There is a remarkable heaviest attached to African American literature This is, perhaps why every time I read it, it weighs me down like a wet fur coat on my shoulders. I am trying to run away from the heaviness, from the deep embedded depression that is wrapped in everything that is black.
Being black means that you are either currently oppressed or historically oppressed. Young blacks hear stories of past lynchings, mobbing’s, sit-ins, shut ins, and marches. The young blacks come to understand their blackness in terms of negativity. Blacks were only brought to America in order to be used for labor and economic growth. There was no other purpose for blacks. So this horrible, abominable truth has followed generations around and now black writing drips with the pain of oppression. Appropriately so I guess.
What else can they do but write with such deep ancestral connections to the past? Even when the writing has nothing to do with being a slave, when the writing is about a pimp, or a single mother, or a prostitute, or a church lady, or businessman, or a college student, it still translates somehow into the pain of slavery.
If the heroine is a black woman she is an angry black woman who is angry because she is ultimately invisible. Black women are angry because they are trying to be seen in a world that ignores them. Being loud, wild and ‘ghetto’ has become the norm because the black woman was tired of being the nappy slave woman who was there to work and not talk.
Even the black man has a somewhat of a voice. The allure of the black man’s biceps, his strength and his shiny chocolate skin has captured the hearts of the white woman. The shiny black man has also aroused the white man. Speed and agility has made the shiny black man a cash cow…an ultimate money maker in competitive sports.
Poor black women, being left out in the proverbial cold looking through the glass window at the societal party. Black women are banging on the window, jumping up and down, screaming, yelling, trying to turn the lock, trying to break the lock, wearing colors in their hair, wearing big shiny earrings, sticking their butts out, kicking the glass with their boots, and picking up stones throwing them at the window. But no matter what crazy thing that we do, they will not open the window for us.
I for one, refuse to bang on the window.