Conquering Adversity: Don’t Take It Personally

I’ve been studying marketing while building my side businesses. An internet marketer that I’m aware of recently hosted a free webinar about facing adversity. Of course, after the presentation, he made a sales pitch for an e-course that he’s put together. In any event, he had a fascinating conversation with his special guest, a woman named Jennifer Wilkov. Ms. Wilkov is a former financial planner who survived a four-month stint in New York City’s Riker’s Island correctional center. (Shudder—that place is legendary for its violence.)

One of several excellent points the marketer and Ms. Wilkov made during the presentation is that it’s best not to take adverse events personally. This includes other people’s negative behaviors that are directed at you personally. Taking things personally is usually counterproductive.

I would add my own observation that taking things personally starts off being about you, but almost always ends up being about “them.” Focusing on the fact that “they” are doing whatever negative action against you usually morphs into focusing on the fact that “they” don’t like you. And all the possible reasons “they” don’t like you (they’re racist, sexist, envious, crazy, whatever). None of this matters; and it diverts your attention away from what does matter: mapping out a strategy for victory despite “them” and whatever they’re doing.

The world of work is filled with these sorts of problems. Often, you’re not going to be treated right at work. And large numbers of people are not going to respond appropriately to your talents and skills. Mostly for reasons that are a reflection on them, and not you.

For example, I realized early on during my short career as prosecutor that I would never be seen by most defendants or their attorneys as a “real” authority figure. No matter what. Simply because many people don’t view women as “real” authority figures (especially, Black women in their 20s). I watched while defendants and their attorneys happily accepted plea offers from my (equally young) White, male partner that were more harsh than I would offer. Meanwhile, defendants and their lawyers were inclined to reject my slightly more lenient plea offers, go to trial, lose, be convicted, and then look shocked that I won against them. Incidentally, this particular White courtroom partner was busy trying to undermine me with office politics. It was all crazy. But I was blessed to realize early on that none of this was about me. Instead, it was about these other people and their issues. My plan was to focus on what I could do to advance my goals, and not on these other people.

You have to avoid holding pity parties, and instead “keep it moving” despite other people and their issues. The same applies to business. For example, the harsh reality is that most consumers, including Black consumers, don’t want to patronize any Black-owned businesses. The only exceptions for Black consumers are hair salons and barbershops. And, particularly for African-American consumers, this aversion to supporting Black-controlled businesses has little to do with quality or service. If it were about quality and service, then these same Black consumers would not flock to shop in filthy, rude and potentially deadly Arab and Korean-owned businesses. (Consider the murder of Latasha Harlins by a Korean shopkeeper’s wife in a Korean-owned store in Los Angeles.)

The African-American business owner has a choice. She can focus her energy on bemoaning this situation. Or she can work around it and succeed despite irrational consumer resistance. One strategy is to make one’s business as “colorless” as possible. Either by being secretive about it being Black-owned, or by having a “faceless” business (such as selling e-books online). We discussed various angles to this topic during the Art of Black-Owned Business series of posts at the previous blog, here, here, and here.

Here’s an example of a White, female freelance writer who did what she had to do to succeed despite consumer sexism. She reinvented herself online as a man for her business. Here’s an interesting post by a feminist writer discussing this incident, as well as the folly of post-feminism and post-racism.

No matter what you’re doing, there will always be “haters.” When haters try to sabotage your efforts, it’s best to not take it personally, revoke all passes to Pity City, and keep it moving! [Thanks, Karen, for the amusing phrase “Pity City.”]

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36 Responses to “Conquering Adversity: Don’t Take It Personally”

  1. ZooPath says:

    This is absolutely true. There are going to be people who are going to expend their energy trying to hurt you in the professional sphere and it’s up to you to deal with it. Sometimes, you’ll be protected but more often you’ll have be savvy and look out for yourself. One piece of advice that my mother gave me is that has been truly valuable is: Get what you need from people 1st, then you can do x,y,z (be yourself, check their racism, sexism, etc). I’ve noticed other groups of POC’s use this same strategy to secure opportunities and resources. Once these things are secured, then they will address whatever disagreements they might have with those in power.

    • Karen says:

      EXACTLY!! Get what you need FIRST , then do x,y,z.

      I have never understood why people put so much energy into getting even when they have not yet (or in most case will never) get what they need first.

      In the workplace, it is all about moving forward, not hanging on to baggage or getting caught up in other people’s issues…

  2. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    Hello Khadija,

    Thank you so much for this post. I was so ‘there’ this week and this is so timely for me. I was literally talking about this with one of my girlfriends just last night and she said the same thing- that it is them and their stuff. I was very stuck, going crazy wondering what in the world am I doing wrong, did I say/do something? It is still a process because I have a strong urge to fix, smooth over, have an understanding.

    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences. Sometimes it is easy for me to think/feel that I am the only one who has ever dealt with this stuff and not realize that everyone deals with this at one time or another. It is also easy to forget that there are strategies and inspirations for overcoming/navigating around this stuff.

    I have taken a lot of your advice to heart. Both of my side gigs are colorless. It is so funny you mention the story about the female blogger. When I named my 2nd gig I took a liking to a certain name because of the meaning. I didn’t realize that the name was a masculine name in its native language. I use the name in social media etc [for branding/marketing] and maybe this explains why I get all these men [who are legions beyond me in experience/qualifications] as well as natives of this culture, fraternizing with with me as if I am on their level. So this has given me something to think about.

  3. Zoopath & Karen,

    ITA with the “Get what you need FIRST, then do x,y,z” motto!

    A lot of this boils down to many (most?) AAs NOT having any sort of thought-through plan for work. I’m amazed at the numbers of AA colleagues I’ve watched over the years who, instead of having a plan that they’re working, are simply reacting to what other people do. And we wonder why most of us don’t get anywhere.

    Even among those relatively few AAs who have, and are working, a plan—very few of them work to create “insurance” for themselves at their workplaces. By “insurance,” I mean conducting oneself and structuring things so that there are HEAVY disincentives for messing with you.

    My Dad taught me to always be quietly, and discreetly observant of what’s going on in the workplace. And to document things. Watch and monitor, but don’t be obvious about the fact that you’re watching what’s going on with others.

    So, what this translates to in my workplace is that I’ve always kept what a work buddy calls “a little handbook of atrocities.” When I notice that managing attorneys are doing something with their own cases that’s not a good thing to do, I silently document the details (docket numbers, dates, the type of hearing that’s involved) of whatever uncool thing they did with their case in a little notebook.

    The other thing is that, because I’m polite across the board—unlike many other attorneys—the courtroom clerks and court reporters often tell me about the things (good and bad) that various managers are doing in court (that I’m not present to see myself).

    I’ve noticed that the type of manager who wants to unjustly harass certain subordinates is usually also the type of person who is cutting corners on their own work. The managers who are most fixated on “cracking the whip” only on subordinates who aren’t their pets, usually do their own work in a manner that is NOT “tight and right.”

    When these same managers allow other coworkers (their pets) to flout the firm’s rules, I silently document it. For one example, attorneys that are not liked by management have been fired for doing outside legal practice that involved going to court. Meanwhile, the lawyers who are management “pets” are often bold enough to have courtroom legal documents from outside cases faxed to them at work. These documents prove that they’re doing what they’re NOT supposed to be doing (handling outside trials). Of course, my work buddy and I make and keep copies of this sort of material—it goes into “the little handbook of atrocities.”

    Unfortunately, many AA colleagues immediately jump and howl about the double standards involved in the above type of situation. Even when the double standard is NOT affecting them in any way (which seems to be a kneejerk response for many AAs).

    However, immediately howling about the injustice/double standard—when whatever action is not affecting you—is not the best use of that sort of information. In fact, it’s a waste of a situation that might come in handy for you later on down the road. That particular “card” is much more valuable when it’s deployed in other ways.

    It’s usually better to not say anything about whatever double standard (unless the double standard is somehow directly affecting one’s work), and pretend that you don’t know about it. And instead, save that documentation (about the double standard) for a “rainy day”—the day one of those managers decides to start messing with you. That’s the better moment to make reference to whatever double standard, and pull out a single piece of documentary “insurance.”

    I’ve found (on those rare occassions that I’ve had to use some of the “insurance” that I had quietly gathered) that this stops most people in their tracks. Because now the risk/benefit ratio to starting up some mess has dramatically changed. But this only works right when you show just a smidgen of your “hand” at the very beginning of when a manager is trying to seriously mess you over. Then they have to worry about what else uncool thing they did that you might know about/have documented.

    The other pattern I’ve noticed with AA colleagues is that they have bad timing with their howling. They either jump too soon—howling at a point when something is NOT impacting them and/or howling when they have NOT taken the time to gather some “insurance.” Or, they wait too long before resisting being messed over by a manager. A lot of them tuck their heads in while hoping that the conflict will go away—hoping that, on their own, the harassaing manager will stop harassing them.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that with aggressors and bullies. When you allow an aggressor to attack you without either immediately: (1) inflicting consequences, or (2)demonstrating that you have the ability to inflict heavy consequences, then the attack continues. Breaking his/her foot off in your behind starts to feel real good to the crazy manager. It’s like expecting somebody to stop after eating a single potato chip. It doesn’t work like that. Unopposed aggression always escalates.

    The opening moves you make—or fail to make—once somebody has launched an attack on you usually determine how the whole episode plays out.

    As Karen said, “In the workplace, it is all about moving forward, not hanging on to baggage or getting caught up in other people’s issues…”

    The point is to move forward with your own agenda and NOT let other people get you unnecessarily involved in mess, or divert you from the course that you’ve set for yourself.
    _________________________________________

    Oshun/Aphrodite,

    You’re welcome!

    No, we’re not the only ones or the first ones to deal with these sorts of problems. People and their issues is a recurring human behavior pattern. Almost everybody has to deal with it in some form or another at some point in life. This has been the same throughout human history.

    Even kings who found themselves and their reigns unfavorably compared with their fathers—without any real justification; again, people’s perceptions are usually based on their OWN issues and not outer reality—have had to deal with similar problems!

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

    • Karen says:

      We are righthere on this. I always have my notebook with me (along with the unseen one that is my version of the “document of atrocities”). There have thankfully been very few occasions where I have had to “pull the card”.

      An implied threat is much more effective in managing the typical workplace bullies (be it co-workers, subordinates or management). The key is to convey that it is better not to cross swords.

      The other point is when you become emotionally involved, there is almost an immediate loss of clarity or the ability to think strategically versus tactically (i.e. am I winning the battle but losing the war?). It is better to take a step back to analyze what is actually happening here and what do I gain or lose by engaging in a reaction or response. Silence is an effective tactic to gain time and/or to put someone on notice.

      There will always be workplace politics and injustices, what matters is how to navigate through it while not allowing oneself to be diverted from the course as Khadija stated.

      • Karen,

        ITA! You said, “An implied threat is much more effective in managing the typical workplace bullies (be it co-workers, subordinates or management). The key is to convey that it is better not to cross swords.

        The other point is when you become emotionally involved, there is almost an immediate loss of clarity or the ability to think strategically versus tactically (i.e. am I winning the battle but losing the war?). It is better to take a step back to analyze what is actually happening here and what do I gain or lose by engaging in a reaction or response. Silence is an effective tactic to gain time and/or to put someone on notice.”

        Exactly! That’s the other thing about too many AAs while at work—we talk/vent entirely too much, and too openly, and let everybody know exactly what we’re thinking about various situations. We’re predictable.

        Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  4. sistrunkqueen says:

    Yes and this is why I am desperately trying to find a more diverse work environment.

  5. tertiaryanna says:

    “Get what you need from people 1st, then you can do x,y,z (be yourself, check their racism, sexism, etc).”

    This is great advice.

  6. Felicia says:

    “No matter what you’re doing, there will always be “haters.” When haters try to sabotage your efforts, it’s best to not take it personally, revoke all passes to Pity City, and keep it moving!

    This is excellent advise Khadija. Simple, and to the point. Getting bent out of shape and worked up emotionally is exactly what the various haters out there want. When you DON’T react the way they expect you to, it takes away any power they thought they had over you. We don’t have to let others issues become ours. That’s a choice. And instead of dwelling on the negativity and ignorance of others, we can instead “keep it moving” like you said. That’s in our best self interest.

  7. Greetings, Khadija!

    Reading your observations about keeping track of the “little atrocities” was so on point. I once worked for a government agency years ago that was such a toxic environment, that the whole place was an atrocious mess! It was to easy to take things personally, but from top management down, the trend was to blame those lower on the pole, and so it went, the whole system was a mess, but we were expected to work miracles with nothing at all! I shudder to remember. I was so glad to get out, and when I did, was everyone shocked, just shocked. They did not see it coming. Tee hee…I had a game plan in mind that I had been working on for several years before I bailed out…

  8. Felicia,

    You said, “Getting bent out of shape and worked up emotionally is exactly what the various haters out there want. When you DON’T react the way they expect you to, it takes away any power they thought they had over you.”

    Exactly! Calmly focusing on working your “program” also has the amusing side effect of making the haters feel extremely frustrated. {chuckling}
    _____________________________________________

    PioneerValley Woman,

    Greetings! I want to thank you again for your valuable contributions to the conversations here and at the previous blog. I’m delighted to see that your previous Reader’s Money Quote of “Everybody has to hustle” is STILL providing potentially life-saving insights for other readers! Thank you!

    Keeping your “game plan” foremost in your thoughts is what enabled you to escape that particular toxic work environment. More BW need to learn to create and work long-term game plans for all of the facets of their lives. Instead of charting their own course, too many BW allow themselves to be moved around (by events and other people) like leaves in the ocean.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  9. Khadija:

    Greetings! I want to thank you again for your valuable contributions to the conversations here and at the previous blog. I’m delighted to see that your previous Reader’s Money Quote of “Everybody has to hustle” is STILL providing potentially life-saving insights for other readers! Thank you!
    Keeping your “game plan” foremost in your thoughts is what enabled you to escape that particular toxic work environment.

    My reply:

    You’re welcome, and I’m glad so many find it inspiring…Indeed, a game plan is essential, ie., a five-year, ten-year, etc., type of plan.

  10. mochachoc says:

    This is interesting. I am one who has rarely been strategic. Consequently, I have been tossed to and fro by the wind in every which way. I have enough sense not to be reactive but often fail at producing any trump card. For me its because I often forget the harm or put it out of my mind. It is one of the ways which has enabled me not to burn up. I would appreciate more lessons because I’m not good at strategic planning and self-protection.

  11. JaliIiMaster says:

    I’ll just give an example of knowing how to handle people who are playing games with you at work. I should add, however, that this happened in the first semester of my final year in university, but I think it can still apply to group dynamics in the workplace.

    Last term, one of my lecturers set us a group project which counted towards 30% of our final module mark, so it was a really important assignment that one couldn’t just ‘blag’ and expect to get a good mark. We were asked to pick our own group members, so I went with my sister, a young lady from the Caribbean who I’d just made friends with, and looking for a fourth group member, I asked a Nigerian guy who I’ve been friends with since first year whether he wanted to join us. Normally I wouldn’t, because many of the negroes in uni have a lazy last-minute attitude to their schoolwork, but I knew this fellow and he seemed to be serious, at least, academically. I should point out that both he and the lady were doing a separate Masters course, so we didn’t have any common lectures in the previous years.

    From the beginning, we divided up the work as equally as possible to ensure that we all carried our weight. Let’s just say this Nigeria male was really slacking. To the point that the flimsy one page that he produced had to be redone by me. It was when I was researching his own part that I realised that he copied most of what he wrote, and a lot of it was wrong. Even after the rest of us tried telling him (politely) that he was doing a poor job, he didn’t seem too bothered. Unknown to us, he was telling quite a few people that he was the one doing everything and we were contributing little. Unfortunately for him, two of the people he decided to moan to are good friends of mine, and eventually, I heard what he was saying and let the rest of my group know. Bear in mind that he was only willing to do the because the project wasn’t going to be marked according to how much each person contributed, so every team member would get the same mark. I knew that had he been with fellow Nigerian (or other African) males, he wouldn’t have done that because he knew they’d all end up getting a low score. However, he saw these three young bw, and knew that we would pick up his slack because we wanted a high score. Similarly, had his team members bee white, he wouldn’t have dared, because he knew they wouldn’t tolerate it, but he just assumed we would.

    I decided to let the teacher know what was happening, but ensured my other team members bar this male were aware. As a result, the lecturer actually got the department head to introduce proportional marking to this particular coursework. The moment our lazy team member got wind of it, he all of a sudden became so interested in contributing. The rest of us cooperated to ensure he got the mark he deserved, as we were all meant to score each person’s contribution. I was able to see this fellows personal rank sheet. Not surprisingly, he gave himself 100% on every single benchmark, while gave the rest of us lower. This term, after our results came out, we all got a 1st in that module, while he got not a 2:1, but a 2:2. Unknown to him when he went to check his score, our team member from the Caribbean was one of the people outside the office also waiting to see hers. He came out and started shouting to his friends saying; “Those girls effed me up, they effed me up”.

    From the mark he got compared to ours, it’s obvious that the lecturer didn’t take his own ranking into account because we were still relatively lenient with him, so he could have at least ended up with a 2:1. Because his game playing was so obvious, even our lecturer had to ignore his opinion, resulting in him getting an even lower mark.

    The typical reaction of most black people would have been to either return his lazy attitude, resulting in them also losing out. Or shouting, getting angry and letting him know that you knew what he was doing behind the groups back, which would have foiled our attempts at ensuring he wasn’t rewarded for our own sweat. Similarly, because we kept quiet about it, by the time it dawned on him that he hadn’t gotten away with it, it was too late!

  12. JaliliMaster,

    Your experience is a perfect example of why universities need to STOP that group project bs. I cringe whenever I recall my group project horror stories from college. I hate stuff where your fate is placed in the hands of other students who may or may not be acting in bad-faith (lazy, racist, stupid, and so on).

    You said, “I knew that had he been with fellow Nigerian (or other African) males, he wouldn’t have done that because he knew they’d all end up getting a low score. However, he saw these three young bw, and knew that we would pick up his slack because we wanted a high score. Similarly, had his team members bee white, he wouldn’t have dared, because he knew they wouldn’t tolerate it, but he just assumed we would.”

    Yes, that behavior pattern seems to be Standard Operating Procedure for many BM in college. My mother described the SAME behaviors from her college experiences during the 1960s. I saw the SAME mess during my college experiences in the 1980s. And you’re describing the SAME nonsense in the year 2010. . .

    A large part of the problem is that far too many BW college students carry these Negroes academically—out of a misguided and NON-reciprocated sense of loyalty. NO! Let everybody carry their own weight or fall to the wayside. And let me mention another angle with this pattern—these Negroes DON’T suddenly straighten-up and fly right when they get admitted to professional school! No, instead they take the same trifling behavior patterns with them to law, dental and medical school.

    Do we really want Black lawyers, dentists and physicians who were too lazy to study? I know I don’t. I start to think about folks like Michael Jackson’s Black physician—who was allegedly trying to do CPR on him while he was lying on a cushy bed—which I’ve been told is crazy and an act of malpractice all by itself. Apparently, CPR is supposed to be performed with the sticken person lying on a HARD surface.

    You said, “I decided to let the teacher know what was happening, but ensured my other team members bar this male were aware. As a result, the lecturer actually got the department head to introduce proportional marking to this particular coursework. The moment our lazy team member got wind of it, he all of a sudden became so interested in contributing.”

    {loud chuckling} Good for you! {deep martial arts bow}

    You said, “Similarly, because we kept quiet about it, by the time it dawned on him that he hadn’t gotten away with it, it was too late!”

    Silence and stealth are golden! {more chuckling}

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  13. Karen says:

    Jalilimaster,

    Good for you!

    Thankfully I did not have many “group projects” but there was always the last-minute “help a brotha out” study sessions right before exams or when individual project assignments were due. Since I was self-financing (read: working multiple jobs to get through college), I had to budget my time (read: no last minute finishing assignments or studying for exams).

    As most people knew this, there were always a few BMs trying the “help a brotha” out routine. My response was always, “as far as I know, the only one paying my college bills is me”, so where is the “help a sista out”? This was always met with silence, I would then reply “I thought so” and would walk away. After a while, it got around that there would be no help forthcoming and they finally stopped pestering me about it.

    It is truly sad to see that this mess continues to play out 40 years later…

  14. sistrunkqueen says:

    Unfortunately it has gotten worse. Where I work many young women work and go to school. Some have been approached by the male students to do their work or give them notes to take a test. We have a serious plagiarism problem but most just overlook it. Alot of these young women are single moms and on section 8, so they are on the fringe of society and very vulnerable. Some are in class with ex-cons/felons and may be intimidated by the men to help when they are taxed. I see it everyday and so does the staff, but all they can do is pull the young woman aside and tell her to not be used like that.

    • JaliliMaster says:

      This is not an actual question, but good Lord, what sort of ‘classes’ are these young women going to that they are sitting next and interacting with ex-cons and felons?

  15. pioneervalleywoman says:

    Greetings!

    I can’t say I had such group experiences in university; my programs tended to individualism, and I have found that students themselves are reluctant to do such projects, perhaps for the reasons you are describing, so I don’t bother.

    But I’m not surprised at what you are all saying. Here is something I have noticed from when I taught undergraduates. I teach graduate students now.

    In some universities where the “sports industrial complex” reigns, it is part of the university practice to have “tutors” and other such support for these athletes who are barely literate but who go to college on these athletic scholarships. Totally dedicated to their sport, they can act as though they couldn’t be bothered with what is going on in the classroom, but they get all kinds of support the other students don’t get as easily.

    They had these academic directors who contact faculty about their students–asking us to fill out questionnaires. Into the garbage can they went. I didn’t have the time.

    I once had one of these people come in to talk to me about how to help his “boy” not lose his eligibility…As though I can do anything about his functionally illiterate ballplayer..

    Some of the most ardent anti-intellectual types I have ever seen, and who are they? More often than not, the black football players, and I noticed this as far back as high school!

    The ones most likely not to do well and who I recall were always asking others for “help.”

    Hmph!

  16. JaliliMaster,

    To be placed in the awful position of sitting next to ex-cons, I would assume that these young women are attending classes at community colleges.

    And the presence of ex-cons IS awful. {shudder} I’m thinking about the safety threats and disturbances caused by BM ex-cons at the South Side YMCA in Chicago. [Yes, I’m calling them out by name.]

    For example, I’ve heard that the BM ex-cons like to stand around the spinning class and OPENLY stare at the women participants’ breasts as they exercise. And, of course, nothing is done by the BM gym management about these Negroes. Either out of fear of confronting potentially violent ex-cons, or out of agreement with their actions.

    I hear these things because a couple of my BF colleagues attend that gym. [Which is another story unto itself. They insist upon continuing to go to that all-Black-with-many-thugs-and-ex-cons gym. Instead of going to a diverse, upscale gym where they’re much more likely to meet truly eligible men. And then they complain about the warped social dynamics of that joint. Specifically, the dynamics that play out in any all-Black social environment—the upside-down/backwards interactions of desperate women vying for the attention of the few viable BM present.]
    _____________________________________

    PioneerValleyWoman,

    I’m not so much concerned about the BM ballplayers—everybody knows that they’re functionally illiterate idiots. These dumb as rocks ballplayers aren’t the people who go on to do CPR on a patient while he’s laid out on a cushy bed!

    My concerns are about the other lazy, stupid BM students that so many BW college students are carrying academically. The lazy, academically weak BM students who then ride BW helpers’ coattails all the way to professional school. Where they are later put in a position to kill and otherwise do great harm to other people with their malpractice. [By the way, folks need to understand that dentists can also kill patients—they’re dealing with anaesthetic drugs, which are extremely dangerous—ask any nurse you know about how potentially deadly those drugs are—whenever you put a patient under, there’s always the risk that they may NEVER wake up. I recall a truly tragic local case involving a dentist and his child patient. The victim was a young Black girl; I can’t remember the ethnicity of the dentist, maybe East Indian/South Asian.]

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  17. JaliliMaster says:

    I know it is not pc to mention this, but I remember some years ago when there was a mini-controversy when a woman stated that she knew many of her black female friends that had pretty much written their (black) husbands thesis for them. She was criticised as undermining and devaluing the academic achievements of ‘good black men’, and her comments were quickly brushed under the carpet. I remember she even stated that there were bm walkin around answering the title ‘professor’, when they’ve barely earned it!

    This is not to say that one can’t give some sort of assisstance to their fellow students. But it is a whole other story when hordes of young black female students are jeopardising their own future to continually help folks who weren’t up to scratch. And ladies, this also includes those bw who try to guilt other bw into doing their own work fot them. Many times, they use such tactics as accusing you of ‘acting white’, and the only way they’ll stop with the insults is if you throw some biscuits their way.

  18. JaliliMaster says:

    In regards to the YMCA incident, this is not the first time it has been brought up. All of these women involved know the risks they are taking. I guess in their mind, the cost/benefit analysis leans towards them remaining in such an environment. It does beg the question though; what is the benefit. The costs are too many to mention (safety, sanity, health, and let’s not forget, their dignity). I’m still struggling to think of ANY benefit. Such a situation wouldn’t even be like normal black social circles (now I’m talking about interacting/socialising with professionals), the social dynamic notwithstanding. But in a case such as this, there are even fewer viable males (if these women go to the gym to hook up, I go for the excercise mainly). The fact is that no woman with common sense will hang around in such a place if there is a better AND SAFER alternative. Too many bw just walk into life-threatening traps that they were already aware of, but chose to ignore.

    For those who may disagree with me: if you fraternise/socialise in the same circles and the same locations/joints as these ex-cons/thugs/convicts/criminals, how then can you be surprised that they think you and them would make a well-fitted couple. If any of these types of women are reading this: Birds of a feather…….For all your moaning about not finding a “good bl….yada yada”, did it ever occur to you that you are attracting what you are? Afterall, no woman of quality would even contemplate associating with such creatures. Moreover, the “good whatever men” that you are looking for may not be too keen on being with a woman that has nefarious characters as associates, however loose said acquaintances are.

  19. JaliliMaster,

    It’s not so much about going to the gym for the express purpose of hooking up with somebody. It’s simply that one’s amount of available free time is very limited when working full-time. For single women who are looking to find quality husbands, it’s important to maximize the odds of running across viable men. Single, working women DON’T have time to waste in DBRBM-infested settings.

    A more sensible strategy is, when given a choice, to ALWAYS choose to place oneself in settings where quality men hang out. As I told one colleague, “Since you’re going to spend the same amount of time in the gym anyway, why not spend this 3-4 times a week, 1.5 hours after work in a gym filled with quality men? The DBRBM and thug-infested South Side YMCA is not such a place.”

    She fell back on the excuse that she goes to the gym to work out and not catch some man’s eye. And talked about the good female friendships she’s made at that gym. [I would point out that many of the BW she’s describing are older and MARRIED.] But yet she would still complain about not meeting many eligible men. It’s irrational. And I washed my hands of that conversation at that point.

    You said, “Too many bw just walk into life-threatening traps that they were already aware of, but chose to ignore.”

    I would add “life-damaging” traps to the list of sorry situations that BW voluntarily walk into. {shaking my head}

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  20. JaliliMaster says:

    “She fell back on the excuse that she goes to the gym to work out and not catch some man’s eye. And talked about the good female friendships she’s made at that gym. [I would point out that many of the BW she’s describing are older and MARRIED.] But yet she would still complain about not meeting many eligible men. It’s irrational. And I washed my hands of that conversation at that point.”

    This is also another point. It is not just about keeping low quality men away from oneself, but also low quality women. Women who feel comfortable being around these type of creatures are also very questionable themselves. I can’t imagine any type of good male friendships she’ll make at the gym, and hence, good female friendships as well. And from what you said, she seems to be someone with very poor judgement. Therefore, I also doubt that her definition of a “good female friendship” would meet the criteria that most decent people use.

  21. Foxycleopatra says:

    Re YMCA and similar situations:

    This is so ridiculous. The black male gym managers are worthless pathetic excusues for men. If they are indeed afraid of these ex-cons, what is stopping them from contacting local authorities about this issue? In the gym I go to, there’s a particular class I do called ‘High Impact Aerobics’. About 90% of the attendees are women. There are two large windows between the gym studio where the class is held and the main gym floor. Sometimes, some males would be staring through. The guy who teaches this class (who also happens to be the gym manager) scolds them off IMMEDIATELY. Even those who may not be looking but their presence around the windows is making the female class attendees uncomfortable are still told to move.

    On a related note, I do not buy this crap about bm being unable to protect vulnerable bw/bg bcos they are afraid of the other black males who are harming the bw/bg. When such nonsense is said by idiotic bm, I bring up the following:

    1. You are supposed to be a man. If you cannot protect the women, who should? These men would be more than willing to refer to bw as ‘their women’ but when it comes to actually carrying out ones duty to ‘one’s woman’, they come up with all sorts of excuses. I have witnessed just too many incidents where some bm would be talking about ‘our women’, ‘our black queens’ etc but when those ‘black queens’ where in dangerous situations, it was most often than not, non-bm that offered any suitable protection to those bw. I then think well, if a ‘king’ cannot protect his ‘queen’ and leaves her fate in the hand of another ‘king’ who ends up being the one to offer protection, which ‘king’ should that ‘queen’ choose?

    2. I’ve seen black males witness a bw being beaten up by a grp of bm, but chose to stand by and do nothing. They say it was out of fear. Well oddly enough. When these bm see a wm attacking a bw, this fear seems to leave. They seem a bit more willing to ‘help’ the bw. I think this has to do with:

    – They are not actually interested in protecting the bw (otherwise they would be just as willing to help IRRESPECTIVE of the race of the attacker). This has more to do with ‘attacking the wm’ e.g. Imus vs. low-life hiphop rappers, al sharptons quick resonse to white men raping a black woman (mashanna brawdley [sic]) vs. dunbar village.

    OR

    – These men are inadvertently admitting that even they view their fellow bm as more violent and dangerous than non-bm which is why they are more willing to step in and ‘help’ if the perpetrator is non-black as opposed to the perpetrator being a bm.

  22. Foxycleopatra,

    You said, “On a related note, I do not buy this crap about bm being unable to protect vulnerable bw/bg bcos they are afraid of the other black males who are harming the bw/bg.”

    I’m not saying that AA men’s cowardice is an excuse. It’s a reason for their general inaction. The reality is that one’s life IS in danger when confronting criminals. Real men who were raised to be real men have a sense of honor and protectiveness about the women in their orbit. This makes them willing to risk serious injury and death to protect “their” women and children.

    Fatherless males who have not been trained by a real man in the responsibilities of manhood don’t have these feelings. And so, fear and convience are the order of the day for most fatherless males.

    You said, “When such nonsense is said by idiotic bm, I bring up the following:

    1. You are supposed to be a man. If you cannot protect the women, who should?”

    Fatherless males are generally NOT “men.” They don’t know how to be men because they weren’t raised by a real man to know how to be men. Fatherless males typically have no concept of, and no clue about, actual manhood. Fatherless males tend to function as scavengers, NOT protectors or providers. And so it is within AA gathering places and residential areas. Including the AA church where there was a recent shooting (that we discussed in another conversation here).

    About the South Side YMCA situation, I don’t understand why they don’t simply do background checks and BAN ex-convicts as members. [No, I take that back. I can imagine idiotic “reasons” why they don’t think to do that—the general AA worry about “being fair” to criminals, giving criminals space for so-called “redemption,” and assorted other craziness such as the general AA aversion to having standards.] That would prevent many problems before they start. I shudder to think that there are probably ex-con registered sex offenders using that facility (which has plenty of children’s activities).

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  23. sistrunkqueen says:

    A bw was beat downlast year by a wm in front of Cracker Barrel in Morrow,GA. No one came to her aid.

  24. Faith says:

    There was quite a bit of buzz about this a few weeks ago. I say brava and more power to her for working around institutional barriers. I think we need to be prepared for pushback, some who misunderstand or assign meaning to our efforts beyond what we intended as well as hostility. It’s going to happen so I say be smart about it and make it work for you!

  25. Faith,

    I join you in saying more power to the (White) woman blogger who reinvented herself online as a man.

    You said, “I think we need to be prepared for pushback, some who misunderstand or assign meaning to our efforts beyond what we intended as well as hostility.”

    I also noted the contingent of angry campers. Their CLAIMED, PURPORTED reasons for outrage (that I mostly don’t buy) were:

    (1) some WW felt that she should have toughed it out as a known woman business owner, and fought the battle against sexism;

    (2) some other folks (including some WM commenters) felt that the entire thing, including the blogger’s self-“outing” as a woman, was a publicity stunt from the very beginning;

    (3) yet another number of WW were angry because they felt that the manner in which the “passing as a man online” woman copywriter named her business blog (“Men With Pens”) fed into and supported sexism;

    (4) and then there were the folks who were disgruntled because they were deceived by her online passing as a man. This set of angry campers were fixated on the dishonesty, and what they felt was the lack of ethics, involved in her choice to falsely represent herself as a man online.

    Here’s my take on the motives of the various angry campers who criticized the woman:

    Some of them seemed from their comments to be straight-up, envious “haters.” Other angry campers were actually peeved because the entire episode blasted their fantasy of living in a “post-sexism” society. [This “post-feminism” fantasy was addressed by the second blogger that I linked to.]

    Other angry campers wanted this woman to sacrifice herself and her children’s well-being on the altar of doctrinaire feminism. Meanwhile, I wonder what, if ANY, sacrifices these offended ideologues have made to advance the struggle against sexism. [All of which reminds me of the martyrdom missions that so many AAs assign to AA women.] As far as I’m concerned, the only ideologues who are “qualified” to offer this type of criticism are ones who have made their OWN personal sacrifices to back the cause that they’re trying to enlist others in joining.

    If somebody hasn’t put their OWN skin and money in the game, then I don’t want to hear from them.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  26. JaliliMaster says:

    Re: Fatherless males. I agree completely with what you say. When I went to school in Nigeria, the biggest insult you could say to someone was to call them a bastard. The only time fatherlessness is accepted is if your father is dead. The only children one would ever hear of that were abandoned by their fathers were the children of prostitutes (and the children of women who acted like prostitutes, lol. I can’t tell you why writing that made me laugh).

    I could never understand why people got so offended by it. I guess they understood the implications of being a fatherless child. The most common retort to calling someone a ‘bastard’, in say, and argument was: “Why are you calling me a bastard? My father never abandoned me.” Even grown men would get so angry. Every society understands the very important role responsible men play in keeping society together. I once got into a mild tiff with a girl in my class in secondary school. The girls father had passed away when we were in our first year of school (about age 10/11). I’d gotten frustrated with the argument, so just said something along the lines of: “Whatever. My father didn’t send me to school for this.” Next thing I knew, the girl was in tears, saying that I was trying to mock her because her dad was dead. That why couldn’t I say ‘parents’ instead of ‘father’. I was apologising, that I meant no harm. I remember at the time, some of our classmates were saying to me that I made her feel less than because her dad was no longer around, as if I was trying to imply that her dad had abandoned the family. I even remember one girl, in a bid to make her feel better, said: “It’s okay, stop crying, it’s not as if she(me) called you a bastard or anything.”

    In fact, a big diss was…..”that one wey no sabi ihn papa”, (those who understand pidgin English can correct any wrong spelling, I tried my best). It’s English translation is….”that person that doesn’t even know his father”. In most African countries I know of, calling someone a bastard, illegitimate, saying their dad didn’t want them is akin to calling their mother a prostitute because those were the only women one ever saw that had ‘bastard’ children. Something that AA women need to realise is that this whole situation of fatherlessness amongst AA children is a slight not only on the men but on AA women as well. I always see AA men being criticised for being irresponsible and abandoning their children, but very few people ever say anything in regards to the black women who continue to have children with men they know are irresponsible.

    Concerning the ww writer who chows to pose as a man online, from what I’ve seen so far most of the negative comments from ww seemed to be due to a feeling of “I wish I had thought of that.” It’s just occurring to them that there was a means by which they could work round the discrimination they encounter as bloggers, but didn’t do it, despite the fact that MANY women have done this in the past. So now they just want to attack someone who was sharp enough. Most of the wm who are critical of it in my opinion, were feigning outrage, and it was easy to read between the lines of their comments. Undoubtedly, they were outraged. Just not for the reasons they were claiming to be. They felt it was dishonest, yet almost completely ignored not only the reasons she did it, but the benefits that she realised after doing it. It’s as if to say they didn’t like the fact that this woman had gotten in through a Trojan horse.

    This also ties in to what you (Khadija) say about making one’s business colourless. She de-gendered her online persona (not really, but let’s be honest she was either going to be a man or a woman). See how it helped her interests. A lot of the BW reading should take note.

  27. JaliliMaster,

    From what I can tell from talking to various acquaintances (from all over the world) over the years, MOST cultures DON’T play in terms of fatherlessness. And being called “a fatherless bastard” is one of the ultimate insults in many, many cultures. For the exact reason that you mentioned—it implies that one’s mother is a whore.

    In terms of AAs, we used to know better than to tolerate paternal abandonment—that’s why there were shotgun weddings. AND shunning of girls/women who had babies OOW. But then large numbers of foolish AAs (who mostly grew up with the benefits of married, 2-parent households) decided that the above social practices were “cruel” and “harsh.” And so AAs abandoned the social/cultural standards and practices that had preserved the AA family structure after slavery. Well, we see how all that worked out for the AA collective.

    But in addition to the modern non-existence of standards among AAs, there’s another angle to this problem. Part of the problem is that (for the most part) the serial baby mamas do not see decent, married AA women. There are now legions of serial baby mamas. In fact, the baby mamas are now the majority of AA mothers. This is a disgrace in addition to being a problem.

    Another important part of the problem is that the married AA women that the baby mamas do see are generally NOT living any better than them. For a variety of reasons. The AA marriages that do exist are generally not healthy or wholesome. This is a problem on many, many levels.

    For example, historically the majority of AAs were always poor. However, we aspired to live like the more affluent Black folks we saw around us in the days of segregation. Poor Blacks saw things about the Black middle class’ lifestyles that were markedly BETTER than what they were experiencing.

    Seeing living examples of a better life helped provide added incentive to make some changes (such as getting an education) that would lead to enjoying such a lifestyle.

    This is why it’s such a serious problem that most married AA women can be observed to NOT be living any better than the serial baby-mamas. People know. People can tell. Folks aren’t blind. Other women can tell how shaky a marriage must be just from looking at the insecurities on display.

    When more than microscopic numbers of engaged AA women are buying their own wedding rings, other people know. And they know because many of these women actually reveal this DISGRACEFUL fact—they don’t see anything wrong with that picture!

    When AA women settle for, marry, and remain with men who are cheating, other women can tell. When AAW settle for, marry and remain with men who are beating them, other women can tell. When AAW settle for, marry, remain with, and FINANCIALLY SUPPORT no-working AA men, other women can tell. When AAW are married to men that they are desperately afraid will leave them, other women can tell.

    Married AAW who are involved in these scenarios are NOT any better off than the baby-mamas. The baby-mamas can see this. So, there’s really no obvious incentive for the baby mamas to hold out for marriage before bearing children. And since any internal sense of decency is long gone among most AAs, most refuse to see why OOW childbearing is a problem. Folks are too busy defending their own (or their mothers’) personal choices to acknowledge the plain truth: Childrearing is NOT supposed to be a solo project; and solo parenting projects work to the detriment of the children involved.

    You said, “Most of the wm who are critical of it in my opinion, were feigning outrage, and it was easy to read between the lines of their comments. Undoubtedly, they were outraged. Just not for the reasons they were claiming to be. They felt it was dishonest, yet almost completely ignored not only the reasons she did it, but the benefits that she realised after doing it. It’s as if to say they didn’t like the fact that this woman had gotten in through a Trojan horse.”

    Yep; one could tell many of these WM were angry because the woman copywriter got over despite the sexism.

    You said, “A lot of the BW reading should take note.”

    Exactly!

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  28. Karen says:

    Khadija,

    You said, “When more than microscopic numbers of engaged AA women are buying their own wedding rings, other people know. And they know because many of these women actually reveal this DISGRACEFUL fact—they don’t see anything wrong with that picture!”

    In the U.S., it is the cultural norm for the future husband to purchase the ring. It does not have to be big and it does not have to be a diamond but it is SYMBOLIC of making a commitment.

    I can only sadly SMH, if this is the new norm (referencing all the other examples too) among all too many “married” AAW, then it is truly GAME OVER.

  29. Karen,

    Yep; this disgraceful mess is becoming the new norm among more than a microscopic number of “married” AAW. IIRC, I first heard about the “buy your own wedding ring” insanity among AAW approximately 12 years ago. One of the AAW teachers that worked at the grammar school where my mother was the librarian bought her own wedding ring. AND casually mentioned this to the other BF teachers as if it was okay. Scariest of all was my mother’s observation that a number of the other, younger BF employees present did NOT find this to be at all disturbing, much less shocking. [!!!!!!!]

    Since then, I’ve heard of other “married” AAW who bought their own wedding rings. [Of course, these women are all “married” to no-working or minimal-working AA males.] Off the top of my head, I can think of 3 “married” AAW who did this. This is usually followed up by these women financially suppporting their “husbands.”

    Oh yes, it IS GAME OVER for “typical” AAs who operate within the deranged new norms that constitute mass AA popular culture.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.