Sunday, February 05, 2006

Something's Old about "Something New"





Last night I went to see "Something New", a film about an "interracial romance" between a Blackwoman (Sanaa Lathan) and a Jewish landscape architect (Simon Baker). The description of the latter is important, since throughout the film, Lathan's paramour is referred to as "white", and it isn't until her "friend" Leah's wedding that it is revealed Baker is Jewish. Lathan is a high-powered tight-ass accountant in a nearly all-white LA accounting firm and is ultimately rescued professionally by her white boss and personally by her Jewish lover.

This is clearly the most destructive portrayal of Black relationships since the infamous "Monster's Ball" for which Halle Berry won an Oscar as "Best Actress" in 2001. What is far more insidious than "Monster's All" (no typo) is that "Something New's" symbolism rips to shreds the "silly" idea that Afrikan relationships can be healthy; indeed, they are all pathological. Lathan's brother is nothing short of a male 'ho and wanders in an out of relationships like a semi-reformed pimp. Her parents are Black Bourgeosie all the way with her mother (Alfre Woodard who by the way in real life is married to a white man) epitomizing everything that is bad about the Black middle class. One of Lathan's best friends is in a relationship with a married man. There are only two relationships that appear to be healthy --- Lathan's best friend who is healthfully in love with the always funny Mike Epps and of course, Sanaa and Simon.

Blair Underwood, the "IBM" ("Ideal Black Man") is quickly dispatched by Lathan after she simply doesn't "connect" with him, while Baker's dog, forced hiking into the woods, request to have Lathan's weave removed, dirt (he's Lathan's "landscape architect"), symbolic rape and alas, dismissal of racism as "tiring" are all tolerated and negotiated until they "work it out". The ending of the film is so ridiculous with Lathan actually dressing Baker in a Mataraci guitar suit with her in a filthy white formal dress reentering a Black cotillion and dancing with her "white" boyfriend while young Blackpeople simply smile and approve.

As I left the theater I heard Blackwomen saying, "Maybe I oughta try a white man." and "She [a friend] would be good with a white man." These comments reflect the not so subtle brainwashing that runs throughout the film, that Black relationships just ain't worth shit and Black/"white" relationships should be viewed as ideal. In the end, she marries her "white" paramour and they apparently live "happily ever after", with even Mike Epps, recommending "giving" it a try.

"Something New" is really something old --- naked white supremacy's historical attack on the sacredness of relationships between Afrikan women and men. It paints them as being silly, stupid, not worth the effort and ulimately "less than" a relationship with a "white" person who can rescue you from the ills of the world and love you in a deracinated world. In this sense, the film is excellent science fiction and keeps Blackwomen thinking that one day race will not matter and they should quickly open their beautiful hearts and legs for white men to continue fucking them in every way imaginable. I know, I know, it's just "entertainment". So was "Birth of a Nation"...

6 comments:

  1. Interesting review of "Something New" - I haven't seen it myself... I suspect films like this are part of a drive to encourage black people to assimilate...I talk a lot about these issues on my blog.

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  2. Some twenty years ago, I dated both a Caucasian and Mexican. The dad of the white fellow was not pleased and neither was mine; in fact both were livid and forbid us to see one another ever again. We were not in love but generally liked one another; a similar feeling I had and have with Black men. With the white guy, I had a deep liking for him and him me. We never discussed Black and White issues as we were getting to know one another – greatly appreciating one another’s company.

    Some time later, I met my sister’s [Mexican] neighbor and just like the white guy, I greatly appreciated and enjoyed the time we spent together.

    I have no idea as to why my dad was so against his girls dating anyone other than a Black man, yet turned a blind eye when his boys ventured outside of their race.

    I listened with much interest of his stories about racism in the 1930’s through the 1960’s. And I greatly appreciated his concerns as well as experiences, but it is a double standard.

    Both white and Black men have failed this nation, and I can certainly understand the argument of the disparaging acts brought upon our ancestors, hence the light and dark complexion of Blacks. Yes, I hear ya, but in my years, I have experienced both white and Black men causing me pain, but a GOOD MAN is hard to come find no matter his color. If I were to look further, I can easily say that men, period have caused me pain, but I would not have started dating women. Please! PEOPLE are the problem; not men who are Black, white, mexican, etc, but people!

    Currently, my sister dates white men; it is her choice. My brothers, well, they don’t discriminate while dating, Black, white, green, yellow, etc. It’s a choice and as long as these PEOPLE of different races are not bringing them discomfort, then I am happy of THEIR choice.

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  3. Keeba,

    I appreciate what you say, but to say that the conditions of Black and white men are the *same* in this nation is just plain wrong. I have never dated a white woman and never will because of the history of Black/white relationships in this nation which has never been resolved. You are correct in saying that your father had a double standard. He did, and I have always been confused about "Brothas" dating white women since there are far more Black women who are *without* Black men whom they could be emotionally involved with.

    At the end of the day, *all* of us operate under a system of white supremacy that forces us to make bad choices. Until we address that issue, much of our discussions about any subject will be moot and confusing.

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  4. Anonymous11:36 PM

    I know I am probably late but I was just looking up some info on this movie and stumbled across this site. I on the other hand loved the movie Something New and coming across this site really has shown me that the World has a lot of growing up to do, it's prejudice like this is what is going to keep everyone behind. I feel a person should be free to fall in love with who they geel regardless of their color. Her father explained it perfectly in the movie, they're just white that's it, just a different skin color due to melanin. So what's the big deal? Should they continually be punished for what their ancestors did the black race yearsssssssssss ago???? I dont think so. It's all about how you feel in your heart and knowing that your love can overcome any obstacle, besides, in the end each person has to live their life for themselves no one else. From I was a child I always preferred white guys, and I grew up in a predominantly black country, ( the Bahamas). Just recently, (the end of high school) did I start dating black guys. Interatial relationships are the norm where I'm from. I have to aunts that are Bi-racial and my grand father is bi racial as well. I see no prb with it. Every white person in this country is not the same, and if a white man wants to date me and love me for me regardless of my dark skin and my nappy roots and my big beautiful lips then I say all the power to him because he has exquisite taste and his eyes has truly been opened to one of the most beautiful creations that God has ever made.

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  5. mararock12:24 AM

    Oooookay, Professor.

    Respectfully, the first thing I’m going to do is quote you back to yourself:

    “I have heard black men brag about the fact that their choices of women are vast because they are “in demand”. My megalomaniacal brothers who say such things have no anchoring in African traditions that seek balance rather than power in their male-female relationships. They are psychologically immature when it comes to conducting a healthy relationship with women, and see women as things to be manipulated rather than persons to be cherished.”

    Mr. Underwood’s character in the movie was PRECISELY this type of character.

    Now given the fact that you created that description yourself, I’m hoping that you can see why those characteristics would not be desirable to a Black woman like Ms. Lathan’s character.

    Mr. Underwood’s character was overbearing, controlling, and arrogant.

    Why would you perceive that a Black woman would construe that as ideal?

    And if you or your Black male compatriots say that “all Black women are looking for is the handsome paycheck”, please consider both Ms. Lathan’s character’s -- she had her OWN bling (however understated), OWN nice house, and OWN firm partnership, so she didn’t need to glom on to his -- and my own rebuttal here as, at minimum, anecdotal evidence that ALL OF US ARE NOT LOOKING FOR THAT.

    (I’m not going to get into the “sisters who hold their education over brothers’ heads” discussion here; that’s a corollary issue involving insecure women and even more insecure men, and it dilutes the current point.)

    What are we supposed to do in the meantime? Relinquish all our dreams of relationships and children? Sit around until the next millennium waiting for brothers to get their acts together?

    Also, I'm also going to reiterate (just once) the point that Ms. Smith raised further upthread:

    "I have no idea as to why my dad was so against his girls dating anyone other than a Black man, yet turned a blind eye when his boys ventured outside of their race."

    There is a simmering undercurrent of thought here in America -- and elsewhere, if my international sisters’ tales hold true, and I have no reason to doubt them -- that only the quiet loss of “their” women to men of other races is going to wake Black men up to what they have to do to be viable partners in relationships with hard-working Black women who WANT to respect them, who WANT to be their partners (NOT their doormats).

    In cases where Black men are not willing to do the reciprocal work on themselves, the color of the good partner becomes, at best, a secondary consideration.

    To have a Black mate may be our PREFERENCE, but if the best we can hope for is

    - an attempt by a male with limited marketplace skills for this society to dominate us as a sop to his purported manhood;

    - an attempt to replicate sexist mainstream relationships in the face of a still-racist society that requires the strength and skills of BOTH partners (like Mr. Underwood's character in the movie was attempting to do), or

    - abandonment after we give birth to that man's child(ren);

    it's certainly NOT mandatory.

    Good Black women –- those of us who are working on ourselves to be good partners in good relationships (and I understand that what constitutes a "good" partner is going to vary from relationship to relationship, which I sense is what the ongoing debate between Black men and women on this topic is really about) -- want good men. We deserve no less.

    To that point, where is the continuation of that Black Men & Black Women in Partnership series that you hinted at back in 2002?

    Some of us are still eager to attend.

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  6. Well Ms. "Mararock" let's begin;-)... (my answers below)


    On Oct 22, 2006, at 12:24 AM, mararock wrote:

    Oooookay, Professor.

    Respectfully, the first thing I’m going to do is quote you back to yourself:

    “I have heard black men brag about the fact that their choices of women are vast because they are “in demand”. My megalomaniacal brothers who say such things have no anchoring in African traditions that seek balance rather than power in their male-female relationships. They are psychologically immature when it comes to conducting a healthy relationship with women, and see women as things to be manipulated rather than persons to be cherished.”

    ======= Good quote:-)

    Mr. Underwood’s character in the movie was PRECISELY this type of character.

    =======I agree.

    Now given the fact that you created that description yourself, I’m hoping that you can see why those characteristics would not be desirable to a Black woman like Ms. Lathan’s character.

    =======They aren't and shouldn't be. Underwood's character is *precisely* what I describe in the above quote. However, (using a homey metaphor), all of us have *at least* one time in our lives eaten a rotten apple. It doesn't mean that we *stop* eating apples and replace them with, let's say white grapes (get it?:-). We assume (and rightly so) that not all apples are rotten and continue to eat them. Why then, in our most important interactions, i.e., personal relationships do we assume that all Blackmen/women are rotten and choose white men/women over Ourselves? We shouldn't.

    Mr. Underwood’s character was overbearing, controlling, and arrogant.

    ======Again, I agree.

    Why would you perceive that a Black woman would construe that as ideal?

    ======I don't and never have/will.

    And if you or your Black male compatriots say that “all Black women are looking for is the handsome paycheck”, please consider both Ms. Lathan’s character’s -- she had her OWN bling (however understated), OWN nice house, and OWN firm partnership, so she didn’t need to glom on to his -- and my own rebuttal here as, at minimum, anecdotal evidence that ALL OF US ARE NOT LOOKING FOR THAT.

    ======Well, I *don't* say this and "brothers" who do are making unfair generalizations about Blackwomen. It's funny how many (not all) Blackwomen assume that "my compatriots" all think Blackwomen are economically co-dependent. Most of the Sisters I know are not, and perhaps this is the problem: we talk *about* each other, rather than *to* each other about what ails us. Whites see this as an "indoor spectactor sport" and as usual, take advantage to further divide Us from each other. More below...

    (I’m not going to get into the “sisters who hold their education over brothers’ heads” discussion here; that’s a corollary issue involving insecure women and even more insecure men, and it dilutes the current point.)

    =======And "brothers" (Not "Brothers") who do the same dysfunctional thing, as if the white folks' degrees "make" them into something...

    What are we supposed to do in the meantime? Relinquish all our dreams of relationships and children? Sit around until the next millennium waiting for brothers to get their acts together?

    =======No, "replace white supremacy with justice" and enjoin battle against those, as Armah says, wish to destroy Us. *We* not just Brothers, must get "Our acts" together, or we will be destroyed. I am *very* serious about this. I see what is happening to Us as warfare, and the primary target of that war is Ourrelationships. We must talk about this in our everyday interactions with each other. More below...

    Also, I'm also going to reiterate (just once) the point that Ms. Smith raised further upthread:

    "I have no idea as to why my dad was so against his girls dating anyone other than a Black man, yet turned a blind eye when his boys ventured outside of their race."

    =======I agree and that was/is a double standard.

    There is a simmering undercurrent of thought here in America -- and elsewhere, if my international sisters’ tales hold true, and I have no reason to doubt them -- that only the quiet loss of “their” women to men of other races is going to wake Black men up to what they have to do to be viable partners in relationships with hard-working Black women who WANT to respect them, who WANT to be their partners (NOT their doormats).

    =======Then I and conscious Brothers were awakened a long time ago --- since 1441 when our first Ancestors were extracted from Afrika. The most *common* historical racial relationship was the forced rape of Blackwomen by white men throughout enslavement. It continues in "Something New" and as I say in my blog, whenever a Blackwoman opens her legs to receive the pale white penis in her heavenly vagina it continues. The reverse is also true. If a brother inserts his penis into the pale white vagina of a white woman, he *rejects* his mother, sister, aunt, grandmothers and indeed, *all* Blackwomen who suffered the horrors of rape at the hands of Our enemies. I believe/live this and have *never* participated in this utter rejection of Blackwomen. I have never been even tempted to "go there" and know many other Brothers who haven't as well.

    In cases where Black men are not willing to do the reciprocal work on themselves, the color of the good partner becomes, at best, a secondary consideration.

    ======="good"? And I totally disagree. "Going there" is admitting defeat under a system of white supremacy. I think the issue of "choice" is also exaggerated among Blackwomen relative to Blackmen. For example, there aren't many "choices" for Blackmen who wish to have a conscious, politically-minded, functional, I-ain't-madatya Afrikan-centered Sister. Trust me, *I* know...

    To have a Black mate may be our PREFERENCE, but if the best we can hope for is

    - an attempt by a male with limited marketplace skills for this society to dominate us as a sop to his purported manhood;

    - an attempt to replicate sexist mainstream relationships in the face of a still-racist society that requires the strength and skills of BOTH partners (like Mr. Underwood's character in the movie was attempting to do), or

    - abandonment after we give birth to that man's child(ren);

    ========All you are saying is what society has done to my "compatriots", that's all. It is hard to objective and that's why the critique must be aggressive the devastation wrought upon Ourrelationships and how they are now on "auto pilot" relative to white supremacy. If I go to Baghdad today and say, "Boy these Iraqis sure are violent people with no sense of community or decorum.", I would be ahistorical and stupid. We *must* never fail to understand what has been *done* to Us and then mount counter-racist strategies to oppose it. That is what you and I are doing with this exchange. During the overthrow of apartheid in S. Afrika (Azania) if you asked *conscious* people what type of work they did, they would say, "I am working to overthrow the government and during the day, I work as a teacher, laborer, domestic, etc.". We should be doing the same thing. We should think the same way. Instead, we admit defeat and then propose dysfunctional strategies, e.g., interracial dating as a compromise under a system of white supremacy.

    it's certainly NOT mandatory.

    ========of course not.

    Good Black women –- those of us who are working on ourselves to be good partners in good relationships (and I understand that what constitutes a "good" partner is going to vary from relationship to relationship, which I sense is what the ongoing debate between Black men and women on this topic is really about) -- want good men. We deserve no less.

    ========I agree, and feel that your goodness and the goodness of your Sisters should be cherished by Blackmen in every way possible.

    To that point, where is the continuation of that Black Men & Black Women in Partnership series that you hinted at back in 2002?

    ========So you *are* someone I know;-)...(you have an advantage). We have conducted three since April, 2006 at the Reginald Lewis Museum here in Baltimore and in Cleveland Ohio. We will be conducting another one this coming Saturday night (28th) involving J. L. King and his ex-wife (the down-low guy) about communication and rebuilding Ourrelationships. AIDS is a consequence of white experiments on Us and secrets that brothers carry around, and we need to talk about it in public. If you are in the area, write me privately (since you know me;-)) and I will tell you where it is.

    Some of us are still eager to attend.

    ========And therein is why I do what I do...

    Good thoughts,

    Ray

    --
    Posted by mararock to Reparations for Enslavement and the Blackside of Things at 10/22/2006 12:24:43 AM

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