Saturday, February 12, 2011

Last word on the Image of Black women for now ....

Do something

Stop looking for the perfect solution. Get in on things happening now, even as we look for and design the perfect push back in terms of attacks on bw image.

You also never know what might be effective. Sometimes little things make the difference and often it is about a cumulative effect. So sign up to the face book and other online petitions. I rather sign up to 5 petitions with limited effect than sit on the sidelines. Don’t forget that sometimes, there is a build up into the main plan and as you put some plan into effect, it finally becomes obvious what should be done!


Think strategic

I think bw are in dire need of coaching in being strategic especially about how they react to things. Many bw are so dependent on their emotions telling them what to do and when. This is a bit of a problem.

You know when you look at it, there was a range of ‘reactions’ to the Pepsi commercial. Some people were not all cut up about it and some were. But guess what, strategic folk know that sometimes they need to ‘react’ even when they are not too upset about something because there is a longterm goal that all this might help achieve.

This is one of the reason why though living in the UK, I can throw myself into issues that affect AA and black women in the US sometimes exclusively. I know that if the bw in America wakes up to her situation and gets it together etc, happy days will follow for all bw round the Western world. I can see this very clearly.

Even if I felt so so about the Pepsi commercial, I would still get in on the push back because 1) I am always looking out for that galvanizing incident that builds the momentum for change and that incident that makes making the case for the kind of BWE change we preach easier to do and these incdents come once in a while 2) Beyond my feelings and whether I am bothered about the ad personally, in life there are wider gains to be had by getting in on issues. So I don’t have to be personally unhappy or hopping mad about each and every incidence or occurrence to get busy if I can link it to our achieving the broader goals we seek.

When I hear people say they wont get in on things because, they were not too worried or bothered by the latest episode/incident personally or didnt interpret it as really 'that bad', I know these folks have lost sight of the broader goal, if they ever had eyes on it to begin with.

I also know that many bw, talk themselves out of things they feel will not make a dent, by pleading to be so unaffected and able to ‘rise above’, or ‘be the bigger person’, especially when they go on one of those, ‘what’s wrong with you all humourless folk unable to take a joke etc etc’ soap box talks.

Templates and models are emerging

Not everything works at first go, and there is something called ‘piloting‘. You sometimes have to ‘test run’ ideas. Stop waiting for the perfect plan on paper. Go with one or two ideas because sometimes ‘effect’ can only be judged in action, not on the drawing board. Unintended consequences might mean the little or unique has a greater consequence than even that perfect scheme.

Ultimately how much time does it take to sign one or two petitions that might blow up, all of two minutes!

http://www.change.org/petitions/boycott-pepsi---racist-superbowl-commercial-stereotypes-black-women#signatures

I am really interested in this one:

A black woman has graciously started a facebook page specifically for things black women SHOULDNT buy, based on the company's advertising choices.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/For-Black-Women-What-not-to-buy/199530346730965


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16 comments:

Neecy said...

I was the very first person to sign and comment on the petition and I am so glad it has almost reach 700 signatures.

I am also in the works of actually coming up with something now.

I would love to have your support in posting it to get the word out once I get started if you wouldn't mind?

I don't want to create a blog b/c, well my writing is not great. So trying to build an audience would be tough without having the help of BWE like yourself.

i will keep you posted.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts Halima. The stance Pepsi takes is- they don’t care. Talking about they “vetted it through their racially diverse bored”-SO. What they really mean is “oh well our butts are covered” Well then, we hit in the pockets! What they are realy doing is waiting for ‘anger’ to die down, waiting for us to forget and say ‘ah, maybe I should lighten up’. Hell-no. No one tells bw how to think!!! WE will tell you what WE think!
Yes now watch as they try to find some black woman image head in the company who was ‘responsible for letting this ad go through’-watch how they will try to pin it on her! Even still- their products are banded from my wallet. I also want to say- Make sure when you talk about the problem with these commercials and ads that you don’t tack on black men. They can carry themselves. Bw in the media is a completely separate issue.
So lets be clear with what is wrong with this and other ads.
1.) it doesn’t represent any black woman that I know
2.) it derives from hurtful stereotypes used to oppress black woman-as in accusing us and allowing people to use us as scapegoats (this can easily be proved)
3.) it lacks the creativity of black women, but uses us as puns.

Now we know black women have got some wit! However when you don’t have power you are just used as a pun And pressured into going along with things that are uncomfortable to you –to be a team player. Even if corporate does say it was a collaborative effort-it wasn’t. AAwomen are vulnerable in these pressure type situations, unless they are running their own businesses.

The answer to their answer of ‘vetting it through yada-yada…” is the same- It is not acceptable and even further stop using black women ON and OFF screen (as in bulling corporate tactics) as a scapegoat! And get your damn hands OUT of my pockets!

Anonymous said...

I think that Pepsi thought this was ok to air since they had black MEN on the board----it's ABOUT TIME that someone separates gender and race!! I've also detested the phrase women and minorities (since women meant white women only) and minorities were everyone else that werent white males....I think now we are having trouble with MEN not being educated enough to handle many jobs that foreigners do or women--to me its unnatural that many men cannot take care of their families--this is a problem across the board--even many white males cannot do jobs that some women can do because thEY ARENT TRAINED never mind BM cause the BM are ridiculious in what they could bring to the table-many times

Anonymous said...

This commmercial was ANTI BLACK WOMAN ONLY!!

ak said...

Hi Halima I took this from one of your last comment on Khadija's blog:

Evia you mentioned something important about every bw being seen as Quandisha because thats basically the most dominant version of bw out there.

yes anyone casually glancing at a bw who enters a bus or train for instance would possibly place her as a quandisha (lol).

I personally have british mannersim which tends to place me in a category of ‘odd’ if you take a second look, and this is including with black people who want to find out what version of bw i am and if i have the same triggers and pulls and inetersts as they know bw should have.

the danger of sojouners not being a ‘known’ catgeory is that people want to push you back to what they know bw ought to be.

let me tell you folks, nothing is feared more than bw not being in her role, not being in her place, like what every other bw should be. i remember an incident not too long ago (2 years i think) where a black female politican was slapped across the face when she was introduced as a ‘conservative’ here in Britain.

see ww can be anything they like but as soon as a bw steps out of where she ought to be ie soidiering for race, supporting black arguments, supporting lefty view points, load carrying and complaining but never quitely effective and empowered etc then even white folk can react with violence.

I had a recent bad experience and from my interpretation i believe it was as a result of the bottom line, ‘Halima does not behave like all other bw do (and should) and therefore we are uncomfortable with that and we want to do something about it’. but its all pretty much unconscious in the folks acting out, they just react against bw not being bw after the manner they should be. they try all manner of thing to push you into your mold. I suspect I will have to ‘whip’ a few as** quitely and then they will leave me to be me different, but for now the temptation is too much to leave a loose cannon bw running around.

If folks became aware that there is a category of bw (sojourners), and they behave in a perculier way (ie the way halima does for instance), then it therefore becomes a viable alternative (named alternative) for other bw who want to leave the other way of being and also for wider society to begin to formulate better notions of bw womanhood.

Yes racists will always want to see bp as inferior etc etc, but i dont know wether we are just dealing with died in the wool racists and the dynamics they create. other things maybe at play!




I just have to say that your comment has been. The. Story. Of. My. Life. I'm in therapy now to counteract certain things from my past. I'm British black too but lived in the USA for years and years. I heard that they spat in the BW Conservative party politician's face *shrugs shoulders*

I'm in my 30s now so I no longer feel the pressure to conform to the ABC crew because I haven't hung out with the ABC crew for almost 12 years now!

But the only difference for me was that it was or sometimes once in a while ‘AK does not behave like all other bw do (and should) and therefore we are uncomfortable with that and we want to do something about it’. But I say that it's more conscious on the part of black people especially to act this way against a BW going against the grain, not just exclusively subconsciously at all. I don't believe that somehow.

Nicole Little said...

I also sign the petition. There's been an assassination of our image for the past 11 years. We need to boycott ANYTHING that's destroying our image. I was one of the first people to sign the petition against that awful Pepsi commercial. Here's my new post about how people assume that black women can't grow long hair when they can.

http://blackwomenselflove.blogspot.com/2011/02/black-women-can-grow-long-hair-without.html

Halima said...

nicole you mentioned something important here about the issue of hair and how it is interlinked into this diminishing of bw feminity. note how long weaved bw (especially those who you can clearly see it isnt their hair), are used in all these 'dodgey adverts'.

long extra long weaves (sewed on funny if possible) has become the mark of 'problematic', crass black womanhood!

Celeste said...

Halima,

I always read and appreciate your blogs, but I usually hangout in lurkdom. I had to come out for this one, and thank you for highlighting the attacks on blk women's image. That Pepsi commercial was nothing but a high tech lynching, probably given the ok by blk men and bm-identified blk women. I agree with the commentor who said blk women need to separate
race and gender, and let the corporations know that we don't want blk men, ww or any other entity speaking for us. If you'll notice, companies are very careful to portray blk men in their commericals as upwardly mobile, friendly, nice guys( dentists, insurance agents, fast food mgrs, cable guys)all nice, and productive, whereas in the news we see something different. But they've been conditioned to be politically correct with the image of blk men in commercials by so called blk leaders and the so called blk community, men and women. Advertisers are just doing what they see the "blk community" doing, uplifting the blk male and throwing blk women under the bus. We need to flip that, and make them understand that it's blk women who buy their products, black men ain't buying nothing.

Nana said...

@ Celeste
"We need to flip that, and make them understand that it's blk women who buy their products, black men ain't buying nothing."

So true. We need to be more conscious about where we spend our dollars.

Halima said...

ak stay strong and dont let your light be dimmed. dont let them make you slow up or down. the pressure to force bw into mold is immense, it seems the whole system is riding on bw being 'in -place'.

Lovebug said...

@ ak

Good to know you are staying true to yourself and resisting the pressure to conform. It's hard but worth it in the end.

As for the the black women conservative politician who got slapped, I'm saddened to hear this and hopes she stays strong and does not allow herself to be bullied. Unfortunately, blacks also have to deal with this in the US. I'm reluctant to discuss my political views with people outside my family because any black person that supports more a more conservative ideology is considered to be a self-hating race traitor. Its unfortunate that blacks in general cannot be allowed to think for themselves and stay true to their personal beliefs without the threat of being bullied.

ak said...

It's OK people! Like I said I haven't worried about the underclass, or ABC crew of black people think, or do, or hung out with any of them in well over a decade now! Things got better especially after I moved to NYC from another state where there were more avenues to choose from, more choices of different venues to go to, and different people to meet so after that I never looked back. And I was fine with that and I still am.

But when I was younger it was sadly such a different story. But thank you Halima and Lovebug for your concern!

I believe in introspection because of blogs such as the formerly open Rev. Lisa Vasquez's blog, Khadija's, Evia's, etc. There was always work I had to do inside so that I can go on with my life properly instead of azz-backwards, and also feel better about myself, and that's why I sought therapy after reading these blogs.

I didn't go to therapy right away as I should have but I'm going now, and I'm being totally honest with my therapist. I think that things will work out well in the end! :)

Outof darkness said...

Great post Halima!!! I'm coming out of lurkerville for this one too. I agree with AK...no one likes a black woman who doesn't behave like the 99.9% of black women. I've been called a " weirdo" all because of this, by AA's more than any other race. The black community has a certain set criteria on how the black woman should behave and think and there is no space for individuality. Nothing kills more than close- mindedness. It prevents us from pushing the boundaries, getting outside the box and exploring the world around us.
The black community doesn't want us to explore, hence you catch up to the conspiracy and leave. They profit from keeping black women surville.

ak said...

It's all true Outofdarkness

c.haz said...

Hello,

I am a fairly new lurker and first time commenter. I have to say that I enjoy reading this blog so much. Its so great to have women to talk to that share my experiences the same way white people have all these various outlets for them to share with and be understood by others.

Regarding the Pepsi commercial and whoever allowed such offensive material on the air, I located a list of all PepsiCo brands. Not hard really, they post them on their company website. At any rate, these brands and products are also part of PepsiCo and not surprisingly are largely available in Urban i.e. majority black neighborhoods as well as most chain restaurants nationwide. Here is a link to the list, http://www.pepsico.com/Brands.html
I plan to exercise my financial muscles by not purchasing these products indefinitely as well as encouraging others to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Hello all,
I am a fairly long time lurker and first time commenter. I truly enjoy reading this blog and the ensuing discussions. I feel this is a place on the web where one can safely share experiences with other similarly minded black women and be largely understood and supported.
While I normally don't comment anywhere, I felt compelled to do so today.
I am a 30-something black woman married to a white man of the same age. My husband expressed to me that he also saw the Pepsi Superbowl commercial as offensive but said that aside from crude stereotyped depictions, something else offended him that he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
We watched the video a few times, out of disbelief I guess but also to possibly see some missing detail that would make it seem less malicious. No such detail was found and really we couldn't think of a context in which the images wouldn’t be perceived as mean-spirited. Still we ended up with a variety of questions.
- Are the viewers expected to believe that a white couple would have been shown committing a violent act against a woman whose only crimes were friendliness and proximity to promote Pepsi, the second most popular soft drink on this planet? At the Superbowl no less, where it is very likely that the stadium concession stands already stock Pepsi products exclusively, just like countless other entertainment venues.
-Given that, is the purpose of this ad?
-What is the significance of a mega corporation approving a commercial that casts a member of the dominant social group, a white woman as the victim of a violent attack by a black woman ?
-Who was the target audience for this ad?
-Was it intended for "Post-racism" types who feel they, like the woman in the commercial, are being victimized because their freedom to suppress non-whites is being challenged?
-Is Pepsi suggesting that Superbowl viewers identify with these notions?
-Why?
-Are black people en masse beginning to suppress and violate whites now, as the commercial shows them doing? Is there a perception that this is occurring?
- Is Pepsi’s “solution” then to display homegrown racist stereotypes to the massive audience of Superbowl viewers?
-By allowing this ad to be aired during the Superbowl, is Pepsi looking to reassure whites who are fearful of being dominated that their fears are in fact legitimate because as we can see from the commercial, blacks really are harmful being seeking to dominate situations involving whites, with violence?
With that said, we located a list of all the products in the PepsiCo family. Here is the link
http://www.pepsico.com/Brands.html
My husband and I are responding to Pepsi by not purchasing PepsiCo products indefinitely as this was more than just another negative depiction of a black woman. It was explicit, to the point of being cartoonish, rendering of centuries old, demeaning black stereotypes. Truly a throwback to the racist imagery used in advertising, film and live performance of 1900s that depicted blacks as one-dimensional, savage, sub-humans unworthy of a dignified existence free of brutality.

Advertisers crafted this commercial utilizing racist convention because these conventions have remained a part of American consciousness (albeit in a newer version complete with a hip-hop soundtrack) thus the ad can be relied upon to elicit a response and manipulate consumer behavior. The inclusion of the commercial in the most American of events, the Superbowl, effectively obscures any identification or acknowledgement of the advertisement as racially offensive, removes accountability, and dismisses it as an innocuous sound bite thereby dismissing those who are offended.
Perhaps a Pepsi Brand lynch mob shown in pursuit of the fleeing couple could clarify the issue being overtly depicted but only implicitly referred to. The lynch mob would offer reassurance (like Pepsi “magic” sugar water in a bottle does) that severe or even fatal punishment is still suffered for black on white violence or insubordination so racist whites needn’t fear after all.