I’ve been working on this for several months. It’s a really long piece but if you’re patient enough to get through it, I think you will find some truth in it. If you don’t, that’s cool too. Thank you for reading.
After much introspection, reflection and many conversations with black men and women in different age groups & relationship stages from single to long-term marriage….I’ve come to the sad & alarming conclusion that black male-female relationships are far more fragmented than I feared. The steady demise of solid, committed, loving, respectful, long-term connections between the sexes is mostly connected to issues of communication…as I shared in a previous post. To that, add in a fundamental lack of respect for the opposite sex and erroneous assumptions, it’s no wonder so many keep going in circles trying to find their match.
At the heart of the communications issues is a very serious misunderstanding of how to communicate and very rudimentary assumptions based on the brainwashing of generations of African-Americans by the dominate culture. Now, I am sure I will step on a few toes with this but so be it….
Message to My Sistah’s
White culture or the Eurocentric perspective has taught females of all races, that their idea man will/should be similar to the heroes in fairy tales, romance novels & movies. It all looks and sounds sooo easy, so good. But it’s not based on the black experience in America which is far different from those with fairer skin. It is 100 times harder for men of color to make it in this world. They are discriminated against as little boys entering formal education & it continues into the workforce and damn near every other aspect of their lives. Therefore, it is much more difficult for a Black man to gain a sufficient education to earn really, good money, own a house and car and support a family. Unfortunately, Black women often fail to realize and acknowledge that or provide support. I know, I know Ladies. We figure we face the same shit they do and much more but don’t crumble. My only response to that is THEY are not US. Black men generally will not discuss their fears and struggles with us. If we watch the news and take a look around, it’s not hard to see what they face and how much they struggle. We need to do better….not make excuses for them, but support those that are in our lives trying to be there for us & showing love and support.
Another factor was Gloria Steinem’s infamous bra burning & the feminist movement. Black women were already forced into household leadership because of slavery and later, the fact that Black men had to work ridiculously long hours or travel great distances (ie. porters, long shoremen, etc.), all for low pay, just to put food on the table. And of course, some were killed, incarcerated or just degenerates. Whatever the reason, the feminist movement made it publicly acceptable to be a strong & dominant female…a natural trait among African-American women. Not that the movement was an entirely bad thing, (I’m about to stomp some more toes here but know that I include myself in “we”) but my Sistah’s…we took that shit way too far! That movement gave Black women permission to denounce & tear down our men because we were comparing them to a culture that is given every opportunity to make it. We haven’t recognized or cared about the many challenges our men face. And instead of quietly propping them up, as our female ancestors did….we publicly tore them down every opportunity we got. Nothing they did was good enough….and that is why those who possessed the qualities many of us seek either gave up and turned into dogs or worse….chose women from other cultures!! Why? Because they let him be who he is….a man with faults. AND they forgive. Black women have become very unforgiving and contributed to driving Black men out of our beds, homes, and lives. Yes, Ladies….WE contributed to this!
Plus, extensive single parenthood in later generations created a slew of manchildren. Little boys in grown up bodies, enjoying women and assuming no responsibility for themselves or their progeny. Ladies, ladies, ladies…..we’ve got to STOP babying little boys and expose them to positive male role models so they can grow up to be men. Quit creating the kind of men that created the children we now care for alone.
And for those fortunate enough to have baby daddies who WANT to be active fathers….LET THEM! Just because he no longer wants YOU doesn’t mean he can’t be a good father to his kids. Stop being petty, stop depriving your children of full parenting and move the hell on. The welfare of your children should ALWAYS come first…beyond your own needs and desires.
Oh and Ladies…learn to shut up sometime. Seriously! I know we are naturally curious caretaking communicators who wanna know the problem NOW so we can fix it. The reality is our Brotha’s aren’t built like that. Now, there are some who communicate very well. But most won’t tell you what they’re struggling with until they feel comfortable and ready to do so. And not one millisecond before. When we stop talking, watch, and LISTEN, they actually tell us far more than they realize or intend to. They will never open up to us if we’re constantly yakking and barking at them. If we just sit with them quietly, let them know we’re there…quietly, they will open up. Of course, with the exception of those who are just plain shady. Everyone we meet does not have a hidden, shady agenda….just the ones we’ve chosen.
Ladies, if we want to keep our men with us….we need to meet them halfway. We can’t be angry, barking, highly independent superwomen and expect them to stick around. Who wants to be where they don’t feel wanted, needed, appreciated, or respected?
Something to think about…..
My Queens: Our men treat us as we allow them to. Let me repeat that. They will treat us as we allow them to….so if you don’t want to be treated like a whore, stop sleeping with men soon as you meet them. Make them take you OUT for a date, then drop you off at home…sans the nightcap. Stop sleeping with married and involved men. If he’s creeping with you, he will creep on you. Besides, Karma is a bitch….do you really want that coming back to bite you when you’ve finally found a man of your own? Stop responding to being called out of your name. As Madea said “ It’s not what they call you, it’s what you answer to”. Stop accepting bullshit excuses & lame ass stories. If we demand more, there are men out there who will meet our demands. Being single isn’t the worst thing in life. In fact, it can be a wonderful time for us to get in touch with who we are and what we want. If we want to attract different men or want more from them….the change starts with US, each one of us! Try dressing, speaking and acting like a Queen….we many find the Kings will move past the Jesters to pursue us. For those of us still seeking our own King, what do we have to lose?
Message to My Brotha’s
Hey my Brotha’s, I didn’t forget about you….
Unfortunately, Black men did not escape being brainwashed…..just other means were used. And Black men are not without their share in the blame.
White culture has taught men of many races to believe their idea woman is the Virgin Mary in daily life & an XXX-rated porn star in the bedroom. Come on Guys! Really?! That is a ridiculous burden to put on anyone. That’s like asking you to be a Black Jesus during the day & Wesley Pipes in the bedroom. Black women are simply overburdened, disenfranchised, disrespected, unloved women, trying to make it in this life. We deserve to be treated as LADIES, not play things, not temporary wives, not surrogates for your mother, not prostitutes, not punching bags. Black women have feelings, want love, comfort, respect, information and security…same things most hetero women seek. Stop treating women like whores and maybe they won’t act like one in the streets. How about that?! Or think about this….how would you want a man to treat YOUR mother or sister or daughter? That is how YOU should treat a woman.
Now, to be fair, I can’t blame it all on white culture. A good portion, but not all of it. My Brothas, you have done damage as well via rap culture & video vixens. Somewhere along the way the values of past generations gave way to blatant disrespect, emotional detachment and an open acceptance of dogging women out & moving on to the next one. Black men began to devalue family and were no longer willing to put in the work that is required to be “Man of the house”. It is far easier to just bounce from woman to woman, plant seeds, break hearts and keep on rolling. Leaving that beautiful Black woman who was the object of your desire….for a moment…. to raise your children alone. Needless to say, this has not helped to improve the image of Black men, in the eyes of Black women.
Another factor: Your idiotic refusal to communicate even in the most basic ways has further contributed to the reason Black women act irrational at times and want to physically hurt you. When you fail to communicate with your woman, her mind goes into overdrive creating all kinds of crazy worst-case scenarios. (ie. Don’t tell her you’re on your way when you know damn well you’re not heading home for a couple of hours….be honest!) If you leave to her own devices, she will assume you’re the worst kind of asshole doing everything you shouldn’t be doing. Not because she wants to but because experience has taught her to hope for the best but expect the worst. Black men create far more drama than is necessary by not talking….when they should. Open up your mouths and you may find that your lady is on the same page with you, willing to support you and give you whatever you need. But she is no mindreader….and only through consistent communication and loving acts can you convince her that you care. Anything less will lead to drama…. I guaran-damn-tee it!
Now for you commitment-phobes that say you only want a FWB (friends with benefits) type deal, here’s a clue, STOP treating her like a girlfriend. If you take her out, buy her things, spend a lot of time with her, feelings will develop. Doing this sends mixed messages. Being all intimate, passionate, and loving to only get scared when she falls in love with you is ludicrous. Stop setting yourselves up if that is not what you want. FWB means sex with very little conversation. Anything beyond that will screw up the FWB plan. Be clear about what you want and stick to it. OR be willing to go with the flow.
For you nice guys who finish last. I’m gonna let you in on a lil secret…..we LIKE men with swagger. That doesn’t mean you have to be an aggressive, arrogant ass….it means walk like you own a set of big cajones. In other words, be confident and be assertive. If you come off like someone we can order around, or sound like an educated idiot, you will forever remain in the friendzone. We don’t necessarily want a Neanderthal, but we like men to be direct, someone who can/will take charge and if required, protect us. If you’re interested, don’t play middle school games to let us know. If we disagree with you don’t take it like we’ve become your sworn enemy. We have brains and our own opinions that won’t always jive with yours. Let’s face it….many Black women today are highly educated, heads of households with good jobs. We didn’t achieve that without being able to think and assert our opinions. Just because we question you doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going against you or have serious trust issues. We need details for things to make sense. If it doesn’t make sense, it will bug us and we will bug you. Just give us what we ask for and enjoy the peace that follows. And you don’t have to be the big breadwinner or hold 9 degrees. We want someone who will accept us, love us, stay with us, respect us and handle their own business.
My Kings: We’ve been taught for many, many generations, that in a relationship, the male is supposed to be the leader, strong enough to handle his own and help support us too. If you can’t manage your own life, that gives us NO confidence you can handle us, let alone kids and household responsibilities. And please stop waiting for a black woman to “sit down & shut up”. Many of us have been heads of households, both mothers & father-role-fillers for years. When we see you have the capacity and willingness to step up and fill your role….then, and only then will we feel comfortable enough to take a step back and support you as a King. A good King doesn’t ask or wait for permission to be who he is…he steps up to provide and lead so others can and will follow.
Be whoever you are. Everyone I know complains or has complained about meeting a wonderful representative that turns into a frog later. Nobody likes to be on the receiving end of a “bait & switch”. It is not fair to your potential partner to shower them with loads of attention, fuck them silly, cater to their every need….and later on, suddenly stop. “WTF?! Who the hell is this? Did I do something?” Any of this sound familiar People? I thought so. Here’s the thing. If you know you’re not built to sustain all that romantic stuff at a frenetic pace…then don’t start off that way. It’s only natural for a person to fall in love under those circumstances…and it happens quickly. Now if you take your time, focus on the friendship and slowly build up to the romance & sex, then a natural progression occurs that you both ease into together. That is what forms lasting bonds. When you pull a “bait & switch”….once the switch occurs, it leaves your partner forever chasing the bait you used to get them. What you do to get your partner, you must maintain to keep them. As you know, there is always someone else sniffing around looking for chance to get in where s/he fit in. What you stop doing, someone will gladly fill in.
We can do better so let’s get to it, my people! It starts with me and with those of you who see some truth in my words. If we recognize the problem, it is up to us to plant some seeds of change.
These are my thoughts, views, and opinions. And I have no answers on how to reverse generations of brainwashing and emotional damage. I do know if the black family has a chance in hell of coming back together to heal, we’ve got to learn how to live and let live, stop coveting white culture, embrace our soulfulness and heritage, learn to love again, forgive and rebuild the trust. Each generation hastens our demise and unless those who remember how it used to be, step up, speak up, reach back, and teach…..we are all destined for a long, lonely, heartbreaking ride straight to hell. Those that survive will be so assimilated into white culture….Black culture will become nothing more than a blip on the screen of American history.
Peace & Blessings,