In my last entry I wrote that 'women are supposed to be treated more delicately than men'. For me that sentence underscored all I was trying to say in that post, that you dont lay the same burden on the back of women as you lay on men. Now some folks had a huge problem with this idea! It just didnt sit right with them, to them, 'Black women ought to take half, I mean its only logical and fair'!
But isnt it amazing, that even white women, who have -because of the nature of their communities and how gender and race work in society- greater agency and have taken greater strides towards equality etc will never argue to share blame for social ills with men. Lol that will be a cold day in hell!
There is an African proverb I have come across which says that when you treat a child the way you treat his peers, he is happy. I think black women need to hold tight to the sentiment of being treated similar to anyone else because there is a lot of deliberate attempts at 'confusing the compass' of black women, that one neat way black women can orient themselves is to look at what pertains to other women and recognize when folks are trying to sell them a bad deal. See black women are supposed to be out there 'blazing trails' in terms of reaching feminist milestones, however we have regonized that what black women end up having are actually the counterfeits of the real deal. What white feminists see as black women being independent is actually black women being left to shoulder all the burden, what they see as black women finally reaching that grand achievement of not 'needing a man' is actually black women being targetted for social rejection.
So for now, I think black women should aim for what other women are having and getting and maybe sometime in the future when the conditions are safe, black women can live out of step with the rest of society/womanhood.
What I have noticed is that because black women are so used to bearing all the burden, carrying all the responsbility and taking all the blame, at this point, many are so happy to take 50% of it for a change lol! Black women are saying, 'I am so happy to go halves on the blame here!'
I dont care what they do and how they act, white women never volunteer for half the blame, men are always still to blame for the bulk of social problems or had more to do with the way the situation turned out etc etc. Half the gain? yes they'll take that, but half the blame? no, never! Thank God for them because if it was left for black women to set the standards, I can see all sorts of bad deals for women in terms of child support, rape laws etc etc.
The 'negotiators' have really done their work on black women!
A lot of black women continue to be trapped by their need to be the better person, to play fair and carry an equal load. Many are convinced that spliting things straight down the middle is the way to do it, they dont take into consideration other factors for instance the 'agency' of the parties involved in a racist and sexist, society that would make a 30/70 split actually more equitable.
Often unbalanced contracts are sold to black women under the guise of 'its fair' (and many folks know and capitalize on black women's need to play according to the rules and employ moral rectitude as a guding principle).
Do black women realize that splitting things down the middle isnt always the way to guarantee a fair and balanced deal especially when other things are at play?
Re cooperating with a system set againt you
I was talking with someone the other day who made it a point to tell me that black women ought to be able to act as they want to, and feel as free to be whoever they so desire in public and out of it. This person insisted that black women's 'right to be' should not be impinged on or constrained because of the unfair burden of having to be ambassadors for black people/women. They were adamant that whites hold stereotpyes against all black folk unfairly anyway. This was in response to my entry about black women cooperating with a system set against them.
My response to black women who think this way is;
1) Black women do not live in a vacuum, we live in a specific reality. It is what it is!
2) We need to create the best life possible for us within the prevailing conditions even as we either hope for, or plot for 'better conditions' for us or for those young black women coming after us.
Indeed why would anyone want to cooperate with a system that has set a low value on them and wants to ensure they are trapped in lack and less and all the low status positions in society? If society says that black women are 'neck rolling' and 'loud', how does behaving along to these stereotypes help black women especially as society will justify giving black women 'less.' Also what is the attraction in behaving uncouth and surely meeting my goals and ambitions is much more important than proving any point that society needs to let us be free to be that way? The way I see it, the idea in this case, should be to thwart societies 'ambitions' for us? Would it not be extremely satisfying to employ strategies that put societies plans for us to nought?
Ok so black women have the added responbility of evading the traps of society and even the burden of being 'ambassador for race' etc etc but I would rather bear the burden of a 'thwarter' of societies evil plans for black women, (it would give me seceret pleasure) than the burden of being a victim of the system just to prove a point.
Our freedoms are impinged upon everyday, it is nothing new. Take for instance you have a lovely rolex watch. It is your right to wear it it anywhere you want, but how many of you would insist on that 'right' to the point you feel you must wear it in an area where there have been daily muggings! Most of us would be happy to be reasonable about this scenerio but curiously want to insist on our right to behave in ways that stigmatize us in broader society.
Each day you dress up and walk out of your door, you, to a good extent, are in a new role and not your 'real' self if we can put it that way. We all adjust and perform in public, it is not limited to black people. Yes there are a few more dimensions to how black people perform their public role if not anything, to accrue the resources they need to make more of their real selves.
Again life is not fair, the actions of other black women should not be used against us even as the actions of certain types of white women are not used against the rest, however this is how the formular is applied in the case of black women. How will you deal with this reality to give yourself the breaks you need?
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Posted by Halima at 1:38 PM 33 comments Links to this post