Partners Not Opponents
The last thing I see when I see a black woman is my opponent. The first thing I see when I am in the presence of a black woman is an ally. My first inclination is someone who shares my strengths and weaknesses, my joys and pains, my likes and dislikes, my future and my past. At least, that is what I see when I meet black women. If I’m fortunate enough to start a conversation with a black woman, I will learn whether or not any of my assumptions hold water. The last thing I see is someone who is beneath me, a black man. When I see a sister on the street, the last thing I see is someone that needs to submit to my will.
Recently, maybe a few months ago, I wrote an article titled Elk Snout Mayor For Vice President about my misfortune of discussing politics with a black woman at work who I discovered was a staunch supporter of everything Republican having voted for George Bush to be President twice. The woman was unsure whether or not she would be voting for then Illinois Senator Barack Obama or Arizona Senator John McCain. When Mr. McCain selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin the woman made the choice right then and there to vote Republican again. I was seriously disappointed. But now that I had a better idea of who or what I was dealing with, I understood that we weren’t two black people with the same goals but two people who happen to share an ethnicity and little more.
When Mr. Obama made his Father’s Day statements that were thick with the perception that black fathers are somehow less responsible than fathers of other ethnicities and cultures, my friend responded with one of her rare moments of support for the black candidate. My friend had a seriously low opinion of black men. She was a single mother with a son whose father abandoned the two a long time ago. I asked her about her choice of partners to copulate with, what attracted her to him. He was tall, he was fair skinned with a good grade of hair, he had an attractive build, and he had an air of excitement. Never once did I hear her say anything like he was responsible, he was intelligent, he showed courage to do what was right, or he was family oriented. This woman was ready to use her experience with this man as the prime definition of what it meant to have a relationship with a black man. So when Mr. Obama says black men need to be more responsible, she was simply too supportive of that single perception.
I wrote another article about Good Orgasms. In it, I made reference to a black young lady back in college who made a decision that led to her having a child with a young black man who was a sexual predator. No doubt, this was a woman who also felt black men were irresponsible.
Both of these black women feel the need to define their problem of being single mothers as the product of trying to have a relationship with black men who failed to appreciate these women for who they are. But whether or not these women can lay the blame for their choices solely at the feet of black men is a matter of contention. They can’t even lay blame for their choices on the poor excuses for the black men they chose for themselves. They both made the choice to have a relationship with black men who were less than ideal partners for the development of a meaningful relationship. They both chose to have relationships with men who did not value them as meaningful partners. But by no means does this type of behavior define all black men or all black women or all black relationships.
Nevertheless, a powerful force is being used to promote an idea into the minds of young impressionable black people the notion that black people should not, must not, and cannot unite in any reasonable fashion to take the black community into the future. Where can this notion manifest itself best than in the idea that black men do not see black women as equals in our struggle for equality? A house divided cannot and will not stand. Ever since black people have been brought to this land against their will, black men and black women have been programmed to see each other as scapegoats for the failures of the black community.
Right now, the overwhelmingly negative misogynistic and antisocial behavior of the black community’s hip hop phenomenon is the only flavor of the black community some people can see. And all too often, this image has been carefully nurtured by the racially generic dominant community that is predominantly white to help project a negative perception of black people in general. A black man that disrespects black women is promoted as a new musical phenomenon by the music industry. Images of blacks as people with questionable ethics and morals are constantly being promoted throughout fictional and actual media broadcastings. And instead of us turning our attention on the music industry or the movie industry or whatever you may have that promotes these images and helps to shape the idea of what it means to be black in America, we turn our wrath on each other.
The black community sits inert as people focus on such phenomenon as black on black crime and HIV/AIDS running rampant through the black community without ever hearing what the relative numbers are for white on white crime or for what the HIV/AIDS numbers are in the white community. Too many black fathers are not participating in their children’s lives? Interestingly we never hear what the numbers are for white men not participating in their children’s lives. Anything that is promoted as a black problem is consumed hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, waders, boat, pier, dock, and etcetera. If it is about black people it must be true.
Black women feel that black men do not respect them. It should be no surprise that black men feel the same way. Too many black men want to promote the idea that black women are difficult to get along with and life is just easier and sweeter with a white woman. I don’t buy that malarkey either. Not to say that some black men do not have it rough with black women or vice versa. If anything we should take those rough times and learn from them so that we can build better relationships the next time. Certain brothers are a headache. Black women should take the lessons learned from the bad relationship and apply them to a new relationship.
When black people make general statements about other black people we do the racist propaganda for the dominant community for them automatically. I refer to this as racism on cruise control. I hate to see people from the dominant community used general statements to describe black people. I hate it even more when black people support negative stereotypes about other black people simply because they had a bad experience with another black person or a series of bad experiences with other black people. We don’t like it when we are collectively simplified into a single caricature of behavior. We should refrain from simplifying each other so.
If a black woman learns from her experience with a black man that black men use their penis as some kind of weapon then she should learn to use her head as a shield for protection. Use your head to think about what you’re getting into and you will not have to suffer that wrath again. Brothers don’t like sisters that are emasculating? Don’t get with emasculating sisters would be my first word of advice. Black people need to think more about our behavior and our choices that leads us to other black people who may do us wrong. When we discover that our choices are not right for us we should remove ourselves from the situation. But we should refrain from blaming other black people for our poor choices, especially when we use other black people to justify the choice to separate ourselves from the black community.