While the “Sh!$ people say” hysteria has finally subsided, some have been left sitting and wrestling with the insulting insinuations many of those videos made. Recently, on Essence.com, writer Janelle Harris took a stance and rightfully so expressed her distaste over the stereotypical depiction of black mother’s in one of these videos as being “cookers, cussers, and child beaters”. She reflects her own history to show black women are multi dimensional and have consistently demonstrated commitment and compassion as a central component of the black family.
By Janelle Harris
Finally, the “stuff so-and-so says” says mania has died down. Everybody and their cousin’s nephew had a video. Stuff Malaysian cooks say. Stuff tall kayakers say. Stuff Macy’s shoplifters say. My all-time, hands down favorite, though, was the one about what White girls say to Black girls. Back when I was a teenager who fooled around and thought a little too highly of myself, my mother knocked me down a peg or two by moving me from the city to Amish (and redneck) country in Pennsylvania, where I had the distinct experience of being one of seven—count ‘em, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7—Black kids in a student body of more than 1,600. So that video was especially hilarious to me because I’ve been on the receiving end of just about all of those comments more than once during my Misadventures as Representative Black Girl.
The real hilarity behind those videos—even though they are wrought with stereotypical, borderline offensive potshots that put the subjects in the comedic crosshairs of their creators—is that there’s at least a little bit of truth behind them. But some of them went way over the top, and that includes one I watched about Black moms. It was one of the drier ones I’ve seen so I didn’t make it all the way through before I clicked it off, mainly because it depicted our mothers as belt-wielding and crass-talking. And it would have been completely forgettable, had it not been for #Blackmomscatchphrase, a trending topic on Twitter that basically saddled us with the same sweeping generalizations as the video did. Dang, I thought to myself, do Black mamas say anything that doesn’t involve threatening physical harm? ‘Cause word on the street is we can’t communicate with our children without making cutting remarks or breaking some poor child’s spirit (or worse).
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