Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Some black women are holding up the traffic aka MindGuards

Tom Teichman is a Founder shareholder and Vice Chairman of Dialog, one of the world's largest on-line business information companies. He has been married to Sandra (Ghanian/Barbadian) for 10 years and they have a son.

Scroll down to see Sandra

Some black women are consumed with worry that their noses and weaves and etc will disqualify them from dating beyond their race.

Well I guess Sandra wasnt!

Some black women will really be shocked to discover that the things they firmly believe men are after are not necessarily what they think!


Holding up the traffic? How?

As black women we tend to take our cues from the 'alpha females' among us. I have seen this dynamic play out so many times that I dont doubt it any longer. I have seen how an idea suddenly becomes 'ok with me' or legitimate, because another black woman who is esteemed and looked up to, agrees with the idea. Before then, a black woman might recognise it as the truth from weighing up the issue for herself, yet will pull back and manufacture excuses which will magically get resolved once she sees sister A (who she deems as at the top of the pyramid) agree with the view.

It is indeed fascinating to study the dynamics existing in the black group particularly those that we strongly deny. Many of us (including myself) will claim to have independent minds for sure lol!

This 'deferring' to the endorsing personality rather than what we sense as the truth is however a very powerful 'checking' force among black women. It means that some women, well aware of their power to 'allow' certain ideas and conversations to take place, can position themselves as obstacles to black women moving on, moving forward and doing what is logical and needed. These women (consciously or unconsciously) knowing that they are being looked upon to broach certain topics for instance, and by so doing confirm them as issues of importance, validity and urgency or they are being looked upon to set the pace, context, tone and direction for the deliberation, might decided to hold back or give a negative or luke warm response, knowing this attitude will carry along. These women are mindguards — self-appointed group members who shield others from or block out dissenting information.

For instance some 'influencial' black women know that if they dont raise the topic of broader dating options on their forums etc, their audience will think that its not an important issue or it doesnt concern them, or 'nothing needs to change in the way I am conducting affairs'. Imagine how such women who have personal 'issues' with dating white men for instance can stymie a very important and necessary exploration or discussion for other black women at this critical time because of this. I am particularly worried when such women claim to be open minded, or they claim they can rise above their personal bias, or they say they have an open forum that will discuss honestly all issues pertaining to black women etc (when in the analysis of it they do not). This claim in itself elicits undeserved trust and belief from women who take them at their word and respond to their writings and etc without recognizing that they are unable to have an honest discussion.

A simple way of looking at what transpires is that alpha female says, 'I hate white men and the idea of dating white men or the notion of giving up on black love thus; I will not allow my forum etc to be used to explore this key issue, or I will weave a crafty article which will have the net effect of keeping black women where they already are.

Indeed, for some 'alpha females', its all about giving a superficial treatment to the topic and thus communicating no urgency or need for action (which they realise with their logical minds there should be). Instead they create an impression from their writing and in their forums that there is 'no big deal to the situation,' 'you will get by, you dont need to consider this an issue to look into personally' etc etc.

All over blogosphere, black female bloggers are coming up with the understanding that the black group suffers as a result of a lack of critical knowledge and it does appear that there is a deliberate blocking of such knowledge, which has itself become a commodity and tool for control and dominace. Never underestimate the ability of those who have access to knowlege (or knowledge portals) to control it, ration it and to give it a parculiar twist to either create, or sustain a situation of their liking among others or maintain a social gap between themselves and the rest, which then accrues some material or social benefits. Indeed one of the key problems of the black group is the fact that it continues to depend on knowledge, power and political brokers to make transactions on its behalf, while the rest of the population operates at a substantial deficit in all these areas. A very corrupting interface is thus created for the brokers, particularly when these brokers are interfacing for other black people with the wider white society.

Now some of us will have to answer for how we have used our positions and influence to control and cripple others, but individual black woman have to decided wether they want others to hold up their lives like traffic and indeed if you have commonsense and understanding and yet would rather defer to personality, then thats on you really!

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GoldenAh said...

Black women should consider composing an impossible dream / why not list. It must include everything they've been told they cannot do. They may be surprised at its length. It should cause them to look at their environment, their associates and friends, wonder what they're doing wrong and why.

Simply paying the bills, and existing, isn't sufficient.

They need to then ask themselves: do they fear the impossible dream / why not list? And who, and what, is influencing, or hindering their thoughts, and progression in life?

The issue, usually, is not with the list, but lack of a viable and workable road map. Not having a realistic way of reaching those goals may be what is frustrating a lot of women.

I knew someone who wanted to change just the small things in her life, and I was stunned at the things she didn't know.

This simple task never occurred to her: ask for help, from the people who have the information.

She followed the advice of an alpha (hyena) "friend" for years. This woman was toxic, a negaholic, belligerent, obnoxious, and constantly doled out misinformation.

She really believed that the volume of her arguments conveyed, or was a form of, wisdom and knowledge.

Khadija said...


Great post. I suppose to some extent it's normal for people to form and follow "herds." Other groups of people have conformity issues and "herds." The difference is that other people's "herds" tend to head toward life-sustaining people and resources. Meanwhile, BW are marching en masse away from life-sustaining people/resources and toward predators and barren deserts.

As you said, it's really up to each woman to decide who will set the policy guidelines for her life: herself or others.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Lorraine said...

Excellent post Halima. It definitely requires some introspection. I have always looked at others (alpha females) at the same time, I have always found a way to go about achieving dreams/goals in my own way many times going around and taking alternative routes and in the process became an pseudo alpha female in some instances.

I benefitted from watching others, but ultimately did decide my own ways and rules for living and life in general. Some of the decisions have been bad, some have been good, but only after living and learning, leaving the traps the bw fall into that keep us at the bottom of society's totem poles.

Felicia said...

Great post Halima!

Individual black women need to stop looking outward towards women they believe to be (often mistakingly) "alpha females" and actually BECOME Alpha females (self-confident, determined, refusing to settle for less, demanding reciprocity, etc...) themselves.

And you do this by having your own unwavering standards AND viewpoints that very well may be at odds with the thinking of most black people these days.

You have to be willing to "do you" even if those around you hate you for it.

I've been a silent witness to the situation you've described back in college. I remember seeing black women older than me in my black studies classes who didn't actually have anything tangible going for themselves at all, but they had a gift for gab and knew how to spout this black unity talk which only ever attracted the bw students. Never the bm.

"Surprise surprise"... (not)

These poor women were really stuck in a time warp and could not face the current reality which I always found extremely sad.

I didn't get mixed up with those delusional women at all because all I wanted to do was learn some history, excel in the classes and pass those tests.

I was at that University for an education so I could move on to the next level. Not argue with some delusional strangers.

That whole situation looked cult like and I could see those running the show didn't have a full grasp of reality.

These so-called "alpha females" were all single, usually quite angry and bitter and were struggling raising fatherless children alone.

But they came alive and had a sparkle in their eyes when they were proselytizing.SMH

Apparently that fantastical dream they had was ALL they had and without it they would be totally lost.

I wondered how a young woman in the prime of her life could listen to such nonsense?

And I say nonsense not because there was anything "wrong" in what was said, but because it was not applicable to MODERN times. And what doesn't apply to the here and now is nonsense in my book.

Luckily, my mother, Aunts, Grandmothers, etc... have all been great role models when it comes to black womanhood.

They shaped me, and my self-concept so I never felt compelled to follow some "guru". Some so called "alpha female" out there.

They encouraged me to follow my feelings and to never look outward but inward for the answers to the questions I've had in life.

I think one of the most important and powerful things black female empowerment bloggers and commenters can do, is teach by example.

There are young black girls looking up to all of us sometimes without us even realizing it.

We must all get the word out that it's OK (and often preferable) to be a black girl and be "different", and most importantly THINK differently.

There's NO one "approved"/"legitimate" way to "be black".

My sense is these young black women are wasting their precious time listening to these "gurus" (often charlatans) because they honestly believe they're "supposed to". Because it's the "black" thing to do if you're a black female.SMH

"Listen to your elders" even when these women aren't making a damn bit of sense. Even if they themselves have NOTHING positive to show from their so-called "wisdom".

HOGWASH. BW need to get out there and aspire to the EXACT SAME good life other non-indoctrinated women naturally aspire too.

BW need to realize that whoever set up these "rules" and "proper modes of thought and behavior" for BW did NOT have BW's best interest in mind.

We as individual BW therefor have to have our OWN best interest at heart.

Whether that puts us at odds with strangers (black, white, or other) or not.

WE'RE what matters. Not those outside of ourselves.

Keisha Caprice Graham said...

sounds to me like a bunch of you can't handle a female stronger than you. just dropping some knowledge.

Keisha Caprice Graham

Taylor-Sara said...

Excellent post Halima.

I agree with your sentiments 100%, although I would have to say that many groups might follow their leaders as well, but their leadership has their best interest at heart (95% of the time) We do not have that lugury. We have coonified fools like Clarence Thomas, Mr Johnson (founder of BET), numerous politicians on the take, and others who sole aim is to live off the back of average blk ppl and their pain. They have absolutely no intentions of helping anyone except themselves. Years ago, I remember reading about Clarence T. (who is the product of affirmative action) talking about the horrors of it, and how unfair it is to non-blk ppl. This is the kind of mind set these ppl come from. If the program was so terrible, why were you EVER a part of it? To me this is tantamount to blowing up a bridge you just crossed, thereby preventing the next person from using it. Too many bp are simply out for self....

jazine said...

I don't really understand Keisha's comment. I think that's been the running stereotype that has plagued black women all their lives. I am weary of the adjective 'strong'...when has that word truly benefited black women? It sounds like an easy excuse for bw to put up with all sorts of mistreatment.

I learned to follow the old saying: Be the leader you seek.