Saturday, April 18, 2009

So Let's Talk About This Supposed Mass Dysfunction of Black Women

Some Black women of course are simply "perfect". Then there's the rest of us!

Since I've been discussing pathologies an adjacent conversation about appropriate responses must be made as well. There's been some rather serious conversations about recognizing pathologies in others and removing oneself from those that choose to engage in destructive behavior that will negatively impact certain Black women at a few blogs. 

Divestment has been avidly endorsed but some people haven't defined what divestment means for themselves - or they've made sweeping and inaccurate assumptions. Nor have they read thoroughly the divestment strategies and reasoning for it presented at other blogs. Yet they rally against it. Basically if you see a tsunami headed your way a discussion about the speed at which the water will overtake you is moot. So is telling someone they can swim when you've got a helicopter ready to whisk you away - that's rather disingenuous wouldn't you agree? 

It seems even the discussion of the reasons why BW should divest from certain areas (where mindsets that encourage depravity occur) some have twisted this into the tired and inaccurate argument that it's somehow bashing all BM. Whatever! If it doesn't apply to you there's nothing to complain about.

There is also another obfuscation tactic by focusing on emotionally damaged BW in an effort at blaming and shaming without discussing how they got damaged to begin with.
  • Mental illness - That requires medical attention.
  • Skin shade racism - aka "Paper Bag Tests" and all the goes with it. The preoccupation with whiter-skinned BW in this country as somehow being better, prettier, more worthy has gone far too long and needs to be addressed. Remember those conversations about Michelle Obama being "dark-skinned" when honestly on a spectrum of skin tone she is medium but that's besides the point? The racism that Black people engage against other Blacks is just as harmful as that of whites.
  • Hair texture - See above. Let's kill the term "good hair" once and for all. Let's embrace the full spectrum of the beauty of ALL BW. 
The message of indoctrination that BW are responsible for the entire world (other Blacks) and thinking about their own needs is selfish is one of the key misnomers that also needs to be dismantled. Not to mention the singular focus of a majority of BW on finding BM to mate with. That 70%+ unmarried statistic wasn't a joke. Neither was the non-married but bearing children rate. The fact that it's double in less than one entire generation should be cause of concern for everyone! If so many women feel ugly, unlovable and desperate and have been living under siege in deteriorating neighborhoods how can they (we) make sound choices? 

Just for those that want to pin it solely at the feet of BW you should be reminded: 
  • BW don't rove in packs and run trains (gang rape) men
  • BW don't stand on the street and make it impossible for any male above the age of 10 to be outside in peace
  • BW don't physically overpower men
  • BW don't grab the butts of BM when they're outside
  • BW didn't initiate the stop snitching rule
Some women have foolishly become ride or die where they envision themselves to be Bonnie to the anti-hero (criminal) Clyde. It's why certain laws were modified that made these women held equally responsible for the crimes of their men.

BW are somehow expected to hold a community together by its threads. Where have all the BM gone? They left to follow their bliss! The very real abandonment didn't just happen overnight. The majority of the productive/successful BM have gone for quite some time though. You see it in who they choose to partner with and where they live. Nobody's telling them to stay and fight or work with (and live with) those who may be more likely to commit a crime than graduate from college. 

I was watching the Black List Vol 2 and RZA was on. Even he talked about divestment with his line, "Nobody wants to live in the hood." In fact during that interview he specifically talks about moving away from the crime, grime and chaos and how he now lives in the country surrounded by land. He specifically mentioned raising children in peace and quiet. So why can't all BW have the same thing without being a famous (male) musician? Why do so many of us take on the responsibility of rescuing other people when we are in fact drowning ourselves?

The argument for divestment and the point of it ultimately is about the rights of the individual to live a quality life versus the rights of some in the underclass who want to behave badly. If a certain underbelly of society wants to exist amidst chaos you can't stop them. You can try to help for sure but that doesn't mean you should martyr yourself and your children. Even the film I featured American Violet while very poignant, there is a real life woman who was railroaded. 

She lived in one of the residential cesspools. She may not have been brought down directly by the other residents of her housing project but there was an established history of criminality that had been long accepted. The "good" people thinking they could duck for cover and try to stay above the fray didn't protect her from adverse effects. Though there was very real racism and greed involved with those sweeping drug charges, a certain class of people who engage in certain behaviors directly or those that tolerate it have been targeted. 

If Blacks could survive slavery you can move out of these areas and set boundaries about not allowing that element to follow you if you really want to. It may not be easy but it is certainly possible. Black women have to realize their survival depends on not being in dysfunctional environments or surrounded by dangerous people. 

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Unknown said...

divestment is easier said than done for most folks. And we have to explore that question further: isn't divestment PART of the problem.

Look at what happened to certain black and functional black neighborhoods AFTER segregation.

I had an ill debate with a colleague about home schooling. While I think home schooling is a wonderful idea what about setting examples for other families in your neighborhood by attending a local school and demanding a quality education? I can't begin to count the many children my wife and I have mentored and how many married/unmarried couples we have counseled.

Wouldn't we be abandoning THEM if we just pulled out?

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

I clearly don't agree with you. The departure of some Black families out of all Black neighborhoods after Civil Rights (when the areas were still somewhat intact) is completely different from what I'm talking about today.

There wasn't a 70% out of wedlock birth rate and 70% unmarried status for BW. The majority of BM had not yet abandoned these neighborhoods and BW for their "greener" whiter...pastures. And I'm not stating this from an emotional or angry perspective. It's a fact.

Women don't get pregnant by themselves and clearly the fathers of all of these kids aren't around. What I also didn't mention is the high abortion rate of BW which I find almost shocking considering the percentage of births that are taken to term. That rate of OOW births could likely be 85% factoring that in. And that's insane to me!!

I do agree with your point about the effects of segregation. That was part of the BIG failure of the movement. The second was that BW took a back seat for the sake of the "race" assuming BM would carry them along after the "victory" and they were completely blind-sided by THAT mass divestment.

Blacks sought integration not equality. When they left they didn't replace another infrastructure in its place, but as I stated it was also the abandonment of the best and brightest BM one by one that really led to this current state. Children need both parents and a man cannot be taught how to be a man by a woman!

As for what's going on today, BW who value their lives and the lives of their children must leave. No amount of discussion about the stay and fight argument jibes with me. Definitely not from people who don't live in these dangerous residential areas. I've never lived around this element but for me there is an emotional component of conjuring up the time of my youth when the entire neighborhood looked out for each other.

I also used to feel guilty about not wanting to hang around certain people or be in other people's neighborhoods if I noticed they were worse than mine. I was thinking through a race-based lens but my natural instincts were warning me of the differences and the potential danger.

It's interesting you brought up school. If you and your wife were one of the few fighting for better quality and you were surrounded by others who didn't see the value in that do you think that would actually help YOUR child to be in such an environment? Have you not read about the little boy Carl Joseph Walker Hoover who hung himself because he was being bullied. HIS mother tried to demand higher standards and the school IGNORED her and look what happened.

My motto is: Take care of yourself first!! Don't try to fix, save, rescue or worry about anybody else when you are in not in a secure and stable life situation.

If more BW were doing this we'd be in a much better position.

Hagar's Daughter said...


Amen. No one can force another person to change. Offering help to someone who doesn't want to be helped is useless.

It seems that many persons think that everyone WANTS better. I think it's difficult for a lot of black folks to believe that there are those who actually choose to think, plan, and do evil things. There are large groups of blacks who actually desire to be criminals, who could not care less about the quality of education their children receive, and who want to be breeders.

I have worked with clients who actual have this mindset that enjoyed, actually thrived, in cesspool environments.

During my first year as a social worker I had to start therapy. After 3 years in the trenches I transferred to a different program. I wasn't paid enough to deal with that madness. In fact there is no amount of money worth it.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Hagar's Daughter: You were in the trenches so you'd definitely have a better idea than I of those that live amongst the depravity. People aren't considering that some ( a lot?) don't want to change. I had a conversation at another blog earlier with a male blogger who considers himself progressive but he made a derogatory statement about another woman. He refused to acknowledge it but tried to claim we were all on the same side while still inserting hi male privilege. He'd be one of he first to complain about racial discrimination but won't divest from his gender bias. I'm just reminded that everyone is not our friend.

Unknown said...

I think you missed my point. I am not laying the blame on Black women. Not at all.

I should have been clear though. WHile the stat of 70% of births in the Black community are out of wedlock (a stat we really haven't analyzed and fully discussed but we like to throw around ALL the time), I don't think i can convince a gang of men to marry them. THe problem is here, now. What I see however, is people attempting to run away from the problem instead of engaging it.

JUST the other day, a young lady ran up to me to tell me to help her since her boyfriend beat her. I CHOSE to confront him and CHOSE to protect her. What scared me is that she had NO ONE To turn to but a complete stranger. THat's sad. THat's divestment at it's worst. Now don't get me wrong, I don't know the young woman's history with her boyfriend (well her mom never showed up even though she called her at least ten times -- and her mother never called my phone AFTER the fact) but where is she going to go? She can't move out of the 'hood.

the divestment i mean and that you touched upon is how we ALL (BM and BW) tend to pull out or refuse to get involved.

I can safely say that MOST people want better. Yet the problem is that MOST people want SOMEONE else to do better for them.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

Borther OMi: I think what you said in your closing reply covers it: most people want someone else to do the heavy lifting for them. Now you helped that woman and I'm glad nothing happened to you for reaching out to someone else. IF that woman actually stays "gone" from that relationship and does whatever she needs to reclaim her life that's the divestment I'm talking about. Otherwise you just risked your neck for nothing. That's what I'm talking about where BW are concerned. They are needlessly risking their necks living under the fallacy they can't change their circumstances or move out of dangerous neighborhoods. As to not being able to afford it: other people are just as poor or receiving welfare benefits but they're not all living in these cesspools. Regardless of what it is we have to overcome if we want to change it we can.