One day recently, I searched Google. I researched the phrase “how to wash dreadlocks.” I was astonished to see that the very first result was a photograph of a white man with dreadlocks. I rephrased the question a bit, and the new first results were of instructions on how to wash dreadlocks if you are a white person with dreadlocks. I thought this was odd since most lock wearers are Black. I then switched gears just out of curiosity and typed the phrase “beautiful woman” in google search. Lo and behold, the images were primarily of white women. There were about a handful of women of color if you kept scrolling long enough to reach them.
That got me thinking, is Google racist? Of course, I did my research, and there were other people with this same question. The answer given by google is always the same. There’s an algorithm that produces the search results, yadda yadda yadda. Of course, the average person is not equipped to read or understand a bunch of complicated algorithms. But we do understand what we see. We understand that white is the default in America. That although minorities significantly outnumber whites globally, we are constantly made to think that brown skinned people are the minorities and inferior.
When brown skinned people turn on the television, we don’t see a lot of our people represented. Sure, the number is steadily growing, especially with movies like Proud Mary and Black Panther set to hit movie theatres. And who can forget Girl’s Trip, a summer blockbuster phenomenon. Grossing well over $115 million, proving that black women are funny and talented as hell, and can sell out theatres worldwide for three straight weekends in a row. What’s good, Amy Schumer (in my Nicki Minaj voice)? And I was proud to see not only black people packing the seats, but white people too. I mean, this is what America is supposed to be. Different cultures learning and growing together and sharing each other’s customs. And while the number of brown skinned actors and actresses on national television networks is increasing, we still see division in those spaces. I was shocked and disgusted at the number of self-proclaimed non-white-supremacist who took to the internet to oppose the Black Panther movie, stating that it was racist for having no white people in leading roles [horrified gasp]. These people really don’t get it. I mean, this is what black people deal with on a daily damn basis. A large majority of movies in history have no black actors or actresses, and if the director happened to add us, for a sprinkle of color, we may or may not have any speaking lines. I would name some examples, but there are too many to count, and I’m sure if you’re reading this, you know it’s true. Or maybe you are one of the self-proclaimed non-white-supremacist and you disagree with my argument; in which case, you seek to understand the black experience. A challenge which will be eye opening, as you take off your rose colored white goggles, and slip on your jade colored shades. In which you will find:
- That there are little to no black beauty products in most stores.
- A smaller number of black dolls than white dolls.
- Most emojis are representative of white people, while most recently brown tones were added to some of the characters.
- Greeting cards mostly feature white faces, therefore specialty cards had to be created for black households to enjoy.
- Most online stock images are of white people. It’s challenging to find stock images depicting black people doing similarly random things. This was such a problem, that a young man by the name of Jacques Bastien created abeautifulperspective.com. A site that features beautiful stock images of people of color.
- Most movies and pictures of Jesus Christ and the Hebrews are depicted as white, even though we know as fact that this is a fallacious description, and that Jesus was more likely, a person of color.
- Most companies regularly depict mostly white people in their advertising campaigns, regardless of how much of their profit is from black dollars. When black people are represented, they are usually fair skinned with a loose curls and heavy European features.
I could go on, but I think you get the point. As black people we must seek out our representations. They aren’t readily available. We have to google “beautiful black women” in order to see someone of our own complexion. When we go to Target, a popular shopping source for “minorities”, graphic tees regularly display white rock bands such as Nirvana and ACDC. How awesome would it be to go into Target and see a New Edition shirt for a change?
Black people go online to get our black pride apparel. Which is needed because of the lack of representation within our culture. Black pride is necessary for us see the beauty in our culture in a world where our beauty is not always valued. Online boutiques such as myprideapparel.com, melaninapparel.com, and hillmanbookstore.com are just some of the places I go to get graphic tees that help me represent my pride for the skin I’m in.
Other brown skinned people fair much worse. Asians, Latinos, Afro-Latinos, and Middle Eastern folks are represented even less. These people may have a harder time being represented in America because they are descendants of immigrants or immigrants themselves, although America is seen as the melting pot of the world.
In contrast, Black people are American. Born and raised. Our ancestors were sold or stolen and brought here hundreds of years ago. Most of us can’t trace our family lineage back to Africa. And the majority of us have several parts of white blood mixed within our melanin. We have never seen the motherland. We have no family ties there. And Africans don’t even consider us to be of the same ethnicity as them. We were essentially made here in America, knowing only American customs and traditions. While the slaves rightly considered themselves African, most of us do not. The politically correctness of the term African American is flawed and unrelatable. We are Americans. We have fought and shed blood for the right to be considered American. We have fought in wars, and this country was built by our tillage, yet we are still ostracized when we refuse to stand for a racist national anthem. A song that speaks about the murdering of black bodies. We are still considered a threat because the melanin in our skin is seen as intimidating; a notion created by our Caucasian counterparts. Aren’t we the ones being gunned down in the streets by the police; aren’t we the ones being denied employment for the texture of our hair; aren’t we the ones who are enslaved by crooked judges and privatized jailers for petty crimes; aren’t our schools the ones that face inequality in an effort to keep us in poverty; and why are we considered complainers when we demand greater representation? Yet we possess a sort of silent power that some non-blacks fear.
So, we remain left out of the “conversation”. If I type the phrase “beautiful women” in google, I should see a mirage of faces and hues, not just a whitewashing. And when we are represented, say by a beautiful Black Santa Claus at The Mall of America, or by a star studded all black super-hero movie like Black Panther, I hope that our Caucasian friends come out to support us, they way we spend our money and support them; and that we are not looked at as being racist or separatist, but as a beautiful under-represented people who want to share our culture and talents with the world, regardless of race, ethnicity, or nationality, in love and in friendship and in trust.
Until Next Time…Go see Black Panther