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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Is The Black Woman America’s New Coon?

Over the past thirty years the image of the Black woman has changed. In that time the picture of Black womanhood has changed from a humanized image of a dignified woman who supported her black man and led her family with inner strength to a sexually promiscuous loud mouth profanity spewing ignorant tatted up weave-wearing baby mama who is incapable of even taking care of herself without the help of public assistance.

In the media we’ve gone from positive intelligent images of humanized Black women to the presentation of Black women as feminized coons, and brutes, along with the Sapphires and Mammies. In Movies, on television, radio or the internet Black women are currently depicted in participating in some of the most embarrassing and degrading behavior. In any given day on American media a Black woman can be seen:

Emasculating men on Court shows like Judge Joe Brown, and Judge Judy,

Arguing with men over paternity on talk shows like Maury Povich and Steve Wilkos,

Acting a fool on reality shows,

Fighting in the streets like wild hellcats in online videos uploaded to places like WorldStarHipHop,

Shaking their butts in booty shaking videos in online videos uploaded to places like WorldStarHipHop,

Being presented as a whore in mainstream films like Monster’s Ball, on porn sites like

Being mocked and ridiculed in films like The Help,

Being shown as loud, ignorant and abusive in films like Precious,

Being shown as illiterate and pathetic in films like Precious,

Or depicted as in Tyler Perry films as hapless pathetic victims.

In addition to the degradation, the image of Black woman in the media is being depicted as one that is increasingly more violent. From the front-page making stories like Rayon McIntosh, the subway slasher who terrorized passengers on the IRT 4 train a few years ago to the numerous street brawls presented on the local evening news across the country, the media is depicting the face of Black women as a brute with a savage bloodlust.

In the face of all these negative images I have to wonder: Is the Black woman America’s new Coon?

I ask this because just recently I saw a twitter picture of a blonde-blue-eyed White Woman in Blackface. Underneath the picture she wrote: “I’m a Strong Independent Black woman who don’t need no man.”

Now I’ve seen many images of White males in Blackface. But this was the first one I saw of a White Woman depicting herself in Blackface. Are Black women becoming the new Millennium Minstrel show? Is it becoming that safe in America for racist white women to mock Black women?

It’s clear to me after nearly two decades of depicting Black women as whores, mammies, hoodrats and baby mamas the world’s view of Black women has become twisted into a dehumanized caricature.

Over a century ago the media’s minstrel was the Black man. But today that image is quickly becoming increasingly more Black and female. And it’s clear to me that the same racist stereotypes and propaganda tactics White Supremacists used to malign Black men with in the Antebellum South are now being used to smear the image of the Black woman in the 21st Century.

I have to ask Black women: Is this the way you want the world to see you? Is this the image you want the world to see when people think of Black women? Is this the way you want to go down in history?

Do you want the world to see you as the proud leader of a family? The hard worker who fought and struggled to achieve in college and have that successful career? That pillar of strength that supports her man and her family? The graceful woman Black men love? A woman with a dignified beauty that women all over the world envy?

Or do you want the world to see you as a weave-wearing, obese, loud-mouthed profanity spewing neck-rolling eye snapping hoodrat? A whore who any man can have for the right price? A woman run through by all the neighborhood thugs? A single mother who can’t take care of her children? An irresponsible woman who doesn’t even know who the father of her children are? A violent beast who can’t control herself? A savage creature who fights over the least little thing? A complete laughingstock to the entire world?

And is this the image that you want your daughters to see? Do you want to see your daughter grow up to be that proud mother who leads her family and supports her man? Or do you want her to grow up to become a Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Kim, Halle Berry, or Montana Fishburne who whores herself out for the highest dollar?

Because the power to control your image is in your hands. Moreovoer, the power to change your image is in your hands.

When Black men were depicted like this they spoke out against it. Moreover, they presented themselves to the world and made the statement that this was not who they were.

Brothers presented themselves at Churches. They presented themselves and their accomplishments in Black newspapers and magazines.  They presented themselves at work and on the street. They presented themselves in academic institutions and made the best grades. They made a statement to the world that they were not the sub-human creatures the White Supremacist media made themselves out to be. And by coming out they defined who they were.

And we’re still coming out. Combating the images of thuggism and gangsterism in our communities.

Just as Good Black men continue to fight these stereotypes of themselves, Good Black women have to start speaking out against the degrading images Madison Avenue and Hollywood are now presenting of them. Black men can’t fight this battle for you. You have to fight it for yourself.

Good Black women you can no longer be silent. Because the Black women who have been brainwashed by the media and are presenting these caricatured images of Black womanhood as the standard that represents you. Reinforcing the negative stereotypes about Black women as the norm. Making you and your community look bad. Making your life harder. You have to say something about the way these women are behaving before it’s too late.

Do you have to be denied jobs? Do you have to get followed in stores, or stopped and frisked by police on a regular basis to realize the impact these stereotypes do to society? Does a White man have to make an unwanted sexual advance on you for you to wake up?

Or will it just take the picture of one White woman in Blackface for you to start speaking out?

Only good hardworking Black women can stop the minstrelization of the image of the Black woman. Sistas, you control how the world sees you. Don’t allow Hollywood and Madison Avenue to cause you to lose face. Put your best foot forward to fight against this coonery.


  1. Shawn, your blog is written in your inimitable style, as unusual. I cannot really comment, though, because any comment along these lines is divisive. Black women helped black men get over their "coon" image. I don't believe we can do it alone in getting over ours.

    No black woman alive handles herself with more grace and aplomb than Michelle Obama, and look at the savage drudging she often gets -- as well as the sincere admiration. There are many black women like her, getting the undeserved hits, yet getting the kudos too.

    Still, the blog sets out a facet of our life today. It didn't begin yesterday, and it isn't going to end tomorrow. We're not the first group to be slammed and slzndered. Trust me, we won't be the last.

  2. I'm glad you wrote this timely piece, Mr. James. Black women are increasingly becoming the other menanace to society by America. It's very sad to see the state of Black women falling to the pits.

    Unless we condemn the women who destroying the Black community, there will be no community at all.

    La Reyna

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  4. Here comes the deflection and the generalization.

    This coonery is currently making Black woman look BAD.

    And the people behind it aren't Black men. We don't control the radio and TV stations. We don't own the Radio and TV stations. We don't control the distribution of content.

    Over the past two decades the image of the black

    White Supremacists want to keep this media in play to destroy the image of the Black woman. She is currently being transformed into an international JOKE. But most Black people don't see that.

    I guess sistas are so full of themselves they can't hear the people all over the world laughing at her.