American Culture, black men, black women, blacks, History, Race

The Policing of Black Female Sexuality

Another graduate school paper written in 2015

Abstract
The current paradigm concerning black female sexuality has been constructed from beliefs about black women that began as a result of white patriarchal ideologies established during slavery. These stereotypes about black female sexuality in particular have been used to shape U.S. public policy concerning social welfare and because of these stereotypes, black women have been blamed for passing down a “culture of poverty” from one generation to the next. This paper will discuss the policing of black female sexuality and pose the question: Why is black female sexuality considered dangerous to the status quo?


The Policing of Black Female Sexuality
It is a strange lot to be a Black woman in American society. She was brought to this country to be an unpaid worker, a concubine and a broodmare. Her body and her sexuality has been reviled but from the various brilliant shades of brown Black people come in, is curiously loved. This paper will examine the reasons for the policing of black female sexuality and why even in 2015, black women are not allowed to embrace their sexuality in the way white women are.


The Beginnings
The policing of Black female sexuality began during slavery. White males who were attracted to their slaves had to justify their attraction to them by labeling Black women as deviant, sexually aggressive creatures and whose sexuality had to be regulated. It also had to do with white male views on female sexuality. “Barbara Omolade asserts that the sexual stereotyping of black women’s bodies is rooted in colonialism. She argues that European male colonists read African women’s sexuality “according to their own definitions of sex, nudity, and blackness as base, foul, and bestial.” (Maurer, 2000).


This narrative fit very nicely with the “Cult of True Womanhood” in which white women were considered pure, dainty, innocent, and deserving of protection while the Back female slave was considered “primitive and incapable of chastity, purity, and moral virtue.” (Maurer, 2000). White men could then have unrestrained sex with the female slaves with no responsibility for their actions while protecting the virtue of white women.
Thus, the degrading images of black women being less than human and not worthy of respect was born. The hyper sexualized stereotype of black women as a femme fatale was used during slavery justify sexual relations between white men and black women, especially sexual unions involving masters and their female slaves. The black woman was depicted as a woman with an insatiable appetite for sex. She was not satisfied with black men and needed.”


Slave women were considered chattel and legally they had no rights so they could be raped with impunity with no repercussions. Often white male plantation owners would give their sons the “gift” of a young slave girl to be his concubines. “Nevertheless, as John D’Emilio and Estelle B. Freedman state in Intimate Matters: A Sexual History of Sexuality in America, ‘the rape of a female slave was probably the most common form of interracial sex during that time’.” (Rhymes, 2007).


The idea that black women were more sexually immoral than white women was reinforced by slavery. “Slaves whether on the auction block or offered privately for sale, were often stripped naked and physically examined. This was done to ensure that they were healthy, able to reproduce, and, most importantly, to look for whipping scars – the presence of which implied that the slave was rebellious. In practice, the stripping and touching of slaves had a sexually exploitative, sometimes sadistic function. Nakedness, especially among women in the 18th and 19th centuries, implied a lack of civility, morality, and sexual restraint even when the nakedness was forced. Slaves, of both sexes and all ages, often wore few clothes or clothes so ragged that their legs, thighs, and chests were exposed. Conversely, whites, especially women, wore clothing over most of their bodies. The contrast between the clothing reinforced the belief that white women were civilized, modest, and sexually pure, whereas black women were crude, immodest, and sexually deviant.” (Rhymes, 2007).


The Exploitation of Black Female Sexuality in Advertising and Film
The portrayal of black women as amoral, sexual deviants had its beginnings in slavery, was used during the Jim Crow period, and was both used in modern times to entertain and sell products and advertising was a great medium to do this. Although the Mammy stereotype was used to sell everything from food to soap, the depiction of black women as sexually free whores was a common theme in selling products. “A metal nutcracker from the 1930s depicts a topless black woman. The nut is placed under her skirt, in her crotch, and crushed. Were sexually explicit items such as these made in the image of white women? Yes. However, they were never mainstreamed like the objects that caricatured Black women. The seamy novelty objects depicting white women were sold on the down-low, the QT and always hush-hush. An analysis of these racist items also reveals that black female children were sexually objectified. Black girls, with the faces of pre-teenagers, were drawn with adult sized buttocks, which were exposed. They were naked, scantily clad, or hiding seductively behind towels, blankets, trees, or other objects.” (Rhymes, 2007).


As society entered the early 1970s, another way of exploiting the sexuality of black women was the image of the supersexualized black female protagonist and heroine in film with black female characters being portrayed as prostitutes or women using sex as a means to get revenge on those who wronged them or their families. These films are now called “blaxploitation” and were a very popular genre of film during this time period amongst black people. Although these films claimed to be about the black experience of living in the ghetto, these movies were produced and directed by predominantly white males. “Daniel J. Leab (1976), the movie historian, noted, “Whites packaged, financed, and sold these films, and they received the bulk of the big money. The world depicted in blaxploitation movies included corrupt police and politicians, pimps, drug dealers, violent criminals, prostitutes, and whores. In the main, these movies were low-budget, formulaic interpretations of black life by white producers, directors, and distributors. Black actors and actresses, many unable to find work in mainstream movies, found work in blaxploitation movies. Black patrons supported these movies because they showed blacks fighting the “white establishment,” resisting police corruption, acting assertively, and having sex lives.” (Pilgrim, 2002).


Public Policy and Black Female Sexuality
Stereotypes about black women’s sexuality were also used against them during the eugenics movement of the early 20th century. “Stereotypes about black women’s hyper-fertility fueled the call for government regulation of the reproduction of non-whites” (Maurer, 2000). Public policies and public management practices at both the state and federal level supported this movement and its policies lived on after its demise (Maurer, 2000). By 1970, “20 percent of all married black women in the United States had been sterilized and accounted for 43 percent of sterilizations funded by the U.S. government” (Maurer, 2000).


During this time period, the image of welfare changed from deserving white widows to black women who had children to get a check. This change was once again by the stereotyping of black women as promiscuous breeders whose fertility must be regulated. Single mothers, in particular, black women who have children and no husbands violate the patriarchal dominant sexual norms of American culture. Although massive changes in popular culture in the last fifty years have challenged the understanding of sexuality, the sexual morality of mothers without husbands is still suspect.
When single mothers find themselves in need of financial assistance from the state, the government is in a position to dictate changes in sexual behavior in exchange for financial aid.

Contemporary welfare policy explicitly aims to convince women to marry and not produce children out of wedlock. If receiving public assistance and pregnant, a mother-to- be is spoken to about future birth control options and whether or not does she wants to undergo tubal ligation (Weedon, 1999). Social welfare programs in this country have been used, since their inception, to control the sexual behavior of program recipients. Yet, people who apply for other types of government assistance such as unemployment compensation, are not faced with marriage incentives or family caps. Control of sexual behavior through financial assistance has only been attempted through welfare, the public assistance program intended for poor single mothers (Adair, 2000).


Public policy rarely acts completely independently from public opinion. Public opinion polls confirm that Americans are less supportive of spending on welfare than on other types of assistance to the poor, such as social security benefits. Many researchers have tried to discover the source of this disdain for welfare. Race clearly plays an important role in shaping public views about welfare. Jill Quadagno’s, The Color of Welfare (1994) solidly establishes race as a driving force in the history of US welfare politics. Racial inequality in the US has created an economic system in which America’s poor are disproportionately black and Hispanic. This in turn means that racial minorities are disproportionately likely to need welfare assistance. The history of welfare provision in the US is also a history of the governmental response to racial inequality.


Welfare was designed to keep deserving (widowed or abandoned) white mothers from entering the workforce. But after federal regulations limited state discretion in the 1960s, these same regulations were attacked for allowing morally suspect black women to remain out of the workforce. Welfare has a long history of being used as a tool to reward or punish impoverished single mothers regardless of race. While some policies seem to have been designed only to confer benefits in accordance with recipient race and immigration status, other welfare rules (midnight raids, for example) were used to control behavior of single mothers (Quadagno,1994).
An important change in welfare policy was made in 1996 when AFDC was replaced with TANF. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families introduced block grants, thus reintroducing significant state control over program administration. Strict time limits, family caps, permanent exclusion for even minor drug offenses, and work requirements were all presented as tools for the states to use in reducing their welfare rolls. Under TANF, the explicit primary goals of welfare are reducing welfare dependency and encouraging heterosexual marriage.


Sex and the Language of Welfare

The language used in the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) that created TANF reveals its patriarchal, paternal intentions. Take the name of the act, for example. It states that welfare reform as primarily being about the failure of personal responsibilities of the women who receive welfare. A number of other explanations of the poverty of single mothers could have been entertained: women, on average, are paid less than men when they do engage in wage labor; women are more likely than men to take lower paying part-time or temporary work to accommodate family responsibilities; the cost of quality, reliable childcare makes low wage labor even less attractive to single mothers than it otherwise might be to employees without children; single mothers often do not get financial or emotional support from the fathers of their children (Abramovitz, 1996).

But welfare reform as it currently exists is not about ending the feminization of poverty, not about holding Corporate America accountable for failing to pay living wages, and the failure of society to help provide for the basic needs of its poorest citizens. It is about punishing and controlling the poorest segment of the American population for being poor and not adhering to traditional “moral” values.


“Personal responsibility” is a supposedly neutral phrase. Yet, the way that it is used in the PRWORA is distinctly biased against poor black women. The phrase pretends that poor single mothers have the same range of opportunities and choices as any other citizen (even though reality suggests otherwise). The use of this phrase implies that the misfortunes of poor black single mothers are the result of irresponsible choices. To use it in this fashion ignores the range of responsibilities that poor single mothers do have (protecting their children in impoverished and sometimes dangerous neighborhoods, nurturing their children emotionally often without help of a partner, providing for children’s educational needs despite impoverished school districts) and focuses instead on the ‘responsibility’ to take low wage labor.


Further, the title of PRWORA implies that work opportunities are being offered to welfare recipients. This is not true. In reality, the legislation calls for limits on the length of time recipients can receive welfare benefits, and mandated employment, and limits on educational opportunities for welfare recipients. Clearly, the lawmakers who crafted this legislation were not interested in simply providing work opportunities for the single mothers on welfare. PRWORA addresses welfare recipients as failed women in need of strict behavioral guidelines from the government (Abramovitz, 1996) and the assumptions underlying language are clear. Welfare recipients are poor because they have failed to marry (Abramovitz, 1996).

Character flaws, including sexual promiscuity and lack of devotion to the traditional institution of marriage, are to blame for the poverty of single mothers. The way to fix this problem is for the government to encourage poor women to get married. These “findings” presume that welfare mothers are heterosexual, that marrying the (probably also poor) father of her children will bring financial security, that the decision to depend on a man (husband) for financial support will bring financial security, and that the decision to depend on a man (husband) for financial support is morally superior to relying on the man (the state).


Why does welfare reform language begin with value laden statements about traditional marriage? The assumptions underlying language are clear. Welfare recipients are poor because they have failed to marry. Character flaws, including sexual promiscuity and a lack of devotion to the traditional institution of marriage, are to blame for the poverty of single black mothers. The way to fix the problem is for the government to encourage poor black women to get married. These “findings” presume that welfare mothers are heterosexual, that marrying the (probably also poor) father of her children will bring financial security, and that the decision to rely on a man (husband) for financial support is morally superior to relying on the man (the state) Abramovitz, 1996). Whether or not the single mother wants to be married is outside the realm of this discussion: that she should marry is a moral imperative. The public assistance programs designed for other poor populations (Unemployment Insurance, Disability Insurance, and Social Security) do not promote marriage as a way out of poverty. This solution is only presented as appropriate in a program designed with poor single women in mind.


The concern with the marital status of welfare recipients is deeply rooted in racial politics. Blacks are less likely to marry than whites. Black families often violate the normative white middle class nuclear family structure, and conservatives have long seen this violation as an indicator of moral failure and as a problem that needs to be solved with government intervention.


The “Purpose” section of PRWORA explains that the legislation is intended to “…end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work, and marriage” (“Personal responsibility and,” 1996). Lawmakers are aware that nearly all welfare recipients are single mothers. By using the gender neutral phrase “needy parents,” lawmakers willfully ignore reality, reinforcing the norm of the two parent heterosexual household. This willful ignorance allows lawmakers to pretend that “dependence” is not based on gender specific assumptions (Fraser and Gordon, 2002).


Controlling the reproductive behavior of poor women is a key part of this discourse about welfare. The purpose section of PRWORA continues, listing blatantly patriarchal goals: “to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies (“Personal responsibility and,” 1996). There are no other federal public assistance programs in the US that promote abstinence and contraceptives as a way out of poverty. Middle class women are encouraged, through tax breaks, to reproduce. This language of controlling reproductive behavior is used only within the context of programs design for poor black women.


US welfare policy is based on the set of patriarchal assumptions that lawmakers hold about marriage, reproduction, and appropriate gender roles for poor black women. These patriarchal assumptions are evident in the history of US welfare policy, and in the language of current welfare policy. Sex has everything to do with welfare and the policing of black female sexuality.


Conclusion
The paradox of being a black woman in American society is a quandary in swirling emotions. From the moment they were brought here, they have been used to build up the image of white women from a certain economic class as inviolate: beyond reproach. Sexually, they are considered on the low end of the social and economic totem pole in American society, but from research and reality, they are the origins of mankind. Perhaps this is the reason for the stereotypes: the realization that if it was not for this woman, the world as society knows it, would not exist. That for all of the black woman’s lowly status, she is needed because societies would cease to exist if she disappeared. Black female sexuality is powerful; so much that American society has shaped social welfare policy because of them, for better or worse.

References
Adair, Vivyan. (2000). From Good Ma to Welfare Queen: A genealogy of the poor woman in American literature, photography and culture. New York: Garland.

Abramovitz, Mimi. (1996). Regulating the Lives of Women: Social Welfare Policy from Colonial Times to the Present. Boston, MA: South End Press.

Fraser, Nancy and Linda Gordon. (2002.) “A Genealogy of Dependence: Tracing a key word of the US welfare state.” The Subject of Care: Feminist Perspectives on Dependence. Eds. Eva Feder Kittay and Ellen Feder. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
Maurer, S. (2000). Embodied public policies: the sexual stereotyping of black women in the design and implementation of u.s. policies. Journal of Public and International Affairs, 11(Spring), 150-166.
Pilgrim, D. (2002, July). Jezebel stereotype. Retrieved from http://www.ferris.edu/jimcrow/jezebel.htm
Quadagno, Jill. (1994). The Color of Welfare: How racism undermined the war on poverty. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rhymes, E. (2007, May 18). A ‘ho’ by any other color: The history and economics of black female sexual exploitation.
The United States Congress, (1996). Personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act of 1996.
Weedon, C. (1999). Feminism, theory and the politics of difference. Malden: Blackwell Publishers.
Wyatt, G. E. (1997). Stolen women: Reclaiming our sexuality, taking back our lives. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Yarbrough, M., & Bennett, C. (2000). Cassandra and the “sistahs”: the peculiar treatment of african american women in the myth of women as liars. The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, 3(3), 626-657.

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American Culture, black men, black women, blacks, Sociology

Gender Analysis of My Life

   From a graduate school paper written in 2015

The concept of gender is a fascinating concept in American society.  The reason it is so fascinating is because it is so fluid.  This year a man who was thought of as one of the manliest men in sports came out as a woman. Bruce Jenner was an Olympic sports hero, father to several children and married many times but he is now known as Caitlyn. I’m not quite sure if he is telling the truth because I have my own personal thoughts about his transformation but it has been eye-opening. It shows that for some, womanhood is based on superficial qualities such as hair, makeup, and clothes and as a woman who has been a woman for almost 45 years, it is maddeningly insulting. This paper will discuss gender and how it has affected my life. It is a tale filled with mishaps, mistakes and many trials but it is also a story of perseverance.

Gender affected me from the moment I was born. I was the youngest of three children born to my mother and I was the longed for baby girl. I didn’t feel any pressure as a little girl but I was swamped with a bunch of dolls, doll houses, and other toys marketed towards little girls. And although I enjoyed and still to this day love dolls and all things considered girly, I wonder now as a woman did my mother do me a disservice by purchasing only toys for girls. It would have been nice to receive a train set or some Tonka trucks.

I was a questioning child, the type who asked a million and one questions that no one wanted to answer. I remember asking my mother why boys can do certain things like stay out later or have sex with a bunch of girls and no one will say anything but if a girl did those things; she would be labeled a slut. She told me that is how society is set up and I was around twelve at the time. I just looked at her because it didn’t make any sense to me then and it still don’t. The boys in my classroom were some smelly dumb creatures and I didn’t look at them as superior in any type of way. I decided right then and there I was going to live my own life and if anyone didn’t like it, I wouldn’t care.

Around this same time, I read a book that would change my life and shape my views on gender: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It is the story of Scarlett O’Hara and it is set during the South at the beginning of the Civil War. I loved the character of Scarlett because she was the first female anti hero I had ever read about. She wasn’t a nice person. She didn’t have any close female friends because she looked at women as competition for men. She didn’t like her sisters and she would steal a beau from a girl in a minute. She was two faced but men loved her. What is funny is that she didn’t really like men too much either because she thought they were silly. Due to the social constraints of the era she was born in, she couldn’t show her true self so she learned to be the best Southern belle in Georgia.

I think I loved her character so much because she was everything I was taught not to be. Selfish, self centered, in every way a true bitch but she generally got everything she wanted while the nice girls got ignored. For a little black girl reading this book, it was eye opening because black women are taught to self sacrifice and put their needs on the back burner. In the black community, the thoughts of men come first and black women are not supposed to be heard.

Going into adolescence was hard for me because as a budding black feminist in a neighborhood seething with hyper black masculinity, I clashed with the young men constantly. I refused to stay in my place as a black girl and after I became a teenage mother, I still refused to hang my head in shame. Why should I be ashamed for being a young mother when the same boys talking crazy had children scattered all over the neighborhood and in several other zip codes?

But it wasn’t easy for me. Although I am a strong willed individual, those stereotypes got to me and I didn’t do anything with my life until I was twenty six years old when I got my GED. Eight years later, I walked across the stage as college graduate, receiving a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Sociology. Now when I look back, I feel so stupid for allowing others to get into my head and mess with my self-esteem. But it is not easy for most teens, especially a teen that had been sexually molested and thought her self-worth was her body.  I tried to fight against gender stereotypes as a teen and failed miserably, not understanding that it wasn’t my fault that people are judgmental fools.

Gender hasn’t really affected my life too much professionally because I have always worked in a field that is heavily female dominated, the clerical/administrative field.  However, the cattiness of women in this line of work is mind-boggling. I currently work at a company in which women e-mail the project manager to tattle on other women they think is dressed inappropriately. My goodness that is the pettiest stuff I have ever seen and I have worked in this field for eighteen years. But since women are the gatekeepers of patriarchy, I should not be surprised.

Well that is my gender story. I am a mother of two daughters and a son. My daughters are just as strong willed as their mother and they shatter gender stereotypes daily and my son is an empathic soul when it comes to gender issues. So I guess I have done a good job as a mother although some would say not because I am a single mother who didn’t conform. But so what?

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American Culture, black men, black women, blacks, Family, Grief, History

Grief – In Loving Memory of Larry Allen and Trena Rule

Several years ago, I read the autobiography of Ava Gardner, an actress from the Golden Era of Hollywood and a really cool ass lady. I can’t remember right off hand the exact quote but in one of the earlier chapters, she discussed the death of her mother who died of uterine cancer and she said “You can get over a lot of things. Love, broken relationships but grief last forever.” “And lord she was telling the truth.

Because the grief of losing someone to death that you loved will never go away. You will learn to cope but you will never get over the lost. I don’t give care about how many grief books or articles you read. It doesn’t matter how many well meaning twits, I mean friends and relatives give you advice on how to deal with your grief, you will be dealing with grief for the rest of your life.

Are you supposed to dwell in your grief and waste away? No but it is not healthy to pretend that you are not devastated by the death of a loved one. In American culture, people are supposed to pretend that they are not bothered by death. That death is a natural part of life and that you should be happy that your loved one is no longer suffering and not of this world. And while that sounds good in perspective, no one is happy to lose someone to death that they loved. In the past two months, I have lost my brother and a woman that I loved like a sister. With the death of my brother was the end of my childhood family, the people that I had formed my earliest childhood memories with. At one time, it was myself, my mother and my brothers and now it is just me and that has been a bitter pill to swallow. I have come to the realization that I won’t get over it and that is okay.

And with the death of my friend was the lost of a friendship that meant so much to me. A woman I had known since 1992, who I lived with and who had welcomed me into her home with no hesitation. I cannot believe that I will never see my friend or hear her voice again. We were supposed to be old ladies with canes, cussing people out, telling them to get off our porches, but it wasn’t meant to be. And I know now that I won’t get over her death either and it is cool and normal to feel this way.

So for those who are grieving, whether you have been grieving for a day or for over 40 years, do not let anyone shame about how you decide to grieve. If necessary, tell those busybodies to kiss your ass and keep moving on with your life. You do not own an explanation to anyone on this planet about shit. Nothing. Nada. No Buenos. Just wipe away your tears and continue to remember your people. The longer we keep the dead alive, the better it is because they live forever in our hearts.

 

 

 

 

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black men, black women, blacks, Drama, Dysfunctional Shit, Editorial, History, Sociology

Ghetto Nation 2019

Ghetto – A section of a city to which an entire ethnic or economically depressed group is is restricted; as by poverty or social pressure.

Life for Blacks who reside in the inner-city has never been easy but in the years since crack cocaine hit, things have most definitely taken a turn for the worst. A new breed of Black woman and manhood has arisen and they behave rather badly.  It has become absolutely normal to be ignorant and ghetto and more scarily, this behavior is celebrated with glee.

Take a stroll in any inner-city neighborhood and on any given afternoon, you will see groups of able-bodied young men lounging carelessly on street corners, smoking marijuana boldly on street corners bragging about their bitches, whores and baby mommas.  And although these young men show clear shiftless tendencies, throngs of ride or die chicks, sometimes with several children in tow surround them, taking loudly while dressed in pajama bottoms and dingy white wife-beaters complete with the proverbial head scarf.

These words are not stereotypes but actual truth.  Too many times, Blacks complain about their dirty laundry being aired publicly instead of fixing the problem and it is time to discuss an issue that is plaguing us as a people: the acceptance of ignorance.  Although racism is, has been, and will always be a part of American society, social behaviors once deemed deviant are embraced and accepted by some Blacks.

Urban terrorists have hijacked urban communities throughout America, but calling the police is considered “snitching” and murderers walk around unafraid and unrepentant.  Mothers hide the guns of their gang-banging sons and little children are left at home unattended with an empty refrigerator while their parents party in the streets. There are so many examples of this behavior that I could go and on but that would be redundant. However, one thing rings true, regardless if some folks do not want to face it: gutter, hood-related anti-social behavior is running amok in some Black communities.

Where did it all go so terribly wrong? The decline of the inner-city Black family can be traced to the crack cocaine era.  Black families throughout America were decimated due to drug abuse and drug dealing and the children became collateral damages. An entire generation of Black children have grown up seeing their parents either use or sell drugs and it has destroyed their psyche.

For these young adults, the only thing worth living for is the mass consumption of expensive designer clothing, alcohol, drugs and sexual escapades with multiple partners. They have no goals or ambitions but to live for the day. An education is scorned as being nothing more than a worthless piece of paper and disputes are settled by gunfire, regardless of who is around.

The blame for this generation of inner-city hoodrats can be laid at the feet of Black Generation X, my generation. Blacks born between 1965 and 1976 were the first recipients of the gains that the Civil Rights Movement had battled for and we squandered it by getting caught up in the “Greed is Good” era of the Eighties. We ran the streets instead of taking care of our children, shoving the responsibility of childrearing on our weary, overworked parents. We were more concerned about outer appearances, spending money on shiny things instead of saving money for better educational opportunities and now our children still lag behind every ethnic group when it comes to reading, writing, and arithmetic. Instead of being parents to our children, we became their friends, smoking blunts with them and allowing their boyfriends and girlfriends overnight privileges, creating the next generation of confused, angry children.

We planted the seeds for mass destruction and now we have a garden full of weeds.  It saddens me to write this but it is my opinion that little can be done to correct this hood-related behavior. These days, you cannot tell anyone anything bad about their children because it might cause a physical confrontation.  The US government could put trillions of dollars into every inner-city in America but this ghetto mentality will still exist because being absolutely nothing is accepted. An entire generation of Black young adults have accepted their caste in society as the lowest of the low, trapped by the narrow confines of their minds and neighborhoods.

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black men, black women, Dysfunctional Shit, popular culture, Relationships

Sex and the Single Lady Generation X African American Style

single-black-woman

Often on the social media, when discussions about the dating game comes up and how it truly sucks to be an African American single woman in your forties, marginally attractive black men are quick to chime with “You need to choose better or expand your circle.” Negro please.  A lot of these niggas ain’t worth two dead flies and what is so pathetic is that these men know that already because these two bit niggas are their friends. But these dudes spend their time trying to convince women that it is our fault for not choosing this fabled, little seen creature who is allegedly in abundance but we are too choosy and like thugs to find one: The Proverbial Good Black Man.

I have an eclectic mix of black lady friends on the social media who expand from California to New York. From London to Barbados and all these ladies are saying the same exact thing: it sucks to be a single black lady of any age but in particular for a woman of a certain age because of the social stigma that makes women in their forties crones before their time and because of the lack of quality black men in the dating world.

And it is not just on the social media where black women in their forties are complaining about the availability of black men in their age bracket that are financially solvent, emotionally stable and ready to commit to something as simple as a movie date but offline too. I have friends that I have known for years who are single and fed up with the games, the utter lack of accountability and have surrounded their hearts with a wall of stone.

Two years ago back in August, I got myself out of a long term relationship that was going nowhere because he irritated my soul and made my ass itch. I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with him, let alone another month so I walked away with zero regrets. But like always, people do not like the idea of a black woman being single and free because a free woman is a dangerous bitch.  So my best friend and my daughter suggested that I try online dating and see what happens.

I am very open-minded so I conducted some research and decided that OkCupid would be the best online dating service for me because for the most part, it’s free and I was not about to spend money that could be spent elsewhere on internet dating services. Shit, I have a child and makeup habit to support.  And Lawd have mercy on my soul why I do that because I have met some characters on that bitch.

Let’s talk about the horny white men who fetishize black women sexually like the old ass Grandpappy that was in my inbox. Looked like a walking skeleton with hair. Old as Methuselah. Old as mummy dirt talking about how he likes “the sisters.” If you don’t go sit your old ass down somewhere Pop Granddaddy.

Or the cute ass white fella around my age who actually could hitch a word or two together and wrote a magnificent paragraph about my beauty, charm, blah, blah, blah but when we actually talked on the phone, told me I asked too many questions. I guess he thought I was going to be discussing how black women suck a better dick than white women. Like I wasn’t going to question a strange man I met online about his life.

And now the brothers oh my goodness. Those horn dogs.  Constantly sending sexually explicit pictures and messages, trying to come over my house for a meal without offering to spend a dime on groceries. Never suggesting so much as a date to a coffee shop because they are some cheap bastards. Always trying to get some coochie and come up on a meal at the same time.  Some basic motherfuckers.

But eventually through all this garbage, I eventually met two cuties but they wasn’t shit either because these men expected me to chase behind them. In this new world of dating, Black men consider themselves the prize and the women are supposed to chase behind them whether these men are blind, crippled, crazy and look like an old sock; they have dicks and women are automatically supposed to drop to their knees and worship the mic, literally and figuratively. These two men in particular never wanted to communicate with me via the phone except for texting and that shit irritated me. I am a relic from a forgotten era: a time in which men asked for your phone number, called you and you talked for hours, having mentally stimulating conversations about life, music politics and all kinds of deliciousness. Not today. These men didn’t want to talk to me on the phone; they just want to text and these fuckers couldn’t t even text properly. Misspelled words, sentence fragments and quick to ask for a nude picture, all kinds of foolishness from complete strangers.

So after all of this, I have taken myself out of the dating game for now because at 46, I do not have time for this bullshit. I will not be chasing complete strangers. I will not be deciphering text messages from grown ass men who should know how to spell. I will not be allowing strange men into my home around my 15-year old daughter because they are too cheap to take a woman on a date. But according to some black men and their band of thirsty Pick Me heifers, I just need to choose better or switch up my circle. Yeah right. To quote a beautiful sister from Facebook name Phoenix Renee, “BM over 40 are tired, emotionally bankrupt, and relationship illiterate and lazy. They’re right where we left them 20 years ago. Only now time (and in some cases, drugs/alcohol) is catching up. Too many didn’t do their “work” for decades and now we’re not settling. So now the cry is “no good women”?”   Yeah right motherfuckers.  How can single Generation X black women who want love and companionship form normal, functioning  loving relationships with a group of emotionally stunted men who are  intent on living a second adolescence? Men who refuse to be held accountable for anything? Who blame black women for everything? Naw bruhs it ain’t happening. So stop pushing this tired ass narrative about choosing better and admit that a large portion of your brethren ain’t shit.

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black men, black women, blacks, Dysfunctional Shit, Race, Sociology

Ten Ways to Find Out if You Are a Brainwashed Negro

tommy-sotomayer

Brainwashed Negro: A Black individual who has internalized every negative stereotype about Blacks and their culture and is seething with self-hatred and low self-esteem. Usually believes that the only path to success and true happiness is to marry or assimilate into White culture, hoping to escape the sins of blackness.

One of the biggest problems in the Black community is a lack of unity caused by years of self-hatred. Self-hatred in the Black community is due to centuries of brainwashing by the dominant culture into believing that Blacks and their contributions to mainstream society are worthless and that Blacks themselves are worthless and ugly. Self-hatred has caused some Black folks to demean themselves and other Blacks in many hurtful ways that are not productive to anyone.  Here are 10 ways to find out if you as a Black person have been brainwashed by the dominant culture:

uncle-ruckus-prayer10.  If you are still running around claiming that your family has “Indian Blood”, particularly, Cherokee. I wonder why the only Native American tribe some Black folks can name is Cherokee, as if Iroquois, Mohicans, Seminoles and others do not exist.

9, If you believe that all Black NBA players are married to White women. 86% of married African American NBA players are married to Black women.

8. If you deny the African within by stating that your descendants are from the Caribbean. How in the hell did you think all those Black folks ended up on those islands?

7. If you believe that all White people are rich, beautiful, educated and are endowed with special magical powers.

6. If you tell a dark-skinned Black woman, “You are so pretty to be dark”.

5. If you give an automatic pretty pass to light-skinned women just because they are light-skinned and have long hair.

4. If you refuse to frequent Black-owned businesses because you believe that their services are sub-par as compared to White-owned businesses.

3. If you believe that “Good Hair” consists of hair that is long, flowing and silky, not kinky.

2. If you believe that it’s perfectly okay for other races to demean Black people by dressing in Blackface or if you are completely silent when other races demean black culture because you are so worried about losing your spot as the Anointed Negro and want some of that magical White fairy dust to sprinkle on your trifling ass.

1. If you make statements such as “Black women have too many problems” or “I cannot find a Black man that is on my level” to justify dating outside your race. There is nothing wrong with interracial dating unless you are using it as a way to escape the deep psychological problems of hatred for one’s race. Perhaps the problem is not Black people collectively but YOU personally and all YOUR issues and burdens of being Black in America.

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black men, black women, Dysfunctional Shit, misogynoir, Race

Struggle Love, Music, The Social Media and the Black Woman

viola-davis

One of my favorite songs is by the artist Richard “Dimples” Fields, a soul artist from back in the day and the song is called “She Got Papers on Me” and it features the wonderful Betty Wright. The song is about the “plight” of a married man stuck in an unsatisfactory relationship with his wife and he sings plaintively about “the sweet little thing” he has on the side (side hoes have been around since Juvember but folks want to play brand new and act like we used to have morals).

The song would be very forgettable if it was not for Betty Wright’s 2 minute primal scream as the unsuspecting wife who walks in on her husband singing in the shower about his bae towards the end of the song. Hurt and angry, she hurls out a rant that will be always remembered in black music history. She talks about how everything on his back, she paid for, from his drawers to his shoes. How she paid for the car he drives to go see his mistress.  How she paid for him to go to school and how she still pays the mortgage without his assistance. That he needs to pay her now (although how can a man who never paid for shit be expected to pay for alimony) and he should take his little albums and his raggedy component set that never worked and scat.

This song was released in 1981 and when I was a little girl, I thought it was the funniest thing in the world.  Like “she checked that nigga!” That is until I grew older, analyzed the song, and realized that she was bragging about taking care of a grown ass man. How she put him through school and he still wasn’t financially sufficient enough to take of her and the family they created together. And now because he’s cheating, he has to go. Not because she’s working like a dog to fund a grown ass man and his habits but because he is fucking someone else.

And folks that is the very definition of struggle love.  Telling women it is okay to take care of grown ass men in the name of love. He can beat your ass, use for your money and when he gets on, he is going to remember your never-ending loyalty and stupidity and reward you. Just as long as he does not fuck someone else. Yeah right. The era of the ride or die chick that will doing anything for her man from going to jail for the dirt he did to working three jobs while he works none needs to die a painful death.

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Black music has been selling struggle love for years to black women via love songs such as the one above and several other songs that normalizes dysfunction in black relationships. From blues songs such as “No Good Man” by Nina Simone to “He’s Mine” by Mokenstef, black women have been sold a bill of goods that tells them that pain is love. Love is about struggle and conflict. It is about putting up with a man’s physical and verbal abuse, infidelity, children conceived by other women, financial instability, and a multitude of other unhealthy, irrational ideas about love. Just so a woman can say “At least I got a man!” to her friend who is merely trying to give her some advice about leaving the sorry bastard.

The ironic part is that struggle love is never sold to black men through the music, the media or anywhere else. There has not been a song created in the history of black music that tells black men to find them a welfare queen in the projects with five children who just need the love of a strong black man.  Black music tells black men to find the baddest chick in the club with longest hair, lightest skin and the biggest ass.

The social media is not helping with this struggle love concept either. Daily black women are bombarded with memes that ask stupid questions such as “Would you be comfortable with going to McDonald’s on a first date?” or “Would you give up a $5,000 a month alimony check to marry a man making $8.50 per hour for love since a stipulation of your alimony agreement was if you got married again, the monies would be cut off” and all sorts of nonsensical, unrealistic bullshit. Black women are expected to jump through hoops of fire to prove themselves to black men who do not have a pot to piss in, a window to throw it out, and another pot to catch the piss when it comes out the window.  What is crazy though is that every time one of these memes is posted to a group on Facebook,  legions of parched, thirsty heifers respond with “Yes I would! Pick me!!!!,” not understanding if one of them decides to take a chance and actually date one of these men, have a child with him, and he turns out to be a deadbeat, she will be blamed for not “choosing better.”

These irrational beliefs about love  have black women stuck in unhealthy relationships for years only to wake up eventually and find themselves angry and hurt when they look at all the time and energy they wasted on a man who was not worth two dead flies. Because a man that truly loves a woman is not going to sit on his ass and watch her work like a mule while he walks around like he’s King Ding a Ling. A man that is truly interested in getting to know a woman is not going to make her jump through hoops with silly ass tests such as taking her to an expensive restaurant to see if she orders the most expensive thing on the menu to see if she is a gold-digger. A man like that is not worth a woman’s time and energy.  And somehow, someway, someday, black women will realize this too.

 

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black men, black women, blacks, Editorial, misogynoir, popular culture, Race

Keepers of Blackness Powers Deactivate!

theartofblackness

The social media can be both a curse and a blessing. It is a blessing because you have the opportunity to read the viewpoints of millions of people and interact with others. However, it is also a curse because very often, you are also exposed to the ignorant arrogance of people. Especially when it comes to defining “Blackness” because some Black folks have declared themselves The Keepers of All Things Black and will attempt to “school” you about how you are not “Black” enough for their “tastes”.  Let me explain.

Every couple of months, a blog written by some random Black person will come out complaining about how Black women should not like Marilyn Monroe and should only pay attention to Lena Horne or Dorothy Dandridge.  Or how pissed off  some Black men are about Black women having a variety of hairstyles they can choose from and accuse them of wanting to be White because they happen to have weave in their hair. And don’t get me started on being a feminist. Some Black people, especially Black men and their merry band of mules have a real problem with a Black woman declaring herself a feminist because feminism is that White chick, bra burning shit and a Black woman is supposed to be down with the Black Movement. How dare she have an original thought in her head that was not placed in there by a Black man!

blackness-onyx-truth

This ongoing war about “Blackness” is the silliest shit ever. As a Black woman, I happen to love Marilyn Monroe and have read several biographies and the one autobiography about her life. But I also love Lena and Dorothy and loving Marilyn does not make me any less “Black” than the next Black woman.  And in regards to hair, I have been woven, relaxed, and natural and currently, I am woven to the max with a glorious Chaka Khan look.  Underneath the weave is my crowning glory, a nappy, kinky forest of blackness but every now and then, I want a different look. And that’s my fucking business and does not have anything to do with me wanting to be a white woman. I mean what kind of asinine shit is that?  I could have a long flowing blond weave down to my ankles like Rapunzel complete with blue contacts and I will still be a black woman. Jeez.

And I can be both a Black woman and a feminist if I want to. What is the problem with women having choices in their everyday lives without criticism? That is what being a feminist means to me; I do not want to rule over men (too much work because in so many ways, they are just like children). I just want to be left alone without men trying to tell me something for my own good as if I was a wayward child without direction. I am not turning my back on the Black community by being a feminist; I am becoming a greater person by becoming a better woman through ownership of my agency. Ruling over my own autonomy.

I guess I will never be one of members of The Keepers of All Things Black club because I cannot dance and have no rhythm, I do not know how to French braid hair, and it took me almost ten years to learn how to fry chicken properly. I also have one of the most eclectic tastes in music ever known, loving all type of genres of music from R.E.M to Too Short. I also do not have the proverbial big booty and stood too long in the titty line so I guess I would not be considered “Black” enough for some folks although my brown skin, broad nose, full lips and hair of wool declare me a Black woman every time I look in the mirror. But see how silly this shit sounds? Black people come in a variety of shades and a variety of backgrounds so please open your mind and remember this: your Blackness is not everyone’s Blackness, so stay in your lane.

 

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black men, black women, Dysfunctional Shit, Feminism, misogynoir

The Rise of the Smart Dumb Ninny

smart-dumb-nigga

With the rise of the social media in which anyone with an opinion has a voice, there is a new creature on the rise: The Smart Dumb Ninny. The Smart Dumb Ninny is not gender, class or age specific but he or she is everywhere.

Smart Dumb Ninnies use YouTube videos as a reference when having a heated debate on Facebook.  They also think that the best way to learn history is from memes, movies, and television shows.

Smart Dumb Ninnies consider themselves to be political pundits based on the fact they voted for first time in their lives in 2008  when they voted for current President Obama. But these political pundits could not tell you who are their local senator or representative from the state they reside in.

Smart Dumb Ninnies in particular hate Black Feminists and blame them for the decimation of the black community, global warming, and the War on Terrorism. They believe that these feminists hold secret meetings in basements in inner-cities throughout America plotting the Black man’s demise.

Smart Dumb Ninnies also hate homosexuals with a passion, blaming them for current trends in men’s clothing, and believe that people can become gay if they eat certain food items such as soy.

Smart Dumb Ninnies believe that men are supposed to be charge of all things female and often insert themselves in conversations that have nothing to do with masculinity such as makeup, weave, and reproduction. They also feel as though because they have a penis, no one can tell them anything so they continue to lecture women about periods, childbirth, vaginal discharge, and a lot of women related topics they have no clue about.

The female Smart Dumb Ninny is truly a pitiful creature because she co-signs these ignorant ramblings in hopes of receiving crumbs of affection from her male compadres.  She likes to throw women under the bus on a regular basis for the same shit she is currently doing and it is too stupid to see what a complete hypocrite she is. Often seen attacking black women for wearing weave and makeup while painted to max and woven to death. Often is a single mother but will shame other single mothers to death because at least “My baby daddy gives me his EBT card!”

Unfortunately, there is no cure for The Smart Dumb Ninny virus that has taken over a large portion of the black community. These creatures hiss at the sight of books and cling to their Hidden Color DVDs for dear life.   They are like roaches, when one dies, others multiply.

 

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American Culture, black men, black women, History, Sociology

A Letter From a South Side Apartment

A couple of years ago, I read Dr. Martin Luther King’s A Letter from a Birmingham Jail and I was mesmerized by the passion and anger in his words and although we are in the second decade of the 21st century, his words still resonate. This letter I am writing is my tribute to him for giving his life for me and other disadvantaged and disrespected groups in America. It would sadden him to no end that nothing has really changed in American society in regards to race and economics. Perhaps one day, we will be truly free from the chains of racism and economic selfishness that enveloped America since its inception.

28 March 2012

My Dear Mr. Gingrich & Other Republican Presidential Candidates who believe that the Poor Blacks are the Scum of the Universe:

While confined in my lower class existence, I cannot help but think about the words you put into the universe about Black people who receive unemployment compensation, food stamps and other government benefits, people whose lives have been touched by the mean specter of poverty. Since I am very stressed out about receiving $318 per month in public assistance, I normally would not have time to think about your condescending self-serving words since I am too busy trying to find a job in a dying economy but I had to speak to you about this. The current discourse on the lives of poor Blacks in this country has been taken over by well-dressed, well-fed career politicians like yourself and I thought you needed some enlightenment.

First of all, no one wants to be poor. I know that you believe that little Black children spend their time discussing ways to be indigent and homeless by the time they are eighteen, but the children I know have big plans for their future. My ten-year-old daughter’s plans for the future change on a daily basis: One day she wants to be a fashion designer, the next a mad scientist who is going to take over the world. The one thing she has made clear is that she does not see motherhood in her future because in her words, “Being a mother takes too much work.”

I know that you like to believe that the children of poor Blacks are a drain on society but you are so wrong. I was a teenage mother at the age of sixteen and had two children by the age of twenty-one. According to statistics on teen mothers, by now my daughter should have had a slew of kids by different men and my son should have dropped out of high school and is currently imprisoned for numerous drug offenses. Not! My daughter graduated from college last year with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and my son is in college studying Communications. My children watched me work for various corporations who paid me very little money and proudly watched when I walked across the stage at the age of thirty-five to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with honors.

But I realize that you probably do not know too many Black people personally so when you chose to discuss them amongst your constituents, you like to use tired, worn-out stereotypes about them. According to you, Blacks have no work ethic and like taking baths in the piles of food stamps they receive on a monthly basis. Blacks have been in this country since 1619 and still have not made any progress, although White people have given them everything! What is wrong with these trifling Black people?

It is very easy for you and your kind to sprout these words, snugly enveloped in your cloak of White-male privilege but what you do not realize is that although Blacks were freed from the chains of slavery, they were never made equal, financially or mentally. Throughout the years, American society had every opportunity to make amends to African-Americans by giving them same economic advantages as Whites, but it never happened because that would mean Blacks would be on the same economic playing field as Whites and that is a no-no.

It is funny how you like to blame the media for everything wrong in your world but the media in all actuality is your best friend. The media, owned by the ruling class, has played a major role in distorting views about social economics by pretending the ruling class does not exist and poor Blacks are the dregs of society. The media with its ‘magic’ can make the historical legacy of slavery and subsequent Jim Crow laws vanish by pretending it is their fault that they are poor. By doing this, upper and middle-classed Americans learn to fear and loathe poor Blacks and refuse to make the connection between systematic racism and high poverty levels amongst African-Americans.

The dominant culture has succeeded in making African Americans subhuman to other groups, who passively accept these bigoted views. In your speeches and in the Republican debates, the message that you and others have given is to degenerate Black people at all costs and to keep poor working-class Whites in a constant tizzy about the so-called advantages given to them.

Mr. Gingrich, I feel sorry for you and wonder what you would do if Blacks did not exist in this country. Race and class was socially constructed for the advancement of Whites and the making up of a social class of poverty-stricken African-Americans who could be blamed for everything wrong in society. Take away the pretensions, the feelings of superiority that comes with having the “right” skin color and people like you in this society would be loss. No more scapegoats to blame and you would have to face up to the fact that you have no plans for making the economic system in America more equal. But it is easier to blame Blacks, who unlike your ancestors had no choice when they were brought to this country as chattel and broodmares to make the lives of the ruling class easier.

Sincerely,
Kathy M. Henry

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