Wednesday, July 15, 2009

If Wanting The Best Lives for Black Women & Girls Is "Political" or "Radical" Just Call Me Angela!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the confused and hostile reactions expressed by those who've read my recent posts or follow me on various social media platforms. Some are forgetting the point of the conversation is to ensure the lives of children are not being negatively impacted unnecessarily. It's also to remind black women that they are not and should not be taking on the role of mother, father, breadwinner and superwoman solo. You can NOT really effectively parent if you're bone tired, emotionally drained or choosing which bill to skip to make ends meat. You will age yourself prematurely from lack of sleep, nutrition and any time for yourself. Even if you have help it's still not the same thing as having a mate to ease your burdens and remind you of how special you are. 

I spend lots of time online and generally enjoy chatting and connecting with people. Of course it's a public forum and though I've had many great conversations online here on Blogger, Twitter, Facebook and other social media unless I've actually met you eyeball to eyeball we don't know each other really. Sometimes you have to have a face to face to really suss people out. That may or may not be possible or necessary. Nor is that a goal of mine actually. 

We spend time online to network, open our social circles and to meet like-minded people. I've had people upend a lot of my confused and disordered thinking. I have felt angry, frustrated and resistant. I've asked questions. I've had to be open to work through this. I've drawn certain lines in the sand. It's a process. I am very grateful for that. We all won't see eye to eye on the same issues and may have to part ways. That's okay because we have to live the life of our choosing. We cannot let other people dictate our philosophies. Regardless I know I always try to conduct myself in a respectful manner, but in my forum I will speak my mind as I see fit. Without apology. If the message isn't for you then you are free to ignore me at will safe in the knowledge that your life is where you want it to be.

Yet some people don't want to walk away. They want to get you to change your mind to their way of thinking. Why is that? It always amazes me when people disagree by selectively picking one sentence or one point while discarding the entire message. I shouldn't be surprised. This isn't for those who arrived at their destination point and have disembarked. This is for those still traveling who may decide to continue, change course or get off.

What I didn't realize was that I was a radical. I mean I'm an average woman living an average life. I've long struggled to feel free to be myself and to find out who I am fully divested and free. I've been hampered by some warped set of invisible rules as well as the conditioning of people I call family. Being your own person takes a lot of effort. I've run far far away hoping distance and time would transform me. It can but hasn't always happened on my schedule or the way I preferred. These experiences are apparently part of my journey. You have to try a few things for size and push back on certain ideas and ideologies. I've still held on to the belief that some of the things I've seen while on that journey of discovery didn't mean what they do. Everything has been stripped and burned. 

I've taken the red pill and am out of the Matrix.

While I was inside I was often sullen and miserable and I couldn't figure out why. No amount of religion, partying, traveling, job changes or talk could change it. I had people outside the Matrix telling me I was being negative. It was very frustrating, because it's not like I was trying to be negative. I felt as if I was trapped by something. I thought it was white racism. I thought it was some untold childhood trauma that I'd blanked out. I thought it was living in a particular city. I thought it was looking a certain way. I knew it was something but I could never figure out what. I've always felt restless. Meeting really nice people always made me slightly uncomfortable. I figured it was an act and the "real" them would come out eventually. People with problems I could relate to. Content people - no way. Too scary. 

I had to have everything in my life come to a complete standstill as I've worked through this. I felt I was making some progress but still couldn't put my finger on it. I started blogging because I've always enjoyed writing. I've kept a journal on and off since I was a child and going through some of them I found myself circling the same recurrent themes. So I've just been writing hoping for a breakthrough. Well I've had mine and more may be coming. I'm looking forward to it. 

My journey is my own. I'm sharing parts of it hoping this will help someone else. You will have your own path. I cannot convince you of anything without you going through the process yourself. If you choose to. This isn't about me really. I think there's a message that's been written on my heart and I've been charged by a Divine Power (however you may define that) to speak on it. I've spent a lot of time reading the works of other bloggers. I've been reading a lot of literature and there's even more content I need to learn from. It's a journey that winds and continues. There are other women with messages on their hearts that they've been humble enough to share. You have to make yourself vulnerable to open up. You have no control over how people respond to that message or even if they'll listen.

Often these discussions can be so painful that people don't want to hear them or misinterpret them. People are so invested in clinging to their totems they're drowning. I am not responsible for how anyone reacts to my message. All I'm responsible for is being my authentic self. I can state clearly that I have been. I try to make sure I have proper boundaries in place though. This isn't a forum where anything goes. We are discussing serious and painful issues. I am not a therapist. 

What I am is a black woman who wants the world to be a kinder place for all the children of the world. It has been written on my heart to feel especially concerned for the welfare of little black girls. I see so many who look like they'd rather be anywhere than where they are. I've felt that way at times. We can't just hope - we have to take action and be responsible for our choices. We have to learn how to make good ones though. It's the difference between being independent and free. 

When I speak of the "black community" lie I am talking about the dysfunction that has gone unchecked. I'm talking about decaying residential areas that are unsafe. I'm talking about these unrealistic expectations on black women to do everything, fix everything and diminish themselves in every way so some insecure men feel better about themselves. I'm talking about all the time, money and energy black women give to organizations from their local church to the NAACP who do not reciprocate pound for pound. Nor are we demanding it collectively. I'm talking about the myopic view of what the community is and why it's so stifling. I'm talking about the strict regime of a group of blacks who either a) despise other blacks  b) stress jumping through hoops of false expressions of blackness c) being tied by degrading music and entertainment and d) make no mention of attacking these dysfunctions head on. Some of these people are poor, some are poor in spirit, some belong to what they refer to as an "elite" class, some are male-identified, some are males and some like to make lots of excuses. 

It's just the same when I discuss how a majority of black men despise black women. It's because of their weakened position post-slavery. Guess what though? We are in a similar weakened state as well. We've just decided to work through it. We had to try because we are responsible for carrying new life to term. The men can't stand even the tiniest amount of criticism. Why is upholding a false contract of superiority my responsibility? I had an acquaintance revisit an online exchange between me, her and her male friend where he referred to black women derogatorily. I felt he was being disrespectful and she let him violate my space. I responded in kind. She brought it up a week later to admonish me. I had to set her straight again that I did not owe him any apologizes and he had crossed a line. She then admitted he had a horrible attitude toward women and it wasn't a big deal. Well how could that be when she brought it up again? My male friends don't publicly refer to women as hoes and definitely not in my presence. We are clearly working from two different paradigms of acceptable behavior. The very idea that I demand to be treated with respect should never be questioned. People who share a common set of values don't. My calling someone an idiot is not the great offense of modern times, but apparently it is if he's black.

Unemployment is always used as a reason for child abandonment. If the black man had a job he'd be a father. So what of the millionaires and celebrities who behave the same way? Why don't the whole lot of men terminate their reproductive capabilities? Why create a life and walk away? It's an excuse. You can't have a large group of men perpetually out of work for four decades unless there are other pathologies in existence. If you drop out of school, have an attitude and sense of entitlement you may find you have put more obstacles in your path than anyone else. It can't all be about white racism. If it is then everyone should just take cyanide and be done with it because your life is apparently over.

For all of those unpleasantries we do have those that provide, protect, befriend and behave. They're just lost in the sea of perpetual insanity. We have numerous examples of people who've taken risks as well. The irony of course is how many in the "black community" stood by and did nothing or fought other people tooth and nail for daring to have a vision. It was their vision that improved the lives of the very people who were ungrateful and trying to block blessings. Now that most of those pioneers and rabble-rousers are dead it's all gravy. The stench of that hypocrisy leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I don't like revisionist history. If people are cowards they should live a coward's life with its coward's rewards. I was willing to take some common sense statements from a racist (in an earlier post) to prove my point about the abnormal behavior in the "black community" lie. I guess I am a radical after all.

I will leave you with this comment from another blogger who has been instrumental in assisting me on this journey. This isn't about dissecting the choices of individuals and their lives. This is about the collective (including those left of what used to be called the black community) making a choice whether they want to see themselves rendered in a permanent underclass of haves and have-nots OR if they want to salvage what's left with the decent people who would work for their survival and elevation. Now can somebody explain to me how this is radical, political, disruptive, presumptive, impossible, offensive and anything else other than NORMAL?
And so we call on those AA women who want to live good lives to reject having OOW births. To reject "Booty Call/Hook-Up" culture, and EVERYTHING connected to it. We call on AA women to claim their God-given right to be WIVES who are protected and provided for. To claim their God-given right to live in peace and security.
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17 comments:

Khadija said...

Faith,

Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. The nice thing (for those of us who are actually listening to these various conversations) is that it's a dynamic process. I've been impacted by the thoughts that you and others have shared. I'm thankful for that. THANK YOU.

Gina raised a good question on the WAOD cross-post thread---what do folks think the so-called AA community will look like when the OOW rate reaches 95%?

I don't concern myself much with the people who want to aggressively defend dysfunction. They are very similar to the avid communists that are left across the world---time has passed them by. Other, more dynamic, ideologies have replaced them (such as political Islam, etc.).

These people who are aggressively defending OOW and other forms of dysfunction right now will be saying the same things and making the same, failed recommendations in a few years when the AA OOW rate hits 90+%. The infotainment hustlers (I just love that phrase) such as Michael Eric Dyson, etc. will be saying the same, failed things as the crisis become PERMANENTLY entrenched.

They will be talking to themselves in a self-created echo chamber. The outer world is not going to listen to anymore of that rhetoric. In fact, as AAs sink further and further into permanent underclass status, we will disapprear from ANY real public conversation. We will effectively drop off the planet just like Africa and its woes have disappeared.

What they're saying is the political equivalent of "dusties" music. The difference is that "dusties" can be extremely enjoyable. As ENTERTAINMENT. NOT when it comes to making life & death decisions in the context of modern circumstances.

In fact, this pattern is the main reason why I stopped listening to the local Black-owned talk radio station (WVON). The hosts and callers are repeating the SAME conversations, nostrums and slogans I remember hearing 20+ years ago on that station!

I say let all these people repeat their AA political "dusties scratch mix" of obsolete, FAILED ideas/rhetoric in peace. While those of us who are willing to make changes move forward into a better future. For ourselves and our loved ones.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Shecodes said...

Faith, this is an excellent post! I really think that you should submit it to some other venues for publishing.

lisa99 said...

Faith,

I can relate to so much you said here and in the last two posts.

I too remember feeling sad, sullen, lethargic and depressed regarding a particular issue in this vein the more people in the AA community (mainly the church) pushed me to "accept" something as status quo. I KNEW it wasn't right, and my spirit always felt troubled as I tried to put a smile on my face and "accept" what they were telling me to accept.

I had that one moment, as you did... something seemingly small and minor, but it made me wake up and put me on a completely different path. Now I'm an advocate, and I've heard from so many black women that they appreciate me articulating the way they've also felt as well, but were discouraged to express.

Khadija: I laughed at your description of the "dusties." Although I came of age in the 1990s and not the 1980s, I have the same thoughts... whenever I hear a so-called "deep" discussion among black "thinkers" about the state of the black community, I laugh and think, "Uh, weren't we having this same discussion in 1993?" WHY are we still talking about this and doing NOTHING?!

Of course, back then I was a high school and college student, and this was all new to me, so I listened eagerly... but I'm sure that your generation probably thought the same thing that I do now.

So to know that there's been THREE decades of wasted energy talking about the SAME things (and situations have only gotten worse), makes me know that I just need to tune it all out.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

I fixed the typos and grammar. I hope. That's what happens when you write at 1am.....

Khadija: Again, I've learned a lot from you, Evia and a host of other black female bloggers suggesting we be "radical" i.e. independent and free. So thank you.

I read Gina's comments as she had to moderate quite a stampede from my post. What will the AA community look like as the OOW continues to climb. Because it has not stopped yet. I'm a little sensitive to these responses I admit but it's because I'm still rooting for some people instead of deciding to write them off. I know I will have to and keep it moving though.

Shecodes: Wow welcome. I'm sure I speak for many who will tell you that we miss your blog and the insight that it provided. I went there two days ago just to re-read some posts. You really were a voice in the wilderness.

lisa99: Thanks again for stopping by and contributing.

Enigma said...

Aaah. When I read what you wrote, I thought I was reading my own thoughts somehow. This really resonates with me:

While I was inside I was often sullen and miserable and I couldn't figure out why. No amount of religion, partying, traveling, job changes or talk could change it. I had people outside the Matrix telling me I was being negative. It was very frustrating, because it's not like I was trying to be negative. I felt as if I was trapped by something. I thought it was white racism. I thought it was some untold childhood trauma that I'd blanked out. I thought it was living in a particular city. I thought it was looking a certain way. I knew it was something but I could never figure out what. I've always felt restless. Meeting really nice people always made me slightly uncomfortable. I figured it was an act and the "real" them would come out eventually. People with problems I could relate to. Content people - no way. Too scary.

I had to have everything in my life come to a complete standstill as I've worked through this. I felt I was making some progress but still couldn't put my finger on it.

YES!! This was the feeling that I always felt for as long as I could remember. I never could figure out what was wrong with me why I never really fit in. I would say something that made common sense to me and the folks I hung out with at the time made it seem like my thoughts were radical. It never once occured to me that I was under seige and was fighting to breathe on the daily. Finally getting to read, hear and think about the truths offered via these bw empowerment blogs has really helped me.

Keep putting the truth out there Faith. Those who will seek will find - even if next year or 3 yrs from now you, Khadijah, Evia etc. decide to move on and concentrate on focusing on your own lives - the info will be here for those who decide to seek truth and wisdom. That is how I found you ladies. Truth - even when stated in a wilderness of confusion, lies and obsfucation - will always win out in the end.

Felicia said...

OUT fricken STANDING!

We mustn't forget that thinking - and most importantly behaving - normally on all fronts especially the relationship front (like most non AA BW living in the modern world instinctively do) THESE days in the so-called "bc", IS considered radical, political, disruptive, presumptive, etc... simply because one is a black woman thinking and behaving normally.

Most blacks these days apparently feel that normality is supposed to be reserved for anyone but a BW.

Which is clearly insane and shows the high level of contempt the "community" actually has for BW.

The only thing sistas who "get it" have to do is LEAVE the asylum mentally (take the red pill) and most importantly physically.

Get up and leave the Hell holes. And if you can't do it immediately, PREPARE for when the opportunity presents itself.

Join other functioning communities and/or form new intentional communities of your choosing.

It's as simple as that.

Devise a plan and WORK IT.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Enigma: Thank you! I found them, someone will find me and so on and so on. We're paying it forward.

Felicia: You have me chuckling right now. And thanks for that wonderful contribution about marriage being upheld by blacks during their enslavement at my cross-post on WOAD. Excellent!!!

shermyb said...

YES!!!! Fabulous post. I'm new to your blog and love it. I share a lot of the same feelings and ideas and am glad to have run into a group of bloggers I can relate to and learn from. Thank You!!!!!!!

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Shermyb: Welcome and thank you for participating. You will find a lovely cross-section of women who are calling for us all to live our best lives by changing our mindsets. It's work but we're worth it.

Sassy J said...

Dang it, Faith, another empowering, real blog to put in my Favorites (you have a new reader, Khadija)!!

Arlene- COME BACK *tear* I agree with Faith; your voice is needed in this movement!

Faith- I'm still processing your post, but I can definitely relate because I have been feeling "unsure" on where I stand in the black community. Between feeling like I wasn't "good enough" for the black community to glancing through Khadija's post about leaving the public sector...I'm doing some serious soul-searching!

BLUEBUTTERFLY said...

Truth & dirty laundry usually offend people. I have a test for my life: If my car is filthy or laundry is piling up, I need to stop and get things in order. To many people, that may seem simple, but for me it works. I don't let the mess go but so far because that would mean that things are spinning out of control in the natural and in the spirit. If I can't find an hour to do laundry, when will I find the time to watch the sunrise and pray? I try to keep things simple.

The concerns for our children and families expressed in your blogs are not political or radical.

People like to label a source they don't like. If any of the Sunday TV preachers said the same thing, it would be taken differently. These issues are critical! There are girls in some of the poorest countries in the world performing better than our American girls because they have a good moral foundation and are fiercely protected. In this country, "enlightened" people are still having multiple sex partners with no protection. If anything, people are not speaking out enough about the mechanics, meaning or morality of life and death.

Frankly, I believe that we have a God-given core that is necessary for what we are called to do in life. For me, since childhood, I would have been called a bleeding heart liberal because I was always running around trying to save broken things, feed people, visit hospitals, etc. I have always seen souls long before I was formally introduced to any Scriptual instruction.

I often feel as if I'm built to withstand certain things. I clearly remember after my child abuse classes in grad school, I tried to convince myself that I should be able to support the death penalty for anyone who could hold a child under scalding water until they died or rape a 2-month old to death. I still cannot support it. It is not a political statement or position. My heart and mind says "kill them", but my conscience would not let me support it even when I make a conscious effort. We need to accept who God made us to be and speak on those things that touch us.

So, Faith, are you a trouble maker, radical, political? Yes. Jesus clearly stated His SOLE REASON for coming to earth: To save the lost. Yet, when he healed people, fed people, touched people, sat and talked with women, talked to the disabled and leperous, or did anything as he was MOVED WITH COMPASSION, the people who should have been supporting Him (the religious folks) condenmed Him. The people who followed Him tended to be prostitutes and the outcasts of society. Mary Magdalene was arguably His MOST FAITHFUL follower and she had a "reputation".

So, keep speaking what you feel is in your heart. What matters is not who is offended, but who will hear your words and heed them. LIVES SAVED ARE ALWAYS WORTH!!

Khadija said...

Faith,

I just wanted to say that you're doing a wonderful job as a guest blog host at WAOD. {deep martial arts bow}

You're raising the important questions and putting the information out there. What individuals choose to do with it is up to them. Seeds are being planted. I think about the impact that various BW bloggers' essays had on me; and they had no way of knowing it at the time. This is because the most important changes in my thinking started happening long before I ever started commenting on any of the blogs I read.

I know you'll keep up the great work!

[P.S.---Oh, and that link you gave to the blog post about Jezebel & Ahab was THE bomb! I want to study what scripture has to say about several social dynamics that pertain to AA women's situation. Reading that outstanding post gave me another angle to consider with my research. Thank you!]

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Sister Seeking, Miriam said...

Peace and blessings Faith,

While I was inside I was often sullen and miserable and I couldn't figure out why. No amount of religion, partying, traveling, job changes or talk could change it. I had people outside the Matrix telling me I was being negative. It was very frustrating, because it's not like I was trying to be negative. I felt as if I was trapped by something. I thought it was white racism. I thought it was some untold childhood trauma that I'd blanked out. I thought it was living in a particular city. I thought it was looking a certain way. I knew it was something but I could never figure out what. I've always felt restless. Meeting really nice people always made me slightly uncomfortable. I figured it was an act and the "real" them would come out eventually. People with problems I could relate to. Content people - no way. Too scary. " Faith
______________________________

Felt like I was reading about my self there for a minute.

Thank you for holding it down, and keeping it real.

Since my blogging journey has begun, I've gone from being angry, to be discouraged, to being depressed, to feeling loss, and grief, and than complete mental exhaustion.

I personally think I experienced all of the emotions because that part of me ( work mule, serve others) wanted to resist, to hold on to what I already knew, even if it was bad.

But another part of me, I call it in my soul, felt caged up, and TIRED Faith, just TIRED.

I've learned for my self that it's better in the long run to work the process, accept, and knowledge what time it is and what must be done.

Wish you all the best

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Khadija: Oh I am learning a lot by guest posting at WAOD. Gina has given me much to consider with the responsibility.

I highly recommend everybody take a peek over at Bluebutterfly's blog http://www.swordofgoliath.blogspot.com/

She found me on Twitter and has provided lots of inspiration and hijinks for the past few months.

Her post on Jezebel and Ahab was very enlightening. (I am also more convinced than ever that male scribes selectively chose things to include in the Bible as well...but that's another story and another tinder-box so we'll leave that one alone for now)

Miriam: I'm hesitant to share TMI online but sometimes as I said we have to be a little vulnerable

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Sassy J: Thanks and I'm sure you'll have your own breakthrough as well.

BlueButterfly: I appreciate the encouragement. I'm still balancing being in a public forum, taking care of the message and myself.

Halima said...

Hello faith. dont feel no way. dont feel you need to justify and explain yourself because it isnt that your heart's cry for black women to experince full liberation is not understood.

Its all very deliberate with some bw unfortunately, yes for some bw, this whole battle for the lives of bw and children is all just one big 'game field' to play about in. It can be hard to process this realiztion, because you think 'how can someone be toying about when this is a serious issue and lives are at stake?' But regardless of the fact that bw are in a terrible way, and the life is being sucked out of them, there are still a sub set of black women who feel this is a great time and place to amuse themselves.

So when we come together to discuss life saving issues, all they see is an opportunity for some distraction or show 'mad skills' at debating etc. Thats what it is all about for them; an amusement oppotunity.

In brief, a full understanding of what we are dealing with among ourselves as black people and particularly black women will come. Right now it is held back by the black wisdom that holds that we black people are lovely and wonderfully natured, and just unfairly maligned by whites!

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Halima: Thank you for the words of encouragement. I'm fine. The subjects we're discussing are serious and life-altering. I'm not living the day-to-day struggles of a lot of women - nor do I want to. I've also learned a lot this past week and a half. Guest Blogging offers a steep learning curve that is in fact very beneficial to me in the end. I'm not looking for all voices of agreement or dissent on this blog but a nice mix.