Friday, January 15, 2010

The Giving of Advice: Bringing Clarity

I am asking black women to think very carefully about those who they go to and recieve advice from. I want you to look clearly at the nature of the advice giving to black women.

I am keenly aware that people offer advice that they have filtered through a number of considerations and concerns. Do black women as a rule understand this fact or do they just recieve advice based on the 'face' or 'personality' giving it?

There is a lot to suggest the later is the case.

Indeed when you as a black woman go to ask people for counsel, do you just think, 'Well Belinda is such a nice person,' or 'She is a straight shooter, she will give me the advice to lead me right'. Do you perhaps ask, 'What kind of ideological underpinning does she have, what belief system does she hold internally, and from which she will offer me instructions?'

A new mindset is necessary for black women to lay hold of the future. Such a mindset will enable black women achieve practical and tangible goals, enable black women understand the rules of the everyday power games of which everyody willing or not is engaged in, in fact the mindset will enable black women understand that power games are indeed being played and whether she wants to acknowledge it or participate, she is being moved along the game board.

3/4 of black people offer black women advice from their belief that black women are here to do the bidding of their community (you wont believe this but even white people are beginning to share this sentiment and it is influencing their responses to black women too). Black people offer instructions and freindly advice having in mind black women as the community facilitators, community builders and community backbone, this is irrespective of the fact that they the advisers, might be kind, genuine, considerate and nice people. Do black women understand this dynamic at play?

The Farmer and his Mule

Once there was a farmer who owned a mule, and then the mule became ill. The farmers main concern was how he could get the mule up and working again as fast as possible.

The farmer's concern for the mule was centered around the work that needed to be done on the farm and the loss he was incuring the longer the mule was incapacitated. The farmer wasnt thinking, 'You know this mule is a wonderful creation of God that deserves to live the best life possible', no, it was simply about, 'How do I get this mule to continue to work for me and even increase it's productivity'.

If the mule went to the farmer for advice about its 'problems' thinking, the farmer sees me as an entity that has value within myself and deserving of the best existence possible, the mule would be gravely mistaken.

You can imagine how the farmer would instruct the mule. The farmer would make his pronouncements out of his concern for the work the mule is performing for him, not out of unadulterated concern for mule in its own right. The farmer would offer advice that would ensure the mule did not 'range' too far from it's 'duties'.  The farmer would offer advice and tell the mule to pursue its needs within the boundaries of the 'field' that is its rightful area of operation, even if this means stale grass and polutted waters as opposed to fresh supplies lying just outside the perimeter of the field.

Like I said, it appears black women just look at the external and the apparent goodness and good intention in those they recieve advice from, rather than understanding their perspectives on key issues. They see Mr Lewis as a man who never means to hurt or would never mean to hurt, because of course Mr Lewis is 'brotha' and you know brothers are always for the good of their sisters, right?

Yet Mr Lewis believes firmly that black women are meant to hold it together, with their last breath if necessary, and he either deletes or cannot even begin to concieve of any solution that lies outside the perimeter of black women being 'on call' for race duty, in fact when a suggestion was made of a solution that seemed to loosen black women from their 'race obligations' Mr Lewis got very alarmed, petrified and worried. Yes indeed, Mr Lewis's key concern was about how you as a black woman could continue to serve your commision, more than he was concerned the acute pain and lack you would suffer by continuing to be kept 'in place'. 

The pervasive notion that black women are here as 'race infrastructure' to do the community's bidding exists in the black community construct, and means that black women are almost always instructed with this key consideration foremost in peoples's minds, whether the individual doing the instructing is a nice and kind person. This is simply the same dynamic occuring when sexism is pervasive and the belief in specific jobs for women is rife, how women get rail roaded into careers that fulfill this brief of a woman's job, like 'nursing.' This is regardless of the fact that sweet Mrs Evans who happens to be a woman herself is doing the advicing.

There can be a prevalent idea, doctrine or dynamic circulating within a specific sub group of society which impacts how that group generally responds and reacts. Now some folks would want us to believe that acknowledging such a thing is racism or stereotyping!


Get clued up about interracial dating, read the IR Dating E-book


 And send your questions to relationshipadvice@dateawhiteguybook.com


(I will try my best to give a reply/answer)

29 comments:

Sophisticatedblkwoman said...

I love the way you think, people who think outside the box like you and me get looked at as abnormal. Can you believe someone told me I was positively abnormal ( by another blk female), because I was trying to get her to see how black women are conditioned (sigh!!) This even happened to me during a course I'm taking about black women and the teacher who is black had the nerve to tell me it's up to me to think outside the box (huh?), after I mentioned to her that I'm trying to understand the conditioning of black women and the course may help she even implied I wasn't happy with myself (sigh!!) So much for thinking I was enrolling in a deep course. Sometimes it is really hard to share info with other black women, because some may appear really educated and when I think I can talk freely about my thoughts on the state of black women today, I realize I can't I'm looked as some type of alien or an unhappy person that has been destroyed by and bitter towards black men, or it's the people I'm hanging around( quoted from the teacher) sigh!!

I know one thing I will go with the flow in my class ( and I'm wondering why so many black men are in the course) and not bring new deep thoughts to it. I will just listen to the BS! I'm realizing every black woman does not need to be informed or can even handle a new and true insight on what is really going on in the BC, no matter how educated they appear to be.

I truly hate oblivion!

Oshun said...

Thank you so much for this post Halima!

"Do you perhaps ask, 'What kind of ideological underpinning does she have, what belief system does she hold internally, and from which she will offer me instructions?'"

This really resonates with me so much. The majority of the horrible life decisions I have ever made were a result of not asking the above question.

rainebeaux said...

Ah, yes: the advice...I wrote about this a while back; I wish I'd dug half as deeply as you did, Halima. I'm a the point where not only must these questions be asked before I solicit advice, I must examine the advisors' fruit (or *shudder* the lack thereof).

@Sophisticatedblkwoman: I'm not abnormal yet, but I'm almost there *wan smile*. As for the BM in that class, what could they possibly be doing in there? I'm visualizing much derailment for some reason, perhaps in the hookup sense? Hm, I don't know, hope I'm not projecting; quite curious, though.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is really hard to share info with other black women, because some may appear really educated and when I think I can talk freely about my thoughts on the state of black women today, I realize I can't I'm looked as some type of alien or an unhappy person that has been destroyed by and bitter towards black men

----------------------------------
This experience is an every day thing for me. I have very few black female friends because they look at me like I am crazy when I talk about certain things.

tryexcellence said...

Wow! This analysis (what is the ideological underpinning and/or belief system of the person offering the advice) should be done with every agreement, contract or arrangement into which we as black women enter. Initially, it may take some reminding or conditioning for us to do. For our own self-preservation and success, it must become second nature that we ask ourselves what the perspective is of the person with whom we are dealing.

tryexcellence said...

Wow! For our own preservation, we as BW MUST learn to do this analysis (determine the perspective and ideological underpinnings of the persons with whom we're dealing) as second nature.

Pamela said...

People in general must consider the reason why someone is advising them the way they are. Every person should do this. However as bw we really need to be extra careful. We already understand (or should understand) that not too many people have a real concern for us as a group of people. We also should understand that there is an amazing agenda, scheme, etc. that intends to fool us enough to believe a pipe dream. As stated here there is also the influence of the media and society in general that has jumped on the bandwagon, probably in some cases sincerely believing they are helping bw. Unless each bw decides how they want to live their lives AND has a plumb-line for what that will look like, they will be led by the nose into something that they will regret years later.

You cannot assume that people are thinking with the same view as you are. That needs to be considered when selecting people to ask for advice. The goal should never be advice for advice sake. The goal is to reach where you want to go. There may be a season where you walk as a lone ranger. That is okay if you see positive progress in the direction you desire to go. Probably in most cases when it comes to relationships, bw for the most part may need to go it alone or read objective, hard hitting blogs that tell the truth about what they face. Any advice that implies or states that 'this is the way it is and always will be' is totally useless and better left not heard. If you are around people that try and force their views on you, run from them as quick as you can. Only you can make decisions for your life. Make them with as little pressure as possible (hopefully none). If you need to forego some advice for a time do so if it is not benefiting you.

Faith said...

So many are so grossly indoctrinated and invested in maintaining the status quo that they are in fact useless. Actually they're dangerous to be around because they are so clueless yet so invested in what is familiar to them. Very few actually want free agency for black women.

Sandra77 said...

To Sophisticatedblkwoman: I know this is easy for me to say because I won't be the one on the front lines in your class, but can I encourage you to speak your truth about black women in this course? Your words about black women may be the only chance the black women in that course get to hear about a new way of thinking about themselves, and even if they don't accept your words immediately, you will have planted a seek. I don't say that you should get into arguments with the teacher or the other students, but just to speak your mind, and not be silenced by the unenlightened or by those who know the score but want to keep black women bowed under the old indoctrinatation. Why should you be intimidated into silence, while others exercise their right of free speech to keep black women imprisoned?! Be a light and plant a seek in that course if you can - if only 1 black woman in that course sees the light, I would say it would be worth it.

Lorraine said...

So profound on so many levels. Thanks for this wonderful insight. I used to think that some bw wanted REAL advice, only to find out it was a trap if they didn't like what they heard or didn't want the truth. Thanks again, so much to ponder. I have started to rise above it and put things into their proper perspective.

Thanks again sister.

Sophisticatedblkwoman said...

Sandra77 you make a good point. I have been rethinking keeping silent, for some awful reason I get a funny feeling in my heart when I think of it, maybe it's my instincts. I'm reconsidering though sometimes I just get so tired.

Oshun said...

@ Pamela

Thank you that was really good advice. You look amazing in your pic! Marriage suits you...:)


@ Sophisticatedblkwoman:

"From Sandra: I know this is easy for me to say because I won't be the one on the front lines in your class, but can I encourage you to speak your truth about black women in this course? Your words about black women may be the only chance the black women in that course get to hear about a new way of thinking about themselves, and even if they don't accept your words immediately, you will have planted a seek."


I cosign. I know its not funny, but I had to chuckle when I read the quotes concerning them labeling you as bitter and being unhappy.

Its the same tired tactic BM and others use when labeling a BW a "feminist" in order to shut her up.

I remember reading in a book that when a predator/con man/etc is trying to "set up" someone they will attach a label to them that they think the victim feels a certain way about - either good or bad in order to make them live up to the label or in your case put you on the defensive and refute the label.

I am sorry that you are dealing with such morons - the instructor included.

ak said...

Sophisticatedblkwoman don't even bother to argue with other BW anymore until you hear from their lips anything that sounds to you as if THEY are actually different from everybody else and if it sounds like they think more like you.

Those who want to keep breaking their backs for people who never consider them at all, and those who keep listening to or reading the 'BW gotta help errrrybody!' stuff, as sad as it is to see them do it, you can't stop them you have to just move on.

When one of them SOUNDS as if they maybe about to turn the page in their thinking to a new more life-giving direction, then it might be OK to say a lot more to them.

ak said...

And yeah Sophisticatedblkwoman, it's high time that certain black women whether they're very educated or not, finally drop the whole magical 'black unity is coming today!' views left over from the 60s and 70s.

But if it were me, I'd just stop hanging out with those black women all together or say very little of my views to them especially if I'm not prompted to.

ak said...

Hey Sophisticated can you change courses or is it too late for you now? Can it be like an easy A or something where you don't have to show up in every class of this 'subject'? LOL

ak said...

To rainebeaux:

The BM students want to get their ego boost fix of why 'they are God's gift to every BW alive or even to all women in general'! LOL

And yeah they want to catch a lady who's desperate and insecure.

When I see BM like that and their lil black lady-enablers I start to think that oblivion as Sophisticatedblkwoman puts it, is NOT such a bad idea. I'm tired of being around black people who just refuse to 'see' or have their own little agendas going on.

ak said...

Sandra77:

Why should you (Sophisticatedblkwoman) be intimidated into silence, while others exercise their right of free speech to keep black women imprisoned?!

Sandra77, you make a good point and I don't want discouragement for Sophisticatedblkwoman but as long as SHE'S strong enough to take that and any counterblows. As long as her professor doesn't give her shady grades. Black men AND very sadly black women, both hate to see or know of any black person who's different or has different interests; some don't even like it if you don't speak with a 'Southern AA' type accent all the time or not at all.

It wasn't long ago that black people had to say things against black people who went skiing, camping, surfing, listened to different types of rock, opera, classical, or country-western, or some probably still have to make fun of you for that today! LOL

And then black people act in all of these ignorant, divisive ways and then wonder out loud why black people never seem to be 'doing any better' on a whole or why blacks 'don't support each other more'?

I just look at them now and think 'Are they CRAZY? Or blind maybe?' Indoctrinated BM and BW are just reaping what they sow because of the way they treat each other; they cannot blame it continuously all on white people anymore.

Nu Girl said...

Hello,

I have been a lurker on this site for a little bit now and I just had to chime in on this one. I mentioned this over at Khadija's blog M Bushido.

I was once attended an event in Harlem hosted by a well respected sister. I was there to learn more about a healthier lifestyle through diet and yoga.

While there an elder sister who I admired for her beauty, spirit and overall zest took the mic. I was excited to hear what she had to say, when she said something that made my jaw drop.

She warned us younger sisters that the reason why she was alone and unpartnered at 60 years of age was because she was "too picky". You could tell from her eyes and her body that she really believed this in her heart. She did not elaborate after that statement, so after the event I tagged her and repectfully asked for more insight into what she meant. With everything that sisters are going through, one would think we would need to be more picky.

She was more interested in me buying her book than she was about providing a younger sister some wisdom and insight. I know now that she got up on that stage and made that comment to stike a nerve with all the sisters in the audiance, so she could see more book sales.

I learned that day that you have to be especially careful with the Afrocentric crowd especially the older ones because there is dated ideals that are no longer suited for African Women.

I am now in deep throught on how I can maintain my cultural and political ideals while being and teaching my daughter to be a free agent.

Nu Girl (sorry for the typos)

Anonymous said...

I think all people should be aware of whom they receive advice from not just Black Women. It is not just Black Women who have issues distinguishing who has their best interest at hand as well as who is "qualified" to give them advice. I am very cautious of who I give advice to as well as who I allow to influence me. I'm not cautious because I'm a Black Woman, but because I'm a person! The internet especially allows people to create a persona and perpetuate illogical conclusions and ideologies. We should all be cautious least we have the blind leading the blind.

cool_splash1 said...

I think all people should be aware of whom they receive advice from not just Black Women. It is not just Black Women who have issues distinguishing who has their best interest at hand as well as who is "qualified" to give them advice.

While that's true the focus of the blog is about bw. So yes while others need to look out as well and you can get bad or dangerous advice from the net most people get it from family, friends teachers etc. I look at it like this whatever is bad for other groups is probably much worse with us.

cool_splash1 said...

Chapter 16 (Titled How to Get a Stubborn Person to Change His Mind About Anything) of David J. Lieberman's Get Anyone to Do Anything and Never Feel Powerless Again. It's basically talking about implanting the idea or lowering peoples guard for a second etc. I know it's sort of mental warfare, but you might have to play it.

Have you thought of sending the bw the black women empowerment blog links. I remember discussing on Sara's site that maybe it would be a good idea for bloggers, readers etc. to come up with fake email addresses and sort of be a SWP type dissing out the sites, but linking them. This could be the same with forums, blogs, YT and other places especially those were black women are prominent. That is how Evia and others got many readers, because these negative and hateful people were telling people about her site. Maybe that's something you could do. You might want to get their email addresses and send the links. The SWP format or black love/unity crap might be effective, because if these women are still in the mindset having the opp to see and read these sites might help them. At the same time I don't know about that as well as they would get much hate mail, but many bw have secretly become readers and then loudly.

My next reads are the Art of War by Sun Tzu and The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Yeah I know, but I'm starting to think we are going to have to do some covert and overt psychological war tactics on these people.

sistrunkqueen said...

I think that Sophisticatedblkwoman should not tell these black women anything. Let them continue to be bashed in the head. BW with common sense will date IR.
Those who want nothing but a BM will be less competition for a WM. You don't want to flunk this class for some fools. Self -preservation first.

cool_splash1 said...

I think that Sophisticatedblkwoman should not tell these black women anything. Let them continue to be bashed in the head. BW with common sense will date IR.
Those who want nothing but a BM will be less competition for a WM. You don't want to flunk this class for some fools. Self -preservation first.

That's another thing I forgot to mention. If you don't want to talk to them don't. But don't make yourself feel guilty about not saying anything when these women let the bc use them. It's on them. You gave them the message and they didn't listen.

Pamela said...

sistrunkqueen, I may have to agree with you on that one. I thought about when I was in college. I doubt if I would have been willing to risk a grade for any reason during those days. If I had to have that class I probably would have given the answer the teacher wanted even though I disagreed. Maybe wait until you have completed the class to make the point if you feel you must.

tlynn said...

Some of those nothing but a black man women will never ever get it. Save yourself first, THEN if you want to share your story, be selective on who you share it with. Alot of those women are very spiteful and hateful. Sorry but it's the truth.

Oshun said...

@ Sophisticatedblkwoman


I apologize. I was caught up in the moment.

In light of what the other posters mentioned concerning grades - sharing your views probably would not be a good idea. Especially since your professor is on board with them and is not open to critique or having your back.

Sophisticatedblkwoman said...

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and I have decided not to say anything I don't care anymore I'm just focusing on me and gravitating towards the people who are just as aware. And continuing to read this blog and my other two favorite blogs, whenever I get the time. I feel like I took the discussion here and topic off course, but I wanted to reply to everyone. The opinions of the women here are always insightful.

Anonymous said...

Y'know, the "black unity' movement is OLD i cant believe 1970 was 30 years ago and 1960 was 40 years ago; sistas, we gotta be looking out for ourselves in a healthy way]]go to churches that would support you {the're plenty and they are pretty multiethnic}and your family..bedsides, im a black girl that likes country music

Anonymous said...

OOOps WOW...1970 IS 40 YEARS AGO AND 1960 IS 50 YEARS AGO