Tag Archives: black women

Is Your Perception of the Opposite Sex Based on Reality or Internet Responses?

The more I’ve written the less faith I have in the divide between black men and women ever being repaired. The slightest mention of a black man doing X or a black woman doing Y in an article can cause a spiral of hate-filled, generalized, I-don’t-need-you comments that remove attention from the true topic being discussed and place it on what’s wrong with every member of the opposite sex. And every time I observe this situation and read the anger in these responses, all I can think is where are you getting your information, blogs or real life?

About a year or so ago I had to take a serious break from visiting black websites. Everything I read basically told me I had no chance in life, particularly when it came to relationships, and the information was honestly starting to weigh on me. Despite understanding the internet balls phenomenon, it was still clear to me that even though a person might not say in person what they were bold enough to type online, that didn’t mean they didn’t really think and feel what their message portrayed. So if a commenter used derogatory language to describe their hatred for a woman like me, in some ways I internalized it and the paranoia followed me into real-life interractions where I wondered if the people around me had the same thoughts as these internet instigators but just weren’t saying it.

It wasn’t until late last year that I had an epiphany of sorts. I had come back to my apartment after being harassed by one of my neighbors who told me he was going to keep bothering me until I gave him the time of day. That’s when I realized my real life experience just didn’t match with the hate men online said they had for women like me. Let internet trolls tell it, an educated woman who could stand to lose a few pounds and hasn’t had the best dating history in the world is trash they wouldn’t even bother to look at, but in reality, every time I left the house a man was trying to get my attention. It could have been something as simple as “hey sis” or a call for my number or someone telling me to smile. But I remember in all of my why-do-men-always-have-to-say-something-to-a-woman attitude, I thought, black men do still love black women and black men still love me.

This is why I have a hard time when the generalizations about black men and women turning their back on one another and not wanting to be with each other get under my skin. Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve said before, I’m no “let’s go black man” cheerleader in the sense that they can do no wrong. I’ve been known to cue up Trina every now and then and I certainly have my issues with some of their choices, but when a nod to a black man’s success conjures up a “he’ll probably go get a white woman like the rest of them” response, or a suggestion that doing X,Y,Z, could help you attract a man is met with “I don’t need a black man to step all over me, I’m going to find a white man to put a ring on it,” something is wrong. Why so much anger? Everyone comes with a little baggage but the price for bringing that crap with you isn’t even worth the trip. At some point you have to accept the 1,2,3,4,5 men that did you wrong at some point aren’t totally representative of the whole race—particularly when evidence to the contrary is staring you in the face.  The same goes for men.

I think some of us just want to hold on to our anger or incite it in other people and unfortunately social networks and blog sites have provided a huge platform to spread it. What people don’t realize is their not just spreading anger, they’re spreading ideas and stereotypes that some readers are taking for face value and using to build grudges against the opposite sex as well. If we complain when white people do it why are we doing it to ourselves?

It’s OK to speak from the heart and from experience with passion but next time someone gets ready to throw out a negative comment about a black man or black woman, I wish they would think about whether what they’re saying really reflects the experiences they’ve had in their own lives or is what they’re about to say solely based on perceptions they’ve developed of the opposite sex as a result of internet banter.

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The Myths

In December, I had the pleasure of being interviewed along with two other women for a friend’s film project on the myths of black women. Each of us discussed some of the stereotypes that have affected us professionally—-especially the myth of the angry black woman (shout out to Michelle Obama). Below is just a rough cut of the film, but check it out anyway and tell me what you think. Hopefully I’ll have the full feature soon.

Special shout out to up and coming filmmaker Dana Butler.

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Black Women Are Drinking the Kool-Aid

If I had a dollar for every time a black man made a comment along the lines of, “That’s why I date white women,” or, “If black women keep it up, I’m going to start dating white girls,” I could probably retire at 30. But with the influx of women toting similar statements about how and why white women are “winning,” I might be able to reduce that number to 29.

I was over on the site Madame Noire (Bossip’s sister site) the other day when I came across the article, White Women Are #Winning, Step Your Game Up, based on a similarly titled article published in UPTOWN Magazine, Love: Why White Women Are Winning. Both articles address black women’s perceived attitudes, unwillingness to cater to our men, declining value in the institution of marriage, hesitation to date interracially, and lack of expectation for finding a man—basically stating white women are our polar opposites and are therefore not unlucky in love as we are.

Now if you truly feel that you need insight into some possible reasons to explain why you are single (in case you haven’t heard enough already), then, by all means, take heed to the advice presented, as that is not necessarily where the problem lies. The issue is the fact that black women have jumped on the “white women are better because of x,y,z” bandwagon.

My first thought when I saw the article was that this was a case of irresponsible publishing. Why, as websites and magazines that are supposed to be a service to black people, and black women in particular, would you publish something that places white women on a pedestal?

None of the character traits mentioned in the article are true of all white women, just as not all of the negative stereotypes that are perceived to be holding black women back from finding their mate are true. Could either author not have written (another) article simply highlighting characteristics of women in effective relationships/marriages? It’s articles like these pitting black and white women against one another as two entirely different species that have the potential to revive black women’s ill feelings toward black men dating interracially—although we’ve been told time and time again to get over it or join the movement.

Read more @ Clutch

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One Small Step for Me, One Giant Leap Backward for Womankind

You know the saying every little bit counts? If everyone would donate such and such amount to such and such cause, then an organization could do such and such?  Although there is no realistic expectation that everyone will donate to the cause, the point is to encourage people not to focus on the fact that they’re only donating a small amount but to see their contribution as a necessary piece of the larger pie that, combined, will have a huge impact. Lately I’ve been thinking about this interconnectedness on a more interpersonal level and frankly feeling like I have the weight of black women on my shoulders. 

Recently I came into my apartment building and a black guy from the neighborhood was talking with one of my neighbors in the hallway. My bag got caught on the outside door so it made the door accidentally slam closed. He remarked, “Somebody is in a bad mood.” Truthfully, I wasn’t in that bad of a mood, but did I smile, did I correct his statement, or even acknowledge it or him? No. I walked past him, went into my apartment and shut the door. Afterward, I sat thinking, “he probably thinks I’m just another angry black woman,” which I’m not (most days). The point is, I couldn’t tear myself away from thinking about how that one small action may have negatively influenced not only his view of me, but black women in general.

So often, we talk about perpetrators of crime on a national scale and the misogyny of women in our music and the detriment that this has on the image of the black community, but I wonder how often each of us thinks about how our little day to day interactions affect the perception of black women within our own community.

I know how to act in the office, I realize that the man is watching and I have to represent for my people, but somehow when it comes to the black man, the same rules don’t always apply. I realize at work we have to be “on” so to speak and sometimes after that 9a-7p is over, you just want to be at home in your bed, but is that an excuse to be “off” with one another? Is it that we expect the next black person to understand the unspoken frustration of white supremacy in corporate America that is written on the scowls of our faces, or are we just plain rude and nonchalant about how we interact socially?

Recently, an ex of an old friend of mine (and friend of one of my past ‘interests’-complicated, I know) approached me with a level of interest that I’m almost certain was beyond friendship. Initially, I brushed off the advances, but at some point I began to engage him, still on a respectable level, however I found myself wondering, how am I affecting men’s perception of women by even entertaining this man? Am I adding to the already-skewed mindset that all women are scandalous, sneaky, and down for whatever? Or if I accept unacceptable behavior from a man from whom I should be demanding more, am I providing men with permission to treat us all any kind of way?

Of course, my behavior has no true global impact, but it could be significant enough to sustain previously held notions about women in general. The reality is, most of us aren’t famous, what we do won’t go beyond the conversation of maybe three to five people, but when your negative behavior matches the stories of  others in the group, then we’ve got a global perception crisis. The minority that behave a certain way come to represent the whole and then statements like “all black women are like this and all black men do this” become dogma and the way that we engage one another begins to change based on these assumptions that get proven true every day.

Perhaps each of us should look at it as our personal responsibility to represent for the perceived minority of our minority. In the same way that we “put on” for black people when going up against other racial or ethnic groups on a national scale in business, media, or any other venture, we should put on for one another and not be so lax about the stereotypes that we perpetrate amongst ourselves.

A lot of people talk about feeling the weight of their ancestors on their shoulders as they face life’s challenges, but I think it’s also important to feel the burden of womankind as well. It may not feel good to immediately resist whatever urge you have to frankly not care and do whatever it is you want to do in the present moment, but if we all could think about one another before we do such and such to and with such and such, our social interactions might really be a little bit easier to navigate.

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Interracial Dating: If White Men Don’t Care, Why Should We?

Recently, while engaging in yet another dead-end discussion about black men dating white women, I made a statement that interracial marriage should be made illegal again in this country. I was partially being facetious, but to be honest, I am a woman who feels strongly about interracial dating/marriage, particularly between black men and white women.
This isn’t a new issue in the black community; in fact the topic has probably been beaten to death. But recently I began thinking, if white men don’t care about their women being “taken” by black men, why do black women take black men’s decision to date outside of their race so personal?
Never have I heard of a white man, except maybe the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, denouncing interracial relationships between black men and white women the way black women do. Is it because we really care about establishing strong black homes for black children to grow in, or is it because we feel personally rejected when the star athlete or Columbia business school graduate chooses to scoop up the first white woman he sees rather than find an educated African American female counterpart to build a home with?
If the first part were true then we really wouldn’t care about the unemployed black man in the hood living with his mama while Becky takes care of their two biracial children, because even though we know good and well we don’t want that man, we still give him and his baby mom rude stares when we see them out together.
You won’t find a white man doing this. Perhaps it’s because they have a bigger pond of successful white women to choose from than we do successful black men. Maybe that’s why we feel a sharp pang of anger every time we think we’ve “lost” another good brother to a white woman.
My opposition of black men dating white women stems from the fact that I’ve never heard black men express a genuine admiration for white women. Although I’m sure there are some brothers who truly love the white woman they are with, I typically hear such explanations as “black women have too much attitude,” “white women know their place and don’t complain,” “white women know how to make a man feel good,” and other explanations of sexually explicit acts as reasons for dating white women.
Of course a black woman is going to take offense to that and frankly be disappointed that, rather than step up to the plate, some black men have chosen to take the easy way out, and date someone they can run over and control. But what about white women’s reasoning for dating black men, which at the risk of being stereotypical, I feel typically has to deal with this fantasy of buck-wild sex from a well-endowed man.
You never hear a white man complain about a white woman giving it up to a brother instead of him; in fact, I’m willing to bet he would quickly give the brother a high-five at his conquest, because they probably believe in the Mandingo myth as well. There are some white men who even support their wives seeking out black men or going on destination trips to screw some man from the Caribbean because they want their wives to be pleased sexually (see: myth).
The more I think of the superficial reasons for these interracial rendezvous the angrier I get that these black men can’t see the value in being with a woman of color and working for the relationship. But when it comes down to it, the problem is there’s, not mine. Regardless of why white men don’t care and why we do care, perhaps its time to stop giving so much energy to the topic. The angrier we get at the idea, the more black men use it as ammunition to continue to seek women outside of their race. And really, what are we achieving by constantly bashing the brothers that consciously or unconsciously make this dating choice?
Yes, we know the stats on how many black men are gay and in jail and how many black women are single, but at the end of the day, a man is going to do what he wants to do regardless, which likely will include dating a white woman. So really, if white men don’t care, why should we?

[Originally Posted Here]

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