Friday, May 06, 2011

What are your plans for improving your fortunes?

I once told a freind of mine that black women are the hardest folk to sell to particularly innovative products that make you effective in what you already do. This is because black women often do not have a plan to 'get ahead' of the pack. Note I said 'get ahead of the pack'. See there is the general, 'progressing in life', and there is the 'getting ahead of the pack'. Many black women do the former but have no clue re the later in fact many feel doing the later is somehow 'wrong'. Yep I was talking to a another freind about how someone plotted their course strategically to get what they wanted and she wrinkled her nose and said eww, as if the woman had done something immoral! lol. I reflected on how it is that this freind is 'where she is' in life.

Improving your fortunes beyond getting what is coming towards you 'naturally' even logically seems to be looked upon as an 'evil art' among bw. Other women however have aggressive plans to put themselves in front or on the map or out ahead. And so while black women wrinkle their noses as they zoom past, these women live the life.

You have to honestly get past the notion that strategically planning and plotting your success course to be ahead of your peers is wrong or evil. I live in a seriosuly class based society here and one of the ways that the class system is kept alive is by imparting a sense of 'wrongness' to the idea of striving and wanting to better oneself and be rich etc. There are all sorts of names used to describe the upper classes like 'toffs' etc, to confer the notion that nobody would want to be 'liek them'. But note that the 'toffs' are living better, healtheir and longer lives. Note that the upper classes already have the structure and norms, money and family arrangements and networks that make 'getting ahead', natural and normal. The working class doesnt and so anyone from the working class who wants to make it needs to be 'purposeful' in their actions and activities towards getting to the top, and it is this purpose that others are trying to stamp down by making it seem immoral to want to be rich etc! Replace I want to be rich with 'I want to live well, live healthier by having access to private health care, personal training, i want to buy my mother a house or give her that hip replacement operation she needs etc' and you might just shake loose that inculcated, 'slimy feeling' to the idea of wealth and riches that is really keeping you from the path to wealth.

Beacuse other women have agressive (and I dont mean they fight but they are dilligent), self elevation plans, they often inspire inventions and innovations to products. They in turn see a product and immediately know how they can 'plug it into' their current plans to give them the acceleration they need in any area.

Weightloss, body toning, dress, style, hair products etc, I am not so sure that black women are often left behind when it comes to innovation, because of racism and lack of numbers. I think as a group it is noted that we often do not respond appropraitely to innovation because, 'what we need that for anyway'. We are not looking to overtake and move out in front so we dont know what to do with some of these 'inventions'. Indeed it is only those who are working some plan that see the reason why they should have a stronger rope, stronger ship, car or what have you.

Many black women have internalized the idea that 'we are to be at the back', not in so many words but as an inchoate notion, like a slight beat they march their lives to (this is one reason why I tell black women to fully think through some of the feelings they respond ardently to because often the fully crystallized idea is one of black women's inferiority but many of us dont acertain this because we are happy to subcribe to 'unsquared' logic, feelings, impressions than really understand the full idea being presented).

I know that many others are involved in pushing black women back in line when they do poke up their heads and want to aim for the front of the queue. From infancy, they find a way to 'quell' any inherent striving for the 'front' that a young black girl may be displaying by making this desire out to be bad even inordinate for a black woman. They may even laugh or mock her or magnify a little set back so she doesnt try again. I have seen even black women who sense that a young black girl is 'reving' her engines come up to her and 'tuck' her back into the ranks. I have seen black women respond to me in this way and 'act out' when I refuse to step back into the black woman's 'formation'.

The saddest thing is that sometimes it is not malicious, this is just bw 'knowing their place.' People even black women have a 'place' they think black women should occupy and black women come along and enforce it and reinforce it in any advice, suggestion, even allocation they give to you as a black woman.

You must recognize that the signifcant portion of black women are acting like robots in terms of their place and position in society and you must understand that unlike them, you have a plan to get to the front, and so you must wisely manouver and trick them till you are there or else they will thwart your plans!

Yes this is not the pretty nice PC talk that refuses to even mention the ugly side of sisterhood. Remeber many are just autopilots in these issues and would even be offended if you pointed out that you are seeing a pattern in how they are reacting to you the black woman and how they are positioning you for less and lack. They would jump up all indignant, and their white liberal freinds would even add their 'how could you accuse them of such a dreadful thing' comments. But you know and you see, therefore dont say much, just put a mental distance if not physical distance between you and them. As Jesus said, 'They know not what they do!'

The unexamined is the enemy of black woman because naturally we are allocated for 'less', therefore anything people just do without thought, any ideas that they think sounds sensible for you, is likely to be aligning itself eith the general notions that permeate society about how black women are due less etc.

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding (proverbs 23:23)

I am of the firm belief that this scripture was written especially for black women. Black wonen are surrounded by wrong advice and wrong advsers deliberate and otherwise. They are swimming in a sea of it, mothers, fathers, pastors, counsellors, yes even those who are suppose to be giving the right advice when it comes to black women, something 'kicks in' and the advice changes to one which is meant to secure black women in lack and limitation. There seems to be an inherent need inbuilt into society and all societal agents to steer black women 'wrong'. The fear that black women might just pull away from their subservient role in society and kick off folks riding on her back, is real and deep.

I expect any serious black woman to spend a significant portion of rescources on getting the right advice. i would even go as far as to suggest that black women avoid black information portals (those that position themselves to be speaking from the black perspective not like BWE who are challenging anything up to 90% of what passes for black 'wisdom' ). These black portals want to keep their class of slaving black women and any and everything they say to you will aim to keep you locked in this position.

The black woman serious about her future needs to be a researcher, a woman who never plays with wisdom but would rather skip two meals in a row to buy wisdom! When I see black women quibble over $200 for a book or service that she needs, I know they are not ready for victory. When you need something, you make sacrifices, work the extra hours, etc to get the information that will take you to the next level. You are not going to get to the next level in life holding tightly to money when you need to use it as a tool to get to your future. Invest in your mind, in information, counsellors, trainers, gurus, innovative products and solutions...I dont care if it costs you $1,000! Someone out there has the innovative solution to solve that issue blighting your life. Yes do your research well, but I would happily spend $50 on a product that didnt work on my way to a product that does! Whats 50 bucks to you moving to the next level in life.

And to that commentor that said that $200 match maker service is expensive, way to miss the point. I wonder whether you have made any progress in your search while holding tight to your money. Indeed thats the point, many of you who have a death grip on money are not doing anything towards reaching their goals in other ways!

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Lisa99 said...

The irony of many BW's reluctance to spend money on life-improving plans and experiences is that one of the "pluses" often mentioned to BW about staying single (and childless in this case) for lengthy periods of time is the fact that we can collect however much money we want and spend it all on ourselves. We can buy shoes, clothes and purses without having to answer to anyone, take fabulous vacations with our money and not have to "share" money with a man.

Reality shows that this isn't typically the case though, and a single woman would probably be better off financially being married to a quality man who is financially stable, but with the case of the single BW who do brag about being able to take care of themselves and do whatever they want with their money, shouldn't they have MORE resources for long-term improvement and not be crying poor when asked to spend $200 for a non-material service? $200 for a fab new outfit is fine, but $200 for a matchmaker is "expensive?" (to use your example).

What I did during my single period was use my money to start attending social events at golf courses and charity functions. My job already afforded me some reasonable travel opportunities, and while in different cities, I often broke away from my pack of co-workers to explore other areas of the city instead of going on drunken booze-filled binges with the co-workers.

Now that I'm married, we are putting aside extra money into our retirement accounts (beyond what we're provided at our jobs) and talking about buying homes in areas where there are quality schools for any future children that we have.

Lisa99 said...

Forgot to add that physically, I have altered my diet over the last 10 years to cut out all sodas and most processed foods. My fast food intake is very minimal. I also began working with a personal trainer when I saw my weight creeping up, and did yoga/pilates (which I need to sign up for again!!!) for body shaping.

There are so many health issues that affect black women disproportionately, and most of them are lifestyle related. It's been my mission to avoid spending my middle ages in a sickly state because I failed to take care of myself internally and externally.

shan said...

This is so very true. And many times the "bw" that try to keep other bw in "their place" are close relatives.

I am very ambitious and decided to move to the west coast to pursue a career in the entertaiment industry. (So far I have produced two films) and am working on a webisode. Now I wasn't encouraged, not that I expected to be, but before my move, I was told it wouldn't work out, what about God,etc as if moving to another state will affect my relationship with God. Now these same people turn around and open up businesses and etc. I was genuinely happy for them, because I am not a jealous person, but it made me think. Are they afraid that I might succeed and do "better than them?" I learned very early on to keep my endeavors silent and to myself. What they don't know, they can't use against you.

Belle Bijou said...

Hey there! I am currently a senior in college (graduating in December). I have a friend who already has her own business at the ripe old age of 23 (skincare), and she introduced me to an entire team of entrepreneurs (students as well as post-graduate 'regular adults'). I was searching for a way to make extra money (besides already having one job/internship, I wanted another income stream), and now that I am a part of their team,I'll be trained to become an entrepreneur, selling skincare products (through my friend's business) for now. I should eventually be able to branch off and have my own business selling skincare, or any other product I might want to sell. Or I may create my own line. :)

I wanted to be able to save and live the life I wanted eventually. By age 26 (I'm currently 22), I want to be financially stable enough to move to either Sweden or France, get married, and live my life!

In the mean time, I plan on making/saving money, graduating, and (of course!) keeping an eye out/dating.


Anonymous said...

Halima, this post is spot on!

The thing that kills me w/ blk folk is when you want to aspire to do and be better, you must think you're better than everybody else.

Or keep a clean house, eat food outside of soul food, like rock music, math and science, you must want to be white.

Or don't get my hair & nails done every two weeks, won't buy a car that cost more than my mortgage or rent, you're so cheap.

But these same folk will cry broke, and make a conversation out of it if you let them.

I’m not going to get into about the major hypocrisy of the black church, that I suspect is one of the major roots of all this mess.

I really believe modern AA's like reveling in 'da struggle'.

And as I long suspected, the things that my adoptive parents did to sabotage me from progressing ahead were done so I could be a lifelong mule for them.

I realized that I allowed these toxic relationships to go on as long as I did was because I rode on the bus of chance than hopping on the choice bus and doing what really made me happy. All in the name of being down w/brown.

At 42 y.o., after getting over my shock of realizing that the oppressed are now doing the oppressing, I have cut these people out of my lives. Now I don't have ANY friends. I maintain minimal contact w/ family members. I'm at peace w/that. I am now working on having the life that I always wanted.

I'm telling my story to say, ladies if you suspect that your so called friends and family are trying to talk you out of something that will progress you forward, drop them like a bad habit. It’s about what YOU choose to do to achieve happiness and satisfaction for YOU. When you invest in yourself, that’s where you will see the great gain of assets.

And if they get mad at you, then you know you're on the right path. Don't wait for or worry about people who don’t have you're best interest at heart. They are who they show themselves to be in word and in deed. Accept it and MOVE ONWARD AND UPWARD.

Please accept my apologies for the long diatribe, but I don't want to see another BW needlessly suffering.


RenKiss said...

I'm learning about investing. When I get enough money I'm thinking about investing in real estate. I spent some money on books about how to invest and learning about stocks and other ways to build wealth. Which is another thing lacking in the bc.

Since I've been reading this blog, it's rather shocking to read some of the comments of people's families and friends are actually discouraging them from seeking self improvement.

I guess for me my experience has been different. When I told my mother I'm thinking of moving to another city to attend graduate school, she didn't discourage me in any way. I come from a single parent home and I guess my mother realizes how hard it is, she's going back to school for an associate's degree.

BeaMae said...

Can I just say that this post is right on time? It is.

We live in a global community now and we're starting to see how being idle can yield little in terms of quality of life and stand of living.

For me isn't about designer bags and sleek autos. I enjoy living within means and treating myself with making memories. They last longer than anything we can purchase (maybe a house is the exception lol).

Learning foreign languages and cultures, getting familiar with fine arts and food, saving for a comfortable retirement (especially for women who want to remain solo or pursue charitable goals in the future, and making our health the top priority.

Sometimes we forget that time is our most valuable resource (non renewable with no refunds).

Anonymous said...

I am presently listening to "Nice girls don't get the corner office" by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D.

Dr. Frankel's cds are filled with invaluable information for those of us who wish to move up the corporate ladder or at least understand office politics.


Faith said...

Kudos for another great insight into the misguided thinking of black women. See. there are external obstacles for certain, but as we see time and time again, they are the ones creating and adding to such burdens to thwart any progress. The other aspect of this is those who do try and have to try several methods to achieve success. She is chided and ridiculed for wanting more. It isn't failure, it's finding the right combo that works best. It's why most will never leave the dead black community, cling to a twisted form of self-described blackness that is more about believing false evidence and engaging in sabotage. It isn't easy to step away from this, but it's certainly worth the effort. It also means those of us who have decided to be elite, our best will stand out as we run ahead and surpass the masses.

Faith said...

@shan Congrats. I wanted to address your comment specifically. I used to live in LA and if you'd like to discuss logistics please feel to email me.

GoldenAh said...

Lately, I haven't been the single minded focused person I want to be.

I have accomplished a number of goals, but I'm stuck in the pose of Rodin's The Thinker statue - brooding and contemplating over what I might want.

I'm very indecisive at the moment.... I think I need to learn to "be hungry" again.

ak said...

I'm learning accounting as a profession. I've worked in the television sector of the media in the recent past but the recession has been a beast my dears so I need a profession that is more recession-proof and something that is more universal so that I can take it anywhere in the world I want to. As even my own mother said, who thought that my studying accounting was a good idea also, 'There are only two sure things in life: Death and taxes'!

Ladyscorpian14 said...

I promise my self that I would move away from bad people and get out of debt. I'm getting out of the army just started my school for dental assisting and liking the change . I also started working a part-time job to pay off some of my debt I'm hoping other than student loans and my car to be debt free by april of next year. I stared my emergency fun and plan to save $5,000 by march next year. I'm starting to learn russian and so far have 4 penpals.
I'm saving money by shopping online for clothing mainly ebay. I would like to start ballroom dancing classes and golf lessons soon. I'm starting to like wearing dresses and hills starting slowly but getting there.

Melany said...

My plans to improve my future include:

1. Enrolling in school to get my degree in Spanish.

2. Practicing financial wisdom (spending wisely,saving more & paying off debt.)

3. Continuing to stay physically fit & active!

Anonymous said...

Does the matchmaker have a website? I have 450 matches at eharmony and am really lost.

shan said...

Thank you Faith.

Anonymous said...

Halima, this in your neck of the woods. Can you call to arms on this?

Halima said...

thanks for this info anon.

hmmm lets see how we can cause someone a load of trouble....

Anonymous said...

Halima and others-
Regarding that Asian guys article about bw being "less attractive" due to a large number of bw calling and e-mailing (thanks to WAOD) that article was pulled.

A wm wrote a blog that countered the orginal "study":

Sweet Island Girl said...

Amen, Amen, Amen! I spend a small amount of money every month on a service that supplies me with life changing wisdom on a subject that people dont associate with my race. I dont mind spending money on wisdom that will help get me one step closer to my goals. Its called reciprocation.
I research macth makers in my city. Their fees are quite higher then $200.00. I wish it was $200 because I would be all over it yesterday but will that stop me? No, I'll keep researching and find a way or a credible service that is affordable for me.