As I sat down to watch last night's Scandal season finale, consumed by Joe Morton's decade's-long personal quest to be the bane of human civilization, I anxiously awaited the start of one of my favorite (and most dependable) weekly rituals. True to form, it began on time and didn't disappoint.
People (and by "people" I mean "Black women") began their weekly ritual of watching, talking, and tweeting about Scandal. Other people (and by "other people" I mean "Black men") began their weekly ritual of snidely watching, talking, and tweeting about Black women watching, talking, and tweeting about Scandal.
(Yes, I'm aware that Black women aren't the only people who watch Scandal, that there are millions of Black women who don't watch Scandal, and that most Black men aren't part of the chorus of criticism. Just...relax and keep reading.)
As usual, the source of the snideness ran the gamut from the race-related ("Y'all all want White men now, huh? #slavewenchesdontwin") to the bizarre ("How you gonna root for Olivia and shop at Target? #yallhoesneedhaircuts"). If it holds form---and I have no doubt it will---the next few days will see the following:
1. Thousands of blogs, tweets, pics, and status message threads somehow calling out Black women for enjoying Scandal.
2. Half-hearted rebuttals to these blogs, tweets, pics, and status message threads.
3. A repeat of the entire process when Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta airs Monday.
Yet, as I was following the ritual last week, charting unique grievances by category in my head---Don't judge. We all have our habits---something dawned on me. As much as Black men fret and fume about Black women becoming completely enraptured by these ridiculously
Ah yes. The NBA Playoffs. That reality TV show complete with multi-layered narratives (Will Lebron get his second ring? How much does Timmy have left in the tank?), plot twists (Westbrook down!), fake outs (Derrick Rose is playing! Wait, no he's not? Wait, yes he is! Wait...), antagonists (Hi, NBA ref!) and the slight suspicion that things might be scripted. That soap opera that has grown-ass men huddled around flat screens and iPads everywhere, watching, talking, shrieking, and tweeting about the sartorial choices of rich men living in South Beach, the interracial dating history of closeted Ivy league men with identical twins, and Lebron's hair. That "television event" where men alter their schedules and ignore their girlfriends and wives to passionately watch the trails and tribulations of tattoo and underwear-clad young men. The paradoxical universe where men cheer for men from certain cities, even though neither them nor the men they're cheering for are actually from that city, which means they're kinda, sorta just screaming, sweating, and crying for laundry.
And yes, despite referring to "Black men" as "they" instead of "we," I am one of these Black men as well. I've been a part of the chorus critical of Black women for being so invested in Scandal---even devoting 700 words to it despite, at the time, never seeing a minute of it---while personally investing just as much energy watching, following, reading, and tweeting about all things NBA. By my own logic, since I'm a college grad whose favorite players either didn't graduate or just didn't go to college altogether, I'm a hypocrite too. Apparently it is possible to write blog entries with bushels full of planks in your eyes.
While writing this, my girlfriend walked into our guest bedroom (my de facto office) and asked what I was writing about. After I told her, she laughed and said "Y'all are much, much worse."
"You don't see us rocking any Olivia Pope jerseys or sneakers."