Singled Out

Petite blond white chick

April Goldberg-Jenkins--Wait--Is she supposed to be Jewish too?

So you know after hearing that my girl Feloni’s song is featured on Single Ladies, I had to check it out! Especially when I heard Queen Latifah was the executive director!

I watched the pilot last night–and I have to say–I have some mixed feelings. My first misgiving was on the title–it sounds like a regressive version of Living Single. Sometimes I think that in the 22nd century we seem to be going backwards, rather than forwards in terms of female empowerment.

Indeed, the show is kinda like a bougie, Hollywood version of living single–actually, it’s more like Girlfriends meets The Game.

It’s a lot like Girlfriends, with Val  standing in for Joan–only in this group of friends, the light bright one is actually white–and nobody let’s her forget it. (I thought she was mixed at first–maybe because of her make-up and that fake looking hair?)

In the opening scene the main characters are comparing musicians–Marvin Gaye’s a don, the women explain, while R. Kelly’s a dog.

“Well I know you like dark chocolate!” one of the men exclaims derisively after April, the white woman voiced her opinion.

And that pretty much set the tone for how that character was treated throughout the show. Throughout the show, the other main characters threw barbs at her for being white and “getting” black men. She seemed to accept this treatment as the price for gaining entrance to the crew. Although it’s clear that they’re supposed to have been friends for a long time, that hostility simmers just below the surface.

This is not a new dynamic for the token wigger. Just look at any Tyler Perry TV show. It was particularly painful to watch in one of his plays, where the white woman was constantly the butt of the jokes, culminating in the punchline that “once you go white–your credit gets tight.” (Totally true, btw)

I just wanted to say that although I am white and most of my friends are black–they never treat me like that! My friends treat me the way that they want to be treated. Sure, race comes up in our conversations, but if anyone makes a joke about my whiteness–it’s me.

If anything, my friends are fiercely protective of me. My friend Tina is the best. She tries to school me in the ways of these black lesbians. If anything, she can be a little too much. I don’t necessarily want to hear about all my haters. I realize that she’s indignant on my behalf–but do I really need to hear about the couple laughing at my dancing and making rude remarks?

If I wasn’t aware of them, maybe it’s because I didn’t want to be.

I would never be friends with people who treated me the way the April is treated.

I realize the therapeutic release that having such a verbal punching bag offers. All the hurt and pain of struggling to make it into the upper middle class in this institutionally racist society–only to have some white woman swoop in and snag the “good black men.”

But put yourself in her shoes: she’s just a woman, a human being, who has certain attractions. If she’s drawn to black men, and the friendship of black women–that’s because, as I do–she sees something special in them.

Presumably, her friends see something special in her, too. But, if she’s supposed to be their friend, it would be nice if they would treat her that way.

It would be nice if television aimed at a black audience modeled POC actually treating their friends–all of their friends–like friends.

UPDATE: Watching the actual episodes, I’ve been pleased that this theme does not play out in the show. Guess they left all that hate in the movie:-)

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