Monday, October 18, 2010

Progress as by-product, She just snapped and a Blog Break

A Break calls to me. I often take a bit of a ‘break’ from Blogging in October and I am about to do that now, but just want to leave a few thoughts with you to chew over while I take a well needed break and I guess a reflection on the BWE work and blog.

Group progress is a natural ‘by-product’
Black women need to realize something very key; community thriving is a natural by-product of women thriving in those communities. We can see this clearly in the case of Africa. The women in most African countries are not doing well and thus the children born to these women are experiencing poverty and deprivation from generation to generation, which sets the tone for the community overall.

Black women going about getting the best out of life will naturally lift the tone of the group which they belong.

The wrong idea however that somehow the black woman has to ‘turn aside’ to do the work of elevating the community has gained currency over the years, this is why many black women think that the progress of the ‘community’ requires some form of denial and active sacrifice on their part. This then becomes the slope into the belief that it requires self-abnegation and the kind of level of dedication which automatically results in ‘self –neglect.’ Rather, community progress is a natural result of them shooting for the best for themselves be it the best ‘health’, best jobs, less stressful lifestyle, the best men, thus the best support and conditions within which they will birth the next generation and thus taking the next generation higher and higher.

Think of how flowers get pollinated from the natural activities of bees. Our fruit come to us as a natural product of Bees going about their natural business of life for themselves! As they gather nectar to make their food (honey) they pollinate the flowers giving us our food and fruit! In the natural course of foraging for food and shelter, animals also disperse seeds bringing in the crop. If a community will thrive it will automatically come from the natural ‘self considering’ activities of women not those of self negation, therefore it is important to be and get the best for you.

Many life process and systems are designed to be ‘built in’ and seamlessly woven into the flow of life. When you have to ‘wind thing up’ ‘over-exert yourself’ even ‘design additional systems’ e.g. set up government projects to bring about something that should be a natural by product of common life activities then you are dealing with a failed system.

She just Snapped!
I arrived home sometime last week to discover that my neighbour had trashed her house (as in smashed up the place).

Apparently the woman snapped and took a sledge hammer (or something of that nature) to the place. Now my neighbour is not black but I think her story highlights the importance of being with someone who shares the same goals both immediate and long-term, often goals that might not even been articulated properly but are deep and abiding aspirations.

From a friend I gathered that her man was an ‘out of job’ decorator. Nice enough but the fact that he was not working I believe played into the reason for the ‘incident’ in addition to other things. The woman was more or less ‘accepting’ of her husband out of work status and he looks after their son, while she works. Anyway I also learnt she was trying to buy a house (the one they were renting off the government). In order to have a chance at this, you have to keep the neighbors happy.

Well guess what, ‘endless loud music and weed smoking’ made the neighbors, write a petition against the woman and jeopardize her plans to buy the place.

My friend said the woman had asked her guy to ‘tone it down’ repeatedly and had warned him that his activities could block their attempts to secure the house. I am sure he kind of ‘got it’ but not to the necessary ‘depth’ and urgency, that was required apparently.

Indeed one thing being out of work can do is that it can make you ‘become out of touch’ with what people who have working lives do and their life flow. For instance people who work 9-5 etc most often do not play loud music on Sunday, or Saturday morning (on Saturday morning in particular because this is the time most normal workers might have for a lie-in), it just is a natural thing that springs from being in the flow of a working life or having a family set up immersed in ‘working and schooling life’ culture.

I believe the underlying major issue however was the fact that this woman was trying to secure the future for her young son. I believe from all indications this woman was of a ‘class’ that had forward plans around these kinds of things while her man was shall we say, ‘more immediate’ in concern. Let me add here that improving the prospects of the next generation with intent and purpose is to me the corner stone of a thriving community. A community that has a pattern of leaving the future of its young to chance (speaking on the family level of course) or approaches it haphazardly or gives the barest minimum it can to the effort is destined to be a ‘failed community’.

I think this was the trigger to the ‘house wrecking’ incident. This woman was doing all she could to ensure her child had a future investment and surely all a man could do was support this noble goal. What she got however was a man who was too focussed on self to not realize the wider impact of his activities (despite repeated ‘talks’) on the efforts of his partner towards securing a future investment for their son. Did the man hate his son? I doubt it, but a more immediate focus and less forward thinking can take the appearance of ‘not giving a care’.

I know many black women who are ‘with’ men focussed on their immediate pleasures and comfort while they the black women are busy trying to see how they can ‘build’ a future for the family. Imagine a situation where a man needs a hug but the wife knows hanging around to ‘cater’ to his feelings means she will miss her train to work. A man who know there is a long term focus in this respect will often compose himself and not allow such emotions to come in the way of long terms goals.

Men who throw tantrums about you catering to their ‘feelings’ or not being constantly there to stroke their little bruised egos (which no doubt in today’s society will be bumped now and again), are unlikely be able to see beyond their selves to focus on larger issues at stake like securing a better future for the children.

So we have an example of a ‘white man’ needing to grow up but in a recent project

I found myself struggling with two black male participants and the feedback coming was that ‘affirmation’ was necessary.

I however realized that the black women and white men and women on the team just ‘got on with the job’, it was the black men apparently who needed all the affirmation and building up and possibly ego stroking to get on with the basic tasks. I thought to myself, ‘It’s not affirming you need, you need to GROW UP’.

Insular mentality Part 11
Black women Please DO move mainstream

Stop huddling together with other blacks afraid of the wider world. Stop hiding away from the broader trends and broader social context looking for the black thing or the black place. Stop avoiding the broader playing fields in search of a black oasis or black controlled spaces where you think you will be supported and valued etc. On the contrary, most of these black spaces now harbour toxic dynamics and attitudes.

This need to separate out and move ‘side stream,’ is I believe a result of black people feeling that the rules of wider society were set against them, and would not let them win and at a point in history this was nothing but the truth. However in our present social context it is deadly for black women to remain always segregating towards that ‘black space’. It is in these places that they face a squeeze, devaluation, famine, cut throat competition etc etc. So essentially all black women have is the comfort of believing that these spaces are nurturing, providing and affirming but the reality is far different from what black women find comforting to believe.

When you move mainstream you give your abilities a good workout and hone and develop skills beyond mediocre (which unfortunately continues to be more than enough within black circles). You need that mental, attitudinal and ability workout from having to compete in general circles, it will make you a better and more aware person. Trust me it makes you think faster, with acuity and become more effective in your craft most importantly you are kept current and modern, understanding what applies ‘now’ as opposed to ten years ago! Sometimes you hear black folk talking and it is like they feel asleep for some decades!

You will learn how to be confident in diverse crowds, how to sell yourself well and make your services/attributes have wider appeal.

Also many black women are looking for the right thing in the wrong place. Many of us are seeking to feel accepted and that we belong in our work places. To me that’s why you have family and friends. Indeed I know a couple of black people who went to work for ‘black organisations’ because they wanted ‘warmness’ and ‘closeness’, they found something totally different! The workplace is a place to make a living mostly (not saying it isn’t welcome if you have thoughtful and amiable work colleagues) but at work, you essentially need a conducive and supportive atmosphere you don’t need to be hugged up with and loved up with your work colleagues!

Yes for some of us who zone in and gravitate towards ‘black this and that’, it can be scary, to think you have to ‘brave’ a wider world (constructed as hostile within the black perspective) but beyond the initial trepidation you are more than likely to receive a favourable response. In the wider context you will find a market for the practical, expedient and that which is good value for money, however within black circles I often find that you have no clue what black folk want and sometimes in the face of real practical needs black folk will prefer to play status games!

I know many ‘progressives’ continue to construct the world as untenably racist for black folk. Now I am beginning to think that many ‘progressives’ hold hidden motives to keep the status quo going, yet unlike their right leaning brethren are unaware of it.

Move outwards and breath fresher air.

Wondering about interracial dating?

I have written an E-book that gives a comprehensive insight into the relationship reality facing black women today, including her Interracial Dating Option. Get yourself clued up!

Questions to be sent to:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Black women and an insular mentality Part I

I used to attend a Christian church which needed to employ a drummer.
Now I know one or two female drummers but they tend to be rare breeds at least around here. Anyway a woman drummer was recommended to me and I followed up by giving her a call to find out if she would be available for work. What I found at the end of the phone line was a surly, ill mannered woman who couldn’t even be bothered to be pleasant and enthused about the offer of a job. After a monosyllabic conversation (on her part), I booked her to play one session at least, against my instinct over the situation and surely as I expected, she turned up late and couldn’t join the musicians etc etc. So the whole thing was a failure and I still had to pay her travel costs!

Folks those of you who have instrument skills know that it is hard to get. It takes patience, and discipline and nights of frustration when you want to throw the trumpet at the wall. Why would anyone go through what it takes to acquire such a generally rare skill to hamper it with poor manners.

Now I know musicians are known for being absolute divas but often this is after they have become recognized masters at their craft and when they have achieved the fame and money. This woman was in the market for a job as a drummer, and not some famous and well paid star, so why the bad attitude towards a prospective employer?

After thinking about this for a while I came up with my theory.

This woman was of African descent and therein I believe lies the key.

Now in the UK Africans have a large network of ‘Pentecostal churches’, some attended by anything up to 2,000 people on Sunday (very small compared to US I know!). I believe that this young woman didn’t feel the need to ‘cultivate’ outer contacts or be ‘open’ to wider approach because she believed (and maybe was correct), that she would be well taken care of within her community network (where have we come across this attitude before lol!). Remember the biblical parable told by Jesus that I keep mentioning, about the ‘wise’ manager who only ‘discovered’ a need to cultivate wider friendships when he learnt he was about to be ’fired’!

Yes, its all good and well to be insular and turn your nose at networking wider, but what happens when black community becomes a place of unfulfilled dreams, and famine for black women for instance in finding interested men who want to marry? What happens when she is not able to get her needs met within said community eg she needs to make a living outside it?

Indeed, this whole insular attitude thing I believe speaks to another key issue. Black women often package themselves for ‘their community’. I see it all around me as I go to and fro in my daily journeys. They present themselves, dress themselves, have mannerisms, emote etc in ways that are understood subliminally to make them black community property. Its very intangible very subtle, but I believe there is metaphorically speaking a ‘uniform’ that black women don that denotes them as Black community items you know, ‘if found please return to your nearest black community’ kind of thing going on. Designed to appeal only within and be available to only the black community, its men and its people. The thing here is that many of us who hope to broaden our horizons, go around with the same uniform unknowingly mostly because we mimic each other and possibly on some level think, ‘this is how black women are suppose to dress‘.

I think this is one reason why black women can be teeming around white men and vice versa yet somehow white men do not ‘see’ them. On some level black women have been filed under ‘reserved for black only’. We are hidden in plain sight because we are in a dress and presentation code which is picked up and understood to locate one rigidly within black only and one which says, we welcome only interaction overtures from blacks.

Black in love with color black
There is just something about the color black that black women cant do without. Most of the black women around me, if not dressed head to toe in the stuff, have at least two items of clothing that are black (I am outing myself here as a black wearer also!). Is it because it is safe, neutral or a color to hide many sins or maybe we can wear it with other things (as in a black shoe can be worn with so many other colors but not the same with say blue).

May suggestion is try and look at other neutral colors, give greys a go or browns. Add something quirky to your ensemble. A signal to tell people, ‘Hey woman of the world coming through’.

And you know the kicker here, Weaves and straight styles have become a part of this ‘black uniform’. Nothing marks black women out as ‘firmly within her community,’ than that parted straight weave style that many black women wear!
Wondering about interracial dating?
I have written an E-book that gives a comprehensive insight into the relationship reality facing black women today, including  her Interracial Dating Option. Get yourself clued up!

Questions to be sent to:

Sunday, October 03, 2010

What would white feminsists do?

Imagine this scenerio:

A black woman walks into a shop with an object in her hand, she says ‘I have this object here that is shaped in a unique and different way. ‘Can you find me a bowl/container that will fit round it or be enough to ‘encompass’ it in its entirety?

There is this white woman there managing the store and she has a group of assistants, these assistants happen to be black women and they look at the object and after a few minutes their faces take on a semi contemptuous look towards the object.

‘Sorry’ they say, ‘Your object has to fit into one of these ‘standard’ containers we have here or it really isn’t a ‘valid’ ‘worthwhile’ object, in fact you will have to go and file it down and knock off bits of it to get it to fit one of these 'universal' bowls, which is really the ‘accepted’ container that all such objects need to be able to fit into!’

Well, this is exactly what bw are expected to do; to fit their issues, their responses and reactions, the nuances of their situation and their ‘understanding’ of what ails them into accepted feminist frameworks developed from a white female perspective and thought process. If these don’t fit, black women are expected and asked to take them away and make sure they cut off ‘an arm’ or ‘a leg’ so that it fits neatly with ‘white female theories’ and views of the female world and their acceptable analysis of such things.

Halima, virtually all of the confusion among bw regarding this issue and many others is due to bw contorting themselves to accommodate the damaged thinking and behavior of bm.

Since the bulk of black males in the West have adopted the thinking and behaviors that are out of sync with the norms of most cultures, societies and groups in the world, black women suicidally adjust their thinking and behavior to follow suit. This is THE pattern of behavior of the masses of bw.

For ex. I cannot imagine more than a handful (if even that many) of bw arguing that it's fine for them to have massive numbers of children OOW by white men or Asian men. LOL! They would NEVER do that. It's only because they're having these children by black males who won't marry them and assume the role of men and responsible fathers, that these women are making this foolish argument. Why? It's because so many AA women and bw of that type have been programmed for centuries to adjust for (emphasis added by halima) and be self-sacrificing for non-reciprocating, hateful bm- Evia

Most black female theorists have also gone on a mission to insure that they too fit their struggles into these 'boxes' created by white female thought processes and priorities. Yes it is fascinating for me to note how even fellow bw are struggling to force their fellow black women's issues into the neat box as prepared by white feminists, a box constructed with their world in mind, a box that fits and was made to fit with how their issues are shaped and how things 'occur for them'.

On the surface it might appear that black women's issues have fitted neatly into white feminists boxes and the 'elevation' of black womanhood is on the way 'thank God', but before long you realize that 'a foot is missing' or a 'hand has not been adequately covered' or the head has had to be twisted into a painful angle to ensure it is contained within the box.

It is worrying to note how fellow black women invalidate the concerns of other black women when 'it does not neatly fit into boxes' prepared by a white feminist thought process and priorities!

I indeed find it worrying to note that the way bw approach the concepts and terms of white female theory (read: feminism) as if it was handed down from mount Sinai (along with the ten commandments); perfect and universal, ready to apply to and fit with issues for every female of every shade, hue and culture and every female issue that ever occurs. I am even more concerned that many black women who puport to be feminist do not realize that we arrived at the current feminist theoretical framework through years of arguing and discussing and dissecting and putting together and again tearing apart and  revaluating and dissenting  (in fact there are only a few core ideas of feminism endorsed across all the strands of feminism and yes there are many strands some locked in perpetual battle with each other) and chopping and changing the structure to make it accomodate all white women were feeling, saying, experincing expressing etc etc.

I am surprise to note that many bw do not know that white women brought their feelings (honoured and valued how they felt about certain things even when these were sneered at by the wider community), to the table, also bringing their experiences, their priorities, concerns, their heart felt emotions, things they raged against, thing they could not fit neatly into 'progressive frames', things they couldnt justify yet felt strongly about etc etc etc and when these had finally been assembled, they now Encased All of these in a framework called feminism.

Many black women who 'pledge' to be feminists, act like feminist theories are set in stone, sacred and cannot be adapted to suit but must be applied as is! Many act like black women are to be held prisoners to the precepts of feminism rather than the precepts being there for the purpose of serving black women's needs be they practical, spiritual, intellectual, existential, and what have you. Essentially to serve the 'essence' and preservation of black womanhood!

Note the conversation that goes on when black women bring the enitrety of their issues forward to try to ensure a robust enough framework to comprehensively fit and address their situation:

BW- ‘I feel this way about this’,
Feminist Gatekeeper -‘Oh well it doesn’t fit well into this pre prepared box here, so it definitely is invalid to include as an important feminist issue.’

BW-'This issue keeps recurring so it is central to our situation'.
Feminsist Gatkeeper- ‘Well this issue actually goes against the ‘already prepared version of events’ laid out as acceptable feminist frame, therefore it has to be discounted.’

BW- 'I feel strongly about this and think my feelings must count'
FGK- 'Well those feelings go against our decisison never to upset A or speak out against C or to bring up B for revaluation or indict D for their inhumanity and since we hold these restrictions central please be off with it'.

And so on and on it goes until bw are forced into a feminist model that ill fits their struggle.

You would have thought that by now black women theorists would realise that you first gather together all black women’s concerns, needs, honor their feelings and cares and hunches, their observations AND THEN build a feminist model around all these, rather than cut of the salient and important parts of the narrative as it stands for black women, in order that it may ‘fit’ into the design that white female theorists (read: white feminists) have decided to be ‘appropriate’.

I can almost here Jesus say, 'The sabbath was made for (wo)man, (wo)man was not made for the sabbath'

BW need to take care because:
A whole bunch of folk are trying to force black women into modes and models that are not 'meaningful' for black women and the black woman's situation, in fact some of these models will lead black women into even greater 'tragedy'.

Feminsism is not about big language and something that exists in 'theorectical space'. Feminsism is about the practical and how women can make it better for themselves in the now (more so for black women who are at the negative end of so many social trends). I mean what is the point if your feminsim is simply theory and all about intellectual debating as black women fall deeper and deeper into the pit. Surely your framework can only be useful if it provides for the immediate survival and rescue of the black female!

If the terrain is different the wheel might need to be re-invented!

White women have been granted the 'social space' to hash out their issues and come up with the approporaite models to work with. I dont see this happening with black women with all and sundry (white men, black men and white women) closing in on what should be internal debates to lecture them on what should be 'the appropraite models' for their struggles (of course models that skirt the exposing of the major culprits in their situation). My question remains, 'Where is that granted 'social space' for bw to go through the process (as white owmen were allowed to), to come up with meanigful concepts, ideas and models for their situation? All I see is folks rushing in to force bw into models that continue to be ill fitting for the black woman's situation.

Indeed I hear folks saying black women should eschew any models that points a finger or lays blame on black men. Pity they didnt remeber to tell that to white women when they declared an all out war to extricate themselves from under the feet of men, not more than 5 decades ago.

White women were allowed to take men to task for their behaviour as a collective towards women with no one rushing in to supress their assertions about men.

Indeed I dont recall the likes of Gloria Steinem arguing for consideration to be shown for 'the good white men' out there. But then again maybe I am wrong and she prefaced her every comment with 'there are good men out there including my brother, uncle and father!' 

Gain insight into the relationship reality facing black women today, and find out more about the Interracial Option, I have written an IR E-book that gives comprehensive insight into this subject!

Questions to be sent to: