EXTRA! SO VERY EXTRA!

An important dialogue

In Love and Romance, R[evol]ution, Somewhat disjointed rant... on November 22, 2012 at 1:48 am

Ladies and gentlemen of all colors,

It’s rare that I get a response on my personal blog. But, I got one response to my post One Black Woman Responds. Posted for your thought and consideration is the comment left by Macmajii and my response to him (I’m an attorney….we’re never short on words or comebacks; moreover, I’ve posted my words first. Mac’s initial response is at the end). I hope that this is a dialogue that continues not only here but also in y/our everyday lives. What is this thing called race? In the words of Cole Porter, what is this thing called love? How does race affect our attitude toward love? How does love affect our attitude toward race? And, what role does gender play in both race and love (and all permutations of that question)?

Yours,

Michelle

——————————-

Mac:

I guess the thing about your original post that wounded me was the attitude of disdain that you showed to Black women generally. Eventually, in some way, we are all average. In fact, I enjoy my average-ness sometimes–guess that makes me extra-average.

I am deeply in love with my boyfriend. He is an attorney, and I am currently in my last year of law school. But, honestly, I have a lot of baggage; I’m not in perfect shape; and (obviously) I’ve got plenty of mouth. I’ve been engaged before, and it didn’t end well. When my current boyfriend and I started dating, I was terrified of falling in love and being hurt. So, maybe that makes me unworthy of him in your definition? Could be. But, I like to think that what I lack in qualification I make up in love, respect, and devotion. My worth for him is, I believe, independent of my thankfulness for him and to him.

Though you went to a site for Black people, there is not that much difference between your attitude and the attitude of the women you criticize. You never said that all of the women from Africa and the Caribbean felt that way, but your implication was that this was the prevailing attitude. I will be honest that I have not traveled extensively, but in my time in undergrad at Agnes Scott and in law school, I have worked with women from Africa and from the Caribbean. We do have a lot in common (even though some of us were Asian, others Jamaican, others Nepalese, some straight, some bi-sexual, some lesbian), and spending time at an all women’s college taught me that. We each had to figure out how to be the woman she was meant to be; each had to figure out how to balance sexuality and politics and academia and gender roles and family expectations; each had to figure out how she could justify the ways in which she planned to go against traditional gender roles; each had to contextualize cultural, social, and economic factors. A vagina might seem like a mere factor to you, but having a vagina leads to parallel and perpendicular social issues across cultures: childbirth, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, prostitution, rape, menopause, breast cancer, abuse and deficits and deficiencies in education and health care. In fact, your comments prompted me to start a discussion, and I do not actually believe that what you express is the prevailing or predominant attitude.

I object to you calling me “babe.” You don’t know me; you’ve never met me. The term is patronizing and disrespectful–more to the point, the only people who call me any derivation of that word are my parents and sisters (who call me baby girl or baby sister, since I’m the youngest) or my boyfriend (as a pet name–and only after we had been dating for a while. He’s far too respectful to have presumed upon our friendship by calling me that immediately). I will answer to “sis,” “sister,” “miss,” “ma’am,” “miss lady” and even the occasional, “hey, girl.”

I don’t want to get into a semantics battle with you regarding the definition of independent. I do, however, want to point out that the verse you have quoted from I Corinthians 11:11-12 speaks in the context of marriage and body of Christ relationships. Woman is not independent of man, but neither is man independent of woman. You clearly have an attitude of derision: “we know sisters don’t really take the bible all that seriously.” Again, you characterize all black women as hypocrites–a very serious accusation. I do take it personally because I am a Black woman, and I do actually take the Bible pretty seriously (in fact, my final two career choices were either seminary to become a Christian counselor or law school to be a legal counselor). Indeed, the wedding vows that you quote are not actually quoted from the Bible (though, indeed, they express biblical ideas), and it should read, “To honor and obey until death do US (or, you) part.”

I’m not pretending that I don’t know what types of men are not desirable for me–I know exactly what types of men are not desirable for me. But, to characterize these men as lowest common denominators without knowing more about them is presumptuous and prejudicial. You referred to them as “brothers”–I was pointing out the irony in your use of the term.

The cycle of abuse is far more complex than your characterization.

The number of women that you subtract and discount because of a particular characteristic excludes nearly everyone. I don’t believe that all black men are messed up; I don’t believe that most black men are messed up; I believe that many people are damaged and bruised and battered by life. Though I am impressed by the caliber and pedigree of the men with whom you are friends, upwardly mobile doesn’t mean that a person hasn’t been marked or bruised by life. More than anything, extending compassion to another person will illuminate their humanity. There is nothing wrong with being marked and bruised by life–it shows that we are alive.

I don’t want to get into interracial dating because I am the product of interracial dating and love. It’s a non-issue for me. I am loved by my family, and I love my family. Black women should feel free (I guess that means independent) to date anyone of any age, color, or gender. Black men should feel free (I guess that means independent) to date anyone of any age, color, or gender. For the record, I don’t watch Oprah (or any of her spin-offs including OWN, Iyanla Vanzant, Dr. Phil, or Dr. Oz). I have never seen Something New–and I’m not sure if I’ve ever discussed the movie with anyone. I don’t spend much time in front of the television and I don’t spend any time scouring the internet for men of any race. So, to be clear, my comment about me being a little Black girl descended from Irish and Asian immigrants meant that everyone should feel free to date any race–my Black grandparents and great-grandparents certainly did.

Finally, the Golden Rule interprets itself: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. That is linked to the two other great commandments: love thy neighbor as thyself and love the Lord thy God. In order to get in touch with the Golden Rule, you have to love yourself first. I certainly understand your frustration with Black women bashing Black men, but hate cannot cast out hate, only love can do that. Indeed, I would have done well to heed my own advice. My frustration with your words could not cast out your frustration with Black women writ large. All that has ended up happening is that we merely reflect each others’ frustration. Sometimes you imply that your words apply to the extra-average Black woman; sometimes your words seem to apply to all Black women. Do you think that all Black women are extra-average? If so, that might explain why you run into so many extra-average Black women (though, technically, “extra” means beyond or outside of…). It’s the exact same syndrome as a Black woman who complain about all Black men being ______ (fill-in with something bad)–ultimately that bad characteristic is all she will ever see.

I simply hope that you are able to do what I finally did. I let go of the frustration and bitterness; love finally found me. I turned off the television; I turned off the radio; I put down the books; I turned off my friends; I turned off my parents. I tuned in to what love was saying. The bottom line of the media is usually that the biggest fools with the loudest mouths and the most eccentric sets of beliefs are publicized. Going by what the media shows you will leave you in a world of hurt. I believe that I am exceptional in some ways, but I know any number of equally and surpassingly exceptional women and men who don’t seem to be finding each other. I’m puzzled as to why, but I think the media plays a part.

Here is my honest opinion of men of all colors: A man, who knows his own humanity, is a glorious work of art by God Himself. I have never been more fascinated by any other of God’s creations as I have been by men. Black men are an amazing demonstration of resiliency and refusal to bow. Not slavery; not the middle passage; not Reconstruction; not the Klan; not Jim Crow; not a stacked criminal justice system can wipe the Black man off the planet. The Black man is a force to be reckoned with, and regardless of what we say, the Black woman continues to reckon with him as his wife, his girlfriend, his sister, his daughter, his mother, his classmate, his cousin, his neighbor, his colleague. No man or woman is merely average; we are all miracles. But, I guess in that way, we are all average….average, every day miracles of the creator.

————————-

Interesting read. As the author of the article in question, I couldn’t help but offer a rebuttal to your rebuttal on some of the things you mentioned. More like clarifying my points, if you will. I’m not sure if you’ll even post this on your site or not; but at least you can read it yourself and no where I stand, hopefully clearer. I went down the list and answered with the number that corresponds with your own.

1. What criterion would make one person worthy of another you ask? First and foremost, the fact that you RESPECT and HONOR that person. The fact that you have THEIR best interest at heart and mind; not so much just your own. The fact that you can exhibit TRUST towards them. These are the basics that you just don’t find with extra-average sisters when it comes to how they deal with black men. And we both know it.

2. I didn’t run to ABC, CNN, Russian TV or any other such mainstream outlet to vent my frustrations with the sisters. You won’t find one show on mainstream TV where black men in general are on there talking about how successful they are and can’t find a black woman to vibe with or marry. I went to a site for BLACK people to voice my opinion. http://www.thyblackman.com BIG difference!

3. I never said ALL women from the Caribbean, Africa or abroad feel this way. I said that was the prevailing attitude held about American black women based on what those I’ve encountered said to me in moments of extreme disclosure. And its true. I’ve traveled around the world a bit. Have you? Every place I’ve gone where there were other blacks to be found, I asked their honest opinion about ‘us’. And they didn’t hesitate to give it. Don’t shoot the messenger babe.

As for women in Asia feeling they have more things in common with you than not; when was the last time you asked your nail technician or the lady at the beauty store their opinions on the matter? Because I can assure you they don’t feel like they have much at all in common with American sisters; unless you consider your vagina the only important commonality. Asian women typically despise American black women; especially those who service you with hair care products and other beauty related services. And they don’t even hide it! So I don’t know who these mythological Asian chicks are you keep referring to.

4. Definition of independent:

-a neutral or uncommitted person…
-not dependent on or conditioned by or relative to anything else…
-showing a desire for freedom…
-rejecting others’ aid or support; refusing to be under obligation to others…

I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. And these were pulled randomly from a dictionary when I looked up the word: so they’re not even MY words. Now I ask you sister: what man in his right mind is going to sign up for THAT? Who wants to be with someone who wears the title of uncommitted as a badge of honor? The problem is, sisters have personified the very definition and meaning of the word ‘independent’ without even realizing what it means! There is prophetic power in words!

As for what God Himself thinks about an independent woman: 1 Corinthians 11:11-12-

“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is NOT independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.”

But we know sisters don’t really take the bible all that seriously. If they did, they would hold in high regard those words uttered at just about every wedding ceremony: “To HONOR and OBEY, until death do her part…”

5. Really?! You’re going to act like you have NO idea what type of brothers I’m referring to here? Let me help you then: Lowest common denominator types of black men:

*Dudes who need your place to stay because they don’t have their own
*Dudes who drive your car because they don’t have their own
*Dudes who rotate in and out of jail constantly
*Dudes who think going to prison is some kind of rite of passage
*Dudes who never have a job or steady income
*Dudes with multiple baby mommas

Need I go on? As for these guys being my brothers: Not every man of my hue takes his cue from the same values I do. I don’t claim dusty niggas as my brothers. More like my backwards long lost cousins…twice removed…

6. Please allow me to fill in that blank for you. You attracted an abusive person because…
Somewhere deep within the nether regions of your spirit, you believe that abuse is a sign of love. Or maybe you are bored with life and secretly crave the excitement of the drama. Ultimately its for the same reason crackheads go back for one more smoke: addiction. Some people are addicted to their own negative behaviors, feelings and self-value. Some are addicted to the drama.

Ever hear that saying ‘When the student is ready the teacher will appear’? Well I like to say ‘When the abused get tired of their abuse, the abuse magically stops.’ And you know why: because they DO something about it besides sitting there and taking the crap! Its called taking personal responsibility. Something alot of my brothers and sisters find hard to do nowadays.

7. This one was kinda confusing to me, as you seemed to be making a point about not really making a point. The fact remains that once you subtract from the dating the pool the number of black women who are: physically unattractive, hoodrats, baby factories, unpaid whores, too ‘independent’ to keep their tongues out of some other woman’s twat, crazy as catshit, or simply already taken by someone else…the numbers for those who remain are extremely slim.

Society tries to paint us a picture of black men all being jacked up; when the reality is most are not. They’re simply not stupid enough to commit to women who by their own admission are disloyal to a fault. So wise brothers tend to keep it moving until they find some woman who they can settle down with in peace and cohabit with in love. If she happens to be of another hue, so the hell be it! More on this in a sec…

As for my circle of homies: my inner circle includes a few dozen, mostly relatives. Doctors, attorneys, engineers, corporate men, self-employed men, ministers, working class brothers, police officers, etc. My larger circle of homies numbers in the hundreds. Mostly black except for a few hispanic and white brothers; all upwardly mobile. None of them are dusty or deadbeats. Dusty negroes make me itch…

8. Lets go there. Interracial dating only seems to be a problem when black men are doing it. When Oprah did that show about sisters dating interracial, y’all co-signed on it. When movies like Something New starring Sanaai Lathan came out, y’all co-signed it too. There are a litany of websites such as boycottblackmen.com and tons of others dedicated to black women dreaming about getting with men of other races, primarily white dudes. And they be throwing themselves at these guys online. Its actually sad if it wasn’t so comical. I don’t hear much anger coming from my pro-black sisters for these sites or those who run them.

Why should anyone care if black men date women other than extra-average black women who think they are higher than they really are? What happened to all races of women having so much more in common? Remember saying that? I guess that only applies so long as what they have in common is not a black man on their arms…

*In closing, I agree somewhat with your definition of love. But the proper interpretation of the Golden Rule is to treat people the way THEY desire to be treated; not the way you think they should be treated. Huge difference. After all: don’t you enjoy being treated the way YOU like it?

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