Scandal and the War at Home

Scandal and the War at Home

[OPINION] Jamilah Lemieux says pushback from Black men about an infamous on-screen affair speaks to something much deeper. But are we courageous enough to have that conversation?

Jamilah Lemieux

by Jamilah Lemieux, October 17, 2013

Scandal and the War at Home

He heard her say she'd love to be making jam in Vermont.

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Nah. It’s deeper than that. While the usual suspects are all up in the mix (any man who has “Negro Bed Wench” in his vocab was far gone before the first Scandal table read, know that), brothers who don’t always let you know that they feel some kind of way about seeing Black women with White men have also been pretty vocal.

I’m not here to defend Scandal, Shonda “I Put Black Men In Relationships with Non-Black Women For Years On My Other Shows” Rhimes, Kerry “You Do Know My Husband Is Black In Real Life, Right?” Washington and/or the storyline. I don’t think they need defending if one is honest about everything—especially the ratio of on and off screen relationships like this one to the ones where the genders are reversed and the fact that Olivia Pope is a flawed character and the show is called “Scandal,” not “Celebration” or “Sexy White Boo Time.”

Instead, I am here to say that we can have a healthy two-way conversation.  We can move the needle forward. Brothers, that means being willing to put everything on the table and being honest about your emotions—and for some of you, that means admitting that the 'love is love' attitude you claim to have about mixed couples can be challenged when it isn't Black man doing the mixing. (Welcome to the Mixed Feelings club!)  But berating us or deliberately trying to make us feel bad because you feel bad and don’t want to/don’t know how to articulate that? That's not productive and it's certainly not fair. 

Fighting to get Black women and men in a space where we can productively challenge one another in the service of improving our relationships sometimes feels like a losing game. Alas, the stakes are higher than the ratings of any primetime series—this isn't hardly all about dating and mating; look at the many roles we play to one another: mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, teacher, lover, neighbor, pastor, boss, police, friend, assailant...when we are good to one another, we are sanctuary and when we are torn, we are a threat. And no matter the race of the person you end up partnered with, the relationship between you and Black people of other genders is a significant one. So, yeah, I'll keep fighting and I hope that my brothers—and my sisters—can come to a place of understanding and honesty much sooner than later. Even while Scandal's on. 

Jamilah Lemieux is the News and Lifestyle Editor for EBONY.com. Views expressed in The Beautiful Struggler are her own. Tweet her @jamilahlemieux

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