The Stank Eye Woman Syndrome and how Black Male Privilege is to Blame: Are Black Men Really Ignorant of how they “Compartmentalize” their “Female Friends”?

So, in the traditional way in which black people begin their stories, “What had happened was . . .”

I attended this event where one of my best male friends was hosting. Upon arriving my best male friend comes and says, pejoratively and with great amusement, “Your friend is over there,” hinting to a black woman who every time I see her she gives me what I can the “stank eye.” And, if you are a heterosexual black woman you are quite familiar with either giving the “stank eye” or receiving the “stank eye.” Long story short, my best friend decides to play what I call, “The Great Black Male Conciliator.” He decides to prompt the “stank eye” woman to reconcile with me. I should state at this point in the story, I am somewhat hazy on why every time I see this woman she gives me the “stank eye.” Anyways, she comes over and tries to be nice to me and, of course, it comes across as completely disingenuous.

So, after leaving the event, it came to me why this woman continues to give me the “stank eye.” And, it has everything to do with my best friend. The “stank eye” woman romantically likes my best friend and perceives me as competition. Because she only gives me the “stank eye” when I am with him. So, I call him up and tell him this. And, of course, he denies it and says in the way black men say, “We are just friends. We worked together to get Barack Obama elected. We spent a lot of time together doing that, but we are just friends. I know for a fact she does not like me in that way.” And, all I could say was, “Bullshit, you are completely impervious [let me use a smaller word, ignorant] of the privilege patriarchy gives you as a heterosexual man.”

Which brings us to the current discussion, “Are black men ignorant to how they engage their many female friends?”

Tyler Perry Is Full Of Sh*t….

This past week, at a press conference regarding his latest Madea flick, Tyler Perry told Spike Lee to go straight to hell. Clearly fed up with discussion of Lee’s comments a few years ago regarding the “coonery and baffoonery” that is Tyler Perry’s film career, Mr. Madea finally took a stand:

“Spike can go straight to hell! You can print that. I am sick of him talking about me, I am sick of him saying, ‘this is a coon, this is a buffoon.’ I am sick of him talking about black people going to see movies. This is what he said: ‘you vote by what you see,’ as if black people don’t know what they want to see.”

Now Perry actually has a point here. To somehow frame his work as “the problem” is actually condescending to his audience. People pay money to see what they want to see. End of story.

But then Perry went too far.

“Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois went through the exact same thing; Langston Hughes said that Zora Neale Hurston, the woman who wrote ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God,’ was a new version of the ‘darkie’ because she spoke in a southern dialect and a Southern tone…”

Ummm…no.

MISTER CEE'S ARREST, And Rap's Fear Of A Gay Hip Hip Head

Nobody is more Hip Hop than Mister Cee.

He was Big Daddy Kane’s DJ during his prime in the late eighties. He was an early mentor to The Notorious B.I.G., even acting as an associate executive producer on his landmark debut album, Ready To Die. And he’s a longstanding radio DJ and personality at New York’s Hot 97, arguably the most famous Hip Hop radio station in the world.

It just doesn’t get much more Hip Hop than that. And unfortunately, it also doesn’t get more Hip Hop than getting arrested by the NYPD, so the intial news of Mister Cee’s arrest last week in New York City didn’t raise too many eyebrows. Getting into trouble with the law? Having your wrists cuffed behind your back? No problem. Very Hip Hop.

But getting arrested for receiving a blowjob from a 20 year-old man in a parked car? Apparently, that’s problematic. Go figure.

Gay Is the New Black: limitations of identity politics

In 2008, when I first read “Gay is the New Black” on the cover of the Advocate, I CRINGED at its implications.  Even as I write, “Gay is the New Black,” it is unsettling because it elides, obfuscates and erases many tensions and concerns. You may be asking, “Why speak about it now, three years after the article was published?” The answer is simple—I feel the need to talk about my concerns and fears on the matter because of the Obama Administration’s legal/political move to position/add gay people as a protected class of citizens.

Such a Painful Black Girl Reunion: Oprah and Iyanla

As a middle school student, I remember reading Iyanla Vanzant’s One Day My Soul Just Opened Up and thinking who is this black woman to write such a book about spiritual recovery that did not mention Jesus Christ as the penultimate factor in spiritual rejuvenation. Yes, back then I was a burgeoning Christian fundamentalist who enjoyed reading big girl books that I was not suppose to read including Terri McMillan’s How Stellar Got Her Groove Back and T.D. Jakes’ Woman Thou Art Loosed. So, now to watch Iyanla on Oprah tell her story of decline made me think about what it means for Black women to tell each other the “cold” truth in a world that in some very real ways are bent on our mental, spiritual, and physical demise or at the bare minimal our collective demoralization.

On the Use of "Honor Student": Phylicia Barnes’ Disappearance

A gifted student from North Carolina who was visiting family in Baltimore over the holidays, Barnes was scheduled to graduate early from high school. She did not have a history of running away or being a troubled child.

The Phylicia Simone Barnes’ story is one of profound sadness and injustice on many levels. We know that when our brown and black children go missing they go missing without any national attention from the media. We also know that courageous black parents keep the search alive through their sheer determination to find their children. We also know that there is both a racialized and gendered media double standard.

We know these things.

But, do we know how to write a story—a news article—about black women’s and black girls’ disappearances or stories of violence without having to highlight how good they are, how perfect of a mother they are, how good of a student they are, and how good of a wife they are?

Michelle Obama vs. Steven Slater

Recently the First Lady visited Spain. This photo was taken from her vacation. Yes, I have copies. As does Essence Magazine. Anyway, since her jaunt to Spain there has been article after article about whether or not it was a smart political move. That back in the states, there were millions of people still facing unemployment. The message here was save your money, find cheap things to do, and support those in the Gulf. To many, even ardent supporters, Mrs. Obama’s “lavish” trip overseas sent the wrong message. Michel Martin’s piece for NPR resonated widely. In part, because she gave credence to the negative attitudes that surround the Obamas including the lack of support they receive because of their race. Then she brought it back around to Michelle’s ill-timed trip to Spain. In the end, she concluded, that Michelle Obama took a “vacation from empathy” and that millions of poor Americans here were now faced with seeing she and Barack Obama as outsiders. Prior to this trip, they were much more accessible. Hell, they were just like us.