Monday, January 07, 2013

Political correctness and cultural sensitivity done wrong


Each and every Sunday during the football season, the twitterverse erupts into maelstrom of commentary surrounding Pam Oliver's hair/hat/weave/wig. Pam Oliver is a sports commentator who handles sideline interviews for the NFL on the Fox network. She also does NBA work for TNT. On any given Sunday the hashtag #PamOliversWeave is usually trending or close to trending. 

And each Sunday people line up into different camps - those who don't want to hear any more about her hair, folks who are appalled that she can't seem to get it right and/or tight, and folks who are mortally offended that instead of lauding her for longevity and skill in the business, the woman has been reduced to witty punchlines about her hair.

I like Pam. She's a Dallas girl who has made her way in a malecentric industry for over 20 years. That's definitely to be commended. You rarely hear about Pam getting out of pocket with the players (as others are wont to do) or using her femininity to play the 'look at me' card (again, I shan't name names). I respect her position, hustle and longevity.

However, this is not a Gabby Douglas thing. Gabby is a teenaged gymnast. As long as she sticks the landing, I don't care what's going on about her head. Pam is 51, not 18 and she chose a profession where unfortunately, your looks do matter. Yesterday's outrage about the attacks on Pam's often regrettable do went over the top. The lectures on respecting a woman's craft as opposed to her looks - okay. The rant about tearing down a black woman and destroying the fabric of black unity - hold up. 

If Pam were a newspaper reporter, I wouldn't care what she looked like. Are we really being so politically correct and culturally sensitive that we can't admit when a sister looks a hot mess? C'mon now, Pam has been on camera with maroon/blonde streaks, pieces sticking out at unfortunate angles, low quality hair that doesn't look to have been manufactured on this planet, waves not seen in nature, it's been quite a hair journey for her. She's an "on-air" personality. She is held to a higher standard and I personally would like her to do better. [For the record, let me note that yesterday her hair was the least tragic I've seen in a while] 

This is my issue with "Black Twitter" (yes, I know not a monolith but stay with me)... every single thing under the sun is up for debate, dissection and criticism usually with a tinge of racial outrage attached. I haven't even seen Django yet and over 100 people have tried to tell me how to feel about it. I haven't seen Lincoln yet and I already feel some kinda way. 

I've had folks come at me for calling Obama "Obeezy" because it's "disrespectful" and "obvious Ebonics" - um no, I contributed to his campaign, I worked in his organization, I think all can agree I've repped Prez 44 hard. Now, if I called him Obeezy to his face while wearing blackface, tap-dancing and eating watermelon - that would be something to get up in arms about. Perspective, people. 

I announced how excited I was to watch the premiere of Downton Abbey and I got a few "oh me toos" but was barraged with a flurry of "there are no Black People in that!" and "I didn't know Black People really watched that" tweets. I'm sorry, I can't find it in my heart to criticize a show about early 1900's abbey life in England where no black people were present. It's different if it's a show about a coffee shop in Midtown Manhattan in the 1990's. Black people should at the very least pass through the place. Downton Abbey? Not so much. 

As long as I'm talking about political correctness and cultural sensitivity, please don't email/tweet/FB me any more outraged reminders about Shawty Lo's new reality show on one of those channels that only plays reality shows and reruns. @ItweetDaFif actually had to tell me who the hell Shawty is and explain that he has 10 baby mommas. Certainly, I weep for America that this is considered acceptable programming. But this is what we've wrought. It's too late to petition a channel to stop showing hot mess when the last 19 hot mess shows they've aired have gotten stellar ratings. The appetite for ratchet regurgitated reality is out there. Might as well get ready for a reality show with Hologrammed Tupac and Biggie on tour to air on MTV next. 

Listen, Pam's hair can be awful without it being cause for a march or petition or bloggers' panel. Shawty Lo's show is the 3rd generation Flava of Love - deal with it or don't tune in. Either way... calm down.

I've wandered around some points when what I really want to say is - dear social media enthusiasts, it's really okay if you don't choose sides and debate every.freaking.thing to death. Sometimes I get exhausted trying to keep up with the next thing I'm supposed to be enraged about. Life is too short to be this polarized. Especially about hair. Thoughts, comments, insights?

14 comments:

darrkgable said...

The last paragraph summed it up the best. Life is too short and abounding to get up in arms about every little thing. Social media wants to make everything a cause, when frankly, the vast majority of people just do. not. care!

thinklikeRiley said...

So it's hyperbole for me to say that this Shawty Lo show is a sign of the apocalypse?

JustPassingBy said...

One thing I noticed is some of the "black intellectuals" take themselves very seriously. You cannot say the slightest thing against they're designated talking points without getting shouted down.

Mina B. said...

Let me find out MTV will be hosting a Pac/Biggie Resurrection Tour special....I will be hosting watch parties for this occasion. 

Judge Me.

Oh and ITA. Chill Black Twitter. C H I L L

BklynBajan said...

Could be. I think whatever E is cooking up for the impending birth of Kimye has me listening for hoofs.

GrownAzzMan said...

I usually don't put too much thought into women's hair fashion and rarely weigh in but since Pam works the NFL sideline that is right in my wheelhouse. I have often remarked on twitter and IRL how I find it odd that someone who has been cashing network check for YEARS can't seem to pony up for a decent stylist. That said, if anyone seriously cares what she has on her head not in her head that's on them.

Obeezy FTW!

Shawty Lo who? You ain't like it, don't watch and they will stop making it.

As for Django (D is silent) and Lincoln, I have seen the first but not yet the latter. I thought Django was wildly entertaining. Don't care that some parts were not historically accurate and don't care if some folks have a problem with it. This is a movie not the History Channel. BTW a lot of other stuff in movies is not historically accurate either. Is there a double standard when it comes to stories about black folks. As for those who don't like the white man telling 'our' stories, does that mean that Spike or TP can't make movies about white stories? FOH!

I take twitter with a grain and I know you do too.

CaliGirlED said...

"Sometimes I get exhausted trying to keep up with the next thing I'm supposed to be enraged about." <----This right here!!!
Yes Pam's hair is usually a hot mess! And when you're grown and your job is to be on the air, people are going to talk about the way you look. PERIOD! Everybody thinks it's funny to joke about Donald Trump's catastrophe atop his head! Why because he's a filthy rich white man? And because Pam is a working Black woman (who I doubt can hardly be considered broke) we're supposed to give her a pass? Now I don't agree that she needs to be ridiculed week after week, we should just be used to it by now. Her hair is obviously not that important to her OR hell she  just doesn't see anything wrong with it!  Chele it was better on Sunday, but it still made me wonder why she's still getting hair from Ming Ling's Beauty Supply and letting Quashenay sew it in! *shrugs*

CaliGirlED said...

I also had (still don't) no idea who Shawty Lo is. What a waste of film, production, casting, lights and action! SMDH

CaliGirlED said...

"This is a movie not the History Channel. BTW a lot of other stuff in movies is not historically accurate either."....And while folks are all up in arms about Django (D is silent), Quentin ain't giving two fuckeths of a damn!
I have not seen either movie, so behind on the popcorn and soda, but I plan too. As for twitter, I'm usually reading, scrolling or shaking my head. 

rikyrah said...

I'm Black and I love Downton Abbey....lol

Cheris Hodges said...

Print journalists get no respect and we get to wear hats!! :) 

GrownAzzMan said...

**Dead** at Quashenay...LOL

Othaniel Cruickshank said...

let her live damn :)

Lawsoncomp said...

Love Downton Abbey. Do not know who Pam Oliver is. Saw Lincoln. Will eventually see Django.

What's a ShawtyLo? Is it a mental illness?

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