Menace to Society: How We Keep White Supremacy Alive with Social Media... and My Break from it All
You’re either a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.
And that’s basically the whole blog post…I’m done.
Nah but for real though y’all: don’t be a menace to society. If you're out here fishing, you most likely are one. No, I don’t mean literal fishing; and because I know I’m talking to educated human beings, I'm sure you all knew that.
Fishing: it’s simply a dishonest profession, on social media that is. Fishing for likes with fake smiles, bank accounts…and lives! Fishing for a comment of approval and validation. Fishing for more followers, more friends, more viewers, more people to just… you guessed it… fish with you. Why do we fish?
Why do we water fake plants? Why do we continue to support plasticity?
Now wait, I know a lot of people were wondering with my last post in what way I was referencing plasticity. Don’t you worry your pretty little head…keep reading.
Hmm... Are we, as humans, molding and altering our lives depending on the environment we are in, like on social media, solely for likes, followers, and more "friends"?
This, my friends, is what I meant by plasticity. But why do we do this? Just like Future and HOV, I've got the keys, or the answer, rather. You know what to do, keep scrolling.
Humans have been faking perfection since the beginning of time. The birth of media, old and new, have only been tunneling this plasticity faster and faster into a cup of just straight bullshit. The human race most notably became “plastic” secondary to the birth of none other than white supremacy.
Allow me to explain. And I know that a good number of you are already well aware of the history of this, so just stay with me, we gotta catch a few more up to speed :).
The claws of white supremacy have dug so deep beneath our skin that our minds still subconsciously manifest some of its elements, and would lead us to believe otherwise.
Whites had control over the job market, as well as antiquated forms of media, like print ads. Thus, it was a no brainer that they hired only those with “more white features,” in the workplace, and in the media alike. Go ahead and say it to yourself, "Duh Drea, we knew this."
It was only natural that the oppressed cultures assimilated their faces, bodies, style of dress, and communication for the sake of getting jobs… for money… for food… for survival. These cultures did not just include the African slaves in America, but Indians during the colonial times in India, Hispanics and Latinos through control over Hispanic nations and the Latin Americas, and people who immigrated to America from all over the world, including some white cultures. As the media became more sophisticated, turning from old printed newspaper paraphernalia into the more consistent and readily accessible TV and magazines, the ads continuing to promote the white standard of beauty (lighter skin, thin waists, thin noses, straight hair, etc.) inevitably grew too.
With the discovery of other races through imperialism, white supremacists picked out and chose sole elements of ethnic beauty: the full lips, hips, and busts of African women... the long locks of Native American, Mayan, Latin, and Indian women... the high cheek bones, thick eyebrows, and almond eyes of Arab women... the innocence of the Asian face. All of these attributes were cherry picked from ethnicities to be beautiful, but all other attributes (wide noses, darker skin, curly/kinky/coily hair, etc.) as well as our continued oppression were both tossed out like the pit of the damn fruit. The problem arose when those features deemed "beautiful" by whites, continued to be plastered over white and lighter individuals in print media.
Why hire the ethnic woman when you can paint her features on a white woman's face? This trend continued for generations to follow.
This is one of the many reasons that beauty is at an unattainable level, because instead of breaking from the norm and celebrating our separate physical attributes, we have continued to intuitively take unique features of other ethnicities and fit them onto a white face of chiseled features and a thin nose, like a subconscious puzzle of what is "beautiful".
But this didn’t just stop at aesthetics, it extended into what it meant to be “successful.” Many of the white imperialists traveled for the discovery and attainment of gold, spices, and fine cloths. The attainment of these finer goods allowed for their early advancement as a diaspora of people, while forcefully taking from those occupying the lands they invaded. Soon, immigrants and slaves (who are not immigrants Dr. Carson) desired to have what the whites controlling them had, as advertised in the media: large homes, cars, expensive clothes, jewelry.
And guess what, just like aesthetics, as the media continued to advance, this ideal of what it meant to be “successful” is what became the norm. In music videos, artists drive expensive cars and throw money; at award galas, actors and actresses wear expensive clothes and fine jewelry. On social media, we post wads of cash and expensive tangibles to communicate that "we've made it."
The ideal of what it meant to be “happy and positive” was an extension of those fake smiles plastered all over the ads while they were obtaining the “success” was the next target. A nation was built on the backs of darker peoples, and those who profited from this forced architecture, (White Americans), were sitting and smiling in high power, cooperate, air-conditioned offices. The less heavy-pocketed black and brown individuals were called “lazy” and “far from hard working” for moaning and groaning when they went to their more labor intensive jobs to essentially build this nation.
This has been the trend of humans for centuries: assimilate; and through the media, subconsciously and unknowingly pass down ideals of beauty, success, and what it means to truly be happy, down to the consumer/viewer.
Did you really think social media would be an exception?
THIS reason, and THIS reason only, is why I began getting fed up with social media. Because it’s so much more instant and accessible, what we communicate as standards of beauty, success, and happiness have become unrealistic and unattainable. To the point that people have to buy fake purses and shoes to look expensive. To the point where we contour more and more for the perfect selfie. To the point where we spend rent money on expensive assets and flaunt them. To the point where we go under the knife for that feature that’s “perfect” to us.
THIS is what I meant by plasticity in my last post folks; not JUST about plastic surgery; but about the plasticity of the human race in general! We put out an image that is simply just not us, mentally, physically, or emotionally. We are a doll collection, we are not God’s creation of what it means to be a human anymore: a being who possesses physical attributes unique to that one person, not making others feel less beautiful because we don’t look like them. A creation designed to have the higher order brain functionality to use our intangible and tangible gifts to help others, not to blow it on materialistic items for extra “likes” and “followers.” A vessel capable of feeling pain, not someone who’s climbing the economic social ladder and all-the-while happy 100% of the time.
Of course many of you knew this, some didn’t. But whether your a veteran to the roots of the American perspective of beauty, success, and happiness, or whether you’re a newcomer, the question remains: why do we know this and still do it? Why do we pressure humans to fit under a microscope of what it means to "live the life?"
I had been asking this question for months and MONTHS, with no response to follow.
I then turned my attention to my own page. Now I tend to use my Instagram as a promotion for my blog. With that said, all of my blog posts are done OUTSIDE of work, when I have time to put together an outfit, when I have time to let my hair down and style it, when I have time to look “decent” (deemed by white imperialists unfortunately); I began to peruse those comments that have always made me uncomfortable: the “OMG I wish I could be you,” the “Oh you’re perfect and I want to be just like you,” comments. Those comments have always been nails screeching down a chalk board to my ear drums, but now that said chalk board was inching closer and closer to my ear. I felt like I wasn’t in my element, unintentionally. I began to feel like I was becoming a part of the problem.
I began to feel like I was the one saying: have perfect hair, have perfect clothes all the time. I felt like I was the one making that person on the other side of the black screen feel like less of a REAL human: someone who has days where they just want to spend it in sweats, someone who doesn’t have “perfect” big hair all the time, someone who wants to be a flawlessly flawed human.
Seeing more and more of the fishing online all the while wondering if people thought I was doing the same, set of my time bomb. My frustrations in our refusal to better ourselves boiled over, my disappointment in our ability to accept all as is grew until it blew up. I got sick… of social media.
So, I did the only logical thing one does when they are fed up… I logged off.
The days of coming home to longer conversations with family, friends, and my honey-bump were bliss, the long walks in the sun were ecstasy, and the days free from the choking air of "perfection" were orgasmic.
In my time free from the smoke screen from how people really act known as social media, I came back to what it really means to be human: that you can take anything and make it your own. We preach so much about being accepting of those who contour their faces, bodies, savings accounts, attitudes, and lives, that we forget to celebrate (and follow, for that matter), those who portray how they are naturally in all those areas too.
I felt comfortable again, knowing that I could tune out the fake. I was ready to log back on. What better way to do so than with an apology for the continued spread of poison from white supremacy and imperialism… for the human race… for myself?
Remember how everyone got offended at Alicia Keys for saying she wanted to be more natural? She wasn’t saying those who wear make up are bad, she was saying those who choose the less taken path and don’t want to, can be acceptable too. It's time to adopt this mindset peeps, in more ways than one.
I’m sorry that for centuries we have curated the belief that acne, crooked teeth, the unibrow, eye bags, and other infamous “unfortunate” attributes are ugly. Now don’t get me wrong; I am a fan of grooming. But what, per se, gives one the right to say what attracts and what deters? All the Anthony Davis's, the Winni Harlow's, the Lupita Nyongo’s, or any other person not the standard of European or media’s subconsciously-trickled-down standard of beauty, you’re beautiful in your own light! But all those out there who feel the need to change your features, you’re beautiful too; I just hope you know, you were beautiful before.
I’m sorry that we have made a full bust line, 6-pack abs, and perfectly toned glutes and legs the only version of “healthy/sexy.” I know quite a bit of people who lead healthy lives and will simply never have any of these rock hard features. But why can’t the healthiest version of you (including physically and mentally) be considered healthy or sexy?
So those of you who’ve naturally got it, you’re beautiful. Those of you who have those features by surgery, I’m sorry if I made you feel like I disapprove of your decision in my last post. That notion couldn’t be more opposite from how I feel. That was part of the reason Remy Ma's "Shether" wasn’t big deal in my eyes: Because what Nicki Minaj, or any other woman does with her body, I don’t really care. You’re beautiful too, but I hope you know you were just as beautiful in your “before” pics, as you are in the “after” ones.
Remember when loads of people were stunned because Pope Francis rode around in the U.S. in a humble Ford Focus? His success as the Pope, furthermore as a person, is based on how well he gives back, not based on how much he has or what he rides around in.
I’m sorry that we have made expensive tangibles the new norm for “fabulous.” I’m also sorry that we don’t celebrate those who have minimum wage jobs, but who make everyone around them feel like they are on a cloud. I am sorry that we celebrate the higher economic class, but who may or may not be jerk-wads.
I’m sorry that I have fooled all of you into thinking that I wear expensive clothes. I guess I’m just that good, 'cause I still shop the clearance rack and cringe when a t-shirt is over $20. I always tag where I purchase my clothes, and they are usually anything but that, but I’ve always had an eye for what is cheap, but simultaneously well crafted. So it probably appears that I am fiscally irresponsible, but trust, if you check out the links that I tag, you’ll see it’s nothing but responsible behavior over here. Any expensive piece of clothing I own, just know, it was a gift, 'cause she ain’t doin’ that. I’m sorry if I have portrayed anything different than a normal life. Trust me, it was unintentional, 'cause most days I’m covered in some sort of bodily fluid that smells like squirrel piss and my face in some sort of disgruntled state of confusion. I’m going to try to post more of this reality, (given I have the time, it’s pretty difficult to take a selfie in between delivering a baby or doing a hysterectomy).
I’m sorry that we have made “happy” the only way to get to the top. Now, I believe in a positive attitude. It’d be pretty hypocritical of a former cheerleader to say otherwise. But I was pissed and tired and groggy probably about, hmmm, 98.637% of the time in medical school. You don’t have to be happy and energetic and capable of being on top of it all 100% of the time. You moaners and groaners are acceptable too!
I’m sorry that we have made something literally as dead as hair, a big damn deal. I’m sorry if I’ve made a full head of hair seem like a necessity for bomb natural hair; that is just not the case. My purpose for sharing my favorite products, tips, and hair vitamins is to encourage growing the healthiest hair possible. But please realize that a full crown is not the only way to wear said crown proudly.
Humans will always use media as a soap box for communicating what’s acceptable, what’s the norm, what’s beautiful. It’s just something we do, we have done, and will no doubt, continue to do. And that’s ok. I just hope we can begin to use social media more responsibly, to promote that He doesn’t make mistakes, and the human isn’t one, so we should stop trying to change it. I hope we can start to use our pages for progressive change. I hope we can start to use our profiles and voices to speak up for others.
You’re either a part of the problem, or a part of the solution.
I chose to be a part of the solution: I choose to (for as much as I can) continue to refuse to be plastic, but I hope I can begin to have that come across more naturally on my page. I hope I can continue to be vulnerable…be real… be imperfectly and perfectly…. human. I will no longer pose a threat of plasticity to social media. I will no longer be a menace to society. Will you?