I’ve been seeing the same dentist for the past 6 years. Which is probably irrelevant on its own. But I’m getting to the point I promise. See the thing is, in the six years and 12 times, and while I remember most of the people (who have worked there just as long as I’ve been going if not longer) when I finally relax while the dentist is doing her thing in my mouth, I’m always surprised when my mind wanders, and I look up at the ceiling.
Almost like clock work, when the dentist tells me to open my mouth, and I let my eyes wander I always look up at the ceiling, and every time, I’m always shocked because I notice that one of the slabs of the ceiling is painted like a cloudy sky.
I remember the first time that I saw that cloudy blue sky on the ceiling. I thought it was interesting, and I spent the rest of the time, thinking how clever it was that they’d obviously put it there for relaxation purposes. (I’m impressed easily! Lol!)
But something funny has happened in the past few years, almost a sort of 50 first dates sort of way,once I leave the dentist I forget all about that cloudy ceiling. I don’t think about it, anymore. I can remember the receptionists, I can remember the dentist, and I can even remember the dental technician but I can’t remember something as odd and out of place as a piece of ceiling painted like a cloud. I mean I should, maybe but I don’t. In fact, just yesterday, I remember feeling a jolt of shock a seeing it and, then I thought, “oh yeah, I forgot about that ceiling.” But I spend the rest of my time looking at it mainly because I’m forced to look up and I have nothing else interesting to look at.
Here’s my point, I’ve noticed increasingly, that black women are that clouded piece of ceiling. And we allow ourselves to be. We allow ourselves to be used, and like the ceiling, left alone forgotten, until such time that people actually decide tolook up, notice and use it for there own purposes.
You’re probably thinking, how could I create such a connection from just a slab of cardboard ceiling? Well I’ll tell you. It’s not just that ceiling that had me thinking of this. I’m not sure if any of you have recently heard about the sh*t storm coming after one woman published articles in the (ny times? ny post? not sure) that black women are fat because they want to be. Anyways, I noticed that a certain site has published an article about it, that doesn’t usually care about the issues of black women.
I’m sure the ladies at Jezebel meant well, I’m sure they do. But here’s the problem. Black women, like that clouded ceiling are only worth mentioning when someone else decides to “look up” at us. We’ve seen it time and time again. Black women’s issues that suddenly matter if they can further the “feminist” cause. or Black women’s issues that matter when they can neatly wrap up the points that “Black rights activists” have been trying to make for decades.
But something curious happens, when black women can’t be useful anymore or when, the proverbial dentist is done rooting around their mouth, black women go back to the being the lowly forgotten group that they are.
Or what’s worse, people use they time when they are forced to notice black women to prove, “see, we’re not racist,sexist, racio-mysogonistic” we’re noticing you now. (do the hailstorm of articles highlighting black women’s supposed issues ring a bell?”) Even though a lot of the time this ends up not helping at all. or doing more harm than good.
This week I noticed something funny about makeup and beauty commercials, while watching a Maybelline ad. While these ads have black women in them very few of the ads actually show black women for longer than 2-3 second flashes before going back to a long shot of a white/ other raced women. I watched 24 ads on Maybelline’s YouTube channel and it’s always the same. Flash a black woman posing, to prove, “see you matter to us, now buy our product” while in actuality still pushing black women to the rear literally and ending the commercial on the face of a white woman. (see the commercials below)
Here’s what that tells me. That I’m nothing more than a ceiling people can choose to notice, when they want. While other people may notice black women, its not going to be for very long or in most cases be very flattering. And after black women have been hit with the sh*t storm the people involved will get up from their dentist chair, and make their appointment for the next six months or whenever they so choose, to put black women on their radar once again.
But I didn’t say this to incite a riot. No, I’ve brought this to attention so that you can see exactly what’s going on and make a change in your life. And it is possible. Black women just have to decide that they aren’t going to be anyone’s clouded ceiling.