Friday, November 7, 2008
Black Women It's Time To Get Your Own Barack
Or get your own Michelle if you are so inclined. Holla!!
Here's the kicker: "He" may most likely not be Black. Yeah I know...breathe. It's okay. Really. Just like so many of those that 'fear' an Obama Presidency even though we'll all live a higher quality of life, Black women need to stop worshipping at the altar "Must Have a Black Man, Any Black Man" cult. One of the most vital discussions we need to have is regarding this collective of Black defeatism that is killing us.
I posted video of some better-known Blacks who're being so congratulatory now. It was to be critical of them but it was also to show their collective apathy. The recurrent theme was that they didn't believe Barack would be successful. Do you think that if he and Michelle hadn't visualized their success, fought for it and stood the test of opposition from ALL sides that we'd be calling them Mr. President and First Lady?
Black women, we have got to believe and take action for living a fabulous life. I know it's not easy. I have been told I had a negative way of thinking and bristled at the critique. My response was to tell the person they didn't understand my pain, my difficulties, systematic racism and mean people. I was correct. These are obstacles. You know what, though, they were right as well. I'm still working through this now and perhaps this is a journey we can all take together.
Black women need our own 12-Step program to deprogram our way of thinking. I can tell you I grew up in very racist city but I also had to contend with a lot of ignorant Black people who wanted me to limit the use of my intellect and how I saw myself. Some of the poorer Blacks eschewed education and 'talking white' while the wanna-be socialites were overly focused on appearance and material accumulation. Some of it came from my own family. It's the 'love the boys but raise the girls' sexist line of thinking that sets women up to be mules and not demand reciprocity for our efforts, love and loyalty.
We are taught to think we are solely responsible for saving the Black race, including individual members of our families to our detriment. We think it's what we're supposed to do as if we don't make a decision and choose it. It's difficult to take a stand when everyone's telling you that you're wrong for thinking of yourself. We want affirmation and approval from those closest to us but what we need is to be surrounded by people that believe in a greatness beyond what may readily be seen. It must also be on our terms.
How does this apply to our relationships? We know statistically Black women outnumber Black men in population and that if we start to set standards of behavior the pool of available men shrinks even more. The problem lies in being thirsty, holding onto an empty glass but not going to the sink to refill it with fresh water. Because that water represents a new way of thinking and seeking a new pool of men.
Black men have no problem whatsoever dating non-Black women and holding them up as the standard of beauty. Some people do meet and fall in love and that's a beautiful thing. There are also plenty of Black men and women who find happiness with each other. Mostly I see a lot of self-hate and an attempt to erase any vestige of who they were. They either don't want to know us or act like they own us. We deserve better and should not limit ourselves. Guess what - we can move on!
We've been inundated with these tired stereotypes of pimps and hos, bling and booty and calling Black women every name under the sun but their own. We allow it and excuse it. We've let some damaged Black men with an agenda and axe to grind trash our image and belittle us around the world. They do it for laughs, they do it for money and are the first to protest racial bias when it's coming from a white person, but say nothing about their war with us. Enough!
This is more than who we date and hopefully marry. This is about where we live, about whether we get out of this country to see the world and having more than one perspective for living. We need to really dig deep and figure out who we are. That may mean a revamp in how we worship, a change in diet, a move across the country, an exploration of orientation, getting out of debt and whatever else it takes. We have to start somewhere though. Baby steps.
As far as some of these men go, here's a quick guideline of what to AVOID. Don't excuse it, try to understand it, have empathy for it or ALLOW IT IN YOUR LIFE if you are trying to live a better life. If you got caught up in it you can still walk away from it!!
1. In and Out of prison (and all the implies: selling drugs, stealing cars, etc)
2. Out of work (and not trying to find a job, any job and work your way up)
2a. Perpetually underemployed (not having a vision of greatness)
3. Crashing at somebody's place (usually his momma's)
4. Borrowing your car, eating your food, asking for a "loan"
5. Has multiple children with different women
6. Is in a series of non-monogomous relationships and/or married
7. Has anger issues
8. Can't balance a checkbook
9. Can't conjugate a verb or speak non-Ebonics English
10. Wears prison attire (sagging pants, hoodies, etc.)
11. Surrounds himself in negativity (be that with friends, music he listens to, etc)
12. Pushing for a physical relationship immediately
Be on the lookout for:
The secret stealth brother who does none of the above but hates Black women. He may wear a suit and drive a fancy car, but he makes sweeping generalities about how "All Black women do this" or "If you'd be a little more fun like (insert non-white) women are maybe you'd have a man."
We also need to go down that list and make necessary changes with ourselves. Here's a list of bloggers who are discussing strategies for changing our outlook. There are others but this is a great starting point.