Oprah’s speech obviously made a huge impression and once again a Black woman is being called upon to save us from white recklessness/racism. Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes award-acceptance speech ignited a fiery debate on social media, as people speculated over whether or not she should run for President. Discussions ranged from complete adoration and reckless stanning to fervent disapproval. Some wondered if the latter was due to racism (likely for some). Some blamed sexism. Some highlighted the fact that running a country is not like running a business and that Oprah is not politically versed and gave the names of other, more qualified, candidates. Whatever the case, Oprah’s speech obviously made a huge impression and once again a Black woman is being called upon to save us from white recklessness/racism. Whether she’s qualified or not is beside the point. What I want to know is why people continue to advocate for a Pine-Sol Lady™ style clean up of their mess? While the typical Magical Negro is usually a Black man (typically disabled or impoverished) the Mammy stereotype is another gendered racial trope that dehumanizes Black women and seeks to place us in the diminished role of white savior-mother-maid. Mammies are like the tree in Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”. If you are not familiar with the premise of the book it goes like this: The tree loves the boy. The boy gathers her leaves and plays beneath her. He shares his woes and receives comfort and support. Supposedly the boy loves the tree. Whatever. The relationship appears mutually beneficial, right? So the boy grows up a little. Stops visiting as much. He’s getting some, he’s going through puberty. The tree patiently waits. The boy occasionally appears whenever he needs comfort for some life disappointment, or when he needs something material. This continues until the tree has sacrificed its fruit, branches and trunk. All while being understanding and kind and never asking for anything in return. The rest is irrelevant. I wept for that tree.
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