TV Trope #4873

I’m watching a DVD of the defunct cable show, Deadwood. Part of the storyline involves an uber-racist White man (as if MOST White men weren’t like that in America in 1877), who is also poor, White trash and an alcoholic, just so we make sure that only THOSE types of WP are racist. Said White man had almost tarred and featured and lynched a Black man (played by Franklyn Ajaye) visiting a relation/friend of his in the camp, a Black man named Hostetler who owns the local livery stable.


To make a long story somewhat shorter, the two BM had to leave Deadwood for a while and the White trash dude took over the care of the stable (feeding and tending the horses left there) while they were gone, not because he liked the BM, but out of concern for the horses. After a few episodes, the two BM come back and of course, Hostetler wants to take over his stable again, but the White dude raises a fuss. Hostetler thinks about it for a bit and realizes he really can’t stay in Deadwood anymore after what had gone down (involving a runaway horse in his care running down and killing the sherrif’s son–Sam Fields and Hostetler are at this point the only Black people in Deadwood). So, with the sherrif helping with negotiations between the two, allows the White dude to buy his business. White dude does but doesn’t leave well enough alone and basically drives Hostetler to suicide.

Now, Sam Fields was making plans on taking his leave of Deadwood after burying his friend. But the White dude is one of those folks that turns every opportunity he gets to shit. He hates the BM but doesn’t want him to leave. Basically, he wants his indentured servitude at the stable. He decides to contrive this by hiding the man’s saddle and unshoeing his horse. However, the horse has other ideas and kicks the guy in the head basically leaving him severly brain damaged.

Here’s my beef, now Sam Fields, after taking all sorts of abuse from this guy including almost being KILLED by him, is placed in the role of dude’s caretaker. That’s the trope I’m talking about, the one where a Black person gets racist abuse from Whites and then ends up caretaking those SAME Whites somehow! It’s obviously not just a TV trope, but it’s one used often in popular media. Even news reports highlight this behavior.

Now it’s often put forth as showing the Black person as the better human being than the White one. To me, it’s just disseminating the message that White folks can abuse Blacks and STILL receive care from us. Hell, many Whites expect it no matter HOW they treat us. Don’t think so? I cannot tell you how many Whites balk when I let them know that they will not receive any kind of favor or care from me in return for racist abuse. I am called “selfish,” “mean” all sorts of names. No introspection of how their crappy behavior may have influenced that outcome was ever given. Like I say continually, I believe in reciprocity. You don’t give me care, you don’t get care. And I think you’re getting off awfully light if, in response to abuse, all you get is me turning off the favors and the caretaking.

It’s what abusers do, convince their victims to at least stick around handy to be abused, if they can con their victims into caring for them too, that’s gravy! And yes, I feel racism is abuse just like beating your wife or kids, molesting a kid, emotionally abusing your loved ones. It uses the SAME mechanisms as other forms of abuse to convince the victims to remain victims, that we somehow deserve it and that we could stop it if we wanted (and could figure out the magical combo of words, deeds, facial expressions, gestures at any instant that would placate our tormenters).

For once, I would LOVE to see the realistic outcome of such abuse. I would love to see the portrayal of Black people refusing to give racist Whites any sort of care or favor and be resolute in that. Not uneasy, not questioning whether or not they’re being “good” people by standing up for themselves. Hell, I even want them to have the attitude of “You have GOT to be shitting me” for the WP even THINKING they had a gnat’s fart in a dustorm’s CHANCE of getting anything less but spat on much less feeling ENTITLED to Black folks’ care after abusing us.

Yeah, and don’t give me that “Well two wrongs don’t make a right” mess. First, when was ANYONE entitled to care from random peeps, much less peeps you’ve treated like shit? Secondly, all that saying does is keep Whites and Blacks in the abusive dichotomy we find ourselves in now. Whites keep on getting those FIRST wrongs in and then admonishing Blacks not to retaliate or stand up for themselves as being the second wrong because how dare lowly niggers actually believe we’re humans with boundaries and rights that need respecting. Bullshit.

A typical scene, especially a period scene, is after a whole episode of abusing the nearby Blacks, the White person runs into trouble, house catches on fire, child/spouse has accident/falls ill. And who do they run to? The same Negroes they’ve spent the whole ep treating like shit! I’d love, FOR ONCE, to see those Negroes shut the door in that person’s face or let their shit burn to the ground, or tell them to get some White folks to nurse their kin back to health, because that’s the risk you take when you treat people like crap! At the very least, they leave you the fuck alone, yes, even when you need them most! That’s what happens when you treat people dirt, THEY MAY END UP NOT LIKING YOU AND MAY WANT TO SEE BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU AND YOURS! Shock!

But of course, the Negroes help out the racist who, by their example of overwhelming humanity, is now racist no more! Yeah, right. We all know in real life that White person just takes the care and favor as their due and continues to see Blacks as worthy of being abused and victimized. But this is White fantasy which the western media is all about promulgating. For once, I would want them to show what happens in REAL LIFE when you abuse and fuck with folks and that ain’t free caregiving.

7 thoughts on “TV Trope #4873

  1. I’m going to say here what I said over there.

    That sorta story only makes sense with a Black person and a White person. Only Black folks would be expected to be that goddamn forgiving. Even Jesus would be like, “Ain’t this some shit! When I said ‘turn the other cheek’ this is not what the fuck I was talking about.”

    I’m gonna invoke Godwin’s law here and paint a scenario. Could you imagine this being a story with a Jew and a Nazi? No? Me neither. Know why? It doesn’t make any fucking sense to expect that from anyone in that position. Except Black people.

    I expanded over at my blog (“Witchsistah is right” – h/t Sister Toldja’s “The Power of No Forgiveness”).

  2. Girl, we have folks who do tell victims of abuse to forgive their abuser. We have folks telling rape survivors to forgive their rapist. “Try to see what s/he’s been through.” WTF?!?!

    Hell naw. Like what Sister Toldja said, folks think forgiving someone means that you don’t think what they did to you was all that bad. Rarely do folks who ask for forgiveness do any other sort of reparations. They just ask for/demand forgiveness.

    I’m of the mind of letting people know in various ways that certain behaviors and acts towards me are unacceptable. For me, forgiveness will come gradually, as I see the person changing the way they behave. Just saying, “Sorry” doesn’t cut it.

  3. Why do you think they call it “programming”?

    Our Christian scheme of forgiveness is designed to make sure the wronged never ask for reparations, full justice, etc., because it’s far nobler to take the high road, we’re told

    (And easier to maintain the status quo. But don’t pay attention to that! Look over here! Scandal! War! Buy things!)

  4. Oh Hells yes and rock on the awesome righteous pissed-offedness of your post. :) Reading your episode description reminded me of the time long ago when I was a little girl and saw Disney’s “Song of the South”. At the end when Uncle Remus (I think that was the name of his character) was holding the little white kid’s hand to help him heal I was screaming in my head “Kill him, kill him! He’s going to grow up to oppress your family and rape your daughters!” Still don’t like that movie.

  5. Came to this pretty late, but I’m loving this post.

    “It’s what abusers do, convince their victims to at least stick around handy to be abused, if they can con their victims into caring for them too, that’s gravy! And yes, I feel racism is abuse just like beating your wife or kids, molesting a kid, emotionally abusing your loved ones. It uses the SAME mechanisms as other forms of abuse to convince the victims to remain victims, that we somehow deserve it and that we could stop it if we wanted (and could figure out the magical combo of words, deeds, facial expressions, gestures at any instant that would placate our tormenters).”

    This.
    The other thing that they do is convince the abused that they are imagining or inventing the abuse since it never happened at all and it’s all in their heads. But that’s what living in a ‘blame the victim’ and ‘denial’ culture gets you, I supposed.

    The history of white and black been one long, drawn out abusive relationship – I don’t know how else you could describe it – which is something I have been trying to argue with various people for years now! But that’s precisely what I don’t understand about white people: how on earth can they maintain this illogical, disturbed-as-fuck ‘romance’ that they can roam and maraud across the earth denigrating, degrading, disenfranchising, dispossessing, abusing and destroying people’s lives yet expect the people they’re fucking over and making utterly miserable to love them for the abuse.

    But then no wonder that many black people have arrived at the conclusion that they are simply *insane* But I’m also pretty sure that that’s why white people tread between this rather pathetic, simplistic binary in relationship to black people. We’re either vicious and violently vengeful and waiting to pay them back for their shit and push their pasty asses off the planet OR we’re cuddly, inoffensive, mindless, brainless, insensate unfeeling blobs or reservoirs of unending endurance and tolerance.

    The one thing that MSM never shows is the truth: namely that most black people want to be left the hell alone in PEACE to control their own destiny without interference or machination. That’s all. Most of us as a people are fairly reasonable. We don’t want to be running around abusing anyone, but nor do we want to be abused by anyone else and the expected to be all saintly and accepting of it.

    But that’s the truth that white people will resist to no end.

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