Category — pop culture detox

You Betta Recognize, Part 2: White Male-Dominated Law Enforcement Is The Only Thing Standing Between You And Mass Rape In Black Neighborhoods

AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN ARE THE ONLY ONES WORRIED ABOUT “FIGHTING THE POWER.” THIS HASN’T WORKED OUT VERY WELL FOR US.

Welcome to the second installment of what will be an ongoing You Betta Recognize series of posts. The first installment was an earlier post explaining why those African-American women who want to survive and thrive need to delete the phrase “fighting White hegemony” from their vocabulary. As I said there,

White hegemony is currently feeding all African-Americans. To put it bluntly, White people feed all of us. Directly or indirectly. We need to stop “tripping” about that. Very few African-Americans have ever been serious about building the infrastructure needed in order to be a self-sufficient people. Only marginalized groups among us like the Nation of Islam went so far as to actually cultivate farm land, and create grocery stores and restaurants to feed African-Americans.

Nobody except African-American women is sacrificing anything in order to “fight” White hegemony. Including the Black men who flap their lips talking about White hegemony. Many of the Black men talking that stuff are busy dating, sexing and marrying the so-called “evil White man’s” daughters. These men are busy transferring whatever wealth they can accumulate back to the so-called “evil White man” through his daughter. If not the so-called “evil White man’s” daughters, then these Black men talking that stuff are looking to transfer whatever wealth they get to other types of non-Black women.

No other race or ethnic group of women are even worrying about “fighting White hegemony,” except African-American women. When you’re the only one doing something, that’s usually a clue that whatever you’re doing is a bad idea. Other women, including other types of Black women from around the world, are too busy making sure that they (directly or indirectly) get a slice from the current, status quo “White hegemony pie” by marrying whichever man will bring the most to their table. Including qualified White men.

I would suggest that anyone who’s conflicted or confused about the idea of dropping this phrase from their mind consider the following observations I made about activist Black women’s lifestyles during this post.

For Black men, political activism is a vehicle for getting their personal needs met—a source of getting paid and getting laid. Much like the ministry. All on their terms. For example, has Rev. Jesse Jackson ever worked at a job?

Think about the roster of married Black male activists who were promiscuous womanizers such as Dr. King, Elijah Muhammad, and so on. These men had the pleasures of a home life with a wife sitting at home waiting for them, and plentiful sex on the side with female groupies. Think about the single Black male activists who were promiscuous womanizers such the Panthers and others who had a steady, non-stop supply of female groupies they were having sex with. On top of this, Black male activists are typically treated as celebrities and showered with adulation. For Black men, activism is often a vehicle for fulfilling their (financial) safety and belongingness and love needs (intimacy of all sorts, including sexual intimacy).

In short, Black male activists routinely get their personal needs met. Every. Step. Of. The. Way. Meanwhile, activism does not provide the same perks for Black women who are working as hard and facing the same pressures and dangers.

ACTIVISM DOES NOT PROVIDE SIMILAR “ROCK STAR” PERKS FOR BLACK WOMEN ACTIVISTS—NOR DOES IT DO ANYTHING TO MEET THEIR BASIC PERSONAL NEEDS

Activism does not provide the same perks for Black women. While it may provide higher-level needs for women, it generally won’t do anything to provide the foundational second and third-level needs.

While keeping the hierarchy of needs in mind, I invite you to do what we rarely do: Consider some of the inner lives of the crusading, activist African-American women that we hold up as Black History Month heroines. If your thinking is similar to mine, you won’t be pleased by much of what you see. I’ll just name a couple of examples. Dorothy Height has never married. Mary McLeod Bethune separated from her husband (who died in 1918). She never remarried, and she passed away in 1955. These women came of age during an era when marriage was the norm for Black women and readily available within the African-American collective. Who, if anybody, did these women come home to for all those decades?

Consider the personal horrors of being married to a Black male activist like Dr. King. He was often away from home. Coretta Scott King was also in great physical danger—and living alone for long stretches of time with their children. She was responsible for holding down the fort, and child care while he was away. If she was faithful in her marriage, that meant she went through long stretches of not having sex while he was away. Meanwhile, Dr. King was having sex with his women on the side. I won’t even mention the female Black Power activists who apparently served as “booty calls” (and worse) for male Black Power activists.

For Black women, activism does not provide the perks it often provides for Black men. No free money. No husband to remain faithful to you while you sleep around with other men. No adoring harem of male groupies. The only woman I can think of that “had it like that” was a White author named Ayn Rand. Apparently for a number of Black women, crusading activism was a dead-end leading to an asexual, ascetic lifestyle. Who wants that, except a nun?

From what I can tell, one of the relatively few “Black History Month Heroines” that appears to have been involved in activism while also making sure to get her personal needs met (the way she wanted) was Lorraine Hansberry. She was a bisexual or lesbian who married (either out of genuine love for her White husband, or to use him as a voluntary or involuntary cover story), while still dating and sleeping with women.

Dorothy Height has passed away (at age 98) since I wrote that post. She never married.

WHITE MALE-DOMINATED LAW ENFORCEMENT IS ONE OF THE POWERS THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN CALL THEMSELVES FIGHTING. FOR OUR OWN SURVIVAL, WE NEED TO RETHINK THAT.

Halima, blog host of Black Women’s Interracial Relationship Circle, graciously gave me permssion to quote the comment that a reader made during a recent conversation at her blog.

Icon said…
“Ungrateful American BW need to be thanking their lucky stars that the White man keeps Black men in control. B/C where there is no white male rule the Black men are running crazy and the poor BW and their kids who have to live near and with them are experiencing EXTREME suffering.” [Khadija speaking: Icon is quoting this statement from another reader in the same thread.]

A tough pill to swallow, but a necessary pill to swallow nonetheless. If NOT for the white cops and prison system in America, where I’m from, there’d be total anarchy, public rape, shooting for not responding to harassment and/or “punishment by gang rape” etc., if black men were allowed to actually FULLY control and operate black American neighborhoods. If black men could, we’d have precisely the same “community” as the Congo and South Africa where repeated rape of everyone from infants to old women running rampant, drug wars and shoot outs by militias CONSTANTLY (where now, as soon as a shoot out occurs, someone calls the cops and it’s squashed), etc.

I agree, we are EXTREMELY privileged as People of African Descent in Predominately White Countries (PODnPWC will be my henceforth abbreviation :-P). And every black woman that walks around hating white men and defending black men should know exactly what our circumstances would be if not for WM laws keeping black men in check. It is, truly, a hard pill to swallow.

Icon is absolutely correct. It’s very similar to the bitter reality of what women’s lives are like in Muslim-dominated countries. I’ve never been silly enough to want to live in a Muslim country.

WE’VE SEEN WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WHITE MALE-DOMINATED LAW ENFORCEMENT PULLS BACK FROM POLICING AFRICAN-AMERICAN RESIDENTIAL AREAS: DUNBAR VILLAGE.

We know what happens when White male-dominated law enforcement pulls back from policing Black residential areas in the US. Dunbar Village. Rowan Towers. We also know that many (if not most) African-Americans (of both genders) are indifferent to these sorts of atrocities, as long as it’s not happening to them personally.

A SIMILAR, SYSTEMATIC PATTERN OF ATROCITIES AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS HAPPENS IN BLACK-LED COUNTRIES.

It’s not a coincidence that so many of the countries listed as the 10 worst places in the world to live if you are a woman are Black countries. I’m not surprised by the list. The same way I wasn’t surprised to read this news story about the need for women-only food coupons because young Haitian men were stealing the food aid. The same way I wasn’t surprised to later read this report about how Haitian men are busy raping women in the camps for people who were displaced by the earthquake several months ago.

In fairness, men do this sort of thing in disaster situations throughout the world (seize the aid meant for starving women and children). Black men are not alone in attacking women and girls. What’s unique about the Black world is the total absence of a countervailing set of male protectors. Including the total absence of flawed male protectors who, even though they are basically predatory, still protect and provide for the women and children within their particular fiefdoms.

In other places like Afghanistan and so on, there are often male counterweights to the male thieves. Such as imams, sheiks, and the tribal warlords who also steal the food aid. But these other types of men (while also stealing the food aid for themselves) typically make sure that the women and children within their fiefdoms eat!

RECOGNIZE THAT AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN HAVE NO ORGANIZED MALE PROTECTORS OTHER THAN WHITE MALE-DOMINATED LAW ENFORCEMENT.

With the limited exception of the Nation of Islam, there generally are no organized group of male protectors within Black residential neighborhoods. The masses of African-American men assume no responsibility whatsoever for protecting the women and children in their neighborhoods. That’s why deeply confused African-American women, such as the Deborah movement in Chicago try to take on the male duty of protecting Black residential areas. White male-dominated law enforcement is the only thing currently standing between the Black women and girls who live in Black neighborhoods and mass rape. More African-American women need to remember that before having knee-jerk anti-police reactions.

August 14, 2010   53 Comments

“Inception” And African-Americans

I saw the movie Inception when it first came out. It’s an excellent, original movie that I highly recommend. The basic plot of the movie is that a Japanese corporate executive has hired a group of people to try to plant an idea into the subconscious mind of the heir to a rival corporation. In the movie, this process of planting ideas into a target person’s mind is called “inception.” A friend and I recently had an email conversation about the movie. She’s graciously given me permission to quote her comments. [*Note: We generally refer to African-Americans as “our former people” because the masses of modern, “new school” African-Americans are unrecognizable to those of us with “old-school,” traditional African-American values.]

THERE ARE MANY REAL WORLD EXAMPLES OF OUTSIDERS SUCCESSFULLY PERFORMING VERBAL “INCEPTION” ON AFRICAN-AMERICANS

The pity is that, unlike in the movie, most African-Americans don’t have to be drugged to be vulnerable to inception. Simply hearing somebody else say something is enough to influence most of us. During the email conversation I said,

I forgot to mention something else about the movie that struck me. It reminds me of how clueless and easily manipulated our former people are. As the Nation of Islam (NOI) ministers often remark, African-Americans foolishly act out scripts written by other people that they mistakenly think are their own indeas.

And it doesn’t take much to influence the bulk of African-Americans. All White folks have to do is elevate a Negro to prominent status (via media promotion, job appointments, etc.), and most African-Americans will buy into whatever warped ideas that newly-elevated Negro is promoting. This is how African-Americans became suddenly “confused” and unsure of the monstrous aspects of conservative ideology (as they relate to our particular interests). All because we will blindly support any prominent colored person (such as Condi Rice and Colin Powell).

In Inception, the idea that they were trying to plant in the target corporate heir’s mind (“I’ll be my own man by breaking up my father’s business empire and building something new”) is similar to the idea that Elijah Muhammad’s son acted out after he inherited leadership of the NOI. That idea ultimately led to the dismantling and destruction of his father’s empire.

It reminded me of something that several Nation of Islam and CROE (Coalition for the Remembrance of Elijah Muhammad) ministers have said over the decades about Warithudeen (Wallace) Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad’s son:

(1) That basically the ideas that Warithudeen Muhammad had about “decentralizing” and “democratizing” the NOI were not his own original ideas. That these ideas had been verbally planted and suggested to him by the various government agents that had infiltrated the upper ranks of the NOI.

(2) That the government agents who gave him this ultimately destructive advice played on the typical motivations that sons of notable men have—to want to surpass their fathers.

Ultimately, I blame Elijah Muhammad for this. He didn’t properly groom his son to know how to make his own mark on the NOI while maintaining the base that his father had built. There’s an art to keeping what you inherit as a base while you expand into other directions.

INCEPTION ONLY WORKS WITH WEAK, UNQUESTIONING MINDS

In reply my friend said,

I would also take it one step further, these tactics only work with weak minds. A mind that does not put into question what is being said or shown or a mind that does not know itself is always in a vulnerable position with regards to others.

She’s right. I see proof of this everyday when I hear African-Americans blindly repeating other people’s talking points. Including talking points from Tea Party members and other racist Whites who are featured on Faux News. Just the other day, I read a comment by an African-American who was seriously repeating the (racist, White, Tea Party) “birther” lies about Pres. Obama purportedly not having a valid US birth certificate. That’s utterly insane.

I find it amazing that Blacks folks who have bought into that madness actually believe that the many right-wing, White racists at the FBI, CIA, and other alphabet-lettered government organizations would permit any Black-skinned, non-US-born-citizen to be sworn in as President of the US. The FBI, CIA, and so on are not known as institutions that are friendly to Black-skinned individuals. No matter how much any particular Black person buckdances.

I’ve observed similar patterns with African-American religious zealots who are single-issue fanatics. They will support any candidate who supports forcing pregnant women to give birth against their will. I’ve also seen the same pattern with African-Americans who blindly repeat Democratic Party officials’ talking points. Whatever slogan is being said during that day’s news cycle by the White Democratic Party officials will be hypnotically repeated by many African-Americans. Most African-Americans do very little thinking for themselves.

In one sense, one can argue this level of gullibility shows how much more free we are. In previous eras, there was no room for African-Americans to have that type of self-delusion: There’s nothing to be confused about when you have a noose around your neck.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR INFORMATION FROM?

Do you watch Fox “News”? If so, why in the world would you watch the equivalent of Pravda? Do you have more than one source of information? Do you have any international sources of information? Have you bothered to read a single book about any of today’s current events? Such as a biography of any of the key players in Iraq or Afghanistan (for example, Muqtada al-Sadr)?

[**Audience Note** Please, no spoilers about Inception during this conversation. Any comment that contains spoilers will not be published.]

August 4, 2010   79 Comments

Magical Thinking About Sex

PAY ATTENTION TO THE REALITY YOU SEE ALL AROUND YOU

This is the second chapter in a series of “Fantasy Island needs to be nuked; before it’s too late” posts. When discussing serious issues, it’s scary to see so many African-Americans regurgitate slogans instead of admitting the reality they see all around them. This refusal to recognize reality is why African-Americans are forming a permanent underclass in the United States. The causes and solutions to many of our collective problems are obvious. But we refuse to see them because they contradict the various ideological slogans that we’ve been hypnotically repeating for the past forty-five years (and counting).

This post is, and at the same time isn’t, about sex. In many situations, the quality of the sexual experiences that people are having and their consequences are actually proxies for other issues. Issues such as communication, respect, self-respect and reciprocity. It’s similar to how salary negotiations aren’t only about the money; the monetary figure is often a proxy for professional respect.

TOO MANY AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN MAKE BAD CHOICES AND THEN PRETEND THAT THEY DIDN’T HAVE A CHOICE

From the things that we say, it’s apparent that many African-Americans don’t believe in free will. No matter what the issue might be, we consistently pretend that we didn’t have any choice except the self-destructive choices that we make. Well, that’s usually not true. I’m fed up with hearing that particular untruth.

What triggered this series of posts was seeing a commenter at another blog argue that there was a “mythology” about African-American women lowering their standards. That African-American women who settle for man-sharing are making “rational” decisions based on the shortages of male peers in their communities. And finally, that they suffer consequences such as single parenthood, high rates of domestic violence and high HIV infection rates due to this so-called rational decision to share a partner.

Of course, various studies were invoked to buttress this argument. I was outdone by this argument. First, because I’m weary of watching other laypeople boldly run with the purported results of studies without understanding their limitations. See the following article from New Scientist, Most Scientific Papers Are Probably Wrong. Second, because anyone who has dealt with working scientists knows they use extremely cautious language when describing the purported results of their studies.

Also, the key phrase in that commenter’s argument was “male peers in their communities.” Meanwhile, there’s nothing restricting African-American women to “their” communities. Or to the numerically fewer African-American “male peers” in “their” community. African-American women aren’t marooned on an island. Many of them go to work everyday where they are literally surrounded by men from other races and ethnic groups. Some of these non-Black men have approached them, only to be ignored and rebuffed in favor of waiting for the chimerical “good Black man.” And later on, as a result of this self-created desperation, many African-American women choose to make do with inferior situations with Black men.

These are all choices. Irrational and self-destructive ones.

WHEN MAGICAL THINKING ABOUT SEX = A LIFETIME OF “HIGH SCHOOL SEX”

I can’t remember who said this, but I heard somebody make the distinction between “high school sex” and “grown-up sex.” “High school sex” is furtive, can only be done in pitch-black darkness, and is filled with shame and embarrassment. It’s generally a bad experience. “Grown-up sex” is openly discussed with one’s partner, and can be done in full daylight without shame or embarrassment. This is generally a better experience.

When women choose to have sex with men that they can’t talk to about important things (including the sex they’re having), the odds are that won’t be a good experience. There’s bad sex that is gradually improving because the partners are talking to each other, learning what pleases the other partner, and making adjustments. There’s also bad sex that will always be bad because the woman is faking her reactions and doesn’t bother to talk to her partner. And finally, there’s bad sex that will always be bad because the woman chooses to continue having sex with a selfish man who doesn’t care about pleasing her. Even after being told how she feels.

From what I hear, far too many African-American women either fake their reactions during sex, or persist in having sex with men who have made it clear they don’t care about pleasing them. Some women go so far as to marry men who have made it plain that they don’t care about pleasing them. Since many (if not most) couples have premarital sex, these women were put on notice about their partner’s selfish ways. And then these women want to play the victim of an inept or selfish male partner.

No. None of this is about sexual techniques or prowess. The bad sex is one of many manifestations of other deficits (lack of communication, lack of reciprocity, and so on) in a voluntarily chosen relationship. These women choose to live in dissatisfaction. That is their free and voluntary choice.

Unfortunately, from the things I hear, it sounds like many Black people are having “high school sex.” Even as chronological adults. Even years into their marriages. Even until they die. What a shame. Each woman needs to ask herself whether this is what she wants for the sexual part of her life. I believe that part of it is cultural due to Black folks’ mostly religion based upbringings. The Black church and the Black mosque tend to be totally and defiantly out of touch with reality when it comes to sexuality issues. Even when their refusal to give candid, reality based guidance leads to the literal death and destruction of their members.

Even with all of that, I’ve always believed that once you’re an adult you are responsible for how you live your life. As a teenager I realized that parents are responsible for people being clueless as children. But once you’re a certain age, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to remain clueless. So, even though my parents never directly discussed sexual matters when I was a teenager, I marched out and bought a copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to read about the things my mother was not telling me.

When I was in college, a small group of close friends and I sat down, bought various “The Joy of _____ Sex” books, laughed a lot, and discussed various things over pizza. There was one lesbian in the group, one guy, me, and another straight girl. We figured that we would discuss ways of approaching these conversations with our respective partners. The guy friend wanted to hear how other women felt about the various positions that he wanted to ask his girlfriend to experiment with. He seemed to be on a mini Kama Sutra quest. We gave our various reviews: “That looks uncomfortable for the girl . . . Who in their right mind would want to do that? . . . . Now, that one might be pretty good . . . “

I’ve never understood grown women who choose to remain clueless or dissatisfied.

MAGICAL THINKING ABOUT “UNPLANNED,” ACCIDENTALLY-ON-PURPOSE PREGNANCIES

Don’t automatically believe people who claim that their illegitimate children were the result of unplanned pregnancies. From what I can tell after years of talking to acquaintances, relatives, and large numbers of clients, many (if not most) of these pregnancies are more accurately described as happening “accidentally on purpose.” I’ve known several women who chose to get pregnant by particular men because they wanted to have light-skinned babies. One woman had a history of terminating two (relatively recent) pregnancies caused by dark-skinned men, and continuing the third pregnancy caused by the light-skinned man. I’ve known teenage girls who chose to get pregnant because they wanted somebody who (they believed) would give them unconditional love. Leon Dash observed a similar pattern that he described in his book When Children Want Children.

I’ve known several women who chose to get pregnant in hopes of delaying their husbands from leaving them. Of course, when directly asked all of these women and girls claimed to have been completely surprised about getting pregnant. The real motives are usually revealed bit by bit over time during unrelated conversations.

The mileage may vary in terms of what degree of calculation was involved in the pregnancy. It can range from a calculated, deliberate plan to get the other sexual partner “caught up,” to varying degrees of “I don’t care what happens and I’m indifferent/willing/eager to get pregnant.” Note that there are also males who want to get women “caught up.” The typical scenario with this is the male who isn’t going anywhere productive in his life and wants to make sure the woman or girl doesn’t go anywhere either. This, or the male wants to have a permanent “anchor” connecting him to a particular, usually more ambitious woman.

The only women I’ve known who seemed to genuinely accidentally get pregnant have been happily married women who already had the number of children they wanted. The rest of them (teenagers included) had varying degrees of calculation involved in their so-called unplanned pregnancies. Ranging from “I don’t care what happens and I’m willing to get pregnant,” to “I want a baby now,” to (mistakenly) believing that a baby will solidify a shaky relationship or crumbling marriage.

MAGICAL THINKING ABOUT HIV AND AIDS

The extreme versions of this irrational behavior pattern can be fatal. African-American women settling for jailbirds has helped spread HIV and AIDs among Black women. I’ve talked to African-American women who claim to really believe that their men were celibate while in prison. Yeah, right. Black women settling for man-sharing has also helped spread HIV and AIDs among Black women. I’ve talked to Black women who don’t require boyfriends that they know are cheating on them to wear condoms. It’s their party, and they can die if they want to. And of course, many of these magical thinkers claim surprise when they come up HIV+. Yeah, okay.

There’s another irrational game that many African-American women play regarding sexually transmitted diseases. That’s the game of playing “down low detective” by trying to figure out which men might be bisexual. Many African-American women do this, instead of requiring testing and condom use for all partners. And instead of eliminating known high-risk individuals such as (Black male) playboys, jailbirds, and dope fiends from their pool of sexual partners.

These are all choices. Irrational and self-destructive ones. African-American women need to stop pretending that there are no other choices.

[*Audience Note* Please don’t submit comments discussing sexual techniques or any other graphic content. They won’t be published. That’s not what this post is about. Not at all. It’s about magical thinking and dishonesty about sexual issues.]

June 25, 2010   74 Comments

Spare The Rod And Destroy The Child

PAY ATTENTION TO THE REALITY YOU SEE ALL AROUND YOU

This is the first chapter in a series of “Fantasy Island needs to be nuked; before it’s too late” posts. When discussing serious issues, it’s scary to see so many African-Americans regurgitate slogans instead of admitting the reality they see all around them. This refusal to recognize reality is why African-Americans are forming a permanent underclass in the United States. The causes and solutions to many of our collective problems are obvious. But we refuse to see them because they contradict the various ideological slogans that we’ve been hypnotically repeating for the past forty-five years (and counting).

STOP USING SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH TO DENY THE REALITY YOU SEE ALL AROUND YOU

I know that litigation has made me cynical about many things that people like to believe in, including the stated results of scientific studies. I don’t take those purported results at face value because I know the answer you get is often heavily influenced by how you phrase the original question. This applies to many situations. From cross-examination of a witness at a trial, to scientific studies. See the following article from New Scientist, Most scientific papers are probably wrong.

LOOK AT THE COMMONLY OBSERVED RESULTS OF ADOPTING VARIOUS IDEAS

When modern African-Americans talk that “we don’t spank the children” talk, few people question that posture in terms of the fruit that parenting style has been observed to bear. From the conversations I’ve heard and took part in, people either nod their heads in ideological agreement. With no discussion of the practicalities and problems involved with that particular parenting style. Or, most African-Americans who support the traditional African-American “parents empowered to whoop if deemed necessary” parenting style do so from religious justifications, or a blind following of tradition. Neither of which are what I’m raising when I talk about the issue of corporal punishment.

I’m talking about what are the majority, commonly observed results of this experimental (among us) parenting style. I don’t assume that every newfangled idea always represents progress. And I’m hesitant to discard traditional methods that have stood the test of time in favor of experiments. Especially not when the stakes are so high—such as a child’s future.

I’m especially leery of African-Americans experimenting with untested, unproven practices because our migration away from other traditional human methods (mass out of wedlock childbirth and single parenting instead of marriage; welfare instead of working for a living; and so on) have created a catastrophe.

ALL OUR SLOGANS HAVE EITHER BECOME OBSOLETE OR FAILED

If you look at the results, you will see that all of our popular slogans dating from the 1960s have either become obsolete or failed. Trying to extract further political and economic concessions from non-Blacks in the U.S. has become obsolete in The Age of Obama. Coddling criminals has failed. Pretending that out of wedlock pregnancies and the resulting single parenting are equal to married parenting has failed. Today’s topic, the experimental (among African-Americans) child-rearing strategy of refusing to use corporal punishment, has also failed.

I HAVE NEVER SEEN THE “WE DON’T SPANK THE CHILDREN” PARENTING STYLE SUCCEED IN RAISING DECENT CHILDREN

The topic of corporal punishment (also known as spankings; or as “whoopins” in my childhood neighborhood) came up during an earlier conversation. As I said, every African-American single parent and married couple I know who is doing the “we don’t spank the children” thing either:

  • has already failed; or
  • is in the process of failing

miserably in raising their children.

The children of the parents I’ve known who use that particular parenting style are uniformly disrespectful and out of control as small children, and it escalates as they get older and into their teens. Let me repeat: I have never seen that “we don’t spank the children” parenting style succeed in raising decent children with good character. From what I’ve seen (with relatives and some friends) of this parenting style (among African-Americans) is that it has failed miserably in every, single case that I’m aware of.

I know that many of these misguided people are reacting to the extremes of spanking that they experiences during their childhoods. Things like the humiliation of being forced to select the slender tree branch that would be used to hit them with. Things like spankings that actually inflicted physical pain. I know that my views of corporal punishment are colored by the facts that I can count the “whoopins” I got as a child on one hand; and the “whoopins” I got were mild—they never actually hurt—it was more the shock that my parents were that displeased with something I had done. The whoopins were not the first step. The whoopins happened because I had disobeyed and ignored the warnings that had already been given. I was never slapped, punched, or anything like that. I got either an open-palm tap on my hand or an open-palm swat on my rear end. And this was only when I was a small child. As I got older, punishment became more about having privileges and pleasures taken away.

So, when I speak of spankings, I’m not talking about the extremes of corporal punishment that leaves marks (or “weps” as called in my childhood neighborhood–{shudder}). Or involves hitting children with things like extension cords. {another shudder}

[It’s interesting. When I was around seven years old, there was a girl in my class that showed some of us her “wep” marks, and described being hit with an extension cord. Most of the rest of us thought that was weird, and not what we considered a normal “whoopin.” We didn’t know the word “abuse,” but we concluded there was something wrong with her mother. There were the unfortunate minority of classmates who thought that was normal because that’s what they experienced. They’re the ones who told the others of us that those marks are called “weps.”]

But in adopting the “we won’t spank the children” posture, I believe the people I know who’ve done so have veered too far in the other direction. I’ve talked to several of them about it. They don’t see the connection between their parents claiming the parental authority to spank them if deemed necessary, and them turning out to be respectful, thoughtful, productive adults. They’re totally abandoning a parenting style that worked in their upbringing for a parenting style that’s experimental—at least among African-American. And from what I’ve seen, none of these experiments have worked right. They’ve all been disasters to varying degrees.

One reader who is a teacher commented and said,

It is my experience (teaching Pre-k/Kindergarten) that these children are an absolute pain to deal with.

Yes, I said it.

I have had administrators, and parents upset with me for not allowing a particular child to accompany our class on field trips, participating in special events, etc. I refuse to tip-toe around “Little Man,” and cater to him so he will not disrupt class.

Yes, there is a huge difference between an open hand to the bottom (parent in control), and a closed fist to the jaw (parent way out of control).

I have found that children whose parents subscribe to the “free spirited” school of thought, can sometimes be a danger to their classmates. We have child in our class who throws chairs if his needs and wants aren’t immediately gratified. The school administrator does not want to offend the parents, so nothing is done.

Now because of this situation, we are losing two great students whose parents justifiably do not want their children around this child.

In reply I said,

I agree. In my experience, these children are among the worst children. They are definitely extremely unpleasant to be around.

To soothe my conscience, I (once) tried to talk to a dear friend who is using this “we don’t spank the children” parenting style with her children. Even though she’s married, she basically is living as if she were a single parent. Her husband is a fatherless man who refuses to inconvenience himself to watch or discipline their children.

I gently challenged her to name a SINGLE example of anybody she knew who succeeded by using that particular parenting style. Just one example of where she’s seen that parenting style work right. She couldn’t name a single successful example among any of the other folks she knows who are using that parenting style. Not one. Instead, she kept talking about her grievances with the “whoopin” parenting style that her parents used with her.

Since this is a touchy subject, I left it alone at that point. Unfortunately, all of the behavior traits that I warned her are the observed fruit of that parenting style are escalating in her children. They were disrespectful and out of control when they were small. And it’s only getting worse the bigger they get. I’ll pray for her safety once they become teenagers.

And now that we’re talking about this, let me say this out loud: I firmly believe that there’s a correlation between more African-Americans adopting this traditionally “non-ethnic White yuppie” no-spanking style of parenting, and more African-Americans killing their parents. Now, anyone who’s gone to college knows that correlation does not equal causation. But, I do believe there’s a connection between these two phenomena.

I don’t want to call this “we don’t spank the children” parenting style a “White” thing, because from what I can tell it originated among a specific segment of the White population. Many of the ethnic Whites (including ethnic White professionals or yuppies) that I’ve known don’t play that “we don’t spank the children” stuff with their kids. [They spank their children.]

What I’ve noticed, as you’ve described above, is that these children raised by “we don’t spank the children” parents fly into extreme rages when they don’t get their way. After years of being catered to, they won’t take “no” for an answer. And that dynamic was traditionally a large part of the recipe for a number of White teenagers who killed their parents. Or in the case of some White teenage girls, helped somebody else kill their parents—helped the boyfriend the parents disapproved of. After years of always saying “yes,” the parents said “no” and their child flew into a rage.

Now that I think about it, some of the local news stories over the past few years of African-American men who killed one or both of their parents appear to have this same underlying emotional pattern. African-American parents allow a nonfunctional (typically substance-abusing, or mentally ill) adult Black male son to continue living in their home. And the moment the parents fail to humor one of his demands, he goes postal. I’m thinking of individuals like this creature.

Before African-Americans started experimenting with these overly indulgent parenting styles, there were certain things that we just didn’t do. Killing your parents was one such thing. And it didn’t matter what one’s problem was—there have been African-American dope fiends for what? Almost a century. They didn’t kill their parents. Including when the parents refused to let them continue living in their home, and refused to give them money.

. . . Now that my memory has been jogged about this issue, I recall that there’s a steady “water drip” of these sorts of local cases of Black men killing one or both parents over the years. I was able to track down media links to this case only because I remembered that this individual briefly pretended to desire “suicide by cop” while staging a scene at a local Veterans Administration hospital. He was “distraught” enough to gun down his elderly parents when they finally said “no” to him, but he wasn’t distraught enough over killing his parents to kill himself. And he didn’t push events to the point where the police were required to kill him.

When each case happens, local African-Americans don’t talk about the long-term parental indulgence that plays a part in these incidents. Instead, we focus on the drug use or mental illness angles. Meanwhile, we’ve had drugs or mental illness among us for quite some time—and we still didn’t kill our parents previously.

MY RESPONSE TO A DISSENTING READER

I said the following to a dissenting reader during that conversation,

I have NO problem with disagreement about the means used for lifestyle optimization for African-American women and girls. My line in the sand is with people who are opposed to the very goal of lifestyle optimization for African-American women and girls. Now, very few people besides Ikettes, and Internet Ike Turners will come out and directly say that they support diminished lives for Black women and girls. But if they’re defending the beliefs and behaviors that uphold the status quo of diminished life, it’s the same posture as far as I’m concerned.

I can happily agree to disagree about the means. However, I won’t invest time in debating the goal of abundant life for Black women with people who are opposed to abundant life for African-American women and girls. I also don’t have time to debate with dishonest people who want to redefine degradation as liberation for Black women—like the individuals who characterize so-called “sex work” and modern African-American stripper culture as somehow liberating for African-American women.

In summary, there’s NO problem with disagreement here. And it’s just fine with me if the topic of corporal punishment remains a PERMANENT point of disagreement between me and others. I happily agree to disagree.

This is my policy regarding dissent at this blog. I’m saying what I believe needs to be said.

SOME OF THE PROBABLE MOTIVES FOR REFUSING TO SPANK ONE’S CHILDREN

From what I can tell of the parental motivations that go into this, there are typically several things happening:

The “we don’t spank the children” parents are often focused on their own childhood grievances with corporal punishment. I believe that this is what’s going on with my friend.

Some of them are simply lazy.Policing children’s behavior takes up a lot of time and energy. It’s easier to just pretend that you don’t see or hear misbehavior. And then claim that you’re so-called reasoning with the child, instead of the (*gasp*) “primitive” dishing out of whoopins when deemed necessary. “We don’t spank the children” is often used as a way to put a positive spin on being lazy and inattentive as a parent. This is what I believe is going on with my friend’s husband. His behavior has made it quite clear that he doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by childcare at all.

Some of these folks seem to want to be friends with their kids; and don’t want their children to be angry with them.

Some of these folks seem uncomfortable with being true authority figures. At some point in grown-up life, one is required to drop the posture of the cool, rebel kid—and be the un-cool, un-fun, adult in the equation. There are seasons in life. You can’t be the hip teenager forever.

ALL THE PRODUCTIVE AFRICAN-AMERICANS I KNOW ARE PRODUCTS OF THE TRADITIONAL “PARENTS EMPOWERED TO ‘WHOOP’ IF DEEMED NECESSARY” PARENTING STYLE

All the productive African-Americans I know are products of the traditional African-American “parents empowered to whoop if deemed necessary” parenting style. Including the (I believe misguided) folks who are experimenting with this “don’t spank the children” thing. Does this traditional method always succeed? Of course not. But it has a much higher success rate than what I’ve seen of the “don’t spank the children” method—which has a success rate of zero percent among the folks I’ve seen who have used it.

Again, I understand that correlation does not equal causation. There could be a third underlying factor that’s causing what I’ve observed. For example, it could be that many of the African-Americans who are attracted to the “don’t spank the children” parenting style are also people who don’t want to anger their children by disciplining them.

I don’t know. All I do know is that every “we don’t spank the children” experiment that I’ve seen has been a disaster. And there’s no do-over button. The children were destroyed.

June 20, 2010   58 Comments

Counterfeit Masculinity Vs. Authentic Masculinity: Can You Tell The Difference?

THE VALUE AND IMPORTANCE OF FEMININITY

We’ve held several conversations about the value and importance of femininity. And how many Black women have been programmed to cooperate with being defeminized. We’ve explored the many ways in which defeminization has severe negative consequences for women.

The coarse and unfeminine behavior that has become normalized among too many African-American women needs to be corrected. This coarse behavior does not serve us well as we navigate the wider world. This unfeminine behavior also robs Black women of the empowerment that comes from a woman having feminine skills plus 21st century freedom of movement.

FEMININE SKILLS ONLY BENEFIT WOMEN DURING INTERACTIONS WITH AUTHENTICALLY MASCULINE MEN

However, there’s another part of the equation that women must keep in mind. Feminine skills only benefit a woman during interactions with authentically masculine men. Feminine skills don’t benefit a woman who is dealing with a damaged man. These skills bring no benefit to women who deal with feminized men, or men with counterfeit masculinity.

AUTHENTIC MASCULINITY IS BASED ON A COMBINATION OF CHARACTER TRAITS, NOT SURFACE ATTRIBUTES

The disintegration of the African-American family has created several generations of African-Americans who are clueless about what normal, stable marriage and family life looks like. The mass absence of functioning men from the African-American collective means that most modern African-Americans also have no idea what true masculinity looks like. They’ve never seen men who function successfully as loving husbands and fathers. They’ve never seen family men in real life. And so they define manhood by surface qualities, such as verbal aggression, bulging muscles, swaggers, and deep voices.

Women set themselves up for heartache and disastrous relationships when they don’t know what true masculinity looks like.

USE GUIDELINES THAT HAVE STOOD THE TEST OF TIME

It’s often dangerous to deviate from known, traditional terminology, definitions, or guidelines. I talked about this in a slightly different context during a conversation at the previous blog:

For this conversation, I’m going to mostly use traditional terms to describe certain concepts. When discussing matters of faith, I try to stick as close to possible to the terminology used in the Quran, and by traditional religious scholars. I believe that it’s dangerous to deviate from the clearly defined, known earlier terms.

Let me give a secular example. “Messence” magazine has started doing an apparently yearly feature on what it calls “Do-Right Men.” Well, the more this was discussed on various blogs, the more people realized that there didn’t seem to be any real criteria to being referred to as a “Do-Right Man.” From their interviews, these men did NOT sound as if they were ultimately looking for wives. Nor did they even sound as if they were looking for “serious” relationships. Some of these men apparently already had girlfriends.

But yet Messence was encouraging Black women to celebrate and respond to these men as if these men were eligible bachelors. I realized that Messence had done yet another “bait and switch” on its readers. It was encouraging Black women to respond to these men as if they met the criteria of being eligible bachelors (men who are called such because they are interested in and eligible for marriage), when these men never verbally signed on to the “eligible bachelor” package.

With this verbal bait and switch, Messence was encouraging its readers to pin eligible bachelor hopes onto men who were just looking for a good time (some of whom were already hooked-up to somebody else). This sort of “bait and switch” is often what happens when we get away from traditional, known terminology and start using new terms.

People are then free to define these new terms however they wish. Such as so-called Do-Right Man versus what it takes to be an Eligible Bachelor. So, this Messence example is one reason why I believe that it’s safest to stick with the already clearly-defined and known terminology when discussing certain things.

Because of the above, I believe that a good place to begin any meditation on true masculinity is with scripture. Since most African-American women are at least nominally Christian, I’ll use the Bible passage that was discussed at length in this post as an example. From 1 Kings 2:1-3:

1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,
2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and show thyself a man;
3 and keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself:

Here’s what I (even as a non-Christian) got from that passage. The connections made between:

  • Masculinity, showing oneself to be a man, and having a code of conduct.
  • Masculinity, showing oneself to be a man, and having the self-discipline to follow a code of conduct.
  • Masculinity, showing oneself to be a man, and following a code of conduct whether it’s in or out of fashion at the moment.
  • Masculinity, showing oneself to be a man, and actions in support of that; not words as a substitute for actions not taken.

When you think about the opposite of this behavior you can see that, by contrast, counterfeit masculinity is typically about:

  • Not having any code of conduct.
  • Not having the self-discipline to follow any code of conduct.
  • Not wanting to have the self-discipline to follow any code of conduct.
  • Being a slave to desires, instant gratification, and fads.
  • Loud, empty talk that seeks to justify all the above.

There are some other masculine character traits that I believe are very important, but this list is not meant to be exhaustive. It’s a starting point for our conversation.

LEAVE THE MALE HIPSTERS AND THE METROSEXUALS ALONE

Here’s the part that’s sure to upset the exception-seekers among the audience. If marriage is important to you, then I urge you to leave the male hipsters and the metrosexuals alone. If you’re looking for a husband for a stable, wholesome marriage, bypass the following sorts of men:

  • Men who wear earrings.
  • Men with ponytails.
  • Men with cornrows.
  • Men with dreadlocks.

If you’re a marriage-minded woman who’s looking for a stable family man as a husband, these sorts of men are a poor bet. Men who choose these sorts of hipster or metrosexual looks generally are not stable family men. Here’s why—these looks represent fads and an immature, teenage-like preoccupation with being considered “hip.” A stable, emotionally mature family man is not going to be heavily into fads. He has other priorities and interests. And many (if not most) wholesome family men are repulsed by feminized male fashions like earrings, and don’t want to take up those sorts of fashions.

About earrings on men. Since college, I’ve watched the evolution of how people perceive earrings on men. When I started college, heterosexual men who wore a single earring only wore it on their left ear. To wear the earring on the right ear was interpreted as a deliberately placed visual signal that the man was gay. Then, even gay men generally weren’t wearing earrings on both ears. [Then there was the George Michael/Wham! music video that featured him with bleached blond hair and earrings on both ears. At which point, most folks concluded that he was gay.] All of this was similar to how White gay men during that era apparently wore handkerchiefs in particular back pockets of their pants to signal which sex acts they preferred to engage in.

It took time for earrings on men to gravitate out of gay circles and into the straight male population. And it took even more time for “Sheniquas” to start having their small sons’ ears pierced. They have their small sons with earrings and long hair; and then get angry when people mistake their (feminized) boys for girls. It’s crazy.

My point is that this earrings on men fashion had certain negative connotations to it. It still does. The difference is in the negative connotation. Before, this fashion was associated with gay men. The current connotation is that it reflects a certain mindset—one that is not conducive to being a stable, wholesome family man.

Especially if this practice of wearing earrings is something that a man takes up after becoming a fully grown adult, like Morgan Freeman or Ed Bradley. Because of his adult decision to start wearing an earring, I knew there was something wrong with Morgan Freeman long before we officially found out what was wrong with him. I’m sure that he didn’t grow up seeing men wearing earrings. And this was not part of what was happening during his years as a young adult. A middle-aged (or older) man who finds the idea of wearing an earring attractive is not a mature, or wholesome man. He’s most likely not the sort of man a woman can build a stable family with.

I’ve done an informal poll of female coworkers and acquaintances who work in my court building over the past few days. Of various races, ethnic groups, education levels and age ranges. They’ve had to think long and hard to come up with only a handful of exceptions to this pattern. There’s only a small number of married, stable family men that they personally know who wear earrings or ponytails, and so on.

A special note about cornrows and dreadlocks. These sorts of looks have become popular with gangbangers, prisoners, and assorted other “street” males. Most emotionally mature, responsible family men are not going to want to look like them. However many family men might have originally felt about these hairstyles, now that they’ve become associated with Black criminality, it’s not something many of them are interested in anymore.

An emotionally mature, family man understands common sense reality. He knows that making the wrong self-presentation choice leads to negative consequences. This could impact his future ability to provide for a wife and family. So he’s not interested in running around asserting his “right” to resemble Black male gangbangers and rappers.

I will note that the dreadlocks seem to also have a high correlation with Black men who avidly chase White women and other non-Black women. I don’t know why that is; and I don’t care.

IT’S NOT ABOUT ANY PARTICULAR HIPSTER FASHION; IT’S ABOUT THE UNMASCULINE MINDSET TYPICALLY UNDERLYING THAT FASHION CHOICE

This isn’t really about these hipster or metrosexual fashions themselves. It’s more about how it’s mostly unmasculine men who are attracted to these fashions. “Unmasculine” in the sense that they lack the authentic masculinity that makes for a good husband and father. They lack the masculine character traits that go into being a trustworthy protector and provider.

Marriage-minded African-American women have choices. They can focus on championing males’ rights to choose hipster and metrosexual fashions. They can focus on looking for the exceptions to these observations. Or they can focus on finding a man who is most likely to be an effective and trustworthy husband and father.

May 11, 2010   84 Comments