Have you seen this cartoon? It’s been making the rounds on social media, at least among my uber-educated, well-connected circles, and surely yours as well. I ignored it the first time I saw it, rolled my eyes the second, and when a “friend” who I respect and thought knew better added it to her status update and declared herself a “’70s lady,” I finally decided to address it.

Um…. What it implies is bull$#@!. Earlier this year, I was on a 17-hour flight back from South Africa and killed time watching Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” which won Best Original Screenplay at the 2012 Academy Awards. Loosely, it’s about a guy (Owen Wilson) who idolizes the past and (whoops! ) stumbles back in time to a period he thinks is superior. There, he meets this woman from that prior time who has also stumbled back to the era before her own and thinks that it is even better. It’s a cycle. By the end of the film, Wilson’s character realizes that there’s no time like the present, and he might as well make the most of the time he has.

That is the same point I’d like to make here. No disrespect to my mother’s heyday, or for some of the ladies reading, your granny’s. I’m sure there were lovely women galore, and I don’t mean to denigrate anyone in any way. But to pretend that the women of one era were so far superior and the values of all black women now have gone to hell in a Louis Vuitton hand basket (because we’re all sooo materialistic) is crap. That’s it. Crap.

I will give it to black women of that era; they had better PR. They didn’t have many images, and when they finally got put on, they presented their best — at first. The Seventies gave us the debut of Essence, the first widely distributed publication for black women, and “For Colored Girls …,” which was brilliance personified. But it also gave us free love (i.e., promiscuity) and Blaxploitation flicks, which prominently featured black pimps and “hoes” and cocaine use as iconic. It wasn’t all gravy.

I’ll join the chorus to say we, black folk, got problems: Piss-poor graduation rates, the number of children born out of wedlock or even into committed relationships, and the number of people incarcerated are issues that need addressing — not just criticizing — by us, even if we weren’t the ones who got that trend rolling down hill. I admit that. But to make lace-front-wearing gold diggers who don’t know the difference between a pot and a pan the face of the current generation of black women isn’t just unfair; it’s also inaccurate. So is linking submission to men as a virtue and labeling “strong” and “independent” women as a vice. Please explain to me how it benefits black women or the black race as a whole to have women who are weak and dependent.

I’ll wait.

Black women are as varied, contradictory, and multi-faceted as any other race of ladies. But when those other women get portrayed as loose, gold-digging, and otherwise unsavory, it’s presented as one representation of the women their race embodies, not the part that represents the whole. Of course, there are the women among us who could do better, who should know better, or who weren’t taught better (or just didn’t listen). But there are a whole host of us, too, who were raised by those good ol’ days and duly praised women of the Seventies who embody their likeness, literally and figuratively, and still carry ourselves with the best of their values, morals, and common sense. The intersection of our race and gender shouldn’t inherently have us all portrayed as ratchet.

I know Katt Williams isn’t a philosopher, and his pimp-schtick, vulgarity, and “complicated” personal life don’t make him necessarily a go-to person to be quoted, but when he’s lucid he drops bombs. And one of them from his comedy act was about women who complain about all men not being worthwhile:  “If you 25 years old and still walking around talking about [men] ain’t sh#!, you need to get a handle on your [expletive] life and take some responsibility. What you mean to say is you need to figure out what it is about [you] that keep attracting ain’t [expletive]  n—s. That’s your own personal business.”

The same applies for men — and women, too – who see comparisons like the cartoon above in a friend’s Facebook status and click “like” to co-sign madness. If every black woman you currently encounter is a money-hungry, disagreeable, shameless mess and you just have to let everyone who follows you know, I have to ask what’s wrong with you that you keep attracting that type of woman into your personal space? All black women ain’t bad, but the bad ones who exist and you keep encountering or attracting one another? What they all have in common, actually, is you.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. ABIB is available to download and now in paperback. Follow her on Twitter at @abelleinbk.

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  1. alyssaj

    Dang! Where is SargeWilliePete when you need him?

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  2. Lyrical Butterfly

    This Alex L is a complete idiot and hods on to the Nice Gut bullshit. “Oh hot black girls didn’t like me because I was a nerd in high school” when who knows it could have been the fact that you were an arsehole maybe. hmmm?

    These entitled “nice guysTM” think that because they did A,B and C that they are deserving of the creme of the crop of women deemed attractive. They are these men in all races. But since his comments focus on Black people we are going to keep the focus here. for example look at these comics from tumblr

    http://ai-yo.tumblr.com/post/25123949730/so-my-i-have-been-seeing-these-comic-strips-around-and

    In my school I have heard these complaints from Black men saying that well the Black girls that they are supposedly interested in think they are too nerdy and geeky and whatever. Although it never occurred to them to look for the Black girls with the same interests as them but nope she has to look like Megan Goode for that to happen the hot geek girl trope (see She’s all that or Not another Teen movie.) AND EVEN THEN just because someone likes the same niche shit that you like does not mean that they will like you. Meaning just because you both like playing Last Chaos MMORPG does not mean you are soulmates because you find her attractive.

    I had some crushes that were unrequited back in the day but I got over them as soon as I left highscool when I was 16 I’m 20 now. This man is probably older yet still can’t let go.

    Plus I would also love to add the blame Black women for everything complete bullshit. Seriously take some responsibility it’s just fucking sad. the picture above said it is contributing to the feminization of Black men meaning turning them gay which made me laugh my ass off.
    On one side you have Black men blaming Black women for turning Black men gay
    then you have Don Lemon a gay Black man saying the reason why so many Black men won’t come out of the closet is because of Black women.

    So we are turning you gay and stopping you from being gay. Wow who knew Black women had so much power like that.

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