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Respect the black woman

This is something I wrote a few years ago in response to an article I read regarding the image of black women in the media.

Okay, let’s talk RESPECT! Ms. Franklin said it better than anyone I know, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.” Before you can get it, you have to know what it means to you.

So, why is it that when I turn on my television, I see everything but respect? I see my culture exploiting their bodies at a rate that far surpasses the majority, which is odd considering the ratio of blacks to whites on television. No, it’s not a race issue, it’s a respect issue; a respect issue bundled into low self-esteem, low expectancy and low income.

Must we show every inch of our bodies to the world in order to be accepted. Must we gyrate our pelvis and simulate the motions of sexuality, for the sake of 15 minutes of fame. I have to admit, I feel like these words should be coming from my mother’s mouth and not through the pen of this 28 year old woman. But maybe that’s where it starts. The younger we can transform the image of acceptance, the better.
Respect the black woman
I cannot fathom being told that in order to make money, be known, be seen or accepted, I would have to show my body to thousands or millions. And in my own seconds of conceit, this body is nothing to be ashamed of. But why? Why do we gather is mass quantities to watch these sexually charged, public actions. The answer is, lack of respect for ourselves and for others. Why shouldn’t people watch if you decide to show it all? At what point do we say, “I will not use my body in a sexual manner for profit.”

Teenagers are dressing like street-walkers and using what they have, to get what they want. Should we expect more? I say, “Yes”! We should expect things to turn around and use our knowledge to guide the younger generations down a clearer path. How about the novel idea of our minority television stations showing more positive black images? What about the idea of the black media creating a television or radio forum for young, black professionals? Give me a reason to want to rush home and tune into people who look like me, speak like me and act like me. Just because they are Black Like Me, doesn’t mean that they are like me.

When I heard Ms. Franklin belt out R-E-S-P-E-C-T, for the first time, it made me proud. So, maybe it’s time for us to cultivate another Condoleezza Rice, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Cicely Tyson, Toni Morrison or Debbie Allen. All who make me proud to spell my name B-L-A-C-K-W-O-M-A-N!

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