DeityNyota

For Those Who Go Beyond Boundaries

Posts Tagged ‘African American

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

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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.

Steve Harvey Says I have A Gold Mine, and I Agree!

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I guess I made some people mad!!!

I was surfing facebook last night prior to going to bed as always. When I came across the facebook page of former comedian/radio personality Steve Harvey. Before I go any further, I want people to know that I like Steve; I don’t like his books, because to me personally I feel that the advice he gives women in regards to relationships is stuff that should be common sense. But I’ve followed his career from when he first started; and have cheerfully supported its transform through out the years. Well, while scrolling through his feed, this image jumped out at me. And immediately I liked it because I think it makes perfect sense.

I was under (what I’m assuming) was the mistaken impression that this statement serves as a reminder to women of how precious and priceless our bodies are.

I thought (and maybe I was wrong) that its saying to women, your body is your temple, and it can’t be bought, nor sold. Or that any man who seeks to find your treasures must first hold the key to your heart. Now, I know it sounds like something from a Walt Disney movie in todays age of “bag and tag” a dime piece for bragging rights; but I still think his message to women today is that we shouldn’t use our ‘cookie’ as bartering currency in exchange for goods and services.

At least that’s what my logical analysis told me 0_O?

I guess that maybe this isn’t what he was meaning by this statement, or it may be possible that my response to an individual poster wasn’t appreciated.

There was a woman (name shall remain anonymous) who’s response read something like this:

“that’s right ladies, that means that if you have a man and you’re working “it” right, your bills should be paid, food should be on the table, rent paid (not mortgage but rent), and you should have money in your pocket if your in a relationship with a man” (Not  if you’re someone’s wife, but a relationship with ‘a man’)

It was clear that this woman was so proud of her response; I even imagined her smiling to herself as she typed her half-thought out justification for promoting self-prostitituion. There was even a few (misguided) women who disagreed with the posting, assuming that Steve and this woman (as well as many others) where echoing the same thought process.

One woman asked why do ‘we’ as a people (black folks) teach our daughters such non-sense; after a male subscriber pretty much came out and admitted that he feels any woman who believes that what she has is sacred treasure is not worth the time it takes to get it, because he can go and get it from someone more willing.

To men personally, seeing these people take that approach to this comment demonstrates the dysfunction between normalcy in the perceptions of female sexuality and appeal vs the projection of hyper-sexualality that we see daily of the female anatomy. Or is what I a many others assume to be normally (celibacy) an uncommon reality for most women?

I attribute the negativity that transpired on this thread to the following:

Disrespect:

Not only are women disrespecting and desecrating their bodies in pursuit of financial gains and fame, but there’s a surge in disrespect of black women from black men. Its evident in the constant video’s we see of black men beating black girls and women in clubs and on public busses, and the blatant disrespect for any black woman who’s not their idea of beauty that the black male posters mention where ready to tear apart any woman who agreed with the comment from a positive standpoint. I watched the drama unfold as regulars who where identified by female subscribers as trolls posted rude and crass comments about how women are of less value if they’re promiscuous, and how their ‘man-hood’ would be the key to unlock that ‘rusty dusty’ box as one man put it.

There’s nearly no love for a woman who values her body as being a gift to share between her husband and she; completely what many of us considered the holy trinity ordained by God (man, woman and child). We’ve some how subconsciously assisted with self-degredation by willingly perpetuating the need to be valued and validated base mostly upon sex and less upon love. Some of us women foolishly believe that the ‘better’ our sex is the more pleasing we are as a spouse for a sex-cracved male; who’ll in turn love and provide for us. Or, we think allowing him to ‘test drive’ our gears will show him that we’re the one he needs in his life, placing us above the rest of his side line chicks, dime pieces, jump off’s, baby mama(s), and booty buddies.

In todays society (mainly what I’ve seen within the African American community as of late) its become a negative if a woman choses to wait until marriage for intercourse. You’re seen as being a prude, selfish, or putting ‘it’ upon a pedal-stool; while making yourself unobtainable by most men. As a woman who choses to wait, I’ve learned that celibacy can do one of two things to many men today. It can

A. drive them away: They’d rather dump you and find a woman who’s willing to give them sex; yet complain later about having baby mama drama; STD’s and issues with crazy women. And you’d think they’d have the common sense to link their issues with women to the misuse of their genitals. But for some strange reason this is a rare epiphany.

B. teach them patients: Some men honestly appreciate a woman who’ll wait until marriage or take her time before having sex. These men appreciate a woman who’s more confident in getting to know him and herself, seeing if they’re emotionally compatable vs.  hopping in the sack. But this type of virtuous woman is few and far in between, and these type of patient men are rare finds. Those of us who don’t just ‘do the do’ are like undiscovered dinosaur facile. It takes the careful uncovering of layers and years of emotional dirt pilled on one’s psychological being, as a result of past relationships and emotional baggage.

And In most cases that I’ve seen, most men of today chose A. This brand of disrespect becomes a game of casual dissing and mutual contempt towards any woman they’re unable to gain carnal knowledge of. And don’t be a woman who’s seeking more in a relationship than just providing him with a steady supply of sex, because now you’re labeled a stuck up, cold hearted, ice-queen; and stuck with being seen as a tease that’s a waste of his time. Some of the men in the thread took it a step further and started to insult the women whom where thinking the same as I; childishly resorting to name calling and making accusations of assumed under cover freaky sexual behavior, and fetishes with adult toys.

All that because we said we’d rather wait O_o?

You don’t even know me!

The “Beat Down”:

This could have two meanings within the African American community.

This could mean the fast growing rate of African American women who’re victims of physical, verbal, sexual and psychological abuse resorting to sex as a means of mental escape and comfort. Incidents of family violence within the African American family are at their highest; with the number one killer of African American women age 15 to 34 being dying at the hands of a lover or spouse.

African American women tend to experience a lack in intimacy in their unions with lovers and in many cases, the only time she feels safe or comfortable with her partner is during intercourse.  Many African American women have been raised in homes where sex is used as conflict resolution, control, or as a means of self-gratification.

If she’s desired sexually then she feels complete as a woman and sees her self as being attractive and worthy enough for love.

If she gives in and gives him what he wants (satisfies his urges) there’s less of a chance of physical altercation

Or (as the woman stated) she’ll receive payment (money, bills/rent paid, gifts, cars and maybe even stardom).

This goes back to the emotional detachment that black men today experience with black women, leaving the only connection that many from the male species have with women is through sex.

Or it can mean that he ‘beat it up’. His or her sex is so good that it makes their loves become ‘drunk’ off their love making. Not realizing this assist with further incorporating the hyper-sexual mentality of black men and women that can be linked to slavery. Where black male slaves where used as ‘studs’  for breading live stock and black female slaves where used as ‘bed-warmers’ and sexual outlets for their slave owners, even for breading.

SOME black men (not all) find it difficult to stay faithful to one woman; thus creating the following mentality.

Keep an Ace In the Hole: 

Infidelity within the African American community is a norm. Its advocated and highlighted in our songs, projected in mass media messaging, and “we” brag about sexual conquest while being unfaithful to a lover and/or spouse. Many African American women feel that if their ‘good good’ is so good, it will keep a man and act as their personal Gold Mine. Leading to career advancement, financial stability, fame and personal gains.

There are African American men who’re married to or dating one faithful woman, while having many ‘side-line’ jump off’s. These additional women pray on these unfaithful men by using their ‘good good’ to secure their future with a wealthy man (maybe even a married man) ensuring their needs are met.

Again, as advocated by the female poster; I’ve heard many African American men state that they have something on the ‘side’ ready just in case their main or ‘bottom’ acts up. Thus the additoinal woman/women benefit form the ‘Ace’ menaltiy demonstrated by some black men.

To hell with it

To be honest, I don’t know if I’m wrong or if I’m thinking to much (going to deep) into this posting. As a Virgo, I tend to over analzye darn near everything! But isn’t this statement speaking of the exact opposite of using what you’ve got to get what you want? I don’t know if its just me; but I thought that what Steve was saying is that as women “WE” should take responsibility over our bodies and our sexuality by not being so willing to give our ‘treasures’ away so freely. I thought (and maybe I’m wrong) that he’s telling women we must understand that there’s more to us as a people than what we can provide for a man sexually. We’re human beings that have dreams, goals and aspirations in life; and most importantly we desire (OR SHOULD DESIRE) to be loved for who we are as women and we should be patient enough to take our time when seeking to be found by a man who understands and respects the values and morals we project for ourselves.

I tried to go back and check on the colorful responses from the plethora of black folks who’d liked his page; but I discovered that I was removed; my comments in response to the other individuals posting was removed and many of the other comments that followed where removed. So I can just imagine the verbal feeding frenzy that was spawned during that “light hearted” conversation.

I’m not upset about it, after all its just facebook; so its not serious enough to go “H.A.M” and conduct a “e-thugh” drive-by posting to other users pages. Although the thought did cross my mind after reading some of the things being said. But I just chalked it up to being that awkward moment you feel when you say something that to you makes sense, while everyone else thinks its stupid.

“Cross…Alex Cross”

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Why is supporting creativity that’s different from what we’ve seen in the past a bad thing?

A friend of mine on Facebook tagged me in a posting recently that featured Mr. Tyler Perry. A very controversial, influential public figure and  house hold name within the African American community.

The posting read (and this is just a brief breakdown):

“If ALEX CROSS BOMBS at the box office (which it is destined to do) would it be safe to assume that TYLER PERRY will revert back to his comfort zone as a DRAG QUEEN? Did I say DRAG QUEEN? I meant MADEA?”

I giggled upon reading the posting, because I knew not to take it serious. He’s a good friend of mine and we  tend to go back and forward with one another over Tyler and his movies, shows and plays constantly. Thus, in the spirit of humility and good humor, we engaged in a long thread posting discussing Mr. Perry’s newest venture.

People have asked me in the past “Why are you such a staunch supporter of Tyler Perry?”. They don’t understand why I stand firm in my stance that his creativity is unique to who he is, and that his success deserves to be celebrated within the African American community. The conversations I’ve had with people about Tyler have in most cases become heated, and sparked a passionate exchange of dialog that have lead people to accuse me of having a fetish for men in drag and even asked if Tyler Perry and I where having a secret love affair (that’s the nice way of putting it).

But I find peace in understanding that I can’t do anything more about their misguided assumptions other than let it go, because the ignorance of some people (mainly many black people) is in most cases irreversible.

Some of us are so caught up on placing labels and stereotyping others (one another) that we don’t realize we’re subconsciously engage in the same form of discrimination against one another that we feel is being projected upon us by the elite and privileged of our society.

And as I venture into authoring a book that high lights the African American communities inability to find the courage to come together and support one another, I feel that various key points need to be made about Mr. Tyler Perry and his success with the Medea Character, while making “us” as a people aware of how bitter, resentful and slanderous we look when we speak ill of a black man that’s worked hard to get to where he is at this point in life. Because I believe that when we see such madness; we’re witnessing first hand how that particular person is spending more time and energy ostracizing and being critical of an individual they hardly know, vrs. wishing the best and nothing but success for that same individual that has possibly done more for the black community than themselves.

I may not like nor support everything this man does; for example I don’t watch his sitcoms because for me personally they’re not funny. But I watch his plays and his movies and I strongly support his efforts as an African American in Hollywood, striving to bring forward opportunities to people of color in the industry that I seek to break into. His trials and tribulations will one day be my own when I make it known that I put God first in my life and that my materials will have a faith based message that most won’t like nor agree with.

Don’t get it twisted, I don’t feel that there’s anything wrong with critiquing one’s work; lets be honest, when you put your work out there for all to see; you leave ourself open to both positive and negative criticism.

But I do strongly feel that there’s a fine line between providing constructive and creativity critiques of one’s craft; and simply tearing someone down. In which I see many with in our community willingly engaging in when it comes to Tyler Perry. Many of the critiques given towards this man are personal in nature, and you feel it when you mention his name in a crowd of black people. The mer utterance of his name gives birth to a heated controversial debate; where on one hand you have people who may not agree with his work, but still support his craft. While on the other hand (to the extremes) you’ll witness “crabs” completely destroying him, verbally assaulting his man-hood by making homosexual accusations (calling him gay), saying he’s a drag queen, even going so far as to wishing death upon him.

WHY?

What has he done to you personally, that’s bad enough for you to wish death upon him?

My friend and many black men that I talk too states that they’re not ‘hating’ on Tyler Perry per say. They insert this convenient disclaimer that states they admire his bravery and can relate to his life story, in efforts to sugar-coat the adverse remarks that follow. To not make themselves look  hateful, that claim to support the works he’s done within the community (mainly  his philanthropy); they just despise the amount of times that he has revisited the MADEA character, or the fact that she’s even a figure within our community. Or they despise the fact that he is far more recognizable to the masses when dressed as his ‘drag queen’ alter-ego.

They make it known to me that their distain for the Meada character is not a result of a psycho-cultural “crabs in a bucket” mentality (it couldn’t be). Because A. you can’t support everything labeled ‘black’ (in which I agree) and B. If that were the case stars like EDDIE MURPHY, WILL SMITH, and DENZEL WASHINGTON would not hold such high regard within the African American community, or have a place in their beloved classic DVD collections. But they make it known that their over all disapproval for his craft is a result of a lack of technique in film editing, or the fact that the stereotypical characters have strong drawing power and pretty much emasculates black men.

Many of my brothers feel that “Big Mama” and “Shanany” (played Martin Lawrence) and “Wanda” (played by Jamie Foxx) are just as guilty when it comes to the homicide of the black male masculinity.  The idea that African Americans are forced to utilize a man dressed as a woman to spread a positive message of spirituality, pride, social responsibility and love to the black masses is shameful. In which to some degree I’m in complete agreement with them on this matter. Because it shouldn’t take a man wearing a dress to bring forward an accepted message of spirituality and self-evlauation. But what many black men don’t get (nor care to understand) is that Tyler Perry’s works and “Good Deeds” for the African American community goes beyond wearing thigh highs and a girdle.

Tyler Perry has done many great works within the community. Just to list a few:

A. He’s provided funding to help people build homes for Katrina survivors in a new neighborhood designated as “Perry Place”. The same as the famed actor Brad Pitt

B. He’s donated $1 million dollars to the NAACP in celebration of its 100th anniversary; which happens to be one of the largest single donation from a private individual to a civil rights organization. Additionally providing support to Covenant House in Atlanta by donating $110,000 to the agency.

C. This one is near and dear to my heart, because I’m an advocate for victims of rape/sexual assault. In April 2011, the organization MaleSurvivor received its first significant grant from the Tyler Perry Foundation; which allowed them to expand their world-renowned Weekends of Recovery program by adding new facilitators, support staff, and expanding scholarship offerings. Following the Sandusky scandal that broke in November 2011, MaleSurvivor responded by reaching out to Penn State, to offer any help it could provide by holding training sessions for Penn State psychological staff.  They have a documentary titled “Boys and Men Healing”  that I strongly recommend many men set their pride aside and watch. For the simple fact that male on male rape/sexual assault is serious! Its one of the most under-reported and less likely to bring forward prosecution forms of sexual assault; because most men refuse to tell anyone when this traumatic event has occurs.  MaleSurvior has greatly increased its use of social media to increase awareness and spread it’s message of healing and hope to survivors everywhere, and they have the full support of Mr. Tyler Perry, whom was a victim of molestation himself. And it take courage for a man of any caliber (famous or not) to admit to having experienced such a horrific ordeal.

And to be honest, once he made this publicly know, its as if his rejection from black men increased, due to the feelings of homophobia that runs deep within the African American community. They label him gay because he admit to being a victim O_o?


D. Tyler Perry’s “GOOD DEEDS” movie was linked too the “Good Deeds:Great Needs” initiative that provided support to Covenant House, a non-profit organization that provides assistance for homeless youth. Through GiftCardGiver.com, Good Deeds:Great Needs collected unused gift cards and donated all the proceeds to the Covenant House. Which lead Lionsgate to take it a step further and make a financial donation to Covenant House for every share of the GOOD DEEDS movie trailer. Every time someone watched the trailer, Lionsgate donated a proceed of the profits from the promotions and if I’m not mistaken the movie itself to the mentioned organization.

My support for this man goes beyond him wearing a dress or doing what many call ‘drag’; for the simple fact that He’s doing nothing no different than Flip Wilson, Eddie Murphy, Ving Ramies, Robbin Williams, Jamie Foxx, Martin Lawrence, Shawn and Marlon Waynes, Wesley Snipes, Robert Downy Jr., Dustin Hoffman, Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo, Tom Hanks, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, And Will Smith to name a few. They’ve all either played a man in drag or a homosexual on screen to either increase the comedic value of their craft, add drama to their character by playing a gay man or made the choice to create a female character that was in most cases very stereotypical and politically incorrect. Yet, we love their characters (call them classics) and dispute, refute and rebuke Tyler Perry’s because it’s a character that promotes the gospel.

Tyler Perry’s materials may not be for everyone. There are people in this world who’re famous of doing less than what he’s accomplish (the Kardashins and Paris Hilton for example) But no matter how I feel about a persons craft, I’ve learned during my spiritual journey that its best to pray that he/she improves and possibly provide a product that I may enjoy. Because lets be honest, being overly critical of a specific individual is not only ugly and petty, but its unnecessary and uncalled for (its just not a good look on you).

People have stated they want to see him step out the dress and do something different; well now that he has the same people who’re critical of him for not doing anything different are the same people hoping this new movie “Alex Cross” flops at the box office.

And this is why ‘we’ as a people have issues coming together in support of one another, because we prefer to pigon-hold people into what we think they are, or the limits in which we feel they should not surpass.

These critical people complain about the repetitive nature of all his movies and plays; but now that he’s doing something different, they complain about the fact that it was him who was picked for the leading roll in an action/drama/suspense/thriller. Wishing the worst on the poor guy, which to me signifies a serious need for our black men (and some black women) to really and truly evaluate why they don’t like him. If the man drew millions to Medea, he’s created a foundation that’s allowed him to venture past that character and do other things as well as give back to the community (which is something that I advise all of “us” do).

Tyler Perry doesn’t have to ask permission from the African American community to do something different. If he chose to do so, he has that right. You either like him or you don’t. Either way; how you feel about him has no bearing on his over all achievements, support and success. And if we’re going to hold Tyler Perry accountable for the representation of black male masculinity, then we have to hold ALL of our successful black men accountable; and this includes T.I., Lil Wayne, “Pac Man” Jones, both Jessy Jackson Jr. and Sr, Tikki Barber, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, Flavor Flav, Lil Scrappy “Rat Face” and Chad Ochocinco.

If Tyler Perry is Tomfoolery and Buffoonery; than so is Love and Hip Hop, Basketball Wives, and almost every rap video we’ve seen to date.

Marriage and the Black Woman

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Black Women can (and do) find love, they just have to accept it in its rarest form..diversity.

I was little perturbed if you will at comments being made on a Facebook blog that I frequent from time to time. When directly addressing to some of the black women present in regards to the attitudes that men in other countries demonstrate towards American born black women, I was meet with some serious resistance. I made the mistake of making it known that I find it amazing how men (or people if you will) outside the U.S. tend to be more open and willing to getting to know black women who’re born here in the U.S., for who they are as individuals; free of judgment based upon stereotypes and negative imagery (no thanks to some of our own people).

Needless to say, the conversation became very heated when a borage of various black men in company began to make some unnecessarily vulgar, and negative comments that where seriously emotionally driven

Side Note: Men are just as emotional as women! Just FYI

These ‘men’ who’re possibly boys who can shave, charged me with being guilty of allowing ‘the man’ to brain wash me into the Willie Lynch syndrome; explaining that I’d turned my back on black men and the black race over all by demonstrating such view points. To them, I was some how making myself vulnerable and available to the sexual pleasures of white men while seeking to carry out a slave and master role play, linked to a deeply hidden type of sexual fantasy of mine 0_o? Where they arrived to that conclusion by me stating that I love MEN over all and not just black men I don’t know; but it was interested to watch them build their case based upon what they assumed to be ‘known’ facts about me and black women whom think like myself.

These black men claimed that black women who share the same sentiments as I are nothing but mere ‘pets’ for play at the whelm of white men who suffer from a need to satisfy a sweet-tooth for chocolate. They then resorted to calling me out my name and telling me that I’m the type of black woman who would never find happiness with a black man (or no black man would want me); while one brother took it to the extreme by advocating a future gang rape.

And I quote

“A group of about 12 brotha’s, need to get together, paint their faces white and go to town your stupid ass, because black women like you give all black women a bad name! You’re a disgrace and you deserve to have them just run up in you, the same way white men rapped black women for years.”

I can not make this ish up; these where his words.

Now, I clearly understand that there are psychos out there who do not speak for everyone within the African American community; but his hate filled sentiments spoke volumes of the mentality that many within African American community share when it comes to black women and inter-racial dating and marriage. Mind you, he’s not the first Blackman I’ve heard speak passionate animosity towards any black woman who dare to seek true love beyond the boundaries of race. I’ve even heard my father make these same comments on occasion when demonstrating disgust towards any black woman who chose to date or marry a non-black man. Yet, he encouraged this type of union for black men. In his mind, this was the black mans way of getting back at ‘the man’ for many years of rape and enslavement.

Violence Towards Inter-racial Couples is advocated

A group of black men cheered on one blog, where the tragic story of a young Marine and his wife where murder by fellow Marines sometime back. The slain Marine was White and his wife was black. And a group of four Black Marines felt it was their duty to kill the White Marine, later rapping and killing his Black Wife; based upon their views of her inter-racial marriage. I was not only shocked, but also shamed when I saw some of the things that some black and white men where saying about the murdered victims.

http://articles.nydailynews.com/2008-11-05/news/17909857_1_four-other-marines-military-base-sergeant

But this ignorance seems to breed life into an air of arrogance and acceptance within the African American Community of inter-racial dating/marriage when it comes to black men; while continually creating negative stigma toward black women when choosing to explore the very same options. I find that black women who’re open to such unthinkable epiphanies are met with ridicule, hostility, anger, resentment, and even violence from those whom fail to see the beauty in the diversity of true love.  Any black woman who’s brave enough to see love through a pair of ‘color free’ goggles can face a number of issues that range from (but are not limited too)

1.Becoming an outcast from the family

  1. Placing herself and her lover at risk of verbal and physical assault (God  forbid if they have children)
  2. Losing so-called ‘friends’
  3. Being ostracized by narrow-minded individuals within her community

These are just a few of the factors that make many black women feel as if they must stay within the confinements of their ethnicity. Yet experiencing a false sense of victim hood when waiting for a black lover. Many black women feel as if they’re being placed upon the ‘back burner’ as my mother use to say when hearing many black men make it official that they chose to never date, nor marry a black woman.

A black Woman’s “Duty” to stay True

Black women are being made to feel as if it is their duty to stay committed to black men and black men only. And because many black women feel this unyielding need to be faithful to black men, they’re enraged at the thought of black men choosing to love or start a family with women of various ethnicities based upon skin. Now, I myself can’t stand when I see these black athletes raise to fame and talk ish about all black women. Its become a pre-requisite for famous black men to confess to the world how he’ll never date or marry a black woman. Making many black women feel as though they’re ‘standing in line’ waiting for their turn to assume their rightful place at the side of a black King.

But I’m not going to get mad at a black man (or all black men in general) who choses to marry someone he loves, free of the fear that inhibits many black women from doing the same thing. Black women are no more bound to dating or marring someone who’s the same ethnicity as themselves no more than anyone else walking the face of this earth. But black women seem to be the most vocal when expressing anger and mistrust for black men whom have the courage to love who they love.

Basically, black men are being taught to explore their options for a potential mate, while black women are being taught to stay faithful. And because black men and women are receiving two different lessons in life and love, its causing black men to move on and find love with women whom don’t look like their mother, and black women to feel this sense of self-worthlessness, based upon the fact that black men are doing what ever (or whom ever) they please.

Black on Black Discrimination

Black women feel that black men are discriminating against black women, simply because they’re black; thus leaving black women to foolishly believe that they’re being left at a disadvantage when it comes to marriage and family life.  But one must ask themselves

Are black women choosing to do so because they’re madly in love with black men?

Or

Do black women feel so strongly about being with black men only, because they fear the repercussions they may face from being with someone of another persuasion?

Double Standards? Perhaps…

There’s an unspoken double standard when it comes to crossing the color lines in search of love, for black women.   Black women are being sub-consciously forced (through early childhood brainwashing) to stay ‘true’ to black men. They’re receiving this nation wide, broadcast PSA that states a black woman’s main lot in life is to grow up, get married, and have children with a godly black man. This is why black women reach their adult years seeking this mythical man based on what they’ve been told they’re destined to achieve if they’re ‘godly’ proverbs women. What most black women fail to realize is that they’re honestly falling in lines with the ideologies of yester year, being preached by a generation of African Americans who where taught stay true to their own kind.

And because black men are finding the courage to love who they love, regardless of what anyone else thinks, black women are buying into the myth that there are “No good, godly black men” left for them to chose from. When in all actually, there are plenty of good men, or godly men to go around; they’re just not the ideal men that many of these black women are subconsciously seeking.

Good Men Are Available my Sisters, Really, they are!

There are plenty of ‘good men’ out there. These good men are of various ethnicities and social, economical classes, they follow a variant of religious customs and traditions, and they can be found worldwide.  Its just that many of them may not pray to the same deities, they may not have the same color skin, make the same amount of money, and they may possibly not even speak the same language. But they’re good men none the less. Men who’re every bit capable of loving black women unconditionally, in the same manner as the black men they’re taught to seek.

Once you Go Black….

Another reasons why black women tend to experience difficulty in finding love outside the bounds of color restrictions is that its assumed that all black women are ‘infatuated’ with (ehem) the black magic stick. Some Black women are foolish enough to become spellbound to these majestically myth that all black men have a gifted 3rd appendage. Now, granted, there are some black men whom have the tools to get the job done and then some. But not all black men are ‘blessed’ in that department. To be honest, some black men come up short, but that’s neither here nor there. Nonetheless, there are men in general who’re large, medium and small. It just all depends upon individual genetics.

In closing, I just hope that some day, black women whom feel they’re being left behind our ineligible for love one day find the courage needed to accept love when it finds them. Regardless of the shape, color, religion, or ethnicity of the man who demonstrates this love for them. People will always have something to say, but black women need to ask themselves if what other people say or think of the love they’ve found in a ‘good man’ really matters?

You Are What You Eat

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While shopping for groceries, I decided to stop at one of my favorite supermarkets in the Washington D.C. area. But, I was little hungry, so before I hit them up; I dropped by “Chopped“. For those of you who don’t know what a ‘chopped’ is, Chopped is a fast food restaurant that serves an assortment of healthy and tasty salads for anyone trying to maintain a healthy diet. I discovered Chopped during my first quarter of school at the Art Institute of Washington D.C.

Anyway,

I grabbed a salad bowl that contained a mouth watering arugula and baby spinach mix, a few tasty and fresh veggies (mushrooms, unions, tomatoes, bell peppers, heart of artichoke, carrots and a sunflower seeds if I’m not mistaken). Then I added tuna for protein and topped it off with a red wine balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I finished the purchase with a pomegranate and cranberry Nantucket, and a sweet yet simple dark chocolate  fudge bar square. Total ring up $15.00. From there I stopped at Sunoco gas station and put about $20.00 in my tank, which brought the needle to almost half a tank. That should last me….a day….which isn’t much with driving between school and work.

Once I arrived at Wegmans I started to fill up my basket with some of the same healthy items placed in my salad. But after about an hour or so of me browsing around Wegmans, I started to to hungry again. So, I plopped down at the sushi bar, and ordered a spider roll, with a dragon roll, and hot green tea. Sipping on my miso soup, I decided that some hot sake would be in order, since it was a little chilly outside. Total ring up $35.00

While I was eating I started to notice the variety of people shopping and dinning in at this popular food chain. They where all of various ethnicity, seem to be employed in lucrative careers, and they all looked healthy. Everyone’s basket was filled to the brim with the many foods and produce recommended by the American Heart Association, to maintain a healthy height weight standard; and to combat such illnesses as Hyper Tension, Heart Disease, Diabetes  and Cancer. Everyone was happy and cheerful. No one was rude, pushy, or overly aggressive, and you could find everything you needed and then some at what most of us would assume to be an affordable price for organic meats and produce. Total ring up for purchases in basket $120.00

Being  the absent minded individual I am, I forget a few things and had to stop at Wal Mart to grab them on  my way back home. In which the atmosphere in there was like hell. People where rude, they use their buggies to push in your path so they could get what they wanted; and I never had anyone utter the words “excuse me” or “How are you” like I did in Wegmans. I witnessed this colossal woman, wearing a badly mitch-matched outfit, with tons of weave, curse out the cashier because she felt she was being short changed $2.00 on her total ring up. STORE SECURITY had to be called in to calm this big woman down while escorting her out the door where she was greeted by Fair Fax County Police. As I’m watching this dram unfold, I started to notice that everyone in WalMart (darn near) was over weight. They where using the state equivalent debit card for ‘food stamps’ and you could tell that most of them did  not have much money. Now, this is judging a book by its cover because I don’t know these people; but it was very obvious that I would not see the clientele of WalMart in Wegmans anytime soon.

Every time the American media wants to focus on the issue of obesity in this grate nation, we see pictures of morbidly obese women and men who resemble that of the customers in WalMart. Its normally B-reel footage of a black woman waddling in a cross-walk as her whole body sways in motion with her extremely huge rear end. The camera then does a jump shot to a middle aged, balding white man sitting at a park bench, guzzling a Grande Cafe Moca from Star Bucks and smoking. Not to mention the fact that he’s almost always always suffering from ‘dun-lop’  (meaning his belly ‘done lopped’ over the top of his belt and trousers).  Our media strategically focuses on these specific people because American society has counted them amongst the ranks of individuals who seemly don’t care about their health much less over all appearance. We’ve deemed them unattractive, and unworthy of being acknowledge as the epitome of pride in America, because we  mistakenly assume they’re fat because they have no pride in themselves.

With all the money I spent between Chopped, Sunoco, And Wegmans I spent about $200.00+; all within about a 2 to 4 hour time span. But I can afford to do so. I make enough money annually between my job and monies for school to be able to splurge a little on a meals that I could have prepared at home.

But what about the people shopping at Wal Mart?

What about the folks who’re unemployed, and living on unemployment benefits (if they haven’t run out)?

The big girl at the counter in WalMart was complaining about that additional $200 because that could have been money that she would need to purchase milk for her baby, or to put with what ever change she has to get gas. Or, it could have assisted with paying her electricity bill to keep her children and herself heated during the harsh winter. So even thought that $200 she was fighting mad over meant nothing to me, it may have had significant value for her in regards to survival.

I’ve found that people in lover income communities are not able to afford sitting at a sushi bar in Wegams; paying $20.00 for gas and spending $13.00+ dollars at chopped for a salad that will leave them and their family hungry 20min later. They have to purchase what’s both affordable, and what will keep them full until its time to go to bed. Which happens to be junk food. The foods that are only available in impoverished communities are in most cases franchise fast food restaurants who’s over all objective is profit and not community health (i.e. Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Hell and Jack in the Crack).

McDonald’s is the biggers repeat offender of diabetes and obesity in the Black community; because they pose as being care-givers to the community, while pumping out value meals that contain a 500+ caloric fat count. Most of the corner store shops don’t carry fresh fruits and vegetables, or organic, chemical/hormone free meats. They have boxed, frozen T.V. Dinners and pizzas (600+ calories a pop), 40 oz Mad Dog’s, 20/20, and ‘grab and snack’ type items. Example the hot dog weenies that have been rolling in grease under a heat lamp, the beef patties and tripple dipped, batter fried chicken wings (at least we hope its chicken) and sky-rocket sodium drenched bags of chips.  If they do have produce, its normally the scavenged left overs from such super markets as Wegmans, in which no self-respecting customer who frequents Wegmans   would buy.And these mom and pop corners stores have the nerves to charge more for their items than that of Wegmans, even though the quality of their produce Fing sucks!

Thus the foods in lower-income communities look like this

The shit you shouldn't be eating

Verses like this

The stuff you need to eat to stay alive

To understand why minorities who reside in lower income and impoverished communities are over weight, even lazy, pushy and die soon; you must understand that their diets contribute to such deficiencies. The inability to access foods (or afford foods) that are rich in omega ‘3s and anti-oxidants; or assist in promoting a heart healthy diet is what contributes to newly reported cases of Type 1 and 2 diabetes and heart hyper tension. Lets not forget that many of them refuse to see the doctor to routine  check up; because they either can’t afford the co-pays or they lack insurance over all. Yes, there are free clinics, but they’re staffing, testing and services are limited due to a lack of funding.

The foods that they can afford, are killing them! They’re working dead end jobs that are high in stress, and leaves little to no time or money to sit down and eat a healthy meal. For some of the kids in these communities, the only time they eat anything is when they’re at school. So for them, school constitutes a free food source  vs. a free education. And this is why many of them attend school sleepy, hungry, cranky and unable to concentrate while in class, because they’re not eating anything at home.  Thus, leading to the inability to concentrate on the materials and actively par take in class activities. They fall behind other students who eat healthy and become disruptive during class time instruction because they’re hungry, and their home life sucks.

It was stated that Gen. William T. Sherman of the Union Army had some of the most well trained, effective killing machines under his command. One of the reasons why they where so affective was because all of his soldiers where well fed. He ensured that everyone had proper meals that enhanced nutrition suitable for a strong body and sound mind. They could carry out military instruction with precision because their bellies where not touching their spin.  How can we expect our youth to be of the same caliber as Sherman’s army in school, if they’re over weight, unable to participate in athletics and can’ t hear the teacher’s lecture  over the grumbling over their stomach’s?

The Double Consciousness of Black Love: The Cause and Effect Factors of Why We “Can’t Get Along”.

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I’ve been reading a very interesting book titled ‘Brainwashed, Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority’ (by Tom Burrell). And this book brought forward some very thought-provoking topics that I felt were not only compelling revelations about the mindset of today’s African-American, but it touches on some issues that parallel to W.E.B. Dubois’ ‘Double Consciousness’.  Double Consciousness is a term coined by Dubois used to  describe what he felt was the contradictions between social values and the daily experience of African-Americans here in the U.S.

Dubois explains why he feels that ‘we’ as people have been deprived of our ‘true-self-consciousness’ by seeing ourselves through the generalized preconceived notions of individuals of other ethnicities. Meaning that we see ourselves the way many in the world see us.

I wrote a speech on this topic a while back in my public speaking class; where I cross referenced the images of African-Americans in Hip Hop/Rap videos (the images our own people project of us) and in movies, in relation to how black people are stereotyped in society. And most of you know what I’m talking about; where you see the video depictions of scantily clad black women swinging from a pole having Champagne bottles poured on their crowns; while ‘ghetto’ superstars walk in slow motion through the club. Adorned with diamond encrusted ‘Jesus Pieces’ swinging from their necks and drinking straight from the bottle.

These images of ‘us’ ‘up in the club’ are comparable to the early days of the minstrel shows, and how they were assumed to be an accurate depiction of the everyday life of a slave. And our youth imitate these ‘cake walks’ when entering social gatherings and venues.  Young black women wearing next to nothing, ‘P-popping’ on the dance floor as they drop it low for young black men who replicate the prison popular ‘sagging pants’; which if they really did their research they would understand that this signals of being spoken for by a fellow inmate/male homosexual lover.

But, let me get off that subject because I can honestly talk about that all dam day.

Referring back to the wisdom filled words of Mr. Burrell, I wanted to talk to you (the reader, the consumer, my brother and sister) about the misconception that ‘we’ as people are these sexually charged beast that’s just gotta have it. And what I mean by ‘it’ is this constant need to be sexually satisfied, or constantly seeking self- gratification through sexual conquest. Now, this can be applied to any ethnicity, but I wanted to focus more on African-Americans in relation to how we as a people view love, sex, relationships and marriage.

Burrell has a chapter in his book titled ‘Studs and Sluts’ Why Do We Conform to Black Sexual Stereotypes? And throughout this chapter he examines how African-Americans are categorized as being these hyper-sexed beings, fixated on achieving nothing more than a sexual high. He talks about how black men are seen as:

Brute (broot); a non-human creature; animal qualities, desires, etc; adj: an animal, non-human/not characterized by intelligence or reason; irrational/savage, cruel.

And how black women are seen as:

Jezebel (Jez-uh-buhl): noun: a woman who is regarded as evil and scheming; a wicked, shameless woman.

The images of black people (portrayed by black people) in the media, entertainment industry and society in general always finds ways of painting the picture of an African-American man or woman as fitting these descriptions.  And to be honest, some of our own people don’t make it any better. These stereotypes can be found within the infamous rape charges and allegations that African-American male athletes face or are found guilty of (example, Mike Tyson and Kobe Bryant), or through the secret harems exposed unto their wives  and the public during explosive sex scandals (i.e. Tiger Woods, Magic Johnson, and/or Wilt Chamberlin). African-American men have adapted to the ideology that in order to be seen as a ‘man’ or in proving his ‘man hood’ to other men he must use the functionality of his ‘man-hood’ upon countless women. He must have the ‘gift of gab’ and to ‘bag and tag’ as many dimes as possible, so that he can trade fables of conquest during a pick-up game of skins and shirts.

African-American women ARE NOT excluded from these tragic depictions. They’re not only seen as whores of Babylon, but they’re sub-consciously labeled gold-digging, lustful sluts who’ll use what they’ve got to get what they want. Many African-American women believe that the circumference of her rear-end defines her African femininity in the same manner that a slaves hind-quarters, hips and thighs where signs of being fertile and ready for breeding. African-American women have adopted this mind-set of having an ‘ass’ (and showing it) demonstrates that she’s in most cases ‘all woman’, and in doing so she’s  bought into this philosophy that being ‘freaky’ with numerous men equates to freely exploring her  sexuality. This ignorance has become such the norm amongst many African-American women to the point where this misinformed mentality is touted in the many images and lyrics you hear from modern-day female hip hop/rap artist. And any underground female artist seeking commercial stardom must do so at the expense of her pride and dignity. She has to ‘sell’ herself in a meat market of diluted prostitution to be even be seen as market worthy.

African-American females who are lucky to break into the entertainment industry either allow themselves to be exploited or they’re the ones choosing to exploit themselves via sexually explicit lyrics, sexually suggestive acts being carried out on-screen or during on stage performances; while gloating upon over exposed flesh (i.e. Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Trina, and newly infamous Nicki Manji).  They do this as a means of increasing the shock value that fans the flames of controversy, increasing their fan-base (mainly African-American women) resulting in sky-rocketing record sales. And the African-American Community supports it! Many African-Americans believe that this is the way that black women ‘make it’. Or as one user told me ‘doing what they’ve gotta do’.  And any woman who dares confront these (‘assumed courageous) women  on this buffoonery, they’re labeled a ‘sell-out’, booji, or told they’ve forgotten they’re black.

So let me get this straight, you’re either  ‘hating’ on these women who’ve traded in the term ‘Queen’ in exchange for ‘5 Star B!tch’ based on her assets and bank roll; or you’ve somehow become so successful in life that you don’t recognize who’s staring back at you in the mirror 0_0?

This ‘Sex Factor’ mentality is one of the reasons why African-Americans experience great difficulty engaging in blissful relationships/marriage with members of the opposite sex. The things we see and hear in our movies and music is a constant reminder to us that

A.      Black men are male whores who can’t stay faithful to one woman; much less take care of his children as a father should.

B.      Black women are ‘skeezers’ using their ‘ass’ets’ to get ahead in life.

C.      Black women don’t need black men for anything more than d!ck, let’s face it, almost all the popular ‘love songs’ produced by black female artist talk about how they’ve been wronged by black men, so why bother being serious about them.

D.     Black women are nothing more than baby mama’s that crave dysfunctional drama and are emotionally, psychologically and mentally unstable.

E.      Black men are in constant ‘pimp mode’; always ‘sticken chickens’ and moving onto the next one.

Black entertainment tells us we can’t get alone with one another; thus we don’t! Most of don’t’ even try (don’t care too) because many of us have had so many difficult and failed relationships (that we’ve personally chose to engage in) with the wrong men and women, that we soon start to see one another with the same pair of misleading goggles.

Studs and Sluts Dynamics

Burrell breaks this mentality down so simple that even a cave man can do it. He incorporates these dysfunctional dynamics through three main points that explains the people who feed this miss-education of the modern-day Negro.

1.       Studs on the Hunt: Men who define themselves by their sexuality and sexual exploits.

They’re constantly on the sexual hunt with self-worth directly tied to their conquest and sexual performance. Sex is a higher priority than job advancement (higher education), fatherhood, and/or real relationships. They will risk all in the pursuit of the ‘booty’. They can’t (and will not) get too involved with their ‘jump offs’, chicken heads, ‘pigeons’, or ‘sideline h03’s’; because they’ve internalized their brutish nature by spouting this ‘I’m doing this to you, not with you’ mantra. They animalize, dehumanize, and objectify women to reinforce the idea that women (mainly African-American women) are unworthy of emotional commitment and long-term involvement.

We see this as being evident with the manner in which women are portrayed in African-American movies and music. The infamous strippers making in clap, the ‘dime pieces’ shaking it fast and the controversial credit card swipe down the ass crack in the video ‘Tip Drill’ all show black women as nothing more than mere stress relievers. Eye candy for visual appeasement and sexual gratification. Our African-American men see the women in these videos and lyrics being devalued and objectified on-screen, and they incorporate the same ignorant mentality into how they treat the common woman.

But what’s so amazing about this retardation is that some African-American men will devalue a black woman while uplifting the value of women who belong to other ethnicities. They see women with skin not like theirs as being more ‘wife’ worthy, based on the assumption that these women know more about what it takes to be a wife (domesticated, docile, and more feminine); and they believe that these women somehow make ‘better’ wives/mothers than that of the African-American women who raised them.

2.       Gold-Digging Slut: Jezebel-like sex objects who believe that to get anywhere in life, they have to be really good at ‘it’. Sex and sexual exploitation is their ticket, or money-maker.

Gold-diggers do one of two things

A.      They have intercourse in the hopes of becoming impregnated by a man with money and social status

B.      Allow themselves to become the conquest of the brutes in return for monetary and material gain (i.e. expensive dinners, jewelry, getting their bills /rent paid or starring role in a video). These ‘women’ are conditioned to devalue sex. Their innate emotions and needs for tenderness, compassion, and love are continually repressed. They personally believe they’re unworthy of love and respect, and avoid disappointment at all cost.

I think that these women have experienced failed relationship after failed relationship; and they’ve become hardened to the idea of being in love or loved by someone. Thus, they too identify and incorporate the lyrics of such songs as ‘Ding-a-lang’ rapped by Trina ft. Nicki into their life’s philosophies on love. And in doing so assume that they’ve already gained possession of the finer things in life, thus all they need a man for is what’s in his bank account or good sex.

These women are the female versions of brutes, while adapting to a misogynistic views of love and sex (i.e. devaluing the loving touch and companionship of a man). This leads many black men to assume that ALL black women incorporate these individual characteristics into their  personality traits, thus (to them) making black women less desirable as wives/mothers of their children, or see them as ‘acting manly’. Because its assume that only a men can separate love from sex,  if a woman demonstrates she can do the same (using men in the same manner that some men use women) she’s acting, and thinking like a man in respects to love.

3.       Gotta do whatcha gotta do: Sex as a means of substance and immediate gratification. Sex without emotion.  Defensive self-devaluation justifies their sensation-driven life. Propaganda validates their actions (i.e. what they see in the videos and what they hear in the music). Sexual behavior is (in their minds) a legitimate means to ‘making it’. They disassociate themselves from their bodies and the possibility of a finding authentic love.

This can be applied to both African-American women and men. There are just as many African-American men who ‘slang’ the ‘D’ as a means of paying rent, getting clothes, gifts and having a place to lay their heads.

African-American men and women share a mutual level of disrespect towards one another. They demonstrate continual disrespect, contempt, mistrust and ridicule towards each other; yet find ways to blame these dysfunctional attitudes towards everyone else. I read in this book that 43.3 percent of black men and 41.9 percent of black women in American have never been wed.  And this is not to say that being married is the know all end all to the problems that plague black people, but it speaks volumes of how African-Americans find it difficult to get along with one another.

Now, we can debate the many theories and reasons why we’re experiencing such issues within our communities. We can even go so far as to assume that in being with a mate of another ethnicity that we’ve somehow ‘upgraded’ in the model of lovers we’ve chose. But to me personally one of the REAL reasons why we’re not marrying or being serious about marriage to one another is the FACT that we spend more time finding fault with one another than we do within ourselves. We sub-consciously engage in this ‘battle of the sexes’ finding any and every reason we can point fingers and lay blame on the opposing parties.

When will WE realize that our choice in mate determines the type and level of love we’ll share?