You know how sometimes you feel less than fresh?

I still can’t quite decide what I think about this.  Yes, I laughed when I first watched it, but then I felt uncomfortable with that laughter.  Is it that he calls her a dumb bitch?  Maybe … but wait, what she does is really crazy-making and annoys the crap out of me when I see women do this when I step into an elevator, and I might just call her a dumb bitch, too.  But there’s still something that leaves me feeling awkward and a little scratchy.  What do you think?  How did you feel when you watched it?  What is it that’s leaving this bad taste in my mouth?

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6 thoughts on “You know how sometimes you feel less than fresh?

  1. While I can swear like a trouper, there is something about the dumb bitch comment that just seems aggressive plus it’s unnecessary to the comedy . If it had ended at boo! it would have been a good comedy routine and the audience would have supplied the dumb bitch comment themselves. That would have worked as social satire, making it’s point and making the people who are guilty of the behavior uncomfortable. By calling her a db, that takes the focus away from her behavior and puts it on him. That is the director in me commenting.
    My daughter did an experiment when she had visible piercings and pink hair (about 10 years ago), she went into a small shop and shopped. She was followed around and watched carefully. This so annoyed her that the next day she went into the same store, her hair tucked up into a beret, her metal off or concealed and dressed more “normal”, she got helped but not hassled. Then she took off her beret and said, “I was going to buy this yesterday but you treated me so badly, that I am not ever shopping in your store again.”
    That’s all well and good for her, but it doesn’t work if people are treating you that way due to ethnicity. People who are prejudiced like that are stupid and ignorant.
    regards,
    Theresa

  2. inmate1972

    I agree with the db comment detracting from the message. Pull that out of the clip and I still laugh, I still pay attention, and I still get the point.

  3. Hmmm. I think I feel more uncomfortable about the beating to the ground bit. Part of me thinks it’s funny, but part of me thinks it’s, well, a bit…I’m not sure. Perhaps misogynistic? I guess I don’t appreciate the violent mental imagery.

    Aside from the violence, the humor in this clip reminds me a bit of a short German movie called “Black Rider.” Do you know it?

  4. I’d written a reply to this but my computer froze just before I finished typing it.
    So, I waited a while, sent a link to a couple dudes I know, along with a link to a comment Questlove left on Okayplayer some time ago (see it here: http://www.racialicious.com/2008/10/09/quoted-uestlove-on-the-little-things) and waited for the reactions.

    Initially, the “dumb bitch” didn’t bother me. There’s a huge part of me that hates the word bitch – ESPECIALLY when it’s uttered by a man. I cringe thinking about how it sounds. I’ve used it a lot in the past two weeks as I’ve dealt with a woman who has been doing and saying some despicable things, but I still feel uncomfortable every time.

    After getting back their responses, and just reading about the “small adjustments” they make on the daily, habitually, almost unconsciously, it’s clear that “dumb bitch” is seeped in a lifelong effort of making someone feel safe around them because they harbor negative and harmful assumptions about men with brown skin. It doesn’t bother me. For me, it doesn’t detract from the message. It pinpoints the anger.

    I was unsettled moreso by the desire to beat the lady to the ground, but even that, that rage… well, a part of me accepts that too.

    Complicated.

  5. I’m still thinking about this. Oddly enough, it came up in my class this morning. One of my students came in angry because a woman on the bus had grabbed up her bag when she noticed him standing near her. Several students had seen this vid and immediately brought it up. I find myself still so ambivalent. I get the anger, the desire to lash out. I get it, but it troubles me. It troubled my student, too, the one who’d had the bad experience on the bus this morning. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but he feels the rage even more strongly than I do … and doesn’t really know what to do with it.

  6. molly

    I agree that it’s the mixture of racism with sexism that makes this issue complicated. Could the man actually beat the woman to the ground (using his words)? Probably. She doesn’t look as if she could defend herself very effectively, although she looks tall and strong. Does he want to beat her to the ground? He says that part of him really does. What would an African-American woman want to do to her? Would it be the same, or would it be different?

    Men hurt women physically every day. Statistically, the highest cause of death, in women between 16 and 45, is violence by men. Women are afraid of men. We are afraid of being killed.

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