The scripture that people need to study when it comes to judgment is John 7:24 then go back to all the others. John 7:24 says, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." Jesus was healing on the Sabbath and those who witnessed this felt like he was breaking a commandment. It's similar to what we do today, we see someone doing something that breaks a rule and rather than look at the deed as being righteous or unrighteous, we zero in on the rule rather than using good ole-fashioned common sense. So if a egocentric black man is parading around with riches, boasting about how much wealth he has, asking you to keep funding "God's kingdom," then you have to ask yourself who is he really working for self, devil and/or God? As we know a man can't serve two masters.
So why open this blog entry with statements about judging? Because right now we are in a season again of major things happening with televangelists like back in the day with Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Bakker except this time the characters are black. What a perfect time to bring these rich black men down during a time when the economy isn't doing well, huh? There are far too many jealous, racist non-black folks that can't stand the idea that there are cocky black men on television going so far as to say they are "like God" and believe "all path ways lead to God." When you play with the fire of fundamental Christian principles, expect to get burned!
It's one thing to be blessed and highly favored of the Lord, but it is quite another thing to be cursed and highly despised by man. These men we see on our television screens spouting off about topics that touch us emotionally are not touching us spiritually and God is angered with all of this. For years, I witnessed ministers take one sentence out of the Bible and build a sermon out of it. They would be talking 10% God talk and 90% our talk. I guarantee you if ministers would talk 90% God talk, they would never become a mega church--case in point look at Jesus' walk. All that "I" and "me" is nothing more than man's ego getting in the way. He has put himself on the throne and God at his feet and for that man (and woman) will suffer. We don't need a mega church minister to learn a lesson or two about how an out of control ego will cause a man's self destruction or do we? Look at what you do at home, workplace, or somewhere else. Are you preaching alot about "I" and "me." If so, you will fall too. Your relative, co-worker or friend wants to hear more "we" not "me"-- trust me, I know.
I don't like to put people on any seat especially one that judges and neither do I enjoy being judged. However, let's be honest here, how are you going to know what is right or wrong if no one ever gets called out on the carpet for anything? When do we hold people accountable? When do we stop empathizing with those who do wrong just because back in the day we did wrong? Come on now, is "keeping it real" really about running your mouth with a little bit of truth while looking the other way and talking behind people's backs?
Like I told a group at church last Saturday, if I see someone doing something wrong I wouldn't put that person's business out in the street in front of everyone, but I would pray about it, trust in the Lord on what to say to the person, then talk to them behind closed doors. You think he or she wouldn't talk to me about any wrongdoing? You know he or she would. Now if this person pulled that sorry combative statement about, "Don't judge me, look at you." I won't let that keep me from warning my sister or brother about the danger ahead (using myself or others as examples if need be to drive the point home,) but I will also take his or her negative reaction to mean I don't need to be casting my pearls to swine anymore while thinking of a few Proverbs about fools as I walk away.
So as you watch one minister after the other begin to fall like Dominoes, try real hard not to make it a color issue (although we know it is for some non-black groups especially the wealthy, gay ones) but know that God is allowing things to happen for his glory, not for man's! Sooner or later, someone or a group will wake up and see the error of their ways and will repent. Isn't that usually how the story ends?
Here is an example of what I mean.
I was born, raised, and still live in the South. Quite often, my parents used my siblings and me to fetch and carry for them. "Pam, bring me a glass of ice water." "Go put my plate in the sink." This in itself does not seem too bad, but I was expected to perform these tasks as if nothing gave me greater pleasure or I risked getting a whipping or received a threat of one for showing discontent. Don't get me wrong. I love my parents. They did the best they could for us, but a great many of their parental skills came from the legacy that was passed down to them straight from the cotton field, including a general disregard for my rights as an individual. Mostly, I was ordered to do things, not asked.
I'm not saying that my parents treated my siblings and me like Joe Jackson treated his children, but from personal experience, I understand some of what Michael Jackson went through as a child. To vilify Joe Jackson; however, without examining the slave system of behavior that he inherited too easily makes him a scapegoat for something far more sinister than he was capable of creating. Black education rarely includes studying how nearly 300 years of systemically imposed hatred for oneself has influenced the way we raise our children.
Here is another example.
I began working at the age of 14. I was very careful to be responsible with my money. My mother saw nothing wrong with taking my money to give to other family members who needed it. This was an attitude of hers. Her mother was the same way. They were both mothers of African descent with a heritage of communal living. Now, as an adult, I understand that for them, they were merely protecting their family; however, it is the method that I question. Where did they learn to take what did not belong to them without any feeling of wrongdoing? Wasn't the premise of American slavery that the fruits of a slave's labor belonged not to the slave, but the master?
What about my needs? Aren't they just as valuable as the needs of the other family members, especially since I earned the money? This is a very complex issue.
I love the concept of communal living. It can be so beautiful. It is how our ancestors survived slavery and segregation. Black people have a strong history of communities pooling resources to send one or two students to college in hope - not insistence - of them returning to help the community. They just wanted to see somebody make it. This was hope at its most fundamental level. As beautiful as this sentiment was, it created an unforeseen problem.
Communal living may have helped to fund the education of many blacks, but Western education dominated the curricula and it was and still is based upon individualism. Where is the balance? What has this imbalance done to our communities? For these questions, black education has yet to provide answers.
It is very popular today to deny that slavery still affects us. My childhood alone was enough for me to look into the matter. Perhaps you will reexamine your childhood. You too may find patterns that match the conditions forced upon our ancestors in both slavery and segregation.
Relative importance of the issue to public policies cannot be undermined. While the political history of the relationship between such desegregation and black student achievements are yet not documented, little doubts are left about their importance. Everyone including the federal officials and courts has now come to appreciate the importance of these particular social phenomena.
It all started in the year 1954 with the decision of Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. Three key decisions were involved. It had to turn around earlier ruling about the constitutional permissibility of "separate but equal" for whites and blacks. Secondly, it had to deal with racial inequality in educational institutions. Thirdly; it also decided that the history as well as meaning of the fourteenth amendment was inconclusive.
All these added up to bring out the momentous decision that "separate educational facilities were inherently unequal". It was appreciated that racial inequality plays havoc with the self esteem of children. Resultant sense of inferiority among the black children becomes detrimental to the motivation for learning. Equality in education was understood as providing equal opportunities in education free from racial considerations.
This resulted in reversing the age old theory of "separate but equal" and racism in education. Social science statement was making the identical connections between self esteem and the academic achievements. This also enables the experts to establish and emphasize a casual pattern where countable personality variables resulted in subsequent changes in all types of academic performances.
Brown case made a beginning that marked lower federal courts clearly appreciating that achievement test scores are clear evidence of inequalities in providing educational opportunities to black people. Finally, the scope of judicial remedies in school desegregation was dramatically expanded in the Milliken v Bradley case in 1977 by the Supreme Court.
As a result of this case the academic performance of the black became one of the primary concerns in judicial remedies against segregation offenses.
"Quincy Jones couldn't find just one black woman good enough to marry and bear his children," I wondered out loud while flipping through the pages of his autobiography. He said, "I do" to three white women to formalize a legitimate, committed relationship in the eyes of society. He implied to these women, "You are not just some woman whom I share a bed with when it's convenient. You're a co-partner of my dreams and all that I aim to be." What is missing in the black woman that prevents Quincy Jones from inviting her into his sacred space of matrimony? "What's wrong with us?" I tearfully asked myself.
Maybe Quincy Jones needed somebody to see him as he saw him self, long before there was tangible proof that he would be the revered musician he is today. He was raised in a society that saw him as a black man with boundaries and limitations. I think the average black woman would have been worried about the rent and the baby needing shoes. His role as provider would have taken precedence over some dream to play musical instruments in smoky, dark rooms late at night with beautiful free women; most of us, black women, would have wanted him to get a "real job."
When the wounded souls and broken spirits of black males and females come together, sometimes the union is filled with the heavy baggage of oppression and disappointment; leaving either party with little to give to the other. Because of the emotional, financial and social pressures of today, some blacks are not able or psychologically prepared to give each other the soul food that is needed to nourish our dreams of tomorrow.
I think it's less painful for us as black women to believe that black men desire white women because her hair blows in the wind and her eyes are sparkling blue. We want to believe this because we don't have to look within our own souls for answers that may be painful. We would then have to question our role as "superwoman" and self-righteous, martyrs. We don't want to believe that maybe it's not the stereotypes that we hear about white women being docile and sexually uninhibited. We chant to ourselves how we pay the bills, wash his clothes and cook his dinner, but when he steps out of line we are there with a tongue-lashing to make sure that he recognizes and appreciates our hard work.
As a black women, I wonder if sometimes we are too bitter when sweetness is in order; too stern when being laid-back would suffice and too hard when softness could do it so much better. Maybe it is impossible for us to give our men, what we are seeking to obtain for ourselves. Maybe it's difficult to trust with shattered faith, love unconditionally with a bruised heart and support someone else's dream with a broken spirit. Because the typical American white woman's past did not contain the same type of pain as the American black woman, her vision of the black man is not blurred with criticisms and expectations.
I don't believe that black men date white women because they are American symbols of beauty and feminism. I believe that in Quincy Jones' case he married, not white women, but women who could look within his heart and validate his highest image of himself. Maybe she was able to remind him that despite racial barriers in American society, her love is living proof that his soul is free to be whom and whatever he wants to be.
Cassandra George Sturges Psy.D is a mother of two teenagers, a full-time psychology instructor, advice columnists for Today's Black Woman Magazine, workshop presenter, and publisher of Authentik Beauty Magazine.
Today, many of these younger professional women are throwing the old taboos aside to pursue a life of happiness outside their own hue. The commonality of seeing a male athlete, entertainer, politician, or minister date or marry an Asian, Caucasian, or Latin female is a well-established social reality. However, eye-brows continue to lift as more women opt to do the same as men by dating outside their race in larger numbers than before. It is difficult to get substantive numbers on just how many are embarking on this new approach to fulfilling the desire to be happy in a relationship, but judging by the number of social groups, dating services, and blogs online, it is definitely popular.
During the 1990's we saw an influx of men dating Latin women in places like in the Southwest. The African American female was not as popularly sought after by these men, and this remains unclear. Now, we must understand that one region does not a country make. There are various elements that contributed to this gap between African American men and women and it all did not come about in one decade. A good percentage of males strayed from the path of prosperity in the 1980's due to the introduction of quick and easy money stemming from the drug trade. Thug-life was celebrated and later commercialized in music, and television. Hundreds of thousands of men fell victim to the lure and found themselves either behind bars or on the sideline of life watching others prosper. The women pushed themselves to attend school, rear children, and assume the roles of both father and mother. Others abstained until finishing school to find "Mr. Right" after going through or avoiding "Mr. Right Now". The number of men that might have had the aptitude to complete college experienced difficulty in qualifying for financial assistance due to prior convictions or being labeled as a felon. The opportunity arose to speak with some of these men who made it through the 1980's and 1990's to become successful unmarried professionals.
During informal discussions with several of these gentlemen, the subject came up about dating African American women and the responses were interesting. Physical features were never brought up such as good hair, lighter skin-tone, or incorrect grammar usage, common factors that some men who will not date African American women mention from time-to-time out of bias. The way they were treated in the past by other African American women during their earlier years seemed to have left a subtle residual anger. This lingering pain manifested into a preferential taste to respect them, but devalue them in respect to having a reminder of a not so pleasant experience in their lives. The interesting aspect of it all was that they would have intimate relations with them, but not marry or have children with them. So, from this perspective we can summarize that there are varied reasons that this romantic disconnect exist between the educated classes of African American men and women when it comes to relationships.
This leaves the professional black woman with limited options in that she is 3 times more likely to attend and finish college than an African American male according to United States Census 2008. And as of May 29, 2010 at 1:44 am, there are approximately 309,376,250 million people in the United States of which 37,131,771 million are African Americans. About 18.5% of females have at least a bachelor's degree with only 15.7% of males with degrees. The implications are that 2.80% of the female population with at least a bachelor's degree may be in search of a partner of sorts roughly. The total African American population with a high school diploma through a graduate or professional degree over the age of 25 years is about 22,166,023 million in the 2008 Census. From that group is where the aforementioned percentages are derived. This means that about 620,649 thousand women with bachelor's degrees or higher are in that pool of professional African American women without mates. So now there is a bit more clarity in respect to the imbalance in the male to female ratio of college educated African American females.
Now what does this mean? This group of 620,649 thousand women are faced with three options, either date a man that may not have the same educational level, remain single, or date outside her race. Statistically, it is logical that there is a shortage of men graduating from college to keep up with the demands of females. However, there is another factor that has to be considered, the current state of the economy that knocked many of these men out of positions in firms. This means that a more centric focus of personal survival is more appropriate than starting a family that could be seen as a liability from his perspective. Demographically, the bulk of these men and women are based east of the Mississippi River. So it could be further stated that the women that are opting to date interracially are from this group of 620,649 thousand women.
In my opinion, the reasons white American men find it difficult to approach black American women is partly due to stereotypes about black women. Unfortunately the stereotypes are distributed by mainstream media. Secondly, white men are often haunted by the "what-if" factor. The "what-if" factor is basically the fear of the unknown. Some popular "what-ifs" are: "what if she says no", "what if she laughs at me", "what if she doesn't like my white skin", "what if she has a boyfriend", "what if she only likes black guys" "what if she goes off on me"...well you get the picture. Thirdly, pressure from family and/or friends can sometimes be the cause for not getting involved with a black woman.
Now let's address these issues:
Stereotypes/Social Stigmas - Contrary to rap music, rap videos, VH1, BET and other "news-worthy" sources, black women are not gold-digging, over-sexed, man-eating hood rats. Nor do black women believe that every white man they come across sits on his front porch wearing a Klansman robe whittling wood. Until both parties understand, and acknowledge stereotypes for what they are, dating/marrying each other will continue to be difficult.
The "What if" Factor - Gentleman, rejection is a normal part of dating. You win some you lose some. Don't take it personal. For every black woman who says no, there will be 5 that will say yes. It's just that simple. Getting rejected by a black woman is no different from being rejected by a non-black woman. There are no 21 gun salutes, no fireworks and no explosions if a black woman turns you down!
Friends and Family - Pressure from friends and family is often the biggest opponent to white men dating black women. Don't fall into this trap and risk your happiness based on someone else's views and opinions. You may find yourself stuck in an unhappy situation always having regrets because you didn't follow your heart.
OK now that we got the underlining stuff out the way, on to the secrets of the approach:
In general we (black women) are socially conditioned to believe white men aren't attracted to us. Many times we miss the subtle clues that white men give out because we're used to the aggressive approaches that black men tend to display. However black women all over the country are starting to take notice of these clues, opening their minds and are responding in kind! With that being said, let's discuss a few scenarios:
Scenario 1- Grocery Store:
OK you see a hot black woman standing in the baking or pasta isle. As you approach her, make sure you're holding a food product in your hand. Start out by asking her a question about the product, such as "Excuse me, can you please give me some advise on xyz", or "Do you know how to cook xyz". Better yet, ask her an opinion about xyz product. Tell her you read a review on it and wanted to try it out. Another idea that works is to explain that your little niece asked you to pick up product xyz...or this is the first time you've actually cooked xyz... ask her for the baking time... so on and so forth. The point is, you're trying to make conversation without being overly aggressive or threatening. If you happen to be in the produce section, ask her if she knows how to cook fresh broccoli... or what's the difference between collard greens and mustard?. Tell her that you're a bachelor and you're planning a home-cooked meal for your mother... what doe she suggest you cook for the meal? During the little exchanges be VERY aware of her body language and her responses. If her responses are very short that means that she's either in a hurry or she's not interested. If she's giving you a lot of eye contact, smiling or trying to prolong her responses she's interested.
Scenario 2- The Mall/Clothing Store
Same premise as the above. You see an attractive black woman looking at clothes. You approach her with a sweater/shirt/tie. Ask her for an opinion on the style or color. Tell her that you got invited to a wedding... haven't worn a suit in while... how does xyz look on you? Say you're picking up something for a little brother, sister, a nephew. Anything that will give her the impression that you need her advise. Look for wedding rings, ring marks or any other clues that will give you the impression that she's single or interested.
Scenario 3- Eye Contact
Nothing irritates us more than a white guy staring and NOT saying anything (or staring and looking away). This is probably the biggest complaint that I hear from black women constantly. Fellas you have to master the art of "eye flirting". It's imperative if you don't want to look like a pervert or a loser. If you want her to know that you want her, throw a few lingering glances her way followed up with a flirty grin. Better yet, if you find yourself in awe of a beautiful black woman try the "triangular formulation". This involves looking at a woman eye to eye, then down to a woman's mouth and chin, down to the rest of her body and back up to her eyes again. Sexy!
In conclusion, if you're shy or are having a hard time meeting eligible black women in your area, try online dating sites that cater to interracial dating. This helps weed out the women who don't date white guys and saves you a lot of time and hurt feelings. It also builds up your confidence. Remember the purpose of online dating is to eventually meet someone. Don't use this method as a social crutch. Most of all have fun and don't take things personally!
Your natural tresses can be styled in many ways. Treating your hair gently whenever styling it is important to keeping it healthy and helping it retain length. When you style your hair be sure to comb it out slowly and gently. Before detangling put a product into your hair that provides a lot of slip. This is to help the comb slide more easily through your hair so you'll see less breakage. Use a wide tooth comb that doesn't have rough seams that will snag and cause breakage.
Use appropriate products that will nourish and not dry your hair when you style it. There are many products on the market today that are made specifically for naturals. There are also many natural oils and butters you can use.
Braids are very popular natural styles. You can wear braids in a variety of ways. You can wear box braids or plaits. Just section your hair and braid it into many individual braids. You can make the braids as big or small as you like. Cornrows are braids that are close to the scalp. They can be done in many different different complicated or simple styles.
Twists are my favorite protective styles. Twists can be done with two strands or three strands. You can also do single strand twists or comb coils. Twists can be done in individual sections like box braids or along the scalp in flat twists.
Bantu knots are like lots of little buns on your head. You take a section of hair and twist is around on itself until it forms a small bun or knot on your head. You can wear all of your hair in Bantu knots or you can wear only a section in them.
Straightening your tresses is another option. If you use limited amounts of heat your can avoid causing damage to your hair. You can get away with safely straightening your hair if you don't do it too often.
Rod sets are great for making many springy curls in your hair. You can use regular rod curlers and setting lotion to set your hair.
Up-dos are great protective styles that can be worn on a regular basis. French twists and buns can be worn as up-dos.
Wearing your hair down is another great option. You can wear an easy wash-and-go style. You can also wear your hair in a blow out or an Afro. You can put your hair in a high ponytail at the top of your head when you sleep at night to keep your curls fresh and give you second-day hair.
This is one of those things that are rarely mentioned and should be to avoid a disastrous relationship for the young man and to avoid mother-in-law conflict in the future. The African American mother maybe younger, inexperienced, and in some ways uncertain about her future and by asserting more control over the behavior of their son to avoid him getting into trouble is a measure that is designed for his safety. Issues after divorce or with the child's father may also play a role in this disposition, but in any case, it is incumbent for the mother to recognize that her strengths may lead to his weakness if he enters the world in a passive state. Now, some mother do go about delegating responsibility to their sons in an effort to familiarize him with the weight of being an adult, but this responsibility is useless if it is not also used as a learning opportunity as well.
The goal for the African American mother is to construct a path for the both of them that will reaffirm their bond as parent and child, create admiration and respect for the two of them, and develop a means to make a life-long support system for the two of them. It should be noted that hundreds of thousands of African American women go through the trials of being a single parent and therefore it is just as important to remains elective about the men they bring into their lives. The person that the African American woman chooses to share her life with is going to have an impact on the child and therefore the selection should be one that has a future to promote both she and the child.
The likelihood is that the African American female will have sustainable employment according to the statistics derived from the latest US Census and this means that she would need a man who has a job or at least skills and education to support her efforts to better both she and her child's lives. Finding a man with less than that is clearly a liability to all parties. She should seek someone who enlightens and can assist with learning and structuring a life plan for the child. This life-plan consists of values, morals, responsibilities, and goals. Also, the African American mother has a responsibility to remain faithful, caring, supportive, and a great, not good mother. The child she rears will be an assessment of her contribution to the world.
By having a talk with her young man before the age of 18 years to explain the differences in her approach to teaching him and the approach of other women who may try to take advantage of him should be stressed. If she does not or forgets to do so, she will be speaking to him about personal matters that he should be discussing with his wife or girlfriend. This is a common occurrence, because the mother will find herself having to coach her son to counter the authoritative nature of his spouse or live interest. Women in the world assess a man sometimes by how much she can openly get away with, and if she sees that he is passive in nature or too kind in many respects, abuse is bound to occur. No mother wants to see this happen to their sons and in order to prevent this, they should take time and examine this possibility. Most mothers may notice this when their sons date in high school by demanding girlfriends.
The goal of any mother is to make their little man the best one she could create for the world to enjoy, his skills, talents, and abilities that promotes growth, prosperity, and positive living.
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African American Planet: Relationships, Education, Products & Lifestyle by Nicholl McGuire is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at africanamericanplanet.blogspot.com.
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