Thursday, July 08, 2010

The phrase, 'We as a community'...

I have had reason to ask, what do black women/people mean when they use this phrase? It is a phrase used constantly across the blogosphere and black discussion portals, even in real life gathering of black folk. I mostly see it being used by black women (though not exclusively) but more times enough for me to wonder about it's usage.

There are a number of variants of this phrase; 'we as a people', 'we as blacks', 'we as a community' or simply 'we'.

The reason why I am on this phrase today, is because I am wondering how these black women using it are picturing the so called community.

This phrase seems to suggest a community of active man and woman, organized around their interests, maybe fallen into a little slumber but still 'conscious' enough with the ability to be 'roused' into a functional pose especially with such a phrase 'reminding' them of what they should be about/do. When 'we as a community' is used it conjures up an image of a body of black males and females still in a 'conscious' and organizable mode, just needing a little 'tap' to snap them back into their 'rightful mind' (Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones comes to mind here!).

Apparently these women are seeing something different to what I see around me and what I know to be true about the real state of this so called 'community'.

In truth, you and I know that the community to all intents and purposes, consists of a group of struggling black women, mostly single and a significant portion single mothers, under an immense load of responsibily and single handedly being charged with sustaining the black community and now, they have to get busy with this addition injunction, being suggested immediately after the application of that phrase, 'we as a people'!

Bless them, the community we keep speaking about is really black women struggling to keep the dream of a black race alive, nothing more, even as the users of such phrases try to conjure in us an image of the days when there was a cohesive group of men and women who did respond to such charges to do whatsoever for the wellbeing of their race. Maybe that is what this is, a phrase to remind us of our former greatness so we can rise to the occassion! Sadly the fact remains that the charge is simply falling on black women once again.

So lets try a little substitution here, and in place of 'we as a community' let us substitute 'community' for what we know to be true about its true nature, so here goes..

We as a community 'struggling group of black women being the only ones interested and responsive to calls to keep the black race going and already weighed down by the inordinate burden of having to resource the black race alone', need to do XYZ (raise our boys/girls, tackle the criminal elements, build black infrastructure, etc etc).

This is essentially how I translate any such comments containing the phrase 'we as a black community.'

But maybe I am mistaken and someone can enlighten me on what the phrase really is all about and hopes to achieve if not just sound like it is saying something profound, and to both genders while really loading black women down once again!

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22 comments:

Felicia said...

"'struggling group of black women being the only ones interested and responsive to calls to keep the black race going and already weighed down by having to resource the black race alone', need to do XYZ (raise our boys/girls, tackle the criminal elements, build black infrastructure, etc etc)."

ROFLMAO! You NAILED it Halima! Thanks for that. I don't have that much to add because you summed up the truth beautifully.

Any BW seriously listening to any wannabe leach or masochist talking about "We as a community" needs to have her head examined.

And what's funny is, even many upwardly mobile and successful black folks who live and work in cushy predominantly (or solely) white communities (for safety reasons) - and sometimes IR married themselves - preach that "we as a black community" and frequently " we must save the black community" crap.

Knowing FULL well they themselves aren't about "saving" anyone but themselves and their comfortable lifestyles.

This "call to action" and "we" talk is SPECIFICALLY meant for the black female VICTIMS (these victims have often contributed to their victimhood by choosing to stay and support those who mean them no good time and time again) of these DBRBM.

Why? Because NO one else is listening. That's why.

The majority of BM are officially OUT (physically, mentally, and emotionally) of the "community". Or, they make special appearances here and there when they need help of some kind.

A lot of black folks talk about "We as a community" not because they actually believe it but because it hurts to much to think - and is utterly embarrassing to admit - that seemingly EVERYONE else has a working one BUT black folk.

It's natural for human beings to not want to feel left out.

So... To make a long story short, the phrase "We as a community" - on a grand scale (as opposed to individual/personal) - Is just a meaningless and deceptive phrase to me. It goes in one ear and right out there other with a quickness. Since I already know who is expected to carry the multiple burdens and "keep the dream (nightmare) alive".

BW. But not THIS BW.

These days and into the foreseeable future the "black community" - on a grand scale (there are pockets of normality still left but that's the clear minority) - is simply a figment of black women's imagination.

Life, love, marriage, community, protection, and every other benefit of modern civilization can still be found in the global community.

THIS is where it's at.

Felicia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

UMMM-UMM-UM There is too many sistas doin' the work that only real men should do. We caint fight the world. I think if whites want to help (and some do; especially white men,) we should let them

Icon said...

Hey Halima,

I agree, I don't get it as well. But what I've got is that "we" is the oldest manipulation trick in the book.

1. In the book the "gift of fear", the author discusses how predators and attackers appeal to the emotions of women by using premature "we" statements to invoke similarity. In a friendly manner, "Wow, it looks like we should have prepared for the rain right?" as you're both soaking wet going into a dimly lit abandoned parking garage...

2. In history blacks were subjected to a forced identity with their masters and superiors during Jim Crow(The famous line of the Malcolm X movie where Denzel/Malcolm discusses this in his speech using the fitting example "hey boss we sick today?"), as proof that it's a sickening example of what was indeed done/is done to force co-identity with people who have power over you.

3. Black nationalists in college always mentioned "We as Americans" suddenly popped/pops up for example whenever there's a call to patriotism and war, even when blacks couldn't go to white diners, or now when we're not considered "real Americans". These nationalists reasoned it was impossible for us to drop our differences and focus on the "bigger picture", for the good of "all", when we don't have the same benefit in doing so. (Ironically, it is identical to what these men expect of black women).

3. Premature "we" statements before established emotional intimacy(as any self help relationship book) is said to be proof that a man's lying and working hard to manipulate. "When we in the future" to get women into bed for example.

4. Supervisors do this to staff who are doing their work as being in a position of authority allows them to take credit for your work. "We should make sure this paperwork is processed by tomorrow morning", when requesting you do the work by yourself, does it work in reverse? NO!

5. "We as a community" is at best establishing premature similarity out of manipulation, and at worse appealing to the attachment factor innate to women. As Malcolm said in the movie, there can never be any white-black unity under segregation (duh). Likewise, the fact that black men have much more privilege than black women do would make "same-ness" impossible by default. When we start seeing this reality, more statements such as my favorite "no other group has ever been through what we have as a people" pop up to establish more manipulative similarity to get what's necessary. As I said, it's the oldest trick in the book.

Anonymous said...

BW are mindlessly repeating slogans. That's my take on all of this.

Many BW are in SERIOUS need of developing critical thinking skills. So many of us believe that 2 + 2 = 5.

We're doing the bulk of the 'investing' yet the 'brothas' reap the 'interest'.

It's absurd!

Bellydancer said...

Black women today are acting like they are in "cargo cults" where you mimic and behave in a manner and you don't know why you are doing it but somebody told you to so you keep doing certain things and you get no reaction but it used to work for your people in the past so you keep doing it.
They keep waiting for black men, black community or the black church to bring them the cargo(wealth, financial stability) without understanding that they have the ability to produce this themselves and have been supporting these entities for awhile imagine if they started to support themselves with the same vigor, instead they practice obedience to a system that does not benefit them.

ARLYNE said...

I agree with Icon. The "we have been through more than...." statement keeps BW seeing themselves as separate from everyone else. This has crippled her from venturing out of the BC because she maintains an "us" versus "them" mentality. When I would discuss IR dating, too many BW would voice concern over how to relate to a non BM". BW must grow out of this mindset. They sadly refuse to realize that BM do not have a problem relating to non BW. The "us" is only BW, and the "them" has changed.

Anonymous said...

Annon. 12:56

I agree; however, give the help directly to the women. I am not necessarily referring to the "First Wives Club" type of woman, because she will probably give most of the help directly back to the Bishop or whatever name they are using this year and the majority of women and children will still be left out.

a.

Khadija said...

Great post, Halima! {chuckling at how you've laid bare the reality behind that deceptive "we as a community" phrase}

To tie this in with your recent post about how BW change their minds, many BW get extremely angry whenever another BW points out the reality behind that phrase. They can't (sensibly) argue about it. They know, as Felicia said, that "the majority of BM are officially OUT (physically, mentally, and emotionally) of the 'community.' Or, they make special appearances here and there when they need help of some kind."

So, instead, these BW act as if clearly stating the reality is somehow preventing BM from stepping up to the plate.

I've concluded that the only thing that will shake some of the BF "dead-enders" out of their "we as a community" stupor is to see increasing numbers of other BW leaving them behind. Despite their grumbling and "wincing," (per Jill Scott) these half-aware BW accept that BM are entitled to abandon them. To these women, it's okay for BM to move on while they suffer. That's why they continue to support BM who have checked out of all that "community" stuff.

But it's not okay to these BW to see other BW move on, leave them behind, and live well. That will be the final straw for a lot of these women.

These BW "wince" at BM who move on and leave them behind, but they'll have meltdowns and a crisis of faith in "the community" when they see large numbers of other BW checking out of that "community" mess.

Expect Success!

Felicia said...

"Despite their grumbling and "wincing," (per Jill Scott) these half-aware BW accept that BM are entitled to abandon them. To these women, it's okay for BM to move on while they suffer. That's why they continue to support BM who have checked out of all that "community" stuff."

Khadija... you've laid the truth BARE! BRAVO. That's exactly how these dumb masochists "think". And that's but one of many reasons why they're of that group who's financial net worth is five bucks.

http://uspoverty.change.org/blog/view
/the_median_net_wealth_of_black_women_is_5

"But it's not okay to these BW to see other BW move on, leave them behind, and live well. That will be the final straw for a lot of these women."

That is SO damn true! I myself in the past have been in the unfortunate position of being in the presence of hateful, jealous, and spiteful young hardened urban BW (usually in a customer service situation) who have acted as if being in my presence (especially with my husband and children) is making them feel like a double slave. I say double because BM are already making these girls/women feel like crap and treating them like slaves, but oddly enough when another BW is happy, pleasant, and visibly comfortable, and NOT suffering, it makes these same "black community" focused BW irritated/enraged.

I will HAPPILY admit that this was much more of an issue years ago than it is is today thankfully.

These days, a number of young BW I'm encountering (in customer service and elsewhere) are straitening up, being more pleasant, and acting as if they're "taking notes" and learning.

And this is a POSITIVE development that I thought would never happen. I think we can actually thank DBRBM for this because a hard head makes a soft behind. The ONLY thing that's going to continue to wake up a certain percentage of BW out there and encourage them to find actual normal men and actual normal lives in the global community is continued abuse/neglect from DBRBM.

It's very unfortunate this needless suffering many BW put themselves through, but "whatever it takes" I guess. A certain percentage WILL reach the light at the end of the tunnel. And I'm grateful for that.

"These BW "wince" at BM who move on and leave them behind, but they'll have meltdowns and a crisis of faith in "the community" when they see large numbers of other BW checking out of that "community" mess."

The ones having meltdowns and a crisis of faith - and this will unfortunately increase amongst some BW masochists - I believe will primarily be coming from the older indoctrinated BW who are already burdened with a bunch of OOW children, or duped childless "nothing but a bm" BW who were waiting for a "black prince" (lol).

Again I suspect it will primarily be the older BW - who for a variety of reasons (that may and MAY NOT be true) feel they can't pull universally desirable type Quality WM (and other non BM) - who will be having problems as increasing numbers of BW date and marry out to Quality non BM.

Because then it will be clear that they're TOTALLY alone in their self-inflicted situation.

Other BW won't be coming to the rescue to help pick up the pieces anymore and this SCARES a certain percentage of BW out there.

Khadija and Halima, you two have been truly deep this time!

Khadija said...

Felicia,

Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

You said, "The ones having meltdowns and a crisis of faith I believe will primarily be coming from the older "bc" indoctrinated BW who already have OOW children, or duped childless "nothing but a bm" BW who were waiting for a "black prince" (lol).

Because as more BW date and marry out - it will be clear once and for all - that they're TOTALLY alone in their self-inflicted situation."

I agree. I would add another demographic segment to that older, "on their way to a meltdown and/or crisis of faith" category: BW who mistakenly thought they had gotten themselves together and gotten their personal situations straight and secure. In other words, BW like Debra Dickerson.

She's a good example of why I always mention additional fallback plans whenever the "Man Plan" comes up in a conversation. The "Man Plan" of marrying well is a VERY good plan for women that has been proven to work throughout human history. But I believe that it shouldn't be the only safety net that a woman creates for herself.

Any sort of crisis or setback such as a divorce, serious illness, job layoff, or failing economy (like the current undeclared Depression) has a way of exposing the cracks in a marriage or any other situation. Some foundations turn out to be more sturdy than others.

No matter how secure people think their individual situations are, it never hurts to do some periodic spot checks, and to keep strengthening other safety nets for oneself and one's children. Like you said, Felicia, NOBODY'S going to come riding to the rescue for the vast majority of BW if they should ever stumble and fall.

The bottom line is that a woman can't create any sort of safety net for herself if she allows herself to be duped by false slogans such as "we as a community."

Expect Success!

Felicia said...

Thank you for these excellent recent comments you've made Khadija.

Everyone can benefit from them.

And yes, Debra Dickerson perfectly illustrates the points you've made.

There's got to be a plan B, C, and so on because even in the best circumstances, life is still ultimately unpredictable.

If one plans ahead for unforeseeable circumstances, they shouldn't have to fall so totally through the cracks.

Faith said...

Of course "community" is a trap. Who really wants to have everything they may be familiar with upended?

Even other black women who may be living better than most or in interracial relationship may still fall into random black male protectionism.

They are also not necessarily an ally to other black women who seek to empower others. It's as if most blacks would like a blanket of silence to remain in effect. As long as they are doing okay they don't want to hear anyone else shedding light on these matter.

I think there's still another category of AA black women - those under or around 30 who claim to be open to all black men of the diaspora (but who I think are still mostly focused on AA black men).

They haven't concluded the majority of the pool of men they're seeking are wholly inadequate or not interested in them. They still think they have time.

I am loathe to refer to any of these women as dumb or other less flattering terms. We simply have a difference of opinion and free will to make choices. Should any women be weighing their options for change being ridiculed is certainly not going help persuade them!

We can dispense information and lead by example. It will be the high profile and higher caliber lives of black women who've made more life-affirming choices that will set the pace.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija:

Despite their grumbling and "wincing," (per Jill Scott) these half-aware BW accept that BM are entitled to abandon them. To these women, it's okay for BM to move on while they suffer. That's why they continue to support BM who have checked out of all that "community" stuff.

My reply:

I think of it more as resignation. That is what I have been hearing, that they know it is not right, but they can't do anything about changing black men's minds, so they become resigned to what is happening.

Thus, the pleas for "dialogue," the discussions of their "wincing," their "pain," in the hope that black men will feel sorry for them and "do right."

They hope that by "standing by the brothas" the men will suddenly wake up and feel grateful for their loyalty.

Masochism, like Felicia says? They like suffering? Or is it they feel they have no choice?

Pitiful chances (in the black community) in their view are better than what they see as even lesser chances, nonexistent ones in the normal community of the outside world.

Whether that is accurate, or not, as Felicia argues, is a different question; it comes down to the individual woman and an objective assessment.

Khadija said...

PioneerValleyWoman,

You said, "I think of it more as resignation. That is what I have been hearing, that they know it is not right, but they can't do anything about changing black men's minds, so they become resigned to what is happening.

Thus, the pleas for "dialogue," the discussions of their "wincing," their "pain," in the hope that black men will feel sorry for them and "do right."

How do 21st century women living in the US become "resigned" to suffering and spiritual, emotional, and finally physical death? Because this is what too often comes as a result of hitching one's life to AA men. It reminds me of the old Nation of Islam diagram that showed 2 flags, the US flag and the NOI flag. Under the US flag there was the caption "Slavery. Suffering. Death."

I'm sure that every AA who saw that diagram during the Jim Crow era completely understood why that caption was chosen. Their life circumstances and those of every Black person around them bore witness to the truth of that caption. No further explanation was necessary.

Can't these resigned women see that the walls are closing in on them? Can't they see how their position is worsening by the year and month? I've already mentioned in the past the horrible decline in AA women's lives that I've seen take place since the 1980s.

Well, there's been another visible, DRASTIC drop in just the past 5 years! BM's gratuitous, public hate speech against BW has become the new norm. These resigned BW see this. Can't they catch a hint and purchase a clue?

Don't they see the direct relationship between their pleas for "dialogue" and public revealing of their pain over what Negro males are doing AND the coresponding increase in BM's contempt for them? The more AA women beg and plead for dialogue, the more hatred and contempt BM show for them!

And let me say something else while I'm on my borrowed soapbox over here:

This SAME dynamic applies to those BW who are foolish enough to go to Internet Ike Turner sites to debate with the lunatics who hang out there. My blog readers sometimes send me links to certain crazy conversations.

Those of y'all who persist in visiting those sites to debate with the Ikes and Ikettes are just as caught up as Jill Scott! Because you're STILL paying undue attention to worthless Negro males (and their braindead BF guard dogs). You're obsessed just like Jill Scott is obsessed with BM. You're NOT winning any battles for BW and girls by going to such places to argue with lunatics. All you're doing is giving flattery to those nuts by caring enough about what they think to talk to them.

The other angle is that the time you waste with the nuts is time you haven't spent doing something that will actually move you forward in life. And I'm sure that some of y'all who do this are stil living in unsafe neighborhods, and still totally dependent on the salary from ONE unstable job. Think about it...

Halima said...

Khadija

I agree with you that they see these things, i think however there is the bit that 'the book of black perspectives', which they continue to refer to for life guidnace and directions, doesnt say anything beyond, 'keep trying, because there is no where else from here.'

Black women are in my view in the process of 'accomodating' to their degradation. i see it all around, putting up with colorism, with attacks, cheering on hair flippers that have been placed over them etc etc. each day they are required to sacrifice another piece of their being to fit into the current structure of things as desired and deigned by black men, and i see black women obliging; cutting off an arm or a leg that makes them not fit with the latest requirement of black men and the black community!

Khadija said...

Halima,

You said, "I agree with you that they see these things, i think however there is the bit that 'the book of black perspectives', which they continue to refer to for life guidnace and directions, doesnt say anything beyond, 'keep trying, because there is no where else from here.'"

I agree. However, even if they can't quite see anywhere else, much less a path to anywhere else, they should realize that early and untimely DEATH is where their current path leads. They should figure that almost anything else in the world outside their all-Black social circles---within Western socieities like the US and UK---has to be better than staying within their all-Black social circles. If these women would just poke their heads out of the all-Black hellzone, they would see this for themselves.

Which is why I'm doubly annoyed with the BW who have already seen better in the outer world, but yet KEEP running back to Internet Ike Turner/Ikette cesspools to roll around in the vomit tussling with Ikes and Ikettes.

You said, "Black women are in my view in the process of 'accomodating' to their degradation. i see it all around, putting up with colorism, with attacks, cheering on hair flippers that have been placed over them etc etc. each day they are required to sacrifice another piece of their being to fit into the current structure of things as desired and deigned by black men, and i see black women obliging; cutting off an arm or a leg that makes them not fit with the latest requirement of black men and the black community!"

Well, I would suggest that such BW read and consider the Edgar Allan Poe short story The Man That Was Used Up. That particular story shows where that type of sacrificing leads to.

Halima said...

Thanks all for your responses

Pioneer you have given me something more to think about and it appears the model i 'come up with' about how black women change needs to reflect this feeling of hopelessness (which is what i believe is the meat of your comment).

Khadija I guess it becomes ever more important to tell black women to seperate! Separate out from zombie black women that are around them!

Only 1 out of four of bw by my calculations will not become permamnent fodder for BC with the resulting destroyed life, sickness and lifestyle diseases!

Hear ye Hear ye Hear ye!

If a bw wants to survive she has to consider that those around particularly other black women are zombie heads walking towards destruction.

the general flow of black womanhood is indeed towards self destruction, there is no denying it, and we can see it clearly in the obesity epidemic, HIV rates, Single and struggling parenthood, rates of violence etc etc etc and thus any black woman who wants to survive has to be clearly doing something almost radically different from what other black women are doing.

If your life alignes with 80% of what other black women are about, their preoccupations, inetersts and concerns then it is almost guranteed that you will not make it!

A survivor-mided bw must thus purposefully (not by mistake or happenstance) chart her path out of the way of destruction.

Shan said...

I just thought I would share this commentary made by this white radio host.

Single Black Women: Admire Them and Leave Them Alone

By: Jeff Bolton – KLIF 570’s host of The Jeff Bolton Show

Young black women in America – many of whom have been grossly labeled in the vile underbelly of hip hop culture with street monikers — bitches, ho’s and baby mamas — are displaying a gutsy propensity in 2010 to succeed in life on their own terms, and this has the chattering classes truly abuzz because these women are succeeding without the benefit of marriage to stable, faithful, loving black men.

If you’ve been listening to the pop culture media machine lately, much ado has been made about the dearth of intelligent, faithful, successful black males for the growing pool of single, unmarried, successful black women. In the same discussion, much has been made of the startling statistics confirming that single, unmarried, successful black women are earning advanced college degrees at a rate far greater than young black males.

These issues are being reported with no small amount of energy given to the efforts of these remarkable women. Here’s the answer to the issue and we’ll put the subject to rest once and for all: admire these women and leave them alone. There’s nothing wrong with them. They shouldn’t be forced into a box made by society’s expectations for them. Why is the sad, tired story of the failure of black men in society placed ahead of that of the success of black women in this pop culture reporting?

For society to become concerned with the plight of black women now that black women are succeeding on their own terms would be comical if it weren’t so sad. Many of the black women succeeding today have toiled in obscurity for years at the bottom of the societal barrel, often in broken homes and with life circumstances that would melt most people. The fact that our society is saying black women need to find a good black man to settle down with is an insult.

To make this situation even worse, in a society that honors men over women, the first point registered by opinion makers when discussing the plight of black women is the story that young black men are statistically an abject failure in virtually every area of measurement in our culture. And so it goes, this makes black men unavailable to the legions of young black women graduating with advanced degrees. These women deserve to have their accomplishments and success celebrated first. The fact that they are succeeding should stand on its own. Admire these remarkable young black women succeeding on their terms against great odds, and let society leave it’s box for their lives in the gutter where it belongs.

Selena said...

Uh, uh, uh Lawd Halima LOL, I've heard "We as a community" too many to count!

Anonymous said...

'We as a community' had its place BEFORE THE 1980S!!I blame rap music for that one. although black men were dating outside in the 70s and 80s, its nothing like today. We do need to be treated like ladies though and there is men who will do that (I've notice too much that some of us are sooooo uptight and not relaxed and 'ladylike' like Phillipinas, it seems like everybody is going after them.

Anonymous said...

Hi, just wanted to say your blog is the best!!! I have been reading your blog for many...many months!!! Maybe almost a year now....I never posted, but just read your blog and comments. Because of you I stop with the whole black people together thing, when bm date a ww....how is that us together? Now I will stand up for black womens rights, thats it!

Also I wanted to mention a post you made about black women and weight.SOOOOOOOOO TRUE, when I was slimming down more wm were taking notice of me, now that am back to my fat self....less take notice and more bm then ever :(

Keep up the good work and whenever you get a chance tell me what you think of my blog...yes am angry in it sometimes I mean I feel sorry for other bw who feel the need to date only bm. My blog is mainly on my weight and wm, and in the future once am thin..lol you get the idea.

But keep up the awesome work and even though I don't reply in your comments just know that many of us are just readers who really agree with you. So you have a lot more fans then you think inculding my sister!

http://ipreferwhitemen.blogspot.com/