Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Watch Out for First World Problems
Crossposted at Beyond Black & White
This post is related to a previous post on my blog and something I've been thinking for a while. The gist of that post was that I don't feel the need to take time out of each day to feel bad for all the people suffering in the world unless I plan on doing something to help. Otherwise it's just feeling bad for no reason and it's just talk with no action or substance behind it. It's acting upset and patting yourself on the back after because that makes you more human than the allegedly unfeeling masses (yet it's members of those unfeeling masses who are actually working on those issues every day not just complaining about them). There are people close to me who I can feel bad for if necessary but I'm not going to seek out news stories about bad things and feel bad so that I prove I have feelings to strangers online. I don't think that is helpful to anyone and a waste of time I could be using to enjoy my life or do something more constructive or helpful in the world. It doesn't mean I don't care or don't have feelings, I'm just not choosing to get worked up about every issue in the world that crosses my path because that helps no one.
To me, taking on the suffering of strangers is like being a mammy and a mule feeling bad for them when they don't feel bad for you, in the hopes that when you have problems they will remember your caring and come help you when you need it. I don't believe that will happen, maybe on a national level (e.g., countries helping each other and expecting to be paid back in the future), but not on a race level. I will be concerned and help someone LESS fortunate than myself IF I WANT TO and if I am moved, not in the hopes of getting paid back because I know that probably won't happen. I don't fool myself into thinking that caring for those people is somehow an investment in my own future. Payback would only apply if those people are my neighbors and if they will one day have enough resources to pay me back (that would be reciprocity). But for the people who need the most help in far away places, that will never happen. I will help them just because I think it's the right thing to do, but I won't sit around depressed about it because then I would be depressed 24/7 365 days a year.
Furthermore, I don't waste time being concerned about people who have their own family, friends, and resources to take care of them. These people don't need my help and they probably won't reciprocate because they focus their resources on helping themselves (because self-preservation is the priority for most people). This is why I don't get upset over things regarding celebrities anymore because they have enough people caring about them that they don't need me. I don't need to be concerned about athletes or politicians. I don't need to be concerned about powerful ideological groups because they will be okay and succeed without my help (because they have been doing so all along). Trust me, anyone with any power will do just fine without the support of Black women but if we don't take care of our own problems who will? Do you really want us to go begging to everyone else for help or should we try to handle our own problems? This leads me to the issue of First World Problems. FWPs are things that people in wealthy Western countries get upset about that aren't even in the radar of people in poorer countries who are just trying to survive. To people in those countries these issues seem frivolous and they would wonder why we are so miserable when we have so much.
I think that there are Black First World Problems that Black people in Western countries worry and get too angry about when Black people in the past would have had much worse to deal with. I think that Western Black people believe that if we don't get really upset and make a lot of noise over every insensitive thing anyone does then observers will get the green light to be as racist and sexist as they want, Jim Crowe be reinstated and women will become second class citizens again. This is why they get upset over minor things because they think those minor things are indications of a large, underground racist/sexist mentality that is just waiting to come out if everyone isn't vigilant about it. Now I am not a psychic and I don't know if they are right about this or not. I'll let them get upset but I won't be a part of it. It's their passion and fear not mine so I won't let them drag me in. Discussions about some of these issues can get very heated because people feel they are a symptom of a more serious problem. But when you sit back and look at some of the issues Western people have gotten really upset about you just have to laugh sometimes because we must have things pretty good if these are the things we complain about. Yes we can complain and commiserate about these problems but there is no reason why discussions of these issues should end with someone being furious, depressed, or feeling that the world is a horrible place. Just breathe and realize you are getting upset about a FWP that isn't that serious!
*Getting worked up over something you read/saw on the Internet: The Internet is strangers writing for entertainment or amusement or telling people what they think those people should know. People are more rude on the Internet because it is anonymous and they are arguing with people who can't affect them in real life. Don't bother getting upset about a conversation with a stranger who you may never cross paths with again over a topic you have never been concerned about until they brought it up. If you don't like it. don't read or visit the site again, avoid the person, and just walk away because no one is forcing you to be there.
*Black women wear their hair straight: For many people this is a luxury and they have no choice but to wear their own natural hair (I used to think this was serious but not any more). It's more important that Black women are free to be educated, employed, using money for necessities or upward mobility, and feel safe walking the streets looking however they want.
*A Black person's skin color: Why are we caring so much about this? Can a Black person just be Black and be accepted already no matter the shade? Stop caring so much about who the media prefers and just treat people equally and be attracted to whoever you want.
*A celebrity said or did ANYTHING: There are people who pay absolutely no attention to what celebrities do because they are busy with other things. This also includes any celebrity doing anything that reminds you of slavery or their preference for non-Black people. Pay more attention to what the powerful people concern themselves with, because I doubt it's Love and Hip Hop. Some people don't watch TV at all.
*A rapper said something misogynist: It's a musician, an entertainer, usually with a criminal background who is barely literate from a music genre that is plagued with misogyny. Think about all the places in the world where rap music and rappers are a non-issue and have no impact on anything. Idiots say idiotic things and other idiots will follow their example.
*There are not enough Black people on quality TV shows: You're complaining about what's on your $3000 flat screen that costs more than people earn in one year in some countries. It's a luxury you have TV at all and that there are ever Black people on shows that are not on Black-owned networks. Yes, you can be bothered by this but it's really not that serious in comparison with other issues so just don't act like this is the worst issue facing Black people. Let the actors fight this battle for their representation and use their unions. Read a book or go exercise.
*There are not enough Black fashion models in high fashion shows and magazines: Do I have to explain how big a FWP this is? Don't watch the shows, don't read the magazines, don't buy the clothes...live your life. This also includes fashion shoots that remind you of slavery, minstrel shows, or you feel are appropriating someone's culture. They are selling pieces of fabric...relax!
*There are not enough Black people on magazine covers: Stop letting the media tell you who you are and what you are worth. The media is designed to tell you that you aren't good enough so that you buy things to fix problems you don't even have. Your face is not on the cover because they prefer White people like them and it has nothing to do with your beauty or worth as a human being. In a country where Black folks were the majority AND owned the media then Black people would be represented all over the place. In Western countries Black people will always be underrepresented so accept it and move on.
The new image of a Black Barbie (relax it wasn't even for kids and people dress like that anyway)
Django Unchained dolls pulled from shelves (who cares?)
Petition over Scandal Hiatus (get a life people)
Petition over Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone (who cares?)
Controversy over Mary J. Blige singing in chicken commercial (everyone likes chicken get over it)
Protesting Legos marketed towards girls (just buy what you want mindless drones)
Complaints there are no Black women on "Girls" TV show (who cares, just don't watch)
Little girl is toy store rails against gender stereotypes (buy whatever you want..sheesh)
Black models excluded from fashion shows (let the people who buy their stuff and the models protest. I think they should get rid of runway modeling period and just use computers...)
Rapper says Black women don't look good in red lipstick (then people try to prove him wrong...why?)