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The election in hindsight and what’s the deal with Colored Girls?


The dust has settled and the votes have been counted. The bi-partisan system has reset and now the Reds and the Blues, the Right and the Left, the Republicans and the Democrats begin the next chapter. No one’s happy, no party did as well as they thought they should have and everyone is now looking to 2012.

My only question, which I have posed to friends on several occasions over the last couple of years, is this: What are the differences, if any, between the so-called ‘Tea Party’ and the Republicans?

No one has been able to explain any ideological differences between the two, and the argument that the movement is founded and based on independent voters doesn’t add up.  Ideologically, the positions of the candidates wrapping themselves in the tenets of the Tea Party are the same positions that conservative Republicans have been mouthing as far back as I can remember. So a rose is a rose is a rose, no?

There are two basic themes that have been a part of American politics in my lifetime, and they are these:

(1) The Republicans set the tone politically and the Democrats are reactive and usually on the defensive, and

(2) The Democratic Party, which over the last two generations has been more representative of the diversity of Americans, has never fully embraced that diversity. To their detriment.

The reality of the recent election however is that the Republicans have established their foundation for making a 2012 Presidential and Senate run. Their victories in Congress however didn’t bleed over into the Senate, and that means we will be looking at gridlock over the next couple of years. The Republicans will try to establish their agenda, the Senate (still in Democratic hands) invariably doesn’t agree, and if they do, President Obama vetoes it. Everyone pointing fingers at the next person and no one gets anything done.

As the US, and by extension, the world economy tries to tread water in this economic downturn, the President will have to move his agenda into high gear, do a much better job of laying out his initiatives to the public, and right size the ship, because anything less will make him less like the new FDR and more like the next Jimmy Carter. And that could be very bad news for all of us.

As Obama himself said in the days leading up to the election “We would be giving the keys for the car to the same people who drove it into the ditch.” Right now they’re riding shotgun and looking for more.


Being born and raised in Jamaica, the African-American experience was a very foreign concept to me. In school, American history was something I learned tangentially; the deeper aspects of the Harlem Renaissance and the Civil Rights movement were not on the curriculum, neither academically nor societally.

I make that point because when I did move the US to attend college, I became more tuned into what it meant to be black in America. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which I was given a copy of by an uncle when I was a teenager, made a profound impact on me. Not too far from that book in terms of impact was Ntozake Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Contemplated Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuff.’

Let me be clear-I am not one who supports books and/or writers that make a point of demeaning black men in particular or men in general. Shange’s book at first look may come across as that type of story, but in actuality is a lot more than that.

Simply put, the book “For Colored Girls” is a masterpiece; unlike anything before it and anything that have come since.

The focus is on the women, but the stories provide a look into the lives of people trying to get ahead, regardless of color, location or circumstances. The prose is brutally frank, but not dumbed down, and the portrayal of life in that time for ordinary folk is authentic. That’s why the play has persevered and flourished over the last thirty plus years, and why this is probably the most important movie that Tyler Perry has ever made.

The thing to keep in mind about this story however is when it was originally created. ‘For Colored Girls’ pre-dates the Color Purple, Oprah’s Empire and Waiting to Exhale. It stands apart from them in the way in which it looks into the black female/male dynamic in a stripped down, no makeup way that had never been seen up to that point. Yes, there are plenty of men who are cast as ‘no good’ in the story, but we all know that these men exist, and not just in black households. In ‘post-racial America’ (a phrase that I loathe, but that’s a story for another time) the overall themes are still quite relevant.

 The reviews to date have been mixed. Some people hate it, some don’t get it, and some love it. I haven’t seen it yet, but I plan to. I have not been the biggest fan of Tyler Perry over the years, but I applaud him for making this movie if only to introduce a new generation to what I consider one of the defining stories of the 20th century African-American experience. And if you dont see the movie, at least check out the book or one of the many theatrical versions. You will not come away from it unmoved.

Now if only someone will write the story ‘for colored men…” Where’s my typewriter?

About the author


Who's Dwight?

Well, for starters, i'm a Jamaican born resident of New York who loves sports, politics, books (reading and writing them) and meaningful debate. I'm also a published author of two books, several short stories and articles-with more on the way-and most importantly i'm never without an opinion. I try to keep abreast of the world around me and look at things from my perspective-which is sometimes irreverent, occasionally funny, frequently frank, and at times downright weird.

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