Monday, January 18, 2010

What We Believe Here: 20 Questions for Halima Anderson (Part 1)

Q: Why do you promote IR?
I have two broad reasons why I propose that black women begin to take their wider options seriously. Firstly is for practical reasons of shortfall of black men. According to recent U.S. Census Bureau figures, there are only 70 single black men for every 100 single black women. This number does not take into account the number of black men artificially excluded from the dating pool because of such factors as incarceration.

In cities like Atlanta the situation is so dire it is mind boggling:

the ratio of Black men to Black women
is 597 men for every 1,000 “sistahs”, nearly 2-1.
When Black male employment is thrown in, the figures shrink to
279 eligibles for every 1,000 Black women. Full report here


It is only sensible under such circumstances that black women consider a wider pool than that which leaves them with a significant shortfall.

Let me add that there are sections of our community are on a cover up mission. They are invested in circumventing or obscuring this grim reality for black women. Some don’t even want to acknowledge that it is an important part of the black dialogue as if a generation of sistas remaining manless and alone is a non-issue!

Sistas, please insure that you don’t become one of the victims of these pitiless folk!

Q: What is the other reason?
The other reason is a bit more complex but has to do with the fact that there is a marriage-resistance among bm in our communities. Now I know you all have loving brothers and fathers and uncles and all that, but lets just take a moment to look at the bigger picture. If we assume that there are at least 70 BM per 100 single bw, then there is a good number of bm, to marry a significant portion of bw. However the recent stats show that 70% of black women are single! This is an unprecedented and unacceptably high ratio. I do say to people, if bm wanted to do something about this number, they would have done it long before now. It is therefore necessary to consider that a growing number of bm are marriage resistant particularly towards bw.

Some have argued that the reason why BM are unable to ‘take up’ in marriage, a sizable portion of these single women is because their economic situation is precarious and while I agree that this has something to do with it, when you look at the other sign of the coin, you will see that when bm actually become more financially stable and achieve middle class status, they are more likely to marry white or other non-black women. This is a clear note to those who feel that the solution to black women’s mate squeeze lies with us all helping to elevate black males economically. The grim truth is -and if the records are anything to go by- elevating BM will not result in automatic elevation of bw, it will ensure the elevation of non-black women!

There is nothing more effective at thugging at black women’s heart strings than thinking on the economic plight of the brothas but many more women should ask themselves, “If this man/men where to get it made today, would I be considered a worthy mate to share in his riches?”

I suspect the average bw knows the answer to that question!

Do you hate BM, why use the term Damaged Beyond Repair BM (DBR)?
I must have used this term once or twice and I think many people took offence at the word without understanding what the term is about. With calmer emotions and a look at the term one word at a time, you can make out its significance. Damaged denotes that there is a recognition that an external occurrence impacted to shape the person in unfortunate ways indeed, no one damages themselves so there is an acknowledgment there that some men either due to abuse, lack of role models or other circumstances are not fit for purpose and this applies largely to the issue of dating and having relationships particularly with bw. This term does not apply to all bm but to those who consistently and unrelentingly attack, denigrate and abuse bw and children.

Many black people are up in arms over the terms, I suspect because it goes against one of the ‘sacred articles’ of blackness which holds that no black person is unsalvageable (alongside the corollary that all white people are unredeemable). However the untold damage done by this attitude towards people who have the mind to cause damage and hurt will be with us for another generation. Many bw are hurt and are bitter, because as a community we failed to see that it is necessary to identify and isolate those of us who are a menace to others. The ‘brother is still a brother’ tenent has meant that men who should have been singled out and shunned have felt free to run rampant, leaving destroyed lives in their wake.

Black male protecting is also at the root of why we pretend not to see and speak up and thus discourage victimisation of black women and children in our communities.

There are black people who will be dangerous to others and trying to deny this fact doesn’t make us in any way wise.

There is also another benefit to identifying (by a designation) and thus isolating the misusers in our midst. It is a sanction that gives cause for such ones to reflect on their behaviour and reconsider their actions. Seemingly harsh words can precipitate change!

To illustrate this, a freind and I once visited a pub in the English countryside, when we were seated he told me that the name Wetherspoon was not the pub owners name (there are a chain of wetherspoon pubs), but that it was the name of the owners teacher, who had one day said, "A... will never amount to much". It was a reminder to him and his teacher that he had overcome her pronouncements. After a brief discussion about the issue I told him, "He owes that teacher gratitude and a fat cheque!"

Apparently he had been a traunt kid and when the teacher made the pronouncement it marked a turning point in his life. It become he's life goal to disprove her comments. And so it can be with DBRM if no one coddles them and approves their behaviour and there is a negative social repercussion for their actions, they just might have a rethink about victimising the next person!

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22 comments:

pioneervalleywoman said...

Or if they achieve success, they don't marry at all...Think of the numbers of playas in suits one can find in any large urban environment...

I think the nationalist movement has a lot to answer for and blame in this situation of women sacrificing themselves in the name of absolute loyalty, no matter how dangerous that loyalty is.

I think the Moynihan report has got to be seen as contributing to the evil within the community, of seeing black women as pathological, uncontrollable matriarchs, the natural enemy of black men, who benefited from white racism at the expense of black men, when the enemy of them all was white supremacy.

It set black nationalists on the road to thinking about how to subordinate black women to the greater cause of the community (as defined by men) so that they might become patriarchs, like white men.

We can see this in the responses of those who are so angry that black women are seeking options to date outside of their race.

If women are not individuals, but pawns in a battle over male supremacy, those who "escape" will be seen as siding with the enemy, and the women of the other group, white women, as an example, will be seen as prizes to be won.

But when women see themselves as individuals, black as well as female, worthy of the best life has to offer, they will make choices that benefit their well-being, not some nebulous idea of "community."

They will no longer be held hostage to a mindset that demands they sacrifice all for a male-dominated nationalist division that refuses to address sexism, and which demands they put the needs of the men of the community before their own.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points that you raise,d although I think your classification of the Moynihan report is grossly simplistic. With that being said I would also say that feminism as applied by white women, has limited benefits to black women as it refuses to acknowledge the very white supremacy you speak of. With that being said, the pathology of black masculinity which has as part of the cannon that a male control his female counterpart so to speak is equally destructive and we are seeing the toll that takes on the community. With that being said, one cannot underestimate the matriarchal values that are dominant in the black community as at times being as destructive as the commonly seen pimp/hoe paradigm. These are complex issues that perhaps are best solved by black women dating white men, or so it would seem from my readings here.

Trvlrgrl said...

I've said this before but, although I get the rationale for using the term DBR, I think the term is so inflammatory as to be a distraction.

There are numerous examples of folks (even bms) who have been "damaged" (by their own behaviorial choices or circumstances outside of their control) who have found a way to live productive lives and to be good partners.

This doesn't mean that we as black women can "repair" these men. One of the more destructive myths in our community is that the love of a "good black woman" will turn any man's life around and I think that is a bunch of hooey. All that has meant is a whole lot of black women sacrificing their own happiness and well-being (and those of their children in many cases) to some numbnut who thinks it's her job to put up with his sorry crap.

The sad thing is all this self-sacrificing and settling for less only encourages many bms to continue to behave badly and disrespect us.

However IMO, the more inflammatory terms and rhetoric makes the IR "movement" an easy target for criticism and will dissuade sistahs who are on the fence from considering it.

Just my two cents...

pioneervalleywoman said...

Excellent points that you raised although I think your classification of the Moynihan report is grossly simplistic.

My comment: Not necessarily. Its precepts have animated not just popular culture, ie., images of black women in media, perceptions of black women in the community and outside of it, but national policy, in how black women have been seen: welfare queens, purveyors of a ghetto culture, and damagingly matriarchal, all of which lay at the foundation of Welfare reform.

With that being said I would also say that feminism as applied by white women, has limited benefits to black women as it refuses to acknowledge the very white supremacy you speak of.

My comment: but feminism has grown beyond simple liberal white feminism. Feminism among women of color, critical race feminism, as an example, has had a long history of addressing this, ie., the black womanist tradition, which questions both racism and sexism.

With that being said, one cannot underestimate the matriarchal values that are dominant in the black community as at times being as destructive as the commonly seen pimp/hoe paradigm.

My comment: but what is troubling, is that black women's historical strengths as "matriarchs" have been used to vilify them. The necessary strengths which have been important to keep the community going in earlier generations, in a current period, have been taken to mean that they can't be merely human, but have to be superhuman.

It's about narrative, as Aimee suggested in her blog. Black women are told that there is always something wrong with them, they are not like other women, they are not supportive of their men, they are too strong, they are not strong enough, etc.

It means one thing only. Women get caught up unfortunately in other people's ideas of who they are, and that was the failure of black nationalism: black women buying someone else's narrative of who and what they are, to their detriment, they hang onto attitudes that don't encourage them to think for themselves and their own interests, they feel ashamed when they do, because they are told they are to put the community ahead of themselves.

Black men don't experience this erasure of the self. Their behavior is excused or unchallenged, because that is the nature of men to define themselves.

And when their behavior is challenged, they reserve the right to do what they want, regardless of who cares. This is what black women need more of.

But they won't get there until they develop their own narratives. And in the context of this blog, if it means dating and marrying the fine white guy who is serious about dating and marrying you, when many black men have no interest, or date and marry women of other races, so be it, and who cares what "the community" says about what you should be and do.

Evia said...

However IMO, the more inflammatory terms and rhetoric makes the IR "movement" an easy target for criticism and will dissuade sistahs who are on the fence from considering it.

I hear what you're saying, however, no matter what innocuous terms we use, many bm and the black community in general are not going to be fooled. They will have their suspicions that we're trying to "escape"--LOL--if they see more and more of us date and marry wm and other nonblack men, and they are going to oppose us in every way possible.

BW are the major or only commodity that bm "think" they can control and they're not going to let go easily. This is sexism, which is a form of oppression that males benefit from tremendously. Unlike wm who control other resources, bw are the ONLY resource that bm have any control over. If you think you can persuade an oppressor to be fair to you simply by changing your vocabulary, this is just not going to work.

Many bm KNOW about DBRbm; it's many bw who don't know about them and need to become highly aware of them. If you read many books by bm, they talk about the issue of these guys. Haki Madhubuti, a black nationalist, Pan Africanist author talks about them in his book: "Black Men: Single, Dangerous, Obsolete? I would advise any black woman to get this book and read it. Some of these DBRbm are not unloveable men, but they have a "condition" that works against "life-giving thoughts and actions" and much of their behavior is not conducive to a positive, sustainable relationship.

It's clear to me that many bm don't want us to highlight ANYTHING about the DBRbm's destructive impact on bw and black children--period, unless we blame it all on de evil wm. Look what happened to Alice Walker after she highlighted bm against bf violence in "The Color Purple."

Anyway, this condition can be downplayed, but it will be done at the expense of bw and black children.

Trvlrgrl said...

Hey Evia! Your blog is bumping of late. Loving it!

Evia said
Anyway, this condition can be downplayed, but it will be done at the expense of bw and black children.


I hear you but I don't think toning down the inflammatory words is about downplaying, I think it's about keeping the focus on black women IR dating and not on whatever is going on with black men.

I don't care if every black man on the planet is God's gift to women, I will still date whomever I darn well please. So the degree of damage among black men is not relevant to me.

I agree that lots and lots of black women are still trapped in this notion that they HAVE to be with a black man no matter how pitiful, angry, sorry, he is. And you are absolutely right....those sisters need to get a wake up call...or at least be exposed to the notion that there are other, more positive choices. I just don't think the term Damaged Beyond Repair reaches those sisters or gets us where we want to be.

To me, terms like DBR just feed the trolls, get us into unproductive conversations about the state of black men, give critics an easy target (e.g. you all just hate black men and therefore can be dismissed and discounted), and may turn off some sistas sitting on the IR dating fence.

But I'm willing to sit down and shut up (or at least stop typing :) If everyone else finds the term useful.

Miriam said...

One thing I wondered about that term is : is there a DBRbW????

Also, I think a snowball effect happened. Yes, I do think wm (probably prompted by ww) put sad and sorry ideas in the minds of blacks, then it snowballed into bm believing and reacting and reacting and reacting to the point of DBR.

Plus, I may be naive, about this but I don't think ppl can be d BEYOND REPAIR. But I do think the repair can be so great, who would want to take the time.....

Anonymous said...

Only uneducated black men would seek to control any woman, and education is not limited to how many diplomas one gathers.

Miriam said...

I just finished reading your latest post, Evia. Goodness, bw have to be so strong!

Anonymous said...

One thing I wondered about that term is : is there a DBRbW????

My definition of a DBRBW would be a BW SO set in stone, that she is willing and determined to sacrifice her youth, fertility, health, and sanity in order to stay in the "good graces" of a "community" that ultimately does not have her best interest in mind. A black woman willing to be a sacrificial lamb on the alter of a mythic "black nation" out there, that in actuality is a figment of her imagination. A black woman willing to live a lonely, celibate, joyless life, devoid of children, burdened with the responsibility of taking care of those who would not dream of returning the favor.

ANY BW who would choose this, over a healthy, loving, relationship with a wonderful non black man, I feel is seriously damaged. And if she defiantly chooses this misery, I would say her damage is irreparable.


Also, I think a snowball effect happened. Yes, I do think wm (probably prompted by ww) put sad and sorry ideas in the minds of blacks, then it snowballed into bm believing and reacting and reacting and reacting to the point of DBR.

Than that means the BM is weak of mind and spirit. It means he is a puppet. And not deserving of respect. Because there are LEGIONS of BW, and some BM who HAVE NOT fallen for the sorry ideas of racist white folks.

Plus, I may be naive, about this but I don't think ppl can be d BEYOND REPAIR.

You are most definitely naive. And this very belief is why untold numbers of BW are in the sorry situations their in. They "hold on to hope" when any SANE person would have thrown in the towel and left. PLUS, IT'S NOT BW'S JOB TO REPAIR ANYONE INCLUDING BM.

People have to repair themselves or not.


But I do think the repair can be so great, who would want to take the time.....

Untold numbers of BW have attempted to "take the time" and see where it's gotten them

Despised, discontent and disposed of.

Evia said...

Plus, I may be naive, about this but I don't think ppl can be d BEYOND REPAIR. But I do think the repair can be so great, who would want to take the time.....

Hey Miriam, nothing is impossible, they say; it's a matter of time, energy, money, skill, and numerous other resources. If these resources are available, tell us where because I know enough DBRbm I would send in that direction.

This is the crux of the issue for me. If certain bw think that the large number of DBRbm can be salvaged, then y'all need to identify yourselves, so that they can be sent in your direction--LOL!--because just saying they can be saved does not actually DO anything.

I received a note from a black mother yesterday asking ME for help in saving her son. She has nowhere else to go and instead of all of these overseer bm trolls trying to help sistas like that, they're here trying to prevent us from "escaping" because they consider us their commodity--their property.

There could be 15,000 blogs set up by now by our overseers to help sistas like that because bw cannot raise males to be men, IMO, but these bm don't have a clue. What are they DOING aside from TALKING? They just talk bull about what bw ought to be doing or ought not to be doing, which always boils down to 'stick by the bm.' Do we need to ask why? LOL!!!!

Why don't these black "MEN" get with other bm and DO something, aside from just TALK big? Why are they so fixated on bw? Certainly NOT to love, cherish, adore us and protect and provide for us and our children, and that's for sure because even the ones who can do that disproportionately choose NOT to do it.

Halima said...

If you dont mind me asking Evia, what kind of assiatnce is the she requesting?

Halima said...

i am glad we all can agree to disagree about a term or aspects of the belief system we have. i want people to feel very free to disagree and not accept everything as dogma here. To me that is what mature dialogue is about!

No none here needs to be lock step with all my ideas so its ok to ditch the term from your vocab trvl!

Evia said...

If you dont mind me asking Evia, what kind of assiatnce is the she requesting?

From her e-mail, she sounds like she's thinking her son may be going in the direction of the DBRbm.

As I said, there should be numerous sites, blogs, organizations set up by these bm for black women raising boys alone to get help, but my blog can't address this need. Black women can't do everything and bm resent us when we try.

I tried to plan carefully for my children to have a loving and involved father and I'm totally happy that my sons have him. Therefore, I don't ever try to usurp my husband's role. Even If I disagree with him or don't understand something, I never let my sons know that and usually I always defer to him when it comes to teaching the manhood piece because I know he loves his sons and is equipped to do that piece. Just from watching him interact with his sons, I know I would have messed up long ago! LOL! My sons are my babies and I would have been too soft with them. I know that for sure.

Ms CPA said...

The fact that BM describe BW dating/marrying nonBM as "escaping" suggests they are well aware that BW are put through hell in relationships with DBR BM and now they're angry we are heading for the exits. This is pure "crabs in a barrel" behavior.

Trvlrgrl said...

Thanks Halima,

That's the great thing about your blog...respectful discussion is always welcome!

jacque said...

As for me ...I've ALWAYS seen the exit sign. it is interesting to read other points of view here because I have always dated interracially.So , the ills of black men have never really concerned me because I was too busy figuring out myself as an indiviual( apart from the collective) , meeting my career goals and chasing my own fullfillment.
Now, I have been derided by family members and alienated from them (not my choice). But I felt that I could save my self( and others who WANT to be saved) or go down with the ship so to speak.
I never liked the idea of drowning.
I paid a high price( the alienation) but it was worth it!
My God it was worth it!
I remember in medical school how the(2)black men in my class and other classes encouraged the black women to shun me (after one who wanted to date me found out I was married to a white man)...and they( the women) did! these women were in lock step with these men..( who had the freedom to bed AND marry all the white women they wanted
I was a lone ranger..again a heavy price. But it was worth it.
I found myself, my peace and happiness in the process.

Halima said...

^^^
Lol! at bw obeying their black masters possibly so they can win favours. shame!

Anonymous said...

And don't have sh*t to show for their unrequited allegiance.

Now THAT's funny!LOL

Puppets to puppets...SMH

pioneervalleywoman said...

I remember in medical school how the(2)black men in my class and other classes encouraged the black women to shun me (after one who wanted to date me found out I was married to a white man)...and they( the women) did!

My comment:

It is amazing that some women are so "hopelessly male-identified" that they can't see themselves in the face of their sister.

Remarkable, to follow the lead of men who would dare be resentful of an individual woman's personal life choices...

Don't they realize that tomorrow "the master" might decide they are the ones to get the shaft?

And if the master decides they get it, he will say that it was their own fault, or for their own good, and they will hang their heads in shame, because they buy whatever the master tells them.

Anonymous said...

"2)black men in my class and other classes encouraged the black women to shun me (after one who wanted to date me found out I was married to a white man)...and they( the women) did! "

WOW- That's the most pathetic thing I've heard in awhile-and these were educated women.However, I guess they had no common sense. Ridiculous- what sheep.


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