Thursday, July 9, 2009

Cinderella: Guerrilla Training Manual for African-American Women

I was about to write this post from a completely different perspective but thank goodness for stream of conscious writing. First I'd like to thank my naivete. I think this is the first time I actually understand what Neo felt like after he was freed from the Matrix. Although I've been reading about the behavior of these damaged beyond recognition AA males I noted it from afar. Sure I have some male relatives I would say have some of those tendencies but for the most part they're a good lot.

Yet I've also observed the mating patterns of many of my female relatives and have seen how it's they who have chosen varying degrees of mediocrity. That would be collectively with particular quality choices made by a few individuals. I think that is representative of the black collective as well. The majority are on a major crash and burn voyage while a few wiser individuals are on the periphery. Some are preparing and others are rolling in the mud trying to get as much on as possible. Well...that's my observation and I'm still processing this.

Second I think it's important again to make the ethnic distinctions of which majority I'm referring to and ding ding it's African-Americans. We have to have something else that binds us than admiring the accomplishments of Michael Jackson. We have to have more than fleeting outrage over the latest public spectacle of a rap music artist - or now some swimming pool controversy at a private club in PA. People are praising Al Sharpton for his MJ Memorial speech (which wasn't bad) yet forget (or never even know about) that he publicly supported the rapists/attempted murderers at Dunbar Village apartment complex in West Palm Beach, FL. I haven't forgotten. He was more concerned that those DBRs (damaged beyond recognition/repair black men) would potentially be "railroaded" rather than stand with the survivors of the attack, a black woman and child.

I wonder what it will take for some people to wake up - a pound of flesh maybe? Dead body after dead body from the mass black on black crime? The 50% high school drop out rate for black teens? The out of wedlock birth rate for black women was listed at 72% by the CDC in their preliminary report for 2007. The official 2006 report had it listed at 70% but it had jumped 25% in a five year period. So even with a conservative estimate of 2.5-5% growth rate that number has to be somewhere around 76-83%. It's pretty much over for a particular segment of society. I'm speaking in terms of quality of life and productivity. That's going to lead to a lot of struggling, abandoned and angry women and children. Some of whom are boys and so the cycle of destruction will continue. *I modified my original 80% OOW birth rate and added in the data instead. You can do the math or dispute it to your heart's content. It's a TRAGEDY not to be taken lightly!

I'm not prepared to say this results solely from growing up in all-black (physical) environment. The indoctrination I'm talking about can still occur even if you weren't physically present. Isn't that why you'll get immigrants who move here still practicing things that might run them afoul of cultural norms (or laws) in this country? It's the mentality behind it and that goes beyond a residential area. You take your thoughts and attitudes with you wherever you go.

Some white feminists have complained about faerie tales like Cinderella saying they set women back and teach women to expect to be rescued. In those books the heroine is always rescued by a man. Where some see oppression I see a man understanding his role and stepping up. They see a woman in distress and they resolve the problem to her advantage! They offer to love and protect her. Also the woman has to let the man rescue her so she is accepting his help. Where's the weakness in that?

I get the overall ramifications of why some women think being put on a pedestal is sexist and problematic. These women have not had the AA woman experience of being stripped naked and spit on in the public square for hundreds of years. Collectively these groups of non-black women will NEVER know what that's like because their men will never allow it. If they did their group would have to be in a state of chaos and dysfunction like the AA "community". It's not going to happen.
I'm thinking Cinderella is in fact a secret stealth training manual showing women how to get your "fantasy" life become your REAL life. It's for women who are unappreciated, unloved, used like a mule for all of her resources and cast out when she will no longer play ball. This describes the state of the average AA woman to a tee, doesn't it?
These phrases should go in the canon of lies/manipulations told to a black woman to keep her down:
  • Help a brotha out
  • I need a place to stay
  • I'm in between jobs
  • I'm hungry
  • I need help
  • You're being selfish
  • You have to help your family
  • You think you're too good
  • You're ugly
  • Don't go to school
  • You have no credibility
  • The white man keeps me down w/x,y,z that's why I don't x,y,z
  • I want a wife who brings in some money
  • You're supposed to clean, take care of the baby & cater to me
  • Why do you want to hang out with your friends?
  • Are you cheating on me - then prove it by x,y,z
  • If you really loved me you'd do x,y,z,
  • I'm clean baby I swear, we don't need to use a condom
  • If you get pregnant I'll be there for you
  • I'm seeing somebody else but...,
  • I'm a man I need to do x,y,z,
  • No dark butts
  • It's not my fault I sell drugs/went to prison
  • I like light skin/light skin is so pretty
Cinderella is a story of how one woman overcome intense cruelty and oppression. She took help when it was offered. She had one person who believed in her, but she had to believe in herself as well. The ball, the prince and everything was laid out for her but she still had to go after it. The prince was looking for a specific woman & only she could fit the bill. She emerged triumphant because she fought for her freedom! She got away from the indoctrinators and leeches that wanted her to stay subservient because they benefited from her being under their heel. She NEVER needed them. She was always her own powerful woman - she just had to realize it. She had to step into her power in order to access it. The guy was just part of the package. He didn't want a subservient mule, he wanted the scrappy fighter. These stories are told to a general audience. She didn't "need" the guy at all. Today she may not even chose a guy, but you get the point.
The word "cinderella" has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes are unrecognised, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. Wikipedia
I think we can revisit this story and reevaluate it for the subversive message it really tells. Black females are literally cinder girls. The next step is to get out of the pit.

Leave and don't look back!!!

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20 comments:

Lynn said...

That was a gret post! Excellent! Leave and don't look back...that's EXACTLY what I did...I just up and moved out of the black community and never looked back. It's interesting because my uncle will ask me if I'm coming back. I tell him NEVER...and he's a damaged beyond repair man if I ever saw one. But it's interesting that he's more concerned about me coming back to the community than my own father is. My father tells my mom all the time "I'm so glad she moved and got out of that community." (which was ALL BLACK)

Ladies you need to MOVE...physically AND mentally...because that community -the black community - is meant to tear you down...and it will, eventually.

Tracy said...

Hello Faith!

As a fellow, not married, keep all my money and play time for me BW, I would like to answer a question from a previous post of yours:

Yes, It is That Bad out there...

These overcoddled, self entitled, poor excuses for men are the worst I have seen in a long time.

I honestly haven't bothered with them since college. Back then, as it is now, you had to be "perfect". As in light skin, light colored eyes (real), long hair (also real), not fat. Now it is all of that PLUS have your own house, car, money and don't even THINK about asking him for anything.

Sorry for being so frank here, but if I have all of that (which thank God, I do) what the hell do I need some little half man for? Who has the (female genitalia) here, me or him?

I have no problem with the Cinderella story, because I have seen it happen with friends and co-workers of other races many times. Women that are no where near "perfect".

I would like to give you my own Cinderella story - it happened last weekend. I am dating a great guy that I met over a month ago. We got invited to a 4th party by some of his friends.

There were exacty two black people there: me and another gentleman. "Mr. Brotha" side eyed me most of the evening and the few times that I did meet his gaze, he would give me an eyeroll of a disdainful look.

Later, at the dinner table, when I was talking and laughing with some guests, he audibly made a comment about my "loud horsey laugh". With a sneer...

My boyfriend heard him, and said, just as loudly that he thought that my laugh was wonderful and that it was one of the things that endeared me to him. All while putting his arm around my shoulder to further emphasize his point.

Once "Mr. Brotha" saw that I was not some unprotected sista that he could just talk any old way to, it was all wide eyed buck tooth smiles for the rest of the night.

I must admit, as a woman who is used to defending herself, that it is very nice playing the "helpless female in distress" while a real man takes care of business!

Great post - keep up the great work!

Darcey said...

I really appreciate the perspective you offered on the story of Cinderella.
I too feel that it is admirable to be rescued by a man/human.(I view it as relief in a communal sense.)
Benevolent unity and healthy companionship are things that too many "cinder girls" and lost princes have missed out on for far too long.
It is a breath of fresh air to have someone look after your well-being when your mind, soul, and heart have been neglected for so long.
Thank you for you strong and valid points.

Celeste said...

Wow. I never thought of Cinderella like that, but you've given me a whole new wonderful perspective on the story. We are the "cinder girls" of great value, just waiting to be discovered by people of quality. This is my first time responding to this site, I've been meaning to, but you have so much good stuff, I didn't know where to begin. But this is deep, real deep.


Best,
Celeste

Khadija said...

Faith,

This was wonderful! There's nothing I can add.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Lynn: Welcome and thanks for the confirmation. Perhaps if you would like to share some of the things you did and steps you took someone reading may be able to put a plan in place for themselves.

Tracy: That man you described is such a typical DBR. I was out a dance club by myself. There was one BM there who proceeded to ignore me instead of returning a simple hello. Well this really tall & attractive white guy approached me and we danced for like 2 hours straight. The BM has a look of shock on his face at 1st & I noticed a complete shift in his attitude but I just ignored him & hung out with my dance partner. It was soooo pathetic. Now of course I realize what was going on but that was 1.5 yrs ago & I hadn't put two & two together.

Darcey: Welcome. I really liked what you said about benevolence and breathing fresh air. Yes children need love.

Celeste: Welcome. Feel free to comment whenever you like. Yes we have great value and only need to be around those that recognize that.

Khadija: Thanks!

focusedpurpose said...

hi there-

the list had me rolling. if i had more time i would "interpret" what it means when you hear these phrases! i just did this with one phrase the other day on another blog. lol!

i couldn't resist...

"help a "brotha" out"=do YOUR job and HIS, too!

lol!

thanks for a beautifully written post.

blessings,
focusedpurpose

foreverloyal said...

Cinderella was a punk.

She should have put a lil something extra in her stepmother and stepsisters food.

Then she could look all pretty and distressed crying at the funeral.

I get your point, though, and it's an EXCELLENT one.

lisa99 said...

Faith, you are bringing it!

I am totally rethinking Cinderella now. :)

Tracy, that's a beautiful story. I love it! Good for your boyfriend! Keep on laughing!

Lynn said...

Hi Faith!
My steps were:
Step One: Trust in the Lord.

Step Two: Make the MENTAL DECISION that YOU ARE LEAVING...and no matter what your momma say, your daddy say, sisters, cousins, aunt and uncles...you are already gone because you are mentally free from the black community. So again, you have to prepare yourself mentally to leave.

Step Three: DO NOT tell people of your plans unless you know they have your best interests at heart. We all know that some women (and men) can be extremely jealous, they may say “who do you think you are” or “you’ll be back” (I had one woman say that to my face! Followed by a cruel laugh.)..and then you might have some doubts and then your whole plan will be foiled. Don’t do it. If you have naysayers in your family, tell them NOTHING of your plans. You know who I’m talking about. Those people that are always negative when you have good news to share. Cut them out of your plans immediately. Don’t even associate with them because it might slip out. Keep your plans to yourself. (I am so serious about this…because this is where a lot of women start doubting themselves. They might try to bounce an idea off their girlfriends or male friends and be shut down, laughed at, etc.

Step Four: Realize and ACCEPT that the black community is going no where fast. But if you are doing Step Two and Three then you are already there. You don’t care what grocery store Tay Tay and dem robbed, who got stabbed in the foot by Bae Bae, YOU. DON’T. CARE. ….because you are LEAVING, remember?

Step Five: Find a diversified area. My rule of thumb is that I don’t mind being the only black woman as long as I’m not the only minority. I was fortunate to have a good male friend breakdown all the demographic areas in the city for me. So that really helped.
If you don’t know anyone then drive through areas - morning and night. Check it out. Also make sure it's not next to an all black community. Here’s a tip: try to find an area that’s next to a university. Generally those areas are pretty safe. Again, NOT next to an all black community. I know of an Ivy League school that is surrounded by an all black community and there’s a lot of crime very near campus.

Step Four: I found my area, great! However…what building would I live in? More research. For me I needed to know:
How close is public transportation? Where was the nearest hospital, grocery store, health club facility? How would I get to work, church, etc.? How far are the cultural events, museums, beaches, etc.
I went online and researched apartments in the area I was looking into and read MANY reviews. If you can talk to people in the actual building that’s my biggest recommendation. I was able to and that’s how I chose where I am now.
If you can’t talk to anyone I think there may be some sites where you can just ask a basic question of: does anyone know about the apartment building on so and so street. The internet is SO powerful…this is one of your greatest resources, use it!
I cannot stress enough that you need to do your research on the area and building. Believe me when I say it is possible for you to live in a diversified area but be in an all black apartment building – and what would be the point? Again, RESEARCH.

Step five: Move. That’s it. If you have good friends to help you, great. If not, you can move on your own. Rent a truck – I rented from Uhaul – and got a friend to drive it for me. The rest was a piece of cake.
I am so happy that I moved. My area is very diverse, my building is as well. I purposely have surrounded myself with people from many different backgrounds and cultures. I am volunteering, going to cultural events at least 3 times a week, and have lost 50 pounds this year. The change is AMAZING. I only wish I had done this sooner.
Always remember: this is YOUR life. YOURS.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Focused Purpose: Oh please come back and break it down! Take your time. I'll do a repost it will be hilarious but will make sense when women see they're being played.

Foreverloyal: Now you know you couldn't put that a children's faerie tale! Plus we don't want women going to jail. Far too many are in prison for murdered their DBRs after taking years of abuse. I really want to save the peace of mind of as many b4 the vultures get tot hem.

Lisa99 - Thanks

Lynn: Thank you, thank you, thank. Practical advice and small forward steps. That's what we need.

We are all the new Harriet Tubman's!!! We can go back when it's safe to grab a few more. Those that want to be saved will hear the message.

Anonymous said...

This isn't about some man swooping down to protect you. This is about finding people who support you for who you are... a very rare attribute and one that we all deserve to find and have...

"Mr Brotha's" behavior is completely unacceptable but as you point out it takes a society, not one individual, to smack him upside the head.

sistagirl said...

Can you link to where it verifies that the out of wedlock rate has increased to 80%. There are dbrs out there denying this. Thanks.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Anonymous: I can appreciate that sentiment, but we are anti-DBR not anti-male!!! We all need men, good men in our lives. The interactions don't have to necessarily be romantic but women & children left w/o MALE PROTECTION ARE SITTING DUCKS FOR PREDATORS/ABUSERS. So don't fool yourself. Unless women are going to learn self-defense, how to live in a forest and use a weapon then yes men are still very much required. Children are completely vulnerable. So do NOT obfuscate with other issues that have NOTHING to do with this post!

Sistagirl: DO NOT ENGAGE THE DBRs! DO NOT ENGAGE THE DBRs. Let them do their own research. Didn't I write LEAVE - LEAVE AND DON'T LOOK BACK!!!! STOP ENGAGING THE DBRs!!!!

sistagirl said...

I hear you. I just want to throw a link at them just to see them squirm and I promise to leave them alone for good.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Sistagirl: Since you have not provided a verifiable link to actually know that you are in fact a "sista" or a "girl" you are teetering on the TROLL FENCE and will subsequently be BANNED. I have already given you my answer. Respect it, respect yourself or BE GONE!

ActsofFaithBlog said...

For all the DBRs, the supporters or deniers read the CDC report from March 2009. It lists their preliminary figures for 2007 with the OOW rate for black women at 72% but the growth rate from the 2006 official report was 5% per year and that rate was 70%. I will do a casual estimation of 2.5-5%. The rate may have in fact been higher. Add that up and the range is still between 76-83%. So if you wish to argue semantics feel free to do so but the bottom line is the rate is continuing to INCREASE. As if 72% isn't BAD ENOUGH. So feel free to wait until 2010 for the next official report or add 1+1 which = TROUBLE. Abandoned babies are NOT a joke. Take some responsibility!

Chomskyite said...

"The interactions don't have to necessarily be romantic but women & children left w/o MALE PROTECTION ARE SITTING DUCKS FOR PREDATORS/ABUSERS. So don't fool yourself. Unless women are going to learn self-defense, how to live in a forest and use a weapon then yes men are still very much required."

That's just it, though: there are other things you can do besides depending on a man to protect you. I've always owned guns. I would have no problem pulling the trigger. I am perfectly capable of protecting myself and my children, thank you.

Also, you seem to miss the point that even women and girls with men in their lives can be victimized. I was raised in a "traditional" home, yet I ended up being the victim of sexual abuse for years on end. Just because my father was there, it did not mean that I was automatically safe.

I have a man in my life. I'm a white woman who has been married to a Mexican-American man for 17+ years. I adore him, and he has done things to protect me in the past. However, if he had not been there, I would have been capable of doing so myself. In fact, I have done so myself.

One more thing, in the original Cinderella story (rather than the Disney version), Cinderella had a father in the picture. He allowed her stepmother to abuse her. In my mind, he was even more guilty than the stepmother; it was his biological child, and he couldn't be bothered to protect her. Again, having a man around did not keep her safe or free from abuse.

Moving onto another thing: about how white women just wouldn't understand why being "saved" by a man is a good thing. Again, I feel like you are mistaking the idea of ownership of women with protection of women. White men may have kept their women from the kind of enslavement that black women suffered. However, women of all races have long been treated as property, as chattel, by "their" men. This "protection" the men are offering is not protection at all. They may not allow another man to abuse "their" women, but they will certainly abuse "their" women themselves. They will trade them as chattel, using marriage as a way to pass possessions (female human beings) from father to husband. When black men were given the vote and citizenship, all women in this country were still denied the right to have custody of their own children. All women were still legally prevented from owning property. All women were still considered "minors," always under the thumb and control of a male. The law allowed all men to beat and to rape all women, since a marriage certificate gave men ownership over women. Fathers were allowed to beat their daughters and to force them into marriages. I just feel like you are giving men of other races far too much credit. Men have never been out to protect women because women deserve protection; men protect women because they saw them as their possessions. They'd kill other men for raping their wives, but they felt they had the absolute right to rape and beat their wives themselves.

What I will say is that I am pleased to see you stand up for black women. I am so sickened by the tendency to tell black women to live with abuse and neglect because black men just have it too hard. Yes, all African Americans have it hard--men and women. However, why should the women be the ones to suffer for the sake of the men? Women of all races and nationalities have been told for too long to put up with abuse, that they will get "theirs" sometime in the future; for now, they need to worry about the agenda as defined by males. I'm pleased to see an African-American woman speak out against that.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Chomskyite: Welcome and let's clarify a few things. This is not a treatise on the history of oppression of women in the world. I am well aware of lack of rights for us throughout history. This is not Oppression Olympics either. That's great that you know how to use a weapon. A lot of women do not want to be bothered but it would be GREAT if more women took an active role in learning defense techniques. I'm sorry for your difficulties. I have never seen Disney's version of Cinderella and am going by the general story being told which has no father present. I also didn't represent the position if ALL white women. I was specifically referring to certain white feminists who think these stories reinforce oppression. We all have different experiences which informs our lives. It's all in how you look at things. Regardless of black men getting the right to vote first they weren't able to DO ANYTHING WITH IT. I also understand there is a vested interest in how men behave towards women. That's life! Life isn't always fair. I am talking about what goes on today. White women and other women of other groups are largely PROTECTED by the men of their groups. If you're aren't able to see that or appreciate it then that's your privilege talking. You don't want to know the alternative. Black women as a collective are NOT being protected at all. Thank you for recognizing my efforts.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm a little late, but I appreciate and agree with your response to the blogger 'Chomskyite'.

One thing I can't stand about some White feminists is their inability to take themselves out of the equation. Like you said, this is not an 'oppression olympics'. This post is not about them!