Saturday, March 30, 2013

Black men are way cool, black women?... not so much

Happy Easter Celebrations!

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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E.A. said...

Can I just add that smiling as you're speaking is a very powerful tool? People mirror your behavior subconsciously and if they see you're smiling, they're likely to smile back and develop thoughts of '__ is really nice to have around'. I swear by this!

Zabeth said...

I've found that many matchmakers are white women; therefore, they aren't necessarily concerned with advancing or supporting the relationship needs of minority women period whether they be black, Hispanic, or Asian.

As for career, now that I think about it, that's exactly what I've done! I never thought about it that way, but I've made myself relateable to my colleagues by doing exactly what you've described. This wasn't something I did consciously either but it has given me some degree of success.

Zabeth said...

This is a matchmaking service that specializes in IR dating and is run by a BW.

ak said...

Great post Halima. I speak with people at work all the time; black, white and Asian colleagues. I don't gossip but I talk about current news, business news, current events but I never rant and rave or debate about things because I don't mention extreme or off-color topics. I smile at my job and laugh at jokes because the jokes are usually just dry and witty and not risque or inappropriate within our small team in my workplace.

ak said...

Halima, I was going to ask you if you've ever heard of Cachet matchmaking services? I think they have international offices (?) but they have a UK branch too. They sound like they'd be quite expensive though and they match men and women from the top 20% within professional sectors. They claim to have been around as a matchmaking service before the advent of the internet age.

ak said...

Black people within Western countries are the only group within Western countries that do not show consideration, caring, empathy, concern regarding a black woman or girl's person, sense of safety, mind or spirit and black women are where the generations are going to come from! Backwards, disgusting, regressive and very crazy and to tell you the truth some African nations aren't great when it comes to respect and care for women either.

So if most black people out there only care about the BM with the gun magically appearing in their hands than they do about any law abiding, quarter-of-the-way decent BW who may be going through stress or black teenage girl coming across some big problems in her life, then every non-black person will act the same way. After all the liberal 'baby' or project has been BM for some time now.

These are the reasons why everything BW of today has to do is being done from the view of doing 'damage control' work to set everything straight for BW and black girls again.

Aura Borealis said...

I totally get what you're saying about bm being more cared for. Did you know there's actually an organisation in the UK called 'black boys can' joke, google it.

Great post Halima

Lynn said...

Hi Halima!

I feel honored that you used my comment in one of your posts. I'm sorry it took me so long to get back to you; I've been studying for a certain certification that I took the test and passed late last week!
I have had three matchmaking dates so far and all of them have been with wonderful guys that I would never run across during my day to day routines. They are successful, professional, earn upper class to upper middle class incomes, White and were very much the gentlemen. I have had second dates with two of them; so we will see what happens in the near future. I had a 'not so good' experience with one potential match, but he showed he was not my type during the setup process. Dude lived approximately 45 minutes from me and he insisted that I come to his city to meet up with him! The matchmaker hinted that this guy preferred Black women, but had some bad experiences in the past dating us. I declined that meetup – I feel that if there is extra effort that needs to be made the man should have to initially do that. If he’s interested he will. Plus, I’m increasingly running across WM who claim they have had ‘bad experiences’ with BW, but I’m getting to the point where I prefer to screen them out. I think every BW who is serious should start to do this. WM like this are starting to sound like the typical BM. There are enough WM out there who have not had ANY dating experiences with BW but are still open to it. Trust me! And they seem to prefer women who BM ordinarily pass up-dark-skinned BW. Since I’m brownish tending to the lighter hues you dark-skinned BW have a ‘leg up’ in that department. I know some BW have a hard time believing that due to the Black Constructs beat down of us, but that is the absolute truth. I have had WM pass me up for darker-skinned BW.
As a side note, since I signed on with the matchmaker, I’ve been meeting better quality WM in other places (meetups, my apartment complex, etc.). I met this wonderful, sexy White guy who lives in my apartment complex that I’ve gone out with. Turns out he used to model! And he’s degreed, earns a very good living and has never dated a BW. The entire ‘blond bunny brigade’ at my complex is sooooooo upset with me ‘cause I snagged him. The best part is, he is 6 years younger than me, and was floored when I told him my age! LOL! He is so cool with that. I’m telling the above story because I think that me getting serious with finding Mr. Right is having a ripple effect. I know it sounds all ‘New Agey’ thinking, but I believe I put a belief in action to God and the universe. I put serious money-and we all know how valuable that is in this economy- to work for me to improve my chances in romance. I believe I said to the universe that I’m ready and it’s responding. Now, everyone, please don’t beat me up on this, I know it sounds kinda crazy, but I believe in positive thinking and actions.
I will definitely write in more to let everyone know how it’s working for me. Ladies, I’m 37 and if I’m finding success I know some of ya’ll that are younger than me can find it too!

Zabeth said...

Great story Lynn, very inspiring.

arthur said...

I always like to comment when the subject of lighter skin vs. darker skin is raised. I'm pretty typical as a wm in finding darker skin more attractive. The average wm who finds bw attractive will also tend to prefer a more natural hair style, or at most, will not care one way or the other.

The underlying reason for these preferences is this: if a wm wants a woman with light skin and long straight hair, he can go out with Becky. Or Mai-Ling or Maria. If he is attracted to bw, it's because he sees beauty in dark skin and natural hair.

Halima said...

Hi everyone, I wanted to add some comments but have been a bit busy.

Lynn could you email me the details of the matchmaker to a number of people might want to investigate to see if they too can use them. thanks for your updates as well.

ak said...

Thank you Lynn for keeping us all posted! You have definitely shown me a few more possibilities.

Aabaakawad said...

@Halima, you said

"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."

Big big clue dropped here on "liberal" thinking.