I am a part of a group on FB that follows the OWN television show, “Greenleaf.” Greenleaf is about a family of pastors and other churchy characters dealing with real life situations like secretly gay husbands and unruly children. The part that makes any of it salacious is that all this bad behavior is being done by Christians; plus they’re Black so that adds the extra spice.
I also watch a show called “Queen Sugar.” I was reluctant at first but after reading people up and down my timeline rave about it, I finally gave in and got hooked. The show is about three siblings trying to deal with their personal demons while keeping alive the dream their deceased father had for the family farm.
They are both, what I consider, pretty good Wednesday night entertainment. That is, until I see a status the next day about how some scene was either –ist, -phobic, or made all (fill in the blank) look bad. For example, on one episode of Queen Sugar, Ralph Angel admits that his father had a separate will that left everything to him. Of course, his two older sisters were not at all pleased to find this out and it turned into the Sunday dinner from hell. The next day, on a popular social justice blog, I noted that I felt like one of the sisters in particular were over the top in their reaction.
Why did I do that? Why did I dare have an opinion about these fictional characters on television?
My opinion was met with multiple responses trying to “school” me on everything from misogynoir to emotional trauma. All I could say was that as a BW, I’m really clear on misogynoir and having been a head case for as long as I can remember, nobody needs to prime me on emotional distress.
It may seem shallow or anti-intellectual, but sometimes, I just want to watch television for the hell of it. Despite what the high and mighty philosophers of nothing and the moralists say, human beings are attracted to spectacle. All of us. Each and every one. I’m secure enough to watch the Housewives of Atlanta and not take it as a statement of Black womanhood; especially not my Black womanhood. If white women can watch the Housewives of New York City, Orange County, New Jersey and Dallas and not feel like they need to hide their face in shame, why shouldn’t I?
I’ll admit that I notice certain social justicey things too. For example, it doesn’t escape me that on both Queen Sugar and Greenleaf, you have a light-skinned (biracial, tbh) sibling who is well-intentioned and gets hostility from her dark-skinned siblings, seemingly for no real reason, and the script is written so that, at least in the beginning, everybody pities the sibling who doesn’t look like everybody else. But, everybody needs some let-up; even from social justice warrioring. I’d proffer that 24/7 fixation on everything that’s wrong with society is only going to wear us down in the end.
This world gets crazier by the minute. We have a sitting president that e-beefs with everybody, including a world leader that likes to “test” missiles and possibly nuclear weapons. I am glad to watch two middle-aged rich white women argue about a 2 year-old rumor. I need to spend an hour each week watching a pretend bishop throw shade at his pretend wife for a pretend affair she had before any of us were born. These days, the more I can escape, the more of my sanity I can retain; and frankly, if I have to risk my health and well-being to fight the power 365 days/year, scratch my name off the list and call me again in 5 years.
Now, I have to go. Lydia is in Shannon’s face on the Housewives of Orange County and I’m not gonna’ miss this!