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!

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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!

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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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American Culture, Family, Feminism, History, popular culture, Relationships

The Dark Side of Life in the 1950s

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When looking back at past eras, the 1950s is looked upon by many as an idyllic time in American history. The nuclear family headed by a male breadwinner was the desired norm and televisions shows such as Father Knows Best and I Love Lucy were popular. However, there was a dark side to this lifestyle. Women were treated like second-class citizens and some were living unhappily married because their financial and educational options were limited and they were as dependent on their husbands as their children.

The media, in collusion with the government, and sociologists constantly espoused the virtues of family and children and women, who wanted more out of life were looked upon as freaks of nature. However, some women during that era expressed dissatisfaction with their lives and an inarticulated longing for a life beyond their children and husbands. Some of these women were forced out the workforce after World War II and felt resentment that their only option for financial stability was marriage. This inarticulated longing would lead to a major social upheaval towards the end of the 1950s and would be the beginning of the second-wave feminist movement. This movement caused a shift in family values and altered family structure for future generations to come. The 1950s Family Experiment would be short-lived but fondly remembered.

Several factors lead to the forming of the nuclear family. By the end of the 1940s, the divorce rate dropped sharply; the ages of people getting married fell to a 100-year low; and the birth rate soared. Women dropped out of the workforce as soon as they become pregnant and some young women had two or more children in diapers at once. Also during this time, the education gap between young middle-class men and women increased and job segregation for working women and men peaked. Limited educational and job opportunities for women made them more dependent on marriage for their financial well-being.

Young, newly married couples were encouraged to sever their family ties and put all their emotional and financial eggs in the small basket of the immediate nuclear family. Women were told by experts that all their energies should be used for their husbands and children, not aging parents and other relatives. Psychiatrist Edward Strecker and various colleagues argued American boys were infantilized and emasculated by women who were old-fashioned “moms” instead of modern “mothers”.

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Modern mothers placed their parents in nursing homes; old-fashioned mothers took their parents in at the expense of their own “important” nuclear family. A modern mother was not supposed to have friends, a job, or anything or anyone that would take attention from her husband and children. She was also supposed to grant early independence to her male child. It is no wonder that many women who believed in this advice and put it into practice ending up abusing alcohol or tranquilizers over the course of the decade.

Women were encouraged to confine themselves to a very narrow definition of “true” womanhood by a variety of sources such as family education specialists and marriage counselors, columns in women’s magazines, government pamphlets, and above all television. These experts told women during the 1950s that their greatest role on the planet was to be wives and mothers. The role of a “real” woman was to have no interest in a higher education or a career and women were taught by these experts to pity women who had the nerve to want a life beyond being a wife and mother.

Televisions shows such as Donna Reed, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It to Beaver, and Father Knows Best showed women how much easier their lives would be if their families were like those families and the I Love Lucy show warned women about the perils of what happened to a woman who wanted a career or if she schemed behind her husband’s back (Coontz, 38), The mothers on Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet were immaculately dressed with pearls around their necks. Their homes were clean and their children never got into trouble. However, on I Love Lucy, Lucy usually looked terrible by the end of the episode. Her hair was at times standing on top of her head and her clothes filthy from her weekly adventure. Women and their families watched these shows and tried their best to emulate the perfect and bright lives shown to them on a weekly basis.

Noticeably absent from these discussions are the role of Black women during this era. Black women were delegated to the background as housekeepers and nannies, taking care of other women’s children and then going home to take care of their families. So from the beginning, this image of a beautiful, bountiful lady of leisure that keeps her home, children, and herself immaculate was never intended for Black women because Black women never had and were not given those same opportunities. They had to work. But unlike white women, they received help from their extended family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family member assisted in the raising of children. Many parents left their children with family members when they made the trek to the North during the Great Migration and when they got on their feet, sent for their children and the family members who helped them.

However, towards the end of the 1950s, a dramatic shift occurred. Cultural values changed dramatically and the children of these women found the social hypocrisy of their parents sickening. Many young adults and some of their mothers would march in the streets to protest against sexism, racism, and militarism. Minorities and women began to receive the civil rights that were rightfully due to them and more and more women entered the workforce, forcing a dynamic shift in child rearing practices. By the 1970s, husbands and wives had begun to share household duties and women were no longer bound to their homes.

The concept of family has changed and although there have been some issues; it was ultimately for the best.  Women have more rights but divorce is commonplace in current modern society and many children live in one-parent households. Despite the gains of the 1960s, women still face discrimination and do the majority of household work regardless of how many hours they work per week or if they have a partner. But women now have opportunities that would not have been imagined sixty-years ago. Children do not have to see their mothers treated like chattel and America is on the verge of electing the female President of the United States. Nothing remains the same – ever. The constantly changing landscape of the American family owes a lot to the women of the 1950s.

 

 

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

The Rise of the Smart Dumb Ninny

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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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black women, blacks, Dysfunctional Shit, Editorial, misogynoir, popular culture, Race

White Supremacy, Reality TV & The African-American Woman

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Black women are some of the most versatile and multifaceted individuals on this planet and despite being stereotyped as the lowest of the low, they have managed to become the most educated group in America and are quickly rising in the entrepreneurship field. But sadly, none of that matters to the dominant culture who wishes to keep black women on the bottom rung on the latter of American society.

That is why it is quite suspect that VH1, a major cable network channel has seen its ratings skyrocket since its debut of negative reality televisions marketed towards black women during this era of the rising Black Woman. In an article on The Grio’s website from April 2011, VH1’s VP of original programming and production, Jeff Olde said “We constantly have to evolve and tell our audience different stories. I love that we’ve been able to get more diverse with our audience by — in large part — attracting African-American women to the network. We got them in the door with some shows, and now I’m excited about where we’re going and how we’re telling them different kinds of stories.”

And it has worked. Due to the success of reality shows such as Love & Hip Hop Atlanta and Basketball Wives, Viacom, the parent company of VH1 has seen its ratings go up by 20 percent in prime-time among adults 18–49 in 2014 — the biggest rise among the top 25 basic cable networks. However, the shows on VH1 geared towards the African-American female audience are nothing more than modern day minstrel shows showcasing Black women displaying stereotypical behavior such as fighting, cussing, and showing their asses to the world. Sapphire, Jezebel, and the latest, Gold-Digger for a new generation. One cannot help but wonder if this was a plan.

I have noticed since the election of President Obama, the first Black president who happens to be married to a Black woman, there has been a concerted effort by the mass media to portray African-American women in a negative light. Examples include the rise of Black reality television, articles about how single African-American women’s net worth is listed as $5 dollars, and depending on the news source, African-American women either have the most children out of wedlock or abortions. On a regular basis, the American public is assailed with these negative stories and shows about African-American women which in turn make them become subject to stereotypes as the images presented become fixed mental images and are exaggerated and applied to all Black women as a whole.

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Whites, who are the dominant culture, watching these shows, grow to believe that all Black women are less intelligent, more violent, and generally less human. Additionally, Black women themselves can develop reactions that are turned inward and create a sense of hopelessness, despair, and self doubt that can lead into even more sociological problems in the form of alcoholism, drug abuse, aggression, and crime. Now those white folks who believe these stereotypes are not worth two dead flies but they do exist and are sometimes the very people black women interview with.  I wonder how many black women did not receive a job that they were fully qualified for based on these stereotypes.

I have come to the conclusion that the only solution to the problem of negative portrayals of Black women on reality television is to boycott the advertisers, not the producers of this muck. Black women need to realize how powerful they are and take a stance to demand that these images be taken off television. The advertising industry is a billion dollar a year industry and if advertisers refuse to run their commercials during these shows, producers of these shows will be left with a limited number of options to present negative images of African American women. Television has a wonderful opportunity to present shows that celebrates and reflects the strength and tenacity of African-American women instead of stereotypical portrayals and that tells stories about the lives of the African-American women as human beings, not just as pieces of meat and a source of unlimited funds for greedy network executives.

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Dysfunctional Shit, Editorial, misogynoir, Race, Relationships

The Rise of the Bum Ass Man

pamgrier

A relatively new phenomena in the Black community is black men who do not have jobs, income, or ambition but always seem to have girlfriends. These girlfriends pay for everything, allow these men to drive their cars, discipline their children, talk to them like they are shit, beat their asses, have threesomes with them, and all they receive out of it is mediocre sex, venereal diseases, and some lump lumps. I simply do not understand it at all.  In a community plagued with violence, fatherlessness, poverty, and a multitude of social ills, how can some men be content with laying up with women for their daily bread and butter? And why do some women believe that a piece of man is better than no man at all?

I know that Black women be taking a beating online these days but they are partially to blame for this for being so damn parched and thirsty enough to drink the kool-aid that has been sold to them since childhood that tells them that the only thing that matters in life is having a man.  Because if some of these chicks were not so damn desperate for male companionship, these men would not have a choice but to man up and get their shit together. But no, these women are taking care of of these bum ass men better than their children in some cases. And will have the audacity, the unmitigated gall to try and borrow money from their girlfriends to help support these sorry bastards. And will turn around with a funky attitude and tell you that you are jealous of their relationships because you don’t have a man. Like I need another child to support. Bitch please.

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But honestly and sadly, I do not see this phenomena changing anytime soon. As long as black culture embraces the idea that a woman is not complete without male companionship, black women will continue to take up with bums and take care of these shiftless, trifling, no ambition, no self respect having, cotton for balls ass men.  Passing down this dysfunction to their daughters, who grow up thinking that this type of behavior is normal. God save the children or what’s left of them.

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Uncategorized

My Dear White & Black Folks who believe that the Poor Blacks are the Scum of the Universe

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While confined in my lower-middle class existence, I cannot help but think about the words I see daily on the Internet 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. Although I have a decent job, paying a living wage, I am still broke as hell, trying to find ways to earn more money, so I normally would not have time to think about your condescending self-serving words but I had to speak to you people about this. The current discourse on the lives of poor Blacks in this country has been taken over by well-dressed, well-fed career White politicians and Black folks one generation themselves off welfare and one foot in the unemployment line 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 now fifteen-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 be 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 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 people 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?

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And the Black folks who espouse this same rhetoric really need to be ashamed of themselves. Do you really believe that taking on the customs of your oppressor against your own people is really going to benefit you at all? Do you really believe that downing poor Black people is going to get you a seat at that fabled table of white supremacy along with a steak and lobster dinner? Nope because you are  traitor and all you are going to get is crumbs because that is what these people look at you as: a filthy crumb. No matter how white your neighborhood is, how well you speak, how well you “blend” in, you are still considered a Negro and you cannot run from blackness.

It is very easy for you and your kind to sprout these words, snugly enveloped in your cloak of White privilege and Black Self-Hatred but what you do not realize is that although Blacks were freed from 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 people 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, in the media, and on the Internet, 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 advantages given to them.

Clueless white folks and brainwashed black folks, 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 lost. 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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