Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Inner Slum, Part 2: Micro-Aggression

Macro-aggressions are obvious, belligerent, hateful behaviors that are easily identified by all involved as hostile. Macro-aggressions tend to be infrequent. The risk is usually too great for most people to routinely engage in macro-aggression. Instead, they engage in micro-aggression. Micro-aggressions are more subtle forms of belligerent, hateful behavior. Because they are more subtle, micro-aggressions are harder to pinpoint and confront. In fact, they are usually invisible. Their invisibility means that most people only notice their cumulative effects: weariness, tension, and stress.

Physical slums are filled with non-stop acts of micro-aggression. In Part 1 of this series, I mentioned the traffic disruptions caused by drivers stopping in the middle of traffic to throw gang signs at pedestrians. This is micro-aggression because (on the surface) the purpose of the behavior is to throw the gang signs, not necessarily to hinder other drivers. Micro-aggressions are usually passed off as examples of people being inconsiderate of others. However, there's really much more to it than that. Micro-aggression is really about free-floating hate and rage. It's a lack of consideration coupled with a "Screw you" undercurrent.

Physical slums are filled with non-stop acts of micro-aggression.

Most Black residential areas (no matter the income level) are filled with pervasive acts of micro-aggression.

Most African-Americans (no matter the income or educational level) have inner slums filled with micro-aggression. Micro-aggression is a slum value that the vast majority of us carry around with us, no matter where we go in life.

I know that many people will reject this assertion. After all, this sort of behavior is not congruent with our self-image. Surely, most of us must be light years beyond the fool in the thugmobile who's throwing gang signs. I beg to differ. Here's why:

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." If excellence is a habit, then what about squalor? We are what we repeatedly do. Our habits show who we really are. What do your everyday habits say about you? Are you willing to examine what your everyday habits say about you? Here are some common situations to consider:

1. Are you a driver who stops in the middle of the street to hold conversations out of the driver's side window? Or do you pull over?

2. When you go to somebody's home to pick them up, do you pull over to the side of the street? Or do you block traffic behind you while waiting for that person to come out?

3. As a pedestrian, do you slow your walking pace while crossing the street?

1. When you see that someone has pulled over to wait for the parking space that you're about to leave, do you delay leaving the spot?

2. When you're looking for a spot in a parking garage, do you block all the drivers behind you by trailing after pedestrians who might (or might not) be walking to their car? Or do you keep driving until you get to a level that has empty spaces?

1. When you see people walking toward the elevator you're on, do you hold it open for them? Or do you passively watch the elevator doors close in their faces?

2. When you're waiting for an elevator, do you jump on the first one that arrives without checking the arrows to see which direction it's headed; and then once inside press a button to take it in the opposite direction?

3. In the morning, do you get on the elevator while juggling an open paper cup of coffee, so you can sip the coffee while riding? Are you frequently willing to take the risk of this open coffee spilling on the other passengers?

I could go on, but you get the idea. Are you willing to take a step back and consider what your daily habits say about you? If you don't like what you see, are you willing to make some changes?


DeStouet said...

Damn! I was taken aback by this posting especially when you quoted Aristotle. The way you broke down micro-aggression and macro-aggression in their purest forms.

I must admit when I was younger I did a number of those examples you listed. I had a chip on my shoulder, and it led me to be very inconsiderate to the universe and the people who occupy it. Not anymore though. I'm considerate of others because they deserve it and because it is what is required of me. (that's another matter)

I strive for joy and harmony in my life and so I have to stay on the path to those things. I still struggle like many of us, some days are harder than the others but I never stray from the path. Even reading this post made me "check" myself today because I still have further to go.

I think it was very important for you to break down the behaviors of micro-aggression because it is prevalent in the middle class community where we're free from certain things but we still carry other things in our spirit. I see so much of that where I live.

But in all fairness, most people only strive to get out of the ghetto, very few people strive for excellence.

I may have more to say later.

Khadija said...

Welcome, DeStouet!

Thank you for your kind words about this post. I've got my own problem with retaliatory aggression. I'm often tempted to do things in response to micro-aggressions that keep the negativity going. I work with the public. It's a daily challenge for me; I often have to "check" myself.

I think that this is an important subject because most Black folks routinely engage in micro-aggressions that make us extremely unpleasant people to have around.

It's NOT always racism that explains why other people don't want us anywhere near them (no matter what our income & educational level).

There are some legitimate reasons for other people not wanting us in their environment. Most of us are carrying things in our spirits that make our presence a MAJOR BURDEN.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DeStouet said...

A lot of what you are talking about has to do (in my opinion) with the spiritual world. It's very easy to move up the ladder to success but it's by far more difficult to purify the soul. The examples you gave were chilling.

You asked about our habits, and yes, I am willing to examine myself and make sure my motives are pure. There is no other way for me to live. I am really unhappy about the state of the world, so I strive to be the kind of person I would like to meet. It doesn't always work for me (I am a writer) but people normally appreciate it.

Okay, I'm done...i think.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hey there Khadija!

I am willing to examine my habits.

Playing music in the car at a ridiculously loud volume is also common.

If sounds can be heard from OUTSIDE of the car then it is infringing on someone else. How often have we heard music just blaring at outrageous decibels through neighborhoods and the person doesn't feel they are being rude at all?

I have lost count of the number of blogs I visit in the black blogosphere where the blog host has to warn people who visit to "stop stealing" and to "show respect for other persons".

I posted a sign at MY own blog that states "you are a guest in my house". Why do my people have to be TOLD THIS?!

There is an entitlement to disrespect and an entitlement to disregard. We can't just call it "rudeness" because the mentality underlying it is much deeper.

There is a difference in being rude because you were not thinking through your actions and when you are blatantly feeling ENTITLED to disrespect and to disregard.

There are men who do not think that leerinh at a woman who is passing by making any noises at her whatsoever is RUDE and DEMEANING. Outbursts such was "daaaaang!" or "yo baby you fine!" or "mmmmm mmmm!" are inappropriate and extremely rude. This way of engaging with women borders on sexual aggression.

I don't even think that men giving compliments to women who are passing by is usually appropriate. Most men don't know how to compliment. They do not realize that it is disrespectful to mention a woman's body parts at all. It doesn't matter if they are admiring them. I know plenty of women who don't know it is disrespectful for a man to do this. They are immune to being disrespected it seems.

I have a lot to say on that issue but we need to put it out there.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Khadija said...


You've jumped ahead in what I hope to discuss in this series! *Smile* I hope to write about self-purification at some point. Before we can truly cleanse our hearts/minds/spirits of certain things, we have to recognize these things as "dirt."

Collectively, Black folks are carrying a LOT of dirt that is currently invisible to most of us.

I also find the examples I gave disturbing. Especially since I see many of the same (Black) colleagues at work doing these behaviors EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Peace and blessings.

Hello there, Lisa!

The sense of entitlement to disrespect & disregard others that you're describing is the "Screw you" factor I mentioned.

I stayed away from the numerous loud music examples because I wanted to avoid describing behaviors that can be written off as "mostly committed by 'hood rats'---that's not me." I wanted to describe the sort of micro-aggressions that "normal," middle-class Black folks are likely to routinely engage in.

In terms of many men's interactions with women, that's a whole other chapter of aggressive acts! You're correct that many men don't know how to give a "compliment"/compliment without it being offensive, or (at a minimum) intrusive.

One of my pet peeves is when men feel entitled to tell women wearing blank expressions to "Smile." When I get hit with that instruction, I usually ask the guy whether or not he instructs other men to smile. And why not.

Peace and blessings.

Chi-Chi said...


I live in a predominantly Black neighborhood and I encounter this behavior all the time. Thank you Khadija because I never realized that this is not just rudeness or inconsideration but microaggression. There have been times in the past when neighbors will keep their music blasting well past midnight. It poses a real conundrum for me because on the one hand, I don't want to have to call the cops but I don't feel comfortable going over and talking to them. You have helped me identify why I never feel comfortable just approaching the neighbor--because there really is aggression behind the act of playing really loud music at all hours of the night. I felt it in my spirit but you put it into words. I thought I was being a coward or un-neighborly or "uptight" or uncool but it is them that is being the aggressor not me who is just trying to put my babies to sleep.

When I read through the checklist, I was just stunned at how much of that behavior I deal with regularly in this community of mine. And somewhat relieved that I rarely participate. Still, you are so right to remind me to step back and take a look at my habits (those things I hardly think about before doing), examining them, getting to the root of why I do them and changing. These are times for changing.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Chi-Chi!

You're welcome!

Oh yes, there is plenty of aggression behind these behaviors. There's also a lot of HATE behind them. Black folks generally have the collective self-image of being a "loving" people.

Ummm...NO. When you step back & look at how "normal," "upscale" members of our group behave on a routine basis, you can see the pervasive free-floating hatred & rage.

And no, if it was me I wouldn't approach the neighbor you mentioned. There is NO productive way to engage with these nuts about their behavior. And you mentioned that you have children. Any attempt to dialogue with aggressors about their micro-aggressions will usually lead to an escalation of their negativity.

Be aware of this fact while weighing the pros & cons of attempting to reason with such persons. At times, I've approached people about their micro-aggressions. But I did this fully aware that I was risking an escalation.

This can be potentially life-threatening. Especially when dealing with other Black people. We all have moments of engaging in rude, inconsiderate behavior. There's a world of difference between momentary lapses in character, and engaging in a pattern & practice of micro-aggressions.

This is why at this point, I generally believe that sensible, non-aggressing Black folks need to evacuate Black residential areas. And let 3rd parties like the police deal with the nuts & the nuisances they create, while preparing to evacuate.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

focusedpurpose said...

hi there Khadija-

i love your blog! thank you, again for starting it:-)

yes, i am willing/consistently looking at myself. daily, i challenge my natural inclination to act or respond in a certain way. some days are more successful than others.

i, too, strongly dislike for strange men to instruct me to smile. i have been successful thus far in not instructing them to dance!

recently, i had occassion to encounter a young sister that insisted on having an extremely personal loud cell phone conversation in public. i was so mortified that i chose to address her. i politely invited her to exhibit self respect and class. she responded by looking ashamed and moving out of my earshot. mission accomplished.

of course, as you said, i understood fully that she could have also chosen to read me the riot act as well. my strong desire to shut down her vh1 caricature of a black woman was stronger than my concern for escalated aggression.

you make very keen, insightful points. thank you.

blessings sis,

Sister Seeking said...

Salaam'Alaikum/ Peace and blessings upon everyone:


Outstanding article sista! Messages like this are often discarded in our temples, synagogue's, churches, and masjids in favor of "prosperity" theology, and politics--money and power DO corrupt the soul with out fear of God and reverence for the commandments to safeguard our souls from egocentricity. Being a practicing Muslim, I strive on a daily basis to eliminate my ego, understanding the universe doesn't resolve around me--I strive through my daily prayers to get beyond myself, and live for a higher calling. What I find so twisted and yet ironic is that we( black folks) seem to believe that climbing the corporate ladder is the solution to all of our issues neglecting the science of purification in the process. To be fair, this is a struggle of humanity, and has been here since the beginning of time.

"There are some legitimate reasons for other people not wanting us in their environment. Most of us are carrying things in our spirits that make our presence a MAJOR BURDEN."

As a person who grew up in both white and black foster families I understand this sooo very well. It was in my foster care experienced that I finally saw and understood the cultural differences of white people. I dreaded having to live in black foster homes... Had few abusive white foster homes but the majority of the white foster homes were LOVING. I mention all this to point out the micro-aggression that occurs in so many of our families. When I became a mother, and lost my own biological mother in the same year I began to reflect about the micro-aggression( by once cent word would be evil or cruelty) many black mothers exhibit toward their flesh and blood. Education, training, and wealth can't eliminate it. Evil, and hatefulness can't be dressed up in a pin stripe suite with a nice weave. I shared my observations, and feelings with another black woman who accused me of self-hatred, and dismissing the normative power struggles all mother/daughter relationships experience. She believed I felt this way becuase I'd never been exposed to "nice" educated black women... Give me a break! I'll conclude this by saying that there are wild animals who upon hunger, forgetfulness, or rage eat their new born babies...

@ Lisa

"I don't even think that men giving compliments to women who are passing by is usually appropriate. Most men don't know how to compliment. They do not realize that it is disrespectful to mention a woman's body parts at all. It doesn't matter if they are admiring them. I know plenty of women who don't know it is disrespectful for a man to do this. They are immune to being disrespected it seems."

You "aint" never lied honey!

I personally attribute this behaviour to the anarchy in our family systems. This statement reminds me of an Arabic proverb that states: "the child that does not learn adab(manners) can not learn at all." Which brings me to a dreadful realization: until these men are re-educated or re-socialized based on a meritorious code of chivalry all of the other problems our community has experienced at the hands of black men will not go away.


Khadija said...

Good Morning, Focused Purpose!

You said, "I, too, strongly dislike for strange men to instruct me to smile. I have been successful thus far in not instructing them to dance!"

{gales of laughter} Thanks, sis, for providing my early morning laugh! And thank you for your kind words about the blog. I truly appreciate it.

Congratulations on your successful intervention with the young sister performing a "vh1 caricature of a BW." Like I said earlier, I will occassionally intervene with these aggressors. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

What's really difficult for me is to assume a neutral demeanor for these interventions. What I REALLY want to say is, "Stop that f****** s***!" Whew...

Peace and blessings.

Wa Alaikum As Salaam, Sister Seeking!

Yes, even in our houses of worship, we're generally talking about anything & everything EXCEPT self-purification. It's a travesty.

You are also correct about the intra-family hateful behaviors on display in too many Black "families." I put that word in quotation marks because when such a grouping is NOT supportive or nurturing, is it accurate to call it a "family"?

I've watched how a lot of us are more likely to feign consideration for strangers (there might be consequences otherwise); yet feel free to totally disregard those people who are the closest to us (usually no consequences attached). This is crazy AND savage. One should act well in all settings, but one should also reserve the best treatment for one's own family.

Peace and blessings.

Ensayn1 said...

Khadija, this is a fantastic post. Without self examination, without self love, without self cleanliness, without self internal cleanliness there will be no forward movement for Black people and for people in general. I remember being younger, without self examination, and holding up traffic while talking to someone or playing loud music in my car for all to hear, yet never related it to any kind of aggression. In fact it was. In 1995 I went on a self imposed spiriutal journey that was totally about the beginning of cleansing my internal self, and I am still on that journey and will be on it until the day I transition from this realm of life. Our outter world is a reflection of our inner thoughts. We are what we think we are. We are what we repeatedly do because of what we think we are.

I am a man, full on no doubt. However, I am conscious about my life and the women around me. I have three daughters, which only enhanced my awareness of how women are treated in our society. I think this mal-treatment of women starts at a early age. I remember one of my daughters telling me that while she was riding the MARTA (train system here in Atlanta) a boy around 9 years old told her she was pretty. When he reached his stop he got up bent over and kissed her on the cheek and ran off the train. I felt bad for her, and even felt he maybe exhibiting an early tendency to be a rapist At the same time I admonished her for not being more aware of people around her no matter their age going forward. I rarely compliment women I don't know and I am very careful about the way I compliment women I do know and those I don't. I think some men are masking some individual weakness, some undercurrent of homosexual tendency or have never considered women as an equal human being when they yell out things to women, or tell women to smile. Most egregious to me are the men that stop what they are doing, get up and follow a woman and stare at them and come back humming, ummmph, ummmph, ummmph.
These men are the ones most often remembered by women on their daily commute and we all feel the brunt of these mens actions. Its really sickening and quite destructive.

Khadija said...

Good Morning, Ensayn!

I looove the way you think! "Self internal cleanliness," indeed. I like that phrase! I'll have to borrow it.

I have to do continuous self-examination: I've got a LOT of rage (with more than a smidgen of self-righteousness mixed in) bubbling around inside. Which is why (unless it's a physical situation) I use a 3-second rule. I don't let myself respond to most things until after 3 seconds have passed. So I have time to stop myself before I say/do something unhelpful with the situation.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Greetings, Khadija!

I can think of some examples recently about micro-agression and so forth. This is not a white or black thing. It is everywhere, the lack of consideration: Me, Me, Me.

It is the young Latina in the huge monster truck, blocking me as I'm trying to get out of my parking space at the supermarket. She then pulls out into the turn lane (for exiting the parking lot) and proceeds to do whatever she was doing, rather than pull into a parking spot and take care of her business.

I regularly go to the local YMCA, and it is fascinating to see the dynamics, especially around use of the television remote controls that are located in the area where I exercise.

Talk about serious micro-aggression. Grown women (white) fighting over changing the channel, rather than saying to themselves and to the others nearby, it is not mine, but it is for all of us to look at.

I just watched them and shake my head.

Yet, at the same time, trying to model appropriate behavior. Yesterday, one of the women asked whether I was watching the broadcast (a news report). I said yes, and so she watched with me.

Because I had been watching for a while before she got in, I then offered her the remote, asking her whether she wanted to change the channel. She didn't want to.

She was surprised, asking me whether I was leaving. I said no, it is a matter of sharing. I could see her watching me afterwards. I guess she never saw someone offer to share. Quite sad, isn't it?

Beyond that, I have seen people fight over using the one machine they signed up for, because someone went ahead and used it. Did the person not know about the importance of signing up? Perhaps. Yet, fighting over it, when there are three or four other machines just like the one signed up for, but which are sitting idle.


Anonymous said...

Another micro-aggression (in my opinion) is sucking one's teeth for hours on end after the meal has ended. Like running fingernails down a chalkboard.


DeStouet said...

@sister seeking,

I wanted to elaborate a little bit on the experience of being raised in the system (I was brought up in shelters, group homes, boarding schools, foster homes, and mental institutions). I first began to understand the cultural differences at that time as well. I make no apologies for recognizing that it was two white men who "saved" me BUT I was prepared by the hands of black folks before that time.

I laughed when you stated dreading being in black foster homes because I felt the same way. I noticed that my white foster parents had many of the same issues as my black foster parents; it was just packaged differently. And at the time that made all of the difference in the world to me. There houses were nicer, the schools I attended were cleaner and their neighborhood were much quieter. But I had major behavioral issues and had to be removed from their home. From there it was either Vision Quest or a group home in Pa and I opted for the group home.

There I met the man who planted seeds in my mind and watered them for the better part of ten years. He was a black elder who took me under his wing and pulled out all the stops. I was a very angry child BUT he saw something in me and nurtured that.

Eventually, from his teachings I learned to always "look inside of the heart."

I now live in a predominately white middle class community, my daughter attends a blue ribbon school and I find that for the most part in order to "fit in" with most other middle class black families in this neighborhood, you have to constantly "dog" those in the class below you. Now this I don't get...let me give you an example.

Do you remember when Blood Diamonds the movie was released? Well, of course we all (middle class blacks) sat around a nicely prepared meal discussing the movie, and for some reason "thugs" and "rappers" were the most hated vile people in this world. How dare they buy these $200,000 diamond necklaces when it was killing Africans in Sierra Leon everyday? Did they not know what they were doing? I hated to be the one to break it to them but they can not be to blame for what was taking place over there. Sure, "hip-hop" artists are playing a small part now BUT there are wealthy non white families with old "stanky" money that is directly responsible for most of those deaths. Goldmans, Sachs, DeBEERS, etc. For them to make "rappers" and "thugs" the scapegoat and the only ones responsible for the deaths in Sierra Leon, and Angola and try to ignore the part that white people has played was a bit insulting and down right naive. I don't like people like that.

In my opinion, the more that people, churches, families and organzations get away from the spiritual side of things the easier it becomes to "hide" behind materials, wealth, education and careers. That is why this posting was so important to me. I admit, I get lost amongst people with so many degrees, and titles. I become confused when a person asks me to judge them according to what they possess, when they should be DEMANDING me to peek into their heart. I dismiss those individuals.

Evia said...

Khadija, I LOVE your piercing eye and the succinct way you've dissected and labeled this type of behavior that's so common to many black folks. Many things are not real to some people until they have a name, so thanks for this.

For ex., I've been finding it increasingly hard to attend the black church that I joined because the bm minister there displays lots of these micro aggressions which is aimed mostly at black women at the church because most of the congregation is bw. I missed church one Sunday earlier this month, and another woman told me that he went off on a tirade about how so many "sluts" and "hussies" are sitting up in the church and how when he was younger and "not saved", he had slept with a lot of sluts and hussies. She said he went into crude detail about some of his escapades with some of these sluts and hussies. His wife was also absent that Sunday, so he had fun talking to all of the women there about how promiscuous he used to be.

She said these derogatory terms were sprinkled throughout his message that day, so he used them repeatedly. This woman was very upset because she knew he was using his sermon as a shield to verbally abuse the bw sitting in the pews.

I was upset about this and told her that every single bw should have gotten up and walked out of the church. They didn't. Instead they got up and paid their tithes. I have decided I will walk out when he does it the next time.

I know there's no point in talking to him about his language because he will just claim he was "telling the truth" and that if any of us is not a slut or hussy, we shouldn't be upset. I don't want to get into a confrontation with him, so I will just walk out and avoid him when at all possible. This is usually how I deal with folks like him. I used to like some of his message, but he's wearing on me.

I will definitely share with the women in my women's group how they're very often the victims of this "micro-aggression." Some of them are victims of macro aggression, so they don't even think about the micro stuff. Awareness is a good thing.

DeStouet said...


You have a powerful voice and I would suggest that you think about confronting him (if you feel comfortable and strong enough) the next time you attend service. Not personally but addressing the entire church. I had to this one Sunday when I live in Georgia.

I went to a predominately white church and every Sunday black youth were bused in from other parts of the city. Now some of these children had some behavioral problems that some of the elders at the church were afraid to address to the children personally so every Sunday before/after church they complained to everyone who would listen. And this went on for the better part of a month.

Well one Sunday I asked to speak and when I stood up at the microphone I told all of the elders it was a disgrace to complain about the children's behavior when it was their duty to make sure they behaved in the chapel. I suggested that instead of complaining, as they noticed behaviors that needed correcting or were not acceptable they should address it immediately, and nip it in the bud. I then asked was there anyone who was scared of the children. No one raised there hands, and then I proceeded to address the children. I let them know that their behavior would not be tolerated anywhere except at home. And let them know that if they needed someone to talk to we would begin counseling, but it was a two way relationship.

I saw changes immediately.

Those women in your church need to hear what you have to say. Many of them know that the message was tainted and poisonous, but like you said they paid their tithes anyway. Putting a name to these things like Khadija did helps us. I am not sure if you can just voice your disgrace with this minister without harming yourself.

I wish you all the best.

Khadija said...

Welcome, Pioneer Valley Woman!

No, this isn't an either/or Black/White sort of thing. The same way out of wedlock/illegitimate/bastard children aren't a Black/White sort of thing. There are non-Blacks who have children out of wedlock. However, I've never heard of any other group of people who have the vast MAJORITY of their children out of wedlock.

The prevalence of a dysfunctional behavior makes all the difference in the world. I've watched non-Blacks in my current majority non-Black suburb commit micro-aggressions. However, non-Black middle-class areas don't have the PERVASIVE atmosphere of micro-aggressions as Black middle-class areas.

Another difference between others & us is that Blacks consistently commit these aggressions against people we know, see, and interact with everyday (neighbors, coworkers, etc.). That takes it to a whole other level than behaving poorly with strangers & near-strangers.

Peace and blessings.

Welcome, Stealthkitty! The list of micro-aggressions is potentially endless.

Peace and blessings.

Welcome, Evia!

Thank you for your kind words about this post. I've read psych articles that mentioned the terms "macro-aggression" & "micro-aggression." But I've never heard these behaviors discussed in the context of the madness that goes on among Black folks.

You've discussed the same phenomenon, only in slightly different terms. You've discussed the (in effect) vampires who are draining BW's spirits a little bit at a time. And how weakened & drained this leaves BW.

Whatever label is used, these behaviors are basically daily assaults against people's dignity, hearts, minds, and souls. Some other cultures perceive these behaviors as attacks upon a person's honor. Whatever the behaviors are called, they leave wounds.

One really bad aspect of this is that these attacks have become "invisible" to most of us. We accept these behaviors as within the "normal" range. This perceived normality has BW conditioned to seek out & go to places WHERE THEY ARE CERTAIN TO BE ATTACKED! Such as many (most?) Black churches & mosques.

Peace and blessings.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

@ Evia

Hi there! {waves}

Whenever I hear women mentioning to me that they are in a so-called church (which is probably a church mafia) where women are being bashed and disrespected and intimidated into being non-confrontational, I have to ask:
"why do you return? why?" Are there NO OTHER places to worship God?

Walking out on one sermon is not the same as withholding ALL financial support of these organizations and leaving them desolate.

I want to encourage black women to LEAVE these settings completely...not just for one Sunday.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

PioneerValleyWoman said...

That story about the minister. Too, too foul!

Funny, how in his younger days he was all up with them and their sinfulness, but no corresponding criticism of himself, it seems. It is all on the women. If the women are sl*ts, etc., then he was a wh*remonger!

Typical of how some men think. He could have gotten the same message across by talking also about male responsibility and respect for women, but without vilifying and disrespecting the women he was speaking to. And I bet the black women were the majority of his audience. If they all left, it would have really given him a message.

As for the micro-agression coming to be seen as normal, Gina on what about our daughters wrote about a video that came out recently on black women and street harassment.

Some posters, who appeared to be bm, responded, well, black men are constantly harassed by the police and the streets are dangerous to them too.

They seemed incapable of even recognizing that black women could be victims of black men.

Once again, typical.

Think about what that assertion can mean--"well black men are victims too":

1. If they are victims, their behavior victimization of black women is understandable.

2. If they are victims, their victimhood matters more than that of black women.

No recognition that perhaps black men who might become victims of street violence, ie. at the hands of the police or other men, should be careful not only to prevent themselves from becoming victims, but they should refrain from victimizing others, especially the women in their midst.

But again, microagression--there are a lot of angry people out there, and with respect to black women and street harassment, these angry men are displacing their anger onto women--they are easy "targets."

Khadija said...

Greetings, Pioneer Valley Woman!

I've haven't (yet) watched the video itself that you mentioned, but I did follow that discussion over at Gina's blog ("What About Our Daughters"---it's on the sidebar).

I was angered but not surprised by the initial response of the BM commenters. I see the same pattern with the violent predators that I've represented: competing for victim status.

What many BW don't seem to comprehend is that we encourage this worldview ("any victimization of BM is more important than BM's victimization of BW") by repeating popular ideological talking points.

In fact, this (and some other conversations I've overheard and participated in) leads me to my next post: "Reality Check: What the Black Underclass is Really All About."

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Sister Seeking said...

Peace and blessings:


My apologies for my delayed response!

I've been sick like a dog!

I'm glad to hear that a former foster made it out of the system, and is successful! Praise be to the Lord of the Universe for that. Your story reminds me so much of my own... I attribute my peace, stability, and healthiness to having been "spiritually' adopted a black American Muslim doctor. She did more for me than any one in my life ever did in such a short period of time. Real mentor-ship is stewardship or disciple ship. I often think that the root of the micro-aggression Khadijah speaks about is the inability or failure of parents to properly humanize or socialize their children. My belief is that the "revolution" is not in a corporation but in a home--a real home, where people know and understand the system and sciences of family life.


Anonymiss said...

I'm guilty of #2 with the elevator section.

I know it's wrong, but I get off on the 22nd floor and there are 5 other elevators. When others let the elevator doors close in my face, I don't feel bad cuz I understand :-)

I also have a habit of hitting the "close" button once I get on the elevator. I say to myself "Let's make this express." I've seen White ppl do this in the office building as well but I get what you're saying about our micro-aggressions.

I also had a habit of blaring music in my car but I made sure to do it only in the daytime. So much for rational thinking, LOL! I do blare my iPod at times and that's because of my public transit pet peeves.

Khadija said...

Welcome, Anonymiss!

We're all doing things that are not congruent with our self-image. It's just that we normally turn a blind eye to our own actions.

Now that you've put your internal spotlight on some of these behaviors, the only question is whether you choose to persist in them.

That's the question that we all answer with the choices that we make everyday.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.