After calculating the results of a completely random, unscientific, social media poll, I have come to the conclusion that 76.21 percent of black men do not like Scandal.
To the 23.79 percent of black men imbued with discernment and the ability to parse creative, political and societal nuance, “Thank you.” And I’m counting down the days with you until next Thursday, which is hereby renamed Scandal.
That’s right: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Scandal, Friday and Saturday.
In all seriousness, I brushed aside the occasional acerbic comments that would come across my Facebook timeline and Twitter feed. The Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson jokes that black female Scandal watchers would nervously bat away, secretly wondering if their black, male friends were laughing with them or at them didn’t even give me pause because I’ve long come to the conclusion that when it comes to inter-racial relationships, there are some black men who hold themselves to a different, hypocritical standard.
While their brethren, and themselves, are free to pursue and fetishize about any Sue, Becky and Kimmy that crosses their path — because black women are so demanding, fat, lazy, unsupportive [insert derogatory label here] — any sister who isn’t beating a drum in Leimert Park with dreads down her back or a TWA (Teeny-weeny afro), is a race traitor waiting to spread her legs for the massa.
Let them tell it.
I swiftly discard that exaggerated criticism because it is so obviously steeped in feelings of emasculation and instinctive powerlessness that it would take much longer than a sweep of social media to peel back all of the layers and address its core.
But these anti-Scandal black men are a wily bunch. Oh yes, they are. They realized that they couldn’t continue to post pictures of Kim Kardashian on Monday, quote little Wayne talking about “bet that bitch look better red” on Tuesday, break down all the reasons why white women stay “#winning” on Wednesday, then complain about a black woman being in love with a white man on Thursday.
So, what’s the new tactic? Slut-shaming.
Forget that President Fitzgerald Grant III is white, they proclaim all aflutter with their hands clasped to their heaving bosoms. It’s that he’s MARRIED!
After decades of black women living in a culture of infidelity that is reflected on screen without fail, now all of a sudden –when it is a powerful, black woman involved in an affair that viewers experience from her perspective — we want to talk about marriage.
After years of Blaxploitation films that depicted women as nothing more than breasts and asses, we want to talk about marriage.
After countless music videos shot in strip clubs with rappers collecting “hoes” like parking tickets, now we want to talk about marriage.
Black women who root for Fitz and Olivia, in all of their complicated, “If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right” fierceness, should put ourselves in the place of the poor wife who is being disrespected in all of this and be ashamed for watching.
As my father used to say, “I might have been born at night, but it wasn’t last night,” so there is no way in hell that I’ll believe that concern for the institution of marriage and the negative portrayals of black women in the media is the reason why Scandal is such a sensitive subject for those black men for whom the show presents an issue.
It’s okay for “bandz to make her dance,” but sleep with a married man? Now, that’s just uncivilized.
^ See how silly that sounds?
Don’t get me wrong, if President Grant were black and Liv were white, black women would not flock to Scandal. I freely admit to that. It wouldn’t matter how empathetically and compassionately their love was depicted. It. would. not. fly. Not in this life or the next. Those same deep, racial fissures that would turn some women away from that inverted plot are clearly causing resentment in some black men and that’s understandable. I get it.
I get that no one is allowed to objectify black women but them.
We could get into the details of the show and discuss just why exactly Olivia Pope is not being objectified. We could talk about the nucleus of power — of which Olivia is at the forefront — and how the marriage in question is one of convenience and not truth. We could even discuss monogamy and why, if and should it be the standard of all relationships. But to delve into any of these things would be to fall for the distraction that Olivia’s affair with a married man is the real issue why some of these men are one step away from creating a petition on Change.org to boycott Shonda Rhimes — and we all know that it’s not.
This is about hyper-masculinity, patriarchy and possession. For once, a black woman is depicted on screen who is one self-reliant, skilled, bad-ass business-woman capable of making her own decisions based on choices independent of black male control — and she chose a white man.
More importantly, she chose love with all its drama attached — no racial qualifier needed. And attempting to slut-shame black, female viewers into turning the channel just proves that a lot of egos need to be adjusted for deflation.
For once, it’s not about you, sirs. And that’s okay, you’ll live. We’ve being doing it for years.