Monday, September 26, 2011

I am a fan of the book 'Is Marriage for White People' by Richard Banks, are you?

‘Is Marriage for white people?’ a recently released book by Richard Banks explores an issue that we BWE have been banging on about for several years now. It’s the book that a good few of us would have liked to write about the topic of black women expanding their dating options, if we were Stanford professors with access to the research and data. Indeed what this book has done is back up a lot of the observations and empirical evidence that BWE have been pointing out for years. It’s a good handbook for many of the discussions we have been having. It’s the hard evidence that some say they require before they change their minds especially as it is backed by a professorship from Stanford.

'Black women deserve better than what many black men have to offer'- R Banks

I know some bw were a bit hesitant and wary about this book when it first came out, but I would suggest that some of us look at the larger issue here and that is, how this book could have a far reaching effect because sadly people are the way they are and many black women will only receive counsel from a black man on these issues. Indeed I kept coming across comments like, ‘If he is a black man he wouldn’t be saying this’, or people mistaken him for white because the truth is that black men have long since adopted a selfish and self centred posture towards the whole issue, in fact people are almost having heart attacks at the thought of a black man not going the usual route of defending black men and the image of black men even at the expense of the well-being of the group!
I blogged for NWNW here

Buy a copy, request one for your library, get it in place of that gift you were already planning for your sister or friend (Christmas is round the corner), or recommend if for your book club. BWE have so much power of influence that they often don’t use and which often doesn’t cost them much or extra. Write a review. BWE activists (which means all of you), need to commit at least one hour a month towards pushing forward the BWE philosophy. JUST-ONE-HOUR-A-MONTH. How hard can that be!

'Should black women continue to be held hostage to the failures of black men'- R Banks

This can involve dropping a link in a discussion (wont take you more than 10 mins!). I have aggregated a whole lot of BWE work on the following website feel free to drop it all over the web. I have seen many do it and I thank you for your efforts to liberate your fellow black woman.

Put this hour down in your diary and decide what it is you want to do. Remember this hour is about spreading the message to new territories not just writing a blog post for instance to your usual audience. I used to print off leaflets and drop them surreptitiously on buses or train seats (in areas with a high population of black women). Even dropping a few leaflets on the sly in your hairdressers (who is to know it is you), even handing a leaflet to a bw and feigning ignorance saying ’someone gave me this leaflet I wonder what its about?’ Imagine how many people will come across this book in a public setting like a library or as a request for a book club.

Copy of the leaflet printed and dropped on train seats or the hairdressers!

In the UK the book is not yet available so I have been reading a listening to Richard Banks commentary on different online pages. I was impressed with some of the answers highlighted below:

Re Owing it to the black race:

‘Another concern is that black women feel they owe it to the black race to marry a black man and have a black family that is strong and does the race proud. Many college educated black women have cousins, fathers and brothers who have been to jail or unemployed. They've seen this struggle and feel like they want to help and be part of the solution rather than be successful on their own.’

Re academic theories and intellectual analysis need to have meaning to the person on the ground and not be disconnected from their personal desires aspirations

‘When I teach family law, we spend a lot of time on the question of: If we didn't have the institution of marriage, would we need to create it? What would life be like without that? When you ask people on the street if they think marriage is oppressive and has been a tool to consolidate male control over women and maintaining property relationships, those ideas don't connect with regular people at all. If you talk to mainstream gay leaders about destroying gay marriage, you have no constituency for that among gay rights advocates. Ten or twenty years ago, there was a constituency for that argument.’

Re the charge that 'Marriage as an oppressive institution'.

There's a lot to the critique of marriage as an institution, but in the book, I'm not critiquing what people want. When a black woman tells me she thought by the time she was 39 she'd be married with children, I don't begin to query her about why she wants to be married and whether marriage is necessary. I put myself where they are, and that's a choice I made.

(My choice here is not to critique people's norms, expectations, or values, but instead to take for granted that in our society people do still have gendered expectations of men and women. If I were creating a society, I might get rid of those, but I'm taking people as they are rather than remaking them in the way I think they should be.)

I was impressed with this answer given by Richard Banks  to because for a long time I have watched ‘intellectuals’ and assorted black intelligentia and activists query black women when they say they want to be married and say that black women are buying into an oppressive institution etc etc we should look at 'new' forms of relationships and partnerships etc etc. Indeed these folks decided they would rather challenge black women's desires than accept what black women say they want as valid and that they have a right to this desire. Indeed if black women say they want to be married why are such folk now suddenly beginning to 'question' it and this desire for marriage and make it out to be abnormal? I guess this questioning has become necessary now because of how hard it is for this ambition to be realized within race, so invalidating this stated desire as wrong headed, abnormal or black women wanting to be like whites instead of accepting new ideals, becomes the only way to ensure black women abide by the situation as it stands!

Re marriage is shorthand for committed relationships

In some ways it's a matter of shorthand. It is the case that for most couples in the U.S., a serious, committed, monogamous relationship is going to be a marital one. Most cohabitating relationships are not long term. People either break up or get married. Maybe that will change 10 years from now, but right now in the U.S., that's where we stand.

Re feminist wanting to manipulate black women’s issues to further their agenda

‘I've talked about this with a lot of academic white feminists at Stanford, and I've heard a lot of them ask, "Why do women need to be married? Why can't they have children on their own? And who am I to impose some moral code on women?" My response is that when I went out to interview people, I thought I was going to find a lot of black women who were so happy they didn't have to be married. But I didn't find that. To the people who say black women are leading the charge in being unmarried and we should applaud them rather than subject them to scrutiny, I would say they're really missing the experience that a lot of black women are having. A less charitable take is that it's doing a disservice to black women to manipulate their experience for the ideological ends of feminism.

See more

I was also impressed at how he also essentially debunks this myth and chanted mantra of there are ‘Good black men out there,’ which has essentially immobilized many black women and prevented the dawning of the idea that hey would and should broaden their dating options. How does he do this? Well with the strong case he makes that as long as the number imbalance gives black men the upper hand and indeed so much power in the black relationship arena/market, they will continue to give black women a very bad deal not because they are evil demons, but as a function of this extreme bargaining advantage they enjoy. He says quite openly that black women would likely find better relationship deals with white men!

His is a good response for those who want black women to foolishly trust in the ‘altruist’ nature of black men.

Wondering about Interracial dating?

I have written an E-book that gives a comprehensive insight into the relationship reality facing black women today, including her Interracial Dating Option. Get yourself clued up!

Questions to be sent to:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Until We become Normal and Comonplace (updates)

Dont you just love the correlation?

Re Miss Universe
Yes I shouldn’t be caught up about beauty queens and judging women on looks, but I am no fool, while those who protest loudest still reap benefits of being seen as the beauty norm (hence they can afford to pooh pooh beauty pagents etc aggresively) those of us who don’t get the limelight need to be like the wise old servant in the gospels, shoring up our circumstances anyway we can 

Blog post continues:
I explained to a colleague recently that when people first see or come into contact with you as a black woman they may have one or two likely responses but likely they will respond negatively if they haven’t had the experience of confronting a black woman in the situation before. As black women many of us are still entering ’first’ situations because we tend to or have tended to self-segregate more than black men and confine ourselves to black spaces and pasttimes (so people are not used to dealing with bw in untypical situations). If people haven’t experienced black woman in a certain situation trust me, the more likely reaction you will get will be discomfort, you will see it in their faces and reactions whcih often speaks to an underlying race issue or insecurity that is unresolved. most times this will result in them trying to get rid of the source of this discomfort, and you guessed it they might then try to 'eject' you from the situation and they will get about doing this without even being aware that this is what they are doing and indeed without diagnosing that this is because of a racial animus.

Once you stand your ground or are allowed to be in place for sometime, you will see how soon your being around or being there ‘normalizes’. One bw I know had a very bad experience when she was called to ‘head’ a certain project. I told her to hang in there and pretend she didn’t even notice that folk were uncomfortable and didn’t know how to respond to her and her being there. Very soon people settled into their little camps.

Yes there were those who couldn’t deal and did their little sabotaging things here and there, thankfully they were not in positions of great power and ultimately she had a number of important allies whose sense of fairness (this is one of the most useful and salient aspects of the white identity which is more important to appeal to than ‘anti-racism,’ because most whites are desperate to see themselves as fair-minded people even while they may be too nervy to comfront race and racism) didn’t allow them to side with all sorts of racist shenanigans (though very few were able to name the going ons for what it truly was ie racism, they just felt they needed to give the new person a fair shake).

Pretending you don’t know what is going on while silently doing your thing is one of the best moves a bw can make. Trust me, give things a chance to ‘settle,’ don’t feel you have to respond to peoples attitudes. Allow for folks to even cancel each other out by being in team this and team the other, while you burrow down and attend to the business of getting yourself up to speed on your job, project, team etc.

Speaking also about how white people do not really or are not able to suss racist animus or identify it as a factor in a situation, I want black women to realize this very important truth; white women in particular do not even understand or know that they are being racist to black women in many of those work/social situations that you all talk about no matter how incredulous this may sound!

Some of you think they know what they are doing, the truth is some might have an oblique understanding that race has something to do with how they are responding to this black person but often a defense mechanism will kick in (remember the aim of defence mechanisms is to shield one from their own anxiety producing/unacceptable emotions and impulses and what is more unacceptable to the self image of a white person than the notion that they are really racists!) and they will latch unto or even manufacture another 'reason' for their response to you to eg they might say you have an 'attitude' (and you dont necessarily need to have one, you could be the nicest person on earth but they will project the readily available seterotype of bw unto you and rarely will this be challenged because bw are deemed to be so, as well as bw themselves reinforce the 'big and bad' attitude almost to the level of an identity).
There is a certain level of lack of self awareness that goes with living as a privileged being (a white person), in addition being a ’protected,’ unchallenged privileged being (I am talking white womanhood) means even a greater level of lack of self-awareness! This is why white men in my calculations are more aware and can own that they could be behaving in a racist manner (and thus are able to be reasoned with and can be pulled back), as opposed to white women whose very comon reaction is to burst into incredulous tears when it is pointed out.
You very rarely win if you directly confront a white woman about her racist reactions to you for the above and other reasons....
To be contd
Wondering about Interracial dating?

I have written an E-book that gives a comprehensive insight into the relationship reality facing black women today, including her Interracial Dating Option. Get yourself clued up!

Questions to be sent to:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ayaan and Niall Tie the Knot

Says Andrew Sullivan...
One of my oldest friends married one of my global heroines on Saturday. The irascible Scot wed the unafraid Somali to the Battle Hymn of the Republic (and a little Gershwin thrown in) in Harvard Memorial Church. For me, this is America: a refugee from brutal Islamist repression and an intellectual seeking new forums and new audiences to share his work. They came here because this is America, a place that makes an East African and a Glaswegian feel equally at home more


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Being proactive and promptly reactive to your Situation

Miss Universe 2011 Leila Lopes (Miss Angola)
"She captivated the crowd and we were all behind her," said Brazilian Natalie Bursztyn, 20, who was in the crowd inside Credicard Hall where the event took place. "It was great that the judges also saw what the fans saw and gave her the crown. Her dress was beautiful and she knew exactly what to say when they asked her the question about her looks."

Another fan in the audience, Carolina Rocha, said Lopes' win was "well deserved, we were cheering for her all along. Her smile and her friendliness was what set her apart from the others. She also answered her question very well, that likely helped her a lot."-Time world

Watch crowning moment (scroll down)

Blog Entry-
Observing black people around me, I can see that most of them live in a state of 'reactivity' as opposed to being proactive. Things come upon them, are done to them or happen to them which then causes them to react, often too late.

During the beginnings of the downturn of the economy I watched a colleague frantically try to convey to the community groups she was working with that things were no longer going to be as they were and they would have to rethink their dependence on government funding for their organisations and community projects. She was very unsuccessful, and even up to the point were many of these community organisations had their government funding pulled, many continued to turn a deaf ear to the messages coming loud and clear on the need to rethink their strategy. When money dried up eventually they fell back on the usual tactic (that used to work before) of crying racism and discrimination. It was very uncomfortable for her and even me to see how dependence disfigures human ingenuity and creativity making people so fearful of taking a step forward and seizing their own destiny in their own hands, indeed they would rather continue to be 'wards' of others no matter how much of their self esteem and belief in self they sacrificed as a result.

However let me add here that even in a reactive state there is a postive or useful way to be reactive. Many black folk operate in the unresponsive end of the reactive state, if you can say such a thing exists. Indeed you can be super sensitive to a changing situation in such a way that it borders on the proactive itself. Lets face it, no one can be procative 100 percent of the time. We live in an ever changing world and we have to react most of the time esepcially in day to day terms and thus there is a good and positive way of being reactive, and thats to pick up a situation as soon as possible and go ahead to do what is needed without much or any prompting. But many black people dont even react when they need to, when the picture is clear and has been for quite a while. A woman who has been diagnosed with diabetes but never picks up the courage to change her lifestyle is an example and I see this around so often.

'If black women can 'unlink' themselves from black men, they will rise to the surface'-halima

Some may argue that something has deadened such a persons instinctive will to live and I agree that a whole lot of the community burdens put upon black woman and which black women put upon themselves, can indeed disrupt their ability and desire for the best possible life for themselves.

I see so many black women letting things ride out, hoping and praying things will resolve, in other words the situation didnt just spring from the blues, it progressively became a 'situation' while they hoped and kept fingers crossed and did nothing practical.

I think the fact that many black people are religious more so than other demograhies says something about how black folk would rather employ faith than be practical and proactive about their situation. 'God will do it,' 'He will thwart the enemy,' seems to be a preffered MO for black people on the whole. Very few 'pastors' will explain that it has always been about God blessing the bit that you are already doing and not God doing it all for you from scratch or all on your behalf!

An effectively empowered black woman (in terms of mapping out a life for herself) is on the whole, proactive and when you do have to 'react' it is with speed and promptness, no delay once it is established what needs to be done or overcome.

Being in denial wastes precious time, the time that could actually reverse the bad fortune! You will still have to face a situation one way or another and so 'a stich in time' will be a much better policy than burying your head in the sand. Act promptly to extricate yourself from a 'situation'.

If you think you have reacted too late, you are just going to have to shut off that emotional response of fear and paralysis and knuckle down and get on with a plan to get out of the situation. In some cases it might go either way but at least you gave it a good shot!

As an empowered black women you need to spend time investigating, studying and finding out, not just better ways of doing stuff but upcoming trends, paradigm shifts, and methods of survival. Shore up what you have now to make it lasting and permanent but be aware that whatever comfortable situation you have now is unlikely to remain so in this rapidly changing world of downturn of fortunes in a good portion of western societies, you have to plan a way ahead for if ever you need to jump! Always ask, 'Where or what next?

Wondering about Interracial dating?

I have written an E-book that gives a comprehensive insight into the relationship reality facing black women today, including her Interracial Dating Option. Get yourself clued up!

Questions to be sent to: