Finding New Dreams

If following your dream leaves you feeling strung out and broken, then maybe you need a new dream. There’s a world of difference between wanting something very badly and feeling strung out like a crack addict when you don’t have it. There’s also a huge difference between the normal aches and pains of disappointment versus feeling broken inside.

When I read the recent news story of the woman professor who allegedly shot and killed her colleagues at a faculty meeting (as opposed to another setting), I figured that it was motivated by a romantic triangle involving another faculty member. If it turns out the alleged killer was motivated purely by a career setback (not getting tenure), then she’s even more unusual than one would expect. Unlike men, women generally don’t commit violence over career frustrations. Instead, romantic triangles are the typical scenario in which women commit acts of aggression. Most of the female defendants I’ve represented in telephone harassment, criminal damage to property, and battery cases committed these various offenses against other women that they considered romantic rivals for a particular man’s affection.

In general, most of the mental anguish in women’s lives revolves around relationships; dysfunctional or missing relationships. This is true even for normal, healthy women. This is why there’s so much fury and pain during discussions of single parenting and marriage. Especially Black women’s discussions about single parenting and marriage.

WHEN LIFE SAYS “NO” TO OUR MOST CHERISHED DREAMS

Real life is a mixture of both fulfilled and frustrated hopes. Unlike the message of many inspirational materials that pretend that a “yes” for our dreams is always just around the corner if we persevere, the reality is that sometimes “no” really means “no.” Sometimes, “no” really means “never.” Experiences like infertility (whether by a medical condition or by simply aging out of the childbearing years) and crippling accidents can’t be wished away.

Worst of all are those experiences that divide your life into Before and After. Before and After a terrifying medical diagnosis. Before and After being disfigured. Before and After the death of a spouse or child. Those who have strong faith can live in the hope of a miracle. Meanwhile, what do we do with the broken pieces of our dreams?

WHAT TO DO WITH THE BROKEN PIECES OF FAILED DREAMS

When I look around, I see three main ways that African-American women cope with heartbreaking, soul-wounding disappointments. I’ll use what typically happens during Black women’s discussions about single parenting and marriage as an example.

The first coping behavior is the “sour grapes” approach where women pretend that their broken dreams aren’t broken. There’s the faction of single mothers who loudly assert that single parenting is as good or substantially the same as married parenting. Then there are the single, never-married, child-free women loudly stating that marriage (and the lack of it in their lives) isn’t such a big deal. I understand the urge to save face that both groups of women feel, but it’s better to remain silent than to speak ideological falsehoods that have done damage to African-American women (“Marriage is overrated. Black women shouldn’t be obsessed with marriage,” and so on.)

The second response to disappointment is to be live in bitterness and resentment. This response comes in two flavors: overt and covert. We know what open bitterness looks and sounds like. This is when the broken shards of failed dreams openly slice and cut into the person who is still trying to hold onto them.
But you need to know that there’s also an undercover, covert style of living in bitterness and resentment. In Black women’s discussions about single parenting and marriage, this covert bitterness is exemplified by a third faction. The third faction consists of those married Black women who get ego boosts from hectoring the first two groups under the guise of being helpful. There’s often “trouble in paradise” with their marriages, and lording it over both categories of single Black women helps them pretend that their marriages are healthy and wholesome (when they’re not).

The last, least common, and most difficult response to disappointment and heartbreak is to calmly acknowledge the frustrations, failures and disappointments in one’s life. To lovingly pick up the broken pieces of failed dreams, put them in a jewelry box, and try to feel thankful for the lessons learned while following them. I believe the “sour grapes” approach is disrespectful of both oneself and the failed dream. The failed dream was a cherished part of one’s life. It was a precious stone. Who knows, maybe it can be refashioned into another piece of jewelry. If used properly, it can be a stepping-stone to a new understanding that propels you forward.

For the discussions mentioned earlier, this final faction would be the rest of us—straight or lesbian; single, partnered or married—who are honest about the behaviors and beliefs that are mistakes. And also honest (at minimum with ourselves) about whatever mistakes we’ve made in our own lives (there are always mistakes—some just aren’t easily visible from the outside), and are trying to move forward.

IGNORE PEOPLE WHO HAVE PRONOUNCED YOU “DEAD ON ARRIVAL”

Let me give a word of warning while I’m mentioning Black women’s conversations about single parenting and marriage. Be careful of what you let into your heart and mind. Keep in mind that folks are often working out their own issues during these sorts of conversations. There are two spirit-wounding extremes that I often see in these conversations.

The first one is what an astute commenter over at What About Our Daughtersnamed BlkSeaGoat referred to as “the destructive art of positive affirmation” during a discussion in response to this post. He explained that this is the normalizing of dysfunction. [Examples include ideas such as, “Single parenting is just as good as having two parents. Marriage is only a piece of paper. I grew up without a father and I turned out just fine,” and so on.] This is as harmful as telling children that it’s okay to go play on the interstate highway.

The second spirit-wounding extreme is to pronounce people irrevocably “dead on arrival” because they’ve experienced mistakes, failure or disappointment in an important aspect of life. So, ignore those people whose underlying message is that you’re “DOA” and your life has no value because:

  • You’re single.
  • You don’t (or can’t) have children.
  • You’re an unwed single parent.
  • Your children’s father abandoned you and your children.
  • You were involved in an abusive relationship.
  • You remained in an abusive relationship for many years.

To acknowledge that you’ve made errors in judgment that have led to heartbreaking disappointments is not the same thing as being DOA. Your life has value. I work with and defend people whose very existence is a plague on humankind. If you’re not that type of individual, then your life has value. There’s still the promise of finding extraordinary fulfillment in life. Sometimes in ways and places that you never expected. That is, if you ignore the people who are pronouncing you dead under the guise of upholding a principle or value. That is, if you properly take care of your wounds, gather up the pieces of earlier broken dreams, and keep moving forward.

ACCEPTING WHAT CAN’T BE CHANGED ISN’T ACCEPTING DEFEAT

It takes discernment to recognize the difference between accepting what genuinely can’t be changed and accepting defeat. There’s a huge difference between accepting that some things are beyond our grasp, as opposed to not reaching for everything that is within our grasp. Here’s a tip: Accepting defeat always involves accepting mediocrity of some sort; usually accepting mediocrity across several dimensions in one’s life. Accepting defeat means not grabbing for the good things that are within our reach. Just because you can’t have one thing doesn’t mean that you can’t have something else that is extraordinary (or even several other things that are extraordinary).

FIND NEW DREAMS—FOCUS ON GRABBING EVERYTHING THAT’S WITHIN YOUR REACH INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON WHAT’S OUT OF REACH

Sometimes hanging on to a failed dream creates a gaping wound in a person’s life that makes it impossible for them to see anything else except what’s missing. This is when it’s time to turn in the old dream that has become a source of agony, and find a new dream. There are the normal aches and pains caused by having a still-appropriate dream (temporarily) frustrated. And then there’s the soul-rending agony of clinging to a broken dream that you need to release. It takes discernment to recognize the difference.

Finding new dreams does not mean settling for lesser, smaller dreams. It means finding different dreams. Sometimes this means significantly restructuring an old dream that has been tempered by experience and reality. [Such as by moving to an entirely new city or country where the odds of success are better.] Sometimes it means finding an entirely new dream. Each woman’s particular dreams and circumstances are different. Real life is a mixture of both fulfilled and frustrated hopes. May we find the wisdom and courage to pass through life’s inevitable disappointments with resilience and faith in the future.

ADDENDUM

It occurred to me that since this is an extremely difficult subject, it might be best for me to give some clear examples of what I’m talking about when I say “find new dreams.” It means either: (1) to restructure the old dream to accommodate experience and reality. Or (2) to find an entirely new dream.

About the woman professor who allegedly killed some of her colleagues: If this was purely about not getting tenure, then it would have been better for her to find another dream. I’m not familiar with how tenure works, but maybe there were some other ways she could have ultimately achieved the same goal. Maybe she could have done what many aspiring doctors do when they can’t gain admission to any accredited U.S. medical school. Which is to start medical school overseas and then return to the U.S. You’d be surprised at the number of (White American) physicians who quietly began medical school overseas because they couldn’t get admitted here. Some of them gain admission to a U.S. medical school after starting overseas. Some of them graduate from foreign medical schools. Large numbers from both categories then come back to work at respected, U.S. hospitals.

If this strategy doesn’t work in terms of tenure, then maybe she could have found tenure at a respected foreign university. Finally, if it turned out that tenure was not going to be a part of her life (after exhausting all the possibilities), then she should have looked for another means of fulfillment.

About the Black women who are holding out for marriage and family life with an African-American Prince Charming: In most cases, it would be better to turn in that old dream, find a non-Black Prince Charming to marry, and raise children with him. For those women who are infertile while clinging to the dream of a Black Prince Charming, it would be better marry a non-Black Prince Charming and then adopt children with him. This is healthier than giving up altogether on marriage, or dying on Fantasy Island while holding out for “nuthin’ but a Black man.” It’s also healthier than the other extreme of pretending that marriage doesn’t matter (while settling for shacking or being an eternal jump-off).

My point is that people need to examine what their dreams are doing to them. And it’s very difficult to do this in an African-American subculture of magical thinking, that is surrounded by a general “Rocky—gonna fly now” pop culture. If a cherished dream is destroying you, then it’s time to make a change.

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57 Responses to “Finding New Dreams”

  1. Aisha says:

    Hello Khadija! This is my first time posting on your new blog, although I have been following along. What an insightful, practical post! Your suggestion to re-examine unfulfilled dreams can be applied to any persona and area of life. As they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

    I think unfulfilled career and romantic aspirations are the two biggest stumbling blocks for people in general. Thank you in particular for the example about attending medical school overseas. Who knew? It highlights an alternative pathway (pursuing international education and career prospects) that most people would never consider on their own.

  2. So much wisdom here, Khadija!

    What a great post and assessment, thank you.

    As for the woman who didn’t get tenure, she could have seen that the whole wider world of industry is available to her. She is in a sciences field for crying out loud! Her knowledge is in demand, so she could have transferred those skills to the real world.

  3. Aisha,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it. I don’t feel particularly insightful; I just watch people, listen closely, and try to pay attention to what’s happening. LOL!

    You said, “Thank you in particular for the example about attending medical school overseas. Who knew? It highlights an alternative pathway (pursuing international education and career prospects) that most people would never consider on their own.”

    “Who knew?” indeed. I had no idea about the foreign medical school strategy until I started working in court, first as a prosecutor and then as a defense attorney. That’s how I found out about this. These foreign medical school-trained doctors are many of the treating physicians—at respected hospitals—who testify as prosecution expert witnesses in a lot of criminal cases. [Now, when things get “tight,” many attorneys on both sides will retain additional experts with more impressive curricula vitae, but the fact remains that these foreign-medical school trained doctors found work at respected US hospitals!]

    It’s an example of how in many situations, once you “get over the hump,” nobody needs to know (and many folks don’t care) how you got over.

    And no, I don’t think most AA aspiring doctors are aware of this strategy. White Americans are the only non-foreign-origin physicians that I’ve encountered with the foreign medical school (beginning) credentials.
    ________________________________

    PioneerValleyWoman,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it. Like I said earlier, I don’t feel particularly wise, I just try to pay attention to what’s happening. LOL!

    You said, “As for the woman who didn’t get tenure, she could have seen that the whole wider world of industry is available to her. She is in a sciences field for crying out loud! Her knowledge is in demand, so she could have transferred those skills to the real world.”

    Exactly. Her Ph.D. was from HARVARD. Surely, she could have gone somewhere else, and if necessary done something else other than being a tenured professor, with those sorts of credentials.

    But this highlights another problem with not reexamining dreams. So often, we get it in our heads that a particular desire can ONLY be fulfilled in X place, with Y person, and in Z manner. And that’s usually not true. X,Y,Z might be our #1 preferred option, but it’s usually not the ONLY option for having something.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  4. sistrunkqueen says:

    I heard of Americans attending foreign medical schools back when America invaded Grenada. The Marines were sent to save some American med school students held hostage. Also I found this article about a Latino woman who went to Cuba for a FREE Medical Education http://www.indypendent.org/2007/10/05/1309/

    I remember reading about a black woman doing this too but I can’t find the article. I think it was the same program.

  5. lunanoire says:

    This is a great post! I had to take time to mourn the well-adjusted 2 parent african-american family with well-adjusted kids that I’d probably never have.

    Also, you never know where alternative paths to your dream will lead. I am strongly interested in a certain area, and because of the nature of the industry, all domestic products related to this area are affected in some way by a particular federal agency. I REALLY want to work for this bureau and have sent in various applications to figure out how to get in.

    One day while reading the paper, I saw an op-ed piece about a subject related to the agency. The article mentioned that a related conference was being held for the next two days in town. So I dropped the paper, changed into a suit, and crashed the conference, waiting until after lunch b/c they might have asked for a meal ticket. The people there were welcoming and I wasn’t kicked out, even when describing my actions to the (unknown at the time) op-ed author and conference host! At the conference I met a political appointee to the agency, contacted her months after her term begain, and recently began a volunteer project for the agency! And, while double checking the appointee’s contact information, I saw a vacancy for a job that I am perfectly suited for! The interview is this week.

    So even though the main agency building is separate from the job location, getting in a metaphorical side door led to an opportunity.

  6. DeStouet says:

    This is where the benefits of learning how to play chess would come in extremely handy at.

  7. lisa99 says:

    Hi Sistrunkqueen!

    Here is an article about a black woman in this Cuban program. There are a number of American black women in Cuba right now studying medicine for free and becoming bilingual.

    http://www.frostillustrated.com/atf.php?sid=1943&current_edition=2007-08-29

  8. Karen says:

    Dear Khadija,

    A very timely post. One of those “dreams” you listed was not attainable for me but I discovered new dreams and have made many more come true and currently working on new ones. I wanted to be a classy middle-aged woman (which I have achieved in my own mind, LOL) and my next goal is to become an accomplished “Grand Dame” (smile).

    I learned very early in life the following:

    1) Life is not fair
    2) There are ALWAYS multiple solutions to a problem
    3) To lose something is not necessarily a bad thing (to lose something can mean gaining something else)
    4) Life is an adventure and too many of us are “waiting for life to happen” when every moment is life
    5) It is only failure when no lesson has been learned
    6) Happiness is a choice. I choose to be happy and therefore no one has power over me to make me happy or sad, only I have that power.

    Therefore, I may have felt down from time to time but since being an adult, I have never felt despair… I never took up residence in “Pity City”…

  9. Lunanoire,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    You said, “I had to take time to mourn the well-adjusted 2 parent african-american family with well-adjusted kids that I’d probably never have.”

    Let me be blunt: Any AA woman who is serious about wanting a wholesome, legitimate family within marriage should bypass the vast majority of AA men and focus on dating other types of men. Because the odds are that any marriage-minded BW who dates AA men is wasting her precious time while her biological clock is ticking down.

    AA males’ mass behavior patterns have conclusively shown that most of them are not marriage-minded. They don’t have family-oriented values. And even the relatively few AA men that are sorta-kinda okay with marriage don’t know how to be family men—the bulk of AA males are fatherless at this point.

    And that’s just in terms of the intial entry point of getting legally married. That’s not factoring in how unhealthy the relatively few AA marriages are. When marriage is rare among a people, it destabilizes the relatively few marriages that do take place among that people.

    In general, AA women are NOT living like women from other ethnic and racial groups in this country. This includes even when AA are married (to AA men)! The quality of life is less; and the quality of these AA marriages are MUCH less.

    This angle came up in earlier conversations at the previous blog. The mass absence of marriage among AAs gives AA males waaay too much leverage in relationships and marriages. This is because AA men know in the back of their minds that there’s a huge surplus pool of lonely, desperate single BW available to replace their wives.

    I watch the public behavior of my married AA male colleagues (and others), and it’s eye-opening. Even casual observation of many married AA males’ public behavior shows that the ones who get married are less likely to be faithful. When so many married Negro males are doing heavy flirting in public, then you have a good hint of what they’re doing in private. When so many married AA Negro males are NOT wearing their wedding rings to work or otherwise in public, then it’s kind of obvious why they’re not wearing their wedding rings. The better to deceive the single women that they want to hit on.

    And I will note that my married WM and other nonblack men colleagues are NOT coming to work without their wedding rings on their fingers. Married AA males have the corner on that sort of blatant mess of “I’m going to leave the house everyday without wearing my wedding ring.”

    [I’ll note that one AA male coworker did comment that he started wearing his wedding ring again because his (AA) wife starting NOT wearing hers either. And he didn’t want other men approaching his wife.]

    All of this is a consequence of numerical “market forces” at play. As a result, many AA men act as if they did the woman some sort of favor by getting married in the first place.

    Bottom line: The odds of having a healthy and wholesome marriage with AA men are VERY low. Why take that risk of having wasted precious time out of one’s biological clock when there are other, more viable options?
    _______________________________

    Karen,

    You said, “I wanted to be a classy middle-aged woman (which I have achieved in my own mind, LOL) and my next goal is to become an accomplished “Grand Dame” (smile).”

    “Grand Dame.” I like that! As far as points 1-6 that you listed, I 100% co-sign. Unfortunately, AAs have developed a mental habit of hosting pity parties in Pity City. We think that if we cry out in pain, then somebody else is going to step in to fix whatever it is and relieve our pain. NO! There is NO cavalry coming to rescue AA women and girls. Help is NOT on the way!

    [A friend sent me a link to the news story about the shootings that recently took place in an AA church in California. Instead of figuring out what steps could be taken to ensure the congregants’ safety (oh, I don’t know…maybe hire a security guard), the BM deacon was quoted as saying that they would just keep on doing what they’ve been doing—praying. Yet another ongoing failure and refusal to protect or provide for BW and girls. So, apparently it’s perfectly okay with him for the BW and girls who attend that church to be sitting ducks. {smh}]

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

    • Sharifa says:

      Good post, difficult reading, though. Dreams deferred are something else. I’m a good pity party planner–decorations and everything. But I am getting much better about it. Yes, that shooting took place in the Bay Area where I live. I read that quote in a local paper, and had the same reaction. In, fact, i noticed that on the videotape it didn’t look as if any man was attemptiing to provide any protection. I knew the “mens” would respond with some lame ‘hug-a-thus’ response. smh

      • Sharifa says:

        I meant, ‘hug-a-thug.’

      • Sharifa,

        You said, “Good post, difficult reading, though.”

        Yes, failed dreams are jagged pills that are very hard to swallow; or even discuss with any honesty. But, sometimes we must do exactly that.

        You said, “I’m a good pity party planner–decorations and everything. But I am getting much better about it.”

        {chuckling at the “decorations and everything” part} We all have our own particular inclinations that we struggle with; anger happens to be my main challenge.

        Peace, blessings and solidarity.

        • rainebeaux says:

          Ah yes, the struggle not to struggle is in progress; my last comment reflected the end of my last pity party. Now I’m suppressing the urge to play “mailbox baseball” and climbing the roof to shout “what the cuss is WRONG with you people?!” yes, the anger is a bit much for me right now…so I’m forcing myself to change things up. Heh.

  10. To clarify my earlier comments:

    Here’s the link a friend sent me to the news story I mentioned earlier. http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/02/15/california.church.shooting/?hpt=Sbin

    The story itself isn’t all that important. As I and other BWE bloggers have warned, Rwanda-type conditions are emerging right now in many Black residential areas. The number and pace of these sorts of news stories coming out of Black residential areas will only increase.

    What IS significant is the attitude expressed by the quotes attributed to the BM deacon and another BM church member. Here’s the quote:

    “I’m sure there’s some fear and shock, but we’re not running,” said Ezekiel Wallace, the church deacon. “We are going to be doing what we always do: Pray and have church.”

    “We’re not scared, but we’re sort of mystified because this is God’s church,” said Earl Young, a church member since 1967. “We refuse to let the devil make us run and hide because that’s probably what they want us to do.”

    Note that there’s NO mention of a special men’s meeting to discuss new security measures in the aftermath of this shooting. By their statements, they’re putting everyone on notice that the BW and girls in their church are . . . on their own . . . in terms of their physical safety. Is this the attitude of normal M-E-N? No, it’s not. Normal men function as protectors and providers for the women and children who are in their orbit.

    If he can’t physically protect the women and children in his orbit himself (due to age or so on), a normal man will make arrangements for other men to provide physical security. A normal man would not take the blase attitude of “Oh well, let’s pray and do nothing else . . .”

    I’m highlighting this because this BM deacon is probably somebody that most AAs would (mistakenly) assume is a “good” man. But he’s NOT a “good” man and he’s NOT a quality man—because he’s not protective of the women and children in his circle of responsibility. This deacon is of NO value to the women and children of that church. And I suspect that he’s of NO value to any of the women and children around him anywhere else.

    The mark of a real man is that he REGULATES what goes on in the environment around “his” women and children. He polices other men. Other men can’t just do anything, and do it any kind of way, around “his” women and children. They can’t curse freely around “his” women and children. They can’t sexually harass “his” women and children. A real man certainly WON’T leave the door wide open for other males to FREELY engage in gunplay and shootouts in any setting that “his” women and children frequent—such as the church they attend.

    This particular individual isn’t only a member of that church, he’s a deacon. If he was a real man, then he would take on some of the responsibility for protecting the women and children in that church. Either himself, or by making other arrangements such as hiring a security guard.

    This episode is a perfect example of why I’m saying that the odds of having a healthy and wholesome marriage with an AA man are NOT promising. And not worth a marriage-minded woman investing her time in dating most of them. The bulk of AA males either don’t know how to, or don’t want to, function as protectors and providers for their OWN children.. The proof of this is seen every single day in Black residential communities around the US.

    It’s all very simple:

    1-In a patriarchal world, the most important factor that decides a woman’s destiny (along with that of her future children) is the man she selects as a spouse.

    2-When a woman chooses an inferior man, she & her children will live an inferior life. For generations.

    3-When a woman chooses a quality man, she & her children will live a quality life. For generations.

    4-Men who are unable or unwilling to be protectors & providers are of NO & LOW value in general.

    5-Men who are unable or unwilling to be protectors & providers for BW are of NO & LOW value to BW.

    6-A group of men (AA men) who, on a mass level, refuse to marry the women they impregnate—and even worse in some ways, allow the men who impregnate their daughters to refuse to marry them—are of NO & LOW value.

    “Old-school” AA men generally didn’t let anybody play that with their daughters. That’s why there were “shotgun weddings.” Most old-school AA men would never have allowed an Ar-ruh Kelly to publicly rack up so many underage Black girls as sexual molestation victims. One of R. Kelly’s early Black girl victim’s male relatives would have done something about him. They wouldn’t have all given him a pass like Aaliyah’s father. Ar-ruh Kelly would have “come up missing” at some point. And later on been found face-down dead in an alley somewhere.

    We need to stop blindly assuming that gainfully employed BM like Aaliyah’s father are quality men—obviously, he is not a quality man. He failed to protect his own daughter from a serial child molester, and apparently did nothing after the fact to seek just retribution against the man who molested his underage daughter. IIRC, he didn’t even try to have R.Kelly arrested. Aaliyah’s father failed in one of the 2 measures of a quality man (to be a protector and provider)—he failed to protect.

    7-AA women DON’T have time to invest (waste) in dating men who are less likely to want to be, or even know how to be, quality husbands and fathers. The biological clock is ticking. A sensible woman will invest her time where the odds are favorable.

    The sooner AA women align their choices with the above-stated realities, the better their lives will be. Trying to buck reality is literally killing AA women & their children.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  11. KM says:

    I’ve been facing with this same situation in my life. I’ve come to the point where I’m reevaluating my dreams for a future career, marriage options, and just being able to live the best, most abundant life possible. God has closed the door on several big dreams I’ve had yet opening the door with several other things that have to do with my strengths (love to read and write and to bake).

    And this post in particular has inspired a new series I’m doing on my own I have this heart for young BW that keeps on growing.

  12. Magenta says:

    Khadija,

    Thank you so much for this post. I really needed to read this. Dealing with disappointment and regret is so hard, and you are made to feel as you say “dead on arrival” for making mistakes, not vetting people properly, or for not being in the best situation financially. Many times you feel like you have “missed the boat” and that you just have to settle for an unsatisfying life. I think that is why many of us have a hard time absorbing the BWE message, we look at our lives and think “But I have already messed up!!!! I am so behind, how can I get back on track? How can I reclaim or redefine my dreams?” We then become stuck and think it is too late to change things. You have provided very practical suggestions on how to address these concerns. Thanks for reminding us it is never too late to start living well.

    • rainebeaux says:

      Oof. Ah, Magenta, I believe you’ve tripped into my head (lol). I had to reevaluate the quality and aim of my essays, wondering along the way if I’m helping or further harming other bw…because I just had to give up even more dreams last week, one of which is under the “no means not yet” banner. I barely managed not to cry while reading and rereading this post as a result.

  13. Magenta says:

    Re: the Richmond shooting,

    Apparently in addition to continuing on with church services as if nothing happened, the congregation is refusing to cooperate with authorities!!!! They claim they are afraid, but I suspect it is more of the “stop snitching” dynamic at play.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/15/MNDK1C1O68.DTL

    “The three suspects – who may have been juveniles – fled after the brash 12:30 p.m. attack at New Gethsemane Church of God in Christ, as the singing of the choir was replaced by frightened screams, said Richmond police Sgt. Bisa French.”

    “French said investigators were talking to witnesses and believe some of them can identify the suspects. But French said the congregants – apparently scared to get involved – were unwilling to look at photo lineups.”

    “I don’t understand,” French said. “Where do you draw the line?”

    “But after police emptied the church and processed the crime scene inside, Miller said, he and some of the congregants returned to finish services, which had begun at 11 a.m.”

    “We went on and had church anyway,” Miller said. “We were giving thanks that nobody was killed. We wanted to go and serve the Lord anyway.”

    This is INSANE. Teenagers are shot in church, and no one comes forward. The deacon continues with service like nothing has happened. In all fairness the teens are not cooperating either, but I cut victims more slack, especially when they are young. The so-called black community clearly does not care about protecting the lives of black women and children.

  14. Magenta,

    You’re welcome!

    {more head shaking about that “church”—it sounds more like one of Satan’s playgrounds where he’s free to do whatever he wants—without opposition}

    I’ll repeat: In a patriarchal world, the condition of women and children are a reflection of the “men” in their lives. Men set the tone for what goes on with, and around, the women and children in their orbit. Men police the actions of other males. Normal men function as PROTECTORS and PROVIDERS for the women and children in their orbit.

    When women and children are UN-safe and UN-avenged when attacked, it’s an indication that they’re surrounded by inferior, no-quality men.

    [A small percentage of predators will always get through initially—among real men, this percentage is kept to a minimum because real men seek retribution of some sort for the wrongs that are done against the women and children in their orbit.]
    ________________________________________

    Rainebeaux,

    For what it’s worth, I’ve never seen you say anything (in comments or essays) that was discouraging other BW, much less spirit-wounding.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  15. JaliliMaster says:

    Can I just say Khadija, this was a very insightful post. I first read it the day you put it up, and read it again yesterday, but I didn’t want to comment as alot of thoughts were running through my mind and I wanted to marinate on them first. I’ve just seen the addendum, and it served to further clarify things. I know that this site is specifically geared towards AA women, but please know that there are other BW out there (like me) who have benefitted greatly from your words. Thankyou.

    I’ll read through the other posters comments before I add my bit.

  16. mochachoc says:

    As you mentioned your post is sensitive because letting go of or adapting our dreams can seem threatening. However holding on to dreams which are harming us is mad.

    I am not surprised the deacon of that church thought prayer was good enough. Too often church people use the mantra ‘God will provide’ for their inaction. I have a very good friend who is a Christian. She has always prayed for a husband. Sadly she neither has a husband nor the children she longs for. One fine day a fellow joined the church and ‘gave his heart to the Lord’. Soon after he and my good friend were discussing marriage. The whole church was in approval – including girlfriends she had known for many years. She brought him round to meet me (I am not a Christian and hence do not go to her church). I’m sorry but as far as I was concerned, if he was the gift God had given her, God could have him back. This gift had 11 children for 10 different women. He was living with his mother and unemployed with no inclination to find employment. Was he the answer to all those years of prayer? I think not. Yet all her church friends, pastor, deacons and whoever else thought he was. Thankfully she saw sense and ended the relationship. There were sisters who were angry with her for making this decision because they had prayed and prophesied that he was THE ONE. It seems to me that being a Christian was the only criteria they needed.

    Practicalities has forced her to include adopted children as an option (even though she repeats to me that Sarah in the Bible had children at 80). I’m not witnessing much enthusiasm on her part to actively seek a mate by widening her circle.

    I share this story to make the point that sometimes our strong desire for a preferred outcome can lead us down the wrong path. We need to be flexible in our thinking. This runs counter to the current belief that you have to be certain of your goals to attain them. I’m not sure how you reconcile flexibility with certainty. As you say life often throws up unexpected events which results in abandoning dreams or adapting them.

    Thank you for this post. I’m particularly thankful for highlighting we don’t always get what we want and that there are events which we cannot control that can have a huge impact on our lives and dreams. I find that self-help and empowerment advocates often miss this point.

  17. JaliliMaster says:

    Concerning the woman who didn’t get tenure. It turns out that quite a few of the students she had said they just didn’t think she was a very good lecturer. That was part of what caused her problems. Additionally, another professor who had worked with her said that she was brilliant (i.e had a brilliant mind), but when it came to actually explaining her thoughts, she was very poor. This, I think, also ties in with your post. We all have dreams. But in some cases, our talents/abilities don’t match our dreams/aspirations. At such a time, one has to either hone their skill set and obtain/improve on the talents that are lacking, or alternatively, change what one’s aspirations are, to something much more achievable. This woman did neither.

    Khadija, I also like how you laid it out concerning the deacon in that church. Just a tip (please don’t be offended), but I think you should continue using examples such as these to explain your points. I only viewed the scenario in terms of the men of that church not being protectors, but I never went as far as seeing them in terms of no quality/no value men to the women and children in their circle of responsibility. This sort of behaviour is the same type of lack of responsibility that a lot of bm have when it comes to dealing with issues, and not regulating the behaviour of other men when (which is what real men do), especially when the safety/lives of women and children are at stake. It’s occurred to me that even I may be guilty of some of these mindsets that I condemn. Because he is a church leader (so I am assuming he has no baby momma and the like), I assume he is law abiding etc, so he automatically went in the “good” compartment in my mind, despite the fact that this fellow is NOT fulfilling his role as the leader.

  18. JaliliMaster says:

    mochachoc said: “I share this story to make the point that sometimes our strong desire for a preferred outcome can lead us down the wrong path. We need to be flexible in our thinking. This runs counter to the current belief that you have to be certain of your goals to attain them. I’m not sure how you reconcile flexibility with certainty. As you say life often throws up unexpected events which results in abandoning dreams or adapting them.”

    I do think one has to be certain of their goals in order to attain them, otherwise, how would one know that certain goals have been attained if said goals were never defined to begin with. I do not believe that flexibility and certainty are mutually exclusive. Using the example Khadija gave re: doctors; if the goal was to become a doctor, it would be great to have that certainty, as opposed to saying umm, I’d like to be a doctor, or maybe an engineer, or possibly a chemist (which is pretty much what I was doing before I went to university). So even though those women were certain that their goal was to become a doctor, they were flexible in the means the wished to achieve that goal.

    • mochachoc says:

      Yes. I agree. However, I was thinking more specifically. When our hoped for dreams are not realised we are often left feeling bereft. Sometimes we feel so knocked back it feels like we go through a period of bereavement. I think our culture encourages a myopic approach to attaining our dreams. We focus so much energy on our said goal that there is very little room to consider an alternative. We usually don’t consider alternatives until we hit a brick wall or are forced by life to do so. My query is, how do we go for our goals yet keep in the back of our mind it may all go belly up?

  19. YMB says:

    The incident at that church and the deacon’s magical “let’s do nothing and expect God to take care of everything” thinking of reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago:
    A terrible flood hit a small town, sending the rescue units out. It just so happened that a devoutly religious woman lived in this town when the flood hit, and she sat down to wait for God to save her. When the first rescue boat came in the worker called for her to come out but she just shook her head and said ‘Thank you, but my God will save me. ‘ Shaking his head the rescue worker moved on. The waters rose and she climbed to the second story of her home to wait for God. A second boat came by and the worker called out ‘Listen lady we’ve got to get you out of here!’ Once again she thanked him profusely and said ‘My God will save me. ‘The waters rose a third time forcing her to her roof. The water was just closing around her ankles when a third boat came by. ‘Lady, I’m the last boat out if you don’t come now you’re going to die. ‘ She just smiled ‘My God will save me’ she said quietly. Frustrated the worker moved on. The waters rose once again leaving her standing on her chimney. She heard a huge ruckus above her head and when she looked up she saw an emergency helicopter. ‘This is it lady, you have to come now or we won’t be able to save you. ‘ Still she refused to go. The waters rose a final time dragging her under and she was drowned. When she got to heaven, the Lord asked her if she had any questions, and in a timid voice she replied. ‘You said if I followed you, you would always save me. Why didn’t you save me from that flood?’ God looked at her in shocked disbelief and said: ‘My child, I sent three boats and a helicopter for you. What else did you want?!’

    Anyway, this post and the comments resonate with me in many ways. A lot of us get stuck, especially romantically and professionally. I was for years. Dead end jobs where I was underpaid and unappreciated. Relationships that didn’t go anywhere. The only bright spot was that while they couldn’t be considered good, each job/man was better than the last one. When I finally accepted that life was not fair, I started thinking about what I could change. I researched going to grad school in the field I wanted to almost 10 years ago when I got my B.S. I talked myself out of it because I didn’t think the job market was very good for that profession. Meanwhile, my interest in it never waned. Finally I get fed up enough with my job so I went for it.

    Now I have my Master’s and I’m in a prestigious post-grad fellowship. The atmosphere here is so supportive and welcoming. And I am so grateful for that 4 years I toiled at that last crummy job. I learned what I needed to learn about office politics and impression management and now I don’t have those stumbling blocks in my way as I start my career. I see other people engaging in the same behaviors I used to, what I call acts of career suicide, and I am so glad that’s not me anymore.

    Anyway, some of the lessons I learned were:

    1. Impression management is probably the most important thing about your job performance. How well you are liked matters as more or at least as much as how good you are at your job. It’s not fair. It’s not going to change either.

    2. If you want something different you need to DO something different and it’s often something outside of your comfort zone. For example, I am so surprised when I still hear women especially AA women seeking to date interracially, express disdain about meeting someone through an online dating service. It has been a fruitful way to meet men for me, just as it was for the person (now married) who told me about the site I found my boyfriend of 1.5 years through, and the person whom I told about the site (now dating 6 months). But that’s just an example. If internet dating is not for you, fine, but what are you going to do that’s different than the same ole same ole that hasn’t worked?

    3. Recognize when you are hesitating because it might not be the right move and when it’s because you are afraid of change or the unknown.

  20. JaliliMaster,

    You’re welcome and thank you for your kind words and ongoing support!

    You said, “Khadija, I also like how you laid it out concerning the deacon in that church. Just a tip (please don’t be offended), but I think you should continue using examples such as these to explain your points.”

    I’m not offended—LOL! I’m going to try to use more specific examples in the future. Writing this particular essay (which I tinkered with and added the addendum after first publishing it) highlighted to me how important specific examples are. This is because, like everybody else, I’m coming to these conversations with my own set of unexamined assumptions. Assumptions about what different words and ideas mean to most other people. And assumptions about what various types of criteria are—such as the criteria for being considered a “good” man.

    About that deacon, the (presumably BM) pastor of that “church,” and the other “men” of that church—there are SO many layers of FOUL with what they’re failing to do, that it’s just too much to catalogue! These “men” are despicable and of NO value whatsoever to the women and children who have the misforture to be in their presence.

    I’ll restrict myself to mentioning just one more dimension of this: Those 2 males and the other anatomically male congregants of that “church” are an abomination.

    How somebody calls himself a “believer” and a “man,” but is okay with passively leaving the door wide open— for some additional demons to run up inside what’s supposed to be God’s house—and perhaps KILL the believers is beyond me. Who knows? The publicized non-response, and non-cooperation with the authorities, of these church-“men” is an OPEN invitation . . . for some additional demons affiliated with the original shooters . . . to come back to that “church” and finish the job of killing whoever they were trying to kill in the first place! Let me stop right there, because I could go off for quite some time about this . . .
    _____________________________________

    Mochachoc,

    Yes, evaluating what the pursuit of our dreams is doing to us is a VERY sensitive and difficult thing to do.

    You said, “I’m particularly thankful for highlighting we don’t always get what we want and that there are events which we cannot control that can have a huge impact on our lives and dreams. I find that self-help and empowerment advocates often miss this point.”

    Yes, I find that many self-help materials avoid any practical discussions of dealing with frustration and failure. To me, this points out the huge difference between modern self-help materials and practical applications/understandings of scripture.

    As most readers probably know by now, I’m a (progressive) Muslim. So, the Quran is my first touchstone when thinking about various issues. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Moses, and the incredible amount of frustration and disappointment that he must have dealt with. He spent 40 years providing leadership and service to the ingrates that he led out of slavery. And then, after all of THAT he was denied entry into the Promised Land. So, it’s not always about some “entitlement,” and what we think we “deserve.” Sometimes, the answer is “No” to what we want.

    Now, the thing about scripture is that it’s a double-edged sword. It can literally save lives when properly understood. http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/07/get-real-with-scripture-when-properly.html

    But mistranslations, misreadings, and the mental laziness of so-called believers of scripture can turn them into the deadliest poison known to humankind! Which is what’s wrong with the vast majority of AA houses of worship (of any and every faith tradition). [Unfortunately, as I believe, misreadings of scripture are the majority of what’s going on. For a variety of reasons, which are too long to get into and are totally off-topic.]
    _______________________________________

    YMB,

    If I was still doing Reader’s Money Quotes, your recent comment would be one of them! Thank you for laying that out so clearly.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

    • YMB says:

      Thanks, Khadija! I meant to add one more:

      4. Don’t allow yourself to complain endlessly about the same thing. If you have been complaining for a long time about something you have the ability to change, even if doing so would require a lot of time and commitment, either start working on changing it or, if you’re not willing to put in the effort, accept things the way they are. For example I have a friend who has been unhappy with her weight the entire 7 years that I have known her. In her own words, it makes her feel like a horrible worthless failure. At the same time that she says it is unbearable to be overweight, she makes no effort to change her eating habits or increase the amount of exercise she gets. Until she accepts her body as it is now or puts in the work to change it, she will stay stuck, miserable and frustrated.

  21. I’m not going to do blog posts about the ongoing, self-induced AA march to Rwanda-style meltdown, but I will indulge myself in the comments section from time to time.

    It’s been brought to my attention that Rev. “Baby Daddy” Jackson is currently protesting the police shooting of yet another AA male. Meanwhile, the mass absence of marriage that creates so many of the deadly problems within AA residential areas goes unaddressed. [Not that Rev. Baby Daddy is personally in a position to say much about that. After all, he’s an irresponsible cheat.]

    The following article provides many insights about what makes incidents like the recent church shooting conducted by AA males possible.

    It also explains (“Chicago’s Real Crime Story”) why decades of community organizing (including Barry Obama’s brief foray into it) has not stemmed youth violence in Chicago. http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_1_chicago-crime.html The article begins:

    “Barack Obama has exploited his youthful stint as a Chicago community organizer at every stage of his political career. As someone who had worked for grassroots “change,” he said, he was a different kind of politician, one who could translate people’s hopes into reality. The media lapped up this conceit, presenting Obama’s organizing experience as a meaningful qualification for the Oval Office.

    This past September, a cell-phone video of Chicago students beating a fellow teen to death coursed over the airwaves and across the Internet. None of the news outlets that had admiringly reported on Obama’s community-organizing efforts mentioned that the beating involved students from the very South Side neighborhoods where the president had once worked. Obama’s connection to the area was suddenly lost in the mists of time.

    Yet a critical blindness links Obama’s activities on the South Side during the 1980s and the murder of Derrion Albert in 2009. Throughout his four years working for “change” in Chicago’s Roseland and Altgeld Gardens neighborhoods, Obama ignored the primary cause of their escalating dysfunction: the disappearance of the black two-parent family. Obama wasn’t the only activist to turn away from the problem of absent fathers, of course; decades of failed social policy, both before and after his time in Chicago, were just as blind. And that myopia continues today, guaranteeing that the current response to Chicago’s youth violence will prove as useless as Obama’s activities were 25 years ago.”

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

    • NijaG says:

      Honestly I’m not sure really sure what 1, 2, or even a small group can do anymore.
      Someone says something, they enter wahala (trouble), you don’t say anything, you face wahala.
      You tell the men in these community to get it together and be accountable and stop waiting for leader to save them, then you’re airing the BC dirty laundry, you’re a sell-out, orea, sucking up to the white man. And that’s them holding back if it’s a BM calling them out. I don’t even want to know what they’ll say if you’re a BW.

      I’m sorry if this ish has been going on for 20+ years and is getting worse, then the BC in that area need to take a good hard look at themselves (as individuals and families) because that’s what makes up that BC.

  22. NijaG,

    It’s not just “the BC in that area.” What the article describes is the current MASS condition of the entire AA collective. The disappearance of marriage among AAs is the underlying cause for the escalating chaos and violence in the AA collective. Community organizing, protest marching, and so on are like puttting a band-aid on cancer.

    The only thing that would halt the ongoing AA “March to Rwanda” would be the resurrection of marriage and in particular stable marriages, among AAs. This is NOT going to happen. AA marriage is DEAD. Mostly because AA men like the status quo situation of their mass refusal to marry the BW that they have sex with and impregnate. Judging from their actions, AA men like having a permanent lifestyle of sleeping around without any of the commitments or responsibilities of marriage and family life.

    Because AA marriage is dead, the AA collective is DEAD. You can’t build or have anything with a mass of fatherless individuals (of both genders) who have NO clue about normal, wholesome family life. There’s nothing left to say to these fatherless masses (of both genders) who insist that single parenting and a majority AA out of wedlock birthrate is a-okay. And even if anyone chooses to waste their breath talking to them, it doesn’t matter—the only thing that could actually fix these problems would be a MASS resurrection of AA marriage. And that’s not going to happen because 50% of the needed participants (AA men) prefer sleeping around and shacking—they don’t want marriage.

    All of the above is why I and others have been telling AA women to save themselves and evacuate Black residential areas. Before their luck runs out; or their loved ones’ luck runs out. Like so many AA schoolchildren’s luck runs out—and they are KILLED—each year in Chicago’s Black residential areas.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

    • NijaG says:

      Khadija,

      Oh I know it’s happening on a much wider scale, I just wanted to keep it focused on the article you mentioned. The article is saying that Obama and other activists ignored the issue of 2-parent homes. My response to someone making that argument, would be,
      why should someone have to tell, push or beg grown folks to do what’s best for themselves, family and community?

      You’re right about AA men liking things the way they are. Many would rather shift the blame towards the women, or tell women to change before they’ll start doing their own part. What’s that saying about cutting your nose to spite your face? It seems like that’s what is going on.

      I’ve seen the term “White Guilt” used to describe liberals and all these social programs geared towards the BC as a way to make reparations or whatever.

      It’s about to run out.

  23. lunanoire says:

    Khadija:

    About mourning the loss of a well-adjusted black family dream-

    My point is that it can take time to let go in order to move onward.

    After letting go, I decided to be more open regarding race and age, but less open regarding character. It’s worked out so far, and I am dating a non-BM whose friends are marrying left and right.

  24. Lunanoire,

    You said, “After letting go, I decided to be more open regarding race and age, but less open regarding character.”

    Now THIS is a winning strategy! [For those BW who are serious about marrying QUALITY men, and having healthy, wholesome marriages.] Good for you!

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  25. JaliliMaster says:

    lunanoire said:
    “Khadija:
    About mourning the loss of a well-adjusted black family dream-
    My point is that it can take time to let go in order to move onward.
    After letting go, I decided to be more open regarding race and age, but less open regarding character. It’s worked out so far, and I am dating a non-BM whose friends are marrying left and right.”

    Please, no one should EVER compromise on character. Being of good character is the whole essence of a quality man, or woman.

    And Khadija, I just read the whole article that you linked to. I checked and noticed that the woman who wrote it is white. I know that there are a lot of black people who will read the truth thatthis woman wrote and in their mind, completely dismiss it because she is ‘just being racist’. That’s why I am somewhat annoyed with the conservative politicians. They seemed, for a time, to be the only ones who were willing to point out the obvious (re: how the breakdown of the black family & a lack of personal responsibility are one of the major causes of the high crime rate in black residential areas). But alas, it seems that they too have become cowards!

  26. JaliliMaster,

    As you know, it doesn’t matter what this woman is (racist, ill-intentioned, whatever) if the critical problem that she’s pointing out is TRUE. Even a stopped clock is factually correct twice a day. As I’ve said before, I don’t give applause to folks who tell the truth for bad reasons (as a form of verbal abuse, to appease racists, and so on). However, my refusal to applaud for ill-intentioned truthtellers does not stop me from recognizing the truth. This is only common sense.

    In terms of this news story, there are many AA fools who would take that “oh, she’s White” posture to justify disregarding what this reporter is pointing out. However, the never-ending list of publicized casualties among AA children continues (and these are just the names that we heard about in the news—there are other murdered AA children whose murders don’t get a lot of publicity—there has to be a “sexy” angle to their murders for them to get coverage).

    Let’s see, the “potentially racist White reporter” mentioned the following undeniable fatalities (inflicted by fatherless, AA males):

    Ben Wilson, teenage basketball star shot to death by fatherless AA males in 1984.

    Fatherless, 11-year old AA male gang member named Robert “Yummy” Sandifer unintentionally kills another AA child (a girl whose name was never given much publicity) while shooting at another fatherless, AA male gang member. “Yummy’s” fellow, fatherless AA male gang members then execute him to prevent him from implicating them in the murder he committed.

    A month after “Yummy’s” summary execution by his fellow fatherless AA males, another fatherless male (5 year old Eric Morse) is tossed out a 14th floor window of a housing project by 2 other fatherless AA males, aged 10 and 11 years old. Eric was summarily executed by these 2 other fatherless AA males because he refused to steal candy for them.

    Derrion Albert, cellphone video of him being beaten to death by other fatherless AA males.

    I can think of some names of other AA children who were murdered by fatherless, AA males that I don’t recall being mentioned in the article I linked to above.

    Names like Dantrell Davis, a fatherless AA boy who was shot to death by a stray bullet from a fatherless, AA male sniper while crossing the street—with his mother—to go to his elementary school in 1992. You see, 7-year old Dantrell lived in a housing project that was filled with fatherless, AA male, gangbanger snipers. Perhaps if Dantrell had a father, he and his mother wouldn’t have been mired in the poverty that had them both living in Cabrini-Green housing project.

    The Chicago Tribune noted at the time that Dantrell was one of 61 children killed in Chicago in 1992.

    And Blair Holt, who came from a married, 2-parent home, shot to death on a CTA bus by a fatherless AA male on his way home from high school. He died shielding a girl passenger from errant bullets shot by the fatherless, teenage AA male killer.

    Whatever her motives, the reporter is quite accurate when pointing out:

    “In Chicago, blacks, at least 35 percent of the population, commit 76 percent of all homicides; whites, about 28 percent of the population, commit 4 percent, and Hispanics, 30 percent of the population, commit 19 percent. The most significant difference between these demographic groups is family structure. In Cook County—which includes both Chicago and some of its suburbs and probably therefore contains a higher proportion of middle-class black families than the city proper—79 percent of all black children were born out of wedlock in 2003, compared with 15 percent of white children. Until that gap closes, the crime gap won’t close, either.”

    I see this everyday working in the court system—the court system is JAMPACKED with fatherless AAs (most of whom have invented, ghetto names, which is an endless source of humor to White court staff and law enforcement—I mean, how many liquor and car names can one group of siblings have?).

    AA fools can pretend that this isn’t happening because of the MASS absence of marriage among AAs if they want to. And this is why most AAs will perish in permanent underclass status and violent deaths. The truth is the truth.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  27. Nathifa says:

    Great post!I’m kind of dealing with a family situation that relates to this post. My sister has chosen to get pregnant by her boyfriend of ten years. They are both educated and professional but of course he has refused to marry her and told her he did not want the baby or her to live with him. So now she has decided to manipulate our baby sister in to helping her secure an apartment because she cannot afford a two bedroom by herself. My baby sister will be finished with her Masters degree this summer and planned on moving to Texas to pursue her dreams(career,starting a business,family ect.). I have informed her to make her plans without our other sister because she is not responsible for providing housing for our future neicee or nephew. Our sister and her boyfriend our. Sometimes when other people let there dreams get side tracked or killed they want to the same for other people. Misery loves company. My sister was supposed to make a career change and move but instead decided to get pregnant maybe as a way to make this man marry her. I told her it does not take ten years for a man to marry a women. I keep repeating to my little sister you have to do for self first. She cannot put her dreams and plans on hold for something that is not even her problem.

  28. Felicia says:

    AA fools can pretend that this isn’t happening because of the MASS absence of marriage among AAs if they want to. And this is why most AAs will perish in permanent underclass status and violent deaths. The truth is the truth.

    Some more truth…

    A Sight All Too Familiar in Poor Neighborhoods

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/us/19evict.html

    MILWAUKEE — Shantana Smith, a single mother who had not paid rent for three months, watched on a recent morning as men from Eagle Moving carried her tattered furniture to the sidewalk.

    Bystanders knew too well what was happening.

    “When you see the Eagle movers truck, you know it’s time to get going,” a neighbor said.

    On Milwaukee’s impoverished North Side, the mover’s name is nearly as familiar as McDonald’s, because Eagle often accompanies sheriffs on evictions. They haul tenants’ belongings into storage or, as Ms. Smith preferred, leave them outside for tenants to truck away.

    Here and in swaths of many cities, evictions from rental properties are so common that they are part of the texture of life. New research is showing that eviction is a particular burden on low-income black women, often single mothers, who have an easier time renting apartments than their male counterparts, but are vulnerable to losing them because their wages or public benefits have not kept up with the cost of housing.

    And evictions, in turn, can easily throw families into cascades of turmoil and debt.

    “Just as incarceration has become typical in the lives of poor black men, eviction has become typical in the lives of poor black women,” said Matthew Desmond, a sociologist at the University of Wisconsin whose research on trends in Milwaukee since 2002 provides a rare portrait of gender patterns in inner-city rentals.

    The study found that one of every 25 renter-occupied households in the city is evicted each year. In black neighborhoods, the rate is one in 14. These figures include only court-ordered evictions; the true toll, experts say, is greater because far more tenants, under threat of eviction, move in with relatives, into more run-down apartments or, sometimes, into homeless shelters.

    Women from largely black neighborhoods in Milwaukee constitute 13 percent of the city’s population, but 40 percent of those evicted. Housing lawyers in Los Angeles and New York described a similar predominance of minority women, including Hispanic women, in eviction cases. (The figures do not include displaced renters from foreclosed properties.)

    Even for working mothers, evictions and the ensuing damage to social ties, schooling and credit ratings can be an ever-hovering threat. Clarissa Adams, 38, a mother of three in Milwaukee, has been evicted four times in 10 years and is now trying desperately to break the pattern.

    Since July she has shared a $570-a-month two-bedroom apartment with her daughters, ages 15, 18 and 23, and two small grandchildren. She is studying for a degree in social services and lost her job as a cashier in the fall after a dispute with her boss.

    Unable to pay the last three months rent, Ms. Adams received some emergency assistance through Community Advocates, a private group. To stave off eviction, she promised to pay the landlord $1,000 by Feb. 15, just as her tax refund arrived. She owes an additional $955 by March 1 and hopes to scrape the money together while she looks for a job.

    Previous evictions sent her into a deep depression, she said, and had temporarily split up the family, with her children staying a relative who did not want her.

    “We just need someplace where we can be a family,” Ms. Adams said.

    Compared with foreclosures, which are carefully tracked, national data on evictions, especially those not involving a court decision, remain scarce, but the annual total is almost certainly in the millions, said Chester Hartman, an urban planner with the Poverty and Race Research Action Council in Washington. The role of evictions in the cycle of poverty had been relatively overlooked by scholars and officials, he said.

    In one sign of rising concern, Congress in the stimulus act last year provided $1.5 billion for emergency housing aid, and that may help explain why legal evictions in Milwaukee did not surge last year. But this temporary measure and other rent subsidies help only a fraction of the poor.

    The potentially crippling impact of evictions on family finances and prospects are not widely appreciated, said Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. “There is a contagion effect,” he said. “It’s not just the loss of shelter. Eviction can force a change in school and break a very tenuous tie to a job.”

    The disparate effect on minority women has a host of causes, according to landlords, housing lawyers and Mr. Desmond’s research, which he conducted for his doctoral dissertation. The work is not yet published, but has been praised by experts who have seen it for offering new insights into women’s poverty.

    Marriage is an exception among the poor, and single mothers need larger, more expensive housing than single men. At the same time, black women are more often able to get leases because they are likelier to have steady incomes, whether from work or public benefits, and far less likely to have disqualifying criminal records.

    Irresponsible or destructive tenant behavior is sometimes a factor. Three landlords in Milwaukee said in interviews that live-in fathers or boyfriends had sometimes spent women’s rent money or engaged in illegal activities that led to eviction, and some women stopped paying when they turned to drugs.

    But there is also evidence that women more readily complain to city agencies about repairs, potentially angering landlords who then find excuses to evict them.

    And police reports of domestic violence can backfire on women, leading some landlords to seek evictions out of fear that they will be fined for tolerating disturbances.

    Sometimes the causes of evictions are hotly disputed. Ms. Smith said she had withheld rent because the apartment was not maintained. But the landlord said that she had never made a formal complaint and failed to show up for a court hearing.

    Still, at the root of most evictions is money, which can evaporate with an illness, a job loss or other crisis.

    Angela Sandifer, 28, can just afford the $950 rental she shares with four children and a cast of relatives because she receives disability payments for three of the children. But in early January, she said, her rent money was stolen from a wallet at home when she rushed her 9-year-old daughter to the hospital.

    A lawyer from Legal Action of Wisconsin helped her delay eviction and Ms. Sandifer, who has started a part-time job, hopes to use her first paycheck to pay off the back rent.

    Tim Ballering, who owns or manages some 900 rental units in Milwaukee, said a basic problem was the growing imbalance between low-end incomes and rents. A minimum-wage worker may gross little more than $1,100 a month; a welfare recipient in Wisconsin receives $673 a month, while two-bedroom units start at about $475.

    “On $673 a month, how do you buy tennis shoes for the kids, clean shirts for school and still pay your rent?” Mr. Ballering said.

  29. Nathifa,

    You said, “her boyfriend of ten years” That phrase tells anyone all they need to know about this particular relationship. As you know, your sister should have let go of the broken dream of having a worthwhile relationship with that particular individual and cut her losses YEARS ago.

    I’m amazed that women are still playing the “getting pregnant accidentally-on purpose” game. That particular game was an extremely risky move for a woman way back in the era of shotgun weddings. It’s suicidal in the modern era. I’ll pray that your baby sister doesn’t let herself get dragged down in the other sister’s self-created mess. {sigh}
    ________________________________________

    Felicia,

    As you know, if we read between the lines, there are MANY hints about just how SELF-created many of these evictions and related problems are.

    The article said, “Clarissa Adams, 38, a mother of three in Milwaukee, has been evicted four times in 10 years and is now trying desperately to break the pattern.”

    Who told her to have 3 children? Was she married to the father(s)? If not, why not? If so, why isn’t she at least pursuing court-ordered child support to help with the burden of caring for these children?

    The article said, “Since July she has shared a $570-a-month two-bedroom apartment with her daughters, ages 15, 18 and 23, and two small grandchildren.”

    Two small grandchildren? Where are their fathers? And since at least one daughter is grown enough to get pregnant, is this daughter WORKING A JOB to help pay for all of this? Or is she laying around on an aid check while her mother works?

    The article said, “She is studying for a degree in social services and lost her job as a cashier in the fall after a dispute with her boss.”

    Ahh, the arrogance of modern-day AA “peasants.” Unless the boss is doing something that one can either call the police about, or sue over (such as sexual harassment), this particular woman can’t afford to have a “dispute” with her boss. Instead, she needs to suck it up (like everybody else in the grown-up, adult world of having to work for a living) and bide her time until she finds a new job. I see this type of behavior a lot with the Black underclass clients. They don’t seem to comprehend that they need their minimum wage jobs more than those jobs need them. And they suffer for this lack of common sense (through homelessness, and so on).

    The article said, “Previous evictions sent her into a deep depression, she said, and had temporarily split up the family, with her children staying a relative who did not want her.”

    Could it be that she burned her bridges with this relative? Again, common sense should tell folks that it’s better to try to stay on good terms with people, if at all possible. You might need something from them someday. However, the modern AA “peasant” (uneducated, low- and no-skills) is too arrogant to understand this. Their motto is “I’m going to do me.” Which is fine, as long as you can AFFORD it and the consequences that flow from “being yourself” across the board. Such as being fired from jobs.

    The article said, “Marriage is an exception among the poor, and single mothers need larger, more expensive housing than single men.”

    Who told these women to CHOOSE to have large families (that they can’t afford) by themselves? Nobody. That was their own foolish choice. One out of wedlock baby, fine, things happen—birth control isn’t always foolproof and everybody’s not willing to get an abortion. But to continue on to have 2, 3, or more children that you are responsible for BY YOURSELF is an idiotic choice.

    The article said, “Irresponsible or destructive tenant behavior is sometimes a factor. Three landlords in Milwaukee said in interviews that live-in fathers or boyfriends had sometimes spent women’s rent money or engaged in illegal activities that led to eviction, and some women stopped paying when they turned to drugs.”

    I’m a landlord who owns rental property. And I know other AA landlords. The typical profile for single AA women is that after they move in, they want to immediately import their baby daddy or boyfriend into their apartments. This applies to AA women of ALL economic and educational categories, including professional AA women. WITHOUT these (often no-working) Negroes being on the lease—meaning without these BM going through the scrutiny that is required to be on the lease. Many of these women get angry when presented with a lease agreement that does NOT allow them to move in folks who are not on the lease.

    The article said, “And police reports of domestic violence can backfire on women, leading some landlords to seek evictions out of fear that they will be fined for tolerating disturbances.”

    These DV situations are another trickbag for a responsible, Good Samaritan landlord. The reality is that many, if not most, battered women want to go back to their batterers. And then once they get back together with their batterers, they paint everybody who foolishly tried to rescue them as “jealous people who just wanted to break up their relationship.” Other landlords have talked about how angry some of these battered women were when the police were called in response to their SCREAMS for help. “I just wanted help. I didn’t want him to be arrested…”

    Who wants to be in the middle of that kind of bs? Not to mention that the entire situation creates a HUGE security risk for everybody else who lives in the building. And all of this stems from these chicks moving Negroes who aren’t on the lease into these apartments.

    The article said, “Angela Sandifer, 28, can just afford the $950 rental she shares with four children and a cast of relatives because she receives disability payments for three of the children.”

    Disability payments for THREE of the children? I wonder if this woman is one of the many trifling, AA underclass women who needlessly stigmatize their children as retarded and mentally disturbed in order to get some free “crazy money” from SSI.

    Which reminds me of another practice that I’ve learned is common among the “Sheniquas”: They open cable tv, electricity, etc. accounts in their children’s names. This means that when they don’t pay their bills, and the cable/electric company goes to court to get a judgment against them—the judgment is against their children! Because the account was fraudulently opened in the child’s name and with the child’s social security number.

    So this is how there are judgments and liens (unknowingly) entered against children who are 6 years old. When these kids get older (around high school age) and get their first little job, they’re horrified to discover that their wages are being garnished because there’s some judgment that was entered against them when they were 9 years old. All because their mother put the cable, electric, whatever bill in their names and didn’t pay the bills.

    AAs need to quit acting like all these problems are lightning bolts that struck them out of the clear blue sky. NO. There’s a direct line leading from various life choices and suffering. Folks need to stop tripping.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

    • rainebeaux says:

      Oh, Khadija, I thought the same things when reading that article!

      I can bet Wisconsin is also an “at-will” state; as you surmised, unless legal recourse has to be sought, one has to keep her nose clean and keep her mouth shut. I’m not feeling smug, but I certainly feel a little better about my situation.*

      *I too was evicted, but a glaring difference was that I was childless at the time. Granted, I’ll be searching a little harder (and perhaps a wee longer) this time around, but something will materialize. **this was the main dream that aggravated me and thus must be altered.**

      I just finished reading the Moynihan report and thought to myself, “gee, he could’ve written this about 45 days ago, and only the numbers would’ve changed. Black folks shouted him down waaay back then…and look where it got us. Ow.” yes, every sista for herself at this point…

    • YMB says:

      Khadija,
      For a time I was the owner of a two family duplex in a black residential area, which was a mistake. It was the height of my naiveté about the so-called black community; I actually thought I would be welcome in a neighborhood where most of the rental houses were rented by black families but owned by white ones. As you already know, this was not the case by a long shot! The crabs in a barrel mentality was on full display.

      My first tenant was like a case study for many of the issues you highlighted. She was an early 20’s AA single mother of 2 girls, including a preteen she had when she was not much older herself. Even though she was fully aware that I would be living in the downstairs unit when she moved in, she was still brazen enough to move her boyfriend in as if I wouldn’t notice him coming and going every day. I confronted her and informed her the lease clearly stated no one could be in the unit who was not on the lease.

      At this point, I was ready to evict her, and I’d gone with a month-to-month lease since I’d felt the risk of a tenant moving out early was worth having the ability to get a unsavory tenant out with only 30 days notice. However, my mother was my partner in this property and wanted to give her another chance. I believe she also had her cousin staying there without being on the lease and continued to break the terms of the lease in other ways so I did go forward with evicting her a few months later.

      The weekend that she and her boyfriend were packing up to move out, I heard them upstairs arguing loudly, and her crying and he left. Apparently he also assaulted her, but the first I knew of this was when police officers knocked on my door telling me they had received a domestic violence report. After they spoke with her, she went storming through the apartment, stomping, slamming doors, and yelling. She assumed I was the one who called the cops ON HER BEHALF and she was enraged.

      My experiences as a landlord in that neighborhood were an absolute nightmare. Thankfully the house was sold several years ago for a profit. Despite this experience, I still think being a landlord is an excellent side hustle and one day I will own rental property again- just not in a black residential area!

      If you decide to operate rental property, you can get suitable lease agreement forms in the legal documents sections of Office Depot, Staples, etc. The Attorney General’s Office in your state will likely have resources on their website outlining landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities. The county housing department in your area will likely have that information along with the county requirements and they may even have a lease form you can use.

      • YMB,

        Yes, I’ve heard similar horror stories from other Black landlords. Much of this gets back to the unique (in a bad way) business terrain that exists for Black business owners, which was discussed at length at the previous blog.

        From my point of view, here’s the quick post-mortem on your experience.

        (1) Rule #1: DON’T buy a rental property in a Black residential area unless you’re prepared to be secretive about the fact that you own it/it’s Black-owned. If you buy in a Black area, you’ll need a White man to pretend to be the owner and/or property manager. If you, as a Black owner, live on the property it’s IMPERATIVE that you pretend to be just another tenant. If the tenants are directing their service phone calls/requests about repairs, etc. to you—tell them that you’re handling the service calls for the (fake WM building owner) in exchange for a discount on your rent. As with everything else, AA tenants act crazier with Black landlords, Black business owners than they do with White ones.

        Rule #2: DON’T co-own rental property with anybody who’s not on the EXACT same page as you when it comes to handling problem tenants. This needs to be thoroughly discussed before buying anything together.

        Rule #3: Evict problem tenants as soon as humanly possible. A tenant who blows off one part of the lease agreement will go on to violate other parts of the lease agreement. It’s just a matter of time. The other thing is that when you let one tenant ignore the lease agreement, that sends the signal to the other tenants that you’ll tolerate them ignoring the lease agreement.

        The bottom line is that Black business owners will face disaster unless they factor in the uniquely adverse business terrain that exists for them (and them alone).

        Peace, blessings and solidarity.

      • Lynn says:

        I, too rented half of my duplex to a low-income Black female tenant. I told her I was the de facto property manager for out of state owners.

        The author is absolutely correct that Black people do not want to patronize each other’s businesses. I began to see that in my early 20’s in the nineties. You have to work around this in order to be a successful business owner. That is something you will rarely hear from other successful Black business owners. I have taken that to heart.

  30. Rainebeaux,

    As you know, people can do ALL the right things and still have catastrophic things happen to them (get laid off, get sick, have medical bills they can’t pay, and then get evicted, and so on). My point of irritation is that so many AAs choose to do things that CREATE unnecessary vulnerability and problems—and then want to play shocked when it bites them in the behind. As if being bitten in the buttocks was not the logical, predictable result of the series of choices they made.

    And this sort of behavior reflects modern arrogance. My grandparents were poor, uneducated “peasants.” Both of my parents grew up the same way—as “peasants”—in tenements in Chicago’s Black Belt. The housing projects were built, in part, to replace the tenements like the ones that my parents grew up in—which were even WORSE than the projects in many ways. But most of the poor AAs who lived in those tenements had basic, common sense.

    My grandparents and my parents NEVER had the crazy, arrogant attitudes that are underlying a lot of this dysfunctional Black underclass behavior. And to hear them tell it, neither did most of the other poor AAs who were around them.

    God rest their souls, my grandparents were amazed and appalled by these arrogant modern attitudes when they first started cropping up among poor AAs. Their reactions boiled down to the questions, “How does somebody act like that when they can’t back it up with anything? How do you talk to your boss out the side of your neck when you need a job, and you DON’T have any skills? How do you expect to have a $50/hour job when you have 5 cents/hour skills?”

    It’s craaa-zeee. {hearing the strains of the Gnarls Barkley song}

    About Moynihan: He was proven correct by later events and circumstances. AAs are at a point where we can’t afford to focus on trying to “save face” anymore. These are the End Of Days for AAs. Any AA who wants to survive and thrive must begin by acknowledging the truth of how many AAs got into these various calamities—by way of self-inflicted wounds. And make different choices that are more likely to lead to different, better results.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  31. sistrunkqueen says:

    A comment was made about the conservative right wing not making public statements or offering any assistance anymore on/to the black community. The conservative right has moved on with their agenda. They got many gullible blacks to vote for the Republican right wing agenda years ago. Alas George Bush was elected on the church agenda. Down with the gays and promote marriage among the blacks. Many fell for this hook line and sinker. Any way their agenda has changed to jobs, no health care reform, block Obama at every turn and try to survive this election year. Ladies the white conservatives and liberals know that the majority of black folks are doomed or lost causes, so they are just watching us just explode. We are in deep trouble 16.7% unemployment in the black community. I think it is alot more than that. This time the calvary ain’t coming to save us.

  32. Felicia says:

    “We are in deep trouble 16.7% unemployment in the black community. I think it is alot more than that. This time the calvary ain’t coming to save us.”

    https://www.sbk.com/about-us/news/in-the-news/releaseid16/

    African-Americans Hit Inordinately Hard by Recession

    African-Americans Hit Inordinately Hard by Recession

    Staggering high unemployment among black middle class wipes out a generation of wealth.

    Chicago Tribune
    By Kathy Bergen
    Tribune reporter

    The robust job market of the 1990s eased the way for millions of African-Americans to join the middle class, and Barbara Mitchell was among them.

    The South Side native landed a customer-service job with a telecommunications company, and for many years, she thrived, earning $51,000 at her peak. When her job was eliminated in a restructuring, she took a company transfer to a different, lower-paying position in Wisconsin to stay employed. Ultimately, the job was a poor fit, she said, and fearing termination, she opted for an early retirement.

    Mitchell assumed she would be well-positioned for another customer-service post, but more than a year later, at age 57, she’s living in a subsidized apartment on the Near West Side with no job, no medical insurance and almost no remaining retirement savings.

    “I pray, I stay prayerful,” said Mitchell, who is trying out for a part-time phone sales job this week. “The recession will never take me back to where I’ve been.”

    The cold fact, however, is that this deep recession is hitting African-Americans more severely than the overall population, due largely to the staggering levels of unemployment for this segment of the population.

    When October unemployment data come out Friday, the nation’s seasonally adjusted rate is expected to nudge upward, close to 10 percent. But among African-Americans, the jobless rate was 15.5 percent in September. In Illinois, the black unemployment rate was closer to 18.6 percent in the third quarter, according to estimates by the Economic Policy Institute.

    For black teens nationwide, the rate was 40.8 percent in September.

    The United States historically has seen higher unemployment rates for minorities, but the gap has widened in this recession, in part because of job losses in the manufacturing and auto sectors. And the jobless growth, coupled with the predatory lending that flourished in segregated neighborhoods during the real estate boom, have led to dramatic spikes in mortgage foreclosures, sending home values into a downward spiral. The bottom line: A silent depression for African-Americans.

    “The untold story is that between unemployment, a significant drop in property values, the wave of foreclosures and a lack of credit, there is a whole generation of African-American wealth that is disappearing,” said Jean Pogge, executive vice president of ShoreBank, which operates in many minority communities across the city and is under financial pressure itself due to loan losses.

    “The traditional way Americans have acquired wealth and gotten into the middle class is through buying a home and building equity in that home,” she said, “and a lot of that has been wiped out by the recession.”

    Robert Williams, a 38-year-old who made more than $50,000 a year training travel agents, is among those who have come perilously close to losing a home due to a layoff.

    The South Shore condo owner had sought a modification of his mortgage terms earlier this year after his employer had cut salaries and hours. And then he was laid off altogether in May, derailing his mortgage negotiations with ShoreBank.

    “I was preparing myself mentally that there was a 90 percent chance I’d lose my place … and I’d be out searching for someplace to live,” Williams said. “It stresses you out. You don’t want to spend 50 cents on a pack of gum, it got to be that bad.”

    ShoreBank was able to get him a modified mortgage through the Obama administration program launched in March, reducing his monthly payment to $468 from the original $1,150.

    The disparity in the unemployment rates for whites and blacks has grown since the recession started in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to a study by Algernon Austin, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute.

    The national white rate increased by 3.8 percentage points, to 7.8 percent in the second quarter of this year, while the black rate rose by 6.1 percentage points, to 14.7 percent, the highest of any major racial or ethnic group.

    African-American workers “have a relatively high representation in manufacturing and the auto industry, and those industries have been hit pretty hard,” Austin said.

    As well, “black workers tend to be younger and lower-ranked in organizations,” he said. “And both factors make it more likely that when layoffs come, you’re going to be laid off.”

    That factor also makes African-American workers more vulnerable to having their hours cut.

    “I’m at the bottom so it’s hard for me to get any days — I have no seniority,” said Chanel Hall, 22, a room attendant at a downtown convention hotel who has seen her shifts cut back as the travel business has slowed.

    She expects to make about $20,000 this year, about two-thirds of what she would make if she had a full schedule. She recently took out a $400 high-interest payday loan so she could pay bills and the rent on her apartment in the Washington Park neighborhood on the South Side. And she’s searching for a second job.

    “I’ve had no call-backs,” said Hall, who has been looking since September.

    The landscape is so bleak that some laid-off workers are using this time as a sort of sabbatical, living off unemployment while they go back to school or into training programs.

    Shawan McDonald, an unemployed machinist, is learning to program and run computerized milling and lathing equipment in a training program run by the Jane Addams Resource Corp.

    “I hope by March that I will be able to work, that it will be a more stable situation and I will not be walking on eggshells,” said McDonald, a 40-year-old Edgewater resident.

    The climb to recovery may be a tougher one for African-Americans, particularly because unemployment is expected to continue rising into next year.

    “If history is our judge, I think it will take longer,” ShoreBank’s Pogge said. “African-Americans tend to be the last hired, and there has been this incredible decline in property values in African-American communities that is going to take years to recover.

    “People have decimated their savings just to survive, and that needs to be rebuilt. It’s a pretty serious situation.”

    Barbara Mitchell, the unemployed customer-service employee, worked part of the past year as a hostess at a quick-serve restaurant in Wisconsin before moving back to Chicago to care for sick family members. Now she applies for three to four jobs a day, attends job fairs and networks with friends.

    “I do believe it will get better, and if it doesn’t, I will go to Ready Maid, any kind of day labor,” she said over a cup of coffee at a Loop cafe. “I will go to any length to find employment.”

  33. Felicia,

    {sadly shaking my head at the story you posted above}

    This is exactly why I keep beating the drum for AAs to develop additional income streams through entrepreneurship. Folks need to get it through their heads that the days of “good jobs” are OVER. Depending on the income from a SINGLE source is suicide.

    It’s interesting. At the previous blog, almost everytime I mentioned the need for AAs to develop side hustles and entrepreneurship somebody would write in to say that most AAs “can’t” do any of that. I hope more AAs are figuring out that they CAN’T afford not to. Best of all is to figure this out before one is laid off or downsized out of their “good job.”

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  34. rainebeaux says:

    Felicia, I remember that article all too well…sigh.

    Ultimately, the job was a poor fit, she said, and fearing termination, she opted for an early retirement.

    ^I’m trying to understand where the “poor fit” part comes in; even a vague definition would suffice. Now Ms. Mitchell, like numerous AAs, is just plain poor.

    Initially, I was unsure that entrepreneurship was for me. But as PioneerValleyWoman pointed out at the previous blog, everybody has to hustle. I just had an interesting thought–which every woman can ask herself, actually–and that is: what tangible or intangible resource(s) am I giving away or selling for peanuts? And how do I rearrange same to actually make a profit? not all can do hair, sing or play ball (I’m one of these people); I have such a hard time figuring out how I can profit by helping others (the light bulb isn’t coming on fast enough! Ugh.).

  35. Everybody,

    It occurred to me that the landlord thing probably sounds very mysterious to most AAs who have only been on the renter side of that equation. So, let me give the quick explanation from my point of view:

    It’s really not that “deep.” EVERYBODY who is making the transition from renting or staying at home with relatives into becoming a homeowner has the same opportunity and choice. You can:

    (1) Buy a single-family home that only takes money OUT of your pocket each month for the mortgage, etc; OR

    (2) buy an affordable 2 or 3-flat apartment building that puts other people’s money (rents) INTO your pocket each month; while you live in one of the units.

    The whole point of building additional income streams is to build multiple ways of getting other people’s money into YOUR pocket.

    As with most things in life, it’s a trade-off. The extra effort of being a landlord, and living in a multi-unit dwelling in exchange for the long-term economic gains of owning a piece of property that brings IN other people’s money. I’ve found that if you give the situation a LOT of forethought and planning, it’s not much more of a hassle than owning a house. As with everything else, you can talk to the landlords you know and there are books you can read about the topic.

    In a single-family house, you would still be making periodic repairs as the owner. And if you’re careful and cautious about the terms of the lease agreement (such as prohibiting folks from moving in other people who are not on the lease, etc.) and who you rent to, then you eliminate a lot of problems before they can begin.

    The other critical rule is to ONLY buy a building where you can afford to pay the mortgage even if there are NO tenants. That way, you’re not in trouble if the other units are empty for a while between tenants (or while you’re making renovations if that’s what you want to do). And you’re NOT dependent on the tenants.

    If you plan carefully, the basics of owning a small rental property are not much more complicated than those of owning a single-family house.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  36. Karen says:

    After reading these comments, it only confirms the trend that I have been witnessing over the last 25 years, too many AAs have been “sleeping on the job” and not paying attention to what was happening in the job market.

    If you are not continually developing and expanding your skill set to make sure that you can move laterally (as there are always few jobs at the top), you will find yourself quickly out of a job when times are hard and not able to relatively quickly find next job/opportunity.

    In addition, to Khadija’s comments, going into self-employment is another avenue which can buffer. HOWEVER, it must be based on providing value to the customer or <specifically that the customer believes that you are “indispensable” to their success.

    Too many AAs only clocked in instead of making themselves indispensable. By not doing this, they became easily expendable.

    Developing other income streams is no longer an option but a necessary way of life in the coming years. We have rentals too. As a side note, small rentals are always easier to rent than big apartments. In tough economic times, there will always be a greater demand for “affordable” rentals.

  37. Karen,

    You said, “After reading these comments, it only confirms the trend that I have been witnessing over the last 25 years, too many AAs have been “sleeping on the job” and not paying attention to what was happening in the job market.”

    Regarding financial survival issues, I think that in addition to being asleep at the wheel, most AAs are literally addicted to NOT assuming any responsibility for themselves. We’re still in that plantation mindset of “driver man, quitting time, and Massa’s gonna feed us.” It never occurs naturally to most of us to seek ownership and control over anything. In part, because there’s more responsibility involved in being the owner of something.

    The other part is that AAs have grown complacent with looking to Whites to create things (such as jobs) and “do” for us. AAs are an extremely dependent group of people.

    Many of us refuse to work toward any level of economic independence even as Whites have been letting us know that they’re unwilling or unable to continue making provisions for us anymore. This has been the underlying message of the past 2 DECADES of lay-offs and sending various jobs overseas. But most of us have refused to listen or catch the hint.

    If White Americans are having problems keeping their own people employed, what in the world do the masses of AAs think they’re going to do for us? Except watch us flounder and starve. Meanwhile, most AAs do nothing except continue our tradition of crying out to Massa to “do” for us.

    Those days of Massa responding to our cries of pain and protest are OVER.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  38. sistrunkqueen says:

    Khadija
    This is so true. Blacks are too dependent on whites and 9-5 jobs. We need to be more independent and create our own businesses. For example, my sister opened up a weave shop 4 months ago in Macon. She is making what she did in her last job at a local hospital. She and her biz partner opened the shop in area/city that was not saturated with hair salons or weave shops. She is there twice a week.They are doing well. I am so proud of her she was always a hustler LOL!
    I remember about 10 years ago a prominent black judge gave an interview about the lack of black lawyers in rural Georgia. He was advising young black attorneys to open practices in some of the small or medium cities because so many blacks need good representation. There was some backlash. These black attorneys wanted to chase the same clientele in Atlanta. Some were hoping for one famous black celebrity client to get some Hollywood money. They all wanted to be on top of each other. The judge was on a higher court in Ga, but he had his ear to the ground. These simpletons could have opened successful practices not only getting black money, but now Hispanic too. Tens of thousands of Hispanics are now in these areas. They need legal reps too. If only two followed his advise those two would have been millionaires now.

    • Sistrunkqueen,

      That nonsense regarding the Black lawyers you mentioned shows that many AA professionals ALSO have the “win the lottery” mentality. Most AAs will do anything and everything except the often-dull and generally unsexy work of building a solid infrastructure.

      Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  39. For those who didn’t see my reply to YMB above (sometimes this “reply” function causes comments to get buried several layers deep and missed):

    YMB,

    Yes, I’ve heard similar horror stories from other Black landlords. Much of this gets back to the unique (in a bad way) business terrain that exists for Black business owners, which was discussed at length at the previous blog.

    From my point of view, here’s the quick post-mortem on your experience.

    (1) Rule #1: DON’T buy a rental property in a Black residential area unless you’re prepared to be secretive about the fact that you own it/it’s Black-owned. If you buy in a Black area, you’ll need a White man to pretend to be the owner and/or property manager. If you, as a Black owner, live on the property it’s IMPERATIVE that you pretend to be just another tenant. If the tenants are directing their service phone calls/requests about repairs, etc. to you—tell them that you’re handling the service calls for the (fake WM building owner) in exchange for a discount on your rent. As with everything else, AA tenants act crazier with Black landlords, Black business owners than they do with White ones.

    Rule #2: DON’T co-own rental property with anybody who’s not on the EXACT same page as you when it comes to handling problem tenants. This needs to be thoroughly discussed before buying anything together.

    Rule #3: Evict problem tenants as soon as humanly possible. A tenant who blows off one part of the lease agreement will go on to violate other parts of the lease agreement. It’s just a matter of time. The other thing is that when you let one tenant ignore the lease agreement, that sends the signal to the other tenants that you’ll tolerate them ignoring the lease agreement.

    The bottom line is that Black business owners will face disaster unless they factor in the uniquely adverse business terrain that exists for them (and them alone).

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  40. Magenta says:

    Wow, many of the comments were just the jolt that I needed to “set up my infrastructure” as Khadija puts it. I also learned the hard way when my “good job” was eliminated and I almost lost my apt. as a result. Fortunately I already had a bartending license from a few yeas back, and I was able to get bartending gigs while I got back on my feet. I am still not completely rebounded yet, but I am working on getting as many income streams together as possible. In addition to bartending, and working at my new job I am looking into working as a virtual assistant and hopefully picking up some clients. I figure all those years of toiling at administrative jobs must have taught me something! BW actually have a lot of skills and knowledge in things that we take for granted (admin work, child care, hairstyling, cooking etc.) or worse, give away for free!!! We can turn these talents into income generating opportunities. I also in the future would like to purchase a home (that dream will have to be deferred for a while) and rent out a room.

    As far as the “BW moves in and shortly after moves in her boyfriend” dynamic, it is now getting so bad that I have heard stories of Black female college students secretly moving their boyfriends in their dorms!!! Not only is this incredibly stupid (the girl risks getting her on-campus housing revoked or getting thrown out of school entirely), but it is downright dangerous. What happens if a young girl who thinks she is safe ends up being raped by some guy whose girlfriend let him on campus? What happens when another Chanequa Campbell type situation takes place? I remember her complaining about being thrown out of school (which you discussed at your other blog), she is lucky that she was not charged as an accomplice to murder. It frustrates me because this kind of foolish behavior will result in the already small safety net for black women and girls to shrink further. What will happen when deserving BW are denied housing/social services/college admission because they are viewed as a security risk who lets their abusive/drug dealing/sex offender boyfriend or babydaddy come in and destroy the environment?

  41. Magenta,

    You said, “Fortunately I already had a bartending license from a few yeas back, and I was able to get bartending gigs while I got back on my feet.”

    That was very wise of you to get that license. Bartending is an “evergreen” sort of thing: Folks will always be ordering drinks in restaurants and bars no matter what’s happening with the economy.

    You said, “BW actually have a lot of skills and knowledge in things that we take for granted (admin work, child care, hairstyling, cooking etc.) or worse, give away for free!!! We can turn these talents into income generating opportunities.”

    This is true! More of us just have to develop the mindset to be able to see these opportunities. Too many AAs are passively waiting for somebody to take us by the hand and tell us step-by-step “do blah-blah.” That’s generally not how it works, at least not for AAs. For a variety of self-inflicted reasons, AAs don’t have that sort of mentoring infrastructure that so many others have.

    AAs will have to ACTIVELY seek out opportunities and information. I’m reminded of something that a White ethnic (Jewish) colleague told me: “There’s a carousel of money flying around in a circle above working people’s heads. You just have to reach up and grab some of that money. Most working people never look up. They spend their entire lives looking down at all their bills.”

    I’ve mentioned them before at the previous blog, let me repeat it here: There’s a “cake lady” that comes through the hair salon that I go to. She sells homemade, warm slices of cake to the patrons. A coworker’s mother has a side business of selling homemade cookies. I’ve observed that, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, folks are very eager to buy homemade desserts.

    You said, “As far as the “BW moves in and shortly after moves in her boyfriend” dynamic, it is now getting so bad that I have heard stories of Black female college students secretly moving their boyfriends in their dorms!!!”

    Lord have mercy. And there’s NOBODY to blame for this particular behavior except these foolish young women.

    You said, “…It frustrates me because this kind of foolish behavior will result in the already small safety net for black women and girls to shrink further. What will happen when deserving BW are denied housing/social services/college admission because they are viewed as a security risk who lets their abusive/drug dealing/sex offender boyfriend or babydaddy come in and destroy the environment?”

    Well, that’s exactly where all of this is headed. As I said when discussing the Chanequa Campbell incident at the previous blog, what will happen is that universities will increasingly use foreign Black students for their “diversity” slots and scholarships. And stop dealing with prospective AA students altogether. Too many AA students carry far too much “baggage.” And these universities have a duty to keep their campuses safe.

    Quiet as it’s kept, these universities know that the average African girl is NOT going to move some Negro up into her dorm room.

    AAs hate to hear this, but profiles get started for a reason. And the profile that many of us are establishing in the public mind for AA women is HORRIBLE. I firmly believe that sane and decent AA women need to have a VISIBLE SEPARATION from the type of AA woman who moves Negroes into her dorm room, and sneaks Negroes into her apartment in violation of the lease. BF college students who move males into their dorm rooms need to be expelled. Period.

    ***Addition to the above*** I forgot to mention the interesting discussion over at one of my favorite blogs about possible products and services to meet the neeeds of (newly) permanently unemployed consumers. Unlike the “traditional” no-working market of voluntary-permanent welfare recipients, downsized former employees (who want to be productive people) are an underserved market. http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2010/02/products-and-services-for-permanently.html

    Which just goes to show that there are always some sort of opportunities to be found.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.