to instill in our sons should be the messages we instill in our daughters. Messages like:

-Education is the most important thing in the world.

-You can be whatever you want as long as you work hard for it.

But most importantly, the message of never losing who you are in a world that constantly wants you to be who they want you to be.

We live in a society where young ladies have to grow up against the backdrop of sexism, objectification and image issues. Granted, these are issues that young ladies have to deal with all across the board, but young sistah’s have the addition of outdated standards of beauty that we still hold onto within our community.

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A few days ago I came across this photo on my Facebook page. Honestly, the title on the cover was enough to piss me off. But when I noticed that all of the models were light skinned, and that the publication dated back to 1966 (forty-eight years ago) I was shocked.

the girlsFor the past couple of years I have denounced many music videos and television shows based on their portrayal of black women. It’s never the beautiful dark skinned sistahs that are being fantasized as the most desirable. It’s always the high yellow, long haired sistahs with features that are either a combination of ethnicities giving them an “exotic” look or a woman so light she could easily pass for white.

Initially I believed that this trend was something that started recently, but with the revelation of this cover it makes me realize that this issue is ongoing within our community.

It’s actually an issue that predates this cover and goes way back to slavery, where the darker skinned slaves worked in the field and the lighter slaves worked in the house.

The standard of light skin being heralded as the most beautiful still exists to this day. But now there are even more issues young sistah’s have to deal with.

One new example is the lack of positive black female representation in the media. True, we have the standouts like Oprah, Mrs. Obama and Olympic darling Gabrielle Douglas. But even with those examples comes unnecessary ridicule from the same sistah’s that should be holding these women in the highest regard.

“Oprah acts white”

“Gabby’s hair is fucked up”

“What the hell is Michelle wearing??”

Conversely we have women of unsavory character, like many “stars” on Reality TV, who amass a huge following on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram and are looked at as role models because ‘They Made It!’ But made it to what is the real question.

Lastly, the top television shows watched by many black women revolve around main characters who gladly play the role of the dedicated jumpoff.

What message does this send to our daughters?

Music artists, both in Hip Hop and R&B, paint most women as materialistic cum receptacles based solely for their enjoyment or untrustworthy whores.

What message does that send to our daughters, especially when taking into consideration the prevalence of music in our culture today? Our youth are connected to every piece of media and technology that’s created and the images they take into their minds will mold them into the type of people everyone else wants them to be.

That is, only if we as their leaders and caretakers allow them to fall for those lies. The time we live in now encapsulates a milestone in our history; The merging of a generation who remembers what it means to have black leadership and pride left to raise a generation that has to constantly be reminded that we are not big booty hoes throwing drinks in people’s faces and acting ‘ratchet’ for no reason or mumble mouthed thugs with little to no regard for human life that spend more time in jail than they do inside their own homes.

The glamorization of fake hair, fake nails and fake asses is becoming the norm and unless we continue to teach our daughters to resist the lies of that image, the same way we teach our sons to resist the lie of them being thugs and crooks, we will find ourselves left with a nation of broken individuals who will not have the basic skills to tell you all fifty states but can twerk at the drop of a hat and recite every line of a Chris Brown song.

I realize that we live in an ever changing world but if it isn’t changing for the better I then have to ask you this question;

What is it changing into and who will our children become?

Sao Tome, Generosa, portrait of smiling black boy and girl at school

 

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  1 comment for “Sistahs

  1. Ticora Hudson
    May 8, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Ben this was REALLY good. Everything you spoke about is absolutely true. We do tnd to focus more on our sons because of the things they can get into/ be exposed to . We forget that our females are being exposed to the same things if not worse. Both sexes need to be empowered to know that they can :
    —- Be whatever they want to be in life, because they control their greatness.
    —- To never let circumstances control them.
    —- And to always be true o themselves.
    I loved it from beginning to end. Great job!!!

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