“When people show you who they are believe them…”-Dr. Maya Angelou
On Tuesday, November 8, 2016 the majority of (white) Americans decided to ignore the common sense message of the late goddess…Maya Angelou. Now we are stuck withDonald John Trump for president. Le sigh. Of course, there’s been an avalanche of articles on how could this have happened. Particularly, a focus on the “disappointments” and “anger” of the white working class. Most folks of color (including myself) don’t understand why we are supposed to empathize with the problems of working class white folks over working class communities of color. From what I’ve read, many of their concerns are the same (livable wages, good education for their children, etc.) Also, more bizarre, why did white working class folks think a billionaire (who has every opportunity ever handed to him) would be able to relate/improve their lot in life?
I had the misfortune of happening upon Fox News “The Trump Revolution” and all I could do was shake my head. A bunch of confused white folks not quite sure why they voted for Trump, other than he wasn’t a woman/colored (okay, they didn’t say this, but that’s the underlining vibe I got from watching the program). One man broke down in tears and stated Trump would be able to help his improved elderly mother. Umm, okay. The irony of all this, despite the legitimate concerns/fear of folks of color when Trump takes office in January, it will be white people who find themselves struggling the most. The thing about folks of color, we are survivalists. We have learned how to navigate oppressive times. Not all of us made it, because we are only human and the body/mind can only take so much, but overall all the majority of us are still here.
Many white folks have shown they can’t handle stress/hard times. Think The Great Depression where suicide rates skyrocketed. Where, even now white folks tend to have the highest suicide rates when things go amidst. Hell, the election results themselves show how white folks can’t handle change. Instead of embracing the growing diversity of our country, how it could empower us all with folks different talents/contributions, many see it as a threat. Most would rather hearken back to a time of blatant violence/hatefulness of folks who don’t look like them. I currently reside in a red state. I see/hear this mentality all the time. I have to look at a confederate flag everyday. It’s sad and alarming.
But in the end, its white folks I wish luck to. They are going to need it.
Sadly, as most folks know, Maya Angeloupassed away last week. There were numerous wonderful articles written about the amazing life of Dr. Angelou. So much so, that I couldn’t keep up. However, there were only a couple of articles that mentioned the film “Poetic Justice.” The 1993 movie was inspired by Dr. Angelou’s poetry. Maybe folks have glossed over the film because it wasn’t that good. Or maybe because Janet Jackson was in it.
I love J.J., but her acting can be hit or miss. The film was revolutionary for its time. It was the rare nationally released film that tried to explore the complexities of black womanhood. Yes, the film was kind of all over the map. John Singleton’sdirecting/writing skills can also be hit or miss. But I think the film has its beautiful moments. I mean, it does feature the poetry of Dr. Angelou.
Who can forget the last scenes as Janet’s character has an epiphany about who she is and what see wants out of her life. As she flips through all of her black clothes in a closet, Dr. Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman” is narrated in the background. if you don’t get a tear in your eye, I don’t know what to say about you…
There is something about the those last scenes that make up for the nonsense of the rest of the film. I wish Singleton had the skills to have made the whole film as thoughtful as those scenes. The film has so much potential. I think enough time has passed it could be remade/tweaked for a new audience.
The activist/poet Maya Angelou is known for her famous quote, “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.”
It means, when someone shows you their true colors, believe it. Don’t make excuses for them (or accept their excuses/apologies). Take it as a warning, that you now know who you are dealing with.
Self-preservation is always important in the face of oppression.
I have decided to start a new series, named after Ms. Angelou’s poignant quote. There are so many folks out there that are being abusive in their actions/language. Then they turn around and act like we didn’t see them do, what they just did!
I think black women (especially) tend to find ourselves on the receiving end of degrading situations. We are often forced to grin and bear it. When it’s a black celebrity doing it, we are told we are supposed to support them (cuz, ya know you don’t want to be seen as a crab in the barrel), even when they are throwing us under the bus. Oh, hell naw! Life is too short for that.
That’s why, I have decided to dedicate this first post to Mike Epps. Recently Epps, ranted about his daughter/ex-girlfriend, at one of his stand-up shows (personally, ole boy has never been funny to me). He stated that his visibly black looking daughter/ex-girlfriend, were jealous of his new “light-skinned/good-haired” children. HA, HA, HA! Hilarious, eh?
I guess it hasn’t dawned on him (that his daughter/ex-girlfriend probably hate his guts) because he cusses them out and refers to them as “bitches” that look like James Brown. A common assault on visibly looking black women, that we are “manly” evil bitches. What a jerk…