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Saturday
Aug152009

And I Bid You Adieu

Posted by Faith of Acts of Faith In Love and Life blog

Thank you Gina and WOAD readership. Guest-blogging here has been an experience that I've yet to unpack. I have learned a lot and being challenged at holding certain principles was the only way to know for sure I was willing to maintain them.

I think I was able to add a certain dimension and unique perspective as a contributor. I will happily return to participant status. I appreciated the opportunity to address a larger blog audience and hope others are able to gain new insights that will benefit them.

Yes - my focus was on challenging the status quo, identifying allies, accountability and other steps that would assist the necessary mindset reorder that will help black women and girls. It is one that I - as are many others - working through as we speak. With all due respect to those that took issue with how I managed the comment threads it was not my goal to become everyone's best friend or allow dissenters to have free reign to add to the confusion many of us are working through. Putting pen to paper fingers to keyboard was a great way to suss things out.

This battle for our very lives is being waged and many are asleep at the wheel - or about to drive off a cliff!!

We will need to be even more diligent at identifying escape routes, outright enemies and fence-sitters who could block our paths. We don't know who our real allies are until they've been tested.

This is not the time for hand-holding, coddling, obfuscation or allowing further confusion, denial and deflection to take over.

My goal was to share some of the things I've learned and get people out of their comfort zones. We have a closing window of opportunity to secure our health and well-being, build alliances and get rid of disordered thinking. The ones who will be victorious are those that seek to save themselves and align themselves with other like-minded individuals.

Onward and upward!!

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Friday
Aug142009

The Other "Taboo" Topic: Interracial Dating for Black Women

Cross-posted by Faith at Acts of Faith In Love & Life blog

I was deciding whether to write this as two separate posts but I thought of the intersectionality of this latest dire prediction unmarried childlessness for black women at MSNBC with what was a successful effort at combating it should be explored. The Free Your Mind dating event that was held in Los Angeles nearly two weeks ago was well-received!! Look for it to come to a city near you.

The organizer for the seminar, Fleace Weaver was interviewed by NPR .

Fleace Weaver, an L.A. socialite and the organizer of the night's event, got the idea after noticing that many of her black friends had it all — a career, house, independence — but no man. Weaver is black. She dates men of all colors — black, white, brown — and wants more black women to do the same. "I am an international lover. All right; I am an equal opportunity lover," Weaver says. "That means I love who is good to me. I don't want anybody just because they're a certain color."

Yes! It bears repeating since a quick peek at the comment section at NPR had some pushback, but nothing compared to the all-out attack by the naysayers and denigrators at another forum that linked to the article. I included it so those that may still question how many are focused on uplifting black women versus those ready to attack any progress are bearing fangs at the mere idea of them making affirming choices! These Internet Ike Turners and outright haters take pleasure in causing confusion and holding women back. It's imperative that we keep moving forward, try something different and let the miserable hang with their kind.

In the Marriage Eludes High-Achieving Black Women article at MSNBC, some of the usual stats are bandied about. If you're successful you'll be less likely to marry or have to marry down blah blah. And be childless.

Michelle Obama may have become an archetypal African-American female success story — law career, strong marriage, happy children — but the reality is often very different for other highly educated black women.

They face a series of challenges in navigating education, career, marriage and child-bearing, dilemmas that often leave them single and childless even when they’d prefer marriage and family, according to a research study recently presented at the American Sociological Society’s annual meeting in San Francisco.

One big reason why these women remained childless is, as one might expect, that they go unmarried, experts say. “Their marriage chances have declined,” Brueckner explained. “This may sound trivial but one reason is that they outnumber men in this education group.” The disparity in education is important because Americans have a strong tendency to marry those with equal levels of education, a trend that has only grown stronger since World War II. “So since there are fewer men with the same education,” Brueckner continued, “you either have to find another group you can marry or you are out of luck. You have nowhere to go.”

Highly educated black men tend to “outmarry” (marry outside race, religion or ethnicity) at a higher rate than black women, researchers say. Think of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates or Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Both married white women. (Funny how they chose two men who have displayed they have NO VALUE to us!!)

Black women are either much more reluctant to marry outside their race, or do not have the opportunity to do so. The answer is both, Clarke said. In interviews with a large number of black women, she found that community pressures on black women to marry black men can be more intense than the reverse. Of course if highly educated black women felt free to have children outside of marriage, they could still have a family. When some white women make that choice it is often seen as a kind of liberal empowerment.

But according to Clarke, black women are concerned about looking "ghetto." Public interpretation of our actions matter for everyone, but especially for black women, Clarke explained. “When it comes to the issue of black women and should or should they not make a choice to have a child alone, these women are very much aware that the decision to do it makes people question their class status. We associate single unwed child bearing with poor African-American women.” Not all women who remain unmarried and childless are unhappy about it. But for a set of sometimes complex social reasons, some high-achieving black women find themselves disappointed.

This article brings up some interesting points. Married black women and apparently these "reluctantly single & childless" achieving black women are NOT having children at the rate of the underclass. That should be considered a seriously alarming trend because of the conditions of the residential areas and the mentality of many who are there. Your best and brightest not only won't be able to compete, they won't exist.

Now back to the NPR article which refutes this "you will die alone with cats theory":

But Weaver argues that Mr. Right doesn't have to be Mr. Black. "There's no reason for us to believe we have to be alone. The only thing that's keeping us from finding someone is that we limit ourselves," Weaver says.

If black women are set on "black love only," Weaver says they may be passing up good men. "Some of you all out here have gotten some signals, and you all missed them. Or you got signals, and you all blew him off because he wasn't chocolate," Weaver says. "But we've got to get over that — unless you want to be home with chocolate cats."

Indeed the MSNBC article glosses over the indoctrination tactics used to hold black women back to me. It also doesn't address the intra-black ethnic and cultural differences and how only certain groups of women have a more difficult time deciding to date caliber versus skin color. Which we've discussed here at the BWE (black woman empowerment) blogs. There are plenty of men available for those willing to seek them out and it would be most beneficial if articles like this would speak truthfully and tell black women to stop limiting themselves.

We are free to be with whomever we want, to marry or remain single, to become a mother or not, to live anywhere and be treated with the respect and accord bestowed upon any other woman.

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Friday
Aug142009

Thank You FAITH!

This is your blogmother speaking from an undisclosed location. My blogcation ends on Monday, but I wanted to pause today to express my sincere THANKS to Faith at Acts of Faith In Love & Life blog for taking on the arduous task of of WAOD Guest Blog Wrangler. First, it is NOT easy to maintain two blogs for any period of time. Trust me, I know. Second, its hard to attempt to adapt your blogging "style" to suit another blogger and their audience's quirks and I think Faith did an amazing job, as evidenced by the fact that I think we're still on speaking terms :) This could have gone REALLY REALLY bad, but it turned out amazingly well. Faith gave me an opportunity to view my blog and my audience from different perspective, evaluate my own leadership style. You don't what your "style" is until you delegate. I didn't know I operated a certain way, until I saw the blog operated differently. You may not have agreed with everything she said, or how she managed the comments thread :), but one thing you can say EMPHATICALLY is that she DID. WHAT. SHE. SAID. SHE. WOULD. DO! That speaks highly of her character and her commitment to Black women and girls everywhere. Faith didn't just take over the reigns here at our tranquil paradise, but she freed me up to to some very important work that has changed my life and may change this lives of Black people everywhere for generations. On Monday the blog dives right into the Dunbar Village trial. A few months ago several of you made a pledge, on Monday I'm going to call on you to fulfill that pledge  and move from observers to activists, to ACTION-ISTS. All the best, The Benevolent Dictatrix

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Thursday
Aug132009

A Real Housewife of Atlanta Writes About Skin Color Racism Amongst Blacks

Posted by Faith at Acts of Faith In Love & Life blog

I noticed a few people were discussing this piece at Huffington Post on various social media platforms yesterday but I just got around the reading it. Wow! The soon-to-be-ex Mrs. Usher Raymond certainly has her head on straight as far as recognizing the intra-Black racism, black woman bashing, petty jealousies and assumptions by strangers. She took great pains to make a definitive argument of the larger psychological issues as well as the added attention due to her celebrity status. She laid it out and offered her own introspection of how that negativity has affected her.

We've been discussing the results of the underlying pathologies that affect many black women and children here and at other forums for quite some time. I can't recall the last time I've read a thorough examination of these by another AA person who wasn't a) a blogger trying to encourage other black women to free themselves b) an academic or infotainment hustler c) a man. So I cheered that this message will likely get more attention - but unfortunately it will likely be due to the pop culture consumption of various parties and not from a concentrated effort by those trying to free their minds. Still I hope that something sticks. I've pulled some quotes which I found particularly poignant that I'd like more blacks to evaluate in detail:

I am a dark-skinned African American woman with features that reflect my ancestry. It is a fact that many African-Americans are often mixed with an array of other ethnicities (as am I), which allows for the spectrum of our features to be as distinctive and special as we are diverse. Why is it felt that the more diluted our traditionally African features become the more aesthetically acceptable we are considered?

That all-too-familiar disdain and lack of racial or ethnic pride amongst African-Americans has not been resolved. We must also be careful about not mislabeling the potential self-hate of an individual versus the choice to devalue others. This manifests itself in familiar patterns by the way some black men pursue white-skinned women and how black women who don't know each other can be at odds with one another just because. People who are engaged in adversarial interactions cannot coalesce to form networks that would elevate a larger population. So the focus remains on external aggressions (i.e the white racism argument) instead of recognizing how so many undermine each other.

Often dark-skinned women are considered mean, domineering and standoffish and it was these very labels that followed Michelle Obama during the campaign for her husband's presidency and which she has had to work tirelessly to combat. I was appalled when I heard a Black woman refer to Michelle Obama as unattractive. The conversation turned into why President Obama picked her as his mate.

This is bigger than Michelle Obama. This is the manifestation of that colorism, hueism, skin shade hatred and black on black racism that does more damage today than its historical origins. It is also specifically targeting black women, African-American women who are unabashedly black with recognizable African features. It is used to shame them and make them more compliant for abuse. Like the street harassment I discussed in yesterday's blog post. Yes, we know it was part of the "Master's Tools" to create division amongst slaves and maintain control over a much larger population who could have easily risen up and slaughtered their captors. Psychological warfare is dirty and brutal. As I've written previously SLAVERY IS OVER. There is NO EXCUSE for blacks to take this practice, magnify it by thousands, add more depravity on top of it and then say that white people started it. I also touched on that hack piece written by Toure who attributed an "anonymous" quote to disparage browner-skinned black women.

As I began to delve into further research on this topic, and the more I read, I concluded that many of our people do not like what they see in the mirror. There is an adage "hurt people, hurt people". If this is true then we must examine the root of negative words and judgments that are passed on people. Perhaps we show progress in our wallets and lifestyles but not in our mind set. I nearly lost my life over something as superficial as having a flatter mid-section and trying to adapt to society's traditional definition of beauty. I truly believe that everyone has a right to delineate what they deem is attractive, but we must not confuse perceived "attractiveness" with authentic "beauty." It is important for African Americans, especially, to realize that true beauty is a spiritual element that lies deep within an individual's spirit.

I appreciated Mrs. Raymond's candor about going to such lengths to be considered attractive and acceptable. It's one thing to follow a strict regime to be healthy and at one's best. Chasing eternal youth and the appearance of external perfection is something else entirely. I thought about how Dr. Donda West, Kanye's mother lost her life while recovering from a similar surgical procedure. Despite her education, financial resources and residual celebrity - or perhaps because of it - she felt something was lacking and tried to address it externally. She also had a browner skin shade and noticeably African features. Not that plenty of other women don't choose to go to such lengths as well but I can't help but wonder would the drumbeat of disdain be less fervent if others accepted themselves as they were and encouraged others instead of tearing them down?

I also watched the documentary about Lisa Lopes (from TLC) that aired on VH-1 yesterday. Ironically she had been filming herself, friends and family for a project and it ended up being her legacy after she was killed in an auto accident. It was packaged beautifully and was very compelling. Her candor about her struggles and insights she offered gave me a different perspective. She was a flawed but brilliant woman - like so many of us. So when I see certain black women in the spotlight I observe how they are treated by others and what standards apply. It isn't pretty. Still I admire the efforts by many to live their lives on their own terms and not some self-imposed double standard of acceptable "black" behavior that is often demeaning anyway. I hope Mrs. Raymond's essay gets through to some black women who would have otherwise not heard its message of uplift.

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Wednesday
Aug122009

Latest Dunbar Village Update

Posted by Faith at Acts of Faith In Love & Life blog

From Sun Sentinel

WEST PALM BEACH - In a surprise move, the youngest of the four teens charged in the June 2007 armed gang rape on a mother and her 12-year-old son at the Dunbar Village public-housing complex pleaded guilty this morning to 14 criminal charges and has agreed to testify against his co-defendants.

State guidelines call for a minimum prison term of 49 years, but defense attorney Bert Winkler said he will ask the judge for leniency. "Avion wants very much to do the right thing," Winkler said. "He's taking responsibility for everything he did and is going to cooperate fully with the state and testify if called." Avion Lawson, now 16, faces up to 11 life sentences at his October sentencing, but his attorney will ask Circuit Judge Krista Marx for leniencey based on Lawson's promise of cooperation. The state offered no plea deals, according to testimony at this morning's hearing, where Lawson pleaded guilty as charged, including to eight counts of sexual battery by multiple perpetrators with a firearm while wearing a mask.

If you will note this defendant is 16 years old right now which means he was FOURTEEN when he allegedly committed this heinous act. I am thinking about the other 14 year-old in Arizona who's been charged with luring an 8 year-old with gum into a gang-rape with three others.

Don't be surprised as the depravity of the greater disease within the "black community" excuse of criminality claims more children at a younger age where they literally become a menace to other children, especially girls and women.

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