Where Have All the Good Black Men Gone?

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Nowhere, yet this question is asked as if aliens dropped down one day and beamed all “good black men” into hovercrafts called “marriage” and “homosexuality”.  I say this because the complaint is always the same when I talk to single women: “All the ‘good black men’ are either married/taken or gay”. 

But that’s not true.

It’s honestly more of an excuse–an easy cop out that we can use to remove or ignore the part we play in our own plight and remove the responsibility that God gave us for our own lives.

To say that “all the ‘good black men’ are taken or married” is to admit that at one point they were “free” or single (because otherwise we would be suggesting they were born in relationships and we know that is not possible).

So who are these “good black men” and who are these women who have “taken” them?

I don’t know every man there is, but I do know a lot of good ones.  Some are married, some are engaged, some are in relationships and some are single.  The ones in relationships are men who love and respect their woman without fear or shame.  They do not cheat or play games or entertain loose women, or men who would encourage them do so.  They are kind and gentle to thier mate and respectful and considerate of her feelings.  They are honest and straight forward about their feelings for her, they provide support to her and they realize that they need her just as she needs them.  They are not superficial, but are modest, decent, non-confrontational and they actively avoid situations that may compromise their relationship.

These men are not flashy and they do not need or even desire validation from other men or from other women.  Their focus, their first priority is their relationship with their mate because it matters to them.  Their happiness and their sense of peace is directly tied to the happiness and sense of peace and security that they provide to their spouse.  They are real men.

Just as I know these men, I know their wives, their fiancees and their girlfriends.  Who are these women?  Who are the women, often referred to as “lucky” who have “taken” these “good black men” off the market?  Like their mates, they are women who love and respect their man without fear or shame.  They do not cheat or play games or entertain loose men or women who would encourage them do so.  They are kind and gentle to thier mate and respectful and considerate of his feelings.  They are honest and straight forward about their feelings for him, provide support to him and they realize that they need him just as he needs them.  They are not superficial, but they are modest, decent, non-confrontational and they actively avoid situations that may compromise their relationship.

These women are not flashy and they do not need or even desire validation from other women or from other men.  Their focus, their first priority is their relationship with their mate because it matters to them.  Their happiness and their sense of peace is directly tied to the happiness and sense of peace and security that they provide to their spouse.  They are real women.

The couples that I know, the couple the my husband and I are, are made up of two individual people who share the same sense of value for their mind, for their body, and for thier spirit.  Before they were two beautiful people in love with each other, they were two beautiful people in love with themselves.  Before he was a “taken” good black man, he was a single good black man who desired all of the things he found in his mate–at the time a single black woman. 

In all things in life, we have to first become what we say we want.  I cannot cry and beg God to make me a world-renowned writer if no one even knows that I write.  I have to first believe that a career in writing is possible, and I then have to realize that how successful I am in that career is in my hands.  I have to understand that nothing short of my own actions will put my desires and my dreams into motion.  A writing career is not going to fall from the sky and God isn’t going to give me anything I’m not willing to work for. 

If I want to be a writer I have to create an environment of writing around my life.  I have to be serious about my endevour and put my energy into making my desire come true.  I have to participate in events that involve writing–events that make it evident to the rest of the world that I have a passion, an interest, a talent for writing.  I have to make myself a writer in my eyes first, and then I have to make what I say I want evident to the world around me.  Then, when someone is looking for a writer, or a judge in a poetry competition, or a partner in a writing project I can come to mind because I’ve presented myself as a writer.  I have to put time and effort into it.   

The same is true for relationships.  Sisters, we cannot cry and beg God for a “good man” when we are not willing to put any effort into finding him ourselfves.  We have to first become what we say we want.  We have to first believe that a loving relationship is possible, and we then have to realize that how successful we are in that relationship is in our hands.  We have to understand that our actions put our desires and our dreams into motion.  A  “good black man” is not going to just fall from the sky and answer all our prayers.  Not going to happen.  Ever.

If we want to be a wife, we have to create a wifely aura around our life.  We have to be serious about our endevour and put our energy into making our desire come true.  We have to make that desire evident to the rest of the world.  We have to make ourselves wives in our eyes first, and then we have to make what we say we want evident to the world around us.  Then, when a brother is looking for a “good black woman”–a wife, we come to mind because we’ve presented ourselves as women who can be “wiffed”.  We have to put time and effort into it, just like anything else.  We cannont demand and expect to get a “good black man” if we are not first good black women.

What am I saying?    Simply put: “The law of attraction is this: you do not attract what you want. You attract what you are”.  You will never become anyone’s wife if you constantly settle for being a side chick, a booty call, a mistreated lover, a a friend with benifits, etc. etc.  Change who you are, and you change who you attract.  So where are the good black men? Somewhere looking for good black women. Are you identifiable? Think about it. 

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And This is for Colored Girls Who Always Seem to End Up Alone

The black woman’s role has not been placed in its proper perspective, particularly in terms of the current economic and political upheaval in America today. Since time immemorial the black man’s emasculation resulted in the need of the black woman to assert herself in order to maintain some semblance of a family unit. And as a result of this historical circumstance, the black woman has developed perseverance; the black woman has developed strength; the black woman has developed tenacity of purpose and other attributes which today quite often are being looked upon negatively.” –Shirley Chisholm, 1974 The Black Woman in Contemporary America Speech at the University of Missouri

As a little black girl you are taught many things. Your position in life as a girl defines how you behave. You are taught what to say, what not to say, how to act, how to talk, to play with dolls, to keep your legs together when wearing a dress, to wear a dress, and so on and so forth.  This is probably not much different from what other little girls are taught.

As a little black teenage girl you get told many things.  You are ordered to stay away from little boys who (as my mother told me) “just want to see how their ‘thing’ works.”  You are advised not to be the girl they keep company with at night, while they won’t dare be seen with her during the day.  You are told when you can date, and your dating is monitored under close supervision.  When you are of an appropriate age, you may get to go to the movies or to McDonald’s with your “little boyfriend”, but you better be home by 9:00.  This is probably not much different from what other little girls are told.

As a young adult black woman, your teachings of childhood have probably successfully ensured that you have transformed into a beautiful female specimen.  The instructions you were given as a teenager have enabled you to enter the world with your head held high, and with confidence that you are grounded in some sense of virtue.  You are a woman.  A female.  This has been made clear to you all your life, but as a young adult black woman, you know that your sex does not define your capability.  You are a black woman and you are proud.  Your mother, your aunts, and every beautiful black woman you have encountered have made sure of this.  With some variation or another, this too is probably not much different from what other young adult women are taught, however, for most young adult black women, this is where the teachings on being a women peak and become reiterated throughout the next few stages in life.

As a black woman, it is habitually instilled in you that you are strong, smart, dependable and completely capable of doing everything on your own.  You are taught what not to tolerate, how to demand respect, how to provide for yourself, to expect to provide for yourself, and to never depend on a man for anything.  You are never taught to expect to be a wife; never taught what that even means.  You are never taught how to give respect, how to comfort, how to care, how to love, who to love, who to depend on and how to know you can depend on them…you are only taught not to because you can’t.  This is the difference for many women of color.  Many of our homes have no men in them, and so most of our mothers teach us, directly or indirectly, that we have to expect to provide for ourselves and for our families alone.  We are taught that even if we do find a man, and even if he loves us, we are still not saved from this fate.  Men leave as often as they come, we learn, and so we are never taught what it takes to keep one.   As a result, we seldom know how to do just that, and are seldom even encouraged to try to.

This is the difference for women of color.

An educated, beautiful, strong, virtuous woman does not “run up behind” a man. He is supposed to see her for all she has to offer and then appreciate and love her unconditionally.  He is supposed to treat her like a queen–give her everything and shower her with commitment, devotion and affection.  As black women, this is what we are told we deserve, but what we are oftentimes not told, is what we are supposed to do for him.  This, we do not know.

This is the difference for women of color.

We are not taught how we are supposed to appreciate a good man, because half of us don’t even know how to identify one.  In our minds, he doesn’t exist.  In our minds all men are the same, and if you give them the slightest amount of power, they will use it against you.  So you don’t give them any.

This is the difference.  

My heart goes out to little black girls who have to grow up believing they are not entitled to the beauties and benefits of being a woman.  My heart goes out to little black girls because we are encouraged to fight our natural desires to be cared for, and to care for others.  We grow up believing we have to fight to be treated right, becaue many times we do. We grow up expecting that no one in this world is going to recognize our strength, our intellect, our loyalty or our capability.  We grow up on a mission to shove these attributes down people’s throats and demand that they appreciate all of them. We grow up on the defense.  If anyone ever seems like they do appreciate our strengths, we half-heartily appreciate their appreciation because we fear that if we let our guard down for a second, be vulnerable for a second, depend on him for a second…he will disappoint us and we will be left alone.

This is the difference for women of color.

We go through life expecting to be let down; expecting to be left alone; expecting to be alone.  We don’t trust men to take care of us and so we convince our daughters that all we can depend on is ourselves and maybe each other.  Tragic, because in the end that is all we get left with, and if you look around, that’s who you see many black women with–themselves and each other.

Christmas, the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Trigger Life Incident:

So I’m a social worker who assists clients with paying bills they’ve either fallen behind on or can’t pay because of some emergency situation (ie. car break-down, child medical expenses, death in the family etc.) that interrupted their regularly scheduled bill payments.

During and after the Holiday season, however, the reasons or inabilities to pay bills oftentimes involves Christmas which has, nonetheless, been famously coined “the most wonderful time of the year”, but is it really though?

What makes Christmas the most wonderful time of the year?

The world does not stop because the calendar has fallen, yet again on the “hap-happiest season of all”. Bills still come and managing those bills becomes a lot harder for many Americans when the seemingly mandatory purchasing of gifts is added to life’s list of expenses.

So what exactly makes Christmas the most wonderful time of year?

While there is this idea that Christmas is about “holiday cheer”, jingling bells, and a baby Jesus, if we were all honest, we’d admit that Christmas is way more about consuming worldly possessions (which, ironically, Jesus wagged his finger at) than it is about any of the aforementioned. I’ve had to help people pay their bills because they forced buying stuff into their already jammed-packed budgets.  I understand that as a parent you want your children to have a “good” Christmas, but do we really want to teach children that a good Christmas is connected to material things?

When I was little, I was far from a brat–what one would even consider a “good child”.  Yet, I still subconsciously expected to receive not just a gift for Christmas, but several, and though I knew better than to verbally express anything that ungrateful, the feeling was still there.  I would seriously be disappointed if the gifts under the tree were a little skimpy, and I found myself constantly comparing all Christmas days with the Christmas days the years before.

I think back to my primary and secondary experiences with classmates and how we would compare how much stuff we got for Christmas.  Of course there were always those children who couldn’t participate in the conversation, and while I’m sure that was somewhat depressing, their plight is not what bothers me the most.  I’m more bothered, I realize, by those of my classmates whose parents literally made financial sacrifices just so their children could come to school and brag about, or wear their light, gas or water bill on their feet.

No, I’m not against gift-giving, I’m against excess and the mentality that excess develops.  I’m against the pressure that Christmas places on parents to make financial sacrifices just so their children don’t end up lying across some psychiatrist’s couch explaining how it all started with a Christmas that yielded no presents.  I’m against instilling in people the expectation of material possessions, and the longing for those things because longing oftentimes turns into greed.  Greed, after all, is nothing more than an intense and selfish desire for something.

As an adult , I’ve had to learn to curtail my wants– to deny myself materials that I, for whatever reason, convince myself that I need.  I’ve had to learn to prioritize my needs over my wants; over my desires and to control myself so that my desires do not control me.  When we fail to put conscious effort into doing this, we become consumed by greed and our desire to have things overrule our logic.  This is how irrational and impulsive spending happens.  I do not at all blame Christmas alone for greed, but I do attribute a large part of the blame to it.

As of this year, my family and I have ceased to celebrate Christmas, but I am always open to hearing from people who have found ways to make Christmas more of what it’s supposed to be than what it has become.  So what do you say?  How have you curtailed the excess and greed that Christmas promotes?  Do you even agree that Christmas does this?  Make your voice known!

To Whom Much is Given, Much is Required

Trigger life incident:

A while back I was randomly browsing through Rihanna’s tweets and she had this one snappy tweet where she was screaming at twitter world that she is “not a parent or a role model” so basically tough titty if your daughters try to imitate me and tough titty if they are mislead in the process.

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Ooohh…Okay…

But Rihanna isn’t the only person who feels as she does.  Many of her, and other celebrities’, fans will aggressively defend their favorite pop star’s right to be and do whatever they want with no regard to the effects it has on the fans.  Many will even argue that celebrities actions don’t even have effects on the fans at all.

I find that notion strange.  Let’s take a look at why:

Before I go any further, let me define celebrity for Rihanna and for all of those who share her sentiments:

ce·leb·ri·ty

/səˈlebrətē/
  • A famous person.
  • The state of being well-known:  “his prestige and celebrity grew”
Synonyms
fame – renown – reputation – repute – notability – glory
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Okay, if a celebrity is a famous person, that means that celebrities are people, like you and me, who entire (or a reputable number of) nations know and love.  Not only do these mass numbers of people love this person, but they support them by buying their material, attending their shows, building shrines of them in their closets, and heatedly defending them against any nay-sayers.
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Let’s take a look at what the typical fan looks like:
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I mean, people all but worship their favorite celebrities, so 1) I think fans need to realistically evaluate their feelings of connectedness toward their favorite celebrities, and 2) I think these screaming, red, and tear-stained faces that pay celebrities’ bills and keep them relevant and thus in the spotlight, and thus employed, deserve some consideration in return.  How selfish does a celebrity have to be to feel otherwise?  What is to be said about any human soul, famous or not, who discourages people from looking to them admirably and in turn imitating some of the things they do?  That’s called being someone’s inspiration.  The world may have never known Eryka Badu if she had never known or been inspired by Billie Holiday (or whomever she listened to growing up).
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How much denial does someone have to be in for them to aggressively defend their favorite celebrity, a person whom they do not know, but love anyway, and then honestly deny these deep feelings of connectedness that they feel towards this person that they don’t even know?   It’s okay if you love your favorite celebrity, just realize and admit that who you choose to idolize reflects who you are as a person and the type of behavior, music, lifestyle, etc. that you consciously or unconsciously endorse.  It is impossible for me to love Nicki Minaj and not be in favor of, or at least be “okay” with the messages she sends through her music and through the clothing she chooses to wear.
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So again I ask, why would a celebrity not recognize, accept, and enjoy their ability and their obligation to inspire their fans?  Rihanna, it’s cool if you don’t want to change your image to something more “wholesome” to suit angry parents, but you do have to realize that young women who watch you will try to imitate you.  It is the only reason they are listening to you…because they like something or everything about you.  Some will merely draw their artistic inspiration from you, or identify with you as an individual; and others will go to the extremes of darkening their hair and wearing all black just because you do.  If that bothers you then maybe you should consider another profession or consider a new look, because after all, if who you are (how you dress, how you act, the type of music you make, etc.) pleases you, then why wouldn’t you be flattered that other women and little girls agree?
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What I’m saying is that celebrities don’t really have a choice.  They work for “the man” technically, but in reality, they work for their fans to like them.  If you are a celebrity that no one likes, you will not be a celebrity long.
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At the least, I think celebrities ought to realize that they have a significant impact on the fans who genuinely love everything (that they know) about them–the good, the bad and the ugly.  As love goes in all other relationships, people tend to hold their loved ones in high regard and they tend to take the words and actions of those they love as indicators of what they should do and how they should operate.
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Whether fans who share Rihanna’s sentiments admit it or not, they identify in some way with their favorite celebrities and their musical influences infiltrate their lives.  The levels at which this happens varies from person to person, but it happens to all.  It is necessary for the relationship of celebrity and fan.  Again though, that’s okay.  It’s okay for you to demand that the person you adore acknowledge your thoughts and opinions.  Afterall, the good book says:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”–Luke 12:48

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wedding?

Alright, first blog and uh, I already smell fish.

Most of my rants are triggered by some incident in my life, sometimes big, sometimes small.  So let’s begin with the trigger for this rant.

Trigger conversation (one of many, by the way):

Young Independent Woman: “I want to get married but not right now because I want a career.”

Old Independent Woman: “I don’t think you realize how serious marriage is.  Are you sure you want to be tied down at such a young age?”

Me:

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I H-A-T-E, HATE, when women say they don’t want to be married because they “want a career” or because they “don’t want to be tied down”.  I’m like, who the freak are you marrying,  Master Thomas?  Marriage is not slavery and your husband is not your master,  he’s your partner. He helps you accomplish your goals with his support, and vice versa.  Marriage is a partnership, like a team.  That’s always more fun right; two is company…what ever happened to that?  Am I really supposed to rather experience all of life’s ups and downs alone?  Is that really more ideal than having a friend, a partner, a supporter, a comrade, along the way?  I’m really confused by the notion that I’m supposed to sacrifice assistance for independence.  Why go it alone whenI could have help?

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What it seems that people fail to realize is that when you mary the right person they want nothing more than to see you accomplish everything you set out to do.  If you like to write, or travel, or cook, or sky-dive, or sit at home and do absolutely nothing at all, you just marry someone who is, at the least, cool with what you like.  At the most, the person you marry will be doing all the things you like with you…because the two of you are friends.  Friends.  Not enemies, not parent and child, not slave and master, but friends; partners with different but equal roles in your relationship.  You marry your friend and then there’s nothing to fear.

So what do you say?  Why are we so afraid of life-long friendship that build the foundation for families, and where do we get these notions that marriage, God’s design for men and women, is otherwise?

Isn’t God Love, after all?

Something Fishy

I figured I would start my WordPress blogging career with a little introduction of myself and, I guess, my purpose for writing.  The name of this theme I selected from the WordPress free theme collection is “Something Fishy”.  OOO, clever, WordPress, clever (cause there are fish in the theme).

Anyways, like this theme, the world is filled with fishiness: “fishy” situations, “fishy” people and a bunch of other “fishy” stuff.  I guess what I’m trying to say is “hello”, welcome to my mind and its lack of trust for this oh so fishy world filled with oh so fishy people.  Enjoy.

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