After Perry's 'Colored Girls,' there's plenty of bashing to go around

By Courtland Milloy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 9, 2010; 9:51 PM

Tyler Perry fans are calling me a "Perry hater" because I criticized his new movie, "For Colored Girls." But check out what some of his defenders are saying - and tell me who's hating whom.

"Are you saying that black men do not rape black women?" one woman wrote in response to my movie review, which ran Monday. "Are you saying that there are no down-low black men in America?" (meaning men who cheat on their wives and girlfriends by having sex with other men).

"If you are and other black men are saying that, then I respectfully ask you to take off your blinders."

Dear reader: If you don't think rapists and cheaters come in all colors, then take off your blinders. Perry is assisting Hollywood in doing nothing more than projecting the evil of the world onto black men, making us look worse than we are so others can feel better about themselves.

Another reader wrote: "I viewed the movie with five other retired women. We had lunch and discussed the movie after the viewing. Four of the five experienced domestic violence at the hands of black men. Most of us knew of cases involving other forms of incest, abuse, deceit or black-on-black crime."

She went on to surmise that I just didn't want to "expose the dirty laundry that Black Women have had to deal with; including the racism and extreme sexism from the general population."

Jeepers creepers. For decades, Hollywood has been waving the same dirty drawers in the black man's face, one black-man-bashing movie after another - including last year's "Precious" and now Perry's "For Colored Girls."

So where is the movie "For White Girls," bashing white men? Stories of white men kidnapping and abusing white girls are in the news. And maybe the Lifetime channel will make one of them into a TV crime drama. But be assured that if it does, the show will feature more than enough good white men to make that one evildoer come off as an aberration.

Another reader wrote: "I'm sorry you are angry by the way Tyler portrays black men in his films; but can you tell me why African American women now have the highest new HIV cases (67 percent, to be exact)? Or why African American women have the lowest percentage of domestic violence reported, although they are abused more often than their counterparts? If you cannot give me an intelligent answer besides the usual slavery response, then we as African Americans should stop bashing each other in the media."

All right already, I confess: Black men hate black women. After all, what black man could love his mother, grandmother, wife or sister? None. Why? Because Tyler Perry said so.

Amazingly, the reader is so intent on keeping the onus on black men that she minimizes, if not dismisses altogether, the impact of the nation's most enduring and racially oppressive criminal enterprise: slavery. You want to air dirty laundry? Start with that.

I saw the movie at the AMC Magic Johnson theaters in Largo, with a predominantly black audience. At first, most folks seemed giddy with anticipation - the mood having been set by a trailer for Martin Lawrence's horrid-looking follow-up to "Big Momma's House," in which he is made up to look like a bloated black woman with breasts down to her knees.

Hardy har har.

Before long, however, women in the audience began to gasp and moan, cursing under their breath at the endless spectacle of black male cheats, thieves, liars and abusers.

One of my readers explained: "Perry tapped into an interesting niche of emotionally scarred women who need to find a way to punish their abusers, and he gives them that emotional outlet."

Which brings me to a question posed by a man.

"My wife wanted me to go with her to see it over the weekend, but I resisted because I thought it would be a movie for women. Maybe my wife will go with the girls and come home and appreciate me more. You think?"


© 2010 The Washington Post Company