Category — pop culture detox

You Betta Recognize That It’s FAR Better To Be A Divorced Mother Than A Never-Married Mother With Out Of Wedlock Children

Welcome to the sixth installment of an ongoing series of You Betta Recognize posts. A recent conversation raised a number of points that can’t be emphasized enough to young African-American women and girls. Especially those young Black women and girls who are at risk of being confused by the Fantasy Island arguments raised by the crabs-in-a-barrel, unwed Baby Mama Mafia who had their children out of wedlock (oow). Instead of wanting future generations of African-American girls to have better lives, Baby Mama Mafia members want to see other young Black women fall into that same trap of unnecessary hardships. Deborrah Cooper talked about this in her video, Crabs in a Barrel: Baby Mommas That Want Others To Suffer Too. She told the plain truth!

If you know any naive young African-American women, please send them to this post so they can hear some details the Baby Mama Mafia won’t tell them.

MARRIAGE PROVIDES MANY AUTOMATIC PROTECTIONS FOR CHILDREN

The Horrors Of OOW Paternity Cases
While responding to a reader named Hodan, I said,

Hodan,

You said, “I agree, marriage is a beautiful union, even if 50% of the people get a divorce, at least they were married once.”

I’m always annoyed to hear AA slaves who are busy breeding throngs of oow children talk this mess about divorce. What they pretend not to understand is that even in cases of divorce, women and children are automatically protected simply because of the original marriage!

For just one example, in my jurisdiction, the children born to a woman during the course of a marriage are legally PRESUMED to be her husband’s children. He’s legally presumed to be their father. And it’s on the husband to produce evidence that the child is not his! This means that the husband is automatically assumed to be responsible for the financial support of any children born to his wife during his marriage.

For women seeking child support, that’s a huge difference. There’s a big difference between a married woman and her children benefiting from the legal presumption that the husband is the father; as opposed to an unmarried woman having a greater risk of being subjected to interrogatories (legal questionnaires) and depositions (being questioned under oath) about the dates and other details of her sexual encounters with the man she claims is her baby daddy.

In the past, I’ve defended men in oow paternity cases, and have done opposing depositions of unmarried women who had oow babies. I found those proceedings to be extremely unpleasant for everybody involved. I do my best to fulfill my duty to zealously defend my clients. All of them. For me, worst of all with those paternity cases was when I subpoenaed the diaries of those baby mamas who kept them—and then had to read through those diaries. Just in case there were references to other alleged sexual partners during the period of the oow child’s conception. {skin crawling at the memory}

THIS type of experience is what women set themselves up for when they have  oow babies, and then try to get child support from an unwilling baby daddy.

Marriage confers a baseline level of dignified treatment to women involved in various processes, including the mechanics of breaking up (aka divorce) when there are children. There’s nothing dignified about some woman with an oow child having to answer detailed questions about her sexual practices and history in order to have an unwilling man legally found to be her baby daddy. That’s not cute, nice, or liberated. AA slaves need to stop tripping as if they don’t understand the many benefits of legal marriage.

A reader named Zoopath replied,

Subpoenaed diaries??? WTH?? I am just flabbergasted, I had no idea that the court system actually went there. What’s the diary going to have in it that a cheek swab wouldn’t? No, that is not cute, liberated or nice. Why is this the first time I’m hearing about this? None of the NWNW [No Wedding, No Womb] detractors sang the praises of having strangers going all up and through your diary and other private matters.

I said,

ZooPath,

{mirthless chuckling at your horrified reaction—yes, women—and the people who love any individual woman including her Daddy, brothers, and other relatives and friends—SHOULD be horrified by these details}

You said, “Subpoenaed diaries??? WTH?? I am just flabbergasted, I had no idea that the court system actually went there.”

Why wouldn’t the court system go there? A paternity suit is a lawsuit. Just like any other lawsuit over any other topic.

You said, “What’s the diary going to have in it that a cheek swab wouldn’t?”

This gets back to the “paternity suits are lawsuits just like any other lawsuit” reality. In every case (whether it’s criminal or civil), the litigants are entitled to engage in what’s called “discovery.” In basic terms, “discovery” means finding out everything that’s potentially relevant to the topic of the lawsuit. The whole purpose of discovery is so that there won’t be any totally surprise witnesses, testimony, or documentary evidence at any trial. The purpose is to prevent TV-style, trial by ambush situations.

So, even before any paternity test results are back—and even after the purported results are in—the parties can file questionnaires that have to be answered by the opposing litigant. Part of the questionnaire process is to demand that the opposing party turn over papers or any other documents that might have some bearing on the topic of the lawsuit.

The parties can also conduct depositions (pre-trial questioning under oath) of opposing parties and their witnesses.

In my jurisdiction, when the numbers on the paternity test results (referred to as the “combined paternity index”) are greater than a certain number, then there’s a presumption of paternity. [I can’t quote the current threshold number because it’s been over a decade since I defended a paternity case—the threshold number might have changed since then.]

However, be that as it may, the unwilling man is still entitled to a trial process and the benefit of all the mechanics involved in a trial. Which means that he’s entitled to engage in “discovery.”

A paternity suit is a lawsuit like any other lawsuit. In any lawsuit, the lawyers are going to spend a LOT of time and energy finding out ALL the specific details involved in the topic of the lawsuit.

So, to put it in blunt terms, when a baby mama wants to have legal responsibilities IMPOSED on an unwilling potential baby daddy, then detailed information about the following circumstances surrounding the birth of that oow child becomes relevant:

1-Who else the baby mama was screwing during the period of conception;

2-Her stated (or not) use of birth control during the period of conception;

3-The frequency of the sex she claims she had with the unwilling alleged baby daddy during the period of conception;

4(a)-What she told other people (if anything) about other men who might also potentially be her oow child’s biological father;

4(b)-What she might have said in her own diaries/journals about other men who might also potentially be her oow child’s biological father;

5-And other unsavory topics concerningthe baby mama’s activities during the period of conception (criminal activities such as prostitution? drug use? party-hearty-ing?).

You said, “No, that is not cute, liberated or nice.”

NO, it’s not. It’s all quite degrading. But them’s the breaks when a woman chooses to give birth OUTSIDE the protections of marriage.

You said, “Why is this the first time I’m hearing about this? None of the NWNW detractors sang the praises of having strangers going all up and through your diary and other private matters.”

I can think of several reasons, including:

1-Dishonesty. From what I’ve seen, the NWNW detractors are fundamentally dishonest. Anybody who’s pretending not to know that there are almost uniformly negative consequences to oow is a LIAR.

2-Embarassment. How many women are going to talk about the nitty-gritty details of being put through some mess like what I described above?

3-Luck. Some baby mamas are lucky in that their baby daddies never show up to court to quibble about the proceedings. So court orders are entered without his participation or active resistance. Or they’re lucky in that their baby daddy has a lawyer that isn’t all that diligent or thorough.

**Addendum**

And let me add that it’s usually the most naive women who are most emotionally battered by the court experience of having legal fatherhood imposed on an unwilling AA Negro male. Dishonest women generally don’t document their lies in diaries or journals. Or they’ll lie and claim not to write any diaries at all when they do keep diaries.

I’m thinking back to this one pathetic plaintiff whose diary was filled with pleas to Jesus to make the unwilling AA Negro male care about their baby…{skin crawling at the memory}

[And from what I saw while doing rotations in the local paternity/child support courtrooms, it was mostly AA Negro males who wanted to fight the hardest to try to escape legal responsibility for their children. Including the AA males who were shacked up with their baby mama before, during and after the pregnancy in question.

In fact, I had one AA Negro male client who *cough* allegedly *cough* paid some other AA Negro male to take the paternity test for him. So then I had to defend him against a criminal contempt of court charge. During the trial of this new charge, I ended up doing an extensive cross examination of the Chicago Police Department fingerprint analyst who examined the fingerprints and photos taken of the man, err…the male client…*cough* who had showed up at the lab for the paternity test. That particular client was found not guilty of criminal contempt of court.

Men from other ethnic groups were much more likely to happily claim their children. Many Mexican men didn’t want a paternity test when it was offered to them. In general, something had to be really wrong with a Mexican woman for the man to accept having a paternity test done. With White men it was 50/50, it could go either way in terms of them asking for a paternity test. Unlike so many AA Negro males, they usually stopped resisting being legally found to be the biological father after the test results were in.]

THE DIFFERENCE MARRIAGE MAKES IN TERMS OF DEATH BENEFITS

A reader named Oshun/Aphrodite mentioned,

There is a woman who was shacked up and I can recall 2 incidents in the past year where she staunchly defended her decision – not that anyone ever attacked her directly- only the concept of having a family via co-habitation.

Well her co-habiting male partner died recently. They have two young children together. A three year old and a one year old.

The guy had an ok job, but now she is begging for money to bury this man and take care of other expenses as she didn’t work and I can only assume that they are now in some kind of financial storm.

I said,

But of course she and her oow babies are now in the middle of a financial sh*tstorm. That’s exactly what she set herself AND her babies up for when she decided to shack and have oow.

Too bad, so sad. Reality does not wait for anybody to purchase a clue before it starts impacting their life. I hope the other women and young girls in her orbit are taking careful notes about how this woman foolishly put herself AND her babies in a vulnerable spot by shacking and oow.

A reader named Magenta said,

I can’t even keep count of all the OOW horror stories that involve a woman (and her children) being left in financial ruin after her live in baby daddy dies unexpectedly.

You have already covered how an OOW mother has to “prove” that the baby daddy really is the father during CS proceedings. The same applies for death benefits. The baby mama usually gets a very rude awakening that she or her children are not entitled to anything and that any retirement, pension, insurance will most likely go to her deceased baby daddy’s next of kin (his mother, sister, etc).

I have always found it peculiar that OOW proponents do not talk about these stories. I guess like you say, they are too embarrassed to do so.

It has also been a suspicion of mine that the reason why so many BW get caught up in “Kemba Smith” situations is because they do not have the protections that spousal privilege provides. Look at all the WW wives of serial killers who have NEVER been to jail. Look at all the mob wives who got off scott free. Yet it seems the girlfriends and baby mamas of drug dealers are always getting caught up?

I have been so furious with NWNW opponents. They know good and well that marriage provides a host of protections when it comes to inheritance, property rights, spousal privilege, etc.

I said,

I’ve never directly dealt with death benefits, but I would expect them to operate as you described—the unwed baby mama has a much harder way to go (than a wife does) to get her hands on the dead baby daddy’s benefit money.

. . . I would guess that it’s a combination of marital privilege AND WM’s basic orientation to function as THE Main/Sole Breadwinner for their families.

From what I’ve observed of serious WM criminals (WM who are busy being Mr. Crystal Meth Man and Mr. Oxycontin Dealer), it appears that they carry over this same “I’M the main breadwinner” mentality to their criminal activities.

So, from what I can tell, these WM criminals are less likely to have their women heavily participating in their criminal activities. Unlike AA Negro males who expect BW to do heavy lifting in general, and to be heavily involved in being the breadwinner for the couple/family unit. All of which puts the foolish, mulish BW at greater risk when she’s involved with a BM criminal.

. . . I hear you [about the No Wedding, No Womb detractors]. They either play dumb and pretend not to be aware of these realities; or lie and claim to know of so many exceptions to the rules. It’s outrageous. Now, I expected the Baby Mama Mafia to be shrill in their self-justifications of their own oow mess. But as the NWNW organizer and others have stated, NWNW isn’t about those women who’ve already messed up and had oow. It’s about showing young AA women and girls a better way. A better way that will prevent them from having to surrender their life dreams.

What I find sickening is that these grown-a**, crabs in a barrel, baby mamas are willing and eager to see young BW and girls fall into the same traps that they fell into! So, they deliberately cloud the issue and spread all these lies about how the real world operates. All the while KNOWING that young BW and girls are reading these conversations online. That’s downright EVIL. And I firmly believe that these lying heifers are going to have to answer for that in the afterlife.

A (law student) reader named Robynne said,

True – and if the man died intestate (without a will), all his property will revert to his blood relatives. So right off the bat she ain’t getting nothing (unless she lives in one of the 12 (or 4?) states where common law marriage is recognized, and even then, there is no guarantee because you have to meet a whole bunch of requirements to qualify…) Since he was not married to the mother, there is no legal presumption that he is the father of the children. If the elements establishing paternity aren’t apparent, callous relatives of the man who do not care for the children could plausibly fight the devolution of property to children on the basis that he was not really the father. It’s just a real mess. Seriously, people – especially bw – really need to start thinking. Women of other groups seem to understand this pretty well.

. . . Lol, sorry, I did not read Magenta’s comment before I posted. What she stated is essentially what I said. Yes, if the baby mamma was married, his property upon death would revert to her. Even if he had a will cutting her off completely, every single state has in place laws guaranteeing such wives dower or an elective share (usually one-third of the deceased spouse’s estate), so no matter what she won’t be completely cut off. This is yet another benefit of marriage that the NWNW opponents gaily ignore.

Author Roslyn Holcomb said,

And that’s where the stupid comes in. As a widow she would be entitled to collect his Social Security when she reaches retirement age. This is where white women make out like a bandit–they work less than any other group, and live longer. And because they marry they collect Social Security at the significantly higher male rate instead of the peanuts women usually earn. Her children are also entitled to survivor’s benefits. This would be automatic had she been married, now she has to prove paternity.

A reader named Pioneer Valley Woman (blog host of Episcopalienne) said,

Ah yes, I have taught this in my women’s history class. Read the Uniform Parentage Act–it is easy to find on the web. It explains all Khadija is talking  about. A father is a man married to a woman who has given birth or a single man who has acknowledged paternity. The cases Khadija is talking about fits in here. If a woman is a baby-mama, she can only put in the father’s name if he agrees to it. So what happens when he refuses to? Thus, the litigation.

If no daddy’s is named, he is an “unknown.” Is that how the baby mamas want their children to go throughout life, the first official document that records the birth lists the father as “unknown”????? Think of who sees that document–schools, passport agencies and so forth–what are they going to think of in looking at you–having a baby by an “unknown…?” He could be any random dude anywhere…

The baby mamas really need to stop tripping….

Finally, a reader named Lisa99 mentioned,

More to add to that… from what I remember, you only had to have been married to the man for 10 years to qualify for said benefits.

So, I could marry a man with a reasonable income and he could divorce me on the first day after our 10th anniversary and I would STILL be entitled to social security in my retirement based on HIS earnings.

I am getting married soon and even though I do okay for myself, my future husband makes almost 50% more than I do! So if we stay married for just 10 years (although I’m hoping for a lifetime, of course), then I’m guaranteed to be much better off financially in my retirement than I would be alone.

THIS needs to be the answer to the folks who say, “Well, since 50% of all couples divorce, you have a good chance of being a single mother anyway.” First, the 50% rate has never been proven accurate (that’s a topic for another thread), but even if I do divorce, I’m still much better off (financially and legally) as a divorced single mother than I am as a never married mother of OOW children.

What Lisa99 said is the bottom line that everybody except African-Americans seems to understand.

You help protect your children’s futures by making sure that you’re married when you give birth to them!

October 31, 2010   96 Comments

The Hazards Of Personal Development, Part 1: Aggressive Positivity

THERE’S A DARK SIDE TO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT THEORIES, PRACTICES, AND GURUS

Beyond Growth: Exploring The Future of Personal Development is one of my favorite blogs. It features thoughtful, and sometimes scathing, critiques of the personal development industry and community. The questions the blog hosts raise are both timely and necessary. In this post, Duff McDuffie (one of the blog hosts of Beyond Growth) discusses his experience of attending a live seminar with Tony Robbins (“Unleash The Power Within”),

With drums beating in the background, everyone was chanting “YES! YES! YES!” There was no room for doubt. All fear had been overpowered by force of will.

. . . Nearly every technique employed for the firewalk employed aggressive positivity, actively negating reality through force:

• 2000 people in a huge conference room with 50-ft screens jumping up and down and clapping to loud music.

• Screaming “Yes!” when you are feeling “this is dangerous and possibly stupid.”

• Yelling “cool moss!” when you are feeling burning coals against the soft tissue of your feet.

• Making your “power move” to get into “a peak state”—a power move being an aggressive gesture (Robbins’ involves beating his chest like an ape) that stimulates a fight-flight nervous system response, overpowering subtler experiences.

Does this planned frenzy sound familiar? I won’t name the “usual suspects” of African-American cultural and political institutions that engage in this practice as standard operating procedure (while exploiting their base of mostly Black women “footsoldiers”). I won’t call the traditional Black (Baptist) Church’s name. I also won’t call the names of various other African-American organizations such as Operation PUSH, or the National Action Network. I won’t mention them.

Pep rallies are generally entertaining, and they can serve a useful purpose in energizing people to get over an immediate hump. However, pep rallies are usually inadequate for meeting life’s long-term challenges. Mr. McDuffie goes on to note,

Unfortunately few contexts are relevantly similar to firewalking, as I found out the hard way. Achieving most personal outcomes requires patience, persistence, and flexibility, not an intense emotional display and impulsive action.

This reality is why the Million Man March (one of the ultimate African-American pep rallies of the past twenty years) did not create lasting positive change. This came up during a recent conversation when a reader cited an article from The Root that looked back at the Million Man March. In response, I said,

About The Root article discussing the missed opportunities of the Million Man March: I was amused to see the author briefly ‘fess up to a few observations of INTERNAL failures. He said,

And so, for me, any celebration of that wondrous October day is tinged with more than a little sorrow that we squandered our best opportunity to arrest black America’s inexorable slog to Gomorrah.

The reality is that since 1965 — when I was born — black America has never had so many of our own in jail (in terms of absolute numbers or as a percentage of our overall population); seen more “good” jobs disappear; been sicker; experienced a wider income gap within our community; and, most important, seen more of our material gains reversed than we have over the last 15 years. This is true in almost all areas, including housing, educational outcomes, widening of the income gap and representation in trade unions.

Yes, in the aftermath, we elected our first black president, which many see as a major step forward for African Americans. And in some ways, that is true. But I would argue that using the election of Barack Obama as proof of black progress is central to the problem. His presidency has not stalled the downward spiral of so many African Americans. You would be hard pressed to identify a period over the last 45 years when black politicians have been less responsive to the black polity. In other words, while Marion Barry and Coleman Young and Harold Washington might have been flawed, they were ours.

No one would say the same of the Adrian Fentys, Cory Bookers and Harold Ford Jrs. of the world. We’re living in different times, times that we could not have foreseen 15 years ago as we gathered on the Mall.

But, unfortunately, he quickly got back to the traditional AA mantra of “blame the government…look to the government to accommodate internal dysfunctions.” As you know, the problem with this mindset is that it gives away our agency to so-called “all powerful” outsiders. Meanwhile,

Nobody is forcing AA males to engage in behaviors that lead to them filling the nation’s jails and prisons. That’s their free and voluntary choice.

Nobody prevented AAs from preparing ourselves for economic shifts. I recall Ross Perot warning everybody during his 1992 presidential campaign—3 years before the Million Man March—about what he correctly predicted would be the bad effects of NAFTA. I recall his comment about listening for the “giant sucking sound” of American jobs being vacuumed out of the US and into places like Mexico.

Nobody is preventing AAs from taking better care of our bodies and our health.

Nobody prevented AAs from creating our own infrastructure (businesses and other institutions) to safeguard whatever gains we had made.

Nobody put a gun to AAs’ heads and forced us to support and vote for Crossover Negro Politicians whose main claims to fame are: (1) how “post racial” they are, and (2) how determined they are to ignore AAs’ concerns.

Nobody prevented AAs from taking advantage of various HUD educational programs for aspiring homeowners.Folks didn’t have to be “snookered” into getting subprime mortgages. Furthermore, nobody required AAs who were NOT prepared for the responsibilities of home ownership to buy houses in the first place. I saw a whole lot of people who had never been responsible enough to balance their checkbooks or pay their other bills on time decide to buy houses. Particularly houses that it was quite obvious that they could NOT afford. Nobody forced them to do any of that.

When, if ever, will AAs grow up and assume adult levels of responsibility?

There aren’t any shortcuts to lasting change. Lasting change requires persistent, day by day, and often boring behavior that supports change.

**Addendum** A reader named Karen made the following observation,

I personally do not understand why all too many expect a quick fix. Our lives are the summation of every step, choice or action that we have done (or not done). There is nothing “sexy” about perseverance, discipline and consistency of effort along with continually reflecting/adjusting one’s goals to build a life for oneself and family (and/or laying the foundation for future generations).

She’s absolutely right.

October 21, 2010   81 Comments

If You’re A Straight Black Woman, Delete The Following Term From Your Vocabulary: “Heteronormative”

Welcome to the third installment of an ongoing series of You Betta Recognize posts.

THOUGHT-TERMINATING CLICHES

During the course of several recent conversations, including those about the No Wedding, No Womb campaign, I’ve heard (straight) Black women use the jargon term “heteronormative.” As someone who has supported equal justice for gays and lesbians, I wondered why I’ve recently been uneasy about their use of this term. Since it’s impossible to talk about these matters without listing one’s “I support justice for gays and lesbians” street cred, here are some links to posts where I’ve denounced African-Americans’ mass bigotry against gays and lesbians. Here. Here. I also mention this fake-religious based bigotry against gays and lesbians on page 44 of the book.

If you’ve read my writing over time, you will also see that I don’t give anybody a blank check. On occasion, I have also pointed out some destructive things that some gays and lesbians are doing. Furthermore, I always keep my interests and those of people who are most like me foremost in mind. As I mentioned during The Art of Stealth, Part 3: Sidestep African-American Guard Dogs By Staying Focused On Self-Interests,

A QUICK GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING GUARD DOG BEHAVIOR

The easiest way to identify guard dog behavior is to consider the question: “Is this person’s advocacy on behalf of self, and people who are most like self? Or is it on behalf of a group of people other than self?” “Self” is measured by closeness to, or distance from, one’s own identity. For example, in my case, “self” is African-American women and girls. Latinos (of any race) are not part of “self.” Continental Africans are not part of “self.” Other non-African-American Blacks are not part of “self.” Non-African-American Muslims are not part of “self.” In the context of the conversation that I’ll use later on as an example of guard dog behavior, “self” means African-American Muslims.

Now, I will on occasion support the interests of specific individuals other than self. But I only do that for the specific, individual “others” who have invested in me. My support does NOT extend to these other people’s entire ethnic groups, tribes, or nations! And even with that, I won’t support X for individual helpful others if doing so would damage one of my own ethnic group’s core interests. I’m not going to cut my own people’s throat to be in solidarity with others, including those specific others who have helped me. The same way they don’t cut their own people’s throat to be in solidarity with anybody else.

In this context, the people most like me are straight, African-American women and girls. Prioritizing my own interests and those of people most like me also means that I have criticized certain non-mainstream choices that I feel damage the interests of African-American women and girls in general. Specifically, choices that serve to “other” African-American women and girls.

At first I wondered if my growing unease with straight Black women’s use of the term “heteronormative” was about potential guard-dogging behavior. Then I realized their use of this terms isn’t quite about guard-dogging; it’s about something else. It’s about using the term “heteronormative” as a thought-terminating cliche. It’s also about naive straight Black women confusing gays’ and lesbians’ contexts with their own contexts. It’s so hard for so many African-American women to focus on their own interests. When I started this blog, I knew this would be a recurring theme,

Lifestyle optimization requires you to examine ideas from the vantage point of your own particular context and circumstances. This one statement will probably be a recurring theme in the blog posts here. It’s impossible to have an optimal lifestyle when you make critical life decisions based on other people’s circumstances. Listening to other people whose circumstances or interests are out of alignment with yours will throw your life into chaos and ruin.

This is the primary reason so many African-American women are living in misery and hardship. They’re programmed to think about other people’s (read: Black men’s, and the already-dead Black community’s) circumstances and interests, instead of their own. Or they’re taking positions that only make sense in the context of nonblack women’s collective life circumstances.

I submit to you that when most straight Black women use the term “heteronormative,” they have totally lost sight of their own circumstances and interests. Also, this term and some other terms like “slut shaming” (which is another term that African-American women need to stop using, but we’ll talk about that on another day) are the secular, self-described “progressive” equivalents of the following Christian thought-stopping cliches:

“Your just being judgmental. Judge NOT least you be judged. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Can’t we all just get along. Touch not the Lords anointed. Your causing division in the body of Christ. You don’t believe in the promises of God. You don’t believe in Miracles. That is not very Christian of you. Your putting God in a box. You not a very good Christian. Your not even really a Christian. What about unity. Didn’t Christ come to bring unity. You have a Jezebel Spirit. Your hindering the works of God. You don’t believe in faith. We really like what your doing BUT. Your cause is Noble BUT. Your heaping judgment upon your head by judging. You don’t believe in prosperity. Your just jealous because you have not gotten your healing and financial blessings. God told me to tell you….”

I realized that many straight African-American women are using the term “heteronormative” as a thought-stopping cliche to silence any suggestion that more (heterosexual) African-American women should get their childbearing choices back in sync with time-tested human norms. Specifically, the time-tested human norm of “no wedding, no womb.” Nobody except African-Americans is confused about what thousands of years of human experience have shown. As I said during Remove Grasshoppers From Your Social Networks,

DERANGED GRASSHOPPER BELIEFS

As children, most of us read the fable of The Grasshopper And The Ant. For those who were resistant to believing this, the bizarre, indignant “grasshopper” responses to the recent No Wedding, No Womb initiative confirmed that the African-Americans collective is mostly composed of grasshoppers. Grasshoppers who act and live as if they:

  • Don’t understand that out of wedlock births (oow) and the single parenting that is the logical, predictable result of oow, has engulfed the African-American collective in destructive flames.
  • Don’t understand that sex is the leading cause of pregnancy,far ahead of in vitro fertilization and immaculate conception.
  • Don’t understand that several millennia of human experience have shown that human pair-bonding (also known as marriage), and the extended family obligations created by marriage, represent the best human practice for child-rearing.
  • Don’t understand that “programs” cannot replace family.
  • Don’t understand that the last few decades of “programs” have not worked; even in the context of a functioning economy. The economy is no longer functioning.
  • Don’t understand that the federal and state governments don’t have the money to pay for current “programs.” They certainly don’t have the money for additional “programs.” Nor is there any desire on the part of the rest of the US population to subsidize African-Americans’ dysfunction with additional programs to accommodate our mass, self-destructive refusal to form families.
  • Don’t understand that there’s already a time-tested, widely-known, and commonly-practiced human “program” that provides “support systems” for women and their children. It’s called marriage and (legitimate) family.
  • Don’t understand that, after 40+ years of our whining, other Americans are not going to rearrange their society to accommodate African-Americans’ refusal to form families. This restructuring won’t happen now, or any time in the foreseeable future. Other people will simply continue to leave us behind. To die in our foolishness.

Incidentally, I could discuss the thought-stopping uses of Arabic words like “shirk” and “bid’ah” among Sunni Muslims (I’m a Sunni Muslimah), but most of the audience wouldn’t recognize these words or their context.

SOME THINGS THAT PROGRESSIVE, STRAIGHT AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN NEED TO CONSIDER AS THEY BLINDLY FOLLOW WHITE GAY MALE LEADERSHIP’S PARTY LINE

Real life is filled with nuances and shades of gray. It’s possible for people to be oppressed and oppressors at the same time. More straight, progressive African-American women would do well to remember this. Especially when it comes to blindly repeating dogma marketed by the White gay men who generally control the major GLBT organizations in the United States.

MANY WHITE GAYS SCAPEGOATED STRAIGHT BLACKS FOR THE PASSAGE OF PROPOSITION 8

Considering the low percentage of Blacks who are part of the voting public in California, I found it amazing that so many White gays concluded that Black voters were responsible for the passage of Proposition 8. But then again, there’s nothing surprising about people choosing weak targets for venting their anger. See this post by a Black lesbian blogger named Pam Spaulding about this scapegoating. Also see this post, by another Black lesbian blogger named Jasmyne Cannick for a discussion of how mostly White GLBT activists tried to set the agenda for local Black lesbians and gays, and overall failed to reach out to Black voters during that election.

WHITE GAYS IN LOS ANGELES COUNTY ENGAGED IN HATE CRIMES AGAINST BLACKS IN THE AFTERMATH OF PROPOSITION 8

In the Pam Spaulding post linked above she quotes another blogger who mentioned,

A number of Rod 2.0 and Jasmyne Cannick readers report being subjected to taunts, threats and racist abuse at last night’s marriage equality rally in Los Angeles.

Geoffrey, a student at UCLA and regular Rod 2.0 reader, joined the massive protest outside the Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Westwood. Geoffrey was called the n-word at least twice.

It was like being at a klan rally except the klansmen were wearing Abercrombie polos and Birkenstocks. YOU NIGGER, one man shouted at men. If your people want to call me a FAGGOT, I will call you a nigger. Someone else said same thing to me on the next block near the temple…me and my friend were walking, he is also gay but Korean, and a young WeHo clone said after last night the niggers better not come to West Hollywood if they knew what was BEST for them.

Los Angeles resident and Rod 2.0 reader A. Ronald says he and his boyfriend, who are both black, were carrying NO ON PROP 8 signs and still subjected to racial abuse.

The following is from Ms. Cannick’s November 2009 post, A White Gays Guide on How to Deal with the Black Community for Dummies: Chapter 12- What About the Hate Crimes That Gays Committed on Blacks Last November?,

I have no doubt that gays continue to be the victims of hate crimes not only in L.A. County but across the country and world, especially Black gays.

But here in L.A. County, last November there were quite a few gays who were committing the hate crimes—against Black people who were both heterosexual and gay who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Angry because of the passage of Prop 8 and looking to blame someone, many gays turned their anger towards Blacks and it didn’t matter if you were gay or not all that mattered during that chaotic time was that you were Black. Numerous accounts of being called Nigga, people being accosted in their cars, etc. were reported by Black people who like I said, found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e. Westwood, West Hollywood).

So for me to take any report seriously from the L.A. County Human Relations Commission regarding hate crimes has to explicitly detail that part of the situation because if not, then once again it appears as if gays are the poor victims of hate crimes when in fact, the street goes both ways and when upset gays know how to spew a lot of hate of their own onto others.

L.A.’s Black leadership needs to jump on that and make certain that’s reflected in the report because I can guarantee you that if a Black committed a hate crime against a gay person–it’s in the report.

And you know know this…

Oh and for my new readers over at Young’s Communications, just in case you’re confused or are getting ready to label me a homophobe in addition to a racist, check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self–I’m a lesbian–a Black lesbian. I know…now go run and tell that.

STOP BLINDLY USING POLITICIZED JARGON; AND EXAMINE MATTERS ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS

I’m compiling a list of secular, progressive jargon that I believe African-American women need to stop saying. Here’s why: I’m beginning to think that Black women should declare a moratorium on the use of any political or politicized terminology. Because among Black folks, all of this terminology functions as thought-stoppers. [I’ll note that a similar thought-terminating dynamic exists among “conservative” and “religious” Black women.]

I think that more of us (myself included) need to abandon all of these various political ideologies and their jargons, and examine issues on a practical, case-by-case basis.

ANTI-GAY AND ANTI-LESBIAN BIGOTS: STAY OUT OF THIS CONVERSATION

To all the anti-gay, anti-lesbian bigots who might be reading: STAY OUT of this conversation. Don’t think that you’ll be able to fly under the radar of the good-faith questions and criticism being raised by this post. On the one hand, gays and lesbians aren’t “sacred cows” who are beyond criticism or questions. But that’s not the same thing as bigotry. I won’t publish any comment that I feel constitutes bigotry against gays and lesbians.

ADDENDUM

Here’s my point: For African-American women to learn how to ask the questions, “What’s in it for me to support X? How does X pertain to MY interests?” Now, I’ll play along as long as supporting generalized X isn’t cutting my own throat or my own group’s throat. But I’m not going to cut my own throat to be in solidarity with anybody. Nobody else does that for African-Americans. And I don’t blame them, because that’s too much to ask.

For an example from a different context, nobody has been able to explain to me how using the terminology “undocumented workers” brings any benefit whatsoever to African-Americans. Instead of referring to non-citizens who illegally enter and remain in this country as “illegal aliens.” Now, I see why Latinos want everybody to use that terminology. It benefits them because they’re the main ones who are entering this country illegally. And many of them don’t want this country to safeguard its borders or enforce its immigration laws. But since the term “undocumented workers” does nothing to benefit me or mine, I won’t use that term.

Well, I believe similar dynamics apply to this “heteronormative” terminology. This type of terminology serves the interests of GLBT people. (By pretending that heterosexuality is somehow not the majority, “default setting” for most humans. Similar to how right-handedness and brown eyes are the majority “default settings” for most humans.) But this type of terminology brings NO benefit to straight African-American women. Straight African-American women can’t afford to unnecessarily align ourselves with deviation from the mainstream. We’re already being stigmatized, and stigmatizing ourselves, as being deviant in a multiplicity of ways. For just one horrid example, think about the movie Precious. This type of talk is a luxury item that we can’t afford.

October 2, 2010   68 Comments

Roslyn Is Right—Reasons Don’t Matter

CHECK OUT ROSLYN HOLCOMB’S FREE LESSONS—THE LOVE AND LIFE YOU SAVE MIGHT BE YOUR OWN

I’ve always enjoyed reading the Free Lessons about dating that author Roslyn Hardy Holcomb has generously shared. Her essays are witty and wise. It’s well worth taking the time to read through all the Free Lessons. I’m thankful whenever she contributes to the conversations here. Anyway, I was recently reminded of her Free Lesson #20 titled Reasons Don’t Matter, where she said,

See, here’s the thing, people will always have reasons, sometimes even good reasons for why they do things. Willie Sutton said he robbed banks because that was where the money was. Sounds like a good reason, but I wouldn’t recommend laying up with a bank robber, either. Many women wind up in relationships with sub-standard men because they listened to him reason away past (and present) bad behavior.

The fact of the matter remains the reasons are unimportant. The question you have to ask is what impact does this behavior have on you? It doesn’t matter why old boy has a baby mama who belongs in a psych ward. Do you want to spend the rest of your life with a man who has a crazy woman on his six FOR LIFE? Fine, he has messed up credit because his mama/cousin/brother/sister forged his name. Are you willing to accept the consequences of marrying a man with a FICO of -200? (Trust me, that’s pretty grim.)

Roslyn is absolutely correct about this. I was reminded of this particular free lesson because several readers have recently sent me links to some nonsensical conversations at some other Black blogs. The topic under discussion was a video that apparently shows a Black man attacking a Black woman (who was wearing a tight dress) as she walks past him and some other Black men. I say “apparently” because I didn’t watch the video. I generally don’t watch videos of women (particularly Black women) being attacked. For me, seeing that sort of material is a spirit-draining experience that I reject. What struck me about the women’s comments at those blogs is that they didn’t catch the most important take-away point from that video and the inappropriate reactions of many other commenters:

Whenever a Black woman is physically present in an African-American social setting or neighborhood—she is in GRAVE danger!

Besides the immediate physical danger presented by any Black male predators who are present, there’s also the added danger created by many (if not most) African-Americans’ current “stop snitching” ethos. Instead of calling the police when a woman is attacked right in front of them, modern African-Americans will stand around, take cell phone videos of the attack and apparently laugh. Forget about anybody intervening to help.

THE REASONS DON’T MATTER

Instead of recognizing the threat that Black social and residential settings pose to their physical safety, many of the women commenters whined about how disappointed they were by the predator-enabling comments made by numerous other commenters. (Both Black men and heavily Black-male identified Black women.) They also spent a lot of time discussing and debating the “reasons” the predator-enablers gave for this attack, the bystanders’ inaction, and African-American men’s overall disregard for Black women. None of that matters. In that context, the only thing that should matter to any individual African-American woman is maintaining her own physical safety. A good start would be to stop talking to, and get away from, people who make predator-enabling statements.

THIS “LET’S TALK IT OUT-LET’S TALK ABOUT THE UNDERLYING REASONS” GIMMICK IS A STALLING TACTIC—DON’T FALL FOR IT

There are certain conversations that I generally refuse to have. As I explained in post titled If You’re A Black Business Owner Who Wants To Succeed, Leave The African-American Consumer Behind,

I usually refuse to engage in “How to Have or Save Black Businesses” conversations with people who are not engaged in business activities themselves. I typically refuse to engage in that sort of conversation for the same reason I refuse to engage Black men in the “if Black women would only do X,Y, and Z then more Black men would want to marry them” conversation.

I firmly believe that both of these types of conversations are fundamentally dishonest. Because the underlying premises are untrue. In the business context, I believe that this false premise is about denial (of how slave-minded most of us are), and wishful thinking about the true nature and motivations of African-American consumers.

“Black Love’s” Double Standards. Black men will happily marry NON-Black women that have all the traits that they claim to find so off-putting about many Black women: obesity, difficult personalities, and so on.

Masses of Black women could twist themselves into pretzels physically, emotionally, and spiritually to try to cater to African-American males, and the bulk of these males still would not marry a Black woman. They’ll have sex with and impregnate Black women; but not marry them. Also, many of these males would still choose non-Black women whenever they get the opportunity.

Dishonestly Stalling to Maintain Monopoly Control Over Black Women. African-American women are the only resource that African-American men control. They have nothing else. Many Black men will be in trouble if more African-American women start imitating Black men by doing whatever works best for them. Without worrying about the so-called community or “Black love.”

Consequently, the true underlying purpose of most “Black love” conversations is to keep Black women’s money, time, energy, attention, and efforts solely focused on supporting Black men and their issues (which are redefined as overall “Black community issues”). All while Black men continue wandering off to do whatever they want to do, without considering how their choices affect the so-called community. Which is their right.

During this same earlier conversation, I said the following in response to a reader who expressed concerns about my “no more dialog with certain categories of people about certain topics” position,

But we already know “the why” of how things got to this point. Is there really any AA among us who genuinely does not know about the brainwashing that was heaped on our ancestors during slavery? Which is the same brainwashing that AAs have chosen to carry forward into the 21st century. Who doesn’t know that? What is there left to explore—that hasn’t already been explored—about “the why”? It seems to me that AAs have been crying out about “the why” for many decades now.

. . . I respectfully and cheerfully agree to disagree. AA men and women have been talking about “Black love” and “Black relationships” for decades.

Once I stumbled out of the Matrix, and began to see many things as they actually are (as oppposed to seeing them through the filter of my previous Black Nationalist ideology), there are many things I don’t understand. Maybe you can explain the following:

1-Where has all that talking with AA men about relationships gotten AA women?

2-How has ANY of that talk benefitted AA women?

3-What exactly do AA women realistically stand to gain from continuing to talk to AA men about (Black) relationships?

4-In fact, what is there even left for AA women and AA men to talk about at this point in terms of relationships? Since AA men’s mass behavior (the refusal to marry the BW they impregnate, creating a 70% and rising AA out of wedlock birth rate) indicates that AA men are not interested in marriage, nor interested in marriage with BW, what is there left to talk about?

. . . Again, I can see what AA men have to gain from continuing those “Black relationship” conversations. It’s a clever stalling tactic to delay increasing numbers of AA women from imitating BM’s lead and doing whatever works for them as individual women—without factoring in BM and the now-dead AA community.

But what I don’t see is what AA women have to gain from continuing to engage in “Black relationship” conversations with AA men. I ask again, what’s in it for AA women to do this?

I have the same bottom-line questions in terms of AA business owners: After FOUR DECADES of AA consumer’s unrelenting and hypocritical boycott of visibly Black-owned businesses, what is there left to talk about? What’s in it for AA business owners to keep talking to (mostly dishonest and/or delusional) AA consumers?

. . . The Dunbar Village Atrocity and many AAs’ inappropriate responses to that crime against humanity shocked me out of my prior Black Nationalist beliefs. I was a Black Nationalist because, like most folks from other ethnic groups, I loved my own people. I still care about AAs.

However, the Dunbar Village Atrocity and Aftermath showed me that the masses of modern-day AAs are NOT the people I previously thought we were. Most AAs have turned into somebody and something else. The cultural pathologies that I’ve been discussing on this blog and the previous one always existed among us. These pathologies are a legacy of slavery and the slave-making brainwashing process. However, in addition to the outside survival pressures of Jim Crow, there were many deeply good things about traditional AA culture that helped offset some of these pathologies.

We should have used the roughly 150 years after emancipation to repair our racial and ethnic self-hatred. We didn’t do that. Instead, we papered over these issues. Well, now it’s too late for any of that. The self-hatred cancer is too far gone, and we don’t have the same type of outside pressures to keep us in check. We’re free to be as self-destructive as we want to be. This is why AAs are a FAILED collective.

To repeat the analogies that have been used to describe the current AA situation: The Titanic is sinking, the house is burning, and Saigon is falling. Right now. Time has run out for the sort of dialogue and conversations that it sounds like you believe are useful. Who has time to talk in a burning house, sinking ship, or a city that is being overrun by an enemy?

At this point, the only useful conversation—to be yelled out in snippets while running for one’s life—is about How To Escape The Sinking Ship-Burning House-Falling City.

[Reader], even though you mean well, I believe that other type of conversation you’re suggesting is nothing but a distraction that keeps AA women sitting around having a coffee klatch in the middle of a burning house.

“A coffee klatch in the middle of a burning house . . . while surrounded by violent predators and predator-enablers” is a perfect description of the Black blog conversations I read about the latest “Black woman being attacked” video.

Here’s the take-away point of this post. Stay focused on the following questions:

  • How does X impact my physical safety?
  • How does X impact my money?
  • How does X impact my quality of life?
  • What’s in it for me?

**Audience Note** I’m not going to publish comments that analyze this particular victim’s choice of attire. There are some things I could say about that, but that’s not the point of this conversation. The point is to further expose this “let’s talk it out-let’s talk about the reasons” scam, and to encourage more African-American women to learn how to focus on their own survival and interests.

September 10, 2010   70 Comments

The Inner Slum, Part 1: Noise Pollution

Now is a good time for this reprint from the previous blog:

OUTER SLUMS

Dirt. Noise. Chaos. These are the first three things you notice whenever you enter a slum neighborhood.

The dirt. Rundown buildings. Garbage overflowing in the streets. Broken glass on the ground. People throwing garbage down onto the ground around their feet.

The noise. How very loud everything is. The shouted conversations held with people who are standing two feet away from the speaker. Shouting and yelling for people down the street. Shouting and yelling for people across the street. Loud cell phone conversations. The ever-present loud music. Music so loud that you can feel the drumbeat vibrating in your bones.

The chaos. Unattended small children darting in and out of the street. Clusters of idle, grown men standing on street corners. Clusters of idle, grown men standing around discarded sofas and chairs in the middle of vacant lots. Entire families sitting on their front stoops during what should be normal work and school hours. Swarms of teenagers yelling and cursing while waiting at bus stops. Traffic disruptions because a driver is making frequent stops in the middle of the street to throw gang signs at pedestrians.

These are the signs of an outer slum.

INNER SLUMS

Inner slums have similar signs. Inner slums consisting of dirt, noise, and chaos exist within people’s hearts and minds. Without frequent cleaning and renovations, your inner environment will quickly turn into an inner slum. A slum that you carry around with you.

When you don’t refresh and renew your mind you will find that no matter where you go in life, The World is a Ghetto.

The prevalence of inner slums is one of the reasons why Black folks are in such a sorry state. Yes, there are external problems and opponents. However, these external obstacles are so successful in slowing our roll because of our internal weaknesses. We generally refuse to address inner weaknesses. We fear introspection. We fear silence.

Even those people who actually want to renew their minds face hidden problems with their efforts. One such problem is that it’s impossible to renew your mind in the midst of noise pollution. Noise pollution is a slum value. When I say “slum value,” I’m not referring to income levels. I’ve seen many Black professionals who live slum lifestyles with slum values. I’ve seen many poor Black folks who do not live with slum values. Noise pollution is so prevalent that most of us perceive it as normal. This is what makes it a hidden problem. We can’t hear how noisy our living spaces are. Silence has become an aberration for most Black people. What we fail to realize is that silence is part of the internal cleansing and renewal process. Periods of silence take you out of your daily routine. Silence forces you to take a fresh look at yourself and your surroundings. I believe that this is why most Black people are deeply afraid of silence.

THE POISONOUS FRUIT OF USING TELEVISION AS A BABYSITTER

Noise pollution is a slum value whose origin is often found in another slum value: Using the television as a babysitter. Many people in my age group (40s) were among the first generation of Black children who were raised by being propped in front of the tv for hours at a time. Many of us have raised our own children in the same fashion. And so the cycle repeats, and becomes accepted as normal.

As a result, there are now several generations of Black people who live with the television on 24 hours a day, every single day. The tv is never turned off while people are inside the home. People will often have the tv and loud music playing simultaneously. In many modern Black households, conversations are shouted over the din of the tv and music. Meals are eaten around the tv.

We often say that Black people need to turn off the tv and read. This is true. What we don’t realize is that many of us simply can’t do this. Many of us are literally addicted to noise. I’ve watched small Black children immediately turn on the tv the moment they enter a room, even though they have no intention of watching it. I’ve watched Black adults do this as well. They’ve been conditioned to be ill at ease with silence. Most of us are deeply afraid of silence.

There’s a difference between noise addiction and a purposeful use of noise. There is purpose in using these distractions to pass the time in an unpleasant setting (such as sitting in the auto repair shop, etc.). There is purpose in using the tv, radio, and phone to keep oneself company when alone; although it’s better to seek out actual company.

There’s also a difference between cleansing silence and other uses of silence. Sometimes silence is used as a barricade to keep other people out of our lives and our hearts. Sometimes silence is used as a weapon to punish the people closest to us. This is not the kind of silence that I’m suggesting you practice. I’m also not suggesting that people go “cold turkey” and abruptly turn off their tvs, computers, radios, and iPods. That’s just too big a step for most people who are deeply conditioned to living in noise. I’m suggesting that we use daily moments of silence to refresh our perceptions, and thereby refresh our minds. For example, why not:

Observe one minute of silence and stillness at various points during the day. A minute of silence before beginning your work. A minute before going to bed. A minute of silence wherever you can fit it in.

Create a quiet room or space in your home (to whatever extent this is possible).

I’d like to hear about your experiences with silence. Did you enjoy the experience? Was any part of it difficult? How do you feel about silence?

August 22, 2010   25 Comments