Friday, October 24, 2008
Okay, so I know I'm over analyzing, but just go with me on this...
I just finished watching the Tina Fey movie "Baby Mama" that came out earlier this year upon recommendation from two friends. They both claimed that it was hilarious and yes, it was indeed funny. But what I could not get over the whole time is that the only black character in the movie is the doorman. What makes him stand out though, is that not only is he in a subservient position of door man, but he also introduces the term "baby mama" into the movie, like a walking and talking urban dictionary for our wealthy white corporate working woman main character. A baby mama, according to the door man, is a woman whose bills you pay because she's having your baby. And when Tina Fey's baby mama (her white-trash hired surrogate) moves in with her because of a fight with her common law husband, the door man alerts her that she's got "baby mama drama."
This movie just made me wonder, why does it have to be the black man (who states he has two baby mama's whom he didn't have relationships with, just relations) to let our main character in on the notion of the baby mama? This movie just perpetuates the truths and stereotypes of triflin' black men and the deteriorating black American family, somehow making it acceptable as we laugh. But acceptable to who? White America?
And if the notion of the baby mama is now generally accepted into American popular culture, in other words, not just a black thing, than why did the person introducing the idea in the movie have to be the young black door man? Would it not have been just as funny or funnier if it were an old white door man? Or an Asian-American man/woman passing by on the street and listening to her conversation?
The reality of the situation is that baby mama's and daddy's (also known as baby mova's and fova's) in reality aren't okay. So many of my peers, young black women, who I went to high school with or knew growing up have had babies, some on their second. None of them are married, and I would say in most cases they probably got knocked up on accident with a boy, not necessarily a boyfriend, who may or may not stick around. While I believe that babies are a blessing and I am glad that they were able to bring new life in the world, having babies before they could sufficiently stand on their own two feet is not cool.
Despite the movie's comedy, I was more appalled than anything that it relied on an exploitation of notions of race and class and how those notions play into American family structures.
Like I said, I know I'm over analyzing, but let's really think about what we're laughing at.