I have to thank Renita Weems for her blog last week challenging the LowerMyBills ad and its pornographic focus on a Black woman's ample, gyrating butt. It put me in mind of an incident a few weeks ago that I had left largely unexamined until I considered the ubiquity of images of Black women that focus on our behinds.
During the Australian open, Roger Rasheed former coach of Australian Lleyton Hewitt came under fire for comments he made as the camera lingered on Venus Williams' behind. Rasheed said, "Take a look at this now. Make or think as you will, ladies, but for me, that's a pretty good sight." While I agree with those who objected to Rasheed's comments, a more appropriate question comes to mind about why the camera was on Venus's butt in the first place. The person running the camera made the first and most egregious decision to turn Williams, who is a world-class athlete, into one big body part as her behind filled the screen long enough for Rasheed to take notice.
In her blog post, Dr. Weems calls our historical attention to Sara Baartman whose body parts were the focus of discussion in the 19th century and remained on display in a museum well into the 20th century. Black people in particular must remember our history. Sisters have to demand that we not be carved up in people's minds, including brothers'. And it least if they carve us up, mentally reducing us to our hips, breasts, lips, noses, etc., then they ought to be ashamed to announce it.