Tuesday, November 25, 2008

These lies come from somewhere

Never have I watched so much CNN in my life. It started with the election, but now that the prospect of hearing the (future) president speak doesn't fill me with the same emotion as nails on chalkboard, I've been tuning in on a more regular basis.

I like the reporters a lot--they seem to have personality and aren't afraid to show it on air, be it airing their views as Republicans or Democrats or weighing in on what kind of puppy the Obama girls should get.

One thing I don't like is the tendency to have 25 'coming up next' previews before actually showing the story.  Yeah, I know all news channels do this, but CNN seems to have raised it to a high art of annoyance.

Tonight the big delayed story was all about Michelle and how she's single handedly going to remake the image of black women in America.  Funny thing is, they spent one part of the story playing every clip they could find from any movie where Eddie Murphy or Tyler Perry ever put on a dress and a fat suit, decrying the "stereotype of black women as overweight and loud," (which frankly, just reminded me of most family holidays I've ever had, but I'm not supposed to say that out loud...).

Then, right after the break, they had Faye Wattleton on talking about how Michelle works out and keeps herself together, without looking scarily and unattainably thin--which will be a great example for black women because (insert statistic about the huge percentage of black women who are overweight--no comment on whether they're loud too).

CNN, I say to you, MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY!!  Are these pernicious rumors about the supposed obesity of black women (which by the way, we certainly don't have a monopoly on), vicious stereotypes or unfortunate statistics?

I suspect, as usual in these cases, it's a little of both.  In any case, it couldn't hurt if Michelle inspires a few folks of whatever race, size or genders, to move a little more.

This morning I was on my way to school and I pulled up behind a black woman on a bicycle at the stoplight.  She was riding an old rigid mountain bike and rocking some red shorts over blue tights, super-hero style.  She had a helmet,which was a nice change from a lot of the neophyte cyclists I see every day.

Not surprisingly, when she looked back and saw me, she asked, "What's your name?"  I assumed that meant we'd met before, which it turned out we had.  She came to a beginner bike clinic for black women that a friend of mine put on.  I went and gave a few tips on commuting, riding in traffic, maintenance, etc.  And now, here she was taking to the streets.  Considering how many people I talk to who give lip service to wanting or wishing they could bike more, I was pretty thrilled. (The credit goes to Deborah for organizing the workshop!).

See, it's started already.

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