Thursday, October 9, 2008

True Fellowship is The Best Quality of Life Insurance, Part 1

Rev. Lisa Vazquez, the blog host of Black Women, Blow the Trumpet! (listed on the sidebar), is hosting an extremely important conversation in her latest post entitled "Tomorrow Is Not Promised." I strongly urge everyone to check it out and consider the questions she raises. The extreme isolation of so many Black women's lives is a recurring theme and underlying factor in so many of the problems we collectively face. It's one of the reasons I've been so agitated about Black folks' prospects in the current economic crisis. During the First Great Depression we at least had strong family and community ties for mutual support. During this current crisis, many of us have nobody to watch our backs.

Rev. Lisa asks why some Black women don't invest fully into building close relationships with other women. I believe that there are two reasons for this. One, the vast majority of us don't know how to build or (even more importantly) maintain true friendships. Two, those of us who do know how to build true friendships are often too lazy to do the work needed to maintain them.

We usually don't go beneath the surface when we talk about Black women's isolation. It's difficult because doing so dredges up many, many unpleasant realities. It's much more comfortable to keep it lightweight. Her willingness to dig deep is one the many things I appreciate about Lisa's blog. Instead of writing a book-length comment at her blog, I decided to respond at length here.

I've been been concerned about the issue of true fellowship for all of my adult life. Not because I'm such a wonderful, caring, or loving person. But because it's in my own self-interest to pay attention to this. You see, when I was 19 years old I realized certain things about my biological relatives. I realized that, with the exception of my parents and a few other mostly now-deceased people, I can't count on my biological relatives for ANYTHING. Anything at all. Certainly not anything in a time of need. At 19, I realized that I would have to consciously and deliberately build a network of close friends if I wanted support.

My mother doesn't understand what went wrong with my generation of our extended family. She doesn't understand what went wrong between me and my brother. She was blessed to have a loving and supportive extended family. Her sisters are her friends (in addition to her non-relative friends). I can't find the words that would make any of this comprehensible to her. Anything I could say would sound like recriminations about how her generation parented my generation. So, I say nothing to her about this. On the other hand, my father understands perfectly because his family was never close-knit.

I have many, many cousins. Most of them are 5-10 years older than me. A few of the men look good on paper, but I wouldn't wish being involved with many of them on any woman. There are only a few solid family men in the bunch. The women are mostly never-married or divorced mothers. Over the years, I've watched my cousins repeatedly confirm the conclusion I drew when I was 19.

One confirmation was when my aunt was sent home from the hospital to die. She had cancer. I watched while most of our "family" stayed away. Including the various male cousins who had slept on her couch when they needed help "to get back on their feet." Including unemployed adult relatives.

I was one of a grand total of four female relatives who took turns staying with my aunt during her last weeks. The four consisted of me, my mother, her other surviving sister, and a cousin. I sat with my aunt and nervously prayed that she didn't die during one of my shifts. I was too frightened to ask my aunt (who's a nurse) how to tell if someone is dead. I didn't want to burden my already-reeling mother with these sorts of questions. So, I sat. And I prayed. And I worried. And I seethed at the missing in action relatives. I sat with my aunt while she passed in and out of consciousness. I sat while she periodically moaned in pain that wasn't eased by her morphine prescription. My aunt had served as the next "Big Mama" after my grandmother passed away.

I seethed throughout the service for my aunt while the MIAs sobbed and wailed. I seethed at the burial while some of the female MIAs screamed and acted as if they were going to throw themselves into the ground with the casket. I barely resisted the urge to say, "Go ahead and jump in there."

My biological relatives love to have huge family gatherings. Only when the sun is shining and things are going well. If you're sick or having other serious problems, they'll be sure to come see about you after you are dead and buried. I've watched them repeat this pattern with many relatives that they loooove. Since they do this with relatives that they are genuinely fond of, I know I've got nothing coming from them. In my anger over the years at this repeated pattern, I've warned a couple of my male relatives that I'm NOT in training to be a "Big Mama." And there are NO spare couches for them in my home. Of course, by saying this I also offended some of the handful of relatives who behaved appropriately during family crises. I. Am. Not. Sorry. All of this is painful for my mother.

I'm saying all of this to explain why I've always been hyper aware of the issue of true fellowship. Because of my family situation, I knew that I would need true friends. Back to my answer to Lisa's original question: Unfortunately, my family situation is not rare among the current generation of Black people. There are many of us who genuinely don't know what close and supportive relationships (of any kind) look like. As a consequence, many Black women don't know how to build or maintain close, supportive relationships.

Then there are those of us who know better because we've seen better. Many of us are complacent in our lives and too lazy to make the effort that is required to maintain close friendships. We don't do it because we don't have to. We can afford not to. We're comfortable in our marriages, and within our loving and supportive extended families.

Sometimes, those of us who are blessed with certain things are totally unaware of the parallel realities that other Black women live within. For example, because I was blessed to be raised in material comfort I was totally unaware of the world of payday loans and rent-to-own stores. I had never heard of such things until I was exposed to them while working with poor clients. It's a similar thing with this issue. Sometimes when I hear sisters ask why so many Black women cling to unworthy men, I can hear from their voices that they've never caught a glimpse of the parallel universe that some women are living in. They've never witnessed the mental pressure that is caused by knowing that nobody has your back.

I suspect that the only reason I'm not clueless and careless with my friendships is because I can't afford it. My parents and remaining aunts are elderly. Besides them, my friends are the only people who would help me in a crisis.

42 comments:

DeStouet said...

I need to get my thoughts together before I make a comment about this issue so I'll be back later.

focusedpurpose said...

Khadija-

amen sis. i, too, cannot afford to not build strong relationships. i really have nothing additional to add as you have said it all.

at the end of the day it is crucial to our survival as black women and girls to remember that we are all we got, and then ACT accordingly. each day, i consciously do my part to build bridges and relationships.

blessings to you sis,
focusedpurpose

Chi-Chi said...

(((hugs)))) Khadija. I could feel your pain on that one.

After marrying DH, against the wishes of my family, I know first hand what familial abandonment feels like.

I am inspired by your blog to put extra energy into nurturing my current relationships (even though I'm finding it hard to make new ones).

PioneerValleyWoman said...

What a powerful response, Khadija!

I think it becomes difficult to build such relationships for some of the reasons you give: people are busy with their lives, for one, and relatives might live far away.

But I think it goes deeper than that, even among relatives.

Folks can be very judgmental, and many people just don't want to be part of that.

Being judged and criticized can be the cost of having the closeness, the true intimacy.

Moreover, it might seem impossible to have the true intimacy, and I think you were getting at that, because we believe others can't truly relate to our issues: "What can she understand about my life...She has/is/does (whatever) and so she can't relate (but she might judge).

Moreover, the cost of having the true closeness can lead some to becoming the "mule" types, and especially among relatives, because with the closeness becomes being affected by the drama. Some might wish to avoid that.

So we know the importance of the true fellowship, but it can be difficult to get there.

foreverloyal said...

FP-- the latest post I see on your blog is the one about the creation of this one.
I can't see a post called "Tomorrow is not Promised".

Khadija said...

Welcome, DeStouet!

I look forward to your return!
__________________________

Welcome, Focused Purpose!

Yes, we need to collectively acknowlege a LOT of things "and then ACT accordingly." Taking up residence on Fantasy Island generally doesn't work out very well.
___________________________

Welcome, Chi-Chi!

Thank you so much for your hugs & kind words! I can feel it all the way over here! *Smile* In her post, Rev. Lisa talked about how many people construct whole new personas online.

Well, I'm NOT trying to pretend that I've got it all together. Or that I'm so wise, or anything else. I'm just like the rest of us---everybody has their own challenges in life. Like I mentioned in a comment to an earlier post, I have a lot of rage bubbling around inside, with more than a smidgen of self-righteousness mixed in.

Just writing this post's stroll down memory lane raised my blood pressure by several points. Even though the episode I described with my aunt was over a decade ago. There have been many other similar episodes.

It IS very hard to form deep & lasting friendships. Mostly because those of us who want such friendships have to sift through a lot of "user" type women. BM aren't the only ones who don't understand or practice reciprocity. A lot of BW are also people who only want to take, take, take when it comes to other women.

Many BW don't know any better than to take, take, take. Others know better, but are simply too selfish & self-absorbed to give reciprocity. I'm saying this to encourage us all to be steadfast in our efforts at reaching out. One has to sift through a lot of yucky people, but it's worth it when true gems are found.
_____________________________

Welcome, Pioneer Valley Woman!

You are correct. It IS difficult for all the reasons you mentioned (and more). Let's pause for a moment to discuss this further.

1-Busy with their lives. A lot of BW have the pattern of depending upon their spouse for ALL of their emotional needs. The problems with such an arrangement only become obvious when there is a separation or divorce. In any event, this never seemed healthy to me. One person cannot supply all of one's emotional needs. And it's not good to have all of one's emotional eggs in a single basket.

2-Relatives live far away. This is an unanticipated downside of modern "careers." Since Black folks didn't have access to "careers" until recent decades, we didn't know any better. We genuinely didn't know that the price tag of career mobility is moving to places where we don't have any "people." I refer this as a moon-landing.

These job-related moon-landings have after-effects. No relatives nearby to babysit. So our kids are with strangers. Far away from our parents. So, future elder care issues become even more complicated & difficult.

3-Modern gadgets provide "pseudo-contact" with other people. It's very easy to lose contact with friends. Things like the phone, email, etc. give the illusion of keeping in touch.

Many of us don't understand that deep relationships are built on shared experiences. If we're not physically spending time with each other, then we're NOT building shared experiences. With the prevalence of gadgets, modern life is structured to keep people distracted and apart from each other.

4-The price tag of true intimacy. There are real risks involved in actual intimacy. Dropping the masks means taking the risk that people will think poorly (be judgmental) of one's true face. Trying to communicate involves the same risk WITHOUT any guarantee that the person will actually comprehend what one is saying.

I don't think there's any real way to eliminate these risks. I think it's a matter of weighing whether the potential benefits of being close to a particular person outweigh the risks involved in trying. This risk/benefit ratio is where sidestepping family drama & sidestepping people you know want to use you as a mule comes in.
___________________________

Welcome, Forever Loyal!

The "Tomorrow Is Not Promised" essay is on the Black Women, Blow the Trumpet blog.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Sister Seeking said...

Peace and blessings Khadija,

I really needed to read this article this morning, especially after an incident that transpired with an Aunt of mine last weekend.

I have some thoughts I’d like to share but I’m going to make dua (supplicate) and than get back with you lovely folks in a minute…

SS

Aphrodite said...

This is a wonderful and much needed post. Thanks for sharing like that. I thought all this time that I was the only one (who endured this kind of abandonment and using).


My grandmother had 10 children and I (her youngest grandchild) ending up caring for her for two years while finishing undergrad and working a part time job. I can so relate to so much of what you commented on.


I am so sorry for your experiences and I know that it was painful, but you are one smart cookie to have realized this at such a young age. I on the other hand kept trying to fix myself and bend in family relationships to get crumbs from my family for a long time.


The odd thing is that the true loving supportive friendships that I have had with women have not been with BW. Which is interesting because I talk about B issues with them and they are supportive bc they love me I suppose.


Not saying that it is not possible, but I found that a lot of BW my age were so brainwashed by acting black and all the dysfunction that brings.




"1-Busy with their lives. A lot of BW have the pattern of depending upon their spouse for ALL of their emotional needs."


Or boyfriend, or baby daddy, or the guy they are shacking with. I have never understood this. And a lot of BW seem to be afraid that single women are a huge threat to them and their relationships or marriage. Maybe some should be concerned about some women, but I love my friends and I want the best for them.



"4-The price tag of true intimacy. There are real risks involved in actual intimacy. Dropping the masks means taking the risk that people will think poorly (be judgmental) of one's true face. Trying to communicate involves the same risk WITHOUT any guarantee that the person will actually comprehend what one is saying."



I no longer fear this with women. This is harder for me with men. If I don't meet a kindred spirit then I move on.

CW said...

Unfortunately, I know all too well...My aunt passed away in September, and my father (DBR) was crying the loudest...Out of guilt I guess, because he DOES NOT treat ANYONE right while they are alive...

My other aunt is on a respirator...Her only visitors are My parents, myself and a few neighbors...Relatives??? NOWHERE to be be found...

blackgirlinmaine said...

I can barely collect my thoughts but this post really resonated with me. Since my Mom's death 4.5 years ago, I have learned sadly that most of my family of origin cannot be counted on for anything.

Its been a painful lesson because growing up, ours was the house filled with "Family" coming over for a good time. Yet when things got crazy, all the good time folks scattered and since my Mom's death I have heard from maybe 2-3 "relatives" aside from my Dad and brother.

This past year I have started the process of building a community of sista support which at times living in Maine is hard. Yet reaching out to others online helps a great deal and I am striving to nurture the relationships.

This is a much needed post.

Khadija said...

Welcome, Aphrodite!

Thank you for your kind words. I wouldn't necessarily call it "smart" that I realized this at 19. I think in this instance (no false modesty here--I AM smart--LOL!) it was more a result of my personality quirks (an inclination toward paranoia + an aversion to martyrdom).

No, you're not the only one who has experienced this type of mess. It's just that we don't talk about this. On one hand it's understandable that people don't wear their problems on their sleeves. It's prudent to only share certain things in safe spaces.

What ticks me off is the amount of lying that so many of us do. All of which increases the feeling of "I'm the only one...I'm the only one..." among the listeners. I don't wear my estrangement from my biological family on my sleeves; but I also don't lie & pretend that we're the Huxtables. I just don't say anything about them when the topic comes up. [Unless there's a special purpose, like here. Or unless I'm speaking to close friends.]

The whole "acting Black" syndrome is just one of many layers of culturally-accepted dysfunction that are barriers to fellowship among BW.

In terms of the "she's gonna 'steal' my man" issue: Everybody needs to be screened before getting involved with them on any level or for any reason. Second, I don't see how this would legitimately be an issue. The point is to spend time & do activities with one's female friends, NOT with the friend's man. The man should have his own set of (male) friends to spend time with while "the girls" are having fun.

Finally, nobody "steals" anybody. Men who cheat will seek out and find women to cheat with. It annoys me that so many women want to focus on "the side whore" and NOT on the lying Negro who betrayed them. I suppose they conceptualize the issue this way to make it mentally easier to justify staying with the lying Negro.
______________________

Welcome, CW!

"My other aunt is on a respirator...Her only visitors are My parents, myself and a few neighbors...Relatives??? NOWHERE to be found..."

Neighbors...Lord have mercy... So many Black women who gave, and gave, and gave to their biological families end up having to rely upon the kindness of near strangers. This is infuriating. It's also the reason why I vowed to NEVER play "Big Mama" with my biological relatives.

Another infuriating angle is how most BW accept the fact that BM are almost NEVER care-givers for ANYBODY. But it's okay for these same BM to be care-receivers. This is foul, foul, foul.

Some of my female biological relatives looked at me as if I had grown horns & a tail when I announced that there were NO spare couches in my home for certain biologically-related Negroes.

"You would let So & So end up on the streets?" they asked. I said, "YES!!!!!!! If So & So hasn't gotten it together by age 45+, that's not my responsibility. What has So & So ever in his life done for another human being?" There was no response because So & So (and other relatives) have NEVER lifted a finger to help another person.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Welcome, Black Girl in Maine!

"Good time folks" is a perfect way to describe these individuals. I know what you mean, it's hard to build a network of "sista support" anywhere (for many of the reasons that have come up in this conversation).

Over the years, I'm beginning to understand why some brave souls felt the need to build "intentional communities" (communes, etc.). As Rev. Albert Cleage mentioned in his book Black Christian Nationalism, "As soon as possible we must operate our own year-round camp and housing communes. It is demoralizing to be forced to leave the Black Nation, scatter in all directions, and mix with people who are still psychologically sick and confused." pg. 220.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DeStouet said...

I notice that most people cower away from any relationship that requires them to always be at their best. Friendships & marriages are the first two that come to mind. I’ve heard so many guys say they would never get married because of the fact that they would be automatically required to be on their “P & Q’s.”

Same with friendships. Most women
openly admit to either having no friends or not needing any friends. I think it is because most of us understand that being someone's friend means taking the time to get to know another person. Accepting them for who they are, not being judgmental and
most importantly not always being concerned with number 1.

A friendship requires you to be considerate of the other person. There is NO room for selfishness because there is a chance the other party could be hurt. So, that pretty much eliminates most of us who are only concerned with only our own needs.

My husband always tells me that most people are selfish, afraid and only concerned with making it through the day…all 24 hours. I think he’s correct in many ways but there have been times when I argued him down because to me that seemed to be such a pessimistic attitude. It’s not. He’s right.

If you are afraid to build a relationship with another person --that is being selfish and at the same time cheating another human being out of your very best.

Like Aphrodite, I tried to pick up the pieces in my family and repair the hearts and minds of some of the most damaged beyond repair individuals but you see where that landed me. On the road to Ruthlessness...(SMH)

Unfortunately, there is little hope for my family, but my husband's family is a lot like yours. They throw hugs parties when everything is going well, but right now he has a grandmother who is dying and no one cares. They are all in their own worlds, building this, planning that, concerned only with bettering their own lives. If you call them on it, they'll have 1001 lame excuses.

When she dies, like your family they will cry and wail to the sky above about how much they loved her. But right now she is home alone dying ALL. BY. HERSELF. Selfish (We are moving back home next year to be a support in whatever way she needs us to)

And the funny thing is no one's life is getting better by staying away from their "loved" ones. (I am talking about those who reciprocate what we give them)

I love my husband's family and see they have great potential but their not going to do any better. They want to. They'd like to. They probably even think about it every once in a while but it's not going to happen. They can't because everything in society advocates looking good on paper.

Having a close knit family who you can count on for support, prayer and genuine nourishment in times of need does make the the list/cut -sorry, sad but true.

Khadija said...

DeStouet,

I'll have to take the time to digest your comment. You've made so many really important points.

One quick thought in response is that these women you've described who openly admit to not needing any friends...don't need any friends...until something happens (divorce, illness, etc.) and then they DO need friends. At which point, many of them try to exploit the women who reached out to them.

Another thought is that Black folks behave in this selfish, non-reciprocal manner and then we wonder why we're more likely to be homeless, etc. Then we scream for the government to take over the functions that can really only be competently handled by true friends & family.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

foreverloyal said...

DeStouet,what you said last is SO deep.
As a nation we have become more selfish, and the irony is that it as not helped our "selves" at all.

Khadija said...

DeStouet,

I had to step back for a moment because the attitude you described is breathtaking in terms of being anti-human survival. This attitude attacks the very core of how humans survived long enough to make it out of the caves. People banded together as extended families, clans, and tribes to live and to ensure the survival of their offspring.

Until the last century, people who tried to function solely as individuals or couples perished. One of the many downsides of modernity is that many of us have lost touch with basic survival instincts.

Everyone is bound to the wheel of life. Sometimes the wheel is on the upturn. Sometimes it's heading down. The people who are modelling anti-survival selfishness seem not to understand that eventually it'll be their turn to need help. And these people are inadvertently teaching their own children that it's okay to ignore them (when it's their turn to need help).

I was talking to someone about this yesterday, and she mentioned how even lonely people are engaging in these same self-absorbed behaviors. I've observed this for myself over the years while reaching out to other BW.

Very few BW are willing to compromise to spend time with a "loved one" or "friend" (for example, go see a movie that they are not thrilled about, but the friend really wants to see). Very few BW are willing to inconvenience themselves in any way to see a "loved one" or "friend."

Very few BW are willing to interact in any way with other women that is NOT to their total liking and at their complete convenience. Most BW will only go the extra mile for men.

Well, the attitude you described will be the ultimate death and damnation of all who subscribe to it. This is what they deserve. Individuals like that should die in the wilderness. I'm just appalled at the collateral damage such individuals inflict on the unsuspecting people around them who supported them in good faith in the past. People like my aunt (God rest her soul).

This is why it's critical to demand reciprocity in all of one's relationships.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Evia said...

Khadija, this essay of yours really resonated with me to the max. It speaks to the question of: How can AAs develop "true" family in the face of so many broken-down, dysfunctional families and non-family relations among AAs. AAs desperately need a "true" family system even if it's among non-biologically related folks. Lack of a "true" family system is the reason why AAs lag behind other groups in this society and it will continue to cause us to lag. I've seen upclose how other immigrant groups use their family system to pull themselves up and keep themselves moving forward in all kinds of ways. A "true" family is a marvelous support system.

So, it seems that you've read my mind in a way that is just scary by talking about this. LOL!

I've always relished close relationships. I gravitate towards people who are drawn to developing deep, close relationships--whether men or women. I pull away quickly from the type of shallow person who, for whatever reason, may only want a superficial connection with me. However, I do realize that we all need a variety of relationships with others for various reasons, and all of them can't or shouldn't be deep, close, and intimate. I know though that in this piece, you're focusing mainly on that deep,close, and emotionally intimate type of relationship between bw that can be very valuable for bw.

I think about this issue a lot and it's the reason why I continue to beat the drum for bw supporting each other. With enough support, a person can do just about anything successfully and without enough support, most people collapse. There are exceptions to this, but exceptions don't disprove rules.

I grew up in a large extended family that had a "Big Mama" steering it, but when she passed away, the cousins and various other relatives showed their self-serving behinds. Therefore, many of them are scattered all over the place--and alone. I'm only close with a certain branch of my cousins, a few of them, and they live down south. In general, I've so much missed belonging to that large extended family that was everything to me in my childhood, my roots.

I've seen the need to create the "intentional family" in my life, and see TREMENDOUS value in such an arrangement for bw. I've even written about it. As a matter of fact, I think it's now the ONLY thing that AA women can and could actually do to survive and thrive. Sometimes I encounter people like you who talk about it and do want this to actually happen. So, we're not the only ones who think along these lines, by far.

There is the BIG issue of "trust," however that keeps some of us apart, and the problem--in some cases--of lack of proximity with those we encounter who we feel we can trust.

Re:
It IS very hard to form deep & lasting friendships. Mostly because those of us who want such friendships have to sift through a lot of "user" type women.

Whenever I meet bw who seem to have the right emotional stuff to become my "sisterfriends," I check them out. I find that some of them would also like a deeper relationship with me, but I usually find that SO MANY bw have burdens that get in the way. They're not 'free and clear' to develop a sisterfriend relationship with me. They either have severe financial problems or job problems, or they have children/relatives problems or they have man problems or **no-man** problems, or health problems, or a combo of these. These are very time consuming and emotionally draining problems for these women. They don't have time to devote to the type of relationship that would be worthwhile to me. I don't want to invest in these relationships because I know there'll be very little return, if any.

I don't have their types of problems mainly because I **decided** that I didn't want those problems. Since I don't have those problems, these women often need help from me to help them to solve their problems or carry their burdens. While I don't mind helping out to an extent, the fact is that if a bw has a man who won't work, why should I help her to pay her bills? Or if she's struggling with her children alone, I'm not willing to assume the responsibilities of the children's MIA father. Or why should I help a bw to buy designer clothes or an electronic game for an out-of-control child who she's trying to bribe into behaving better? SMH This is why I've seen the need to help bw to focus exclusively on Quality men in the global village.

I've seen that these women are usually emotionally frazzled and don't have much of anything left to give to a sisterfriend relationship with me because they're all worn down by these ongoing burdens. They especially tend to neglect their fitness and health, whereas I focus on trying to maintain my fitness and health. That's one of my VALUES.

I always evaluate my relationships with women or anyone I interact with often, just as I urge bw to vet or evaluate men. When I find that I'm giving and not getting, I draw away quickly. I know that if I stay in the relationship, it'll become one-sided. Their burden will become my burden, and I'm not going to become a mule for their burdens.

For ex., I encounter professional bw--good folks--who can't pay their bills because they give so much of their income to other people, to the church, or don't manage their money properly, etc. I find it difficult to have a close relationship with a person like this because I think money management is very important. That's another one of my VALUES, but I encounter working class and middle class blacks who apparently don't put any value on managing their money well, so they're constantly in a financial hole, and if they believe that I have money, they want me to bail them out. LOL! I'm not going to do that because it's like throwing money down a bottomless pit and it also **enables** them to continue the behavior.

However, this causes them to get angry that I won't "help" them out. LOL! Some of my distant cousins are the same way. Suffice it to say that I don't want relationships with bw who are carrying loads of these burdens that so many bw carry.

BM aren't the only ones who don't understand or practice reciprocity. A lot of BW are also people who only want to take, take, take when it comes to other women.

I agree and as I said, the type of black woman I meet who is sisterfriend material usually doesn't reciprocate ENOUGH because her 'well has run dry.' So there's nothing in it for me with these women except for camaraderie, which is kinda, sorta empty when I realize that these women usually can't or can't afford to have my back in the way I need it, even if they want to.

One has to sift through a lot of yucky people, but it's worth it when true gems are found.

It's definitely worth it to sift and screen, and to invest time and energy in developing close reationships with like-minded, Quality and non-severely burdened women. I have several sisterfriends who I met in this way.

DeStouet said...

At this point, I believe that most people who subscribe to this "anit-human" behavior can not stop themselves. I believe we've come too far as far as technology and the "have it your way" slogan we all adhere to.

Most of us can not separate ourselves away from technology enough to physically maintain and work on our friendships, and as you said the email and telephone gives us the impression that we are keeping in touch.

And to quote one of my favorite bands, Teargas & Plateglass,

"Technology, acceleration do not affect our way of living - they are our new and comprehensive host of life, the environment of living itself. It is not the effect of technology on the environment, culture, economy, religion, etc., but rather that all these categories exist in technology. In this sense technology is new nature."

And this:

"The common notion tells us that technology is neutral, that we can use it for either good or bad. We do not use technology, we live technology; technology is our way of life. Being sensate entities, we become our environment - we become what we see, what we hear, what we eat, what we smell, what we touch. Where doubt is prohibited, we become, without question, the environment we live in."

As you may already know, Burger King's slogan is, "Have it your way!" And most of us must always have it our way -talk about giving the people what they want. We get to choose paper or plastic. Cup or glass...everything down to our lunch meat slices.

What was that saying almost everyone was quoting just a few years ago, "It's all about ME!"

So, when we get that phone call from one of our aunts telling us that our grandmother is sick, two things happen:

1. We hear our aunt say something like "I would like to get down there BUT I have errands to run this entire week."

2. We remember that we have so many different choices that cater to our needs we can afford NOT to visit a sick dying relative. And the only thing we have to say to get the others off of our back is, "Well, I had things to do." And everything is justified.

(Note: This is one of the only excuses that will get an individual off of the hook when the time comes.)

Or when our girlfriend call us up on the weekend and says she wants to see the movie "Iron Man" (which we DO NOT want to see) we remember that we can pick and choose the things we want to do, even if that means hurting our girlfriend feelings.

We are so terrified of being with a person one-on-one discussing "deep" topics and issues that allow us to dwell beneath the surface so much so that we --intentionally stay away from others. Except of course, when it is a big celebration.

In order to grow stronger (like scarred tissue is stronger than normal tissue) we have to first be hurt, something has to be damaged and then we heal.

In order to truly bond with other people we must go through the same process. People/friends fight, argue, disagree and people disappoint us. The friendships is established DURING the healing phase and most of us do NOT like dealing with a person after they have disappointed or hurt us.

lola said...

Khadija,

Great post!

I have absolutely no problem cutting off relatives.

I treat them like the "BC", I'm loyal and friendly to those who reciprocate, I don't care about those who don't care about me (and try to use me).

My parents stay in touch with MANY haters, users and abusers "in the name of family". Personally, I don't care if it causes "drama" I don't visit those people. They're EVIL!!! They caused one my uncles, one of the kindest man I've ever known, to have an addiction (I don't wanna give details). This man's life is A MESS because he stayed amoung PURE DBRNESS and lost himself trying to please people and appease their feelings! I don't call those people, I don't care to know how they're doing.

I keep in touch with a few aunts, uncles, cousins, that I know are wonderful people and true friends to me, my grandma, and that's about it.

we can't choose our family but thank God we can choose our friends. And those friends can actually become our REAL family in the end.

PS : I found your blog yesterday thanks to one of your comments on Evia's site. I'm already loving the vibe here! Thanks for sharing your wisdom!!

Khadija said...

Welcome, Evia!

I've also had the opportunity to watch up close how immigrant families give each other mutual support (even in the midst of arguments, mini-feuds, and hurt feelings). I felt momentary flashes of envy & like a hobo with my face pressed against the window at Tiffany's.

Black women who actually want "true families" will have to build "intentional families" (as you called them). In many ways, BW's collective situation is similar to that of gays when it comes to biological relatives. These biological relatives just are not there for us. Or even worse than simple abandonment, these relatives are actively harming us.

Many of us will have to do like some gays have done, and build intentional families made of close friends. Like you noted, the vast majority of people will collapse without enough real support. This is Human Nature 101.

About the women you described who are too drained by their various burdens/problems to develop sisterfriendships:

It's not that they're too weighed down by their problems, it's that they're NOT working on solving their problems. Starving people in Bangladesh have true friends. They starve and have other starving friends at the same time. Iraqis dodging fanatical militias have friends. Anne Frank's family had friends. It's quite possible to have true friendships in the midst of serious problems.

Other people in the midst of long-term life-threatening problems do it. Black folks could do it too, if we really wanted to. The real-deal with the women you described is that they're looking for a way to function while leaving their problems in place! They don't want to make the changes that would be necessary to solve OR eliminate the problem.

If a person is genuinely working on their problems, these problems won't continue over the years to the same degree or in the same format. A person who is working on their problems will solve or eliminate most of the current ones, and move on to having brand new problems. At least that's been my experience! LOL!

When I see somebody dealing with the exact same mess in the exact same configuration over a matter of years, then I know they don't want to make the necessary changes.

No, I'm not reading your mind! LOL! BW's collective problems are the same. So any sincerely concerned observer will notice the same patterns to these problems. Any honest observer who's had the chance to see how non-Blacks live up-close & personal will also see many similar answers to these problems.

Since most Black folks are socially segregated (in many cases, self-segregated), most of us have NO IDEA that other people ARE NOT living the same sorts of deranged lifestyles as the Black masses.

This is why I'm always somewhat tickled by those Black folks who are desperate to claim that "White/Asian/Latino men don't support their children either! There's a shortage of quality WM too! What about Ted Bundy, Ted Kennedy and other DBRWM?!" Some of these Black people desperate to claim that non-Blacks are equally dysfunctional genuinely don't know any better. Some are straight-up lying (for a variety of reasons).
_____________________________

DeStouet,

All I can say is that we're in a LOT of trouble if technology is the new nature (as the band you mentioned asserts). Technology is fragile. The more sophisticated the technology, the more fragile it is. As we re-discover whenever there's a power outtage.

[Anyone who's seen an episode of the science fiction show Jeremiah or read the book A Canticle for Liebowitz knows how this can turn out.]

At this point, I step over & step around these anti-human nuts; and leave them to their fate.
___________________________

Welcome, Lola!

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! I truly appreciate it. Like I mentioned to DeStouet, I step over & around anti-human nuts. This is why I stopped attending the vast majority of biological family gatherings years ago.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DeStouet said...

I think what would be benficial to most of us is to ask ourselves the following questions and then answer them truthfully.

1. What is a friend?

2. Are YOU a good friend?

3. And for those of us who have already established ourselves, "Do you even want a friend?"

A friend, to me, in its most purest form is a person who emotionally supports me when family fails me and life has led me astray.

It's not important that we share the same values or goals although we must be on the same level.

My very best friend is a gay woman who is now thinking about undergoing a sex reassignment surgery. I am ten years older than she is and I believe that because she grew up being considered "different" and plain ole' ostracised has given her an EXTRAORDINARY perspective on life.
She's a bright young woman who feeds me wisdom whenever we speak and she is only 19.

One last thing, I think that the issue of friendship is the only way to keep people grounded, because I meet so many middle class black women who admit not having ANY friends. They have plenty of associates and acquaintances but NO friends.

We all could do better with that!

lola said...

Finally, nobody "steals" anybody. Men who cheat will seek out and find women to cheat with. It annoys me that so many women want to focus on "the side whore" and NOT on the lying Negro who betrayed them. I suppose they conceptualize the issue this way to make it mentally easier to justify staying with the lying Negro.

THANK YOU!!! Cheaters aren't "kidnapped" so how can this be stealing? THEY CONSENT! These women who NEVER hold men accountable for their cheating behaviors are enablers. And when I tell an enabler that if that was the other way arround and she cheated, her man wouldn't go to her "sideline male ho" who supposedly "stole his woman" but he would confront HER and rightfully so, she wants to kill me. This is ridiculous!!

DeStouet said...

I just read back over my comment and would like to clarify my last statement which I pasted below.

"One last thing, I think that the issue of friendship is the only way to keep people grounded, because I meet so many middle class black women who admit not having ANY friends. They have plenty of associates and acquaintances but NO friends."

I don't like the way that sounded.

What I should have said is how are we able to rise up above so much madness and evil just to get to a place in our lives where we have to depend solely on our spouse because we have NO friends.

The issue of friendship puts a lot of people on the spot, in my opinion. It forces us to place the spotlight on our flaws and short-comings. I mean, once reciporcity is no longer an issue, why are most of us still without friends and so distrusting of others?

With all of the indivduals we meet during the day, is there not one who is attracted to our energy? Is there not one who is attracted to our spirit?

It would seem like with all of the hard work we are putting in to rising above, we would have a string support to show for all of our efforts.

In our rising above others have we also risen above the ability to befriend a person, or even allow ourselves to be befriended, for that matter?

There...that sounds much better!

(I'm done...have to allow to speak.)

Khadija said...

DeStouet,

I understand your concern that you're comment might have been misinterpreted as some sort of "class warfare-hateration" swipe at the Black middle-class. Thank you being thoughtful enough to want to clarify your statement (even though I DIDN'T take it as a hateration-swipe against the Black middle-class).

Since, I was born into the so-called Black middle class, let me be blunt. Nobody can accuse me of taking a cheap shot at the Black middle class because I'm a born & bred member. LOL!

As a born & bred member ["b & b"], I think it's quite reasonable to ask how is it that so many of us "b & b" Black middle class women don't have any friends. After all, we DIDN'T have to overcome the hurdles that those who had to strive their way into this economic class overcame. We DIDN'T have to leave behind underclass relatives or associates to get where we are.

On top of the above, many of us "B & B" middle class Black women like to present ourselves as paragons of "got it goin' on." [Insert 3 z-formation finger snaps here!] We like to present ourselves as the inspiration for the Claire Huxtable character.

So, I think it's quite reasonable for people to wonder the following: "Since you've got it goin' on, and Claire Huxtable can't hold a candle to you, how can it be that you don't have any friends?!"

There! I said it out loud (as is my practice). LOL!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

foreverloyal said...

Thanks to this conversation, I called my BESTEST friend from college and we have tentative plans to meet next weekend.

I haven't seen her in a few years and she only lives like 90 minutes away.

That's just ridiculous.

Laura J. said...

Hi Khadija

First let me say that I have been reading your comments all over the blogosphere and I find them honest, incisive, informative, intelligent, and nuanced.

I thought that I was the only Black women on the planet who did not have any real girlfriends. Though I enjoy a lot of alone time, I do would like to experience having time with my "homegirls". I always found that it was ironic that I am a feminist with no close female friends.

I am a single mother of three and I am truly blessed to have very support siblings (7). Both my brothers and sister help out. I am confortably middle class and I help out my sibling whenever I can. I will do better than most single mothers, black or white, when this depression hits the nation.

Having said that I view my alone situation as a result of being raised by a single dad who did not have any friendships of his own. My brothers have many friends, my sister and I are loners. We are literally each other best friends.

I have to say that during my travails, my interaction with many black women made me an alien. I found that all the social skills endemic to women were lost to me. I was not raised by my mother, thus she did not pass it on to me. I found myself very impatient with most women I have come to encounter. I have a very "masculine" approach relationship. Very much straight to the point. It did not work with my first husband. Which is the one the reasons that led to our divorce

Despite my impatience with many black women, because of what I call game playing, bs and manipulation. I find that I would like to develop intimate ties with other sisters. I know what I see as game playing bs manipulation is also essential part of carrying on a nuanced complex and multilayered aspects of any relationship.

I have basically accepted the fact that I may never have any life long girl friends and consider myself blessed the my biological sisters are true friends and we seriously have each other backs. And that my brothers are stand up men I can proverbially "sleep on their couches" whenever the time arises.

Sister Seeking said...

This is why it's critical to demand reciprocity in all of one's relationships.


AMEN!!!!!

Khadija said...

Lola,

Guurl, are you sure you're safe while confronting female enablers with their flawed thinking? LOL!

I know what you mean. I've seen this pattern in court thousands of times. In the "cheating Negro" scenario, the women involved always focus their rage on each other (via telephone harassment, keyed cars, slashed tires, physical fights, etc.).

When a woman is cheating on a Black man, she is often literally taking her life into her hands. He will attack HER and not the 2nd man involved.

Whatever's happening (and whoever is to blame), it's always the BW that is attacked by the other participants in the romantic triangle.

Meanwhile, BW are literally risking their lives if they fail to respond to Negroes who verbally harass them on the street. Black women have been maimed and killed for refusing to give their telephone numbers to certain Negroes.

For their own safety, I've had to teach my cousins' daughters that it's physically safer to allow Black guys to believe that they're the ones who broke off a relationship. That they have to be extremely cautious about how they handle breaking up with Black men. {long sigh}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Forever Loyal,

Good for you!
_____________________

Sister Seeking!

Yep. {raised fist salute}

_____________________

Welcome, Laura J.!

Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words. I truly appreciate it. No, you're not the only one who doesn't have any real girlfriends. It's very hard to find other BW who are really willing to BE sisterfriends for all of the reasons that have come up during this conversation.

I've consciously worked at this since I was 19, and it's HARD. Collectively, we have a number of dysfunctional behavior patterns, and the dysfunction is getting worse every year.

I praise God that you have siblings who are actually family. That's the way it's supposed to be!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija:

I've also had the opportunity to watch up close how immigrant families give each other mutual support (even in the midst of arguments, mini-feuds, and hurt feelings). I felt momentary flashes of envy & like a hobo with my face pressed against the window at Tiffany's.

My reply:

But the flip side of that is that the ones who are in the midst of the arguments, min-feuds and hurt feelings might have to put up with a lot in order to have the facade of that togetherness, support and camaraderie.

So yes, perhaps the support is there, but with the support can come the price of manipulation, "you have to support the family, etc., etc." And even then, as was mentioned, it is unclear whether the support will come when one needs it, and often the one who gives so much might not get much in return.

The price of all that support: everyone is in each other's business because everyone has something to say (which is how the feuds start); some can't make a move on their own without consulting everyone else, as though their advice comes from God (and the advice might not be of the best); others can't stand on their own two feet because they are so dependent; moreover, everyone is always judging, criticizing, and it might very well verge on emotional abuse (which is a conversation Rev. Lisa has started up)...

Khadija said...

Pioneer Valley Woman,

I've seen what you're talking about. I've watched the "nobody can use the toilet without consulting the oldest brother" dynamic with my Korean personal trainer. [The Koreans I've watched up close are serious as a heart attack about the deference that is owed to parents + the oldest brother.]

Be that as it may, if I had to choose, I would choose the "everybody in your business is the price tag of support" scenario. I say this because, collectively, the lack of family ties is THE main underlying reason why African-Americans are at the bottom of every conceivable social index.

Family support (even when it comes with a huge emotional price tag) is at the core of human survival.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Kathrin Ivanovic said...

Assalaamu 'Aleykum!

Great post! I also think that women experience internalized (socialized) misogyny, which prevents us from trusting in the relationships develop.

I have seen the ways in which women interact with each other in the corporate world, and it is shameful. Breaking other women down, hinders not furthers the success of women as a whole.

As long as we see each other as the enemy and obstacle between our current selves and "success," we are never going to forge strong, intimate relationships with each other.

This is one of the reasons why I created a women writers and discussion group. Our focus is diversity among people of color, with a primary focus on women. Our goals rely on the premise that as individuals we are only as strong as the collective.

Thank you for adding to this discussion!

In Peace,
Kathrin

Khadija said...

Wa Alaikum Salaam, Kathrin Ivanovic!

Ahhh...the world of work. You've raised a good point. There are a multiplicity of negative things going on between (and within) various categories of women at work.

When I step back and think of the instances of active, open hatred directed toward me at work over the years, I see the following pattern. Those most likely to feel hatred and act on hatred toward me and women "like me" are:

1-Black male attorneys and judges who actively hate Black women (unless they view them as subordinates, such as the secretaries). There are a bunch of such men at work who only smile at, and speak to, White women.

The worst in this category was a corrupt and sexist Black male judge that went to law school with my father. [He didn't recognize me as an adult, and by that time I had a new, Muslim name.]

I'm proud to say that I'm one of the Black female attorneys that he hates the most. He has often talked about how he can't figure out who he hates the most: "The fat b****, the AKA b****, or the Mooz-lim b**** ." I'm pleased that I still make the list, even though it's been over 15 years since I worked in his courtroom.

2-Black female professionals who worked their way from poverty into the Black middle class. There's a LOT of hatred that such women often have for those of us who were born into the middle class.

I fit into the "hateration" profile for many of these women: I'm lightskinned, my father is a lawyer, and I grew up blesed with material comfort. My former supervisor fits into this category, and targetted me for harassment because of it.

3-Black female support staff. For the same reasons listed as the women described in paragraph No. 2. Many of them HATE professional Black women with a passion. I've heard tales of Black female secretaries deliberately sabotaging work given to them by some of the Black female lawyers.

These women act as if they looove the Black male attorneys. [Some do this in hopes of sleeping with one of them. In hopes of getting pregnant. In hopes of getting a hefty child support check. It ususally doesn't work that way. Most of these men are fixated on non-Black women.]

4-Racist White and Latina women. [Especially those who like to sleep with Black men.]

5-Racist White men.

If I had to give percentages, about 85% of my work-related problems have come from people in categories 1-3. About 10% of the hatred directed to me has come from category #4. And 5% of the work-related hatred has come from the "dreaded WM" in category #5.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

DeStouet said...

pioneervalleywoman,

I've been fortunate enough to watch a close friend of mines from Germany interact with her family and the invasion of other people's privacy comes from a pure heart and she didn't look at what they were doing as being manipulative.

For example, whenever we did something together she invited her ALL of her females cousins along, and whenever we walked went to the local ice cream parlor or bakery, she announced it to all of her family. EVERY TIME!

She lived in a multi-family dwelling home. Her parent's occupied the entire first floor. The second floor was divided by a wall, and her father's brother family occupied one side and her mother's sister family lived in the second half.

When I first was introduced to her family, I had to hug and kiss at least twenty people --easy. none of them spoke English except Daniyella, my friend.

They breast feed one anothers children. I know this because I met her wet nurse several times.

When they went to the park it was as a family, when they did laundry it was as a family, when they prepared meals they did it as a family -sometimes. Let's just say, it seems like the American way of fast food is spreading to other countries as well.

My friend spends a large amount of her time with her family, aunts, cousins, uncles, etc. She worked alongside her father & mother in their family store during the day.

I've shared with her many times how fortunate she was and she honestly knew no other way of life. When I spoke about how my relationship with my family was estranged, she had so many questions.

In the last two years, she has married and given birth to her daughter. Guess what? She is lives with her husband and daughter three streets away, and goes over her parent's house everyday.

I'd take that any day of the week -what she has.

Anonymiss said...

I would e-mail this to my sister but she's immune to the truth.

My sister doesn't really cherish female friendships cuz she's been burned by lonely and conniving women. Her saying is (God, I'm so ashamed to type this) "A woman will stab you in the back quicker than a man would." Because of her poor experiences with women, she's punishing herself by not keeping a circle of girlfriends around her.

I asked her one day "So you don't trust women because of what happened in the past?" She said "Nope."

"So you trust men more than women?"

"Yup."

"Well, how about those jerks you've dated? Have any of them ever married you?"

"Whatever."

My poor experiences with sistas clouded my judgment for a number of years. The sista friends I had I wanted to keep at a minimum cuz I was unlucky with find happy, confident, and genuine sista friends. I was quite the fake/catty chick magnet. People say that you attract what you put out, but I think that people took advantage of my kindness and loneliness.

I couldn't stand that so many sistas that I met would size me up trying to find a flaw. That really bugged me out cuz, up until 2 years ago, my sad song was "Woe Is Me" cuz I'm dark-skinned with strong African features. Also I absolutely hated the misery and jealousy that I found with so many sistas with regards to someone else's happiness.

I never saw this with my dealings with non-sistas. After watching an episode of Tyra, I learned that this didn't happen because I wasn't their direct competition.

I tell you, this male-identified competition between women is to our own detriment. That's a topic for another day though.

Anonymiss said...

I'm one of those women that dump my problems on my boyfriend. I've really gotta stop. I can tell that it annoys him.

The worst part is that my problems aren't even my problems as they are my family's problems. That's one of the reasons that I moved from NJ.

I need to find some girlfriends in this city (NY).

Khadija said...

Welcome, Anonymiss!

Yep. There are a LOT of fake, catty, misery loves company, & downright foul BW out there. We all have to sift through a LOT of yucky people. But, I think the few gems out there are worth it.

I'm happy that you're shining the spotlight on what sounds like (from how you've described it) over-leaning on your boyfriend for emotional support.

That's really the point of this blog. I want all of us (myself included) to consciously pay attention to the things that we are doing on autopilot. And rethink some of those things.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

sdg1844 said...

Khadija this is total truth. I have been very guilty because I've always had close ties w/family and friends. This is my wake up call. I've already touched base with 4 friends and I'll be touching base w/more.

Khadija said...

Welcome, SDG1844/Simone!

YES! YES! YES! I'm always thrilled to hear that folks are strengthening their ties to their friends. Keep up the good work!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

foreverloyal said...

Saw a first hand example of how true friendship can save your hindparts.

A (AA) woman I know casually had to have a very sudden, very unexpected surgery. Her friends immediately sprung into action. Just as if they were FEMA (Friends Emergency Management Assistance)
--they organized meals so that her overwhelmed husband wouldn't have to worry about grocery shopping and cooking.
--they took turns watching her children so that she wouldn't have to worry, her husband wouldn't have to take off work, and they wouldn't have to pay a babysitter
--they visited her in the hospital.

Now, this woman is in (as far as I can tell), a very happy marriaged in which she is supported emotionally and financially. But even with a great husband, she still needs friends.

We all do.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a 25 year old black college student who recently did some self evaluation and has now started making some major changes. I recently read your book which has been life changing for me(Thank you Khadija!)

I have been lurking on your blogs for a while now, mostly to get inspiration/encouragement, but I felt the need to comment on this particular topic, although I know its late. For one, yes I know many black women who don't have supportive relationships, have shallow relationships, cling to their dead beat boyfriends for emotional support, or even drop their supportive relationships once they obtain a man/boyfriend. Specifically I wanted to speak on the latter as I was one of those women until I found myself in a compromising position and reached out to my female relatives. While I don't condone this behavior, I also understand the reasons why this is common among AA females.

This sort of thing has ALOT to do with A) the fact of black women refusing to date IR and B) the man sharing phenomena that common in our community. What does this have to do with the cost of tea in china? Well, let me explain. I don't know about past generations but I know for my generation another consequence of the gender imbalance combined with some BW's refusal to date non black men creates tension, mistrust, competition and generally shallow relationships among black females not only in relation to black men, but in general. Some BW are so entrenched in the "only a brotha" mentality that they view sharing a trifling BM as a viable option rather than dating non-black men!! Although its not talked about because these type of women would never admit they knowingly engage in this sort of behavior, it is well known and often seen in black churches where scores of lonely single black women are told to just "wait on god" despite the obvious lack of men in the surrounding area(The black church destroys more marriages than it helps, unfortunately).
In response, black women entering relationships with black men, often distance female friends and sometimes even female relatives in an effort in a futile effort to protect their marriage(despite the fact that these trifling men often cheat on them anyway). Or, black women witnessing the trifling acts of some "nothing but a brotha" type females keep all black women at a distance believing females can't be trusted. Of course, dead beat black men love to see black women doing anything to obtain his affections as it give him more power and enables him to continue his trifling behavior.

I would also like to mention that black women in domestic violence situations often behave this way too, for obvious reasons to anyone who is familiar with domestic violence.

Of course, these are not the only reasons, the general mysognistic nature of our community certainly helps in tearing down sisterly bonds.

I personally have found it very difficult to befriend other black women due to the destructive mentalities which plagues our community and go far beyond what I mentioned above. Right now I just close with a few older black women who have mentored me through the years and my female relatives. Hopefully one day I will be able to find a black woman in my age range to fellowship with.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Anonymous!

{waving}

You're welcome and THANK YOU for your support and kind words about my work; I truly appreciate it.

You said, "...While I don't condone this behavior, I also understand the reasons why this is common among AA females.

This sort of thing has ALOT to do with A) the fact of black women refusing to date IR and B) the man sharing phenomena that common in our community. What does this have to do with the cost of tea in china? Well, let me explain. I don't know about past generations but I know for my generation another consequence of the gender imbalance combined with some BW's refusal to date non black men creates tension, mistrust, competition and generally shallow relationships among black females not only in relation to black men, but in general."


Yes, I've seen this dynamic. I've also seen it escalate over the past 25 years. There will always be a certain amount of competitiveness among humans.

Men tend to leave their competition with each other on the golf course, in the boardroom, at the party, etc. Most (healthy) males are able to sustain friendships with each other once they walk away from the golf course, etc. By contrast, there's never a pause in hostilities for many AA women. There's no "neutral ground" for a lot of AA women.

Among AA women, all of this has escalated into pure hatred for other BW. In previous decades, there was competition simmering under the surface in many AA women's interactions with each other. But not the overt hatred/hateration of other BW that exists now. I agree with you that AA gender imbalances plus many AA women's refusal to date out is what's driving this hatred of other BW.

Nevertheless, let the dead bury the dead. I wrote this post almost 4 years ago---at the beginning of the current economic Depression. The economy has crashed and the Depression has become entrenched.

A lot of AA women are living vicariously through Michelle Obama while they shiver in the cold and go hungry (with their children). There's no more time left to waste trying to reach out to the mentally dead.

These days, joining better networks of mutually supportive people is literally a matter of life and death.


http://sojournerspassport.com/tag/joining-better-networks/

You said, "I personally have found it very difficult to befriend other black women due to the destructive mentalities which plagues our community and go far beyond what I mentioned above. Right now I just close with a few older black women who have mentored me through the years and my female relatives. Hopefully one day I will be able to find a black woman in my age range to fellowship with."

I hear you. But at this point, I don't go out of my way to find additional sensible BW to fellowship with. If I run across another sensible BW who's willing to give reciprocity, that's fine. But I don't hold my breath looking for them. [I'm not saying that this is what you're doing. I'm just emphasizing this point for other readers. {smile}] I fellowship with whoever treats me right.

These days, it's time to "Get in wherever you fit in!" with whoever is going to do right by you.

Expect Success!