Think About Your Own Circumstances
Lifestyle optimization requires you to examine ideas from the vantage point of your own particular context and circumstances. This one statement will probably be a recurring theme in the blog posts here. It’s impossible to have an optimal lifestyle when you make critical life decisions based on other people’s circumstances. Listening to other people whose circumstances or interests are out of alignment with yours will throw your life into chaos and ruin.
This is the primary reason so many African-American women are living in misery and hardship. They’re programmed to think about other people’s (read: Black men’s, and the already-dead Black community’s) circumstances and interests, instead of their own. Or they’re taking positions that only make sense in the context of nonblack women’s collective life circumstances.
Several astute bloggers have talked about all of this in some detail. Halima, blog host of Black Women’s Interracial Relationship Circle, has written several excellent essays about this. I strongly urge you to read them, here and here.
I’ve seen the patterns that Halima describes in these posts. Over the years, I’ve watched many confused Black women parrot slogans and agree to follow strategies that have no connection to their own circumstances and needs. They did so to their detriment.
SOME OBSERVATIONS ABOUT THE 25-AND-UNDER “RACE GIRLS”
Many of the 20-something Black “race girls” who bash the idea of Black women’s empowerment hold contradictory thoughts about the issues they pontificate on with such confidence. All at the same time, many of them:
(1) Are not concerned about their biological clocks at their age, while they scream at Black women whose childbearing years are coming to a close.
(2) Despite seeing the mass absence of marriage in the African-American collective, they are confident in assuring other Black women that if they will only act right, then they will have their own Black Prince Charming.
(3) Despite seeing the mass absence of marriage in the African-American collective, they are confident that they themselves will be the Black female version of Jackie Robinson (one-in-a-million to be selected) and find marriage with a Black Prince Charming.
(4) While holding and advocating the above beliefs, they are often also hedging their bets and planning on single parent adoption as “Plan B” if they don’t marry their Black Prince Charming by age 35 or so.
Of course, to hear them tell it, it would take some bizarre stroke of fate for them to fail in their goal of marrying a Black Prince Charming. (One might ask why they need a Plan B if there are so many quality Black men available, and if things are so viable on the Black love front. One might also note that women from other races generally aren’t making that kind of “Plan B.”)
And finally, (5) some of them are never-married single mothers who have already been played and burned in the ultra-toxic, all-Black relationship market; and yet are still spouting the above beliefs.
It’s all irrational. And dangerous for anyone who allows these girl-women to bully and pressure them into narrowing their opportunities to find a wholesome, marriage-minded, quality husband.
STOP LISTENING TO THE POLITICAL EQUIVALENT OF “THE DUSTIES”
There are many people telling Black women that they alone must narrow their life opportunities to save the already-dead Black family and Black community. In doing so, they are using slogans that no longer have any connection whatsoever to current realities. But that “small” detail doesn’t matter to the “Black women as cannon fodder” recruiters.
You need to understand that the “Black women as martyrs” recruiters will keep demanding that you martyr yourself no matter what happens. They will continue making these demands until the final demise of the African-American collective.
They will repeat the same slogans as African-Americans become more deeply entrenched in permanent underclass status, and overall disintegration. They will repeat these slogans when the African-American out of wedlock birthrate reaches 90-95 percent. The 1965 Moynihan Report warned about the rising illegitimacy rate among African-Americans. Most of our people didn’t heed the warning. Instead, we recited angry slogans in response.
The “Black love” slogans that are exclusively directed at Black women will be repeated when the African-American male interracial relationship rate approaches 50 percent and beyond. For those of you who think this can’t or won’t happen, I would refer you to the current example of the Caribbean Black male population in the United Kingdom. West Indian Black men’s interracial relationship rate in the UK has reached 48 percent. (See the BBC Caribbean.com story from January 19, 2009, The Mixed Race March in Britain.)
Gina, blog host of What About Our Daughters, made an excellent point a while back about the “it takes a village” slogan. She pointed out that many African-Americans are depending on the family stability created by marriages from three generations ago (grandparents and sometimes, great-grandparents)!
As far as I’m concerned, that “village” rhetoric is just some more empty talk. The mass absence of marriage means there is no village. There are only elderly and exhausted grandmothers that many of us want to heap more burdens on. There’s nobody waiting in the wings to replace these grandmothers and great-grandmothers because the generations that followed are not creating the stable marriages that previously served as the family bedrock.
Folks need to stop lying, and most of all stop listening to lies, about this mythical village. We burned the village down decades ago. There are only a few scattered huts left.
All of these slogans are the political equivalent of “dusties” music. They have little to no connection to current realities. The difference is that “dusties” can be enjoyable. As entertainment. Not as the basis for making life-and-death decisions in modern circumstances.
In fact, this pattern is the main reason I stopped listening to the local Black-owned talk radio station. The hosts and callers are repeating the same conversations, nostrums and slogans I remember hearing 20-plus years ago on that station! Whenever I tune in just to check on them, I find that they’re having “dusties” conversations. Ignore people who repeat a political “dusties scratch mix” of obsolete, failed ideas.
DON’T CONFUSE NONBLACK WOMEN’S CONTEXTS WITH YOUR CONTEXT
African-American women often buy into ideas that have no real relevance to their particular circumstances. This often comes up whenever Black women discuss the importance of marriage.
When analyzing ideas, Black women should keep their own circumstances in the forefront. African-American women are operating in a context that no other group of women are operating in. Other women may face similar issues, but at nowhere near the rate of African-American women. Black women need to stop tripping, recognize that other women’s context is not our context, and respond accordingly.
African-American women are operating in a context of a huge unmarried rate (relative to all other types of people) and a 70 percent-plus illegitimate child rate. In this context, African-American women can’t afford the luxury of calling ourselves “overcoming” the perception that we want legitimate marriage—just like every other race and ethnic group of women on the planet.
To paraphrase some other important points that Halima has made in earlier comments and blog posts:
Unlike the White female theorists who can afford to characterize marriage as a site of oppression, African-American women need to understand that marriage is important as a potential site for division of the hard work involved in raising children. Unlike the current situation where African-American women are bearing almost sole responsibility for raising Black children (as is clear from the 70 percent-plus out of wedlock rate).
Unlike women from other ethnic and racial groups, African-American women are being targeted for male disassociation and social disfellowship.
White women are generally protected and provided for within overall White American society (see the examples of how David Letterman and Kanye West were quickly chastised for publicly demeaning a White woman). White women can afford to talk that stuff about how they refuse to be “obsessed with marriage”—because they’re already reaping the benefits of marriage!
African-American women can’t afford the luxury of characterizing desire for marriage as “obsession” with marriage. African-American women are suffering the real consequences of the absence of marriage within the African-American collective. Consequences like the physical danger posed by legions of (mostly fatherless) predatory, violent criminals. Physically dangerous environments like Dunbar Village are one of many results of an absence of stable, two-parent families created by marriage.
I’m not talking about marriage as somehow saving the African-American collective. I’m talking about how the mass absence of marriage is drastically lowering the quality of Black women’s lives. And sometimes, such as within many Black residential areas, is creating physical danger to Black women.
White women and other women can afford to “trip,” and pretend like they don’t know the reasonable availability of marriage opportunities within their own group is doing something good and important for them (and their children). African-American women can’t afford to “trip” like that.
No, I’m not saying that marriage always results in a stable family. But common sense, and empirical observation of the conditions within Black residential areas, should tell us that marriage greatly increases the odds of having a stable, productive family in which children are properly reared and socialized. So they’re less likely to turn into monsters like the single-parent raised Dunbar Village demons.
When Black women discuss marriage, I think it’s critical that we detangle and separate what I believe is the legitimate promotion of marriage from the disrespectful, insulting beliefs promoted about single or childless women.
The legitimate importance, value and benefits of an “MRS degree” need to be uncoupled from the disrespect of “You and your life ain’t sh*t because you ain’t got no man/kids.” Right now, it’s all mixed together and I think that demeaning message is what causes some Black women to balk when they hear marriage being promoted as something valuable.
I will also note that large numbers of gays and lesbians understand the value and importance of marriage. That’s why they’re clamoring to be able to have legally recognized marriages. In fact, one might say that large numbers of gays and lesbians are “obsessed” with marriage. This is one example of how, as quiet as it’s sometimes kept, other people recognize the value and importance of marriage.
Don’t let anybody trick you into feeling embarrassed about wanting marriage (if that’s what you want). Don’t let anybody pressure you into doing without the lifestyle you want. Don’t confuse other people’s circumstances and contexts with your own. Instead, examine ideas from the vantage point of your own particular context and circumstances. And move forward into fulfilling, abundant, optimal lives.