I was at a local catholic church yesterday for the Good Friday service (yes I do sometimes visit!) and saw the most amazing Blasian young couple.
They looked in their mid twenties and the cool part was they were with both their fathers. The boys father and girls father were sitting opposite their kids and also when they left the church, both men were in deep conversation.It was a nice cheery sight to see with several stereotypes dispensed all in one go! Black women are finding ways and means to live the lives they want!
I notice that the Catholic church where I live is very very multicultural, so much so, it puts every other church denomination to shame. There are so many SE Asians, Malaysians, Middle Easterners, blacks and white ethnics (including Polish) as a result of the history of Catholicism in these areas of the world. Black women who are interested in Blasian matches or even ready to expand beyond standard white, might do well to investigate a few Roman Catholic churches in their areas (wink).
Be careful in Choosing a Matchmaking Service
I got a note from a reader about how some matchmaking services will string you along for your money and not meet their own part of the bargain. It is important thus to vet a service indeed, go on the strong recommendations of others. Ask other black women about their experiences with the agency.
Hi Lynn (waves), please do give us an update on your matchmaking service experience. A few black women have contacted me to ask about getting in touch with them.
I have had a few stories about Match Making services that will take your money, introduce you to a few black and maybe one white man and then say they are waiting for white men to show interest (all the while they have tied you into a contract!). Clearly this is not how matchmaking services work, because a service will and must actively seek interest on behalf of their clients by casting a wide net (having many on their books) or strongly suggesting their clients as a possibility to the men on their books whether these men are aware of the option or not, or indeed come come out with, in this case an interest in IR themselves. Indeed why pay money to matchmaker service if they are going to do exactly what you have done all along and that is to leave it all to chance!
It's very sad that some folk out there think they can treat black women shoddily but as black women we know the deal. We must never be naïve, we must never feel that folk will be happy for us just to walk in and seize our destiny. We must understand that they might step aside for a black man, an Asian woman, white etc because they adhere to racial hierarchies or because a certain group of women (read: Asian), have put their foot down and insisted on being taken seriously in these matters, but they will throw up a fuss when it's black women's turn.
I think with the Easter week upon us etc it is just apt for me to say to black women, you must be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves (Matthew 10:16). Indeed Jesus really called it. Everything we have been preaching about black women becoming savy and entering their destinies can actually be summed up in that neat little saying of Jesus! That is the crux of a whole lot of BWE injunctions.
Black Men are way cool, black women?... not so much
So to continue with the above theme I will say that a couple of colleagues of mine are doing all sorts of NGO projects in Africa. It never ceases to amaze me how focussed these women are on supporting and assisting the black boys in the communities they work in. I don’t discount the fact that there might be internal community resistance to women being helped and educated as a result of ingrained sexism in these cultures nevertheless, I am struck by how every time there is a project we have to contribute to or there is need to pay school fees etc etc it is for the boys. I don’t believe that the excuse of societal sexism would be a good enough excuse for such gender imbalanced work, if the context was Western society. I believe the situation would have spurred on the women to seek to work to empower the women folk even the more!
I am not saying there are no NGOs working with women or exclusively with women (as we know they are), but I think that when people move into these projects spurred by personal impetus (and outside the structure of international NGO work, which tends to be based on years of investigating the particular area and consideration of aligning with progressive principles such as empowering women and girls) they are more likely to simply fall in with the natural sexist lay of the land as opposed to challenge it.
This is one more example that supports my impression that white society etc heeds the values and priorities that black folk put forward as being important to them. For instance when black people show in abundant ways that black male lives are more valuable than black female lives, white folks don’t challenge this notion according to progressive ideals or their own dearly held beliefs of equality and women's rights etc, instead they go as far as to adjust their own lens on the situation to take into consideration what black folks say they want. These days white folks are arguing 'Well its their culture or it's their religion that makes the men aggressively dominate their women, or tear off their clitorises, we have to respect it!' SMH
Building empathy for yourself in the workplace
I think the wider society has a hard time finding their empathy for black women for a range of reasons. One reason is that the narratives crafted around the lives of black people (especially by black people) suggest that black women do not deserve or should not get it, whereas black men need it in abundance. These narratives leave black women in a place where they can be strangely non human to others and seen as beings who don’t have blood flowing through their veins like everyone else!
Many white folk don’t know black women as simple human beings especially as mere humans just as they are. There are lots of obstacles to perceiving black women as mere humans in the society we live in, to seeing us just as others are seen, to note that black women have the same desires and ambitions and desires for happiness as everyone else. I find the fact that white folk are more likely to jump to the defence of black men, even black men who have done wrong and provide endless excuses in a way they never do for black women, very telling and it can be explained in part by the failure to form empathic feelings for black women, their lives and their situation.
So the dominating narratives deny black women a chance at appearing as a deserving subject for emphatic feelings, but if people don’t identify with you they are more likely to hurt, hinder or fail to help you. For the purposes of surviving in the workplace or achieving a career goal, black women can help others into forming an empathic picture of them. People have to identify with you as an everyday being, doing the same everyday things they do. If people believe you live alien to their own wants, desires, past times, concerns, values etc, if they think you go home, and go to sleep in a coffin for instance! (lol), it will not help your career climb.
You are an everyday person, going about doing everyday things, just like them, so you can share a bit of what you do during your free time when there are mini conversations in the office ('I Went to watch soccer last week, my team XYZ was playing ABC and it was ….). Have conversations about topical subjects in the news, especially stuff that concerns folk (be careful about taking clear political positions on things, people often say if in doubt stay on the left politically-I guess it is a sad reality of our times!). Talk about how you have everyday needs, 'They don't sell the full sized bottles of milk at my local store so I have to go down town once a week etc etc etc').
I agree that others should do the work to build bridges with black women, to understand them and build empathy (and many fail to do so), but for the sake of having the career you want, I will advise that you take it into your hands to portray yourself as a person, a woman trying to make it in the system and society just like they are.
Next blog post available from 13th April
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