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11/14/10

"Being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I have not conquered yet."

Last week I had a chance to see "For Colored Girls". To everyone's surprise, including mine, I didn't particularly care for the film. To be honest, I'm tired of seeing Black women portrayed as being sad, depressed, and hopeless. There was one line in particular that stuck out to me: "Being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I have not conquered yet." 

I grew up with a father who was extremely pro Black. He took me to the Dusable Museum of African American History on a regular basis. We attended plays at the ETA theatre in Chicago. He purchased me books with characters who looked like me. He called me an African princess and I believed him. 

As I grew up I found myself appreciating my brown skin, to be honest I wanted to be darker. I admired my almond shape eyes, forehead, and full lips. As I came into my womanhood I began to love my behind, hips, and big legs. I can honestly say that I am in love with EVERYTHING that comes along with being "Colored", Black, African American, all of the above. If the "Black is Beautiful" movement never occurred in the 1960's, I would  be the one to initiate it today. 

Yet it saddens me when I speak to my students who at the ages of 10 and above have already developed a metaphysical dilemma to being Black. I am confused as to where they are receiving these negative messages about being a Black girl. 

I am fully aware of how powerful media is, but it can and must be overcome. This is a challenge to you: I challenge you to acknowledge and encourage the young girls around you. Acknowledge her dark skin and how beautiful it is. Acknowledge her nappy hair and how pretty it is. Acknowledge her and how wonderful she is. Take her to the theatre. Buy her books. Read her poetry. Introduce her to Shirley Chisolm, Maya Angelou, and Toni Cade Bambara. Share your stories. Listen to her stories. Intervene, so she won't become a grown woman with a metaphysical dilemma of being Black. 

18 comments:

  1. I saw For Coloured Girls and I didn't enjoy anything in the film

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    1. Au contraire! I saw For Colored Girls and I did enjoy Kimberly Elise and Kerry Washington!

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  2. I saw the film and couldn't agree with you more. I was also turned off by the black male bashing in the movie.

    The best thing about the movie was the acting. It was a stellar cast, and they all did a great job.

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    2. There was black male bashing in the movie and, don't you think each of them was 'bash--worthy'? Responsible black males today, are a minority of a minority. However, until strong black women stop accepting irresponsible, violent criminal, black male behavior, their dilemma is not going to improve.

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  3. You had a wonderful man in your life that showed you that black is beautiful. That you are beautiful. So, so, so, many of us both male and female don't have those important, irreplaceable figures in our lives. The result is a society that doesn't have that type of love for themselves. Personally I've been on one and think we need to re-initiate the "Black is Beautiful" movement all over again anyway because I feel like we have forgotten that.

    www.jayswonderland.blogspot.com

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  4. Thanks for the comments ladies... Lady J, you just gave me an idea... stay tuned!

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  5. I recall reading the book of poetry as a very young woman and saw the movie 2 days ago.
    I guess what I took from the film wasn't "black male bashing" specifically since quite often the words were about men in general and not specifically black men. Also because the portrayals are true and real. These horrible men exist, just as much as the wonderful cop husband character represented exist. (Let's not forget about him especially since he's sexy as hell)
    I also feel that there are so many other films and books that show our (black peoples) many different, wonderful sides that it's okay to show the dirty underbelly that STILL exists. I feel it's important to keep all truths out in the light, discussed and aired out: Children are still raped by their fathers, a woman is assaulted every 2 minutes in America, women will humiliate themselves for male attention. This is all true and real.
    Finally, Nikki, I love the information you gave about your Father. FABULOUS!!! I had brothers who did the same for me as a black girl and a sister who took it one step further. She taught me I was wonderful because I was me, regardless of my color, history or culture and to let that me shine the way I need to shine.

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  6. I was kind of baffled by the "back alley abortion" subplot. Are there still women in 2010 who don't realize there are free clinics all over the place? That part of the story seemed dated for a film that supposedly takes place in modern times. Modern clothes, cars, etc. It pulled me out of the film and I found it hard to be drawn in emotionally to the rest of it. I also didn't relate to the women in the film, for which I am grateful.

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  7. Matthias A. CastillaNovember 19, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Being Colored is a metaphysical dilemma I have not conquered yet. Hmmmm..... Thats really intresting. It brings the questions, " What are the metaphysical entities of being Colored?" I wish I knew. "Does to conquer that so called dilemma mean to be able to divide and distinguish oneself from another race? Is that a must to understand yourself and the people around you? Is this a reflection of the Gospel? Great Post NIKKI!!!!!! Thought provoking and right on time. Didn't catch to movie yet, but Im going to.

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  8. I loved everything about the movie; because I think that there are a lot of things the movie touched on that african americans try to cover up, such as depression & self acceptance. I dont think there was any male bashing in the movie at all.

    I dont think I have a metaphysical dilemma with being black NOW, BUT I will say that when I was younger, I would envy other races because it just seemed easier for them & I thought they were prettier, I'm just being honest. I always had black dolls & things like that but, I remember my mom (who is black with "white features") saying to me when I was little "gosh your nose is so ugly". That has been something embedded in my brain since then. I've always wanted a nose job & sometimes still do. Not because I want to look white but because I think my nose is ugly.

    Anyways... I've learned to love everything about being black, my hair, my skin, sometimes my nose lol, my big eyes EVERYTHING. I wouldn't trade my race for anything in the world, I love being black!

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  9. Considering that the movie was just an adaptation of the series of poems, it did it relatively all right justice. You have to think about it, though, the subjects that arose in the poems themselves have a lot more depth and meaning to it than people are willing to see. The day and age these were written rung louder (while they still may nowadays) then. You can love being black, but this prompts you to analyze further what it is to be a black woman.

    These poems are tons better to read and analyze - don't take it for face value. :)

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  10. I always tell my 3 year old her skin is beautiful and her body is just fine. She's a little lighter than me ad she's solid. But she knows she's pretty because mommy said so ;)

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  11. I watched "For Colored Girls" and I thought it was one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. Being Bi-racial (African-American/White). That quote "Being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I have not conquered yet." Hit home for me. Growing up I embraced only one-half of my whole. I thought, the lighter I was, the more beautiful I was. It is media & works of art such as this film that inspired me to love my color. That being Black is nothing to be ashamed of, that color is beautiful! From my longated features to the naps in my hair, today at 22 years old I love my color :)

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  12. you should do research on metaphysics so you know what that phrase is referring to rather than taking it personal without fully comprehending it's meaning.

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  13. I appreciate your blog; however, I have a different perspective. I loved the movie (and I am not a fan of Tyler Perry's creative direction). For me, it was good to see the strength of these women as they embrace their pain/challenges. I feel that as African American women, we are so caught up in being the "strong black woman" that we don't give ourselves permission to be vulnerable.

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  14. I don't think the movie was meant to showcase what we would aspire for black lives to be, as much as it was to showcase the realities that so many black families, particularly black women have to deal with and how with all of the trials and tribulations we may face we can learn to rise above and still love ourselves. Because the harsh reality is that many of us weren't influenced our whole lives like you were.

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