I really am going to stop writing to you, clearly you’re ignoring me, but yesterday’s show was so amazing that I just had to comment. The contrast to your show about black women and our beauty issues and this one is absolutely incredible. For one thing, for white women’s issues, you had, Hark! an actual white woman, Jessica Simpson, on to discuss it. There was no mocking or conclusion that white women are just crazy for starving themselves, or what have you. No. The media is at fault. You had a white woman there to put those issues in context, and even evoke a little sympathy for the beauty burden that white women labor under.
Contrast that to the black women’s hair issue where you had Chris Rock on to discuss black women. No black woman to provide a counterpoint, to explain the historical context of black women and our hair issues. No one there to say that there have actually been lawsuits over companies firing black women for not straightening their hair. No one to explain that at one point in this country’s history it was literally illegal for a black woman to show her hair. Geez, no wonder many of us think our hair is bad, hell it was actually criminal. Did you explore those issues as you did when you brought an actual Chinese woman on to talk about beauty issues in China? Lisa Ling was there to explain that these women aren’t breaking their legs and rounding their eyes because they’re crazy. Oh no. They’re doing it for promotional purposes, you know, to get ahead in the workplace. They’re not crazy like black women who put chemicals and weave on their heads…just because.
Chinese women and white women are important enough to be discussed in a considering and thoughtful way. Black women? Just fodder for a comedian who has made it clear that at the bare minimum he sees black women as a punchline. (Interesting trajectory for black male comics. When they lose the funny black women suddenly become their favorite punchlines. Remember Eddie Murphy and his “jungle bitches?” I’d be fascinated to explore the psychology behind that.)
And Oprah, I hope you had an Ah-hah moment when you compared the Chinese girl’s preference for white dolls to the infamous ‘doll study’ that we seem compelled to trot out every twenty years or so. Did you notice how quickly Ling distanced HER people from the comparison? Oh no, it’s something different entirely, you’re not going to get HER people caught all up in black folk’s craziness. And see Oprah, there’s the rub. Other groups have enough sense to know that constantly talking about how crazy their people are is not elevating or empowering. It doesn’t garner any sympathy. It just makes sane people want to stay the all living hell away from you. Unfortunately, my guess is you didn’t even notice. Mores the pity.