Monday, February 21, 2011

What I dont love about BWE work!

So we have had a week of nice uplifting comments to BWE bloggers and writers (and workers of all kinds).


In a shortwhile you will get an opportunity to detail, your 'niggles' re BWE work as it stands, but first let me say, thank you so much for taking the time out to write such lovely and heart warming messages. It is really good to know we have been of benefit and also to see how we can even better the BWE work, because without input every venture fails.

I was in Evia’s blog yesterday and she has just done a slam dunk of a post. The bit that touched me most was the whole issue about how black girls are blamed for lacking self esteem (and I don’t mean the ‘I love my hair, skin and teeth’, protestations which simply is just that, ‘protesting too much’). These black girls are subject to the most soul destroying messages and activities day in and day out, yet folk act all surprised when they ‘don’t have wonderful self esteem’! Doesn’t the black community grow more absurd each day!

A friend of mine, confirmed for me the other day that this ‘perverse’ thinking that, despite everything bg are expected to and indeed supposed to survive and thus are severely blamed when they don’t, is a deeply entrenched view. We were discussing one of these ‘woe is black woman’ books that I have read in the past, and she was 'upset' that the main character of the book (a black girl) didn’t see past her indoctrination and brain washing to rise up and challenge her situation! It is amazing that black girls are expected to succeed regardless of what is thrown their way and they are then judged against this benchmark and criticized severely if they don’t, 'against all odds' succeed. No other race of women would be criticized for failing under conditions under which failure is overwhelmingly likely, yet young black girls are!

Evia said something very important, that it will take 'all of us' to get out the BWE message (or whatever name you choose to identify this black woman empowerment message) out.

There is just too much to do and too many portals of misinformation surrounding black women for it to be left to one or two, even left to a hundred people to do. The black church for instance has become a place where black women go to take their does of medication which keeps them sedated, calm and compliant in dysfunctional dynamics, where they serve as the host body to a vast array of parasites that are feeding off them!

To get the message out, there must be a ‘all hands on deck’ approach or else let’s just forget it now. And trust me you can do something.

A black women wrote me that she blind copied one of the BWE essays she felt hit ‘home run’ re the bw situation, to her email list (she opened a new email address for this and titled the email ‘The Essay Every Black Women must Read’)!

There is a lot you can do; design a flyer with key BWE points (to get bw thinking) and drop on a train seat, caf√©, in church, hair salon, etc all anonymously and without having to ‘out’ yourself in anyway. One or two black women will come across it, get curious, even discuss it with another friend/s and the message spreads, painlessly and without much time investment.

Decide to reach five black women/girls this year with a well thought out ‘elevator pitch’ of core BWE points (and ones that capture their curiosity or speaks to the key issue bothering the black women round you). You can do it.

Bw are very creative When-They-Want-to-Be! Turn on that creativity for BWE and do it for as little as 5 bw in 2011 (you will probably need just 1 Hour to both think up and execute a strategy). Do it this February or March and you can sit back the rest of 2011 knowing you have done your bit to push out BWE.

Do not chase any bw down or bang them over the head, with the BWE message repeatedly, just let them know there is ‘another way for bw to live’, and to live a more fulfilled life as opposed to struggle and unfulfilled dreams. That’s all you need to do, their needs should lead them to the information when they are ready.

This website below is designed for the newbies or for those who need to get their heads around the BWE message. Feel free to send your ‘friends’ to the link.

http://www.tellingblackwomenthetruth.com/

If you care about fellow black women, in fact even if you cannot bring yourself to care about adult black women, but you gaze upon the young ones with compassion, then you must do something.

An evil has befallen bw that they do not care about our young daughters in fact I believe subconsciously some black women want their daughters fall into the same life crippling traps. I watched a particular incident at one of the social groups near me, and my instincts told me the reason why the mother was not nurturing the talents of her very talented daughter and not giving her the necessary prods and pushes (because shildren will need structure and motivation, thats why they are children), was because she was simply sabotaging her daughter! Sick Sick Sick!

In line with this ‘all hands need to be on deck' approach, tell us what you would like to see improved or what is uncomfortable with BWE work for you. This excercise however is for those who are 'invested' in empowering bw, not those who disagree with this basic premise of bw deserving empowernment and fulfilled lives. If you agree with the notion of bw being empowered but have a few issues or ideas to iron out re BWE work please drop a comment!


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Monday, February 14, 2011

Why I Love BWE

Well Happy Valentine all!

I just want to do something different this year and ask all of you good readers for feedback on the BWE work. This time I want us to focus on all that BWE has helped you gain, improve and as much benefit as you can detail.

Many of us 'eat' from various free tables and never spend a moment to say at least, 'thanks, I appreciate what you have helped me achieve.' It costs no money and I can promise you that $1000, wouldnt cover for the amount of advice, insight, 'therapy', comfort, consolation, strengthening, reinforcment and reassurance that you have recieved from the broad range of BWE work. Some folks are in new jobs, new careers, relationships (married!), and have even saved their lives out of the work of BWE (and I dont just mean this blog but all BWE blogs)!

The universe frowns on people who do not say thanks in one form or another for the beneftits they have recieved off others. You might think you have gotten over (and I hope BWE women dont think this way), but if you dont pay back into what you have recieved (either by reciprocity or playing BWE forward to other bw including black girls out there who are in desperate need of advice and guidance), these things have a way of squaring themselves up!

I want to say that I have been 'blessed' by the work of BWE myself even as a writer and an early proponent of this philosophy. I think I have recieved more benefits out of the work and I can actually say that I am operating on a different and higher level as an individual, all because of the work of BWE; the sharing, fine tuning, eye opening that has gone on on the various blog. In fact it is now noticeable to those around me who have known me for a while, that I operate with keener insight into life and life as a black woman and many want to know what I have been drinking! In fact I think they have been raiding my trash can at night to find out what (lol!) -just joking. In terms of presentation, fitness, attitude, outlook, I am in a different league (yes we are all a work in progress but a lot has been sorted!).

I think for me most importantly the 'knowing' that there are a community of brillaint minded and forward thinking bw out there (virtual journey sisters) is so comforting.

So the floor is open, this is the time to say what you have recieved through BWE work, we definitely appreciate the feedback (anonymous comments welcome!).  


Very interesting article on Black Women the Socially Invisible

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Last word on the Image of Black women for now ....

Do something

Stop looking for the perfect solution. Get in on things happening now, even as we look for and design the perfect push back in terms of attacks on bw image.

You also never know what might be effective. Sometimes little things make the difference and often it is about a cumulative effect. So sign up to the face book and other online petitions. I rather sign up to 5 petitions with limited effect than sit on the sidelines. Don’t forget that sometimes, there is a build up into the main plan and as you put some plan into effect, it finally becomes obvious what should be done!


Think strategic

I think bw are in dire need of coaching in being strategic especially about how they react to things. Many bw are so dependent on their emotions telling them what to do and when. This is a bit of a problem.

You know when you look at it, there was a range of ‘reactions’ to the Pepsi commercial. Some people were not all cut up about it and some were. But guess what, strategic folk know that sometimes they need to ‘react’ even when they are not too upset about something because there is a longterm goal that all this might help achieve.

This is one of the reason why though living in the UK, I can throw myself into issues that affect AA and black women in the US sometimes exclusively. I know that if the bw in America wakes up to her situation and gets it together etc, happy days will follow for all bw round the Western world. I can see this very clearly.

Even if I felt so so about the Pepsi commercial, I would still get in on the push back because 1) I am always looking out for that galvanizing incident that builds the momentum for change and that incident that makes making the case for the kind of BWE change we preach easier to do and these incdents come once in a while 2) Beyond my feelings and whether I am bothered about the ad personally, in life there are wider gains to be had by getting in on issues. So I don’t have to be personally unhappy or hopping mad about each and every incidence or occurrence to get busy if I can link it to our achieving the broader goals we seek.

When I hear people say they wont get in on things because, they were not too worried or bothered by the latest episode/incident personally or didnt interpret it as really 'that bad', I know these folks have lost sight of the broader goal, if they ever had eyes on it to begin with.

I also know that many bw, talk themselves out of things they feel will not make a dent, by pleading to be so unaffected and able to ‘rise above’, or ‘be the bigger person’, especially when they go on one of those, ‘what’s wrong with you all humourless folk unable to take a joke etc etc’ soap box talks.

Templates and models are emerging

Not everything works at first go, and there is something called ‘piloting‘. You sometimes have to ‘test run’ ideas. Stop waiting for the perfect plan on paper. Go with one or two ideas because sometimes ‘effect’ can only be judged in action, not on the drawing board. Unintended consequences might mean the little or unique has a greater consequence than even that perfect scheme.

Ultimately how much time does it take to sign one or two petitions that might blow up, all of two minutes!

http://www.change.org/petitions/boycott-pepsi---racist-superbowl-commercial-stereotypes-black-women#signatures

I am really interested in this one:

A black woman has graciously started a facebook page specifically for things black women SHOULDNT buy, based on the company's advertising choices.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/For-Black-Women-What-not-to-buy/199530346730965


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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Why black women get pinned with the tail! Update... Update -Sign a petition

When the Romans needed entertainment, the Gladiators and slaves from other regions (mostly captured in war), provided them with sports for their arenas to either battle to the death or be eaten by lions and tigers.

Never underestimate the wider (dominant) society's need for using the socially marginalized to provide them with entertainment, amusement, distraction and to do the work which they feel is beneath them.

Untouchable do the dirtiest jobs in certain parts of South East Asia.

Indeed I have been told by those in the know, that black women in particular tend to be first in line to sell some product that has an unglamorous but necessary function or communicate an icky message. Yep ‘get rid of lice’, and the face of the black girl is flashed, or ‘do you have constipation?’ and the sad face of the black woman is brought into focus.

We have to understand the dynamic that brings into existence many of these images that embarrass black women and make their path through life difficult by miring their image and the ‘sense’ of black womanhood in unpleasantness.

There are books that have been written to explore how blacks have been used in the past to sell soap, toothpaste and the likes. Many of these adverts were blatant in negatively focussing on black traits e.g. soaps so effective they can wash out even blackness!

The need to sell unglamorous products has not gone away, neither has the need to provide a laughingstock or clowns or buffoons etc ceased. In addition the need to provide comfort to some by enabling them feel superior to others by these others, adopting an inferior posture or manner is increasing as overt forms of discrimination become generally resisted. Indeed sophisticated and subliminal ways are now employed to 'uphold' the general opressive narrative and working of society and the oppressed are choreographed to play their necessary role without which the oppressive structure itself would give way.

It is important to understand there will always be the seeking of those who will play certain ‘roles’ for society. It will always be there. What black women need to ensure is that they do not continue to be the obvious choice, and that the recruiters ‘think twice’ before they pick up the ‘black chess piece,’ to play the buffoon and the clown and the ‘diseased’ one, or the one who makes all the others feel secure by having her own attributes rendered less than. Remember the ‘need’ will always be there, and thus the ‘recruiters’ of the actors will always go out, the only variable here is who gets to play the sordid part, who gets to be pinned with the tail.

Politically black men have become too slippery for the role

Yes political backlash has placed a slippery film over black men, so that when the ‘recruiters’ come, they don’t feel comfortable reaching for them or they cant get a good grip. But they don’t need to leave disappointed, because black women are right there, without any slippery film of political protection around them, securing them against misuse. They are just ready and ‘right’ for use. No one makes too much of a fuss anyway, when black women have the tail pinned on. In fact, everyone, including the black women, find it all funny.

But there is a price to pay.

Soon black women don’t understand why others accuse them of being ‘aggressive’ even when they haven’t even said a word, or why the world is quick to believe they attacked a innocent white woman an innocent white woman (The discussion at Christelyn Karazin’s blog reminded me of this one). They don’t understand why their colleagues come to them seeking consolation for their latest drama yet never ask them how their life is going.

An Addition

The coarsening of bw image is something that has happened over time. When a woman's image is coarsened as the black woman's has, she gets to play negative roles even those that society will wave away as not important to mention, or not serious issues, yet these unaknowleged 'positionings' play a powerful role in how she is perceived (the generally perception of black women) and ultimately adds to the lowering of the black female stock.

I been reading some of the 'general' media responses to the Pepsi advert and none of them are picking up the angle of bw's concerns at least as expressed her on BWE blogs ie being 'jealous' or black women made out to be less attractive and bitter and ready to do physical violence on or for a man. General society or general discourse space has no patience with certain debates for sure. But we all know how deeply impacting the idea of bw as less attractive (highlighted in the pepsi ad as an insecure response to her man and impacting the other woman) has on the self esteem of black women especially in addition to all other factors and actors that have a culmulative effect of tearing at the esteem of black women.

I want to point out that black women tend to define issues in terms that no one cares about.

In defending her image, the challenge of bw is to define issues in terms that society at present is willing to take seriously and enagage with and also which has the intended consequence of also sweeping up and away all the other 'deemed unserious' issues which are pretty serious to black women's peace of mind!

Having said all that, i have now received a link that the issue of bw being positioned as jealous of ww has been picked up and commented on but not in bw favour

http://www.mediaite.com/online/rush-limbaugh-pepsi-ad-successful-because-black-women-hate-blondes/

Here’s a link to a petition that change.org started, in case anyone’s interested in signing: http://www.change.org/petitions/boycott-pepsi---racist-superbowl-commercial-stereotypes-black-women#signatures

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Thursday, February 03, 2011

No dog in this 'Black Community' fight but....

Khadija inspired this post for sure. I wanted to talk about something else today but I was blown away by the last conversation on Khadija blog were she referenced Elijah Mohamed and his work with the black community. Khadija's Blog


In truth and as Khadija explained,  EM's work and models for his work in the black community remain the only few examples of models and strategies that are successful with black people (I can think of only one or two others). If you want to look at community building models that have ‘been successful’ in the past, then look no further than the work of Elijah Mohamed.

I was particularly ready to do a dance when I came across this statement by Khadija

I don’t have to like Elijah Muhammad (and I don’t like him) to tell the truth, and admit that his analysis was 100% correct about many things. And that he was very wise in how he dealt with with AAs’ unique psychology and pathologies.

Wow folks I was blown away by this particular statement, and do you know why? The reason is that the multitude of words that black folk have to say about community building etc, I am yet to come across this clear understanding among any significant number that black leadership is required to understand the unique psyche of black people in order to come up with effective models.

I don’t even think that black folks even require their leaders to meet the 'challenges' of black folks for real! All they need is mouth pieces who anounce that black people are decimated by HIV, Crime, Poverty etc etc, without even having a coherent idea (beyond call for government interv), at how blacks can organize internally to change the situation as EM did.

You know when you go to an interview and they ask you to do a presentation on, ‘5 issues facing XYZ and how I plan to solve them', well I think nobody is even having such an expectation anymore when they elect so called black leaders. All black people want is a figure head, who can wag a finger at ‘the white man’ and makes the required ‘noises.’ That is essentially all that is required of black leadership!

No wonder why black community is more or less defunct.

This issue of leaders not being required to meet the challenge of the group they lead (beyond heading marches and being wheeled in to give opinions on CNN), plagues the whole of the black world. It happens in Africa. African leaders approach the presidential race of their respective countries without even having a clear plan of how they hope to solve the deep and entrenched problems in the country, but even before that, they haven’t even understood what these problems are or the unique psychology of their people that will lend itself to some solutions and not others! Lawdy lawd.

For all his faults I admire Kwame Nkrumah for understanding that he had to play a 'tight game of political chess' with both Americans and Russians, to deliver his countries infrastructure. Akosombo dam I believe, remains one of the countries major infrastructure a quarter of a century later and decades after his death.

The other day a friend responded to me re this discussion that, ‘well the CIA and etc always end up killing African leaders that are good for Africa.’ I said to him, ‘out thinking the CIA' then is a ‘leadership challenge’ that must be met! It should not continue to be an excuse especially since it has been going on forever. By now there should be strategies in place. It is only organisms intersted in extinction that dont adapt to each threat especially a threat that is known.

It is very clear why Jesus had twelve apostles (actually the number twelve denotes/symbolizes governmental perfection). He spoke of his death often but made plans for the work to continue beyond him. Today you have African leaders in their 80’s who haven’t even prepared for succession and will be brought out of office on a stretcher followed by years of turmoil in the country. Jesus prepared for successful continuation of his work in 3 years!

Leadership is adaptable and innovative. You are not prepared for leadership if you haven’t mapped out the problems and come up with some sort of clever plan of action (which you can adapt as more information becomes available).

Black leadership was always meant to be so innovative beyond anything any other groups could come up with, and that is simply because black people are surrounded by problems; layered, complex, internal and external. To meet the challenge then, black leadership was supposed to be ‘ninja’ like in level and style (and by that I invoke the general view on Ninjas’s as invisible, highly skilled with the ability to accomplish almost impossible feats; deadly effective). When black folk started patterning black leadership after mainstream (read: white) leadership then end was in sight!

Understand the challenge, met the challenge and stop excuses.

Khadija also said something that made me want to faint with the knowledge of it all; that black folk always respond with their cultural defensive, emotional baggage. Something happens today and it triggers and emotional memory/baggage response that is totally OBSOLETE (and just about satifying our need to have a historical rememberance moan-fest) for the modern situations.

So we think, 'This is rosa parks all over again let us respond accordingly', when it isnt. Read the comments of the post linked above to find this particular angle.


One thing that is sure re Kelley Williams-Bolar , black women who want to thrive need to wean themselves off the same emotional 'sympathy pulls' we had in the past.

I too felt sorry for Kelley Williams-Bolar but then I suddenly felt an 'attack of fears' as I realized how deep a mindset change we black women need in order to survive and how well trained we are to fall into a pit. The general mentalities of black women are no longer going to surfice (eg having children without particpating fathers, not thinking and planning for comfortable rather than 'on the edge' living, our need to defy legal structures to wag a finger at 'the man', etc etc), we have to 'come up higher'. Anything less than a totally reorganized mindset will lead to the sure ruin of many women. It is scary because many of these women that are destroyed never stood a chance because they were surrounded by bad advice and bad advisers! There but for the grace of God....

And I agree with Khadija that black folks 'cultural insecurity' is largely responsbile for us always finding outside causes to blame when it is clear that the blame belongs with us. This blaming government, racism etc etc when we could have taken simple steps towards our betterment, is a sure sign of people who have lost faith in themselves and their abilities.

People who know they can 'right' a wrong situation are never obsessively averse to taking any blame as black people show themselves to be, because they know they can 'handle it'. When people have lost faith in the ability to 'course correct' they are always involved in frantic effort to dodge blame. Dodging blame becomes the goal in itself, as they desperately try but fail in their attempts to not look like inferior people!

For real!


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