Sunday, October 21, 2012

Nothing Like A Death In The Family To Make You Hate The Living...




Nine days ahead of my own dear grandmother's cancer surgery for a malignant tumor in the throat, we get the news that her sister passed. She is now the only living sister of twelve kids, and she's the oldest child.

Breaking the news to her will not be easy.

Even harder to bear than that?



The fact that "death" seems to translate to "freebies" for certain persons.


Imagine this: A woman dies in her home and only a few hours after this is confirmed, relatives are rushing over to see what they can get.


There is no mourning, no sorrow. Just, "I'm gonna get something!"


A couple of my relatives put a lock on her back door and locked her front door to keep things in check (to keep people from raiding the poor woman's house) until they can sort out whether or not she had a will and if not, agree to divide everything up equally among the family.



I wasn't particularly close to the aunt that passed. And I admit there were times when her attitude got under my skin. But I do feel that this woman deserved better than people who HARDLY EVER VISITED HER being the first ones to try and burst into her house to claim whatever they can get their grubby hands on.



This is why I'm helping my grandmother put together a will. Why I'll have one for myself, and why I'd like my parents to have one. Because outside of my own situation (as I won't be around to do anything), I do not want to end up arrested for beating the bloody hell out of anyone because I haven't had a chance to even register such a loss when a whole bunch of sorry relations show up demanding access to items.


It would be remotely understandable if they genuinely wanted something to remember that person by. But the idea of people viewing the loss of someone I loved dearly as a chance to get something for free would be too much for me and someone would wind up in the hospital.


I've seen this play out with other deaths in the family before, but seeing it right now, while helping my grandmother prepare for serious surgery, just drives home the point of how LOW some people are.


And it's also why I'd seriously advise EVERYONE to settle matters before they leave here. Because some people have no tact, taste, or human kindness. They view every passing as a yard sale, gift shop, or just straight up opportunity to grab whatever they can. But a will settles any question regarding what YOU want when it comes to loved ones (and not so loved ones) and whatever you elect to leave behind.


No person should have to deal with the nonsense I had to be privy to this morning.



Saturday, October 13, 2012

“Macho” Little Black Girls: The Anti-Femininity War on Black Women


Note: For the purpose of this article, I'm dealing with a specifically observed issue that has nothing to do with "butch" lesbianism in black women or non-black women. What I'm talking about is not an outgrowth of self-identified sexuality, sexual expression, or a conscious decision by the individual to move away from gender norms and form their own identity. This post is on something ENTIRELY different.


*********


MachoismProminently exhibited or displayed masculinity....Characteristics include domineering, fierceness, bravado, and similar behavior patterns displayed showily or histrionically as being tough...The machismo of members of the human species are all exaggerated features that may cause injury to individuals that display them but attract females.


I started to bring this point up in a recent post, but the dialogue was such that it wasn't immediately relevant to that situation. Though it was relevant as an explanation as to why that woman (I thought she was a teenager at the time) behaved the way she did.


This is an ongoing problem in the black community: A direct off-shoot of the war on femininity in black women. There is a segment of self-hating persons working in collusion with white racism to undermine black womanhood in any way that they can. This is just one symptom of the viral infection.


But for the confused, here are some helpful explanations as to where these hyper-macho little black girls are coming from, and why this problem is only going to get WORSE if black women do not actively combat attempts by persons to strip us of our femininity.



Explanation One: A Lack of a Positive Father/Male Figure

This is just another side-effect of a lack of familial structure and the availability of sensible paternal figures. The anti-NWNW people can say what they want to: In ethnic groups where marriage is encouraged and fathers are EXPECTED to care for their offspring, you simply do not see the level of "macho" aggressive young women that is startlingly common in the African American community.


If you have a man present that is respectful of women, who encourages you to be feminine and delicate, and who allows you to feel protected, I honestly believe that you are very unlikely to develop such aggressive and violent tendencies. Why would you have to? You have a male provider and protector in your home, or in your family circle. You know that if someone tries to harm you, there is a man you can turn to who will defend your honor. This reinforces your sense of value as a young lady who knows what it is to be appreciated, respected, and protected by a man. Therefore, you have nothing to prove to anyone, and are mentally and emotionally free to pursue other things.


Even though my "girliness" did not catch up to me until well into college, I was always encouraged to be myself, that I was intelligent and could do anything I set my mind to. I never had any negative influences making me loathe myself for being a black woman, telling me that being a lady or delicate was "white-acting", and I was never put into a survival situation where I had to be physically hardened in order to fight off physical assaults or sexual abuse.


I think one clear explanation for this behavior is a lack of responsible, respectful, non-abusive men in the life of these girls growing up, and they end up "filling the void" left by a lack of masculine energy, encouraged to do so by their mothers who would prefer to coddle their sons in a way that they will never coddle their daughters. Black little girls in their mind must be hardened, must be the protectors and providers. They are simply "on their own".



Explanation Two: Sexual Abuse

There are many indicators that a child has been sexually violated. Some symptoms of sexual abuse are low self-esteem, cruelty, and aggressive behavior. These girls may be very angry as a result of having been violated and having no one to help stop the abuse, acknowledge that the abuse is happening, or protect them from their abuser(s). Increased aggression could be a sign that they feel that being mean and fighting everyone is the only way to keep the hands of such persons off of them. They are afraid of being seen as weak and vulnerable, because they learned very early on that being either of these things makes them desirable to predators. If black women are not mindful of the men they elect to procreate with or the men they have around their daughters, it will lead to putting their offspring in constant jeopardy.


Explanation Three: Bizarro World Occupants See Femininity As "Anti-Black"

In their desperation to keep slavery and white racism alive like the good little brain-washed helpers that they are, the GAT-DL has long declared a WAR on black femininity. They look to white people to identify themselves, that way they can get to work being the polar opposite. The problem is that many of the things being labeled as "white" does not belong to any race or ethnic group. One such thing is  femininity, or being the yin to the masculine yang. Behaving in a calm, sensible, demure, manner. Allowing yourself to be pretty, loveable, and gentle.


Since white racism has declared that only white women are actually human and every other "race" is subhuman, it is according to those doctrines perfectly acceptable to treat subhumans as no better than animals, and anticipate violent animal behaviors in them. Students of these doctines, the GAT-DL believes quite firmly that the best thing they can do is eliminate feminine black women from the face of the Earth. Even deny their existence. Black women are "h*s", "b*tches", and "macho asexuals". They are Mammies, Mules, Sapphires, and Jezebels.  Sadly, the brain-dead masses in their way affirm white racist doctrines by encouraging these girls to be anything other than feminine black women. Because in the back of their minds, expecting any sort of respect or consideration as a woman is something simply NOT for black women. They believe fully in their inferiority and resent any black woman who doesn't, and feel the need to put her in her place. Either through cruel verbal jabs, or beating and or raping her. And if they can't do it directly, they let these indoctrinated "macho non-men" do it for them.


How many of us have seen these macho little black girls attacking feminine black girls? "You think you cute?!" as asked menacingly by these girls and women is really code for "You are a feminine representation of black beauty, and that cannot stand, because white racism teaches us that there's no such thing."


There are certainly other explanations (you're more than welcome to mention), but these seem to be the major factors. Nothing happens in a vacuum when it comes to dysfunctional behavior in black people. These overly aggressive girls have been encouraged and instructed to act out in this way. To  expect someone who has been actively encouraged to be the polar opposite of a feminine sensible lady to be anything else is a waste of time. At this point, as with anything involving DBR black people,  it's best to just observe from a safe distance. 


Part II: The "Black Woman 'Machoism' Scale": Where You Lie Could Mean Life and Death

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Hold Everything: They’re Bringing Back Kenya Dolls!




That's right!

For those of you who remember, there was a time in the 1990s when there was series of dolls in different skin shades marketed to little black girls. One such doll was called, "Kenya".
As I said elsewhere when I found this out, it hit me right in the childhood. I am still flailing. I
will most definitely might buy one when they are released next month. I don't care if I'm not the target demographic. And clearly I'm not the only one who feels this way:
We can almost hear the squeals of joy coming from the countless black women in their 20s as they read this post and remember their childhood days with Kenya in tow.

SEE?! SEE?! IT'S NOT JUST ME! :D

*cough*

Anyway, I'm truly excited about not only the re-launching of the dolls, which went away due to copyright issues, but also what I'm hearing about the the new version. This time around, the brand is hoping to have among other things a TV show, computer apps, a film, and music released.

The first launch of the product was successful and I am hoping the second launch will be even more successful. There is an undeniable void regarding self-esteem building representations for little black girls where they get to see positive images of themselves and be positively encouraged to love themselves.

I'm checking out the new versions and there are a few things I noted:

1.) Kenya is very dark-skinned. This true of both the classic version being released and the "Fashion Madness" version. I admit I was a bit concerned about how they were handling this re-launch in terms of skin tone. I know people want to tip-toe around the shadism/colorism elephant in the room, but marketing a dark-skinned doll as the lead in a series of dolls targeted to little black girls is very bold, given the fact darker skin is often maligned when it comes to black women in popular black culture. I feel like doll's creators are very sensitive to that fact and are going above and beyond to reaching out to those little girls.

2.) They gave the older version of Kenya a boyfriend, named TJ. Yes, TJ is also black and this isn't very surprising giving the pro-black family (more on that in a minute) angle of these toys. What I like is that he, like all the characters in this line, is not stereotypical, is into sports but at the same time is VERY MUCH about his education, and has a positive message for young black girls regarding doing their best and being with people who love and support them. Including the men in their life.

3.) The Kenya line is very much pro-black family and pro-black community. This MAY worry some on the BW-centric front who see this as a Trojan horse. Some may see it as promoting a reality of the black community that does not exist.
Well, the flip side of this is the fact that you can bet there will be GAT-DL haters complaining about how "unrealistic" these dolls are because of how "white" they all act, how portraying the characters from  stable two-parent homes may "hurt the feelings" of some little girls from single parent homes. You may have people chipping away at the positivity of this brand because it does not reflect or normalize dysfunction. And YES, I already see it coming.
The bottom line is, as far as I can tell, the good of these dolls far outweigh any BWE-centric notions of "it's a trap!". Still if you feel that there's going to be an issue, it's not like you have to buy the dolls for your daughters or any other little girls you know. It's like anything else you suspect may be a bad influence that involves you spending money...you don't have to do it. Put your money into whatever else you feel will positively influence women and girls around you, that is your right. :)


The final impression I get from these dolls is that as a black girl, you are capable of doing whatever you set your mind to: You are intelligent, fun, fashionable, out-of-the-box, and you should form connections with people who feel the same. You should be proud of yourself (as stated in the music video for the "Fashion Madness" doll).

I feel like anything that encourages black girls to do their best, be their best, and fills them with a sense of self-love and pride is a GREAT thing. Because it's not something that has always been marketed at little black girls. Kenya dolls were the first of their kind, and that was a tiny window compared to other dolls for other little girls. Hopefully good things will come of this.


...And yes, I'm buying all the dolls. \o/

So what are your thoughts? Are you excited for the return of classic Kenya? What is your opinion on the other dolls being released? Do you think there are any major issues and concerns being overlooked?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Guess What? I'm A Grown A** Woman!



Oh, Lawdy Lawd!

It never fails, does it? Express a definite opinion about something that doesn't kiss the behinds of some IITs (Internet Ike Turners) and out they come. One particular comment annoyed me for a hot minute before I remembered that it was within my ability to eliminate with extreme prejudice. But the sentiment was a fairly common one when it comes to control-freak BM with a warped sense of entitlement regarding other people's lives and boundaries:


"If you want to date White men, that's cool."


Now, I wouldn't mind this comment so much if it came from my father or my brothers, the only black men in my life whose opinions actually matter to me. And even if it WASN'T cool...I'm a grown a** woman, and I don't need any person's permission to live my life. These backhanded "I give you my approval" comments annoy me because as Samuel L. Jackson would say, "I don't remember asking you a godd*** thing!" Not only that, some of these men act as if BW dating interracially and having their approval (which is unneeded) means they aren't allowed to talk about certain things.

I don't think so, Slappy.



And as it happens, this comment was featured in a tirade accusing me of maligning black men everywhere with this post. Yes....that post where I'm telling black women to not treat black men like gods, and hold them to the standards of all human beings was me "bashing black men everywhere".

Mmmhmm. You'll note that part where I start talking about what a good man is and ISN'T? I think someone's toes got stepped on:



"There are abusive men in all racial categories and there are good men in all racial categories.
 
Condemning all Black men as bad is just not accurate or honest."



LOL, what?

Nowhere did I do that. In fact, I made a comment stating pretty firmly that good and bad is subjective (it is) and I implied heavily that you have to use your common sense when it comes to judging people. An insane control freak may consider himself "a good black man" because he has a nice job, a nice car, and no debt. 

But as always with BM trolls, they give themselves away and get their feelings hurt when you point out the damaged behavior they exhibit as being wrong and NOT the qualities any woman would or should look for in a man. Suddenly, ALL black men are like them and if I'm calling their sorry behinds out, I'm speaking to all black men everywhere, good and bad.



Yeah, I don't think so. You see, this is why I don't speak up on behalf of men: You get some men so used to women spoiling, coddling, and defending them, they have no concept of how to read anything less than glowing praise and worship as something other than an a attack on an entire gender. 

These little boys think they can guilt you into holding your tongue about the backward treatment and skewed standards of black women by dictating to you what to say and think and trying to rewrite what you said to reflect a narrative that simply does not exist. Ha!


I'm going to cross-post a follow-up based on this remark, because these type of statements are HUGE RED FLAGS indicating persons who are likely abusive and manipulative. If a man trying to get with you is frequently interested in using the evils of other people to justify their own behavior, you need to watch out!


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New Post, New Blog Coming, New News!








Well it's been awhile, but it's September and I'm back posting like I promised. \o/

Some news:




- I'm creating a new website!

I never intended this website to be so singular in terms of discussion, and though I'm glad people do enjoy a lot of what I write, there's other things I'd like to share and discuss. :) Hopefully the site will be up between late October and November. I'll be moving posts from here to there and closing the blog.


- The book...

Suffered some major setbacks, mainly in the form of my master's thesis.  _o_ I intend to focus all my energy on getting it done and that means much pretty much everything else goes on the back burner for now. Hopefully by the time the site goes up I'll be better able to share what the book will be about and maybe post some excerpts for feedback purposes.


- WTF?!

Maybe it's the recent blue moon but I can't help notice a heightened level of pointless negativity from folks in certain spaces. It makes me sad. I don't expect us to all agree or disagree, but I do wish people would learn when to walk away. We aren't all going to get along, but at the same time there are certain behaviors that are beneath us. And just as I'm learning to shed myself of concern over things that are trivial, I'm hoping the same for others.

You find you figuratively have a lighter load when you drop the weight off your back of so many ridiculous things that shouldn't concern you.



That's all for now. :) Have a great week!



Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Hater's Number: Odds Are, You Have It Already




There's a lot of talk of hateration and holleration going on right now and even though I dislike shining any sort of light on these people (because when you show them they've wounded you, they are "encouraged" to be even more ferocious), sometimes it's necessary to talk about them. And why they are the way they are.

I'll share an example of what happened to me a short while ago. I'll just say that something happened that upset me a great deal and I couldn't stand being in the house another minute. I HAD to get outside for a bit. I put on a floppy hat to shade me from the Sun and I was wearing what only can be described as loose fitting gym clothes. I wasn't concerned with how I looked (which is very unusual for me), I just needed to get out. I went out for a walk to a place I go to when I need to be by myself. I prayed and I cried and I let everything out. And then I went home. And on the way back I heard that some black women were calling to each other to look at me being "disheveled" as I walked by and to gather around and talk about me as I was passing by them on the way home from my walk. I heard them and was tempted to say nothing, but in my spirit I knew a response was necessary.
I turned, smiled and said, "God bless you." and then went on my way.

From that moment on, I was absolutely resolved to NEVER leave the house looking anything less than flawless. And I'm already planning my fall/winter wardrobe to ensure I look even more fabulous for the rest of the year.

It amazed me that these women who I did not know from Adam, who I'd never said a word to ever and didn't know them even indirectly, were so invested in how I looked that they took glee in me clearly being out of sorts. I ordinary look my best and carry myself with confidence and a cheerful demeanor. These persons, clearly lacking in self-confidence, were happy for an opportunity to see me looking and feeling less than stellar. Who in the world has that kind of time to be mentally and emotionally invested in someone they don't know and will never meet?!
It's another form of "You think you're better than me?"-ism that you see expressed by low-minded people who just sit around looking for an opportunity to spew venom and hope that they are hurting someone who they feel threatened by. It's funny because outside of this article, I will never think of these people again, except maybe a thanks for inspiring me to buy that skirt I wasn't sure about spending the extra money on but will be sure to rock with all my might. They will still be standing around hating, and I will be going on with my life. Two ships passing in the night, and one of them is named "Titanic". Let them sink with their fears and cowardice and self-hatred; I'd rather sail on into a brighter tomorrow.

Admittedly, I've tangled with the green-eyed monster myself-we all have, it's an aspect of human nature. But this type of behavior is something else entirely. There is no justification for it. None. You cannot claim injury, hurt, or any type of anguish that would make the emotional investment that these type of people have in the pain and failure of another person sound. So then it must be something else.

Jealousy? I hate the word because I feel it is an easy out for the pathology we witness in people like who I described and people who regularly attack BW-centric messages.

I think what it is, plain and simple, is recognized lacking. Opposites attract, and negative energy is drawn to positive energy: These people will look at you and look to you because they see in you things that are lacking within themselves. They hate you not because of who you are, but because they can see what it is they are missing from their own lives, manifested as a blessing or as good fortune in someone else.

These people are suffering. And often, the people they are hating on have suffered or are themselves suffering. But what separates the hater's suffering from the hated-on is that they are not suffering on the way to something beautiful and fulfilling. My dad always told me, "Suffering is a strong possibility in this life....why not suffer on the way to something great?" Indeed, suffering is a big part of the culture for many black people. The many stories told about how we were denied opportunities and discriminated against and made outsiders. I suspect that many haters of upwardly mobile black women take their own suffering to be an affirmation of their identity as a black person. They tell themselves they must be low and stagnant because that's how it was for blacks in the past, and that's the surest way to assure everyone that you are black. They build this reality around the idea that they must remain downwardly mobile and omitted from the promised "American Dream" that all persons who are born or come here should have the right to. So when they see someone suffering on the way to something good, or succeeding despite having to suffer the existence of haters like them, it upsets them in a big way.

 No matter how hard these people hate on you, they will still be suffering and with nothing to show for it.

The aspect of you that they hate on, meanwhile, will never find its way into their own lives because regardless of whether you succeed or fail, your success or failure is entirely your own. That unique talent, light, or hope that drives you belongs ONLY to you and cannot be replicated. These persons have a choice: They can find their own light and "let it shine" so to speak or they can spend the rest of their lives praying other lights go out and that somehow this magically alleviates their own pain. Spoiler for haters reading this right now: No, it won't.

And so I end with the title: You, through finding your own inspiration, through shining your own light, through making the decision to be the best person you can have everything necessary to defeat these persons. Because they can never win against a reality that says that they will be nothing so long as all they have going for themselves is how badly someone else is doing or feeling. If the failure of other people is the closest you can get to fulfillment, you have nothing and will NEVER have anything. The only way to change this is to re-focus your life energy on your own situation. To stop hiding from and accept that your life is not what you want and its on you and you alone to alter this. And then to acknowledge your mistakes, your self-loathing, your fears of failure and to press on anyway.

Suffering and missteps will likely happen. But let it be on the way to something brilliant, something that is totally and wonderfully and uniquely your own.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hiatus!

Between the book and other things I'm working on at present, I'll actually be pretty busy.

So I'll not be submitting anything new until about September.




Thanks to all who visit and read, see you in a few months! o/

Friday, July 6, 2012

I got a name...and it's not Mammy.



I am not a coddler. It's not in my nature to coddle people who are old enough to know better and don't care. Now, this isn't to say I'm a meanie who hates children.

On the contrary. I adore kids and feel far more patient with them than I do grown ups. Because they are kids and they don't know any better. If they are wrong, I'm more likely to look at the parents than the child since that's who is responsible for them.


Speaking of which, I would like everyone to go and flag this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDClZJLkCHg


As far as I'm concerned it's child abuse and completely inappropriate. There is nothing, NOTHING at all cute, sexy, funny, or endearing about a child having grown women shaking their tails in his face. Ask yourselves if this video would be treated nearly as lightly if it were a little six year old girl singing while grown men swing peen in her face.

Chris Hansen would ride in on an elephant and Falcon Punch (TM) every adult present into the 5th dimension.

I know that society likes to pretend that sexualizing little boys isn't nearly as harmful, but it is. ESPECIALLY little black boys like this one who will not grow up with a healthy idea of what women are like and how they are supposed to be treated.

This video deeply disturbs me because it reminds me of a recent post I made on the subject. Some people aren't connecting the dots, but I most certainly am.

What you are seeing is a symptom of a community that asks black women to both be mothers and sex objects to man-children (or in this case, literal children), while having no real authority or respect. People keep telling themselves that there is nothing wrong with removing a sane paternal figure from the picture while pumping out children like this little boy. And if you think things are bad now, I have a funny feeling it will get worse. Much worse.



But I have gotten off track: I want to make it clear to people who are confused as to my part in the BW/IRR collective: I am not your damn mammy. I am not mama. I am not mommy. I am NOT your maternal figure sent to wipe your behind and clean up after you and treat you like the child you know perfectly well you are NOT.


As I stated before, children messing up isn't upsetting to me. Like that dear little boy in the video. He is clearly an innocent child who does not appreciate anything that is going on. When a child doesn't understand, you can afford to be patient with them. Because they're little and still learning.


But there is a biiiiig difference between a little child that doesn't know any better and a grown as HAYELL adult who not only knows better, but does not care. I think it's pathetic that adults try and pass off their willful ignorance as "child-like" and expect to be treated as children. I do not coddle adults. I do not pretend that people who are willfully, triflingly ignorant deserve the sort of patience and compliance that a child does. That is just insulting to my intelligence, which is a no-go.


You want to be "there there'd" about your bad life decisions that you try and pass off as something to aspire to? You want to be coddled as you laugh at sane, functional persons making rational and fruitful life choices? You want me to pretend that even when you do so, you are not a hypocrite who yourself opted to pass on wanting and being better (but can't stand the thought of someone else doing so)?

Not happening. 






Get out of my face. I am not your mammy.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Black Women: Yes, You Are Liked....Yes, You Are LOVED!


“How do ________ men feel about black women?”

I’ve never written any posts asking the above question because I understood the idea that results vary. Not everyone feels the same way. No one is obligated to feel the same way. But curiosity is a human condition and people will satisfy it anyway they can. In this case, by posting generic questions on the internet and hoping for the best. But the internet is full of all kinds of anonymous people and questions like this draw honest feedback as well as out-and-out evil. When a black woman makes her curiosity (and indirectly, her vulnerability) known, it tends to brings out the worst kinds of persons. A hopeful black woman is a delicacy to poisonous people who cannot wait to tear her down.
For that reason, I stay away from such discussions, which often take place in hostile environments. BWE/BW-IRR centric safe spaces on the internet are rarer than we appreciate. Outside of these communities, the conversation can be biased against the best wishes and self-esteem of black women. Even such spaces are not immune to people showing up that are determined to erode the confidence and well being of black women who want more for themselves.
Needless to say, such persons get indignant when they cannot spread their poison and are promptly shown the door. Likely this sense of entitlement comes from being used to boards and blogs where they can tear down black women with gusto and no one says anything. And if a black woman is lacking in self-love and confidence, it can be devastating seeing so many people line up to put you down for no other reason than because you are a black woman.
But, there is a more basic and more fundamental question that’s being asked whenever these questions pop up:

“Do people think I’m worthy of being liked and loved?”

There is a fear that racism will cloud the judgment of the whole Earth and being a dark-skinned woman of color will set the universe against you. There are indeed a great deal of people who love nothing better than standing on the backs of black women; doing so makes them closer to the top of the pile. Looking for the love and approval of such persons is pointless because (1) you’ll never get it and (2) anyone who would rather stand on you than love and support you is not someone you should be trying to be loved by anyway. They are certainly not worthy of your love.

One mistake SO MANY black women make is that they make racism the focus rather than love. They worry about accidentally falling in love with a racist. They worry that if they consider interracial dating, they’ll have to find true love amongst a sea of bigots that hate them. It’s mind boggling that some black women ignore racism aimed at them by self-hating members of their own ethnic group. And yet at the same time, focus on racists when it comes to interracial relationships rather than qualities and and characteristics that already signal that a man is ideal, regardless of his ethnic background.

When you are conditioned to prioritize your skin color to such a degree and are taught that it is the most unlovable thing there is, it’s no wonder that you become so full of self loathing, shame, and fear.“If being a black woman is such a terrible thing to every other ethnic group….does anyone out therereally love me?”

To the women who ask themselves this or if you know black women who ask themselves this, please pass along the following:

YES, you are likable and lovable and your skin is never a deterrent among people who are truly caring towards you.  Do not get caught up in the idea of your skin color getting in the way of being loved or the skin color and culture of someone else getting in the way either. All humans want to be loved and well thought of. It’s practically part of the way we are formed. We want to be well thought of and cared for by others, and it’s an absolutely normal desire.
It’s first important to allow yourself to view this desire as normal, and to understand that you are worthy of being loved for who you are. Let go of this feeling that race is the most important factor in determining whether you are capable of being seen as a lovable human being. Let go of the assumption that race is a valid reason to care about the opinions of other people that serve only to keep you immobile in a corner. It doesn’t matter if those people are white Americans, Eastern Europeans, South-East Asians, or members of your own ethnic group. Those who would harm you mentally, emotionally, and physically can all be counted as persons whose opinions you need not concern yourself with and whose love you need not be seeking to validate yourself.
This does not mean you can’t speak out against or combat racism. It’s just that when it comes to matters of love, so many black women have been taught to treat it as something that they must concern themselves with in all things when dealing with other people or how they expect those persons to seek to interact with them. For them, consideration of interracial love begins from the point of view of seeking a non-racist in a pile of KKK members, rather than seeking a loving man of another race. It’s like they don’t know how to “turn off” or “flip the switch” and focus on something other than skin color and ethnicity. Ironic, right?

If there are men of other ethnic groups you are attracted to, understand that just as you are not a monolithic black woman they are not monolithic either. Just as you desire to be loved, so do these men. Before saying, “Do _______ men, like/love black women?” say, “I am a black woman worthy of being loved. And I am a woman who will concern myself with individuals I feel are worthy of my love and whom I am worthy of being loved by.”

If you have qualities and characteristics in mind regarding what kind of person you want to be with, that should always be the top priority. Do not make interracial dating about seeking a partner in order to affirm whether or not you are worthy of being loved. This should be a given. If it is not STOP, please, and make that something you work on. Otherwise you are approaching the idea of a loving relationship from a deficit and you will not be capable of being an equal in whatever loving relationship you are seeking. It’s kind of hard to find love if you go into the dating world not believing that it’s something you are completely worthy of.

* * * * *
Thanks for reading. I’ll be taking a tiny break from blog writing because I NEED to get to work on my book or it’s just not going to get done. Have a wonderful week everyone!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Outward Gazing: When Black People Hide From Black Problems....





Well, well, no time no blog. At least not here.

I'm actually working on a new movie review feature for the blog, my book, and contributing over at "Beyond Black & White". Aaaaaand I've just begun preparing for my second master's. So yes, busy.

BUT, there is something I'll be speaking on here, because I've seen it a lot, and I am tired of it.



I call it, outward gazing. Outward gazing is an escapist tactic used by black people who are mentally and emotionally incapable of facing the glaring problems unique to the black community. When I say "unique", I mean situations and consequences that you are not likely to see play out in scenarios not involving black people.


One recent example where I observed this is when addressing the recent case of Creflo Dollar. Naturally the conversation brought up disagreements over whether or not corporal punishment works, but the sensible people discussing the case understood this was NOT normal punishment by any means.

As more has come out about the case, it's clear that the wife called the police on her husband and the sister who was a witness to the events backed up what the daughter who was attacked said happened. The daughter wanted to go out to a party and the father lost it because she wouldn't obey his authority. Yes, because if there's anything that establishes your authority as a parent it's hitting, choking, and throwing shoes at your kids. *eye-roll*


In this situation, the following conversation occurred between myself and a commenter named "C15h".

They wrote:

i don't think this is a black people issue and more of parents lacking proper self control. i was just watching some dad whipping his son with a belt for not being good at baseball. like really? over baseball? that is out of control.

I responded:

Corporate punishment vs. non-corporate punishment = non-black people issue. A black preacher who committed what amounts to child abuse on his daughter and is now being defended by black people who (1) view his extremes as normal because "she disrespected him" or (2) would rather throw a black female under the bus than take a black man to task for acting inappropriately = black people issue. This is very much representative of a problem within areas of the black community. It cannot be carried over to other ethnic groups because the dysfunction behind it is unique.


They wrote:

we all agree he was out of line and anyone who tries to defend him for what he did is just plain crazy but there's no reason to believe domestic abuse is a black issue and there is no reason to believe only black people are defending him and there's no reason to believe a significant population of black people don't disagree with what he did. Creflo Dollar has a huge following, and it's expected for people to jump to his defense no matter what he does but it's bit overreaching to extend that to black people. as a group, do we really wanna be responsible for an individual's bad behavior/choices?

I responded:

I'm going to say something that you don't necessarily agree with and it's probably going to make you uncomfortable, but I don't care, because I'm tired of people trying to do this whenever a light is shined on the type of dysfunctional thinking COMMON among a large portion of black people. 
Are you ready? 
*clears throat*

One of things that keeps dysfunction in check in the black community is this fairy tale that people like to tell where this type of ridiculousness is seen as normal or not as problematic outside of the black community. Even worse, some people would rather pretend it's better to focus on the dysfunctional behaviors of others outside of the black community than to give a damn that it's dysfunctional and seek to change it. I am not playing the, "white people do this too!" game. I am not playing the "white people have criminals/domestic abuse/etc. game". 
If black people focused more on THEIR OWN GROUP and what was wrong, it would be a step in the direction of fixing it. But people don't want to think about that. It's funny you bring up individualism because my individual self decrees that I will not be goaded into overlooking a common problem for the sake of being mentally and emotionally comfortable. 
I take no comfort in the dysfunction of other groups. I do not instinctively look to that in order to make myself feel better. When people do this, it troubles me. It's too much like hiding and denial, which solves nothing. As a group, I'd rather call something the disturbing as heck thing that it is than placate myself with "outward gazing", which is what I call the knee-jerk reaction to a bright light shined on trifling and backward behavior within the black community. Sorry, but you are barking up the wrong tree in this regard.

The fundamental point of my view is bolded. It is that absolute truth, and something that some people just cannot come to terms with. It's one reason why I've distanced myself from people who claim to be about "saving the black race". Their solution is to cry racism and "white people do it too!", while ultimately not addressing the dysfunctional behaviors that exist within the zombie black community. The denial is so bad, problems that are very real are treated as either normal, non-existent, or not as bad as they are.

I have pretty much signed onto the notion that survival means separation. I am also a believer in othering and shaming undesirable and terrible behavior; I am not about coddling and enabling criminals and deviants. Moreover, I do not see myself as an undesirable or deviant, and have no problem calling out persons, as I'm not mentally associating myself with them and their trifling, problematic behaviors.

In any case, the response this person chose was rather telling:

"...i just don't see what individuals chooses to do somehow become an indictment on black people. you've written many times on not making one's self the target for other people's buffoonery. i don't see it any differently when making black people the target."

I responded to this comment, but I won't post what I said here, because that is the end of the conversation as far as I'm concerned. But I found it interesting that (1) this person completely bypassed my point and (2) attempted to use my own words to strengthen their desire to keep their head in the sand.

The irony?

The posts they chose to defend their standpoint back me up, not them. Calling out foolish behavior among black folks is NOT making yourself a target; it's called "othering". When you other, you are actually going out of your way to distinguish yourself from persons in the crosshair. This is why I have no qualms calling out ridiculous behavior: I am not the party in question and have no mental or emotional fear of ever being mistaken with such persons.

In fact, you are mentally and emotionally making yourself a target when you refuse to address a situation because you think ALL black people are being addressed. ALL black people are not the target...just the trifling ones who would rather throw victims under the bus than hold a simpleton accountable for questionable and illegal behaviors.

Hiding from undesirable truths and consequences does not make them go away.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Book update and comment on the Lauryn Hill situation...

Okay! As I mentioned way back when, I am indeed working on a book. I've just really started making any head way, but I've got interviews, research, etc. to do, in addition to fleshing out other points not discussed in related blog posts. It's certainly daunting, as I've never written a book before, but I know I've got it in me. I was hoping to email interview black women on topics related to the book, so comment if you are interested and I'll give you the contact details. :)

+ + + +




Girls, you know you better (watch out)


Cause guys, some guys are only (about)


That thing, that thing, that thiiiing....



I don't know what that "thing" is. It seems obvious at first glance. Sex. A hit and quit opportunity. But, the more I think about it. That "thing" can represent so many different...well, things.

That "thing" can be your body

That "thing" could be your womb

That "thing" might be your finances and access to your car

That "thing" can be your cooking and clothes-washing.


Ultimately, I suspect that "thing" is a catch-all phrase for the aspirations of DBR males who will string along hapless victims and then dump them. Watch out for these men, indeed!


And this is what makes the situation surrounding Lauryn Hill so ironic and sad. She pretty much put it out there musically, and she wasn't wrong. I'm beginning to think that "Doo Wop/That Thing" was more or less an afro-centric remix of "House of the Rising Sun".

If she had a baby sister, would she want her to be warned to not do as she had done? Be in a fifteen year relationship with some man by which she had five kids? A man who she called "husband" (without the legal backing of a marriage contract), a man who never intended to marry her? Someone who then D-U-M-P-E-D her for a Brazilian model, who he is marrying after having been with less than one year?


Let's compare:

- Fifteen years
- Five kids OOW (plus one from another relationship)
- Called him husband, but was never so much as given an engagement ring
- Is DUMPED (no legal protection and financial assurances for herself or her kids)

vs.

- Known less than a year
- No kids with
- Will be called wife, legally, and receive all the legal and financial benefits that go with that
- If there are kids, they will be born within wedlock
- If they should divorce, will likely to have access to his money based on any legal/contractual agreements made between herself and him and/or the laws of wherever the marriage took place



.....DANG.

I admit, I chuckled at the idea of her calling this man her "husband". I don't like laughing at other people's stupidity or misfortune because in this case, her foolishness does not just affect her. There are five children who are now very much hurt because their mother sold herself short for the sake of "black love".

Lauryn Hill represents the textbook sista soldier and NBAB woman to her core, so it is actually pathetically and predictably fitting that this should be the end result. Fifteen years with a black man she pretty much gave up a promising career for, to spit out baby after baby, none of which were born in wedlock. Fifteen years spent not having his name or being recognized legally as his wife. Fifteen years of deluding herself into thinking this person loved and respected her as a mate. And then everything came crashing down. And now a non-black woman who did not give him children, whom he has not known a decade and a half (not even a YEAR, people...) will be walking down the aisle in her stead. I actually feel like had it even been another black woman, it still would have been head-shakingly sad, but that extra bit of "waiting to exhale: ring-less edition"just brings it all home, doesn't it?



Lauryn Hill is an unmarried black woman with SIX kids by multiple men. Even if she wanted to be married, legally married, finding a good decent man (and not a predator, leach, or other variety of DBR) just became damn near impossible. As I said elsewhere, her best option is to go back to the studio and create an afro-centric version of Adele's "21" and make that money, because odds are she'll be supporting herself and her children totally alone from now on.


What can we learn from Hill's situation and so many black women who follow her path?


Giving your all to a man who will not marry you, but demands access to your womb is not going to end well. It will NEVER end well, because a man who has decided you are not good enough for his name is not a man worthy to even pretend to be your husband. Do not lie to yourself and your OOW children about who he is, and what your relationship means. Do not surrender to the idea that you have no choice but be with a man for a decade and a half and settle for a relationship that is going nowhere. Do not be left to look like an absolute fool when he dumps you and immediately marries someone else.


Watch out.





Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Someone dig up, Freud....

I happened across this cover art while making my way through the internet, digital nomad that I am:


.....


In some ways, I wish I'd not seen this because it is so absolutely disturbing. I feel like whoever made this image should see a psychologist as soon as may be. On the other hand, I think it perfectly reflects the negative consequences of a single parent household where a little boy has no connection to his father and can only relate to his mother. The resulting situation I think can be broken down rather accurately thanks to what's visualized in the above image.



First, let's make it absolutely clear: There is a child in the picture, and the posture of the woman strongly suggests that she is his mother or a maternal figure. 

But the audience is meant to focus not on her authority over this boy as his mother/maternal figure. Instead, the eyes are meant to key in on her large uncovered rump. The way she is dressed implies that she is a sexual, promiscuous being. Her posture from the back suggests she is offering herself to the viewer indiscriminately. "She's a ho."


Second, the absence of a serious father figure on the cover combined with the sexual nature of the maternal figure implies that the child has no father, or at least no father figure of note (would a decent man be satisfied with a woman parading around her children in such a sexual and semi-nude manner?). The boy child is left to represent the role of male to the maternal figure's female. Which pushes this image even further into the creepy column.


Third, the implied inequality and emasculation.  We've already discussed that the boy is left to represent males due to the absence of a father figure on the cover. You'll note his expression is an unhappy one. He's being chided for some action by the maternal figure, who by leaning over him is showing her dominance and authority. The male is a little boy before her; an unequal who can't do what he wants without being called to task for undesirable behavior. 

But again, her barely dressed form and heavy emphasis on her bottom makes this impression false: The implication is that she exists as a sexual object for any man that wants her. She has no real authority or self-control. What the male pictured WANTS to say is, "Shut up, b*tch! You are here to sexually serve me!" Or "shut up, you can't tell me what to do, because look at you! You ain't no good!" Maybe when he's old enough and big enough to get away with it, he does say this. Perhaps to his mother and to every other woman he encounters. This person has no point of reference for non-misogynistic beliefs about the opposite sex. And no sensible father-figure to correct or eliminate this simultaneous hatred of and sexual desire for his mother.

Yes, you read that last part correctly.


The fourth and final observation about this image is that the Oedipus complex is heavily implied. What else can you say about an image where a maternal figure is offering herself up in a sexual manner in the presence of a male child? Even worse is the sexual confusion that this imagery demonstrates: Being both the child and mate in this relationship. Are we seeing a single mother who expects her male child to be the "man of the house" because she has no partner? The "man of the house" is not a platonic role: it is a role where the man is truly her equal (and the head of the household, with authority over the woman in some belief systems) and the father/father-figure over her children, with whom it is ordinarily expected that she have sex and procreate

A mother is expected to be in authority over her children and at least the equal of her mate, so asking a son to be your equal, if not your better, and then chiding him because he is unequal to you is a confusing situation to say the least. Asking a son to be a platonic mate in a role meant for a mate with whom you are sexual and procreate? Confusing, creepy, and absolutely inappropriate.



I actually wondered what the heck an image like this could possibly have to do with a rap song called "No Lie". It's by some rapper I've never heard of (2 Chainz) and another rapper I've heard of, but don't listen to (Drake). After viewing the lyrics, I found no explanation whatsoever for the artwork as it related to the song. However, it shouldn't be surprising that someone using such a deeply disturbing image of a black mother as cover art, would be rapping about kidnapping, raping, and disrespecting women.


Perhaps therein lies the truth: This is a testament to why these men feel the way they do about women. They cannot reconcile an image of women, especially black women, as worthy of love and respect. Even as an authority figure in the form of a mother, she is to be disrespected and loathed as a sex object. She is seen as unpleasant and emasculating and needs to be reminded as to "her place". This nonsense is pandered by boys who grow into pseudo-adulthood without a dad to correct this viewpoint. They then pass this on to other father-less boys who grow up resenting their mothers and desiring a male-centric message they can "relate" to.


I am tired of people, especially black women, acting like crap like this is harmless and that there is no "truth" in how these persons feel about black women. The misogyny and history of despicable behavior preached and acted out towards women in this genre of music is a reality. Combined with ridiculous OOW rates among African American women, it's time to acknowledge that imagery like this, both in lyrics and in art, did not get created in a vacuum. Do all rap artists sell this image?  Nope, but I think pretending that this type of music is on the side of black women is a load of bull. And if you are listening to artists that sell this image of you as a woman and especially as a mother, you need to take a step back and think about why you have no problem giving money to man-children that feel this way about you and your womb.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Best Frenemies: What's the Deal With Toxic Friendships?



Once upon a time you had friends and you had enemies. Then somewhere along the line in the effort to get along with EVERYBODY, we got "frenemies": a cute pop culture term for people that, to be blunt, you really have no business socializing with in the first place.


Welcome to the wonderful world of toxic friendships, where you share private information with people you trust who then turn around and use it against you as soon as may be. Or who lie to you in order to get out of important arrangements, but will throw a hissy-fit if you're too sick with the flu to listen to them share about their day. Who smile too wide and too long at your husband, but not before "letting it slip" that you have a crush on a new male neighbor you've never even met.


A "toxic friendship" is more or less exactly what the phrase suggests: A poisonous connection to another person that you call a friend. But then it becomes a painful drain on your time, emotions, and even finances. According to one source, upwards of 84% of women and 75% of men had at least one toxic friendship during their lifetime.


Let's face facts: there is no such thing as a "friendly enemy". Some people may like keeping their enemies closer than their friends, but I'd rather keep my friends closer than my enemies. I want no one within stabbing distance if they're more inclined towards putting a knife in my back than patting me on it in congratulations.

I just never saw the point of keeping anyone around me that was going to do everything they can to drain me and even purposely hurt me. The logic behind this actually speaks to a level of sociopathic manipulation that says quite a bit about the person in question. I actually wonder how many persons polled in the link played both the part of victim AND toxic acquaintance keeping tabs on their "best frenemies forever". After all, some of the more self-absorbed toxic friends  rarely see themselves as to blame for their bad behavior. They also take great offense to having their narcissism pointed out.


In any case, after reading up on some real horror stories (one woman had a friend dump her for a new female friend and then refuse to speak to her for years. A decade or so later, the woman came back into her life and they are friends again. She was never given any apology or explanation), I wondered why on Earth so many people work to maintain connections to "frenemies" and other toxic persons.


One theory is the desire to be viewed to be as nice and amicable as possible. This may mean that some people avoid directly confronting others about their harmful and hurtful behavior. But rather than be moved by your forgiving and long-suffering gestures, the abuse grows worse. This should not be surprising. Damaged and toxic persons care less about you and your needs than their desire to continue their harmful behavior patterns. (Note: There are a lot of reasons why these people may be the way they are. Just so you know, understanding the behavior and the whys behind it does not mean continuing to be on the receiving end of their toxic nature. You can be very understanding at arm's length.)

I've seen this logic applied in the form of a tone argument, under the belief that the nicer you are to a person or group that is wronging you, the more likely they are to respect your "civility" and therefore respect your boundaries. This is a lie: It doesn't matter how nice you are about someone's toxicity, an enemy strikes whenever the opportunity presents itself. How "friendly" they are when they do it is irrelevant: the sole purpose is some sort of intended harm.


Another theory is that some people are just better friends than toxic persons deserve. They feel that because their problematic friend is their friend, they have to try and accept them for who they are. Take the good AND the bad. The problem with this is that you may be getting more bad than good. Even so, persons may rationalize away hurtful and embarrassing behavior for the sake of friendship, or think of a way to give back as good as they're getting rather than cut off the relationship ties.  

What can you do?

Well, I'd like to tell you to kick that person to the curb pronto. However, I can't pretend ending friendships, especially life-long friendships, is that easy. Some people have a lot of love and loyalty for people in their lives. Others have unsorted issues that make them feel they need something in that toxic connection that they can't get outside of that relationship. Or, maybe it's a situation that's actually salvageable.

Whatever the case, you need to stop and think about what you need and what you aren't getting and weigh whether or not that person and the friendship is worth the harm being caused to you. If you find the answer is no, it's time to pack up and move on.



So...who has had a toxic friendship or a "frenemy"? Are you still in that relationship? ...Are you a "toxic friend" or were you in the past? Share away!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Your Right to: Feel Angry




Anger.

The angry black woman.


That word and that sentence is a headache and a half to many black women. To even be indignant and express it conjures up images of the neck-rolling, finger-waving Sapphire stereotype and the fear of not being taken seriously. Coupled with that fear, valid in some instances, is a feeling of being stifled. A feeling of being told you have nothing to be angry about (compared to how society treats black men). Of how your anger makes you unattractive and so you should hide it. And feeling that even when that anger is justified, the worst thing you can do is "look" angry.

Of all the emotions a human being could have, it seems that being able to express anger is the one that some black women cannot. And so it remains inside of them; a festering ticking time-bomb. Not a pretty picture, huh?


On the polar opposite end of the scale would be the very overtly hostile and angry black woman. Her dissatisfaction is an aura that sends people scrambling in a hurry. She yells, screams, cusses, threatens, even fights. But still her anger remains. If one dares to ask why this woman is so angry, there's no telling what answer you'd get. But it's very unlikely that the answer would come from the root of her troubles: The reason she's actually so upset and refusing to let go of such negative feelings.


One may tell you that, "Cause I feel like it! Now mind yo damn business!" What she won't tell you is that ever since she was very young, she had to raise and watch out for her younger siblings. Her father was never around and her mother is a drug-addict. Her youngest sister, seventeen and pregnant, turned up in tears on her doorstep a couple of years ago and has been living with her ever since. Now well into her thirties, she feels like she's never had a life, never had any freedom and had to always look out for other people. She's never in her life had time for herself. She's angry with her parents, even angry at her siblings for being a burden on her. And she's also angry with herself for feeling the way she does. She loves her family, but just wished her life had been different.

Another may tell you, "I'm just mad at people. I hate people. You try and be nice and they just walk all over you. So I don't. You can't trust anyone." She won't tell you that at age seven she was raped by an uncle. She told her mother what happened and was blamed for it, since she "wasn't where she was supposed to be". She had been sexually violated multiple times while growing up by relatives and older boys in her neighborhood. It was a common occurrence that was known, but not talked about. "Pedophiles are white people's problem and child molesters are usually white anyway " was all she heard, even as her innocence slipped away. She learned early on that she couldn't trust anyone, man or woman, to protect her. She had to look out for herself and she'd done well. But still the anger, resentment and broken-heartedness she felt over her family's betrayal remained.


Dealing with Anger

You may know women like the ones mentioned above. Whether they're afraid to show anger or they're always angry. Both categories of women have anger problems. Anger, whether hidden or overt, eats away at you. The key to anger isn't merely in being able to express it: It's dealing with the cause of your anger and allowing it to be resolved.
It's actually really easy to be angry. I'm sure if you sat right now and thought about it, you could think of a number of things that absolutely grind your gears and make you mental.

But being angry and resolving anger are two different things. When you work to resolve your anger, you approach the reason, the true reason you feel the way you do. You allow yourself to feel the full weight of the emotions. Regardless of whether you rage or weep, you allow yourself to feel the honest truth within yourself about that situation. What follows is the "moving on" aspect: You ask honest questions of yourself and form a plan of action.
You might choose to directly confront someone or write them a symbolic letter (if what makes you angry isn't a person but an event or idea, writing a letter to it works just as well I find). You may get therapy or join a support group. You might take up yoga, learn a martial art, or beat a stuffed animal with a plastic bat. The important thing is finding a way to let go and move on for your own sake.


Why Black Women Have The Right To Be Mad As Heck?

Because ladies, anger is a human emotion and the last time I checked, you are human. EVERYONE gets angry. And various persons are prone to carrying around feelings of resentment and hostility. Some people feel like only black women are angry or are not allowed to be angry. But if you really look around, you'll notice that the "A" word rears its hot-tempered head at all kinds of places having nothing to do with black women.

You are allowed to feel however you want about something and not let others stifle you. And don't stifle yourself: If you feel upset about something, be upset. Allow yourself that emotion.

But the key to anger isn't in its existence or its expression: It's in how you deal with that feeling and ultimately choose to resolve it. Anger can be a very paralyzing emotion. It can freeze every facet of your being and your connection to the world. It's like fear and doubt, other negative and limiting emotions. These feelings can stop you from living your life to the fullest. And NOTHING should be allowed to do that.


So black women, be angry. If you have something that bothers you, don't be shy about expressing it. But understand that anger is something you move *forward* from. You are entitled to feel it, but I wouldn't recommend holding onto it.