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How To Be Black: I have to agree with Mia McKenzie

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One of my Facebook contacts thought it would be funny to post an article titled  “How To Be Black In America: A (Relatively) Short List” written by author and activist Mia McKenzie. Mia studied writing at the University of Pittsburgh ; and is described as being a smart, scrappy Philadelphian (now living in the bay area) with a deep love of vegan pomegranate ice cream and fake fur collars. She see’s herself as being a black feminist and a “freaking queer” (her words not mine); who’s thoughts and ideas are often reflected in her writings, which have won her such awards and grants as:

  • Astraea Foundation Writers Fund Award, 2009
  • Leeway Foundation Transformation Award, 2011

She comprised a ‘short list’ of things that black people should do in order to become accepted or seen as normal by the rest of society.  Now,  knowing my friend I’m assuming this list was brought forward in attempts to poke fun of CNN anchor and social contributor Don Lemon. Who recently shared with the world the lessons his families elders taught him about to conduct himself. But in my personal opinion, her ‘list’ actually back fired.

Now, I’m no one of importance, I haven’t won any literary awards nor had any of my works published, but (based upon what I’m seeing) I feel that If  she was attempting to engage in a game of snarky sarcasm, it honestly didn’t work. Because I and many others happen to agree with the list she provided. But I’ll explain the hot sticking points for me, in more detail; because I think some ignorant, close-minded, and petty black folks are missing the over all big picture.

Here’s some of the list

1. Don’t sag your pants. Pull them up. Slowly. Don’t make any sudden movements: I don’t know about not making any subtle moves, but yes, please pull  up your pants. And while you’re at it, wear a belt. I do not want to see your boxers, much less think this prison style of dress is appealing or cool. This goes for the young ladies as well. Advertising your goods in low-rise jeans or cut off shorts that stop two inches short of your burning bush is not the example of a respectable young woman. Nor is this look cute either. And you’re wondering why you’re having men make derogatory comments via sexually explicit and suggestive ‘complements’.

2. Stop talking about racism. That’s over. (see: black President): No, don’t stop talking about racism, but do understand that we too are just as guilty of being racist. Not only towards other ethnicities, but we do it to one another (inter-cultural racism based upon complexion). We too become enraged with black men/women whom chose to date/marry someone who’s not black, and we too say and carry out racist actions towards others.

So if we’re going to point out the wrongs of others, we MUST acknowledged what we’re no better. If we’re going to talk about slavery, let touch on how ‘we’ (some of our African ancestors) sold us into slavery as well.

Let’s focus on how the Black Egyptians enslaved the Black Israelites/Hebrews.

Let’s talk about how we’re still slaves in mentality as a result of the physical enslavement we’ve endured (and how we continue to perpetuate this mind-set with our actions towards one another).  If we’re to have an honest talk about racism, let’s be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the part that we play.

3. Stop asking the black President to do anything to help you. That’s reverse-racism. Or something: This one still baffles me too this day. Because I keep asking black people this, what do “WE” want him to do for us that we can’t and shouldn’t already be doing for ourselves?

We keep harping on what he’s done for other communities, but we don’t mention the fact that these other communities do what we refuse to do; work together! They fight together; stand together for what they believe in and they hold the government (not just the President) accountable as such.

They learn the process of authoring bills and legislation in their favor, and they fight to push these bills and acts through the house and senate. They’re active in local/state/federal government and they don’t take no for an answer.

They VOTE during the primary and mid-term elections; because they understand that who ever is voted into the house/senate and local government affects the issues they hold dear. This is something many of ‘us’ fail to do. How can we hold the President accountable for what’s wrong in our communities when WE won’t even hold one another and ourselves accountable is my question? If we don’t fight to keep our communities free of drugs and gang violence, how in the heck do we expect the President to rid our communities of crime? He can’t do that for us, we have to do that!  If we don’t fight to ensure our children receive adequate health care and eduction, why do we expect him to do it for us?

4. Get an education somehow. Speak properly, for Christ’s sake. But don’t be uppity: I love this one! YES, WE DON’T STRESS education enough in our homes and in our communities! So yes, I’m all for education and I feel we need to fight diligently to ensure that our children understand the importance of being academically competitive.

AND YES, we need to teach our children how to speak proper English. Slang and street talk won’t help you get a job and it won’t assist them with effectively articulating themselves. The perception of individuals who ‘talk like that’ is one of negative stereotypes  (uneducated, dumb and ‘hood’). And may we agree with it or not, it assist people with passing judgment upon first meeting you. If WE seek to be seen for our intelligence and not appearance, DO NOT give society more ammunition to label you.

5. Be nicer. You know people are intimidated by you, right? Why are you making it harder on yourself?: There are some sisters and brothers with some nasty, unsavory attitudes. Even though this is not specific one ethnicity, we can all admit that we’ve shaken our heads at them while standing in line at the supermarket.

We’ve witnessed them speaking harshly to customer service representatives, and cursing out cashiers.

We’ve seen them hold up lines at events cursing out the volunteers because they paid “too much money” to get in for this.

WE see it all the time and it’s not a good look for us. THEY (the one’s whom demonstrate this behavior) make us all look bad, because there’s no need to be that way. You don’t have to curse people out or tell them like it ‘T.I. is’ (rolling my neck and snapping my fingers) to get your point across. But we see this every day. The manner in which many of ‘us’ carry ourselves is very unbecoming and ugly.

6. Be successful somehow. But do it without any kind of help. I mean, that’s how white people did it, right? No help whatsoever: Check out the chart below, and ask yourselves’ why don’t ‘we’ American born Africans get it?

Black Africans and people of African Origins come to this country and fare better in entrepreneurship, education, and finances than that of American Born Africans; whom have the same opportunities available too them, yet we’re lagging in these areas. They come here with absolutely nothing but a few mere belongings and they open businesses that are thriving (some within our community), they’re graduating with higher GPA’s from prestigious institutes of higher education and they pass down self-made wealth to their children.

That speaks volumes for how ungrateful ‘we’ (those of us born here) are. They’re more successful that most of us; and they do it with very little to no assistance.

We teach our children to become great workers (depending upon someone else to create job opportunities for us) while they teach their children to become the employers.

They understand the importance of commerce and how it’s linked to successful business ownership.

They do what we fail to do, stress education!

So, if they can find a way to be successful with nothing, what’s stopping ‘us’? They work together! They fund businesses with one another and they understand how there’s power in numbers. And its less of them; but they’re faring better than ‘us’; making do with next to nothing and still making it.

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7. Read a lot of books. Get recommendations from awesome people: YES! Black people need to encourage reading not only for our children but for ourselves. The problem I see with many of us is that we don’t read enough. And its one of the reasons why the chart listed above shows how we’re falling behind in education, and median house hold income.

Many African Americans refuse to broaden their scope and perception of life while gaining a plethora of knowledge on various topics by taking the time to read.

We’ll read Zane’s Sex Chronicles and 50 Shades of Stupidity; but we won’t read about African History, or how to become economically successful. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging reading! Pick up a book and turn off them damn soap operas and loosely based realty T.V. shows.

8. If you’re black and GLBT, choose which of those communities to align yourself with. I think the choice is obvious. (see: Recent Supreme Court Rulings): WE do this to our GLBT sisters and brothers! African-Americans reject them based upon sexual orientation due to religious beliefs and what we assume to be social norms.

WE see them as being an abomination, because many of us mistakenly believe that they made the choice to be gay (going against God’s design); thus such broad support within the African-American community for Prop 8.

WE don’t believe that their fight for equality is civil like ours, so WE reject their claims and tell them that their concerns are not ours!  We’re the one’s who reject them. Now, I have to admit that throughout the years our ideas and stances have changed, but African American’s still stand stanch in their fight against these civil unions (or making their marriage legal)

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9. Try really hard to get on a jury: YES! We complain about African-Americans not being judge by a jury of their peers, but we’re not getting actively involved in the litigation process. We will refuse to sit on jury duty (see it as an inconvenience) yet get mad when a brother or sister is convicted of a crime by people who don’t look like them. Take a look at these statistics and just image if we’re more active in the legal system, ensure that everyone is judged equally.

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10. Love: Yes, this is another problem with ‘us’! We don’t love one another enough. Black men and women don’t show one another enough love; and our mothers and fathers don’t show their children they love them enough.

We don’t have enough love for our communities, public schools and homes to ensure that they’re crime and drug free, up to code and a healthy environment for our children to flourish.

We don’t love our streets enough to keep them clean (NO we don’t) and we don’t love ourselves enough to ensure the images being projected of ‘us’ are not the negative and stereotypical images we see daily.

We don’t love ourselves enough to eat more healthier, nourishing foods that will combat hyper tension, diabetes and cancer. Many of us don’t even drink water because we don’t like the taste of it.

So yes, the Black Community is in dire need of love, love for one another, our children, our environment, our health/overall well-being and ourselves.

11. Look hard at your own individual selves and fix it so you can be better at love: One of the worst things in the world is witnessing a man or woman who refuses to take responsibility for their contributions to the dysfunctional relationships they engage in. These people will always blame everyone else for what went wrong in their relationship/marriage (it’s always the other person fault), while completely (conveniently) absolving their actions and themselves of being a contributing factor to why they’re either unhappily married, or can’t stay in a healthy relationship with anyone.

Some of ‘us’ fail to understand that for every action there’s a reaction and that sometimes the things we do and say to those we keep company with can be the reason why they’re “crazy”. Crazy doesn’t happen over night, there’s a gradual process of perpetual behavior (in most cases) that causes an individual to react a in a specific manner. Although this is not specific to one ethnicity, I always stress to both women and men how important it is to take the time they need to work on one’s self first! Prior to hopping into a new relationship after leaving another. I see so many people seek love from others, because they lack the spiritual tools needed to find love for one’s self. So I’m in complete agreement with this one.

12. Make crazy good, life-altering art: This one I can agree with 100%. And Its one of the reasons I started my small, minority, veteran, woman owned entertainment company. I was tired of seeing the images that society (and black people) believes to be an accurate representation of who we are. I seek to provide thought-provoking, socially controversial art that makes people think about how we as a people are being viewed and how “we” as a people view ourselves. We’ve seen so much of the negatives in the media that not only do other ethnicities believe this is who we are; we’ve come to terms with these images by embracing, internalizing and emulating them in the media geared towards black social-psycho consciousness.  The ‘art’ that we see today is no longer imitating life. And I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the lives of young black men (and women) is now imitating what we have been brainwashed into believing is art. Which is composed of nothing more than mediocre rap verses, over a hot looped track, heavy base line with half-naked (or fully nude) women in videos and on album covers; has replaced  what many within the African-American Community consider to be creative. There must come a time when ‘we’ become sickened with the perversion of our art by the entertainment industry; that’s telling us what it means to be black.

Please read “The 2nd Amendment vs. The Thug Image of Color”

https://dietynyota.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/the-2nd-amendment-vs-the-thug-image-of-color/

I’m not sure if Ms. McKenzie was seeking to be funny, or poke fun of African-American pendants via social satire; but may she realize it or not, she made some really good points.

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I Love the words “Vast” and “Majority”, Indirect Generalization of Black Women.

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Gold Digger 4

Let’s look at the word’s “vast” and “majority”.

vast [vɑːst]

adj

1. unusually large in size, extent, degree, or number; immense
2. (prenominal) (intensifier) in vast haste

ma·jor·i·ty

[muh-jawr-i-tee, -jor-]  Show IPA

noun, plural ma·jor·i·ties.

1. the greater part or number; the number larger than half the total ( opposed to minority ): the majority of the population.

Put these words together and you’re pretty much able to make a broad sweeping generalization about a targeted group of people, a specific location, or thing.
I bring these two words together for an extensive examination, because I find it  amazing how some black men and women believe that their limited experience with a few individuals of the opposite sex constitutes an over all experience with the ‘vast majority’ of black men/women. The incorporation of this compound word into a sentence by any individual engage in a conversation about the opposite sex demonstrates a level of small minded pettiness; which assist them with comfortably labeling another being, pointing fingers and laying blame on the opposing gender for the dysfunctions they’ve experienced in their lives.
“They” think they know what girls like
Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had with these ‘vast majority’ users, are heavily focused on the assumed preference in mate that they believe all black women share. These individuals tend t think that the ‘majoirty’ of us are seeking the same thing in a future husband. And in most cases  are the most negative of stereo-typical personality traits that range from
A Thug: Many black men I’ve spoken to assume that every black woman wants to engage in a heated bout of ‘thug passion’ with the newly released convict.
The “Baller”: These are the men who make close to or is currently making 6 figures annually.
The Rapper/Hip Hop Star: Normally these are the brothers who’re in-between jobs until Manny-Fresh or Jay Z approaches him with a contract deal after being overheard spitting rhymes at the barber shop.
The “P.I.M.P“: SOME black men mistakenly assume that ALL black women see the player type as being a challenge that must be met and defeted. As if many of us don’t already have or own issues; these men think that ALL of us want to carry the emotional bags of a pimp, in conjunction with our own. Hell, I’m too busy trying to figure out life for myself (dealing with my own issues); what in the world makes these men think I want to add more strife to my life, trying to figure out why some male whore can’t settle down with one woman.
Trust me when I say I don’t have the desire to answer of the actions of a woman from a P.I.M.P or players past.
As of late, its become increasingly

amazing how we witness harsh judgment of a black woman’s choice in mates, while never really hear anyone judging women of other ethnicities who chose to date/marry/have children with the ‘bad boy’ stereotypes.

Its as if black women are the only women in the world (walking the face of this earth) he go for bad boy ‘thugs’; rich men with money, or men who fail to stay faithful to one woman.

“Dammed if we do and Dammed If we Don’t”

Black women are constantly ostracized for such choices by disgruntled, frustrated men; whom in the same breath will provide the same persecution to a black woman who chooses to date/marry/have children with a man who doesn’t meet the listed requirements, but happens to be of another ethnicity.  They’ll make these ridiculously justifiable comments bout black women in bi-racial relationships/marriages that are along the lines of

“She’s a trader to her own kind”

Or

“Someone had to love her, because no black man would want her”

American born black women are continually singled out as targets of criticism in such areas as looks, love life, dating/marriage, parenting, education,  size, shape, build, height, weight, skin color, hair texture, language, home of origin; you name it and there’s a Vblog on YouTube judging us for it.  When McDonald’s continued the McRib, black women was blamed for that. Gas prices sky rocketing, you’ve guessed it, black women conspired with President Obama on that one.  The stock market crash, ‘we’ did that too, the price of weaves was too high, so we shut that whole thing down.

Although, I’m being sarcastic here; (to me personally) it does feel as if

 black women bare the brunt of all the issues faced by the African American Community. We’re even blamed for the absent fathers and high incarceration rates of African American men; because the word on the street is that “The Vast Majority” of us drove them out the homes and into prison.

As a black woman, I’ve noticed that we can’t be too educated and to self-sufficient because then we’re ‘too independent’. But we can’t be too reliant on a man for support because now we’re gold-digging baby mama.

 

 

Should we make the mistake of choosing to give a brother with priors a chance, we’re an ignorant misguided black woman who craves “thug Loven”. But if we don’t give a brother with priors a chance then our standards are too high. As one man told me

 

 

“You may have to dig in the dirt to find  your prince”.

 

 

If we as women are gainfully employed, educated, and a home-owner (like THE VAST MAJORITY of women I know personally) then we’re “boojie” and high maintenance. Which makes us undesirable to a lot of black men; because now they feel as if they don’t ‘fit’ into our life styles or have anything to offer to the union.  Many black women are made to feel as if no matter what choice we make in mate, or what characteristics we say we’re seeking, there will be a unanimous vote taken by the He-Man Woman Hater Committee that rules in the favor of stating we ain’t about s_____.  Thus we don’t deseve to seek a ‘good man’ because to them we’re not ‘good women’. There’s a standard placed upon our heads as women that state we must be of lesser value (looks, money, education, social status, personal liquidable  assets) than the men we’re seeking, IF we want our hand to be taken in marriage. Because it must be a black man (and a black man only) that comes in and plays ‘Captain Save’em”.

 

But until then, here’s some generalizations the “vast majority” of you black women may want to adhere too:

1. You must be single for a long period of time when he meets you. Because he’ll ask his boys if they know you. And if anyone he knows has dated or hooked up with you recently (like within the past 10 years) you’re disqualified. He can’t be with  you knowing one of his boys ‘knows’ you. But, you should give him a shot even if one of your girls ‘knows’ him.  Let’s be real here, he’s a man! Men explore themselves, and she just happen to be something he was doing back in the day (or recently). “That was before I met you boo”.

2. Stay celibate, so that he knows no one is running up in it. But! when you meet him (should he decide to get serious with you, but not make you his wife just yet) give in and give him some. He needs to ‘test’ you to see if you’re sexually compatible and worth him making you his wife.  And besides, it adds ‘spice’ to the chase. Your celibacy serves as a challenge to him, to see if he can get it. Its like an added bonus to know he was able to ‘stuff the muffiin’ when most brother’s failed to do so.

3. If you’re a single mother; you must look good, be in great shape, educated, have a well paying job and have well-behaved children. If not, you’re a gold-digging Baby Ma’ma that’s seeking another sperm donor and child support check. And you’re disqualifed. But that’s only if he’s considering you for anything other than a friends with benefits situation. Because if you’re just a quick ‘hit’ none of this matters; you won’t be his wife and he’s not raising another mans kids.

4. If you’re single don’t be too smart (at least not smarter than him) because you must be ‘lead’ and taught the ways of the world by him (not the other way around). And if he learns anything from you then you’re “too head strong” “too independent” and trying to wear the pants in the relationship. And you’re disqualified. Unless, you’re just a quick hit; then again none of this matters.

5. This is the most important one of all! Get out our pen and pad and make sure you take this one down. ONLY date a black man. As a black woman its your duty and responsibility to only date brothers who’re accepted by the brotha’s when they see the two of you walking down the street together.  Because the brotha’s want to make sure that you’re keeping it 100 as a black woman and staying true to the cause. TO HELL if YOUR relationship with a man is about being loved by someone who loves you, the ‘brotha commity’ wants to ensure that no one of another ethnicity is getting a taste of ‘chocolate’. But, its ok for black men to engage in inter-racial dating/marriage, because they’re just getting the ‘man’ back for over 400 years of oppression and slavery.

The Top Twelve Reasons Why So Many Good Black Men Are Still Single (Just a hint, Its Black Women)

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Black_Man

 

I love reading articals such as this one. Because it further demonstrates to me that ‘we’ as a people really need to wake up, and stop playing the blame game.

So, just a basic synopsis, it all boils down to the pits falls of black women according to this article.

(http://www.afro.com/sections/news/afro_briefs/story.htm?storyid=72903#.UfahrestofM.twitter)

Black Women, (according to this article) are the top 12 reasons why so many (good) black men are still single.
Never mind the possibility that maybe (just maybe) some black men still have unresolved issues with past relationships that are hindering their ability to engage in happy and healthy relationships with “good women” in their present. Because its a myth that some black men cheat on, misuse and/or abuse women; due to a fear of experiencing re-occuring hurt. Dismiss that, because its all a ploy by ‘the man’ to destroy the image of black men.

There’s no chance that some black men may also be superficial. Spending more time looking for the women who look like Miss. Black America while lacking the ability to get to know her for who she is (beyond her sex and what she looks like).

And there’s no way that some black men (or men in general) have a negative view of all women (womanizers); and it doesn’t matter her skin, looks, or levels of education; he’s just resentful towards the female gender period. And last I checked, its nearly impossible to engage in a healthy relationship with the people you deem to be your enemy. Trust me when I say I’ve meet a few brothers like this in my time.

It all boils down to the fact that black women fail to realize the worth of a black man. We’re superficial, materialistic, indecisive, have unrealistic expectations and don’t know what a good man looks like when they see one. Thus, the continued perpetual ‘blame game’ that black men and women willingly engage in, while conveniently absolving one’s self of all responsibility for how ‘we’ as individuals contribute to the dysfunction in our unions with the opposite sex.

This is no different than a scored woman blaming her broken past with men on the ageless excuses that ‘all men are dogs’; even though she keeps choosing ‘dogs’ because she believes that’s what she deserves. The people that any man or woman choses to engage in a relationship with is a reflection of how these individuals see themselves. And if you continue to get with people who only like you when you have money, when you’re having sex or when you look good, then you value yourself as being nothing more than the physical tangibles that can and will change with time. Or, you chose people who’ll treat you with the little worth and respect that you limit yourself too.

I PERSONALLY feel that the major sticking points in this article should resolve to the fact that its all about one’s choices in life. And these choices are honestly (to me) not gender specific. Because no two women or men are the same; so the blanket generalizations and stenotypes do not apply to all situations. WE (men and women) have all been over looked by a potential mate at some point in time in our lives. But to say that black women (or black men for that matter) is the reason why an individual whom society deems as being ‘good’ or a good catch is single is preposterous!

Sometimes “WE” think we’re good; but there are people and past lovers who’ll beg to differ. People see things within us that we don’t see in ourselves; and if we’re unable/unwilling to acknowledge the positives and negatives of our personality traits and habits, that too can lead one to live a single life.

Not to mention not being willing to compromise of one’s views of gender roles (traditional vs. modern), possible hang ups with religious beliefs (if any) and even an inability to see the opposite sex as being equal in value or worth (i.e. women aren’t as smart as men, or don’t contribute to society on the same level as men); these are all hang ups that some men have that I feel are worth mentioning in this article.

Lets not forget about this culture of being unfaithful. Before you become enraged, I’m not saying that ALL black men can’t be faithful to one woman. But there’s this social falsehood influencing SOME men that being faithful to one woman is not in a man’s nature.  I beg to differ with that; because no matter how many women a man beds, there will always be one woman that remains his true love. And if your heart is with this one woman, but you fail to acknowledge or accept her as being the woman meant to be your wife; this too can leave you single. You’ll waste time seeking completion in empty women (the loose women you chase after) due to the fact that you’re pride won’t allow you to admit and accept the fact that you’ve honestly already found what you’re missing in the woman you continue to reject (for fear commitment).

But, for the author and those who’re in agreement, it all comes down to none other than the misguided, superficial, untrustworthy, scorned and resentfully bitter black woman. The ‘bed winches’ of slave owners, who’re brainwashed by a society that rejects black love and keeps us divided.

And black men themselves have very little to do with their singleness.

I love it! Its like saying, I burn my self repeatedly, but its my mothers fault that I refuse to take my hand off the stove top burner.

How convenient it is to blame other people for where “we” as individuals fall short.