The Art Of Stealth, Part 1: Sometimes When People Hate You . . . They Join You

Welcome to the first episode of The Art of Stealth. The purpose of this series is to learn and master the strategies that others have used to get ahead. It’s intended to serve as part of a 21st century “mirror” for sojourners. The “mirror for princes” genre was a type of political writing that was very popular during the European Renaissance of the 14th through 17th centuries. These books taught rulers how to behave in order to avoid having reigns that were violent, tragic, and most of all, short. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli is the most famous example of this genre. The Art of Worldly Wisdom by Balthasar Gracian is another popular example of this genre. Currently, these books are mostly read as a form of self-help literature. Most African-Americans havenever heard of them. This is a pity. This lack of knowledge makes us vulnerable. Vulnerable to hype, and vulnerable to the wiles of others who are familiar with the wisdom contained in these books.

OTHER PEOPLE KNOW AND EXPLOIT AFRICAN-AMERICANS’ EMOTIONAL ‘THUMBSCREWS’

From Balthasar Gracian’s Art of Worldly Wisdom,

26. Find out each person’s thumbscrew. This is the art of setting their wills in action. It needs more skill than resolution. You must know where to get at any one. Every volition has a special motive that varies according to taste. All people idolize something; for some it is fame, for others self-interest, for most it is pleasure. Skill consists in knowing these idols in order to bring them into play. Know a person’s mainspring of motive and you have as it were the key to his will. Have resort to primary motives, which are not always the highest but more often the lowest part of his nature because there are more dispositions badly organized than well. First guess a person’s ruling passion, appeal to it with words, set it in motion by temptation, and you will always checkmate his freedom of will.

Part of the reason African-Americans are so easily manipulated and exploited by others is because they know our emotional thumbscrews. We tend to wear them on our sleeves. They know that most African-Americans lack racial or ethnic self-respect. They know that most of us are desperate for validation from outsiders. They also know that we are a child-like, gullible people who assume that every smiling face is a friend. We don’t understand that an enemy is actually being kind by remaining aloof and openly showing hostility. We’ve never learned that the most dangerous and vicious enemy is the one who smiles in your face and joins you.

Generations of other people have consistently made the rational choice to use our vulnerabilities to their advantage. Over the decades, many other ethnic groups have successfully manipulated African-Americans. Some of them did it to ensure that we never became competitive with them. One example of this was the control that a series of Jewish-Americans exercised over the NAACP. Other groups did it so they could ride our civil rights coattails to advance their own interests. Examples of this include Latinos of all races, and various other groups of foreign-origin Blacks. We can learn from these other people and the strategies they used.

THE NAACP EXAMPLE

During an earlier conversation, I mentioned the following about the NAACP and other examples,

We already know there’s NO reciprocity. Non-African-American Blacks don’t allow African-Americans (AAs) to preside over their ethnic political organizations, or control anything they truly care about. We also know that non-Blacks don’t allow AAs to have command and control over their ethnic organizations. They certainly never do like the decades of AAs who watched White men (specifically Jewish men like Kivie Kaplan who served as NAACP president from 1966-1975) sit in the role of NAACP president until the 1970s. From Wikipedia,

The NAACP was incorporated a year later in 1911. The association’s charter delineated its mission:

To promote equality of rights and to eradicate caste or race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for the children, employment according to their ability and complete equality before law.

The conference resulted in a more influential and diverse organization, where the leadership was predominantly white and heavily Jewish American. In fact, at its founding, the NAACP had only one African American on its executive board, Du Bois himself. It did not elect a black president until 1975, although executive directors had been African American. (emphasis added) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NAACP

It’s only AAs who are stupid enough to give other people command and control over their political and organizational “nuclear codes.” We know this.

But here’s another question we need to start asking about the various rivals/enemies who “kill us softly” by joining us: Could these Africans have set up these outposts in US universities (continental African studies masquerading as African-American studies programs) without pimping AAs? I think the general answer is “No.”

It seems to me that these African Studies programs got their stuff recognized under the cover of AA students and communities agitating for African-American studies programs.

This is a critical question that we need to start asking about the non-AAs who come among us—what are they looking to gain from joining us that they CAN’T get—or can’t get as easily—on their own?

For example, like I said in an earlier comment, Telemundo and Univision are not checking for Black Latina actresses like Zoe Saldana or Gina Torres. So, if these Black Latina women had to depend solely on finding roles among their own Latino peeps, they would be S-O-L. The few times, recent and past, that I’ve glanced at Spanish-language tv, I’ve noticed that they tend to have the Whitest people among them on those programs.

And then on the political and movement tip, some of these other types of Black folks want to come among and rule over AAs, when they can’t command the same sort of following among their own people. Do non-Black Latinos follow the leadership of Black Latinos?

THE BLACK STUDENT UNION EXAMPLES

A reader named KM remarked,

. . . I just came to that realization recently as I was being bombarded by emails for the “Black College Reunion” for my university and memories of the Sankofas/Black Student Union/etc. meetings. Africans/Afro-Caribbeans/Afro-Latinos were rife in leading the BSU but no AAs were allowed to even think of leading the African Student Union, Caribbean Student Union, Latino Caucus, etc.

AAs are powerful enough still (even though the power base is eroded every day by the BC’s embrace of the depraved) where for Africans and other Black non-AAs, it’s best to work your agenda cloaked under togetherness BS with AAs until you have what you want. Then, its time to shake off the AAs (like Latinos are doing) and go for self while leaving AAs in the dust.

I smelled the coffee about BM and stopped being involved almost a decade ago, yet, I’m still learning things that I never thought existed as my eyes have been awakened by BWE.

IN OUR UNDYING GRATITUDE FOR OUTSIDERS’ SMILING FACES AND PRETENSE AT JOINING US, AFRICAN-AMERICANS HAPPILY SERVE AS GUARD DOGS FOR THEIR INTERESTS

Joining African-Americans to exploit us and our resources is only the 101-level of this strategy. The more advanced level is for an outsider to praise the African-American dupes who serve as guard dogs protecting the interests of that outsider’s group. The outsider doesn’t have to actually offer reciprocity in exchange for this sort of support. All they need to do is periodically give lip service in support of an imaginary “alliance” with African-Americans. The African-American guard dogs will forever more fight other African-Americans on behalf of that outsider and their ethnic group.

I thought of this while reading a couple of readers’ comments from a recent post. YMB said,

It’s a shame that the majority of AA women are so concerned with being inclusive and fair to others that they’ve become willing accomplices in pushing themselves to the sidelines, except for when it comes to depictions of the obese, the ignorant, the depraved, or the freakish. When desirable images of BW are presented, the majority of the time it is biracial and/or Latina women being shown. I have seen plenty of loud, déclassé, overweight, and unattractive mixed race women, yet none of those women get tapped to fill such roles in cinema or TV.

…I wanted to add that this last aspect was on my mind after reading another article on the site where that article about GB’s Elle cover was originally posted. The gist of the article was basically to take BW readers to task for questioning the website’s prominently featuring biracial/multiracial and latina women like Zoe Saldana when the target audience is black women.

. . . It is now so easy for me to see through the standard “hating on/jealous” and “we must be inclusive” bullpucky arguments.

Later on, Magenta said,

I saw the “we must be inclusive/we are all women of color in this together/mixed chicks and afro-latinas are black too, stop being jealous of us!” nonsense in the discussion YMB is alluding to and I just laughed. While it is not funny, I am just shocked at how some people are still buying into this multiculturalism farce. The multicultural rainbow girls are like clockwork, beating BW over the head with this “women of color” mess when they want street cred, a black acting role, or are on the prowl for a BM to hook up with. And there are still confused BW running to their defense, lecturing others about inclusion??? To call them out on their opportunistic behavior is somehow “divisive”?

To be honest I can’t blame the rainbow girls. They are just doing what is necessary to stay at the top of the pecking order. Can you imagine what would happen if all the monoracial, “plain”, “regular-looking” BW found their self worthand woke up? These “women of color” don’t want that kind of competition. Again, I am not mad at them. I just want us to be just as shrewd as they are and stop being so naive.

LEARN FROM THE “RAINBOW GIRLS.” LEARN THE ART OF STEALTH

As I’ve said during earlier conversations, this isn’t about these other people. It’s about African-American women learning how to better protect and advance their own interests. There’s a lot that we can learn from these other people. We’ll talk about this in detail during future posts in this series. But I’ll briefly mention the main take-away points for today:

  • African-American women tend to be much too direct in their approach to various situations. It’s easier to shoot down a bird who flies in a straight line.
  • Women from other ethnic groups are not raised to engage in direct, open conflict. They’re taught to fight indirectly by using other people as weapons. They’re also taught to get things indirectly, especially through men. This way, they preserve their image as feminine, desirable women. As opposed to looking like workhorses and mules who have to scramble, hunt and peck for everything.
  • The direct, “smash and grab” approach to getting things usually stirs up resentment and resistance. It’s better to position yourself so that other people get things for you, and bring them to you. One example is to join other people who are “smashing and grabbing,” sit back, and let them bring the spoils of their struggles to you. This is how other women of color reap the benefits of African-American women’s penchant for Sister Soldiering. They sit back and maintain their feminine posture while the mulish, mannish, Sister Soldiers smash and grab. The Sister Soldiers take all the hits to their image, and the non-African-American women of color reap the benefits that the Sister Soldiers happily share with them.

Tagged as: 

61 Responses to “The Art Of Stealth, Part 1: Sometimes When People Hate You . . . They Join You”

  1. Evia says:

    Khadija, these are pearls of wisdom, for sure! That being said, I’m not sure whether the heart of this post is aimed mainly at individual AA women or AA women as a group or both.

    However, I would really like to get bare bones raw here about some aspects of this–especially since I would imagine that we’re dealing mostly with “new school” black women in the readership. I hope no one thinks I’m romanticizing AA “old school” philosophy when I mention “new school” though. The fact is that “old school” thinking was riddled with some real monsters. For one thing, it tolerated, petted, and even revered the colorism monster. That’s a real BAD boy! I’ve noticed all of my life that many AAs who might fuss about colorism still love the actual skin shade and hair of light, bright, white folks and think it’s intrinsically prettier or “better.”

    Until that kind of thinking can be pulled out by the root, ethnic pride is going to take a back seat. The fact is that many AA women do NOT like the way they look–due to the Euro tastes of AA and other bm in women. This is the main reason why I try to break that stranglehold that AA men have on AA women. If an AA woman is among Hispanic, Asian, and white women knowing that the typical AA man would like for her to look more like those women, it’s going to be very tough for her to show her ethnic pride around them. In trying to do so, many AA women seem abrasive in certain settings; she’s fighting internal demons.

    When you talk about ethnic pride and ethnic self-respect that some AA women lack, IMO it all goes back to the RUCOSS (reasonably uplifting culture of some sort) that AAs do NOT have these days. I keep beating that drum because I know that it’s at the core of a lot that ails AAs as a group and therefore as individuals.

    If you don’t mind, I’ll play devil’s advocate here and if you do mind, just don’t post this comment.

    Let’s just say, I’m the typical AA woman under 35 and I’m therefore “new school” due to no choice of my own. Most likely, I don’t have ethnic pride at all or not much, but I don’t ever admit this to the next AA person (because I’d be accused of loving white folks since AAs don’t accept anything in between). So I fake my “black”ness by “acting black.” I don’t even know what it exactly means to be “black.” So I strut around pretending to be proud of my blackness by behaving like a member of the ABCs–like a Mo’Nique caricature. And all of my AA female peers do the same.

    The only thing is that I don’t clearly know I’m faking it since it’s the “norm” to behave this way. But I do know I feel empty and unworthwhile and I know deep down inside that I don’t feel proud about my ethnicity. What does AA even mean–aside from words? A name?

    The ABCs (my norm group) have no uplifting substance to offer me, so I gravitate and embrace that which women from other groups use–the surface things that I SEE women in other groups using (hair, nails, sex, clothes, handbags, cosmetics, etc.). On top of this, I see that know-nothing, self-hating negro men gravitate towards those women and since I’ve never been taught to avoid self-haters–women or men–or taught what a quality man is or how to secure one, practically any negro man is better than no man at all. Also, another reason I don’t avoid self-hating negro men or women is because I don’t know what exactly there is about AA-ness or myself to love. I certainly don’t know what there is about AA womanhood there is that I should even try to strategize to protect.

    So why should I avoid these others who lack pride? What exactly should I be looking for, in terms of friends or mates? AAs have no common, consistent message that has presented and reinforced the AA aesthetic–the beauty, the value of AA-ness nor the life-sustaning aspects of AA-ness in any realm.

    Stay with me here. Remember I’m still inside this young woman’s mind. LOL!

    (Continuing as the typical new schooler) The main reason why I gravitate towards these others is because I do NOT really believe that “AA-ness is beautiful” and if so, then definitely not the AAs on any level that I’ve been around–aside from maybe a very tiny number of AA individuals. Down deep inside, I do not trust AAs in general. AAs don’t do practically anything INTELLIGENT to help each other consistently like say Hispanics, Asians, whites or even like those clannish Africans. I believe that the vast majority of AAs (men and women) are users, abusers, jealous, malicious crabs, etc. and virtually none of them reciprocate.

    So I don’t really particularly like them. My ethnicity has been forced on me. This is why I so quickly reach towards others and try to be accepted by one of these others–IF they will have me. But I can never admit this to other AAs because they would pounce on me.

    I read where you, Evia (LOL), Halima, CW and others are telling bw that we are beautiful and deserving, and ought to feel ethnic pride, but y’all don’t ever explain what exactly it is–these days–about AAs that is beautiful and worthwhile.

    Y’all have not SOLD me on the value of the AA product or stock because you have not explained why it’s so good or why it’s equal to others, but I can’t say that because that would reveal my lack of ethnic pride. You’d call me a self-hater. So I remain quiet, but when I’m with other groups of women who actually have and SHOW their ethnic pride, I don’t stand a chance since–I do not know WHY I should be proud of my AA-ness. Their showing their own ethnic pride, however, makes me wish I could be one of them because it enables them to be so much more successful in life.

    (Back to speaking as Evia)

    (Sigh)I get all kinds of questions and notes that say the above in all kinds of ways and I hear this as subtext in my offline life too–in most conversations that I have with AAs or even discussions I hear. Let’s face it, if anonymous ones of us have to teach these basics about ethnic pride on the internet, then what exactly is the VALUE of AA-ness? Other groups I’ve mingled with and live among (whites and Africans) do not leave it up to the internet to teach the supreme VALUE of the basics about life/ethnic pride to their folks.

    Knowing why this has happened doesn’t negate the fact that it has happened. Thankfully, I learned enough ethnic pride from my old illiterate relatives down south and from my readings. As I go out and mingle with groups of younger AA women, I consider myself SO FORTUNATE!

    Other groups show their ethnic pride amongst themselves by transmitting VALUE to each other when at all possible. They do this on a consistent basis because it’s of paramount importance to the vast majority of them to survive and thrive as a group.

    Trust me. I know the many, many ways that the whites and Nigerians I’m live among and around transmit VALUE to each other. They don’t do it haphazardly. They do it consistently and they do it through a cultural structure. Until AAs erect a RUCOSS structure that will enable them to transmit VALUE to each other consistently, the lack of pride and downslide of AAs will continue. No person is worth anything to any of us IF they’re not ADDING Value to our lives, and none of us reading this is worth anything to the next person or not for long–if we don’t ACTIVELY add value to their lives in one way or another.

  2. Evia,

    Thanks for helping this conversation get to the nitty-gritty right away! 🙂

    You said, “That being said, I’m not sure whether the heart of this post is aimed mainly at individual AA women or AA women as a group or both.”

    It’s aimed at any AA woman who wants to be a sojourner. Being a sojourner takes work—much of it is inner, mental work. Anybody who is serious about walking the sojourner path is willing to work on themselves.

    You said, “I hope no one thinks I’m romanticizing AA “old school” philosophy when I mention “new school” though. The fact is that “old school” thinking was riddled with some real monsters. For one thing, it tolerated, petted, and even revered the colorism monster. That’s a real BAD boy! I’ve noticed all of my life that many AAs who might fuss about colorism still love the actual skin shade and hair of light, bright, white folks and think it’s intrinsically prettier or “better.”

    Oh no, I don’t romanticize “old school” AA culture either. It was riddled with some straight-up demons, such as the colorism demon.

    You said, “Until that kind of thinking can be pulled out by the root, ethnic pride is going to take a back seat.”

    I agree. That’s why I keep talking about this topic. The first step to yanking this filth out by the root is to acknowledge that there’s a problem in the first place. A large part of this problem is that AAs have developed a totally FALSE patter surrounding colorism. At least in the past, we told the truth about what we were doing. From one of our past popular sayings:

    “If you’re White, you’re allright;
    If you’re yellow, you’re mellow;
    If you’re brown, stick around;
    If you’re Black, get back!”

    Now, we’ve developed a series of lies to explain away the SAME colorist behavior that we’ve always engaged in: New-fangled dishonest terms like so-called “biracial,” new-fangled lies to cover up our true motives such as “I’m just celebrating all of who I am/all of my heritage”, yadda, yadda, yadda. Nobody is fooled by this cr*p. Our colorist behavior is the same—actually it has escalated. Our motives are the same. Despite the new-fangled lies and excuses that we give for this behavior.

    So, the first step is to admit that there’s a problem.

    Also, I totally agree with your assessment of what’s going through a lot of “new school” AA women’s minds. I’ve also noticed that same undercurrent to much of what they say and do.

    While speaking in this “new school” AA woman’s voice you said,

    I read where you, Evia (LOL), Halima, CW and others are telling bw that we are beautiful and deserving, and ought to feel ethnic pride, but y’all don’t ever explain what exactly it is–these days–about AAs that is beautiful and worthwhile.

    Y’all have not SOLD me on the value of the AA product or stock because you have not explained why it’s so good or why it’s equal to others, but I can’t say that because that would reveal my lack of ethnic pride. You’d call me a self-hater. So I remain quiet, but when I’m with other groups of women who actually have and SHOW their ethnic pride, I don’t stand a chance since–I do not know WHY I should be proud of my AA-ness. Their showing their own ethnic pride, however, makes me wish I could be one of them because it enables them to be so much more successful in life.

    My answer to that “new school” AA woman: I can’t—and I’m not trying to—“sell” anybody on their OWN value. Like freedom, that’s something that each woman must want for herself. Either you want to be free and are willing to work for freedom, or you’re not. Either you want to feel ethnic self-respect and are willing to work through the issues tied up into that, or not.

    I can’t want freedom or ethnic self-respect for you. I can’t create freedom or ethnic self-respect for you. You have to work to create these things for yourself.

    What I can—and have been doing—is to help provide some tools you can use to create freedom and ethnic self-respect for yourself. The tools are here and at other BWE blogs, if you’re willing to pick them up and use them. I gave some of the tools during a post at the previous blog when I said,

    I’m saying all of this to say that nature abhors a vacuum. You CANNOT successfully walk the sojourner’s path while trying to be an ethnicity-neutral, blank slate. You will end up as a refugee.

    The world is filled with others who have at least some semblance of ethnic self-respect and pride. Whenever “nothing” encounters “something,” the “nothing” loses out! If you try to travel among others as a “blank slate,” you will lose out.

    As sojourners we need to honestly work through the following questions because the answers we find determine the fate of our individual journeys and the path itself:

    1. Do you feel good about being an African-American woman?

    2. If not, are you going to look into your family history and our people’s collective history to FIND reasons to feel good about being an African-American woman? If we search, we will find something and somebody within our family tree to be proud of. I’m not talking about “history book” types of achievements. I’m talking about the wisdom, perseverance, and courage that our forebears had. If at least several somebodies within your personal family tree didn’t have those qualities, then they wouldn’t have survived. And you wouldn’t be here.

    I’ll be blunt. A lot of times, we try to do things the lazy way. The “business as usual” way. Well, the sojourner’s path does NOT work like that. You’re going to have to make an effort, go out of your way, and do some internal work if you want to travel the path successfully.

    African-Americans are so vulnerable to becoming refugees because we generally don’t make the effort to find out about our OWN proud history and true culture.

    3. Do you understand that Hip Hop Crack House culture is NOT African-American culture? If Hip Hop Crack House culture and Acting Black are all you know, are you willing to find out who we were before that madness started to spread? Are you willing to walk in dignity with the best of African-American culture?

    http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/05/sojourners-meeting-1-first-love.html

    You said, “Let’s face it, if anonymous ones of us have to teach these basics about ethnic pride on the internet, then what exactly is the VALUE of AA-ness? Other groups I’ve mingled with and live among (whites and Africans) do not leave it up to the internet to teach the supreme VALUE of the basics about life/ethnic pride to their folks.”

    As you know, there’s no comparison between our collective circumstances and those of other people. Other people have not been subjected to the circumstances that we’ve been subjected to. In fact, most other people who have faced only a fraction of what AAs were subjected to are literally extinct. How many separate Native American nations of people no longer exist at all?

    As far as I’m concerned, the value of AA-ness remains for me as long as I’m alive. I don’t care if I’m the “Last Mohican.” I will still proclaim the truth about the value of my own people. Other AAs can continue to curl up and die if they want to. God respects free will and so do I. I reject “curling up and dying,” and I reject buying into the notion that MY heritage has no value worth preserving.

    You said, “Knowing why this has happened doesn’t negate the fact that it has happened. Thankfully, I learned enough ethnic pride from my old illiterate relatives down south and from my readings. As I go out and mingle with groups of younger AA women, I consider myself SO FORTUNATE!”

    I’m also very thankful for the ethnic pride I learned from my uneducated, older relatives who grew up in the slums on the South Side of Chicago. They didn’t raise folks to feel “less than” anybody else.

    You said, “Trust me. I know the many, many ways that the whites and Nigerians I’m live among and around transmit VALUE to each other. They don’t do it haphazardly. They do it consistently and they do it through a cultural structure. Until AAs erect a RUCOSS structure that will enable them to transmit VALUE to each other consistently, the lack of pride and downslide of AAs will continue.”

    Well, a couple of thoughts in response. You know—like I know—that there’s no collective will to do anything among modern-day AAs. So, you know—like I know—that modern-day AAs are not going to “erect a RUCOSS structure that will enable them to transmit VALUE to each other consistently…”

    Knowing that, the question becomes, “Now what?” My answer to the “now what?” question is to disseminate the inner work tools so that individual aspiring sojourners can create freedom and ethnic self-respect for themselves. I believe that the basic model used by Muslim activists in the Muslim world can be applied in this context: Lasting change comes from individual people doing the inner work to make enduring changes in their own lives. Change comes one person, one life at a time.

    The “one life at a time” process also tends to have a slow but expanding ripple effect. The people around the person who has made changes and found victory tend to want the same victory for themselves. So, even if they don’t admit this is what they’re doing, they begin to imitate the moves made by the person who found victory.

    I believe that there’s no quick fix. There won’t be any effective pep rallies, and so on. Since the Million Man March was unable to create lasting change, to me this shows that the mass movement, “We’re all going to come together to create a RUCOSS and do blah-blah else” approach won’t work for this particular problem. That approach can and has worked when dealing with externally-generated problems (it worked during the civil rights movement). But I don’t think it works very well for internal problems.

    Expect Success!

    • Aisha says:

      Khadija said:

      “The “one life at a time” process also tends to have a slow but expanding ripple effect. The people around the person who has made changes and found victory tend to want the same victory for themselves. So, even if they don’t admit this is what they’re doing, they begin to imitate the moves made by the person who found victory.”

      Thanks for pointing this out Khadija. I can’t find the exact quote, but I read somewhere that it only takes a small percentage of people to change the world. Once a certain number of people are (powerfully) on board with an idea, the balance tips in their favor.

      So all any individual Black woman can do is live the best life possible, and there will come a point where large numbers of Black women will see the benefits and do the same. I think we are just about at that tipping point.

    • Rcoleman says:

      2. If not, are you going to look into your family history and our people’s collective history to FIND reasons to feel good about being an African-American woman? If we search, we will find something and somebody within our family tree to be proud of. I’m not talking about “history book” types of achievements. I’m talking about the wisdom, perseverance, and courage that our forebears had. If at least several somebodies within your personal family tree didn’t have those qualities, then they wouldn’t have survived. And you wouldn’t be here.

      Straight up truth!

      As I may have mentioned in an earlier post a few weeks back, I have been continuing my years long genealogy work. I have been fortunate enough to find a huge paper trail demonstrating the resiliency and pride of my family. On the other side of that coin I also saw where and why the disconnect took place.

      Unbeknown to me I had already began to reconnect to the values of what we had decades ago and began to question and change my path of continuing the disconnect that was passed to me, before getting as far as I have doing my research. Doing the genealogy gave me insight of what and why.

      I have spoken at length to both friends and family members and although they show a keen interest there is also a fear that is palpable that prevents them from seeking the truth out for themselves. It’s like they already know what has happened but they wish to think about it abstractly because they know that to actually start doing the work would mean to actually start finding the source of whatever dysfunction that belies them and their families.

      It would also mean that they would have to also look at the contexts and issues of those eras and come to the possible conclusion that not all of us has “Indian in our family”. I have ran into this particular issue within my own family and thanks to Genealogical DNA testing now-a-days, not only turned that “myth” upside down but have actually have family members refuse to do one themselves because of fear of finding out the truth.

      There is no excuse now to not find out and confirm who you really are, and that which proves the resiliency of your own heritage. Yes…it may be painful and you will have to process that pain and anger but let that be the catalyst to continue the accomplishments of your ancestors. For they too accomplished much despite their own pain and injustice to them.

      Since I have been doing this work, my interactions with various people have markedly changed for the better. Not that they were not fine before (because I was still dealing with BS daily) but when people find that you know your history (and you carry yourself accordingly) there is something that you can’t quite put your finger on to describe it but it is there.

      • Robynne says:

        I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly. You are much more self assured and confident once you really know your history – of your individual family and that of your ethnicity. It is a very uplifting thing. I, along with a cousin of mine in the UK (most of my mother’s family live there) are doing research into our background as well. It should be interesting to see the things we come up with. Thanks for this comment.

  3. Lynn says:

    IMO, I think the internet is a great way to begin to add value to BW on a national level with these discussions. Since I’m technically considered “new school” (I’m 35), I would say the BWE blogs have added priceless value to my life. If used the right way, as in conjunction with considering and applying the numerous suggestions that are posted, continuing self improvement by reading suggested material, I enhance and expound the many nuances and deeper metamessages that are here for us all to see.

    The trick is not to get stuck in the rut of just using these forums for venting only. That is what I seem to pick up that some readers are continually focused on. Venting with no actions to change your circumstances will get you nowhere.

    I want to let the audience know tha I have been following the majority of these suggestions for the last couple of years. One of the things I want to point out is that changing your behavior will be difficult and EVERYONE will be against you, with the exception of a small group of BWE followers. EVERYONE has something to gain in the current status quo, with BW being on the bottom. That is why it is even more important to start with, and continually shore up the basic foundation of a healthy psych–ethnic self-respect. It will not be easy, and since 98% of the world is against BW upliftment, it has to happen on a continual basis. It will also be hard at first to live and act in your own self interest, but soon it becomes automatic to avoid people, places, media, etc. that is damaging. You have to have the fortitude to plow through the initial resistance, and pretty soon it will roll of your back like water on a duct.

    This is my humble opinion on the subject. I think a lot of woman may initiate BWE actions, but get discourage when the “resistance” reactions of people start. The fact is it will come from EVERYONE, from your girlfriends, men who love drama, and other ethnic groups as they try to goad BW into behaving coarsely in public. As you grow and evolve, you will begin to recognized these stigmitizing and debilitating acts for what they are. BW must learn to think empowerment in every situation before they react to it.

    • DeStouet says:

      Lynn said, “This is my humble opinion on the subject. I think a lot of woman may initiate BWE actions, but get discourage when the “resistance” reactions of people start. The fact is it will come from EVERYONE, from your girlfriends, men who love drama, and other ethnic groups as they try to goad BW into behaving coarsely in public. As you grow and evolve, you will begin to recognized these stigmitizing and debilitating acts for what they are. BW must learn to think empowerment in every situation before they react to it.”

      What I found is that when you FIRST begin to empower yourself, you are going to have to do it alone. It’s foolish to think that you are going to suddenly have the support of people who you were once socializing with. You’re not.

      If you’re trying to develop a healthy psych, please be prepared to go at alone for a looooong time. It’s impossible to do the necessary amount of introspection that is involved when dealing with some of these issues, and still expect to be able to relate to other people: girlfriends, cousins, parents, whoever. Because there is a paradigm shift going on internally with you, that is NOT occurring in the minds of others.

      • Aisha says:

        “Because there is a paradigm shift going on internally with you, that is NOT occurring in the minds of others.”

        Yes, and they will either change with you or disappear!

  4. tertiaryanna says:

    “# African-American women tend to be much too direct in their approach to various situations. It’s easier to shoot down a bird who flies in a straight line.”

    Assertive vs. Aggressive and learning to pick and choose your battles are very important life lessons.

    Lately, I’ve been thinking about how we model our styles of interaction based on our past relationships. A person in a toxic or non-fulfilling interaction will eventually normalize it, and then develop toxic skills in order to cope.

    I think that when BW are put in situations where they aren’t expecting to get support, it encourages being aggressive. Another reason to leave situations where you know you are defenseless, and non-reciprocal relationships in general: you’re being taught bad habits.

    I think that might also tie into knowing which issues are worth fighting for. If a person doesn’t expect to be heard, or have her wishes met, I think it creates a “scarcity mentality” where every little chance to prove herself has to be taken. It’s harder to let things go, because that little bit of “winning” is so much more than the person thinks they’re capable of getting. It’s like, taking the Phyrric victory because that’s the best you can do for yourself.

    I’ve been reading a lot of books on communication skills. I think the ones geared to business and marriage are the best so far, because they relate to discussion between peers and superiors. It’s important to be able to stand up for yourself in the areas of defining/policing boundaries, but there’s a level of “appropriate defense” and I agree that the Sister Soldier image of BW often misjudges this level.

    • sweetgumbolady says:

      tertiaryanna: Would you mind posting your favorite communication skills book titles?

      Also, thanks to Khadija and the community of responders to this blog. It’s so important to address the internal work Black women/girls need to do. I just had a horrible day in the retail world as a Black female consumer, and it distresses me to no end that Black women retail workers are complicit in racially profiling other Black women and criminalizing us for “normal” activities. All the while, women/girls who look like Guiliani’s (sp?) daughter and Winona Ryder are robbing stores blind.

      Anyway, thanks again for your posts/responses. I know that I must understand my value beyond these profiling idiots and patronize places that do not criminalize me.

      • tertiaryanna says:

        I liked “Getting To Yes” and “Difficult Conversations”. If you put that in Amazon, their website will give additional suggestions. I typically look at the 3 star reviews for other recommendations.

        However, communication techniques are only as good as boundary lines of both participants: there are some conversations that aren’t worth having. A person needs to understand when a matter can not be resolved by talking, and when they should be mindful of their limits and just get out.

        So conversation skills and assertiveness training needs to be coupled (IMO) with introspection and making healthy boundaries for BW.

  5. DeStouet says:

    Evia said, “Y’all have not SOLD me on the value of the AA product or stock because you have not explained why it’s so good or why it’s equal to others, but I can’t say that because that would reveal my lack of ethnic pride. You’d call me a self-hater. So I remain quiet, but when I’m with other groups of women who actually have and SHOW their ethnic pride, I don’t stand a chance since–I do not know WHY I should be proud of my AA-ness. Their showing their own ethnic pride, however, makes me wish I could be one of them because it enables them to be so much more successful in life.”

    At first I was thinking to myself, is this the same Evia from the old site. If it is, she must have softened just a bit because at the old site, I doubt she would have even taken her shoes off to step into the brain of another woman who thought so low of herself.

    By the way, I know you’ve always let it be known that you learn best from observing people but even this was a stretch for you, in my opinion 🙂

    With that being said, I must agree with Khadija, every sojourner is going to have to fight for her God-given right to life –and to that right to live it abundantly. I did. At the old site (and I’m certain NOTHING has changed) my comments were torn to pieces. My belief system was churned day after day because I came to the table with nonsense. And no one –and I mean no one– ever felt sorry for me (not saying that is what you were doing, Evia). The only thing I was given were the tools, and from there I was basically told, “You’d better get creative…”

    Evia said, “Trust me. I know the many, many ways that the whites and Nigerians I’m live among and around transmit VALUE to each other. They don’t do it haphazardly. They do it consistently and they do it through a cultural structure. Until AAs erect a RUCOSS structure that will enable them to transmit VALUE to each other consistently, the lack of pride and downslide of AAs will continue. No person is worth anything to any of us IF they’re not ADDING Value to our lives, and none of us reading this is worth anything to the next person or not for long–if we don’t ACTIVELY add value to their lives in one way or another.”

    The way I look at this is, we made our bed now we must lay in it. At the old blog, Khadija wrote a post. I think it was “Breaking Bread” (I can’t be too certain though because the actual post isn’t there) and it became clear almost immediately that the majority of AA women seemed terrified at the thought of building a RUCOSS structure for themselves. I walked away with the feeling that the consensus had been dealt such a terrible blow from other AA women in their past, that they didn’t see any point in intentionally joining forces with other AA women (I’m only referring to the healthy ones) but assimilating into the global world and making “friends” there instead.

    Question?

    I know that many of you have said just because a black man speaks to you, you are not under any obligation to speak back. I agree. But how many of you feel the same way about black women speaking to you. While you are not certainly under any obligation whatsoever to speak to her, it would in that small moment validate your existence. Eye-contact and a genuine smile between two healthy AA women would “transmit value” to you.

    • tertiaryanna says:

      “While you are not certainly under any obligation whatsoever to speak to her, it would in that small moment validate your existence. Eye-contact and a genuine smile between two healthy AA women would “transmit value” to you.”

      In my community, people are generally split, where sometimes people acknowledge one another with eye contact, but most other times they don’t. It’s not a validation or repudiation of another person’s self worth, it’s just a regional custom.

      I don’t think it’s useful to assume that, just because someone doesn’t actively acknowledge you, they’re snubbing you. It’s not fair to put BW in the situation where they have to perform on command, in order to boost someone else’s sense of value. There are times when people are simply preoccupied, don’t wish to speak, or don’t think that eye contact with strangers is appropriate.

      I find it a little off-putting when I am in my own headspace and a stranger interrupts me in order for me to acknowledge them. Especially if they get annoyed when I am not paying attention to them. If they are in my normal line of eyesight, and we make eye contact, and I’m feeling extroverted, then ok.

      But my presence in public space does not make me public property, and that’s reinforced in the way people in my community interact with one another.

    • ZooPath says:

      I give other quality black women special treatment in terms of more eye contact and unsolicited compliments. I find it gratifying to give good energy to other women like me. When I am able to purchase products from other black women, I enjoy them that much more. So while I don’t think that BW in public spaces “owe” other BW extra effort, it’s something that I find personally rewarding.

      • Neecy says:

        Me too Zoopath. Believe me I get my share of evil looking drained defeated looking BW. All I can do is feel sorry for them and keep it moving.

        but when i encounter a BW in public who makes eye contact and smiles or vice versa, it feels good and i do feel that kinda special connection with BW like this for some reason and i believe they feel the same as well.

        i think *some* of us realize the larger struggle we have and feel if we can’t be coridal or friendly to each other then who else will? I feel BW should be a little nicer and supportive of each other (that is BW who share the same common goals, values etc).

        I don’t get my panties in a bunch or really even care if another BW doesn’t acknowledge me, as no one HAS to do anything. But when it does happen, i find it rewarding as you mentioned.

      • Valerie M says:

        Hi, ZooPath and Neecy:
        I agree with you here. Even though I relate mostly to BW and most of my girl friends are black, it’s true that not all black people are your friends, and neither are all BW. I’m still very choosy about who my friends are (do they have goals and values?), and BW are not excluded from these criteria even if I relate to them most. I’ve never believed in helping someone who doesn’t want to help themselves AND meet you halfway, regardless of who they are or where they come from. I’m all for creating win-win situations and relationships.

        RE: BW products. Agreed, it’s definitely not about “owing” anyone anything… but supporting BW products is great because it encourages the enterprising mindset that is anti-thesis to the dependent attitude that many people in this country have. I think this brings up all enlightened BW, so “we” benefit as well.

        BW already have the core qualties it takes to be great business owners: self-reliance, hard-working, loyalty to a cause (perhaps even to a fault), and persistence. With a business, BW can use these qualities to their advantage. After reading your comment, I will certainly make more effort to seek out BW businesses and products. Thanks for this reminder! 🙂

    • ak says:

      It depends on where you live as tertiaryanna was saying. Don’t forget that in the larger cities people don’t smile at each other and they act more ‘closed’ towards strangers in order to protect themselves and because they think that strangers will take kindness for a weakness.

  6. Aisha,

    You’re welcome!

    You said, “So all any individual Black woman can do is live the best life possible, and there will come a point where large numbers of Black women will see the benefits and do the same. I think we are just about at that tipping point.”

    I agree. I see and hear signs that we’re either at the tipping point or very close to it in terms of core BWE ideas. Alhamdulilaah! [“Praise God!”]
    ______________________________________________

    RColeman,

    You said, “I have spoken at length to both friends and family members and although they show a keen interest there is also a fear that is palpable that prevents them from seeking the truth out for themselves. It’s like they already know what has happened but they wish to think about it abstractly because they know that to actually start doing the work would mean to actually start finding the source of whatever dysfunction that belies them and their families.”

    Whoomp, there it is!! {insert scene from the movie A Few Good Men where Jack Nicholson is hollering “You can’t handle the truth!”}

    This head-in-the-sand mental habit is at the root of most of our current problems. Again, the first step is to be willing to face the truth, and go from there. But instead, too many AAs want to build structures on the sand of wishful thinking. And then we act shocked when the house built on sand comes crashing down.

    RColeman, as you’ve seen for yourself, LASTING solutions are based on facing the truth and going forward from there. Wherever “there” happens to be.

    You said, “There is no excuse now to not find out and confirm who you really are, and that which proves the resiliency of your own heritage. Yes…it may be painful and you will have to process that pain and anger but let that be the catalyst to continue the accomplishments of your ancestors. For they too accomplished much despite their own pain and injustice to them.

    Since I have been doing this work, my interactions with various people have markedly changed for the better. Not that they were not fine before (because I was still dealing with BS daily) but when people find that you know your history (and you carry yourself accordingly) there is something that you can’t quite put your finger on to describe it but it is there.”

    This is the difficulty I have with discussing this. Certain extremely powerful benefits are real, but intangible. You can’t put your hands on it, pick it up, and show it to other people because it’s intangible. So, it’s something that people have to experience for themselves. This topic is one of those things. When you walk through your daily life with a foundation of inner self-respect and confidence, people don’t even approach you with certain types of mess. Self-respect and self-confidence won’t preemptively filter out ALL mess; but it does prevent a LOT of mess before it even gets started.
    _________________________________________________

    Lynn,

    You said, “This is my humble opinion on the subject. I think a lot of woman may initiate BWE actions, but get discourage when the “resistance” reactions of people start. The fact is it will come from EVERYONE, from your girlfriends, men who love drama, and other ethnic groups as they try to goad BW into behaving coarsely in public. As you grow and evolve, you will begin to recognized these stigmitizing and debilitating acts for what they are. BW must learn to think empowerment in every situation before they react to it.”

    I agree. This is why more AA women need to learn how to be quiet about their plans and what they’re doing when they decide to seek abundance. Being quiet about one’s plans is the 101 level of stealth; and we’ll talk about this in a future chapter of this series. It’s 101 because too much silence or the wrong kind of silence makes other people suspicious and uneasy.

    The 201 level of stealth is learning how to engage in natural-sounding conversation while revealing VERY LITTLE about yourself, your goals, or your plans. Evia has frequently mentioned this “talking while saying very little of substance” conversation skill. It’s a VERY important skill.

    This is yet another reason why I’m hoping to see more AA women break the bad habit of engaging in “therapy talk” in public. Or, as the clinicians among the audience put it, to stop engaging in “over-sharing,” and to learn how to maintain appropriate “boundaries.” [I like it when the professionals give the more polished version of things. {smile}]

    Unfortunately, most AA women aren’t ready for the advanced “talk while saying nothing that can be used against you” class. They first need to learn how to STHU.
    __________________________________________

    Tertiaryanna,

    You said, “If a person doesn’t expect to be heard, or have her wishes met, I think it creates a “scarcity mentality” where every little chance to prove herself has to be taken. It’s harder to let things go, because that little bit of “winning” is so much more than the person thinks they’re capable of getting. It’s like, taking the Phyrric victory because that’s the best you can do for yourself.”

    That sort of thing is why I try to keep the focus on what we’re doing that enables these various negative scenarios. So many of AA women’s venting conversations really aren’t about the surface cause of the venting (racism, BM, and so on). It’s really about these inner voids.
    ___________________________

    DeStouet,

    No, “…NOTHING has changed…” {chuckling} I’m still telling people things the SAME way my older relatives told me…{more chuckling}

    You said, “I know that many of you have said just because a black man speaks to you, you are not under any obligation to speak back. I agree. But how many of you feel the same way about black women speaking to you. While you are not certainly under any obligation whatsoever to speak to her, it would in that small moment validate your existence. Eye-contact and a genuine smile between two healthy AA women would “transmit value” to you.”

    I’m willing to extend myself first in small ways with other BW (eye contact, smiling), but I’m also cautious and carefully watching to see what the BW does in response to my gesture(s). First, because there are a lot of yucky women who hate other women in general. And second, because it seems to me that AA women’s basic attitudes toward other women are getting stranger (and less pleasant) with each year that passes.

    Expect Success!

    • Aisha says:

      “The 201 level of stealth is learning how to engage in natural-sounding conversation while revealing VERY LITTLE about yourself, your goals, or your plans. Evia has frequently mentioned this “talking while saying very little of substance” conversation skill. It’s a VERY important skill.”

      Yep. By nature I am a very quiet and private person. I have found that the quieter you are, the more people want to be in your businiess. It becomes a challenge to them (and an obsesion to the super-nosy). Most people talk WAY too much for my tastes for me to be sharing anything personal with them. However, I have also encountered a certain amount of hostility for refusing to share my personal life.

      So I have adopted that “small talk” strategy and it works wonders! In people’s minds, since you are talking so much, they feel you are in “sharing” mode. Most people will not catch on to what you are doing, and will retain a pleasant, non-invasve attitude towards you.

      I think this is especially important for women who are used to sharing a lot of their business. You don’t want to tip people off (who know you) with a sudden change in behavior.

  7. Neecy says:

    Khadija,

    This topic needs to be beat into the heads of most AA women. The key word BW need to keep in their brains at all times is RECIPROCATION. Not very many BW practice or even are told to ever expect reciprocation. its always give of yourself and hope and pray you’ll get back. Normal healthy sane people do not deal with folks who are not adding some kind of value to their lives. I don’t give anything of myself to ANYONE or anything that is not returning the favor. it sounds selfish but hey it is what it is. AA women are always proudly “taking one for the team”. Except when it comes time for the team to reap the BW efforts/rewards, the BW is usually left standing on the sidelines. And then when the BW complains or brings it to the attentions of those who are reaping the benefits at the expense of BW, she is told she is hallucinating, or being selfish or told she’ll be taken care of “later” (which of course never happens).

    More BW need to develop a sense of selfishness and loyalty to herself.

    My philosophy to BW is that any relationship be it business whatever should always be 50/50. If any group, entity, person, place or thing is not reciprocating the same amount of effort into giving back to BW what BW give, then she need not be giving her resources, time, money or whatever else.

    BW need to understand that any of her time, resources, dollars and energy only need to be given to those people, places, entities that have shown BW’s best interest, and/or whom have shown some sort of effort into helping BW better themselves. BWE bloggers are examples of this. B/C BWE bloggers such as yourself, Evia, Christelyn etc., are giving BW positive uplifting messages, info and such to better our lives as women we should support these entities with our time, resources or whatever. This goes for anything else.

    Like I said, if nothing is adding value to my life or the lives of BW, they don’t get jack from me.

  8. Evia says:

    @DeStouet re:

    At first I was thinking to myself, is this the same Evia from the old site. If it is, she must have softened just a bit because at the old site, I doubt she would have even taken her shoes off to step into the brain of another woman who thought so low of herself.

    It doesn’t help matters or these bw for me to pound them or be overly critical because there’s a reason why they prefer to commit various forms of suicide, as I see many younger bw doing. The choice they’ve made is is REAL.

    That’s a result of a poisonous program that I was fortunate enough to have escaped. I’m not even trying to act like I was SO smart or anything. I mostly just happened to have been born too early AND was fortunate enough to have been guided by a few critical people who had strong ethnic pride, a strong sense of self-reliance,and common sense and by bw who saw bw as worthy and valuable. So I was taught immunity to the program or taught how to escape it.

    I’m trying to relate to SOME among the masses of “new school” bw as they ARE–not as I would like for them to be. The more bw I converse with and the more I dig, the more I realize that the masses of younger women were fed am insidious program that I still can’t quite fully track. I can only see aspects of this program by watching some of the loser moves some of these women make. I’ve been trying to figure out why so many bw would rather unnecessarily suffer and DIE or live greatly reduced lives and would rather have their children live blighted lives as a result of their clinging to a blindingly destructive program–even when the consequences of following the program is evident everywhere in their surroundings.. Keep in mind that I mingle with AA women of ALL socioeconomomic levels from the multi-degreed, high income, polished bw to the welfare bw. MOST of them are single, angry sista soldiers. Virtually ALL of them (and these are mostly under a certain age) have a bunker mentality and believe they should cling to the failing bc.

    I may have given the impression that I know it all, but I do NOT. LOL! There’s a complex reason (that I admit I don’t understand) for why so many of them they don’t even seem to try to reject the programming of the sinking commnunity or for not actively trying to learn a new program. For ex., so many of the younger ones are so caught up in trying to be Euro-“beautiful” and/or being that STRONG bw. This really disturbs me because the former is the result of the colorism monster and the latter is the result of the need-to-be-a-mule. Yes, I’ve discovered that MANY AA women WANT to be mules. They obviously do not see or want to try to find another role for themselves. Many cannot accept that the heaviest part of the load should be carried for them by a man because the bc has convinced them that the bm is not able to carry the heaviest part of the load.

    BW really really need to STOP trying to be Euro-beautful because they’re never going to win at that. They could get beyond this by mingling with the many men who appreciate the beauty of bw, but many bw seem hell-bent on trying to have straighter and/or longer and/or blonder hair than a ww. SMH I really do not understand that unless they’re trying to outcomplete ww for the eye of bm.

    So you could say that my ignorance about some aspects of that poisonous program has humbled me. LOL!

    I do know that in order to fuel continued thriving, it is a basic requirement to be able to look at your reflection in the mirror and BELIEVE that you are lovable and worthwhile as you basically are, which is the meaning of self-esteem. Many bw SHOW by even their hair styles that they lack a critical level of self-esteem.

  9. Everybody,

    If you haven’t already read it, I strongly urge you to read GoldenAh’s recent post about Gabourey Sidibe’s Elle magazine cover. It’s called “Black Women – Devil’s Advocate: Has our femininity been denied?” and she’s on FIRE!

    I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t read it, but there’s a boldfaced sentence in the post about “othering” that was so on point AND hilarious that I almost spit out my drink.

    As we’ve discussed in a recent conversation, that magazine cover is an excellent example of rivals/enemies “killing us softly” by pretending to support/join us.

    Check it out at: http://bettychambers.com/?p=784

    Expect Success!

    • I read that sentence about “othering.” I burst out laughing. Betty Chambers’ post harmonized really well with yours. I never thought about it that way, but that’s why I like these blogs: it makes me think critically about all the garbage I’ve been spoonfed all of these years.

      It’s a shame that so many BW take any supposed ‘victories’ we can get, even if it’s subtly or blatantly mocking us (I started boycotting Tyler Perry a couple of months ago, and I feel my life is richer for it.) I didn’t know why certain images that I was told I should be ‘proud of’ just didn’t feel right to me, but it’s making more sense.

      Lots for me to think about- I need to go somewhere and meditate on this . . .

    • Hello Khadija,

      Thank you for this shout out and link, I am humbly honored by your praise.

  10. Neecy says:

    Thank you so much Khadija for that link to Golden Ah’s post. Its soo true. i commented there as well.

    In my post I said i understand that the WW’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. it aint easy trying to hold the throne. but i will NEVER agree that using what power you hold to sabotage another group/entity/person/place or thing EVER really works in the end for the sabotager.

    i work in sales and I am a firm believer in never bash the competitor. Of course you have those that do. and ultimatley, they may win the smaller battles, but they never really win the war. if your product stands its true worth all you need to do is focus on your products value and compare what you can provide for the consumer/customer vs. the competitor – but sabotaging?? Naaah. Always backfires.

    But there’s a saying (i don’t know where it came from) that i firmly believe in and it says:
    “The Grave you dig for someone else, just may be your own.”

    I think this trying to dig the BW’s femininity grave is gonna backfire in oh I’m gonna wager the next 5-10 years. Its gonna get interresting to say the least.

    that is why its SOOOO important for BW to keep educating each other (and especially the young attractive generation behind us) that what you’ve been taught to do and accept in terms of “blackness and black womanhood” is not healthy and needs to be done away with.

  11. Hi, Queenie,

    Respectfully, you spent your entire comment doing everything that I have repeatedly asked readers NOT to do while we talk about these topics. As I said during the Another Look At Loyalty to Self,

    Please note that I’m not going to publish comments that focus on complaining about non-African-American, Black-skinned bigots during this post. They verbally abuse African-Americans because we tolerate that abuse. My questions for this conversation are: Why do so many African-Americans look to these people for validation? What’s that about?

    I let your comment through because it’s a perfect example of what I DON’T want to see in response to these conversations. You TOTALLY ignored the strategies being discussed to spend your entire long comment whining about foreign Blacks.

    I don’t want to hear whining or empty venting anymore. I’m focused on discussing the stealth strategies we can learn from these outsiders. Let me repeat:

    1-Non-AAs do what they do to us because we let them.

    2-There aren’t going to be any “we” solutions because there’s no will to collectively do anything among AAs.

    3-Point #1 gradually changes as more individual AAs change their behavior and stop enabling non-AAs in manipulating and exploiting AAs.

    4-In addition to Point #1 being reduced, there are personal, individual benefits to each AA woman’s life as she learns and uses the stealth strategies used by non-AA women.

    Queenie, please feel free to submit another comment that actually addresses what we’re discussing here—specific stealth strategies.

    Expect Success!

    • Queenie says:

      🙁 I didn’t mean to do that. I didn’t think I was wining at the time. I apologize for my post. You can take it down if you like. I don’t think I’ll post to often until I learn how to follow your rules. I feel like I almost ruined your blog entry.(so embarassed 🙁 )

      BTw I Clicked the othering blog link. I loved her article. I’ve been othered at work, but I didn’t realize it at first. I’m a very gentle person. Sometimes being a feminine black woman to some people means “safe to mistreat.” I struggle with my femininity because I don’t always feel that being soft is safe…..but then again I’m in the process of trying to get out of the BC. I do know not to share all my information. I’m very protective of my dreams.Only a select few know them. I’ve also learned how to keep quiet and listen to those around me talk so I can learn about what kind of person they are before I make a choice to engage them. As far as reciprocation goes…..I sometimes pride myself on doing kind acts and not expecting anything in return. I don’t know why I’m so giving. Maybe I’m a little hungry for love. I have to stop this….like you said people only take advantage of you if you let them. I need to become more asssertive without seeming unfeminine. Right now I’m preparing to make a transformation.I’m working on my self esteem, taking care of my health, keeping up my looks etc. The one biggie though is self control….or better yet controlling my emotions.(I also need to learn how to let things go) I hope I don’t come off as annoying because I keep repeating the same mistakes. I’m still learning. But you know what I probably need the extra disapline anyway. I’ve never had anyone shake me and say suck it up or toughen up. The old folks say “girl put yo tough skin on.”

      “As far as I’m concerned, the value of AA-ness remains for me as long as I’m alive. I don’t care if I’m the “Last Mohican.” I will still proclaim the truth about the value of my own people. Other AAs can continue to curl up and die if they want to. God respects free will and so do I. I reject “curling up and dying,” and I reject buying into the notion that MY heritage has no value worth preserving.”

      You really do inspire me Khadjia. I hope to be as strong in my pride as an african american woman soon. I think I’m having trouble understanding that AAs are not a collective anymore which is why I keep asking you what “we” should do.

      Hey….do you know about our quilting traditions? Some slaves used quilts as a way to log their family history. In my family my grandmother would make quilts for the newborns in the family. I still have mine. Did you know we had oral traditions once? We used to past our history this way. I want to bring these tradtions back into my family. Theres so much to be proud of. I wonder where all the shame came from.

      I also read the art of femininity blog to learn more about being a lady. I’m already pretty charming though. People are always talking about how lovely I am. 🙂

      • Queenie,

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

        Done—per your request, I deleted your first comment. I DON’T want anybody to feel embarassed. And NO, your comment didn’t “ruin” the blog entry.

        There’s NO need to be embarassed. Everything that I’ve been telling people not to do here (empty venting, etc.) are things that I’ve done in the past! 🙁

        I’m just trying to speed up other folks’ learning curves, so it doesn’ take as long as it took for me. 🙂

        You said, “I think I’m having trouble understanding that AAs are not a collective anymore which is why I keep asking you what “we” should do.”

        Well, it took over a year for that to sink in with me. The steps in the Kubler-Ross grieving model take time. It takes time to get to a point of acceptance with various things. Again, I’m just trying to help speed some of that up. AA women don’t have a lot of time left to escape the various dead ends that are closing in on us as a collective (most of which are connected to the permanent underclass status that is becoming entrenched among AAs).

        This is why I try to encourage people to focus on the things that are under their direct control—their OWN choices and behavior. You see, we don’t have to wait for anybody else to get it together to change our own choices and behavior. We also don’t need anybody else’s permission to change our own behavior. That’s the wonderful thing about being in control of one’s own actions. LOL!

        You said, “Hey….do you know about our quilting traditions? Some slaves used quilts as a way to log their family history. In my family my grandmother would make quilts for the newborns in the family. I still have mine. Did you know we had oral traditions once? We used to past our history this way. I want to bring these tradtions back into my family. Theres so much to be proud of. I wonder where all the shame came from.”

        That’s pretty cool about the quilts for the newborn babies. And I think it’d be great if you brought that tradition back in your family. In my family, we didn’t have any quilts that I’m aware of. However, my older female relatives did sew and crochet their own clothes. I would like to learn how to do that.

        Expect Success!

        • Queenie says:

          Thanks for being so patient with me.

          My grandmother could also sew and I think she could knit. She also had a “green thumb” as some call it. That means she was good at gardening. She could also can fruits and vegatables. I’m soooo proud of grandmother. She raised 10 children. She only had a 3 grade education but I bet she had more sense then some of these educated folks today. I was 5 when she died but my mother always talks about her. All I remember is going to her house and hearing her say “Sit down and don’t be running around in my house”.lol Even though she had a hard time she said “I’m not giving up none of my children to foster care”. And she didn’t either. Grandma didn’t play no games. After my grandfather left her she said “I’m not bringing no other man around my girls cause I don’t wanna have to go to jail from him molesting my babies”. What happened to days when women put the the safety of their children before a man? My mother told me a funny once. She said she was sneaking in the house one night and didn’t know grandma was up. Grandma had her gun and mom said”Mama its me don’t shoot!!”. She said well then come in the front door like a lady. Don’t be sneaking in here.lol One thing that bothers me though is the fact that my uncles grew arrogant as they got older. Sometimes they wouldn’t take her to the store or the laundrymat. After all those years of rasing them you would think they would have some respect for her. Thats why black women need to stop being mules. You do all that work….helping people etc…then folk turn around and mistreat you….or they act like “well if you didn’t wanna do it….you shouldn’t have done it”. Its so hurtful and I know what that feels like. I’m still learning to put myself first.

          Yes…..I think I am grieving the condition of our people. We are so great…it really does disturb me to think that we’re at the end of the road and sudden danger is arriving. Sounds almost like sodom and gomorrah in the bible when the angel came and warned lot to take his family and escape because God would soon destroy that city. I also remember the part where God tells lots wife not to turn back lest she turn to stone. She disobeyed and well you know what happened. Question what ways to we “look back at sodom” when we should just run like hell to safety. I would to know so I don’t do these things. You know…..it seems like those of us who are lucky enough to find this information are the chosen ones or something. Many AAs are walking around like its all good. They don’t a have a clue. I feel so blessed to have a chance to escape before darkness falls. I did see those videos about saigon they were so sad. Hey do you know the cw experience blog? She has an Escape from Pompeii series on there about escaping the BC. I like it alot.

          I’m already looking for other streams of income. Hey what do you think about home based business? Do you think thats a good idea? I was thinking about starting a home based business. I’m a little worried about running into scams though.

          • Queenie,

            You said, “Hey do you know the cw experience blog? She has an Escape from Pompeii series on there about escaping the BC. I like it alot.”

            I do too. CW and her guest bloggers do outstanding work. And, CW is a gracious “hostess with the mostess”! {smile}

            You said, “I’m already looking for other streams of income. Hey what do you think about home based business? Do you think thats a good idea? I was thinking about starting a home based business. I’m a little worried about running into scams though.”

            Hmmm…we’ve been talking about this throughout many (if not most) of the conversations here. So, off the top of my head, it’s hard for me to refer you to any particular blog post’s comments section. I would suggest that you start by reading some books like Put More Cash In Your Pocket by Loral Langemeier. As she explains, for most people the quickest way to extra cash is by offering a service that they already know how to do. Such as dog walking/sitting, tutoring (if you’re a teacher), etc.

            With the exception of baked dessert items (especially during the holiday season), offering a product usually is not a quick way to extra cash. Selling products (as opposed to performing a service) usually requires a lot of set-up time and more of an initial investment of money.

            Expect Success!

      • Nikita says:

        Hi Queenie,
        I understand where you are coming from. Heck, some of what you write about the giving and everything is where a great deal of ladies on here started. My advice to you about that is take your rose colored glasses off. For me it meant admitting that some of my family – immediate and otherwise are users. It meant making it clear that I will not support any ridiculous or demeaning behavior. It meant taking a stand and dealing with the pain because others would NOT stand with me or told me I was unreasonable. It meant walking away from some relationships and firmly shutting doors. It meant turning my mind away from relationships and concentrating on God & MYSELF – my dreams and hopes. It meant turning down opportunities to party when I needed time to think, dream and work/prepare. I hope by sharing with you what I have worked on and am currently working on for the past 3 years – and YES it a lot of work – that you will understand that you can too. I can tell you, there are a lot of ladies who comment here or just come to read and they too are changing. A lot of times I would read the BWE blogs and not comment because I needed to challenge my beliefs before I could make a response. Sometimes I would simply not agree with what was being said, but I read, digested, and re-visited until I understood where the blogger was coming from. Khadijah, Faith, Gina,Roslyn, Evia etc. are excellent encouragers and they all(along with commentors) too will challenge you if they feel your ideas are keeping you back in some way. So post your thoughts. Trust me, the women here wants you to succeed. I want you to make a great life for yourself and to be happy from the bottom of my heart. I do hope that you will comment again and often. Tough love is often dispensed here, (believe me, I too have received some, but Queenie, it IS love. : )

        • Queenie says:

          Thanks for sharing with me. I really appreciate it. I also have some family members I need to seperate from. I have a book at home about boundaries.

          “I want you to make a great life for yourself and to be happy from the bottom of my heart.”

          Sadly I haven’t heard anyone tell me something like this in a long time. You’re very kind. I also wish that you have an abundant life.(Can you feel the love in blog right now.lol :)) We all deserve the best. I just need to get to a place where I truly believe I deserve the best. I remember one day a handsome latino man approched me. He was so polite and sweet but I didn’t talk to him long because I didn’t think I was good enough for him. Plus I get a little paranoid with non-black men at times. I start thinking they just want to use me or something. I have to get it out of my head that everyone is out to get me….but still be careful because there really are some predators out there.

  12. Aisha,

    You said, “So I have adopted that “small talk” strategy and it works wonders! In people’s minds, since you are talking so much, they feel you are in “sharing” mode. Most people will not catch on to what you are doing, and will retain a pleasant, non-invasve attitude towards you.

    I think this is especially important for women who are used to sharing a lot of their business. You don’t want to tip people off (who know you) with a sudden change in behavior.”

    Exactly—a successful escape is all about S-T-E-A-L-T-H. AA women need to stop telegraphing their moves.
    _________________________________________________

    MissGlamtastic(Tia),

    You said, “It’s a shame that so many BW take any supposed ‘victories’ we can get, even if it’s subtly or blatantly mocking us (I started boycotting Tyler Perry a couple of months ago, and I feel my life is richer for it.) I didn’t know why certain images that I was told I should be ‘proud of’ just didn’t feel right to me, but it’s making more sense.”

    This (subtle and not so subtle) vibe of mockery is why I’ve always disliked drag queen performers and transvestites in general. All of that registers as in intrusion—certain categories of quirky men have decided that they’re going to outdo actual women in femininity. They’ve also decided to smash, grab and appropriate women’s stuff for themselves; and actual women are supposed to celebrate that theft. I don’t like it. ___________________________________________________

    Neecy,

    You said, “This topic needs to be beat into the heads of most AA women. The key word BW need to keep in their brains at all times is RECIPROCATION.”

    Indeed. The simple act of checking for reciprocity automatically short-circuits most parasite-host body interactions.

    You said, “I think this trying to dig the BW’s femininity grave is gonna backfire in oh I’m gonna wager the next 5-10 years. Its gonna get interresting to say the least.”

    I disagree. Perhaps, if this “othering” of BW was happening in a vacuum, it would die a natural death. However, there are legions of confused AA women who are lifting up BW being “othered” as if that’s a good thing.

    Expect Success!

  13. In the south we call this “feeding them with a long-handled spoon,” or “slopping sugar all over them.” I’m not sure when we lost the knowledge of how to do this, but my mama and older sister are both past masters at it. This technique is very effective, essentially you always manage your cool and professional, in fact you’re downright pleasant. You always manage to get your point across, but you’re so nice about it that they never notice the shiv sticking out of their back. For instance, my sister is a nurse and she noticed that the supervisor was unfairly assigning the responsibilities so that the black nurses were doing a disproportionate amount of the heavy lifting. Sure, she could’ve complained but you know how that always goes. Instead she pointed out to one of the white nurses that she (the white nurse) was so exceptionally good, it was unfortunate that she was missing out on this opportunity to show her skills. Before you could turn your head they were all volunteering to take on more responsibility. Sometimes we’re so determined to prove how smart and hardworking we are that we let others “mule” us. That’s one of my sister’s favorite expressions, “They’re not going to make a mule out of me.” She is in fact absolutely brilliant, but she’ll turn to a man, bat her big brown eyes and say, “Now how is this done, again?” Before you know it, he’s taking care of whatever it was she needed done. They’re delighted to do it because she appeals to their ego. Being a mule doesn’t make you a more valued employee, in fact people will value you less because YOU don’t value YOU. Further being a mule will make you angry and bitter and difficult to be around. That’s never a good look. Put some of your effort into using your feminine wiles and see don’t you do significantly better.

    My sister has not to my knowledge ever had to pump her own gas or change a flat tire in her life. Yes, she’s very attractive, but she’s also very good at using her feminine wiles. She actually reminds me of Khadija’s “Flawless” post. Her appearance is always on point. I’ll never forget she was in labor with her last child and we had to wait until she showered, did her hair and her makeup before we could take her to the hospital. The result of this is that people bend over backwards to do her bidding, because she’s both attractive and smart, she’s smart enough to not beat you over the head with her smartness. And that’s the way the game is played.

    • Valerie M says:

      I loved this story! My mother would have a saying that goes something like this: “You can’t attract bees (or ants) with vinegar… you’ll always be more effective with honey.” I didn’t understand it at first because I took it too literally. I did understand the part about being positive and appealing to people’s egos was better than being aggressive and negative.

      But I wondered why would you want to attract bees or ants in the first place? (Can you blame me? Here in Florida we have an overabundance of these pests, lol.) Then I started to understand that even “bees” and “ants” (or people who seem unimportant to you) are still valuable and useful in their own way. If you learn how to appeal to them, they will eventually work with you and (knowingly or unknowingly) lighten your load… after a while they stop being “pests.” Perhaps this sounded more manipulative than I intended… but humans are social and we can’t make it alone anyway.

      In a sense, your sister’s helpers did get something in exchange (as you’ve pointed out) – a stroked ego, a pleasant personality to deal with, and someone who is easy on the eyes. That’s a hard deal to turn down for many people!

    • Karen says:

      Dear Ladies,

      Please take note of Roslyn’s sister – THAT IS HOW IT IS DONE!!!!

      My personal experiences have been just the same. When you act like a lady, you will be treated like one.

      There are also many ways to address a work issues without direct confrontation. Taking advantage of your opponents weaknesses and or by playng up to their egos goes so much farther than trying to do a frontal attack.

  14. Evia says:

    Unlike other ethnic and cultural groups, AA women don’t usually have private forums to discuss these strategies and tactics and this is a BIG disadvantage–to publicly expose all of these strong antagonistic, anti-others feelings.

    I would caution that one of the MOST totally foolish things that anyone does is stand up in a PUBLIC forum and tell people who are definitely more bonded and organized than you and/or more powerful and cohesive than you that you and your disorganized group members are strategizing against them! Remember that virtually ALL other groups/races are very tribal when it comes to promoting their own and protecting their interests because their surving and thriving is at stake. AA women strategizing to uplift themselves is one thing but to let it be known that you are strategizing AGAINST others is definitely something that “The Prince” explicitly warned against this when he said and I paraphrase “Never tell an enemy that you’re coming to kill them.” Anyone with common sense knows that anything close to doing this is a NO-NO! Especially when you are disorganized!

    AA Women–THINK! Stop shooting off at the mouth! Haven’t AA women shot themselves in the foot enough? Just because you’re frustrated doesn’t mean you should bury yourself AND other AA women with your mouth or with your keyboards.

    IF the masses of the members of a group (for ex. bm) have PROVEN that they are of no value to you and yours and it’s vastly more harmful to your group to continue to believe they are of value, that’s not the same as antagonizing a whole group of people because you think that they don’t like you.

    Candidly speaking, some of you have gotten your feelings hurt because you don’t have ethnic pride and you’ve wandered among people who have ethnic pride.

    Even in the comments here, many of y’all are talking about going it alone as individuals, saying you have no choice but to be SOLO or saying that’s the best AA women can do at this point. If a large portion of AA women think this way, this means extreme vulnerability for EACH individual AA woman if others know this. Trust me. In a patriarchal world where ALL women are more vulnerable and most other women (Asian, whites, Africans, etc.)are non-solos and do have tribal affiliation (support), this is exactly why so many AA women get picked off–because others have gleaned that a typical AA woman flies SOLO.

    If some of you feel that AA women have no choice but to learn to go it alone, then so be it, but why antagonize others unneccesarily? Don’t you realize that when you TELL other more cohesive peoples that you’re strategizing to block them, that’s a problem you’re creating for some of those solo-flying AA women? Maybe not you personally, but for others–definitely.

    Remember that it’s a lack of AA ethnic pride AND in some cases a lack of personal self esteem that causes these others to get over so easily on AAs. It’s NOT the fault of Africans or whites if y’all want to walk around feeling less-than them.

    So Khadija, my strategy suggestion for AA women uplift is to READ, READ, READ, take courses, join discussion groups in order to develop their ethnic pride. We can all learn to love ourselves more without being angry at or anti others. This is possible and even easy for everyone reading this to do–if the WILL is there to do it.

    Also, I believe that it is critical for those AA women who are likeminded enough to agree at the outset to check their personal differences at the door and come together and learn to trust each other in order to work together to promote and protect common interests. This can be done WHEN people want to do it–just like blacks COULD change their colorism thinking and behavior IF they wanted to do it. It’s a choice.

    Personal differences are a luxury that most AA women cannot afford. Many among other groups have strong personal differences too, but they would rather at critical times to swallow or submerge those differences in order to survive and thrive on a higher level. This is exactly what many of these others have done in this country. For ex. I would say most Yorubas and Igbos ( two of the largest Nigerian ethnic groups) don’t tend to trust each other much at all (Biafran War, etc.), BUT when they come to this country, the more intelligent ones of them submerge those differences and influence others among them to do so too to the extent that they can help each other and be helped by each other.

    So, as far as I’m concerned, this is an AA personal development and/or group development issue. It has next to nothing to do with Africans or whites.

    • DeStouet says:

      First let me make it clear that I am willing to put aside any personal differences that I may have with other AA women,for the benefit of us all. I’ve already proven this to myself in the past year by sharing much of what I’ve learned and read with one of my younger female cousins who wants something different than what is being shoveled to her by numerous aunts and other willing to do her OWN work and listen humbly (yeah, I know!) 🙂

      Evia said, “If some of you feel that AA women have no choice but to learn to go it alone, then so be it, but why antagonize others unneccesarily? Don’t you realize that when you TELL other more cohesive peoples that you’re strategizing to block them, that’s a problem you’re creating for some of those solo-flying AA women? Maybe not you personally, but for others–definitely.”

      That’s why I chose not to respond to several comments because the last thing I want to give “lurkers” and internet “Ikes” is a reason to believe that we are not in solidarity.

      As far as your last comment, there are a number of luxuries we do not have, but until we “believe” above all else that there is a dire necessity to change our way of interacting with other healthy AA women, we’ll continue to treat one another the way we’ve been doing for years now.

      I’m listening, reading the comments, modeling queen-like behavior, waiting, and like you observing…

    • Evia,

      Respectfully,

      It seems to me that you’ve misinterpreted this conversation. I believe there are several main points of misinterpretation:

      Point #1: This conversation isn’t “against” anybody. It’s FOR AA women to learn how to get theirs. Just like everybody else is getting theirs.

      Who said that this was “against” anybody? Nobody said anything about being “against” anybody. This is about AA women learning how to get theirs, the same way everybody else is getting theirs. I’m sure you agree that AA women are as entitled as everybody else is to get theirs.

      Where are you getting the “against” idea from? Part of AA women getting theirs is to learn how to use their resources for themselves. That reallocation of AA women’s resources toward their own interests is most likely perceived as a problem for everybody else who has grown comfortable off of AA women being exploited mules.

      Another part of AA women getting theirs is to learn how to use the SAME strategies that these other folks have been using. Again, AA women becoming hip to these strategies is a problem for others who are counting on AA women remaining gullible. But them’s the breaks. And these other people who have been using and playing AA women’s gullibility are not my priority.

      Point #2: You already know there isn’t—and won’t be anytime soon—any private forum (comparable to what non-AAs have) for AA women to discuss these strategies. This conversation can’t wait for a currently non-existent mass network of private forums to be created. The offensive strategies/tricks that the masses of AA women are falling for are getting deadlier every day.

      When you say that we shouldn’t publicly take note of these strategies, you are basically arguing in favor of continued silence. Continued silence supports the status quo of AA women being played.

      You say that it would be better to discuss these things in a private forum. This is true. However, that option is not available now. And, respectfully, you know this. You know that there is NO private forum comparable to what non-AA others have for AA women to discuss these matters. You also know that there WON’T be any private forum for AA women that is comparable to what non-AA others have.

      So, if you’re saying “Don’t publicly take note of these strategies” in a context where there are NO comparable private forums…then what your suggestion has the same practical effect as suggesting that we remain silent. Given the complete and utter confusion that most AA women have about these matters, silence is unacceptable.

      Large numbers of AA women are clueless enough to think that Ms. Sidibe’s Elle cover was a step forward. And they support that.

      Large numbers of AA women are clueless enough to think that other women of color have their backs. Even as droves of these other women take advantage of them.

      My God, large numbers of AA women thought that lifting up some intersexed individual like Caster Semenya as an example of “Black womanhood” was a good idea. This episode in particular let me know how totally confused and bamboozled most of us are. Yes, a private forum would be best—but there isn’t one and there won’t be one anytime soon.

      In the meantime, the destructive strategies that non-AA others are successfully using on AA women are escalating and becoming more dangerous by the day. The escalating danger created by these various tricks is a danger to AA women as a collective.

      And AA women buy into these tricks (fat acceptance—which is reserved for AA women only; supporting butch and officially intersexed individuals as examples of Black womanhood; Sister Soldiering in defense of these other women of color, etc.) because they don’t recognize them for what they are—offensives strategies used by these other people.

      In light of the above context, I believe that this conversation can’t wait for a currently non-existent mass network of private forums to be created. These offensive strategy/tricks are getting deadlier every day.

      Point #3: What are these other people going to do that they aren’t already doing to AA women? They’re already spitefully using us and stepping on us because we’re gullible.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you’re saying that we shouldn’t publicly take note of the strategies that some non-AAs are using against us because this might anger these people. But these people are already stepping on us because we unwittingly enable them to do so. And from what I see, these folks are kicking us harder every day.

      It’s not like the current AA posture of sincerely singing “Kumbaya, my Lord” in their direction is softening their attitudes and approach toward us. In fact, the opposite is what’s happening.

      In fact, I want AAs to continue OUTWARDLY singing “Kumbaya” at all these people. The only change is that we need to stop being sincere about it, and seek to get ours the same way everybody else is getting theirs. The first step is for more AA women to get a clear sense of what’s actually happening around them. The illusions of mutual togetherness and cooperation need to be dispelled. ASAP.

      Expect Success!

  15. Nikita says:

    In my opinion we look to others for validation because as has been said several times here, we do not know ourselves. My parents encouraged me to read, told their children about our family past and present and their life decisions. I KNOW that I hail from some strong, creative, determined AA people. No one can take that knowledge from me. Because of that I am not at all wrapped up in the pseudo history efforts about the folks whose history has been bastardized to make Black folks feel like our life goal is to get along and integrate. As an ex. I give you the re-telling/ tooling of MLK Jr. His story is really just a clever and constant barrage of how the BC are morally obligated tow the line and to stay peaceful regardless of what is going on to them or with them. What is never questioned is tow the line for whom and what? The answer is to clearly keep the status quo going – or for us to get worse. How can you take care of your own collective and individual issues if you are busy trying to tow the line or at least look the part (Jesse and crew)? If you read some of MLK’s speeches that are not widely known esp. coming to the end of his short life his views were becoming more like Malcolm X. If THAT really got out, imagine what that would do to MLK’s peaceful warrior marketing credibility. LOL. Our rampant ignorance of our OWN history will kill us.

    When I read over Evia’s thought process esp about the beauty part I chuckled. I went natural in 2009. The interest in my hair was over the top. So many times I heard the I can’t get my hair to do that, I never would have thought to do that and sometimes out. right. stares.with attempts to touch. On top of that my style became important, where I purcahsed my lip gloss and eye shadow were now reasons to have a convo. Remember now, this is while I am becoming comfortable with my new version of my own beauty as well. It later occured to me that my embracing my OWN beauty is what was so fascinating to them. I ran towards my style, heritage & happiness instead of away – and trust me it is not Eurocentric. LOL. I still have mucho wk to do, but I the more I change and loosen the bonds of others expectations and embrace possibilities I smile more daily. Every BW who does THAT, whatever the state of her hair, when you EMBRACE rather than run from your own beauty encourages one BW to find out why/how and puts other women on guard.

    The micro aggression that I have endured by other race groups (women) since I took on this different way of living cannot be denied. And I am not a small or medium sized BW at all. By simply deciding that I am beautiful, I am special, I am worthy -made some strange things occur. LOL. Simply put owning your AA heritage, being proud of it, embracing your own beauty/femininity is good for BW and mucho challenging to others.

    BW do need to learn how to let their feminity work for them. Good manners are seen as feminine, so use them. Wear a dress/skirt once a wee/ every two weeks. Smile. Present issues as though you want a solution. Stay calm. Do not buck your eyes or roll your kneck or get exceptionally loud. Speak firmly when necessary, but watch your language. If others are around and you are experiencing rudeness, give others a few second to defend you. LOL. It works. Trust me. Don’t know everything – let someone explain to you. Inquire. Wear basic make up – lip gloss, mascara and a sheer eye powder – put on some jewelry. Remember that less IS more – esp. with perfume. More importantly embrace being feminine, vulnerable and pretty. Ignore pettiness. You know that you are on your way to getting comfy with your feminity and using it when you began to experience that strange micro aggression from other women and when men attempt to take care of you in large and small ways that they did NOT before.

    • tertiaryanna says:

      “The micro aggression that I have endured by other race groups (women) since I took on this different way of living cannot be denied. And I am not a small or medium sized BW at all. By simply deciding that I am beautiful, I am special, I am worthy -made some strange things occur. LOL. Simply put owning your AA heritage, being proud of it, embracing your own beauty/femininity is good for BW and mucho challenging to others.”

      There is still a pecking order within groups – not all non-AA women are allies to one another. Women can be as territorial as men, but are taught to display it differently. This isn’t just a racially coded thing, although stereotypes about race can be used to advance a person’s status. Sometimes people save their greatest assaults for members of their peer group, because this group shares the same resources.

      Non-AA women can be very threatened by each other, and you may be more aware of these dynamics as you get closer to being in their peer group.

      So there are some Queen Bees who see other women as threats and try to treat them accordingly. You can observe how to deal with them by observing how their peers do, even if you are of different races.

      However, people tend to band together to eliminate a common enemy, so you have to be careful not to lump your enemies together (why help them organize?) 😉

  16. Magenta says:

    Wow!

    I am honored that you used part of my comments for one of your posts. I have a couple thoughts about the infiltration of insiders and saboteurs.

    It is not just AA organizations that have had to deal with this. The difference is that we are the only group who does not effectively police this behavior. The feminist community has had its share of male “allies” who claim to come to support women but almost inevitably will try to dominate or take over the group. Here is one example of this http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/08/20/the-masquerade-i-call-myself-a-feminist-therefore-i-am-a-feminist/

    What is worth nothing is that in the comments section, the women are taking this threat VERY seriously. Many even alluded that he may be a secret misogynist double agent who is trying to damage the movement by joining it! They are not accusing the woman of “hating”, or lecturing her on how they need to build coalitions. Even the male commenters took the OPs side and said that as an outsider, they should step back and listen before trying to dominate the group. I have also seen the same dynamic exist when “straight allies” attempt to take over gay rights orgs. These “straight allies” are quickly shut down.

    Compare this to the way the majority of AAs treat foreign black, half-black and non black outsiders who weasel their way into OUR civil rights organizations, HBCUs, etc. Under the guise of a rainbow coalition, we have sat silent as outsiders become leaders in our own organizations. We have become water carries for everyone else while ignoring our own interest. Under our very own eyes affirmative action programs have been reinvented into vague sounding “diversity programs” that benefit other groups at our expense. It makes me so angry how we are constantly playing checkers in this regard.

    Since I know that there will be no group solutions in this matter, we will have to seek out individual solutions. I try as hard as I can to vet anyone who is seeking an alliance or partnership with me. Many of the people who are seeking us out or who want to be included in our plans do not have our best interests at heart, so you have to do your due diligence.

    I definitely agree with your points about “stealth” as well. We have to be careful who we share out plans with, that includes relatives! I remember a few years ago a coworker of my mothers said that her daughter was about to graduate from high school. This woman said that her daughter initially wanted to be veterinarian, but the mother told her something to the effect of “are you sure you want to do that, you are going to be in school forever. you should just be a nurse instead.”

    As we can predict, this girl never went to vet school, or even nursing school for that matter. I think she started one of a program at one of those medical asst diploma mills, which she never finished.

    I become so disgusted every time I think about that conversations. Why do we hate our daughters so much that we constantly try to crush every dream they have? That is why I am so thankful to the BWE blogs, this may be the only resource for young girls.

  17. Sharifa says:

    Great post. I’m with you, Khadija, on the ‘Last Mohican’ tip. I will rep my people until the last. I agree that what we’re talking about is really a lot about inner work. I have to say, Khadija, that your blogs, and these conversations of late have really inspired me to think critically about how I as a psychologist can contribute to AA women’s sense of ethnic pride and agency. I think about that a lot in my work with my clients. I’ve also been thinking about doing some research about how psychology is related to some of the topics we’ve covered lately. Thanks for that.

    A lot of what has been said reminds me of the 48 Laws of Power book by Robert Greene. Some of the people Khadija mentioned were discussed in that book. I would recommend that AA women read it, or buy the CDs and listen to them in the car, as I did. The book is written in an ‘amoral’ (with disregard for many religious tenents relating to ethics)style, which my be off-putting to some, but take what is useful and leave the rest. The law that says Always Say Less than Necessary and Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy are good ones for AA women, and relate to recommendations in the comments about stealth and not oversharing.

    I really see how people are woking overtime to other us on the DAILY. I really like the structure of BITCH magazine (not found of the name, though; don’t always agree, either. they seem to be ‘big’ on fat acceptance, for ex. I may have mentioned this mag before); they basically do a feminist critique of pop culture. I think a blog for AA women that critiqued how we are othered in fashion, entertainment, etc. would be an excellent idea. AA women need to be more media literate; to be able to take a step back, and not blindly accept whatever is fed to us without examining method and motives.

    I agree that while private discussions would be optimal, there is no major system of private forums on the way. AA’s aren’t invisible. But if our pathologies are out in the open, then let our solutions be. We still have certain specific resources at our disposal, if only we would use them, whether others see it or not. We can still exercise discretion about our individual plans.

    • Sharifa,

      Congratulations on triggering the publication of Part 2 of this series. During the Part 1 conversation, I was waiting to see how long it would take for an audience member to mention The 48 Laws of Power book by Robert Greene. Knowing how hip the audience is, I figured that it wouldn’t take long at all. 🙂

      I had decided that I would publish Part 2 as soon as somebody mentioned that book (because Part 2 deals with some quotes from one chapter in the book).

      Thanks, Sharifa! As my aunt says, “We’re cooking with gas!” LOL!

      Expect Success!

      • Sharifa says:

        Wow! Thanks, I’m so glad I mentioned it. Can’t wait for part II, especially since I read/heard the text.

  18. Nikita,

    You said, “If you read some of MLK’s speeches that are not widely known esp. coming to the end of his short life his views were becoming more like Malcolm X. If THAT really got out, imagine what that would do to MLK’s peaceful warrior marketing credibility. LOL. Our rampant ignorance of our OWN history will kill us.”

    Indeed. If more folks were aware of Dr. King’s anti-war speeches, they would scream. As far as certain folks were concerned, he got too big for his britches when he dared speak about international affairs. We’re supposed to stay limited to the AA Beat.

    You said, “It later occured to me that my embracing my OWN beauty is what was so fascinating to them. I ran towards my style, heritage & happiness instead of away – and trust me it is not Eurocentric. LOL. I still have mucho wk to do, but I the more I change and loosen the bonds of others expectations and embrace possibilities I smile more daily. Every BW who does THAT, whatever the state of her hair, when you EMBRACE rather than run from your own beauty encourages one BW to find out why/how and puts other women on guard.”

    Indeed. There are a LOT of people invested in the current status quo. You see that as soon as you step out of our assigned place. Nikita, I’m so happy for you! Onward and forward!
    ___________________________________________________

    Magenta,

    Thank you and the other readers for providing such thoughtful and thought-provoking comments!

    You said, “I have a couple thoughts about the infiltration of insiders and saboteurs. It is not just AA organizations that have had to deal with this. The difference is that we are the only group who does not effectively police this behavior. The feminist community has had its share of male “allies” who claim to come to support women but almost inevitably will try to dominate or take over the group. Here is one example of this…”

    Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out later, but I’m familiar with that site—those folks DON’T play over there. Neither do the feminists over at Shakesville. The reaction pattern is as you described it when you said, “What is worth nothing is that in the comments section, the women are taking this threat VERY seriously. Many even alluded that he may be a secret misogynist double agent who is trying to damage the movement by joining it! They are not accusing the woman of “hating”, or lecturing her on how they need to build coalitions. Even the male commenters took the OPs side and said that as an outsider, they should step back and listen before trying to dominate the group. I have also seen the same dynamic exist when “straight allies” attempt to take over gay rights orgs. These “straight allies” are quickly shut down.”

    These other people value themselves and take their own interests seriously. That’s why they don’t have inner mental blocks against policing their own interests.
    __________________________________

    Sharifa,

    You said, “I have to say, Khadija, that your blogs, and these conversations of late have really inspired me to think critically about how I as a psychologist can contribute to AA women’s sense of ethnic pride and agency. I think about that a lot in my work with my clients. I’ve also been thinking about doing some research about how psychology is related to some of the topics we’ve covered lately. Thanks for that.”

    You’re welcome and thank YOU! We desperately need more clinicians like you (and Andi from an earlier conversation).

    You said, “I really see how people are woking overtime to other us on the DAILY.”

    Somebody else already said this (was it Southland Diva? I can’t quite remember), but I believe that much of this panicked reaction has to do with Michelle Obama.

    Having the dark-skinned, non-exotic, “typical” BW, Michelle Obama—

    –lifted up around the world as being beautiful, glamorous—

    —with prominent WM publicly crushing on her and putting her in the SAME category of desirability as the still-admired Jacqueline Kennedy—

    —is just TOO threatening for all those who benefit from the status quo.

    These threatened folks are in overdrive in their efforts to nip this “typical, non-exotic BW can be as beautiful, glamorous, and desirable as the WW in the Grace Kelly league” trend in the bud.

    Expect Success!

  19. Faith Dow says:

    I’ve been silently reading the comments and since your interpretation of those who support Caster Semenya puts everyone into one category as not being beneficial to the femininity of AA women I must respond because I wrote a blog post over a year ago supporting her against the foul treatment she received. I’m certainly not confused about why I spoke out against the injustice. I speak out against all types of injustices. Clearly we will not agree on this but since we are already aware of the lack of pride so many AAs have I cannot abide with castigating and ostracizing anyone else in order to “elevate”. There’s a fine line between being firm about the ways we’re assaulted and the ways we shoot ourselves in the foot and forced conformity. I can’t speak on what other women have done but I have never suggested replacing or “equalizing” if you will an intersex or trans woman for a cisgender one in the context we’re discussing at the BWE forums. I support the right of individuals to self-define and express their identity with dignity. As I seek to do. I’m not advocating “substituting” one for the other. Since this is a hetero audience I’m assuming let me be clear that hetero males are not typically seeking non-hetero, trans or intersex women. We already know this. There are differences and that should be respectfully acknowledged but I believe there has to be a space for both where our interests may coincide. The violence against trans women for example is something I’ve covered at my blog just as I’ve discussed the violence of DBRs. In the case of Semenya after being subjected to humiliating testing was deemed a woman and she did have a stylist/makeup artist soften her look. With 1 out of 10 children born intersex I’m not certain the argument of being abnormal has a place anywhere. So perhaps we can place her and others as the “exception” but I am not under any impression that people do not notice the subtle or glaring differences even if it’s on a subconscious level. Yet, I refuse to engage in misogyny in order to uplift cisgender women but I am also aware there is a fine line we must walk to reclaim the best parts of ourselves for public consumption and private presentation to be seen as desirable. Others who may be supportive of fat acceptance, etc are simply trying to operate in their own space – and the lack of culture has compounded everything. The same way some have overly focused on having unprocessed hair as an automatic adoption of an “empowered” mentality. Actually from what I’ve read it is white women like Kate Harding who are spearheading fat acceptance on behalf of other white women as a sub group not the individual black women who are often being celebrated in the media who are “big, loud and proud”. I do not believe in absolutes because that’s a slippery slope for marginalized women to be in. We all have to do what we think is best and these are often difficult conversations to have with many layers. I am in full support for the elevation of AA women but shudder to think that because things have deteriorated across several fronts that the result will be such a narrow regimented focus with the goal of uplifting. Perhaps that is the way it needs to be for some to move up but how far and to what extent is that going to be sustained and executed? It is too easy to fall into discriminatory behavior all in the name of uplift that is just as bad as what we’re speaking out against.

    • Faith,

      As with all reasonable people, there are inevitable “agree to disagree” points. There are certain points that we’ll simply disagree about. Which is cool, as far as I’m concerned.

      Nevertheless, I do want to clarify some things.

      You said, “I’ve been silently reading the comments and since your interpretation of those who support Caster Semenya puts everyone into one category as not being beneficial to the femininity of AA women I must respond because I wrote a blog post over a year ago supporting her against the foul treatment she received.”

      I never said that specific persons were “not being beneficial to the femininity of AA women.” I’m saying that specific political positions are not beneficial to the femininity of AA women. I believer there’s a difference between these 2 statements. I can vehemently disagree with a position without attacking the persons who hold that position.

      You said, “Clearly we will not agree on this but since we are already aware of the lack of pride so many AAs have I cannot abide with castigating and ostracizing anyone else in order to “elevate”.

      Who said anything about “castigating and ostracizing” anybody? Where are you getting that from? I’m not “castigating and ostracizing” anybody here. Here’s what I am saying: I feel that certain political postures are disastrous for AA women’s collective interests. I would put the uncritical support of Caster Semenya in that “disastrous” category. I’m not saying that the people who gave what I felt was uncritical support were bad people in any way. I’m certainly not castigating them by vehemently disagreeing with their decision.

      Now, I have castigated somebody in the past, at the previous blog—there was one particular Black female immigrant blogger who was busy shrieking at AA women that we must not divest, and must not leave Black residential areas. That we must stay and fight in these AA neighborhoods. Meanwhile, she and her family had “divested” and left from their Black country to come to the majority-White United States. And she wasn’t looking to go back to her home country to “fight” to improve conditions over there. Now, THAT episode was some sho-nuff castigating. 🙂

      You said, “There’s a fine line between being firm about the ways we’re assaulted and the ways we shoot ourselves in the foot and forced conformity.”

      Who’s forcing you or anybody else to conform? Now, this is an interesting point. Because I could flip this all around and say that you’re trying to get me to conform to your views. I could say that, but I won’t—because that’s NOT what’s happening in either direction. Me being free to passionately state my views has nothing to do with you being free to hold and state your views. Nobody here—me included—has said or done anything to try to get you to conform to anything. So, I don’t understand that part of your comment; because I don’t see how it’s connected to this conversation. I’m saying what I think. Other people continue to be perfectly free to have their own views.

      You said, “I can’t speak on what other women have done but I have never suggested replacing or “equalizing” if you will an intersex or trans woman for a cisgender one in the context we’re discussing at the BWE forums.”

      Nobody said you did. Again, I don’t understand this since nobody said that.

      You said, “I support the right of individuals to self-define and express their identity with dignity.”

      I do too; but not at the expense of my own group’s interests. That’s too much to ask. I’m not asking or expecting others to sacrifice their core interests to be in solidarity with me or AA women in general. Nobody can reasonably expect that sort of sacrifice from me or other AA women who feel as I do. I’m not going to slit my own throat to be in solidarity with somebody else.

      You said, “The violence against trans women for example is something I’ve covered at my blog just as I’ve discussed the violence of DBRs….Yet, I refuse to engage in misogyny in order to uplift cisgender women but I am also aware there is a fine line we must walk to reclaim the best parts of ourselves for public consumption and private presentation to be seen as desirable.”

      Who’s engaging in misogyny? And while we’re talking about violence, I’m STILL waiting to hear the GLBT community address the following incidents mentioned over at Jasmyne Cannick’s blog (for those in the audience who don’t know, Ms. Cannick is a Black lesbian blogger and activist). This is from her November 2009 post, A White Gays Guide on How to Deal with the Black Community for Dummies: Chapter 12- What About the Hate Crimes That Gays Committed on Blacks Last November?,

      The L.A. County Human Relations Commission is out with a report that says that overall hate crimes in L.A. County dropped 4%, last year, except for with gays. According to their report, crimes against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people increased, and they say it was fueled by the fall out over last November’s Prop 8 initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California.

      Now I can see that, however, I seriously wonder if the Commission also took into account the numerous hate crimes and atrocities committed against Blacks by white gays during that same period, and if so, do the numbers reflect that.

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

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

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

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

      And you know know this…

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

      http://www.jasmynecannick.com/blog/?p=7421

      I’m still waiting; I won’t hold my breath.

      You said, “It is too easy to fall into discriminatory behavior all in the name of uplift that is just as bad as what we’re speaking out against.”

      Here’s where we agree to disagree. I believe that my refusal to actively support positions and viewpoints that I believe are harmful to AA women’s collective interests is not “discrimination.” I’m not doing anything to stop anybody from doing or saying anything. I’m not trying to sanction anybody from doing or saying anything. In fact, I’m not trying to create consequences regarding other people’s viewpoints and what they choose to support.

      I haven’t called for any boycotts. I haven’t called for any shunning. I haven’t called for any sort of action against anybody. What I have done is clearly state what I believe. I believe I have the right to do that. What I am calling for is for people to consider the points that I’m raising and act however their conscience guides them.

      Everybody should continue to take whatever positions they feel are best. I will do the same. It’s all good. 🙂

      **Addendum**
      For those new readers who aren’t familiar with the context of some of my views regarding the GLBT community, here’s part of a post from the previous blog, The Catalog of Ethical Insanity: Down Low Detectives & Down Low Enablers,

      Before psychiatry had the concept of psychopaths, there was what used to be called “moral insanity:

      “”The term ‘moral insanity’ is unfamiliar to psychiatrists today, but it was an accepted diagnosis in Europe and America throughout most of the 19th century. As late as 1883, the American Journal of Insanity (forerunner of the American Journal of Psychiatry) published an article titled ‘Moral Insanity.’ Individuals who retained their intellectual capacity but harbored strange and unrealistic ideas had puzzled European physicians of the 18th century.

      . . . Dr. J.C. Prichard (1786-1848) of England is credited with being the first to use the term moral insanity. In 1835 he wrote: ‘There is a form of mental derangement in which the intellectual faculties [are uninjured], while the disorder is manifested principally or alone in the state of feelings, temper, or habits. . .The moral. . . principles of the mind. . . are depraved or perverted, the power of self-government is lost or greatly impaired, and the individual is. . . incapable. . . of conducting himself with decency and propriety in the business of life.'”

      Moral Insanity: A Brief History, by Lucy Ozarin, M.D., M.P.H., Psychiatric News May 18, 2001Volume 36 Number 10, American Psychiatric Association, p. 21.

      Since I don’t like the ugly connotations that right-wing, Christian religious fanatics have created around the word “moral,” let’s call it ethical insanity. I think that in many ways it’s a better term than “sociopath/psychopath” because it gives a more precise flavor of what’s wrong with so many people. I think the term “ethical insanity” also helps us to see the nuances between people who aren’t quite psychopaths, yet are still far outside the bounds of human decency and propriety.

      The African-American collective is TEEMING with ethically insane individuals. Individuals who retain their intellectual capacity but harbor strange and depraved ideas that are far outside the bounds of decency and propriety.

      . . . I was reminded of the issue of ethical insanity during our recent blog discussion about the emerging trend of historically Black colleges and universities becoming epicenters of HIV/AIDS infections. I was quite impressed by the commenters. They didn’t do what African-American women typically do when discussing the skyrocketing numbers of HIV/AIDS infections among Black women. I was delighted to see that commenters didn’t fixate on becoming what some gay Black male activists have called “down low detectives.” [All of which is not to deny the need for concern about unwittingly dating down low men. But prudent concern isn’t the same thing as an irrational fixation.]

      My Sisters, Eliminate The KNOWN Risks Before Fixating On Speculative Risks

      I’ve always wondered why so many African-American women fixate on becoming what some gay Black male activists have called “down low detectives” instead of starting by eliminating KNOWN, easily-identified risks from their sexual lives such as Black male criminals, drug users and playboys.

      Yes, down low Black men ARE a large part of the problem as pertains to African-American women becoming infected with HIV/AIDS. But so are the straight Black male jailbirds, dope fiends and playas! It amazes me to see how fixated so many African-American women are on scoping out hidden down low signs instead of getting rid of the known, easily-identifiable risks such as the jailbirds, dope fiends and playas. I wouldn’t call this behavior ethically insane, but it is irrational and self-defeating if the point is simply to reduce one’s risk of dating an infected man. There’s also a touch of unethical cowardice in only fixating on culturally “approved” targets of condemnation, instead of speaking the entire truth. Instead of also identifying the “sacred cows” of Black male jailbirds, druggies and playboys as sources of HIV/AIDS transmission to African-American women.

      However, there are some Black female “down low detectives” who ARE ethically insane:

      Ethical Insanity Outbreak At D.C.’s Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church

      Here’s part of the story published by the Washington Blade dated February 1, 2008 (you really need to read it in its entirety—it’s that . . . special—my comments are in blue):

      “One of Washington’s largest black Pentecostal churches was rocked by a female member of its choir who sent separate e-mail messages to the pastor in December and January outing more than 100 church members as gay, mostly male choir members.

      The outings added to the inner turmoil experienced by a large number of gays who attend services at the 7,000-member Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church, located on Rhode Island Ave., N.E., according to a gay former member who provided copies of the e-mails to the Blade.

      “’I will be leaving the choir at the top of the year because 80 percent of the tenors are homosexuals and act more like a female in choir rehearsal than I do,’ the church choir member said in one of her e-mails to Bishop Alfred Owens Jr., the church pastor. [Khadija speaking: So . . . let’s see. This woman is writing the pastor complaining about allegedly gay men in the church choir that she also accuses of acting in a stereotypical effeminate manner. And she feels compelled to “notify” the pastor about this . . . because these multitudes of allegedly effeminate, gay men in his choir have somehow escaped his notice. Even though he watches these men sing each and every Sunday. Hmmm . . .]

      The e-mail, sent in December, identifies about 45 fellow church members as gay. She sent a second e-mail to Owens on Jan. 2 identifying another 62 church members as gay. [Khadija: So, somehow the pastor (who we’ll later see is an anti-gay bigot) supposedly never noticed over 100 allegedly effeminate, gay men singing in his choir each Sunday. That’s . . . interesting.]

      ‘The following people I am asking you to monitor very closely and my prayer is that you will sit them down from their ministries,’ she told Owens in the December e-mail. ‘Because they are ushering in the presence of sin, lies, a spirit of homosexuality and sexual spirits.’ [Khadija: Whatever. Gee, I wonder what “spirit” this “blessed and highly favored” woman is ushering in?]

      She sent a copy of her e-mails to a Yahoo list group that goes to more than 300 church members, the gay former church member said. [Khadija: Oh, my God . . . that’s incredibly vicious. She already called herself “telling on” these men to the pastor. What possible, purportedly “good faith” reason could she have for doing this? As my best friend from New Orleans says in the gentle drawl that she pulls out for emphasis—Ahhh . . . naaawwww. This is some petty, evil, and downright Satanic mess. What sounds most likely is something along the lines that after spending several years in the choir, “Sister Bertha” was not chosen to do a solo and then she got mad. And then she decided to lash out. Whatever her true, petty gripe was, she’s certainly ethically insane.]

      . . Owens became the subject of media attention in April 2006 when he used the word ‘fag’ in a sermon on Palm Sunday. ‘It takes real men to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior,’ Owens said in the sermon, which was recorded by the church. ‘I’m not talking about no faggot or no sissy,’ he said. ‘Let the real men come down here and take a bow — all the real men. I’m talking about straight men … praise God that you’re straight.’

      The church’s web site includes a listing of twice-monthly sessions of a ministry called ‘Breaking the Chains of Homosexuality,’ which it says helps gays change their sexual orientation through counseling and prayer. [Khadija: All right, now. This church has been quite up-front in telling gays and lesbians that they are NOT welcome there; and that this place is NOT a church home for them. So why are they going there; and going so far as to participate in the choirs? In many ways this reminds me of how slave-minded African-Americans persist in shopping with Koreans and Arab shopkeepers who have nothing but hatred and contempt for them.

      But it also raises the ethical question of what good-faith reason could gays and lesbians possibly have for going to this particular church? This church has already let them know that they are not welcome. So, why are they infiltrating places of worship where they’ve been told that they are not welcome? To my way of thinking, that’s somewhat unethical. A house of worship is not intended to function like a government building. It’s a place of private fellowship among presumably like-minded believers. There’s NO obligation whatsoever for any house of worship to make any particular person or any particular category of persons feel welcome there.

      It would be similar to me (as a progressive Muslim) infiltrating a Taliban-type mosque that’s up-front about the fact that they preach reactionary madness. What legitimate purpose would I have for running up in there when I know they don’t want progressive Muslims in THEIR mosque? And it is their mosque since it was founded, and is being run, according to their reactionary doctrine. That’s their spiritual “home.” How is it legitimate for me to either infiltrate or gate-crash their spiritual home when they’ve made it clear that they don’t want me in there?]

      . . . The gay former church member who sent the outing e-mails to the Blade also sent a copy of a separate e-mail from an outraged gay church member who was among those named in the first two e-mails as gay. ‘I do not believe that someone would [have] the nerve to put my name to a list of known gays,’ he wrote in an e-mail sent to Owens and members of the church Yahoo group. ‘This has gone too far, I am not going down by myself.’ He went on to name other gays, including some in high-level church positions. [Khadija: WOW! . . . just wow. . . Yet another example of ethical insanity.]

      ‘It is so bad that in the last e-mail we are turning on each other,’ the gay former church member, who sent copies of the e-mails to the Blade, said. ‘Although I wanted to remain anonymous, someone has to do something.'” [Khadija: Yes, that was unfortunate. It’s an important reminder that people can be victims AND victimizers at the same time. We’ll get back to this point later.] http://www.washblade.com/2008/2-1/news/localnews/11956.cfm

      Several Black gay and lesbian blogs discussed this incident at the time. Pam’s House Blend (although her audience seems to be composed of mostly White lesbians and gays. http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do%3fdiaryId=4351 and Living Out Loud with Darian at http://loldarian.blogspot.com/2008/01/bishop-alfred-owens-some-people-never.html) discussed this incident at the time. You may find it interesting to read the discussions there.

      There Are Many Situations Where People Are Victims AND Villains At The Same Time

      Real life is filled with nuances and shades of gray. There are many situations where oppressed people are also victimizing and endangering others. A person can be a victim and a villain at the same time. I’ve talked about this before in the context of battered women:

      “If You Choose to Help a Victim of Domestic Violence, Offer Help From A SAFE DISTANCE.

      This is the part where I’m sure to offend many, if not most, survivors of domestic violence. I must admit that I’m not automatically as empathetic as I used to be about this issue. I’ve had too much work-related exposure to domestic violence victims. Both as a former prosecutor and as a defense attorney.

      Here’s the part that women’s advocates won’t tell you: Many women who are victims of domestic violence will ultimately, and eagerly, go back to their abusers. If you allowed yourself to get heavily involved in “rescuing” such a woman, she AND her abuser will paint you as somebody who just wanted to break them up (after she returns to him). This means that the male abuser might want to come after YOU after they are lovey-dovey again!

      Many women who are victims of domestic violence will also destroy any sanctuary that you offer them. They will bring predators into the previously-safe environment. After she reconciles with her batterer, she will start having him come visit her in the new apartment that you provided for her. She will be resentful if you won’t allow him to move into the new apartment. This scenario has happened to several other landlords I know. Good Samaritan, Beware!”

      . . . There are many times when we have to protect ourselves from people who are being victimized by others. This down low phenomenon is one of those situations. Yes, the widespread and virulent anti-gay bigotry within African-American culture is what causes so many gay and bisexual Black men to hide their true orientation. However, this oppression does NOT give anybody license to use women (without their knowledge or consent) as cover stories. It’s one thing to hide without involuntarily involving other people in your deception. It’s something else to deceive women and endanger their lives because you want to hide. This sort of behavior is ethically insane.

      Many Gay Black Male Activists Are SOLELY Focused On Avoiding Accountability For Their Group’s Part In The Spread of HIV/AIDS—They DON’T Care About Public Health Or Safety

      It’s been disturbing to see that many gay Black male activists don’t seem to comprehend the ethical insanity of down low gay men deceiving women, using them as involuntary cover stories, and thereby endangering these women’s lives without their knowledge. Let’s get real: Most women across the board are not going to insist upon their husbands wearing condoms. Period. The only thing many gay Black male activists are focused on is ducking and dodging having any level of accountability for this plague being assigned to gay/bisexual Black men.

      I’ve read all sorts of utterly irresponsible statements from gay Black male commenters and activists. I’ll just mention one such activist named Keith Boykin. I read his book Beyond The Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America. His book is basically several hundred pages of “Don’t blame us gay/bisexual Black men for being involved in spreading this plague.” Read the following essay to get the flavor of the book. http://www.keithboykin.com/arch/2005/02/03/10_things_you_s

      No matter what the issue (violent crime, drug addiction, etc.), irresponsible African-American “thinkers” consistently argue that focusing on elimating our own destructive behavior is a distraction from the so-called REAL issue. And somehow the so-called “real” issue is always something that is outside of our control. This posture of ducking and dodging any responsibility for the negative results caused by negative behaviors is a tradition. It’s a tradition with African-American males, and the African-American collective in general. Protecting an image is more important than the African-American lives that are lost. This posture is ethically insane.

      http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/08/catalog-of-ethical-insanity-part-1-down.html

      Expect Success!

      • ZooPath says:

        @ Khadija: I totally agree with your comment.

        I’m not asking or expecting others to sacrifice their core interests to be in solidarity with me or AA women in general. Nobody can reasonably expect that sort of sacrifice from me or other AA women who feel as I do. I’m not going to slit my own throat to be in solidarity with somebody else.

        Acting against my own interests to support another group whose interests do not align with my own is not something I’m obligated to do.

      • Aisha says:

        Khadija said:

        “…there was one particular Black female immigrant blogger who was busy shrieking at AA women that we must not divest, and must not leave Black residential areas. That we must stay and fight in these AA neighborhoods. Meanwhile, she and her family had “divested” and left from their Black country to come to the majority-White United States. And she wasn’t looking to go back to her home country to “fight” to improve conditions over there.”

        I know that you used this particular individual in the post about people telling you to do one thing while they do another. But I also think this is a perfect example of people joining you to use you for their own purposes.

        That particular poster had not only divested to the United States, but she lived in a white city, in an even whiter state, with her white man. All while telling Black women to “stay and fight,” ” don’t forget about our Black boys,” yada yada.

        The real story is this: she has a Black son from a previous relationship. So while she is living a safe distance away in her lily-white world, she wants to use Black women to fight on behalf of her Black male child’s interests.

        Sorry if this is rehashing old topics, but I just felt there was another angle to that situation that could be examined.

        • Aisha,

          You said, “The real story is this: she has a Black son from a previous relationship. So while she is living a safe distance away in her lily-white world, she wants to use Black women to fight on behalf of her Black male child’s interests.”

          Oh? I didn’t know that part of her backstory. That’s…mighty special… So, that individual is yet another person who expects AA women to do mule service and carry her load. That mess was another example of why it’s so important for AA women to learn the strategies that other people use to get ahead.

          What struck me about that individual was how indignant she was at the very idea that AA women might abandon the mule role. Given the background info you shared, now I see why—she plans on having AA women do gladiator service in order to create a more favorable environment for HER son. Whatever…

          Expect Success!

    • Nathalie says:

      Thanks for raising this Faith. Khadija I’m reflecting on your ideas about Gabby and Semenya and the thought that the attention cast on them negatively impacts black women and undermines our beauty/femininity rep in mainstream culture. There are many black women who are LGBT identified, and many whose weight ranges from more than the size 2-6 beauty ideal, all the way to fat, as with white women in both cases. Is there a space for these black women in the Sojourner’s movement Khadija?
      I’m reflecting on how to strategically politically handle the media focus on black women like Semenya and Gabby. I think it goes back to the lessons in power shared in books like The 48 Laws (a bedside book of mine..) and the others mentioned here.
      From a purely strategic point of view I think we need to learn how to use these Media Traps to call out the sexism and racism in them and redirect the focus towards white women who have signed on for “outside of the beauty ideal” othering, and feminist advocacy work.
      Clearly Semenya is being targeted because she is black and female–I’ve seen many masculine looking white and non-black women in professional and Olympic athletics who aren’t analyzed or highlighted as the poster women of intersex in the media this way (although many of them have been asked to undergo sex testing, going back to the Soviets and German women Olympians in the 1960s all the way up to the Beijing Olympics in which Indian, Polish and German women were among those reported in media to be forced to undergo sex testing).
      So following a strategic approach, the BWE bloc could collectively point this out, denounce the racism and sexism and then direct attention towards examples of white and non-black women who fit the bill, and the long history of that among white women, and then point to the white-run organizations and advocates who are working to defend the rights and interests of intersex people and the white feminists who are also running with it, and let them (work and) be recognized for doing the work they are doing.
      Clearly Gabby is being made to look silly on mainstream magazines because they don’t care to put in the work to make an overweight black woman look her best–none of the expert hair, lighting, make-up and airbrushing that is routine for white models and others who fit the beauty ideal comfort zone (although they will make a not-fat black woman look nuts too..). I think the BWE bloc has pointed this out, but the other strategy, of raising white women who are plus models and celebrities as the poster women for the size acceptance images and then pointing to the white-run organizations and advocates working to defend size acceptance as the experts and poster women behind the issue and letting them defend, fight and advocate; work they are already doing.
      This is just starters/my thoughts so far- I’m sure there are many other ideas for strategies to incorporate that can do the work of calling out the sexism and racism and letting others be the poster women and continue the ground work they do.

      • Nathalie,

        I’m happy you raised this, so we can get down to some specifics that are usually left unsaid when discussing these sorts of topics.

        I’ll reply at length later, but for now, I’d like you to clarify a few points.

        You said, “There are many black women who are LGBT identified, and many whose weight ranges from more than the size 2-6 beauty ideal, all the way to fat, as with white women in both cases. Is there a space for these black women in the Sojourner’s movement Khadija?”

        Who ever said that there wasn’t space for “these women in the Sojourners movement”? Where is that thought coming from? Where have I—or anybody else—said that there wasn’t space for these women? I’m also wondering where you got those dress size ranges from. I know that I have never spoken in terms of specific dress sizes. Where’s that coming from?

        Which leads me to my next question—What does “support” look like, as you see it?

        Does “support” mean ratifying everything and anything about what people are doing?

        Does “support” mean remaining silent about aspects of certain situations that are problematic?

        I’m curious: What would you have me say or do (that I’m not already doing) to demonstrate “support” for GLBT women and/or women who, as YOU described them, “whose weight ranges from more than the size 2-6 beauty ideal”?

        If you read the post from the previous blog (and some other posts from there), you’ll see that I’ve spoken out against bigotry against GLBT people. What else would you have me say to demonstrate my “support” (as you define “support”)?

        I eagerly look forward to your reply. 🙂

        Expect Success!

        • Nathalie says:

          Hi Khadija,

          What does “support” look like, as you see it?

          Your posts on Gabby & Semenya are pushing me to ask myself this question from a BWE perspective.

          I appreciate the critique of the AA support bandwagon tradition and am thinking about how BW can strategically respond to injustices in ways that serve our interests and position. My ideas I mentioned above re: BWE strategies in responding to Gabby & Semenya’s incidents are part of my thinking/processing on this, which is
          “work in progress”.

          I’m not looking for you to say or do anything specific or to demonstrate your support. I’m asking from the perspective of having read the posts and comments on Gabby and Semenya and truly not being clear on how those ideas relate to your thoughts on and the acceptance of LGBT in the Sojourner’s movement or on overweight issues. This blog doesn’t seem it doesn’t seem key word searchable so I don’t have enough time to mine it for thoughts you’ve shared on LGBT and overweight women like Gabby and didn’t see anything when I plugged in search terms LGBT and weight/fat on the old blog, so I asked directly, rather than assume either way. My beauty ideal comment is based on the white mainstream beauty ideal embraced by magazines like Elle and their readers, not on my own experience of what is beautiful to me.

          As per the questions:
          Does “support” mean ratifying everything and anything about what people are doing?
          ~me: No, not for me.
          Does “support” mean remaining silent about aspects of certain situations that are problematic?
          ~-me: In my view, opting for voice/silence is case by case, depending on how it impacts me/my family/black women. Although regarding support, I’m not sure what you’re referring to in terms of situations in which support is expressed through silence and welcome example(s).

          • Nathalie,

            I’m happy I asked for some clarification; I think I now have a better understanding of your questions. Here’s my response:

            I don’t have a separate policy position regarding overweight AA women. I also don’t have a separate policy position regarding AA lesbians.

            I want the same thing (abundant life) for all AA women and girls.

            The idea of separating AA lesbians or overweight AA women out of my work never occurred to me. When I’m talking to or about AA women and girls, I’m referring to ALL of us.

            Being overweight or morbidly obese like Ms. Sidibe is not healthy for any AA woman or girl. There are real life, real world negative consequences attached to overweight/obesity. I firmly believe that AA women need to stop tripping about this. I would suggest that folks who haven’t already done so, take the time to read Tracy’s excellent guest post over at Christelyn’s house. Here’s part of it:

            Since last Friday, three women that I know have passed on. No, I’m not use the nice words for this – three women – two good friends of my mother’s and one brilliant caring friend of mine – ARE DEAD. Way before their time. My friend – a nurse, a mother,and a comedian that could make a statue laugh – had a heart attack sitting in her car. She was on her way home from work. They found her the next morning. DEAD.

            She was a big woman: she would always tell me that one day she was going to join me on my walks. Like me, she had diabetes and high blood pressure. Like me, she ignored the signs of trouble – failing eyesight, tiredness, aching limbs, headaches – put her cares in the “hands of Jesus”, and kept right on eating. Eating. She would get upset when you got on her about her food choices. Or about how her weight fluctuations were affecting her hormones – she was getting the rash on her neck and damn near growing a beard.. “Ain’t nobody’s business but mine”….. She was 43. She had two kids. She had a husband. Now her business is their business – they have to bury her, and go on without her.

            http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/author-erhm-blogger-spotlight-meet-my-girl-tracy-scott/

            So, I doubt that I’ll ever give a “hip, hip, hooray” in support of anybody being morbidly obese. I have changed my views about several key things; and I expect to continue to have evolving views as long as I’m alive. However, I just don’t see my views about AA women and obesity changing. Certainly not in order to accomodate the current fat acceptance dogma.

            Having an unfeminine or God forbid, butch, self-presentation is a disadvantage for any AA woman or girl—whatever her sexual orientation might be. There are real life, real world negative consequences attached to that. I firmly believe that AA women—all AA women—need to stop tripping about this. When a woman creates a butch self-presentation for herself, she cuts herself off from the benefits of being perceived as feminine. Defeminization by visually becoming un-women means that a woman won’t receive what has been described as the four main manifestations of male protection: courtesy, concern, consideration, and concessions.

            Furthermore, a self-defeminizing, butch woman has also put a bullseye on her own back. I’m not talking about what’s right or fair. Life is not fair. I’m talking about how the real world actually operates, and will continue to operate for the forseeable future.

            I hope this answers your questions. 🙂

            Expect Success!

  20. halima says:

    “On top of this, I see that know-nothing, self-hating negro men gravitate towards those women and since I’ve never been taught to avoid self-haters–women or men–or taught what a quality man is or how to secure one, practically any negro man is better than no man at all. Also, another reason I don’t avoid self-hating negro men or women is because I don’t know what exactly there is about AA-ness or myself to love. I certainly don’t know what there is about AA womanhood there is that I should even try to strategize to protect”

    Evia I want to call this issue a lack of ‘sense of self’ until I can come up with something better. I think we can go back to ‘the use of bw’ in the black social structure, to find out how bw became this way.

    I think two creators exist for this malady. one is absence of effective ‘female figures’ (because they too have joined in the whole ‘resource farming’ of their daughters required by BC, or they are young mothers who didnt have the knowlege to pass on or are confused immigrant mothers overwhelmed in their new society).

    Indeed since bw are meant for service anyway (according to the terms of BC), and are meant to carry an ‘open basket’ for all to come and take from, I think some mothers have underdeveloped their daughters ‘sense of sense,’ which tends to provide that healthy barrier against unlimited giving of themselves their time and rescource to DBR and parasites who depend on them for sustenance.

    A well developed and healthy ‘sense of self’ knows that, ‘I gotta keep some money, bread etc for my self’. When you see how bw are acting as total ‘free givers’ not even concerned with how they themselves will survive the winter, then something is up with their healthy sense of self! Damaged sense of self= the kind of matrydom-selflessness we see bw operating in, and lack of care of what will become of them!

    I think we all were given the sense of self training by our mothers. I remember how my mum would say, ‘Don’t spread your legs in public’, in fact she would often slap me on my thighs. These kinds of actions and over time I developed a deep sense that there was ‘me’ and then there was the rest of the world, and I needed to take care of myself (the Me), to insure that i wasnt misused, I got the best/good deal, and a firm understanding that sometimes the world would be out to cheat me or do me harm and i must ‘block’ the world from getting me. I should possibly be saying that it is the black female ‘ego’ (not in the way that it is used generally but the way freud initially used the word ego to mean a sense of self) that is underdeveloped or stunted so that others can take full advantage and reap benefit off of her.

    The way i think it goes is like this:
    ‘Mummy says I am ‘me’ (sense of self), so I do have a ME! Now I am going to go out knowing I have this ‘ME’ that will need protecting, need shoring up and getting the best for.’

    Many Bw often act like they are ‘a part of others,’ not distinct beings who have their peculiar ineterst which they might need to contend for.

    i see this all the time with bw blabbing their business on trains and buses etc, a clear lack of awareness that ‘this activity will count against my interest’, which lends to the idea that they possibly dont even know they have ‘a self interest’ that needs nuture and protection and care!

    I think when parents don’t spend time with their daughters (like on that porch) and tell them about life I think it truncates their ‘sense of self,’ they just feel they ‘roll into others and other roll into them’!

    i would also say that bw responding positively to BWE concepts like reciprocity, self care and self advocacy means that their ‘sense of self’ is live and kicking!

    The sad news is that a lot of bw will fall by the wayside because they do not have this inherent ‘sense of self’ that would necessitate acting and behaving in self preserving ways. they are almost socially autistic in that sense. The basic framework upon which to build self-preserving behaviour is not even in place, its none existent!

    We are not talking about folks that consciously know but might have been misdirected or caught up in ‘black love’ etc and so might eventually be made to ‘see’ sense, in many bw, there is a big patch of necessary framework just missing! Not there!

    ‘The better to serve the race by’ I hear the wolf say.

  21. Karen says:

    What has always served as a guidepost for me before I will even consider taking up a cause, the questions are as follows:

    1) What is in it for me? <– This should be every AA BW's first question
    2) Do I receive any reciprocity for my actions?
    3) Will I receive any long term value for my participation?
    4) For the affected party, is anyone else from that group actively engaging? (i.e. Is anyone else on the front lines taking the frontal assault?)

    With the examples of Apartheid and Ms. Semenya, I personally saw no advantage to either. No reciprocity was being offered to take up the cause of ending Apartheid in South Africa to AAs.

    There is no tactical or strategic advantage to speaking on behalf of Ms. Semenya. If her fellow citizens want to protest, in my opinion, that is the right place for it. I as an AA BW have nothing to gain by taking up a cause that has no benefit to me. In a patriarchal world, my assets are my womanhood and my femininity as it is defined within this patriarchal construct.

    I wish Ms. Semenya no ill-will, but her issue/cause in not mine. It is not my fight.

  22. Evia says:

    @Destouet re:

    That’s why I chose not to respond to several comments because the last thing I want to give “lurkers” and internet “Ikes” is a reason to believe that we are not in solidarity.

    Yes, it’s important to disagree without being disagreeable. And too–what would be the VALUE of showing that we’re not in solidarity? I, too, had thought about not responding, but I noticed that there is foot-shooting going on here in some cases. For ex., THE main reason why it’s so hard for some AA women to meet and marry non-bm now is because of the foot-shooting that other AA women have done in the past as in “I don’t want no white boy!” and in “Nothing but a bm.” That leaves NO “wiggle room” after they’ve made these sweeping antagonistic declarations because when practically any wm reads that, he BELIEVES these women and believes they are speaking for the entire group of bw. He has no reason no to believe this.

    I’ve definitely had my differences with certain Africans and white males and females, but I’ll never make what seems like sweeping declarations of antagonism against all of them because that leaves me NO wiggle room. And since I have my self-pride and my ethnic pride, I don’t believe that any white, African, or biracial hair-flipper woman is better than me or can actually take anything from me personally that I’m not willingly giving them. I demand reciprocation, in terms of respect and otherwise.

    These women cannot make me feel less-than or look down on me because I KNOW I’m not less-than and I’m not down there for them to look at. And any man who discriminates against me in favor of them is a man I do not want. It’s AAs as a group who have given away the bank of opportunities that our ancestors fought for to others.

    It’s the lack of AA pride and lack of cohesivesness that is at the root of almost ALL AA anger about this or that. Yet, the bulk of AAs continue to believe that these others are doing terrible things to us. This, to me, indicates our desperate need to deny the truth about ourselves. This is a prime example of cognitive dissonance that I talk about in my current post on my site. In order for us not to believe that we’re stupid, we have to make other folks the bad guys.

    So to put this on the doorstep of other more organized, cohesive groups who do have a lot more self pride and will act to protect themselves and their interests is simply more serious foot-shooting, IMO.

    Yes, I do this sometimes. For ex., I slam bm in general BECAUSE some of them are active users and abusers of bw. Also, I’ve noted that over the past hundreds of years, bm have SHOWN themselves–by their sum total behavior–to be of very little value to bw in terms of protecting and uplifting us–and particularly when they actually can uplift us–like when they have money and influence. That tells me that IF bm in the West get more money and influence or power, there is a very low probability that they will use it to protect and uplift bw. So, I’ve filed bm in general under the NO Value category.

    I personally have not done this with any other group because they haven’t shown me in stark terms that they won’t reciprocate if I give to them (even a small fraction of what bw have given to bm) and demand reciprocation.

    @Khadija re:

    Evia . . . I believe there are several main points of misinterpretation:

    Point #1: This conversation isn’t “against” anybody. It’s FOR AA women to learn how to get theirs. Just like everybody else is getting theirs.

    There’s a lot to cover, but I’ll try to be a bit briefer. LOL!

    Of course, you know I agree with what you’re saying because this is what I’ve preached or even championed for 4 years now. What I’m focusing on is the level of antagonism expressed in the some of the comments AGAINST Africans just as I’ve many times opposed the antagonism expressed by some bw AGAINST white women. I don’t see the point in the vehemence expressed against these groups because these people are NOT taking anything from bw. Bw are freely GIVING these groups adoration and are actively seeking validation from them. And as you’ve mentioned, these folks would be foolish not to take what they’re FREELY being offered. Tons of bw, for ex. ADORE the hair and skin of white and biracial women, yet they roll their necks at these women BECAUSE bw don’t have self-pride or group pride. The enemy is on the inside–not “out there.”

    As I said, bw COULD learn self-pride IF they READ, READ, READ and devoted themselves to learning it. This can be done. It is not the fault of these other groups or women in other groups that bw don’t have self-pride and the fact is that possibly some of those women can be useful to a bw or two or three.

    Some of those women DO see and show commonalities with AA women in various ways. I don’t see the point in “throwing the baby out with the dishwater.” However, any sensible person is going to pull back from a possibly antagonistic other person or group, especially since they don’t need us. They don’t need us and they know AAs are not organized and don’t have enough self-pride or group pride to keep them from getting whatever they want. The bottom line is that most people who want to preserve themselves are going to take you out whenever they can (especially IF they can) if they believe you’re a anti them. I’m not saying that anyone here is actually against anyone; I’m simply focusing on the foot-shooting language.

    So, my difference is a matter of nuance and emphasis–not disagreement.

    Also, since there is ALWAYS cutthroat competition for the more desireable resources in the world (clean air and water, better jobs, quality men, etc.), I don’t believe in publicly laying out strategies and tactics in black and white that I will use and with whom I’m going to use them because forewarning is forearming.’ LOL! That’s just me. I guess I prefer to give my competitors less info or none. Some of us take the securing of desirable resources VERY seriously.

    Point #2: You already know there isn’t—and won’t be anytime soon—any private forum (comparable to what non-AAs have) for AA women to discuss these strategies.

    This is because enough of us don’t don’t push for this to happen.

    However, just as bw are reading these forums, others are reading these forums too and they too are taking notes. They don’t know us the way we know us. For ex. when those bw were making those strident foot-shooting declarations against EVER being interested in wm, many of us bw knew or strongly suspected they were just talking loud, but I would say that practically ALL wm believed those bw were talking for all or for most other bw.

    Anyway, my perspectives should be taken as suggestions. That’s all. I think that instead of even seeming to sound to be against others (and some passages here do sound anti-others), it’s much better to teach indifference towards these others or if not, then learn to not openly focus on them. Unlike many bm, these others are not approaching and physically, sexually, or emotionally assaulting/abusing AA/bw. If you couple self-pride and self-development with indifference or non-focusing on non-attacking others, I believe that’s a winning combination. Self-pride, in itself, will cause a person to be VERY self-promotional, VERY self-protective and even VERY self-serving. LOL! Bw can easily choose to be indifferent or non-focused on ww and even most hair flipping bi-racials because typical Africans, whites, and hair-flippers do not generally or actively ask bw for anything. It’s blacks who gravitate towards those folks–not the other way around.

    So, if you’re saying “Don’t publicly take note of these strategies” in a context where there are NO comparable private forums…then what your suggestion has the same practical effect as suggesting that we remain silent. Given the complete and utter confusion that most AA women have about these matters, silence is unacceptable.

    I believe bw are WAY too open and public with all of their business. I would encourage bw to READ and READ (books you and others have suggested) and either join or start offline discussion groups/women’s clubs in their areas about these topics. For ex. lots of bw belong to offline book clubs where they read and talk about all kinds of junk. Why not set up these offline discussion groups? EVERY bw reading this cOULD do this. I would prefer to INSIST that they invest time and energy in doing this. BW must stop depending on freebies. I urge bw to invest time, money, and energy in their own uplift with others of like minds because in the world we live in, people have always operated in GROUPS of whatever size. From science, we know that “Animals that travel in herds are safer.” I have not accepted that AA and similar bw must fly solo since I know that is the height of vulnerability. That is anti-surviving and thriving, so I haven’t accepted that AA women can’t do that and NOW. Lots of AA women DO have the time and other resources to do what they want to do, so I’ve begun to insist that they do what they NEED to do, instead. Yes, I’m willing to tell them what they NEED to do with their time and money, if they need that.

    The first step is for more AA women to get a clear sense of what’s actually happening around them. The illusions of mutual togetherness and cooperation need to be dispelled. ASAP.

    This is exactly why I’ve waved the simple concept of the RECIPROCITY banner for years. Reciprocity can be practiced in every single interaction or exchange that a bw has with another person, but it’s mainly the typical bw who clings to muledom. Others don’t force bw to do that. A lot of this boils down to WILL. Lots of bw seem to lack the WILL or the courage, not to be a mule. And lots of time, they lack the courage because they try to fly solo and flop.

    I will never be an advocate of flying solo.

    And unlike many black people, for decades now, I have NOT seen these various “others” as being the problem. So, I’m not even annoyed at them.

    @ Halima–
    I hear ya and I understand what you’re saying but I’m at the point now where I fully realize that reasons are excuses. Maybe, I’m too old already. LOL! The older I get, the more I embrace the uplifting principles of the old school. Reasons and explanations were NOT accepted in the “old school for not acting with common sense. I’m trying to grow more now towards acceptance of the things that I cannot change.

  23. Rhonda says:

    For example, like I said in an earlier comment, Telemundo and Univision are not checking for Black Latina actresses like Zoe Saldana or Gina Torres. So, if these Black Latina women had to depend solely on finding roles among their own Latino peeps, they would be S-O-L. The few times, recent and past, that I’ve glanced at Spanish-language tv, I’ve noticed that they tend to have the Whitest people among them on those programs.

    Except for the telenovela Xica, which is the story of the Brazilian legend, Xica da Silva, who was the daughter of a black slave woman and a white landowner during 1700s Brazil.

    When I used to have a television, I caught the show on one of the Spanish language teevee stations in, I think, 2000 or 2001. (I gave up owning a television in 2002.) It was a Brazilian produced show, in Brazilian Portuguese, dubbed over in Latin American Spanish. When I owned a teevee, I never subscribed for cable (I could never justify paying to watch television, especially, since most cable shows showed commercials!), and because I was a “television addict”, I would wander over to the double-digit channels to see what was doing there. And porque hablo y comprendo un poco de español, I would often stop at the Spanish language stations, one of which was airing Xica, which is a very interesting and entertaining show. (Because it is a historical/costume drama show, it might still be in rotation; so, if it is showing in your area, I recommend you watch it, especially if you understand Spanish–I used to watch it with Spanish subtitles turned on.) Xica was, on the show, a ruthless and focused person/character, who managed to get as much as possible–freedom and wealth–in spite of her race, which determined what her station would be, in 1700s Brazil. As well, she upgraded (for lack of a better word) her station, and that of her daughter’s, through her relationship with her white lover. (In Brazil, one is considered to be the race that you appear to others. So, if you look white, regardless of any black person(s) you have in your family tree, you are related to as white.)

    Regardless of the Spanish station’s broadcasting of Xica, which starred an Afro-Brazilian actress, you are correct that those networks do not feature blacks in their programs. Even on the other telenovelas, they do have brown actors on the shows, but those persons are always in a “lesser” role, and are never the stars.

  24. a. says:

    Khadiji:

    You are absolutely correct.

    Behaving like a lady and smiling will get you further than fighting, let the men fight.