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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Girl Get Off That Pole! Part I: Women's Work

Warning all outlinks to Jimi Izrael's site probably contain profanity and offensive language may be NSFW -look before you click.

Just when I thought I would be handing in my keyboard believing that I didn't have much else to say, inspiration struck in the form of long time WAOD critic and the man who coined me a crazy cat lady for having an opinion and being able to advocate effectively on my own behalf. Yes, only the unique form of ignorance insight of the Jimi Izrael variety could remind me that we have miles to go before we sleep. For those who are perplexed as to why I would give this man a moment of my time, I must relent because he did take time out of his day to send me a personal email with the link to his latest rant against this blog so I know its really important to him that I pay attention to him. Sending him page clicks is the least I can do for providing a valuable public service.

I know that many of you have begun to engage in your own form of activism in combating the War on Black Women. You will frequently encounter doubters who don't see any institutional forces aimed at dehumanizing Black women and reinforcing and enforcing stereotypes. Therefore, I thought it was a good time to focus on a frequent obfuscation and redirection technique used by those who long to protect the status quo the “Y'all can't do anything to combat the War on Black women until you get rid of Karrine Stepphans (he's an expert on Karrine (NSFW)) and Tyffany “I Love New York”Pollard- because every Black woman in American must be bound by the individual choices of these women and until they stop, y'all just all have to sit there and take it.” folks.

Jimi is but the latest “obfuscator” and “redirectionist”. He first attempted to silence me by calling me crazy- because after all,any black woman not going along to get along must be crazy or angry or bitter. We can't be human beings with genuine heart felt beliefs that a harm is occurring that we have a moral obligation to stop. Nope- we're crazy. Crazy like Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer,Septima Poinsette Clark, and Vivian Malone Jones ( read about them here). Realizing his CRAZY label didn't shut me up, he now has stooped to providing unsolicited advice. Thanks a bunch Jimi! We didn't know you cared!

Jimi is a man of a certain age so we can't demand to much out of him like say, reading, fact checking or accuracy. That would be “hard” and “unfair”. In his recent post on the Washington Post's latest mis adventure (read "Wanted! Smart Negroes!"), Jimi demonstrates the highest depths of research, analysis, and writing abilities. First he says this blog has a "myopic" focus on changing media images of Black women. Because we all know that the use of mass media to systematically dehumanize an identifiable group of people is really no big deal.

He must have been distracted during those over 70 posts we did on Dunbar Village, Black women's right to vote for the candidate of their choice, NBC Nightly News' “Black Women it sucks to the you”, Ebony Dorsey, Daniyah Jackson, Nailah Franklin, and countless other discussions we've had on the blog. Yep, nothing but Hip hop all the time round here.

Then he goes on to say that we coddle strippers, prostitutes and video girls and don't hold Black women accountable.

McCauley casts the "models" as victims and the rappers, media companies and sponsors as predators, and that's not entirely fair. To buy that, you must suspend disbelief and imagine a world where women are empty vessels devoid of free will and personal responsibility. For me, that dog don't hunt: women are smarter than men in every way. TheRoot(less).com
Maybe he missed all those wagging finger of shame awards and all the laudable things we keep saying about I love New York and Karrine Stephans and Kim Porter. Uh yeah right.

Then he laments the dearth of wholesome images of African American mothers on the televisions of America.

What happened to Mom as the central role model? Young ladies learn how to manage the power of their bodies by watching their mother's cues. Moms have to spend less time at Big Butt Friday's at the local nightclub and more time parenting their kids. TheRoot(less).com
That almost made me shed a tear with Jimi invoking the memory of sweet potato pie and a warm hot pan of Jiffy cornbread. ( if you are familiar with Jimi's work you will know how ridiculous that image is) Yes, because Karrine Steffans and Tyfanny Pollard havethe power to drive all the wholesome images of Black mothers from the television screens of America. The corporate powers that be didn't have a thing to do with that at all.

Then he declares that we should abandon our strategy and take up Jimi's cause of combating “stripper feminism” ( his word-not mine)-

It's easy to get a webpage taken down. Take on the Karrine Steffans and Tiffany Pollards of the world who have turned low-level prostitution and anti-social behavior into a viable, laudable vocation...The way to stop 'stripper feminism' is to not coddle and apologize for the women, but get them off the poles. TheRottenRoot.com
Because after all, if all the strippers of the world would just get off the stripper pole, then the adult entertainment industry would collapse on its own. Because in the end, individual choice ALWAYS trump institutional and systemic subjugation, exploitation and discrimination. You remember how Jim Crow was dismantled when all the White hotel, restaurant, and store owners of the world individually decided to integrate public accommodations on their own. You know like all the school districts of the world decided to do away with separate but unequal without the Supreme Court or the national guard. You know the way workers have been able to imporve wages, safety, and working conditions individually. Yep, systemic change always begins with the lowest people on the totem pole working individually. Notice how he tells me the task is impossible and then says its easy.

Wimmen's Work

Oh yeah and I forgot one thing. Being the “black women are responsible for all that is wrong in the world” proponent that he is, Jimi throws out that HE can't champion the cause of getting Black women to bid adieu to the stripper pole, it has to be the wimmin' folks because after all.. Combating stripper feminism is wimmin's work.

I can't do it: it's a woman-to-woman conversation. UpRooted.com

Why Jimi, you ain't ever had any qualms about taking about stripper culture in the past. In other words, we wimmin' must be responsible for the attacking maligning and enforcing his wishes. Don't y'all like how he created all that work and then bailed out on account of his claimed gender inferiority. Black women have NEVER heard anything like that before.

Jimi, you mis-underestimate yourself

Being a man of a certain age, multi tasking with this new fangled internet thingamajig is a foreign concept, but yes it is possible to do more than one thing at the same time. You see we can challenge the corporate subsidizers of stripper culture while challenging each other regarding our individual culpability. The two are not mutually exclusive. You remember multi tasking back from the days when you were a male exotic dancer and had to strut, jiggle and shake to the beat of the music while making sure that nobody copped a $20 from your hot pants and dodging coins.

I guess, having been a talent, it�s hard for me to look at the client of a service like this objectively. I don�t mean any harm to anyone�s person. ..Yeah, I stripped. Hood bacherlorette parties and sh@#. That low-end macking was bad look, and I gratefully got smart and copped out of that game. Besides, when big fat women get drunk and run out of paper money, they start throwing coins at your privates for sport. And that hurts. Or, so I�m told.Jimi's Guide to Modern Pole Dancing
Jimi has broken down Skrippology for those of you wanted to know more than you ever did about Stripping. Or is that skrippin?Multi-tasking... its a beautiful thing.

What Jimi Wants

His Royal Hot Pant's real purpose isn't to uplift Black women. His real goal is to maintain the status quo. You see as many of you rush to declare that His Royal Hot Pant's is just some crazed sexist, misogynist, loon, let me assure you that he is a beloved and entrenched member of the Black Elite Establishment and they keep him around for such an occasion as this. No less than Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and his benefactor, the Washington Post have selected Jimi to be one of the “voices” that most represents ze common Black people. In addition to to extensive writing credits ( Salon, the LA Times and a bunch of others), he regularly hosts entire segments of Tell Me More on NPR. He is so beloved that his sexism, racism, homophobia and general boorishness is embraced and “keeping it real” and “raw” by you guessed it, the BEE. So he's not crazy and he's not edgy he is very mainstream. Mainstream like mom jeans. Hes a big proponent of freedom and liberty as long as you aren't actually using your first amendment right to speak out about something the BEE wants you to be quiet about.

After all, the BEE can't have we regla' people threatening their gravy train. Because we common Black folks were placed on the planet for the sole purpose of making them rich and in order for that natural order to to remain in place, they can't have us going off like rogues and directly petitioning to corporate America without their permission and what not. Didn't you know that we are obligated to continue to subsidize stereotypes of Black women as oversexed and undervalued? How dare we! So they tell us that even our victories aren't victories because everybody knows that a campaign against corporate subsidies of raunch is futile because “sex sells!”.

Jimi Izrael's World Tour Of Skrip Clubs- Commences Any Day Now

HOWEVER I must agree with one assessment by His Royal Hot Pant's. Somebody (else) needs to begin the movement to urge Black women and girls to get off the stripper pole forthwith. Because we all know that its the all powerful strippers that are completely and totally responsible for the strip club being there. Its not like the proprietor or the patrons buying the drinks or getting the lap dances have anything to do with it and it's not like mainstream media's obsession with making sure that stripper culture permeates every crevice of society to the extent that our own children are screaming at the top of their lungs about “making it rain on dem h@$!” has anything to do with the rise of “stripper feminism” Yes indeed, convincing Tyfanny Pollard, Karrine Steffans and the strippers to just STOP should be THE number one priority to the exclusion of all else. Well since everyone is running around coming up with stuff that everybody else needs to to, I nominate Jimi to take the lead the “Girl Get Off That Pole!” campaign.

I'm not as Crazy As You Think I am and You're Not As Dumb As You Sound-

You Can Do It JIMI!!!!

Good luck Jimi and keep us abreast of your progress on “Jimi's World Tour to Get Black Women to Get of Da' Skripper Pole” I know you feel your gender makes it impossible to accomplish such an arduous task, but I believe that you, with your self-professed background as a male exotic dancer and strip club aficionado can overcome your “gender inferiority issues” and succeed.
Considering your braggadocio about being a frequent patron of strip clubs, encouraging the acquisition of the services of prostitutes and your past stint as a male adult entertainer skripper, you would be a far more appropriate authority to wage the vital campaign to get the Black women of America to forsake the stripper pole FOREVER. You can do it Jimi!!

While His Royal Hot Pants (HRHP)begins his world tour, the rest of us can begin a discussion about individual and institutional responsibility. If we removed all the strippers from their poles, would the Misogyny Industrial Complex come crashing to the ground? Who is more culpable Tyfanny Pollard or the two Caucasian producers who made her a star and continue to print money based on their trilogy of tawdriness? Does it matter? Who is responsible for bearing the burden of dismantling stripper culture Black Men? Black Women? Both Neither? Why? Why not?

We will continue with additional posts tentatively titled “Girl Get Off That Pole Part Deux: Sex Sells and the Earth is Flat” followed by “Girls Get off That Pole Part Tres: power vs. POWER and choice vs. CHOICE” and Girl Get Off That Pole Ze' Quad: Raising the Risk on Raunch” Y'all can thank HRHP for the inspiration. We all have a role to play.