Thursday, April 23, 2009

Are you a member of the 'Cult of the Blues’

We have been having very thought provoking discussions on a number of black female empowerment blogs and a few days ago on Khadija’s Blog , we came round to the question, ‘Why are many black women not creative in the pursuit of their advancement?’ You give some simple, straight forward suggestions and instead of ‘taking off’ with it, or at least doing something with it to a little extent, they come back to you with the most basic of questions of how to make it happen, or they become more creative and fast thinking in pointitng out reasons why it wont work.

Many black women when given some insight and the outline of a strong strategy that will launch them to another level, respond in a way that can cause one to wonder whether they are really serious about moving forward. This can be very frustrating for many of us who want to see black women win because while I do not discount the fact that some black women genuinely do not know how to help themselves out on the most basic level (a situation which is very worrying in itself), these ‘I cant even figure out how to put my left foot in front of my right without help’, responses can suggest there is no real desire to move away from a situation and excuse making just to stay put.

Many of you are acquainted with the ‘Hole in the bucket’ ditty made popular by Harry Belafonte. Essentially a guy wants to get out of helping fix a bucket by pointing out obstacles to getting this simple task done.'s_a_hole_in_the_bucket

The strong sentiment communicated by his inability to do any 101 thinking around plugging a hole in a bucket, is that he does not really want to do it or he prefers the situation (lazing in the sun) as it is.

Not wanting to do any rudimentary thinking to put a plan into action, and not wanting to exert oneself in this regard, speaks to being comfortable in a situation or maybe still, not wanting the ‘change’ strong enough.

I want to point out a few other reasons why black women don’t want change.

Some black women have decided that black womanhood is about ‘singing the blues’.

In might not be a well formed thought and understanding in their minds but on some level this is how they understand black womanhood. They essentially feel that black women’s lot in life is to ‘sing the blues’; go through hardships and make it through the fire and just have a catalogue of complaints in tact and in place and ‘the lord will wipe away their tears some day’. This can mean that black women can indeed both seek out and set up situations that turn out this way.

I do believe that a host of back-to-front injunctions from the black community leads black women into a whole heap of hardship, yet at a point black women connect with this ‘identity of the blues.’ What happens however when black women latch unto the idea of ‘change’ or ‘more’ without addressing the deep rooted belief that black womanhood is about hurt and pain? Well it sets up self-sabotaging behaviour, resistance to doing anything real and practical towards making the change happen, or fault finding and lack of creativeness around suggestion towards coming out of dire situations.

Remember that our foremothers had woes aplenty. It is not suprising then that there are those of us (many at that) who have come to identify with a ‘woe is me’ life, in fact we have made it a ‘culture,’ and seek it out as a situation (most often subconsciously) regardless of talk to the opposite.

Many black women’s deep instincts on this is, ‘What’s a black woman without her blues situation?’ So when you suggest to them a way out, how they can have it better, or stress free, drama free existence, how they don’t need to suffer lack of men or not have to carry back breaking burdens, they get mighty uncomfortable because that is definitely not a black woman to them.

Deep down and without even processing it on a conscious level, black women who belong to the cult of the 'blues,' are saying, ‘That doesn’t sound like a black woman,’ ‘Where is the pain situation, where is the burden and the heavy load I have to labour under to really be a true black woman?’

This is a key reason why, when shown how we can move away from lack, some of us will find ourselves going back to or gravitating towards websites and forums that dwell on our pain situation without a clear plan and encouragement towards real solutions (beyond hope and pray and 'if we love urselves more it will happen'). Or we continue to moan and complain about lack of men and what have you and essentially thats all we are ready to do, because that’s what it is all about; its not about complaining towards a solution but complaining posibly to blow off steam and then go back to the situation. Yep, 'whats a black woman without her complaint ?’huh. That sure aint no real black woman.

The life of a martyr and the life of suffering is so tightly bound to the identity of many black women that they just automatically move to where there is woe and burdens to be carried.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

You cannot love Black Men Unconditionally and maintain a Positive Regard for Black Women

I never watch the Tyra Banks show. I have come across it once or twice, when I was in the room where it was being watched by others. I have heard it being said that Tyra does not support black women. I am not aware of this and being a fan of ANTM, I would probably say she is supportive of black women, and in a recent cycle of the program, I sensed her upset when the black contestants did not make it past the six week mark. In fact when the last minority girl left at week seven I saw Tyra visibly upset.

However this ‘supportiveness’ of sisters can go out of the window under a different setting. When the people involved are black men and black women, and in this situation, I see how easily black women like Tyra might suddenly turn towards favouring black men and disdaining black women. And this might be what some of you have observed, and commented about on her talk shows, where it was said that she gives black men ‘the benefit of doubt’ and tolerance for the actions and activities that she would vilify her female guests for. An example is her warm response to Denis Rodman compared with that to Karen Stefans of video vixen fame.

Black women have ‘learnt’ how to be unsupportive of other black women over the years particularly in service of black men.

Back to the topic at hand. I said above, that you cannot love black men unconditionally and maintain a regard for black women. You must love one and hate the other. This is simply to say that hanging on to your unconditional love and support of black men requires that you get irritated and fed up with black women and downright hostile towards them on the whole. It will require you having major problems and a negative attitude towards fellow black women, and a clear impatience with their struggles and complaints.

Have you ever wondered why you are short and often irritated with fellow black women sometimes just by them walking past you? I am not talking about being exasperated with the foolish things they do sometimes, I mean you just suddenly and without provocation, fly off the handle with them or become impatient and then later wonder why you were so easily irritated with black women. Well better check to see, maybe its because you want to retain your good imagery of black men and black women are distorting this picture for you.

Lets face it, black women are complaining about mistreatment at the hands of black men. They talk about being victimized, and discriminated against, of being the ‘target’ of black men’s anger etc. For any black woman to want to continue to hang onto her regard, unconditional love, support and faith in black men, outbursts and fall outs with your ’sistas’ are are given, as the presence of these women will not allow you to keep up the pretence of saintly brotherhood any longer. They are indeed turning the channel away from your preferred picture of black men and each day the evidence that they are not the men you had hoped to pin your black hopes and dreams to mounts, and so will tensions and frictions with the ones who are forcing you to reassess this sacred perspective.

Think about that next time you feel ’irritated’ by black women and their condition.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Is this Unforgivable?

Not if you are a Black woman. As black woman you must find it in your heart to pull up an excuse for the clear undeniable messages being sent about the image of the woman who is you. You must pretend you dont see it, and dont care, or that its not a big deal to you (I mean who wants to be a sexual object anyway, black women dont need to be objectified uggh!).

You must push away the cringing shame that washes over you from knowing that everybody around sees and understands what black men are saying loud and clear about black women and her unique looks, that they are in no way objects of male fantasy and can afford to be excluded from the runnings of 'desirable womanhood', they dont need to be feted and sought out as a companion when a man has arrived. You must sustain the belief that they really dont see or notice these things, its an inhouse secret among blacks only!

You must shrug off any anger that you might start to feel indeed reprimand yourself for even entertaining anger against a 'brotha' rather than 'understanding' the deeper issues and forces at work here. You must look into the issue closely to see if in someway you and we as black women contributed to this outcome. Was it our penchant for weaves perhaps that contributed to this result? Indeed if we loved and embraced our natural hair wouldn't black men do same? Therefore it must be our fault.

Whatever you do, find an excuse, shrug off your anger, suppress it, work it off by taking a long run, turn it inwards but never let yourself get angry at a black man, or abandon the notion that your loyalty must remain exclusively with them. Be happy that at least she is still a 'woman of color'.

Anyway all this stuff about beauty is not important really, black women have bigger fish to fry {sarcasm off}

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