I used to follow this woman on Facebook. Her page described her as an author/writer. Someone had shared one of her posts in a group that I’m in and I liked what she had to say. So, I went to check out her page and found many things that resonated with me. I clicked the follow button and became one of the 4,000 plus followers to her page. I began engaging in communication with other like-minded women on her page. Things that spoke to the strong black woman. The woman that is the back bone to society. The woman that doesn’t put up with foolishness. The woman that stands on her morals. I was in agreement. I felt like I found a tribe. A tribe of strong black women.
But, that tribe turned into a cult to me yesterday. The writer had posted a piece about the television show A Different World that aired in the late 80’s to early 90’s. It was a spin-off of the Cosby Show. Two of the main characters in that show were a woman named Whitley and a man named Dwayne. It was a good show. It showed black children in college and attending a fictional Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and all the fun things that came with matriculating amongst your people. The writers nailed it.
As great as that show was it showed love, young love as misguided and ever changing as we grow and evolve into young adults. The story of Dwayne and Whitley made many women swoon as we dreamed of a love story like theirs. A love that showed two flawed people that encouraged each other’s dreams and supported each other no matter what. A determined kind of love. Or at least that’s what I know the show to be.
However, the writer that I followed made a long post that was accusatory and bitter painting Whitley as some young woman who was beat down into dating Dwayne. The writer said Dwayne was trash and that the many women he pursued were out of his league including Whitley. I was like “Huh?” I literally stopped.
I wondered did she watch another show called A Different World because I knew this show inside and out and if she saw something different, it can’t be the same show that I watched. But, it was the same show, however I’m convinced that she just didn’t watch all the episodes. She wrote a biased piece bashing love. Black love. A man. A love between two young and flawed individuals that worked out for them.
Her own demons were projected throughout the piece. Men were trash who took advantage of us. It was disturbing.
My tribe had changed. The women started agreeing with her post. When I asked questions challenging the post based on actual episodes she accused me of making Dwayne out to be a victim. Seriously? Why in the hell does anyone have to be a victim? I felt my balloon of hope pop as the needle was stuck into it. The air slowly deflated my hope that this was my tribe.
The author was deflecting and argumentative to me and my opinion. Who the hell does that? Aren’t you allowed to have opinions? Aren’t you allowed to have different perspectives and voice them or are you only supposed to follow blindly what others tell you. I assumed the later. I exited stage left and unfollowed her.
That post got me to thinking – is the expectation of writers, authors, bloggers, media figures, etc. that we blindly follow and co-sign on what the writer says regardless of whether or not it makes sense to the reader? Are we creating/crafting a culture of minions without opinions to validate our existence?
I prayed not.
I hurt for what this writer was doing. I believe in love. I cherish it. I prayerfully know that I will find and have love, but I don’t want to bash a good man because it didn’t work out and we didn’t get it right. I am a feminist. I’m a womanist. I’m not going to bash all men. I have a son to raise. Bitter women raise bitter children. We have to do better.