Monday, October 24, 2011

Pardon me, Rev. Sharpton, but there's no one way to be black

Last week, Al Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN) honored Tyler Perry with the group's Triumph Award for making "a positive impact beyond [his] performance on stage, in the arts...and in the community." Longtime readers of this blog know my feelings about Tyler Perry. I believe many of Perry's performances, plays and films contribute to the toxic dialogue about black women. There is no positive impact to be gained from his persistent use of the uppity, ball-busting, career-obsessed black woman who needs to be taken in hand and set right by a strong black man trope. Black women make up 52 percent of this country's African American population. If you're not doing right by us, then you aren't doing right by the black community.

But, hey, I'm not a huge fan of NAN either, so my first thought at reading about them bestowing an honor on Tyler Perry was "Yeah, sounds about right." I'm no more shocked at this than I was at BET honoring R-uh Kelly. It was Sharpton's rebuke to those of us who don't share Perry's love of minstrelsy and misogyny that got my goat. He called us "proper Negroes" (The hell?) and said:
“This man never apologized for who we were…The ultimate pride is where you don’t have to bend and adjust for others to accept you. … He didn’t go mainstream, he brought mainstream to us.” Read more...
Time for another off shoot of Godwin's Law. Call this one the Negro Litmus Test Rule: The first person to attack an opponent for insufficient blackness loses. (Brother Cornel West, report to the penalty box!)


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