Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keeping black women in an unproductive conversation loop

Once again the issue of interracial dating made an appearance in one of the local black papers around where I live. When I picked up the paper, I felt transported back in time. This magazine was still recycling the old conversations we had had in the 20th century. The article on interracial dating and other related reporting were once again focussed on interracial dating as 'something black men do and black women complain about'. Black women were positioned again as trying to bring black men back to the fold and griping about loosing out to other women while black men were positioned as the cynosure of all female eyes.

I asked myself then, 'Why are they still stuck in the 1985 conversation?'. You see this set format dictates the ensuing script, the one which requires a black man talking about how lovely his nonblack partner is, and a black women bitterly complaining about black men abandoning black women for white women.

I observe this same 'stuck in a time warp' format over and over in mainstream TV. When Jerry or Ricki or any of the other daytime talk show hosts want to do a show on interracial dating they ask black women to file into the 'complainers' corner and ask white women and black men to go over to the defense. As I explained in 'Supposing I wanted to date a White Guy...?', this effectively 'traps' black women's image in the forlorn, discarded, unattractive loser category, and places her white female in the sought after, universally attractive category. A reluctance to move this script on denotes a comfort with the roles assigned to each and the fact that dividends accrue to other groups from black women being low positioned.

Indeed, the fact that after many years, it doesnt occur to folks that things have moved on and we need new stories and new view points, testifies to the fact that there is a 'status quo' need to keep black women's image in the unattractive category. This is also in line with the general media theme of presenting an unappealing image of black women.

So what about black media, and why do black women get kept in the 'forever bleating over black man' loop. Well its simple really, this 'framing' keeps black women looking at interracial dating as something wrong, something for black men, and something they have to fight to win black men back from. Trapped within this loop of thinking means black women never get out of seeing interracial dating as a negative thing, and indeed shunning it in their personal choices to remain consistent (yes black women show themselves to be very worried and particular about being moral and consistent in their belief systems and this is often used to secure them in place). Job done!

So it has been identified that best way to keep black women from getting any ideas about interracial dating is to keep the focus and framing and the age old conversations going.

Also black female journalists continue to be unthinking, framing their writings and journalistic investigations to fit in with this formula (never bothering to analyze what effect keeping things the way they are has on black women). But this is no suprise really as many continue to believe that the black female's only preoccupation should be serving the fight for the black community, and this should be the only organising precept for black women's lives, actions and choices.

Years ago I met one of the black newspaper editors in a book signing event and spoke to him at length about the book etc. He nodeded in agreement at the points I made and as we were about to part company, he said to me, 'I suppose you want a mention in my column'. I said 'Yes of course please do'. I must add here that I dont believe that black men can be fairminded in this respect. I believe that most are self serving, and out for themselves. I believe that they have been so spoilt and catered to within the black movement that now, the average black man continues to view issues in terms of all he can get out of it, and is unfit for considering anything beyond himself particularly anything as far removed from his immediate gratification as 'black uplift'.

And guess what, this editor proved me correct because after waiting for weeks for him to honor his promise, the article he finally trotted out months later was still the same old drivel centering on black men and their choices with the necessary accompanying picture of a black male in a romantic clinch with a white female. Once again it was about focussing black women on black men and their interracial activities and thus getting black women all caught up in the whole unproductive discussion about, 'Why do black men date white women' and 'How do we get our black men back'. These folks have been succesfully 'mind guarding' black women from a productive consideration of interracial dating particularly as something for them also.

See the aim here is not to somehow find a solution or bring about dialogue, it is about keeping black women occupied in fruitless concerns so they dont move on or off with their lives. Indeed most of these male editors are sitting on necessary conversations and ideas just to keep the status quo in place, and I am not just talking about the area of relationships. Many of us are wondering why the black community is going down the drain. It is indeed going down because the class of black people in charge of communicating life saving information are either trying to maintain the big fish in a little pond situation and are thinking, 'If I release this information or this finding etc, things will move on and out from my domination and control'.

And to add, I feel very sad for black women who invest the level of trust and hope they do in the black man being fair and considerate towards them. If they really knew how these men operate and that the only thought in the vast majority of these men is 'getting theirs', many of these women would have a heart attack. I can never trust black men with moving the interest of black women on, even if they get themselves a sex change. Selfishness and opportunism have become the key features of black male politics and it is as clear as day to observe, that is apart from those desperate not to see!

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Short and Sharp Lesson

A couple of months ago, I was seeking a plane ticket to travel out of the country. I did my research and discovered that there were competitive rates given by just a few companies to that destination. Anyway I phoned around to about 5 agents, and couldnt get a flight for the specific date I had in mind, 23rd of April. I was still insistent on finding a flight for the specific date though, that I phoned another travel agent on the off chance.

After being on the phone for 3 minutes, the man on the other end, told me that he would have to go into an 'advanced stage search' because he hadnt been able to get me the date I wanted. Again I was on hold for 3 minutes.

Just as I was about to give it all up and sign off, he said aha....

When I droped the phone twenty minutes later, I was kicking myself for two things; for spending 20 mins and still not having a ticket to show.

How was I strung along by a person who knew in the first 30 seconds, that they didnt have a ticket for the date I wanted?

In the analysis of it, it is quite clear to see that I was roped along because of my desperate desire for a ticket for the 23rd.

The way travel agencies work over here is that they are all interlinked (not just being owned by same families or parent companies or even person!), they are also working with the same airlines, so they all pretty much have the same dates available though you can get a few 'quid' knocked off the final price depending on which Agency you go with. So the variation is on price and hardly ever on travel dates. AND I KNEW THIS.

After the first four minutes I knew I wasnt going to get the ticket because I had previously phoned 5-6 agents and they didnt have any, but I kept on the phone, because I was so invested in that ticket on the 23rd and the dangled carrot in front of me that it might just be possible.

Not only that, the man on the other end was a skilled manipulator. Something in my voice must have communicated that I was desperate and that means ripe for stringing along. Humans are intuitive and just at any point he sensed I was about to give my quest for a ticket up, either by my breathing change or my beginning a sentence to that effect, he would make the appropraite comments to keep me hanging on. He said things like 'now here we go ..., annnnnnd..., just two seconds here and I'll.... .

A combination of black women's desperate desire to keep alive the dream of a coming black utopia (built by black men and women) combined with the understanding that this desperation can be capitalized on for personal gain, by those who wouldnt be too worried if 'black love' and 'black unity' happened or not (largely the black male section of the black community), and you have this situation where black women are continually strung along, misused and exploited by the dangeled promise of utopia coming to pass. And this is exactly what is happening, people whisper in your ear at the appropraite times that they need to, to keep you on course, and then they sit back and enjoy the fruits of your dedication and toil towards the dream. For some, the gain is purely psychological and is the fact that you will always be around as a safety net if they ever need you or the knowledge that you are sitting at home yearning for a black man and the huge ego boost this gives them.

But guess what, just as it was my money clocking up on that phone by that unscrupulous agent who refused to let go of my custom even though he knew he wasnt going to give me the ticket afterall, it is your biological clock ticking as you wait in hope of 'black love' and 'black marriage' etc spurred on by the appropraitely timed responses of a casual male friend with priviledges, even other black women who cannot imagine not working towards 'black utopia'.

Yes as clear as it was in that situation, you are the one paying for this quest, therefore you need to be the one with more sense to call it a day. If the other party has nothing to lose either way and most importantly is investing minimally and is able to gain more from the situation, they will continue to keep it going.

I dare you to have the courage to drop the phone!

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