Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mothers and Daughters Continued, The Feminism vs Social Mobility Model

A few more words re: Mothers and black daughters

Failure to settle down
One other reason for problematic relationships with black mothers and daughters can be down to mothers not settling down/moving into the next phase of life with regards finding a mate or partner.

Put it like this, If a forty plus year old woman is still pursuing her relationship goals at the same time as is her twenty year old daughter, there is a high possibility that mother and daughter could clash in a more competitive way because of this 'shared' ambition. As women (black women in particular) have most of their children outside wedlock and remain in the market for a relationship into their forties and fifties when their daughters are also looking to date and settle down, it can and does cause resentment in some mothers who have to confront the fact that that the youth of their daughters gives them an advantage in the dating arena as opposed to how hard it becomes for them as more mature women. If a mother is dating she also is aware that a young nubile woman in the vicinity of her relationship could lead down the all too familiar path of infidelity/sexual abuse between her boyfriend and her daughter which leads to internal anxities. You can imagine the complications that can arise from all these tensions and hidden anxieties.

Indeed restructuring of the traditional family set up does have many repercussions some of which we are only just discovering as the reality plays out in front of our eyes!

When a mother's mind has been colonised by race-hierarchy notions

In my last post, I didn't want to go into detail about how racism in white mothers (whether vestiges of it or the full blown variety) can damage mixed race daughters, because that would require a whole book in itself. BWE writers have also written about this issue in the past, especially about how the self esteem of daughters with father's who idolize white women can take a trouncing. A commenter on my last blog post however drew attention to a slightly different angle on the subject of colorism and race hierarchy with mothers and daughters.

She wrote
I was going on a date with this guy I met online and had figured I'd show my mother a video of him doing a sport that he does well in, when she asked me if I was sure that he wouldn't want to date a popular young white girl instead of me since he seemed popular himself.

I told her to not reflect her insecurities on me; which also brought me to sometimes question who needs enemies when I could just have a mother like mine. She is much lighter than me with long hair which has caused a lot of black men to fetishize her in the past. And although I'm her daughter I have always made better choices than her even when I made mistakes. I know that apart of her can't understand why my dark nappy headed self is living a better life than her and how on earth do I find white men that like to date me. She will sometimes convince herself it's because of my "smaller lips" or some other preconceived "white feature" when I in reality have typical African features.

Clearly this shows the kind of battle that many black girls who have mothers who have essentially internalized their oppression or who accept and revel or trade in the idolization of their 'whitish' features, by the black social structure and black men and thus become threatened when there is an 'order change.' From a young age, these black girls have to understand and recognize the disease that is in the mind of their mothers/fathers or the parental structure around them. They are also going to have to find a way to cultivate a real solid self esteem which they themselves are convinced about (not just lip service about loving their lips and hips and all that). This is going to be very hard project because you don’t have the family structure on which to build and reinforce this self esteem, however it does help if the daughter understands and feels that her mother is 'off' when she comes up with her colorist ideas and notions. That feeling will guard this young women until she can get a better understanding of how colorism has infected and damaged her mothers thinking as well as formulate her own solution for cultivating and encouraging her own healthy self esteem.

Congrats to the newly engaged couple Mellody and George!

Until I am convinced otherwise I belive at this stage in our society, the social mobility model has better gains than the modern feminist one

Last week in a guardian newspaper article a staff writer took umbrage at suggestions from a well known British Actress that young ladies should behave with decorum and particularly with their safety in mind when out on the town. That bit of advice was just a small part of an interview the actress granted a newspaper but this writer took the small bit and built a whole case against the actress, accusing her of blaming women for rape etc

Now look at the suggestion made by the actress:

"Don't look like trash, don't get drunk, don't be sick down your front, don't break your heels and stagger about in the wrong clothes at midnight," she says. "Don't be sick in the gutter … in a silly dress with no money to get a taxi home, because somebody will take advantage of you, either they'll rape you, or they'll knock you on the head or they'll rob you."

Now I believe to fellow BWE (and any one with two brain cells in their heads) the suggestions above are not offensive in fact they are just common sense, however it appears that there is a branch of modern feminism (a strong and very vocal one at that) that disallows this kind of common sense talking to women (and it has even begun to affect many men who now feel they have to prove their 'progressive credentials' by touting louder than others, the various trendy feminist tropes and notions!). The net effect is that our daughters are now existing in vacuums where every bit of functional and common sense advice is gradually being sucked out because women and girls...what’s the current intellectual parlance they use...ah yes 'should not have their behaviour 'policed'', or we should not 'victim blame'. They have to be left alone to be and do whatever they want (at the same time government and tax payers must gladly foot the bill to repair them after any and every misadventure).

A commenter to the article had this to say:

Tanya would not be at all concerned about her own daughter's safety in this scenario, and would privilege her daughter's freedom to make bad choices above advising her against such stupidity, then she would be a pretty crap parent. Hence I presume she has no daughters.

If you ask me, modern feminism has begun to founder on the principles of 'women should not be judged', don’t shame or criticise a woman which is deemed 'policing' women, which ends up simply being 'do not say anything about how a woman chooses to be'. This is a strange place for feminism to be because everyone, every structure, every society needs a bit of criticism to make for more effectiveness (and I think living effectively should be a key goal for women). For instance even though it could be said that men retain the social privilege to 'whore around' they are mocked and criticized for chasing woman after woman, after woman and never settling down. Men are criticised for consuming pornography, testosterone fuelled antics including war, aggression, exploitation of the earth’s resources etc etc. How is it then, that women's behaviour and activities are disallowed any scrutiny? Why should women not be pulled up on their actions and activities especially when we can see that certain actions are to their detriment. Are we going to continue with this binary framing of women are victims (so must never be criticised or held responsible for anything) and men are the victimizers (so we can aim as many and as much criticism their way).

As far as I am concerned there should be space given in society for criticising personal choices especially if and when these impact on others. A woman who has children she cannot take care of or brings children into an insecure domestic situation needs to be asked to take a look at the likely outcomes of her choices.

No one is born with all the knowledge they will need to successfully live out the whole of their lives and that is why there is need for criticism which to be simply put, means showing how certain choices and options can be detrimental or ineffective protocols for running ones life.

I believe the feminist model comes into its own when addressing the most basic and fundamental rights of women including combating misogyny, the right of women to control reproduction, equal payment for equal jobs. Feminism is good in doing the ground work for women's progress, but beyond the fight for the basic rights and equality for women, I am now scratching my head as to what use it is beyond that, especially when I am constantly coming across overreactions like the above article. This is why I am in firm support for feminism in developing areas of the world where women don’t even own their own bodies. I think there is a threshold beyond which feminism in the west becomes all about picking fights and offence vigilance.

Social Mobility Model contd
Next blog post available from 16th Feb

My e-books are now available on Amazon. Please click on the corresponding links below for more info.

First Steps to Personal Empowerment

Do Black Women in Afros
Date White Guys?

Supposing I wanted to
Date a White Guy...?
Buy Here or Buy at Amazon


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Motherhood: the issues between black daughters and their mothers

I have written the past, about how I am convinced black girls are being starved of the necessary motherly worldly wisdom that would enable them to grow to navigate the world with success, essentially improving theirs and the social situation of successive generations.

I believe the key factor here is that many of these mothers really don’t have the necessary knowledge themselves to be able to guide themselves let alone their daughters. Many don’t know how this society we live in runs. In the UK for instance daughters of first generation immigrants are now fully established in the work force. But their parents where not very successful in establishing themselves in the middle class (racism being the key factor however many overlooked or ignored opportunities to improve their own situation like owning property when it was well within their reach and even establishing businesses so as to not be too dependent on government jobs). The result is that their children are having to find their feet in a society and social order without any guidance and direction from those who have gone before.

Life as a widower: Tribute to a beautiful wife

Even without the immigration factor, considering that far too many black girls give birth when they are to all intents and purposes children themselves, it is not a real surprise that they are not effectively instructing their daughters.

I am also increasingly coming across black women who have tortuous and fractured relationships with their mothers, coming across women who talk about how their mothers didn’t support them as women growing into their womanhood and how they didn’t or couldn’t assist them navigate the major issues that beset them as black women living in a majority white culture. In all fairness I think many of these mothers where themselves confronted with a situation that stumped them too, many didn’t know what hit them when they set foot in the West from the Caribbean and Africa! They probably had the very same issues around black womanhood in a majority white culture, as did their daughters and didn’t know who to turn to, and definitely didn’t even take up fully the role that should fall to them of guiding and directing their daughters. I believe many withdrew or became depressed at a time of life when as adults they would normally have been in a stable and knowledgeable position to offer guidance to their daughters. I think the tendency of black mothers especially in the UK to bury themselves in all things black and not venture beyond the black social milieu (and not seem to realise there is life beyond the black borders) has something to do with the cold shock and maybe inability to come up with a successful plan of integration. Real fearful experiences may have made them simply poke their heads back into the comfort zone of black spaces and never attempt to come out again. Unfortunately the legacy is that their daughters who have to integrate white spaces in order to make it in today's society, are braving it all alone which has resulted in hard feelings from some daughters towards their mothers.

In terms of fragmented and complicated relationships between black mothers and their daughters, this issue was really illuminated for me when I watched a program about survivors of violent crime last summer.

Among the people interviewed was a young black lady who lost her sister and her cousin in a drive by shooting - one of the first of its kind in the UK in which there were multiple female victims. I remember what struck me most about her case was how when asked, her mother admitted that she had never really sat down and put her arms round her daughter and had a heart to heart about their loss. It was clear that ten years on, her daughter had not healed to any extent; her demeanour and posture and the fact that she couldn’t even lift her face to the camera said it clearly. When the mother was pressed as to why she had not ever sat down to talk about the loss with her daughter, she said something that really shocked me. She said that she didn’t want her daughter to 'lean' on her in her grief! I was stunned. In other words her daughter had to take care of herself even though she was a teenager when her sister was killed. This I guess speaks to the many discussions we have had on how black women are seen as little soldiers (even from and early age), issues of strong and hard wearing black womanhood, the lack of compassion for black women and girls displayed even by immediate family, and black women being expected to get on with life without care and nurture even as they come across life-crushing experiences.

I was blown away by that one. Even though she no doubt had her own grief to bear, I couldn’t understand how a mother couldn’t find it in herself to reach out to her only surviving daughter to comfort her. A mother resenting that she would have to console her daughter, now that was a shocker to me.

As an aside, I clearly saw that contributing to this young ladies damage was the fact that she remained immersed in the black community and the dysfunctional response to the incident (as you can well imagine within the black community), was not helping matters for her. Indeed not only was the crime carried out by young black lads also she and her family were being gossiped about and blamed for the incarceration of the criminals (as I said dysfunctional response).

I cant say I don't see and come across black women who are in some way damaged and very resentful for being left to fend for themselves when they were vulnerable especially when they know their mothers should have been there for them. A lot of black women however do not realize they have issues of resentment with their mothers, and the cult of veneration of motherhood and nothing but the utmost respect for elders is possibly preventing them from both recognising and resolving the issue through admitting their disappointment, and justified anger.

Well add race to the mix here and we could indeed write reams about the fractures that occur between mixed race daughters and their white mothers.

In all this we can ask, where are the fathers?

I do focus on mothers because I think there is a specific sort of training that mothers will need to give their daughters so they can be successful in the area of relationships and child rearing. I look at how Jewish mothers put a lot of effort into enabling their daughters make their way successfully In society. I find many black mothers don’t even take the time to prepare their daughters to be well behaved and to show and emphasize how necessary it is to be personable and win friends,mentors, champions and allies as they go out into the world. Black daughters are on their own and by trail and error they finally put together some working plan on how to get on in society but this is often not without bad falls and resulting scars including brushes with the law, failure at relationships or failure to have relationships, teenage unplanned pregnancy etc etc.

My advice to anyone who feels that they have not had much of necessary motherly guidance in specific areas, is to identify the area and get a mentor, get an instruction book or sign up for a course. As I always say, you must spend on the areas of your deficiency and build this area up with focus and effort.

Next blog post available from 31st January

My e-books are now available on Amazon. Please click on the corresponding links below for more info.
First Steps to Personal Empowerment

Do Black Women in Afros
Date White Guys?

Supposing I wanted to
Date a White Guy...?
Buy Here or Buy at Amazon