Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year....New You

Mass Media

Those of us paying attention can see the writing on the wall. Mass media would like to make 2010 the year of ‘Black Women’s Pathology.

Their mission: Convince black women they are unlovable, undeserving and unworthy of respect, protection, and loving/healthy relationships.

Who benefits: People profiting from black women’s confusion, fear and low self-esteem.


Black Women

The question for us is how many of us will fall for the whole black-women-it-sucks-to-be-you meme. How many of us will buy-in, believe, and internalize this creation? How many of us will cooperate, repeat and negatively react to this fiction?

Our mission: Don’t believe the hype; dismiss the media and the profits of doom (yes I know how to spell prophets……but you get the point….right?); focus on how to improve your/our brand.

Who benefits: Black women.


What am I Doing?

In 2010 I will continue to:

Reject all attempts to pathologize me, marginalize me, demonize me, and minimize me.

Refuse to patronize movies or purchase books engaging in any of the above and which portray black women as pathological, hypersexual, undesirable, etc.

Refuse to watch (not that I have cable or satellite anyway) media ‘reports’ on the state of black women –you know- black-women-it-sucks-to-be-you stories.

Refuse to internalize foolishness, drama, and lies reported by, repeated by, and generated by the media, celebrities, ‘reality’ television, or the internetz.

Pledge know myself, honor myself, love myself, and respect myself.

Invest time in self-reflection, self-study and self-love.

Take positive steps to change what is not working for me (i.e. being open to moving to a different part of the city, country, world to find a mate – if a committed relationship is desired).

Affirm being single is not a disease, disaster, or death sentence.


Resistance

If black women believe this myth is true; it will persist. If black women support it, internalize it and repeat it without critical thought; it will persist. I say we resist!

Resistance can take many forms:

Resist feeling less beautiful.

Resist feeling unlovable.

Resist the expectation/command to save everybody.

Resist the expectation/command to meet everyone else’s needs.

Resist the belief a piece of man is better than no man.

Resist feeling sorry for yourself if you are not in a relationship.

Resist feeling like it’s your fault.

Resist lowest-common-denominator behavior

Resist the mindset that you don’t have the right to a set of non-negotiables.


Resist! Resist! Resist!


Peace

Sunday, December 6, 2009

General Information....Graduate School Program

Saw this at the ‘Black Women Deserve Better’ blog and thought I’d pass it on.


FREE MASTERS PROGRAM AT WAKE FOREST RECEIVES POOR RESPONSE
Wake Forest University has an opportunity for minority students to attend its MBA program for FREE, and so far, the response has been very poor. Please, pass along this opportunity to your friends, families, and networks to see if there is an interest. This is a great school and a tremendous opportunity to attend a top graduate school.

See details below.

The contact person information is:

Derrick S. Boone, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Marketing
Room 3139 Worrell Professional Center
Babcock Graduate School of Management
Wake Forest University
1834 WakeForest Drive
Winston-Salem , NC 27109-8758

email: derrick.boone@..
Website: http://mba.wfu.edu/
Phone: (336)..758.4475;
Toll-free: (866) 925-3622;
Fax: & nbsp; 336.758.4514

Message from Derrick S. Boone, Ph.D.: Greetings, I wanted to let you know about a great opportunity here at Wake Forest where you can get a FREE education and get PAID while you're doing it. Our Dean of the Schools of Business is the former CEO of PepsiCo and very committed to diversity. He's gone around to his CEO friends, who have agreed to donate a bunch of money to pay tuition and fees, provide a stipend, and a job, to diverse students. The details are below. The problem is, response to the program has been dismal! As a faculty member, I would be embarrassed for him to have to tell his CEO friends, "thanks so much for your donation, but unfortunately I have to give it back because we couldn't find Any students who wanted it." So, I need your help. Please contact me if you, or ANYONE you know is interested in the program. I want to help out as many young scholars as I can. Don't worry about whether or not you (or they) have taken the GMAT, etc. All you need to do at this point is JUST APPLY. About the Program: The Master of Art in Management program is designed specifically for liberal arts majors only. The MA degree program is a 10 month intense study of the basic functional areas of Business. After graduation and working for approximately two years, all MA graduates are eligible to apply to Wake Forest as part of the MA/MBA joint degree program and get the MBA in one year. The new Dean, Steve Reinemund, has created a new scholarship for diverse students pursuing the MA degree called the Corporate Fellowship. The Corporate Fellowship provides full tuition and a $21,000 stipend to cover living expenses. Additionally, each Corporate Fellow will participate in a practicum. The practicum has two components,educational and professional development. Each student will be assigned a mentor that is a high level executive with their sponsor corporation.The mentor will oversee an educational project covering 4 of the functional areas of business using their own corporation as the subject. The student will visit the corporation 3-4 times during the program to present his/her results of their research project. Additionally, the "professional development" component of the fellowship provides career coaching and leadership development for the students. The goal for the corporation is to be able to groom and hopefully, hire a top candidate from a diverse background for their organization. Of course, there is no obligation that the students accept any offer ofemployment. Still, the student benefits, even if they are not ultimately hired by their sponsor corporation in that they have the MA degree and the t ype of experience that will make them more marketable.

Peace

Images........

In the headlines

Black women are going to jail for selling their children for sex or killing their children or allowing low-life predators (boyfriends??) to kill their children or abandoning their children because they failed to make sufficient plans to have someone take care of their children before deployment or……..


At your local cinema

Then there’s the movie featuring black female pathology. Oh and the movie about black women and their tortured, insane hair pathology……

Alright, alright………… Hey, there is finally a Disney movie with a black princess!!! But why is she a frog? And how come the prince isn’t black?!!!!

Okay fine, but then there’s the movie……hmmmm, well there’s got to be something coming to a theater near you. Hopefully something that does not feature……oh…… you know……some sort of pathology.


It’s hard out there for the image of black women!

Historically black women have been described and depicted as: mammy, sapphire, or tragic mulatto. More recently we have: welfare queen, crack/drug addicted prostitute, gold digger,
hoochie mama/stripper, etc. Within in each stereotype lurks the specter of black women as licentious, insatiable, bereft of morals and unwilling/unable to care for their children.

A lot of black women are disturbed by ‘Precious’ because it is simply one more depiction of black women as pathologically abused and abusing. Further, it is not just the subject matter of the movie that concern black women, it’s this troubling fact: what other images or stories are being told about black women? BTW, I am invoking the FLOTUS/Condi Rice/Claire Huxtable exclusionary rule.

Some black women were also taken aback by the blatant colorism. Why, in this supposed post-racial country, is black skin color, especially dark black skin color, continually associated with ugliness, brutality, violence, ignorance, and immorality while, lighter skin color is associated with beauty, intellect, kindness, and compassion. That this reprehensible lie is perpetrated by people of color neither diminishes the sting nor excuses the purveyor’s attempt to connote inferiority through the intra-racial shorthand of colorism.

In the realm of movies, how were black women represented in 2009? I’m interested in movies featuring black women, not just where a black woman was the secretary, assistant, housekeeper, or best friend. Can you think of a rom-com or a sci-fi or even quirky indy film where the black woman was the spunky ingénue, or self-absorbed heart-breaker, endearing widow gamely dealing with the loss of her husband, I’d even settle for the evil boss bent on sabotaging the spunky ingénue!!!???

You see this is the point. There is no balance. Just pathology. One movie cannot do justice to the vast mosaic, potpourri, melting pot, fractal image comprising black womanhood. And I’m just referencing black women in America (well the U.S. to be specific).

And just like all those horrid ‘In-the-Hood’ movies only told one story over and over and over again, I fear a wave of ‘black women pathology’ will be the only lens through which Hollywood or the rest of the nation views black women.

This is not good for the Black Woman Brand.

Peace

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Do You Like Me? Yes or No….Please Check One

How does one determine if someone really likes you? Not just likes you, but LIKES you, likes you. Not as a platonic friend, but as a potential ‘love interest’ for lack of a better term.

Apparently, you can’t just ask the person! Well, you can, but that might scare them off.

A hypothetical situation:

You sign up to attend a workshop; let’s say a 10-week gourmet cooking course. At the first session, you see a very attractive guy who is also taking the class. You smile at him he smiles at you and you engage in small talk with him and other classmates. The first session is over and you say your goodbyes/see you next class. He’s good-looking, friendly, and likes to cook! Is he married? Dating? Single? He’s not wearing a wedding ring. What’s going on with him?

At the next session he is there again smiling, making (non-creepy) eye contact, he makes sure he talks to you specifically (sans other classmates) during a break or two, which you notice he does not do with any of the other ladies in the class. The conversation is respectful and he does not hit on you. You could like him, if he’s single and interested in you, but you don’t know what he’s thinking. Maybe he’s just really gregarious, a great conversationalist and not interested in you at all.

Session three you are paired with another classmate on a cooking project, Even though he is paired with someone else, he makes it a point to talk to you. He’s nice to your partner but it’s clear you are the ‘B’ in the ‘A/B’ conversation. As he did in session #2 he talks to you during the breaks, during which he makes several ‘I’ statements. “I bought a great set of knives while I was out Saturday.” “I am going on vacation next month.” “I can’t wait to get to Spain.” He doesn’t mention a wife or children. Is he making conversation or is he trying to let you know he is single? Is he an extrovert who loves to talk or is he interested in you and trying to suss out if you might be interested in him?

How do you determine what; if anything; is going on?


What You Would Like to Do:

Wouldn’t you love to ask?

“Are you married?”
“Are you engaged or dating someone?”
“Are you interested in me?”

Why can’t you ask those questions?! It’s what you want to know! Isn’t the direct route the best way to get to where you want to go? No gamesmanship, no ‘playing hard-to-get’ or whatever; direct communication.

I’ll tell you why, because you’ll sound crazy and slightly stalker-like.

I am not saying honesty is not a good thing. It’s just that most people like the game, the subterfuge, the hunt, the chase, all that crap.

So you don’t ask, instead you…..


What You Actually Do:

You keep the conversation superficial because you worry if you try to get deeper you might scare the guy off. You talk about this week’s cooking assignment, last week’s cooking assignment, next week’s cooking assignment. It’s the third session, so you’ve already discussed what you both do for a living, perhaps it’s safe to detour into something more personal.

But what kind of conversational gymnastics must you perform to find out if the guy is married without asking him is he married? Oh…and NOT appear nosy and/or desperate?

Anyone? Anyone?

It seems to me discovering whether or not someone likes you, likes you is rather like hunting; you must employ stealth and cunning in order to bag your deer or moose or whatever heck you’re out in the woods looking for.

*Deep sigh*

Remember in elementary school. The Love Note. You remember the love note!!

I like you. Do you like me? Please check one.
__Yes
__No

Simple. Straightforward. And not necessarily for the faint-of-heart.

Why can’t we do this as adults?

Peace

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Singularity….Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me?

Is it just me, or do most people believe it sucks to be single if you are a woman? Especially women.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Is being single and childfree like having an infectious disease which must be eradicated? Kind of like small pox.

Does single/childfree = disease; and therefore cure = marriage?


First Class

In my experience, women who are married with children are heralded as ‘real’ women. It is assumed all women everywhere want two things: to be married and to have children. The women who succeed in this ‘biological objective’ of attaining marriage and subsequently produce offspring within the marriage, despite the motives for either the marriage or having children, are considered ‘winners’.

Reasons for marriage vary from person to person and couple to couple and range from love and unplanned pregnancy to fear of being alone, the inability to live independently, or the mistaken belief that marriage will magically solve existing relationship problems. Likewise, the reason for having children range from the child being a living breathing expression of the deep love and commitment between two people and/or religious reasons to immaturity, selfishness, and the mistaken belief that having a child will magically solve existing problems in the marriage.

Whatever the reasons for the marriage, society enforces the belief that women who marry enjoy first class status in the female hierarchy.


Second Class

Women who are married without children or have children without marriage, are considered a ‘real’ woman though, clearly, you have issues. Women, who are married and do not have or want children, are considered selfish, myopic, and vain. Women who have children out of wedlock are promiscuous, immoral, etc. The various and sundry reasons for marriage and/or childbearing apply here also. On top of which are the value judgments regarding women who are married without children or have had children outside of marriage.

Still, such women demonstrate some level of acceptance of societal dictates and fall into the second tier of the female hierarchy.


You Are Not a 'Real' Woman

I have encountered the following belief:

If you are not married, you are less of a woman. If your choice is to be childfree, then something is wrong with you. What ‘real’ woman doesn’t want to have children?

Aaaarrrrrrgggghhhhhh!!!

A Thought Experiment:
Suppose the vast majority of women on the planet, let’s say 90 percent, wish to be married (this presupposes a population with 100 percent heterosexuality), that leaves 10 percent of women worldwide who do not wish to be married. Consequently, it cannot be asserted all women wish to be married. The majority yes, but a significant minority does not. Of the 90 percent of women around the world who desire marriage, is it reasonable to believe all of those women will marry? No.

If we imagine half the population of the world is male then we can expect 10 percent of the males will not wish to marry. We know a significant number of the 90 percent of men who wish to marry; let’s be conservative and say an additional 6 percent of the total population of men; will be unavailable for marriage due to mental/psychological issues, incarceration, drug abuse, etc. This means 16 percent of the female population will not marry.
End Experiment

My point in the above is: should a single/childfree woman be harangued and marginalized and stigmatized and demeaned for her choice? Should a woman who desires marriage but is not yet married for any number of reasons be relegated to third class status? Is being single and childfree, whether by choice or circumstance, a problem to be solved?


I am no longer comfortable with the way singlehood (is that a word?) is framed. There isn’t anything wrong with a person deciding, all things being equal, to pursue life without partnering.

‘You must be doing something wrong’, is a common perception. A common misperception and a common negative frame placed on single people. I cannot wait to see what the next US Census reveals about the state of singlehood in America.

Hey, yeah, CNN could do a special report on being single, just like they did Black in America…… Pauses…. Ponders….

Oh. Yeah. Never mind.

Peace

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ignorance Is Not Bliss….Part 1: Breast Cancer


The Ignorance

“What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

“If I don’t go to the doctor, he/she can’t find anything wrong.”

Ladies, ignorance is not a good look, ghetto fantasies and hood foolishness aside.


The Information

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!!

Ladies (and the Gentlemen-Who-Love-You) if you are not informed about breast health, then this article is for you. First things first, get thee to the following websites for more in-depth information regarding breast cancer.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure (Komen)
ww5.komen.org

American Cancer Society (ACS)
www.cancer.org

US Department of Health and Human Services
www.womenshealth.gov

AA women have a lower incidence of cancer by population, meaning fewer AA women get breast cancer than white women (the incidence is higher for AA women under 40!!!!). Alarmingly, AA women die from breast cancer more often than any other population of women. Studies suggest issues such as access to screening; inadequate to non-existent medical follow-up of abnormal mammography results; lack of awareness of breast cancer screening in the AA population; as well as the biology of the cancer (i.e. more aggressive tumors and detection at later stage) contributes to the disturbing fact that AA women die more often from breast cancer.

A couple of years ago I watched a television documentary called Crazy Sexy Cancer. It is on Discovery Health Channel and I believe it is on multiple times in October. Crazy Sexy Cancer is a documentary about being diagnosed with cancer, going through the trauma and fear of the diagnosis, treatment, and survival from the point of view of woman who was diagnosed. A must see.

I also recently happened to catch Breast Cancer Examined: An African American Perspective on TVOne. I rarely watch TVOne, but this one hour documentary is worth watching!! The documentary focused on AA women and their distinct issues relating to breast cancer. Again AA women tend to have more aggressive types of cancer like HER2 and Triple Negative breast Cancer. Another must see program.


The Strategy

Breast Self-exam

A self-examination is performed by you on a monthly basis! You are the first responder when it comes to your health. It is important for you to know what is normal for you. Most women have some degree of density change in the breast tissue on a monthly cycle. Get to know your own breasts so you can more easily identify changes needing additional evaluation by a health care provider. Early detection produces the best results. Please visit the Komen website for detailed information (video) regarding how to conduct the exam.


Clinical Breast Exam

A clinical breast examination is performed by doctors, nurse practitioners, or other trained medical staff. Komen and ACS recommend a clinical breast examination once every three years for women between the ages of 20–39. The recommended frequency changes to once a year when a woman reaches the age of 40.


Mammography

Mammograms are a screening tool using X-rays to create a visual image of the breast and is used to find signs of breast cancer such as tumors, small clusters of calcium deposits, and abnormal skins changes. A mammogram takes about 15 minutes. Komen and the ACS recommend annual mammograms for women starting at the age of 40.

I know what you’re going to say. Mammograms hurt. I have had a mammogram annually for the past 5 years or so, and any discomfort I have is minimal. Having my blood drawn is more ‘painful’ than having a mammogram. Be aware your breasts are more likely to be tender during the week before your period, so it is suggested not to schedule an exam at this time.

Ahem, breast implants are not a reason to skip annual mammograms.

Now, if you don’t conduct monthly self-examinations or you are not having mammography done on a regular basis (see above); then here are some
warning signs of breast cancer:

Lump or hard knot or thickening
Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening
Change in the size or shape of the breast
Dimpling or puckering of the skin
Itchy, scaly, soreness or rash on the nipple
Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
New pain in one spot that does not go away

If you have any of these symptoms you must see your health care provider immediately. If you don’t have a health care provider, visit the emergency room.

I am completely serious.


Detected early, breast cancer responds amazingly well to treatment. Currently AA women’s five-year breast cancer survival rate is 77 percent. For white women the survival rate is 90 percent. Only Native American women fare worse than AA women. We (AA women) can and must do better with regard to screening and early detection.

Ignorance = Death

We need to discuss breast cancer and other health issues openly and honestly. Stigma, shame, fears are all excuses we use to stay in denial. Denial can kill you.

Facing the reality of early diagnosis and early intervention means your chances of survival increase dramatically and you will live as a cancer survivor!

Staying in denial means that when you are diagnosed what you fear most, death, will be an all too real prognosis.

Peace

Monday, October 5, 2009

Friends, Romans, Acquaintances

Friends

I have (and have had) friends of many different cultures, backgrounds colors, AfAmer, East Asian, Chinese, Latino, Continental African, Arabic, White. What bonds/bonded us was common values. I am not going all ‘family values’ on you, what I mean is we seem to value the some of the same things, like positive energy, diversity, the willingness to move beyond comfort zones and labels, and curiosity.

I have a great group of friends in my life right now. Mostly female, but I am working on acquiring a male friend or two. While all of us don’t have the same race, country of origin, or even generational background; what we share is a similar spirit. Or perhaps it’s a similar perspective.

Notice how I used the word similar, not same.

Same is defined as identical.

Similar is defined as nearly, but not exactly the same.

Most of my friends live in the same geographical area as I do. One or two live in other states. I have even made the acquaintance of/possible friendship with at least one person while blogging.

Friends are a great to have but true friendship, like great wine, takes time. (I don’t drink, so I am relying on marketing here.)


Romans

I have discovered having the same ‘race’ or skin color means absolutely nothing has far as friendship is concerned.

Previously I labored under the assumption most black people were…you know… about the same thing, getting an education (or training) so one would have greater opportunities in relation to jobs, housing, and what not. My immediate family does not have an abundance (or any for that matter) people who are trying to ‘get over’. My people go to work and work hard for what the get.

I notice my friends (color notwithstanding) are the same way (unless someone is deep undercover). They work. Nobody scams or grifts or whatever other term used for beating people out of their money. So no mortgage loan officers, home refinance officers, congresspersons, or lobbyists. Okay one lobbyist….but he’s more of an acquaintance.

Betrayal of trust is a hard pill to swallow. Harder still when the betrayal comes from someone you thought you could trust. Trust is not something you should extended without contemplation and observation. You must determine, prior to accepting someone as a friend, what this person brings to your life. Is it positivity or negativity? Is it mutual growth or foolishness and mayhem? Is it steadfast friendship or a constant diet of ‘Confessions of a Drama Queen’?

Remember: Brutus was a Roman citizen too.


Acquaintances

These are people you kind-of-know. You would speak to them if you saw them at a restaurant, but you might not ask them to hang out with you at the restaurant. Nothing negative mind you, you just are not friends.

Oh, and the random strangers you 'friend' on the various and sundry social networks…..are not your friends. I’m not completely excluding blogs, though that situation can be different, especially if you communicate outside of the blog. What I’m talking about are the people you have never met and don’t communicate with regularly in any form, that you accept as a 'friend' on a social network. This person is not a friend. It’s someone you acknowledged on a social network!!

Acquaintances are not people you share person information with. Can an acquaintance become a friend? Certainly, given time and energy by the both of you.


Peace

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Life, Me, and the Muslim Bushido

Life

My life has had a bump or two recently. The bumps will be reflected in a couple of my upcoming posts. Nothing major or life-threatening has happened mind you, just an occurrence or two which left me a wee bit sad and somewhat disillusioned. Friends, assumptions, etc…

Me

I have been hecka busy for the last two or three weeks. Most of my time has been taken up training for a 5 mile charity run. Then there’s the time I have put in on my professional life: adding new classes to my schedule and professional training and study. Whew!!! Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining! I am grateful for the abundance in my life on a daily basis.

Muslim Bushido

My blog sister Khadija posted her last essay on her fabulous blog today! {getting very weeping}

muslimbushido@blogspot.com

Her blog remains a must read because of her insight, foresight, knowledge, wisdom, and plain old good advice. I am truly sad to see her blog end but I am grateful for the seeds she planted with me. If I had not encountered her blog, I don’t know that I would have ever started my own. {deep bows of gratitude}

You have nourished us (bw bloggers) and now (hopefully) we can return the favor. {major positive energy flowing in your direction}

Peace

Friday, September 4, 2009

Images, Ideas, and BWE

Aren’t epiphanies great?!?!

I’ve seen this basic question more than once on the internetz: Why do BWE exist? What’s the point?

I thought about the answer to this question for a while. This is my response.



Black Women’s Empowerment (BWE) blogs exist because:

They are necessary.

Someone must disseminate life saving information to bw.

Our voices, thoughts, and solutions need to be documented.

Someone must deconstruct and negate the constant barrage of negative images and energy targeting bw.

(The above list is not exhaustive)


BWE blogs exist to refute poisonous ideas like:

Black women who create and/or visit these blogs are bitter because they don’t know how to get and keep a black man.

Dark/brown-skinned women are mad because black men don’t choose them.

Dark/brown-skinned women who date/marry out are self-hating.

Other men (non-black) don’t really want black women, they are the last resort.

Black women are to blame for the state of ‘black love’.

Black women are too picky and too bossy and want too much from black men.

Black women need to stop picking thugs and felons and choose ‘regular’ black men.

BWE blogs exist to let you know when you see or hear this foolishness, know it for what it is – a method of control, a mind game, gas lighting, brainwashing – call it what you want but understand the purpose; to control you!

Most importantly, remember none of this is true. Certainly not of all bw! It does not reflect who you are! Don’t feature these lies for a moment!


Images

Pictures of beautiful black woman confirm and affirm that yes, black women are beautiful in our multitudinous colors, shapes, and sizes.

Pictures of black women with other men teach us there are other options available to bw if we would just open our eyes and our minds.

Pictures of black women being our selves; nappy or straight hair, wide nose or pointy nose, full lips or thin, from the darkest dark to lightest light, we are an amazing continuum of beauty.

Seeing ourselves as intelligent, worthy of adoration, loving and loved is balm for the wounded psyche of bw. These images are HEALING. These images deprogram the brainwashing engaged in by the music industry and mass media, which, more often than not, depict bw as prostitutes, strippers, or as sexualized sub-humans. It is no small wonder bw have issues around beauty and self-worth.

Positive images on websites such as Evia’s allow us to remember we are lovable and worth being loved. Evia’s was the first website I encountered talking about quality relationships and expanding one’s view to encompass the entire globe when considering a mate. Her essays teach us, remind us, tell us, perhaps for the first time; you have the right to live well. You have the right to be loved and valued as a whole human being of quality. And you have the right to love a whole human being of quality. Settling is not an option.

Her fabulous website is: blackfemaleinterracialmarriage.com

Evia’s blog serves as a lighthouse offering another option for women seeking life affirming choices.

Blogs like this are necessary to counter the number of blogs/video blogs propagating the ‘black-woman-it-sucks-to-be-you’ narrative. The level of anger and hate on these blogs (and I am not referencing the racist websites!!) is just staggering. The people who produce this information are not content to have their blog as a venue to spread their vitriol. Oh no! They feel the need to transplant their hatred to other people’s blogs! They come to BWE sites! Sites geared not to the masses but to a particular subsection of the population, in an attempt to wreak havoc and shut down conversation.

They use various means to take commenters off-topic or post hateful, hate-filled comments designed to create chaos on the blog. I’ve visited a couple of blogs like this and even if the original post is interesting and worth discussing, reading all the hate and chaos flowing down thread, I saw no point in leaving a comment.


Ideas

Your thoughts shape you reality. For better or for worse.

What you think or whether or not you think is a function you control. You are perfectly within your rights to allow someone else to think for you. Free will is free will. Should you decide you would rather have someone else in control of your life (that way you have someone to blame when things don’t work out) instead of exercising control yourself, go for it.

It appears we (the black community – though this is a trait of all people) love, love, love to follow a leader. Specifically, a male leader, whether the leader is a preacher or rapper or actor or activist, it seems we just want to follow. Don’t get me wrong, belonging to a group is human nature, we are social animals. However, when the group you belong to is engaged in destructive insane behavior, you have a choice. Continue to follow or forge your own trail.

Just because a significant number of AA females engage in risky sexual behavior does not mean I am going to do the same. Why not? Uumm, because sexually transmitted diseases remain as communicable as ever.

And in case you don’t know, there is still no cure for AIDS.

And for the love of Pete, don’t even try to pull Magic Johnson out of the hat (pretty good pun on a couple of levels), most people don’t have his wealth or his health; he is the exception, NOT THE RULE!!

***Woo, okay, I kinda went there…..but I’m back.***

Some people love it when they can dictate to you what your ideas must be. Those same people detest it when you decide to have ideas of your own. This is why so many people; male and female; are up in arms about BWE blogs.

A prime example (IMO) of the power of critical thought is Khadija’s though-provoking website: muslimbushido.blogspot.com

Khadija drops the knowledge on the regular! Her topics run the gamut, from disaster/survival preparedness to spotting IITs (Internet Ike Turners - giving Khadija her props for that one - Brilliant!!!!). I read her blog every time I power up my computer, knowing the latest post will challenge me and make me think. And it’s not just Khadija who provides knowledge and insight on her blog; the people who show up to discuss her content are fierce too! Even when I don’t comment, I take away wisdom.

I gravitate to blogs like this, because they encourage, no, inspire critical thinking. Khadija’s is not a feel good, kumbaya ( I don’t mean that in a bad way either) blog, her essays respect the intelligence of the reader while stimulating conversation. Even when commenters have differing perspectives, the conversation doesn’t degenerate into, well, chaos and foolishness.


BWE

Not every BWE blog is the same. Which is a good thing; not every woman is the same. Each blog reaches the women it needs to reach, by speaking to her in a manner she understands, in a voice that resonates with her. Every woman needs a space of her own. A place where she can think, and express ideas, give voice to (or type) those thoughts she knows it’s not prudent to say out loud in her everyday life.

BWE blogs are a virtual ‘room of one’s own’. A place where women empower other women to respect themselves; respect their space; and respect their ability to think and reason.

I know why BWE blogs exist: to help, to educate, to remind and to confirm you(black woman) are not alone.


Peace

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is She Is or Is She Ain’t – The Real Story

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… as long as you’re looking at (enter ubiquitous actress/singer/model here __________________).

You are beautiful if you are thin.
You are beautiful if you have long straight or wavy hair.
You are beautiful if you have light(er) skin.
You are beautiful if you have light-colored eyes.
You are beautiful if your nose isn’t too wide.
You are beautiful if your lips aren’t too thick.
You are beautiful if you hips aren’t too wide.
You are beautiful if your muscles aren’t too defined.
You are beautiful if you aren’t too tall.
You are beautiful if your features are more euro-centric.

Manufactured, commercial beauty attained through the liberal application of make-up, lighting, implants, elective surgery, Photoshop, CGI, and what ever else the media/celebrity industry utilizes to create and enforce this unrealistic beauty ideal is accepted by we-the-people seemingly unchallenged.

Let’s get one thing straight. The celebrity culture – from movies and television to the internetz and print – is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the media industry. The media industry exists to sell products. Period.

Beauty in this country is commercial and is all about the surface. Don’t waste time looking for depth, it does not exist.

What you see is all there is.

Alas, such is the nature of commercial beauty.

I have read quite a few reports regarding Caster Semenya of South Africa. I have looked at the pictures of her winning the 800 meter race. I watched a post-race interview. I have read various and sundry blog posts and comments about the controversy. I don’t know what the so-called ‘gender testing’ results will or will not confirm. What I do know is, it is not out of the realm of possibility for Semenya to be who she says she is – a woman.

A lot of the commenters surmised since she has killer abs (yep she sure does!), muscular legs, pipes (aka biceps) to die for, she must be a man. Does anyone look at muscle, fitness or running magazines? I ask because a friend of mine and I were looking in a runner’s magazine and one of the pictures was a runner in a tankini and running shorts, we could not tell if the runner was male or female because the body fat was nearly 0. No breasts (that we could clearly discern), defined muscular legs, six-pack o’ abs… I did the Adam’s apple check – she didn’t have one – so I said she is a she. She did not have any body fat, which is what composes hips and breasts.

Commenters say Semenya has masculine facial features. Uhm, is just me or hasn’t that been the story about black women since before the first slave ship landed in this hemisphere? Can't you just see the advertisements?

African females! They look black men, they work like black men and they can reproduce!!!! Talk about return on investment!!

**Danger of Dripping Sarcasm**

Heaven help a woman if she falls outside the very narrow confines of female beauty as defined by the Beauty Industry Complex; add race and a history of objectification and violence; mix in the numerous lies, rumors, distortions, etc. about black women’s bodies and sexuality…….forget about it!!

The sad thing about this situation is, should the results of the so-called tests determine Ms. Semenya is genetically female, it will not matter to the media or its consumers.

Ms. Semenya has been defined as an unattractive woman. This judgment will reflect on black womanhood.

It will reflect negatively if we join the peanut gallery and vilify and dehumanize her based on her looks.

It will reflect positively if we embrace her as part of the beauty spectrum.

Even if one determines Ms. Semenya is not conventionally attractive, she is still human and deserves basic human respect and dignity.


Peace

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Whose Life is it Anyway?

Does the ranting by the mis-informed and slightly crazed ideological right look familiar?

“I don’t want this country becoming a socialist country! I want my country back!”

“They’ll have death panels! The government will decide who lives and who dies!”

“I don’t want bureaucrats making decisions about my healthcare!”

Death panels. *big sigh*

Really. *right eyebrow raised in skepticism*

I have two words for you. Critical. Thinking.

The above is what happens when you taking someone else’s word for what is going on, rather than finding out for yourself.

I know. I know what you’re saying.

“Finding out for myself takes too much work. I’d have to research every single issue.

I’d have to access more than one source of information so that I could make a decision based on my own information gathering ability and contemplation of the available facts.

In other words DBC(your friendly neighborhood blog diva) I’d have to think!

And who wants to do that!”

Uuuhmm, duh!?!?

I am, of course, leading you down the garden path; my main topic is not the rancorous wrestlemania event cleverly disguised as a health care scream-athon.

Oh no my sisters……

My aim is to get you to question the places in your life where you accept another person’s spin with regard to some aspect of your life. Whether it is housecleaning, employment, where to live, education, RELATIONSHIPS, childrearing, religion, etc.

I could go on but I won’t. Why don’t we break down one of the issues listed above? What to discuss, what to discuss?????

Oh, I know, relationships!

Not relationships in general, but one slice of the ginormous relationship pie.

There is not a shortage of men. The available dating pool is deeper than most black women think. I am not advocating women settle for someone not on the same level as themselves. A simplistic example: if one is single; I do not advocate settling for a man who is married. What I am talking about is not limiting oneself to a particular population of men. Another simplistic example: if one is looking only for men who are six foot one inch; the pool of available men is limited by this choice. Now if one is open to considering men in the range of six foot three inches to five foot six inches, the pool of available men increases tremendously!

The same goes for color difference. If one is open to dating men who are not the same color, then the pool of available men increases! In my opinion, high-quality men of any color must be considered, despite what other people may think, say, or believe. A good man is a good man-- granted, we need to clarify the definition of a good man.

The opinions and thoughts of other people should never replace your own carefully considered opinions. This is your life! You get to choose how you move through the world!

Being open to men of different colors does not mean one is anti-anything. It does not mean your thoughts about race and color issues are negated because you are open to men of different colors.

If you aren’t open to men of other colors, cool.

If you are open to men of other colors, also cool. Don’t be afraid or shamed into silence or inaction.

If women are free to date only one color of man with pride, then why can’t other women be free to date men of any color with just as much pride?

Peace

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sacrifice, Health Care & You….

Let’s say you are not in the best of health. You are overweight, have high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. You cannot walk very far without feeling your heart race and getting short of breath.

Let’s say all of the above was true for you a year ago and your doctor told you, you need to change your diet and lose weight.

Let’s say last month you had a ‘cardiac episode’ which caused you to go to the emergency room. After an exhaustive round of tests it is determined you have congestive heart failure. It is at this moment you decide to stop eating fried chicken on an almost-daily-basis and really try to change your diet, because now you life really does depend on these and other health-related choices.

And then you complain about the cost of health care in the U.S.

(Related with a straight face as this is not a joke.)

This person knew a year ago, a year ago, they were overweight, with blood pressure and cholesterol issues. This person was told by the doctor to change their behavior regarding food and weight. The person decided it was too hard to give up fast food fried chicken. The result of this choice; by a person who is an adult; may be the premature end of their life! Congestive heart failure is no joke.

There are times when we must make sacrifices. Sometimes those sacrifices involve giving up things we enjoy. Or something we are used to; a thought pattern, behavior, belief, or even greasy fried foods. Unhealthy thought patterns/behaviors can lead one down the path to poor health the same way eating fast food fried chicken can.

Is there a place in your life where you are refusing to address an issue that has been identified by you or those you trust as a problem? Are you holding on to a belief or a relationship that is demonstrably unhealthy? Are you afraid to let go of the belief because it will lead you to question other reflexive beliefs? Are you holding onto a damaging relationship because you are afraid of being alone?

When you have fore knowledge of unhealthy, negative situations in your life and you take no action; can you be surprised at the results? Can you honest lay the blame at someone else’s door?

Who is responsible for your life? Your choices? Your mistakes? Your success?

Peace

Monday, August 10, 2009

An Inconvenient Truth

Of the many wars being waged across the globe, none is more crucial than the war men have engaged against women. In any war, the party attacked is obliged, at the very least, to defend itself from the onslaught. This is what’s happening in our country today. While the war may be a stealthy, guerilla-type affair in the larger society; in the AA community, it’s an all-out, take-no-prisoners, shoot-first-and-don’t-ask-questions shooting war.

Who initiated the war? What was the reason the war started? The response differs depending on who you ask.

Feminism vs Patriarchy
Restrictive vs Permissive
Male vs Female
Liberation vs Repression
Civil Rights vs Jim/Jane Crow

Power and privilege concede nothing without a fight. Whether the rights a given group of people are fighting for are basic human rights or rights guaranteed by the constitution/amendments; those in power are not likely to stand idly by while what they perceive as the proper order is overturned.


The Personal

This brings me to the relationships between bm and bw.

Why is it okay for a man to be supported by a woman?

Why is it acceptable for a man to have multiple children with multiple women?

Why is it okay for a woman to bear the burden of raising children alone?

Women, why is it acceptable to date and sleep with convicts, parolees, criminals, and thugs?

Why do women allow themselves to be a part of a harem (sleeping with a man when you know the man is married, in relationship with, or sleeping with another woman)?

Why are these questions a part of our new world order?

Ladies, why do we accept this behavior? Are we that afraid of being single? Are we afraid we will be considered unattractive if we’re not sleeping with some man? Do we not value ourselves? Aren’t we worth more than this?

The answer to the last question is YES!

This post is not an attempt to male bash. This post is an attempt to open our (bw/bg) eyes! Loving yourself and looking out for yourself, and ensuring you have the best this life can offer is not about hating men or hating other women.

Honestly, other people aren’t important! YOU are important! You must want better for yourself!

What is better?

A man who respects you has a human being and a lady. (Ahem, you must actually behave like a lady…..)

A man who understands his mission is to provide a safe environment for you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

A man who loves his life and who is thrilled and humbled you are a part of his life.

A man who understands it is not his job to oppress you; rather it is his job to partner with you.

A man who is honest and would never put you in danger.

A man who deals with his anger in a constructive manner.

A man who does not hit you.

A man who can commit himself to you. Period.

A man who; if children are desired by you both; will be a positive role model of how a man behaves, not only for your son, but most importantly for your daughter.

It is imperative to have a high-quality, loving relationship with yourself and with your significant other. What you practice in your home will be the template for what your children do in their own lives. Surely you want more for your children than the continuation of toxic, dysfunctional, and straight-up insane relationships. If so, demand better. From yourself and from your relationship.

You teach people how to treat you. When you allow disrespect, foolishness, and violence that is what you will get.

(Neither list is exhaustive. I will post more on behavior in a forthcoming post.)


The Political

Black women in this country occupy a unique position. We experience life outside of the white power structure and the male power structure. Movements demanding human right whether they are civil or women’s wanted to include us because they needed our energy, intellect, our very presence, while simultaneously marginalizing us because of our gender and race. Black women lent there considerable muscle to the civil right movement and to the women’s rights movements, yet found ourselves invisible when it came to the fruits of those movements. The women’s movements continue to have unresolved issues of race; the civil rights movement continues has unresolved issues of gender.

Historically, bw have hitched their wagon to the star of women’s rights and the star of civil rights. We need our own star. I believe one of the facets of our star is the empowerment blogs; by black women for the education, empowerment, and enlightenment of black women. These think tanks, forums, and safe spaces are much needed: (1) to let like-minded women know others with a similar mindset exist; (2) to create networks for disseminating information; and (3) to establish an alternate media/news source.

It has been stated (far better) in other blogs that bw must gain control our image, our brand. This we must do. Will there be haters? Oh yes. Will there be saboteurs? Heck-to-the-yes.

Are we worth the fight? Abso-flipping-lutely!!!

Peace

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What I Really Want to Know Is……

Monday was my birthday and a couple of news items caused me to contemplate what women are thinking in relation to men.

Some woman in Utah, desperate to get her life together, put some household items up for sale on the internetz; one of those items was/is her husband. Among other things, he is unfaithful and she his sick and tired of taking care of his 30-year-old self.

Then there is yet another news item about the death of a child at the hands of an unrelated male. This 6-year-old child was allegedly beaten to death by his mother’s ex-boyfriend. According to the news report the 6-year-old and his younger sister were living with the ex-boyfriend because the mother could not afford to care for them. The biological father, who lives in Oregon, hadn’t seen the boy since he was a baby. The mother, who lives in the same city, hadn’t seen the boy in a month. The ex-boyfriend had a serious criminal history.

What I really want to know is what were these women thinking?

It is not likely the Utah husband had recently devolved from a hard-working, faithful man into a lazy, slovenly, fidelity-challenged guy. The wife probably knew he was this way when she married him. And she married him anyway.

The mother of the 6 year-old more than likely had knowledge of the criminal past of her ex-boyfriend when she placed her two children with him. And she left them with this criminal anyway!

I’m sure these guys did not bother to hide their failings and criminality from these women.

Is is just me or.....

Isn't the logical outcome of marrying a lazy womanizer likely to be you will end up being sole financial support in the relationship; a relationship endlessly compromised by his infidelity?

Isn't it reasonable to conclude that you might be putting your minor children in jeopardy by placing them in the custody of a man with an extensive criminal record?

What were they thinking?!

Peace

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Critical Thinking 101

There is a wonderful conversation going on at a blog I read regularly regarding what values do we hold close and what those values are rooted in. My post was about the practice of compassion. The blog owner asked me to define compassion since some people use the term as an explanation or excuse for inaction, accepting poor treatment, and embracing victimhood.


Beginning of response:

I base my practice of compassion based on what I’ve read and interpreted from thinkers such as Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, Thomas Merton, and Thich Nat Hahn; Christian religious tradition; a wonderfully liberal Catholic priest (sadly he retired); my family; my yoga practice and studies; and my interactions with people on a daily basis. Also, I read a great deal, fiction and non-fiction, and I gather information from those sources as well.

Compassionate action expresses itself differently in different people. The same way love is expressed differently from one person to the next. To me there is no one way to live a compassionate life. Some examples of my practice are my intent to live in a non-violent (physically, emotionally, verbally) manner; to do no harm to myself or to any one else; to honor and respect myself and others; to see other people shine and not feel diminished or envious.

Compassion does not mean I am a doormat, slave, or sucker. I haven’t suspended my good judgment, critical thinking abilities, or dispensed with wise counsel. It does not mean I am in the “save alla our people” business either. I chose not to pursue this route not because I am angry or defeated or exhausted from trying to save people who don’t want to listen, but rather, where I have given honest effort from a place of love, what more can be done? If people don’t listen then, okay, I’ve done my best. I am not willing to destroy myself trying to save someone else. I will not allow someone to mistreat, use, or abuse me. The trust and respect I give in a relationship is the trust and respect that must be returned. If is not, then I change/end the relationship; not out of anger or spite but because to continue the relationship in its current form is harmful to me.

My practice of compassion is not just outwardly directed. In fact, my compassion is mostly directed toward myself. I do not know if it is possible to completely love and accept other people if I do not love and accept me. I am working on not allowing myself to stress out over what I cannot change --- others. I have lived that experience. I shall not repeat it. That is how I was introduced to my personal limits. I finally listened to my still small voice [well, during a panic attack…but hey at least I listened :-) ].

Each person has to define their own limits. Thich Nat Hahn’s limits are waaaaay different from mine. He’s a good person. I am a good person.

After deciding on cultivating compassion, I can tell the difference in my life. What and who manifests in my life now is 1000% more positive and loving and joyful than what used to show up. My practice is rooted in what I have encountered on my journey thus far and in my ‘Being-ness’ or ‘Authentic self’ or ‘Who I Truly Am’ or ‘Soul’.

For me compassion is not a generalized term. Compassion is a value. Compassion is not a slogan or some vague term. Compassion is a daily practice and lived experience.

End of response.


I regard compassion as a verb indicating action, not as an adjective implying hopelessness. Compassion is not powerlessness. Compassion is not about defining yourself as a victim. Compassion is having the strength to stand up to injustice. Compassion is the hard work of remaining true to who you are even when it would be easier to betray yourself and behave like some else.

It is important bw/bg define terms like compassion, friendship, honesty, and integrity. We must not merely repeat them, we must truly know what these terms mean to us. Not for approval by someone outside of ourselves, but for ourselves alone.

Let's get to work......

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

PTSD- Real Life Damage….. But Spare Me the Excuses

I was reading blog post by a male blogger, he’s a lawyer from the sound of it, a public defender to be more exact. Mr. Blogger Guy mentioned how one of his clients said he was suffering from PTSD due to living in the ‘hood and was, therefore, unable to work. *left eyebrow raise*

Mr. Blogger Guy and the commenters pondered whether PTSD from ‘hood life was an actual medical condition. Many agree ‘hood life often resembled a war zone; a conclusion the female empowerment bloggers have already reached.

What I found interesting is, to whatever degree this gentlemen may be suffering from PTSD, his not being able to hold a job was not challenged! I will admit I am not current on how PTSD impacts an individual’s life, perhaps the veterans returning home from Iraq are so profoundly affected by PTSD that it interferes with one (or more) of the major life activities (which includes working). If so, that is an identifiable disability.

Can the same be said of the effects of ‘hood living? Maybe not, maybe so.

My Mom moved us out when I was in the seventh grade. Except for a brief stint in a middle class, majority black neighborhood after the end of my military service, I have not lived in a majority black neighborhood in almost fifteen years. Consequently, I have no direct experience of the hazards of living in the ‘hood.

What I understand to be the dangers for the people living in these conditions come from work and the news media. I have watched/heard/read stories about drug dealers, drive-bys, prostitution, interpersonal/domestic violence, child neglect, addiction, home invasions, the list is endless. I can see how it is likely that a person living in these conditions must experience some level of trauma, even if the trauma is not acknowledged by the person experience daily ‘hood life.

That said there are a lot of women and children living in these environments. The women who go to work (when work is available) do so because they have to support their children. The children who go to school (not all of the children eligible to attend actually go or are made to attend) sometimes do so at risk to their safety.

Why can’t Blogger Guy’s client find and keep a job? If anyone is going to man-up and handle a tough situation like ‘hood life, wouldn’t you expect it to be a male person over 21 years of age?

Perhaps I am being too critical. To me it sounded like the Blogger Guy’s client was using PTSD as a convenient rational for not wanting to work. How does he support himself? Parents? Siblings? Wife? Girlfriend(s)? It didn’t sound like he was seeking help for his condition either.

I am blogging about this only to reiterate what other empowerment blogger-divas have already stated. Clearly, the ‘hood is a dangerous place to live and raise children. If this AA male is claiming to be damaged by ‘hood living; what are the implications for women and children?!

Denial, delusion, and burying you head in the sand will not make the facts go away. There is nothing fabulous, ghetto or otherwise, about living in these conditions! If you have a nice apartment in the ‘hood, you still live in the ‘hood!!!


Start making positive steps to get thee out of this situation:

-Create a weekly/monthly financial plan (aka budget) and stick to it!

- Save, save, save! Start a savings account. Even if you only deposit five dollars a week, get in the habit of saving.

-Create a strategic plan for purchases such as clothing, school supplies, etc.

-Know your credit score.

-Use cash only.

-Stop applying for major credit cards and store credit cards.

-Pay down/off credit cards.

-Save (at least three months) for any purchase greater than or equal to 10% of you annual gross income. (This does not include using your savings account!)

-Find a store that offers lay-away.

-Payday loans are not a responsible means of financial planning.

-Learn to delay your gratification. Just because it’s on sale does not mean you need it!

-Spend leisure time away from the mall. Go to the library, go for a walk, visit with family/friends, research home prices and safe neighborhoods.


The above list is not exhaustive. The point is to move ourselves away from mindless consumerism and to a more mindful way of saving and spending what you earn. Being conscious about your money will help you to reign in your spending so you can get what you really need, a safer environment for your children.

Remember wealth is generational. Start (or continue) the cycle in your family.

Peace

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Switch Up/Change Up

Change is good. Especially positive change. I hope the new template makes the blog more reader-friendly. The font is larger and the background is lighter, so I hope it makes the reading easier [if not more interesting ;-) ]


Peace

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sex and the Single Black Woman…(or any woman for that matter)

“Let’s talk about sex, baby…let’s talk about all the good things & the bad things that may be…” - Salt&Pepper


Is it just me or have some black women lost their minds? Why are black women participating in hook-ups, jump-offs, or any other hyphenated term used to describe casual sex? In 2004, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death for black women between the ages of 25 and 34; the third leading cause for black women 35 and 44; and the fourth leading cause for black women between the ages of 45 and 54!!

Those statistics are nothing if not sobering! Yet some women don’t seem to get the message! Black women are extremely vulnerable to this disease because of our behavior and poor mate selection practices! All the magical thinking in the world will not make HIV go away once you acquire the disease!


Casually speaking:

Why would a woman engage in a hook-up or allow herself to be treated as a ‘jump-off’ without protecting herself? If you are a grown woman and you choose to participate in casual sex that is your business. But why would you have sex without a condom? Why would you voluntarily expose yourself to the myriad sexually transmitted diseases by not practicing safe/safer sex?

Telling yourself, “He doesn’t look sick”, does not negate your responsibility. This is casual sex not a committed relationship! And while you would hope he would be concerned about your health and safety (after all, he is sleeping with you), your health and safety are not his responsibility. That responsibility belongs to you.

Don’t just sing about being grown and sexy, ACT like it!!!!


Fear of a Single Black Female:

Is fear driving so many black women into the arms ….err, beds…. of these clearly unsuitable men? If all a guy wants from you is sex and if all you want from the guy is sex, fine. Get your safe sex on. But if you are trying to turn a jump-off (where did this term come from?) into a long-term relationship, you are destined for disappointment.

Remember, for most men sex and love are not the same thing. Giving him great sex more often times than not will only lead to more sex, not love. Don’t delude yourself. He is not Prince Charming.

If you are a woman who views sex as a commodity; something to be used to get your non-emotional needs met (i.e., money, cars, utility bills paid, whatever), use protection.

If you are a clear-eyed woman who feels she can have sex without the emotional attachment. Why wouldn't you use the same approach with regard to your sexual health?

There is nothing wrong with being single. If this reckless behavior stems from your belief that if you don’t sleep with the guy without protection he will leave you guess what, you are right. But understand, he is going to leave you anyway, condom or no condom. Not requiring him to use protection does not make you seem more wholesome or less experienced. It does, however, make you more likely to get a sexually transmitted disease.

I’ll take being single, celibate and healthy over being single (because you will probably still be single even if you sex him without protection), in denial and infected any day of the week.


Take charge of your sexual health:

Love and value yourself enough to take care of your physical well being.

Buy your own condoms, spermicide, etc.

Make it clear to any guy who wants to get with you that safe sex is mandatory not optional (I don’t care how fine, rich, funny, or healthy-looking he may be).

Don’t sell yourself out. If he says he won’t use protection, show him the door!


Peace

Monday, June 29, 2009

The 'Root' of the Matter...


The recent articles posted at ‘The Root’ regarding how women should 1) not pass by guys who lack swagger/bank/degrees i.e. President Obama; and 2) not hold black men to the standard of President Obama are confounding to say the least. Many of the comments on the blog are downright depressing.

One blogger wrote how black women over forty should acknowledge the fact the men in their thirties want women in their twenties and men in their forties want women in their thirties. Oh, and to paraphrase the same guy, how men want women who are beautiful, have long hair and look a little exotic……. *blink*

Seriously!!!!

Women who have long hair and look a little exotic ……..just what is he trying to say??!!

Coded much? And not too subtly at that!

This guy chastises women for being to superficial and picky, and then demonstrates; by way of giving advice to women; just how abysmally superficial he is!!!! He also tells women they just have to accept the fact that men like beautiful women.

Beauty is so subjective! I know people point to the usual suspects when it comes to beautiful black women; Halle, Beyonce, etc. But these women are not the length, width and breadth of beautiful black women continuum!

What does a woman do if she doesn’t meet the commercial beauty standard?

Most of the women I know desire a man who is……there. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually present. A man who wants to be in a committed relationship. A man who works. Sorry guys, there is no getting around this one. Most women want a guy who works (though there are some women who don’t mind working outside the home as long as the husband/life partner (for those who don’t want to do the wedding-thing) takes care of the home (childrearing, cooking, cleaning, etc.)). A man who does not sleep around with random women or her friends and family members. For a lot of women fidelity is hella sexy.

Does it go without saying thugs and thug-lites need not apply? Swagger is not appealing to mature women. Confidence yes. Swagger no.

Confidence = being comfortable in your skin; liking who you are as a person; respecting me (others) as a human being; compassion/kindness; ability to demonstrate love through actions/attitudes; being honest; being faithful.

Swagger = exaggerated masculinity; appropriating criminal/convict mentality; being hard, unloving, unkind; reducing women to body parts; being loud and foul-mouthed; disrespecting women, children, elders; being promiscuous/unsafe sex; having a number of children OOW.

Women have to have to have confidence in themselves too. This is not a one way street. I do not advocate men bringing maturity and confidence and decency to the table when the woman has none of these characteristics. This is another part of the problem.

Guys, how about altering your mate selection practices? Instead of always selecting the 'exotically' (I dislike this word) beautiful woman with long hair who may be completely self-absorbed, immature, with an unexamined interior life; how about something new? How about not passing up on women with brown-to-dark skin, non-euro features, and short or natural hair?

There are a lot of brown-skinned, athletic, educated, well-employed, sci-fi loving, jazz (or opera) attending, vegetarian/vegan, nerd-girl types out there. Some of them are over forty too.

Stop blaming and start looking. Stop keeping it real and start actually being real.


Peace

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Who's to Blame?


It’s not his fault, it’s just his preference:

He prefers a slender body type.

He wants a woman who knows how to be a woman.

He prefers to be in charge in the relationship.

He prefers a woman who doesn’t criticize him.

He prefers a woman who is a ‘10’.

He prefers a woman who cooks his meals.

He likes it when a woman treats a man like a man.

He likes a woman who is always supportive of him.

He likes a woman who is not materialistic.

He wants a woman to accept him just the way he is.


From what I’ve read recently these are just some of the preferences of black men have with regard to relationships.

Which gives me pause, because…..if black women are constantly being told to “stop being so picky” or “put away your list of demands” and “you should just settle if you want a relationship”; then why aren’t men being told the same thing?

Is it just me, or isn’t the above mentioned list……well…..a list??

If black women have to give up some percentage of their list to have a relationship, then shouldn’t black men give up an equal percentage?

Well, some men will say, black women have superficial lists.

Really.

All black women.

In the U.S.

Riiight….

With the cloud of blame raining down the mountainside into the valley of black womenhood, black women may wonder what is the answer?

Buy more umbrellas? Build bigger boats?

Nope.

My suggestion. Migrate to another valley.

If, in all your wonderfulness, a man fails to check off all (or even most) of the items on his list (superficial or otherwise)….then keep it moving!!!

Do not. I repeat. Do not stand out in the rain trying to convince, cajole or persuade this guy you are the one for him.

I read somewhere (I really need to stop reading this dude’s blog) that since men will give an attractive women a chance…at sex, she really needs to drop her standards otherwise she will miss out on some decent guys.

*eyes blinking in a bewildered fashion*

Let me get this straight. Women. Need to drop their standards. So that a dud will give her a chance. To have sex with him.

*a really long pause*

(And yes I know I typed ‘dud’, I figured it was a Freudian typo so I left it alone)

Not a chance at a committed relationship or marriage.

Not a chance at seriously seeing where a relationship might go.

Sex.

You might have a chance at sex.

Is that all women should expect?

Seriously??!!!

My main point: Flee quickly from any man who does not desire to be equally yoked; equally involved; work equally as hard; be as equally committed and be as equally faithful in his interactions with you.

R. E. S. P. E. C. T. rhymes with

RECIPROCITY


Peace,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why I Choose Not To Settle

In perusing the blogosphere I have encountered (more than once) the notion than besides being angry, materialistic, overweight, emasculating and loud; black women are also too picky. Way too picky for their own good (i.e. biological clock). I have even read a few comments where the guys were a bit too gleeful at the thought of these way-too-picky women ending up at home on a Friday night, or having to hang out with her likewise too picky girlfriends because they wouldn’t give a brother a chance.

I once responded to a blog in reference to adopting a child while not being in a relationship. The blogger felt men where becoming an optional part of a family rather than a necessity. My comment regarded finding yourself beyond your biological ability to have children because the right relationship had not materialized. The blogger’s response to my comment was instead of holding out for whatever I was looking for, maybe I should settle.

I don’t know how that would work. What, I run across a guy who maybe is 60% consistent with what I am looking for and I just forget about the other 40%? I mean I am not talking anything as superficial as: he must be 6 feet 2 inches tall; have a ripped body; be drop dead handsome; drive an expensive car; make mid-six figures; blah, blah, blah. I may have thought like that when I was in HS or college (I didn’t…at least not regarding money and cars), but eventually I grew up!

What I am looking for are characteristics such as; compassion, respect; kindness, intelligence; curiosity; sense of adventure; connection to spirit; etc. If I settle, I get, what, four out of the seven listed above?! Each one of these is an essential trait!! They are not something I consider optional like height, color and amount of income. (Although, there must be an income, because if I’m working, everybody’s working!!!!)

I’ve dated guys who stopped seeing me because they felt they couldn’t compete with me because I made more money than they made (this is what he told me years later). Now if a guy will end a relationship because of money, how in this world would a relationship survive if one (or both) of us settled!!! Let’s understand, money to most men means power and control in a relationship (or it used to). In their minds, if the woman makes more money, guess who has the power?

Settling is not an option! At least not for me! Yes I may be single my entire life, but I am good with being single. Single looks good on me. I prefer singlehood to sharing my life with someone I don’t love; someone I don’t have a mental, emotional, spiritual, intellectual connection with. It’s not that I can do badly by myself; more to the point, I can do fabulously by myself!!!

Some people have the notion that being at home on a Friday night is a condition to be avoided like the plague. Being at home with yourself on a Friday night is not the end of the world. And if I want to go out on a Friday night guess what??? I. Go. Out.

{insert gasp of disbelief here}

Singlehood is not a fate worse than death, much like couplehood is not the answer the meaning of life. Settling for someone I don't love completely and unreservedly....now that sounds like a fate worse than death.


Peace

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Self Love 101

Can you list seven things you like/love about yourself? Seven things, be they physical, psychological, or spiritual. Perhaps you like the color of your eyes or the shape of your lips. Maybe you are a good cook - or a decent cook - or maybe you volunteer your time for a cause close to your heart. Perhaps you love working on cars or you like sewing. What you like/love about yourself could be that you offer babysitting services (free) to family and friends to help the parent(s) out. Maybe you care for your parents. Maybe you dance well, exercise regularly or you are well-read. It could be you are going back to school to get you BA or Master's. Any characteristics, attributes, values, activities, principles; whatever; will suffice.

Are you able to list seven? Can you list more than seven? Do some deep thinking and see what you come up with. Meditate, cogitate, ruminate....and post something in Comments. Once you complete your list, notice what made the list. Don't judge the list please! This is not a competition. The list is neither definitive or exhaustive. The list can change at any time, you are in control of the list.

Was the task easy? Did you think of your seven quickly? Or, did coming up with seven things you like about yourself take longer? Do you have seven items on your list? This exercise is about what you like/love about yourself. Don't let other people's opinions overrule what you think about you!!! This list is for you, by you, and about....you guessed it....you.

What's on my list?

Seven Things I Like/Love About Me (not in order of importance)........
1 Sense of humor
2 Love of reading
3 Commitment to family/friends
4 Open to new ideas
5 Gratitude
6 Healthy/fit body
7 Positive outlook

That's my list....at this moment anyway. Now it's your turn. Consider what your list contains and let her rip!!!

Peace & Blessings

Sunday, May 10, 2009

'Are You 'The One' You Have Been Looking For?

Shortly after publishing my previous post, it occurred to me it was useless to search for 'The One' if you had yet to learn to love yourself first. IMO it is hard (if not impossible) to love someone else if you do not love yourself. Especially in the romantic sense of loving someone.


If you do not love, value, honor and respect yourself, how can you love, value, honor, respect another human being? If you have not put these beliefs into practice for yourself, how can you put them into practice with someone else? If charity begins at home, then love begins with love of 'Self'. I do not mean an ego-driven, selfish, arrogant, possessive love. I mean loving yourself completely, unreservedly, openly! Pimples, wrinkles, gray (graying) hair and all! I mean loving yourself simply because you Are. Because you are alive. Because you are breathing. Because you know from your soul you are enough just as you are. Because, because, because, because, Bee-caaauuse!!!!

Do you love yourself? Do you like hanging out with yourself on a Friday and/or Saturday night? Do you live your life in the now? Have you been on that cruise you've been dreaming of...even if you aren't in some way coupled? Have you bought a house yet? What are you waiting for? And more importantly, WHY are you waiting?

What is the road map to loving yourself? Are you the love of your life? Are you 'The One' you have been waiting for?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Can See the Light....but Where's the Tunnel?

WooHoo!! First post!!!



I have been reading posts by bw empowerment bloggers about improving self and creating the relationships women desire and deserve. If you are a regular reader of such blogs then you will recognize some of the initials (bw = black women). If not, I'll try to remember to define each as I go or you can visit the first wave empowerment bloggers {deep bow} to see for yourself. If you don't want to read yet another blog espousing views about expanding the horizons and options of bw in life, the universe and everything else....well, don't say I didn't tell ya....



Everybody (or almost everybody) wants a relationship...right? Isn't everyone looking for The One? Doesn't everyone value a stable, committed, reciprocal, loving relationship? I am being only slightly facetious when I ask the question.



When we say we are looking for our soul mate/The One/love-of-my-life; what does that mean? If we agree a stable, committed, reciprocal loving relationship is the goal, what/where is the road map? Can we at least get some general directions? Since we cannot google-earth 'Me' as the starting address and 'The One' as the ending address, I appeal to you, dear reader, to propose ideas for a road map. I am not interested in a map to 'casual sex', 'friends-with-benefits', 'wifey' or any other pseudo-commitment. I mean a long term, stable, committed, reciprocal, loving relationship most often defined by marriage (views on that in another post).



If the 'light' in my title equals a long term, stable, committed, reciprocal, loving relationship, then the 'tunnel' equals the road map/general directions. Remember, if you do not agree that a long term, stable, committed, reciprocal, loving relationship is the goal, then submitting a post is a pointless exercise. Please wait for the post about marriage. Give this some serious thought.



What works in the search for a long term, stable, committed, reciprocal, loving relationship ?



Peace