Monday, April 27, 2009

Why Black Women Should Leave The Helping Professions, Part 2: An Extended Reader's Money Quote From Hagar's Daughter

This essay is contained in my new book. I'm delighted to announce that The Sojourner's Passport site has launched! You can visit it at http://www.sojournerspassport.com/.

Everyone, I can't thank you enough for your ongoing encouragement and support; I truly appreciate it. Your support is what made this possible. And here's a special shout-out to my web designers at Educo Web Design. They're nice people to deal with, and they do outstanding work!

Peace and blessings,
Khadija Nassif

53 comments:

roslynholcomb said...

Whew, war stories. I was actually very fortunate in that I specialized in teenagers with behavioral/emotional problems. Typically by the time I got the case the kid had been in the system for a long time and the parents were long gone. Most of the kids I visited were in residential facilities or something of the like so I didn't have to fear for my physical safety all that often.

Oddly enough, in my hometown, the projects were probably some of the safest areas. In all my years working social services, I never got called there. Our housing department would quickly evict women who were involved in any criminal activity, so the area was quite safe.

I stopped being a social worker when one of my co-workers was brutally raped on the job. The state denied her worker's comp claim for PTSD and she still suffers to this day. I was smart and savvy and was quickly promoted to an administrative position. Unfortunately, my mentor was promoted to director of another county and her replacement was more than a little bit squirrelly. She objected to the fact that I wanted to nurse my son, and needed a lock on my door so that I could express during the day. She said she couldn't understand why a woman with my intellect would want to 'do that.' Uh, it's BECAUSE of my intellect that I wanted to give my child the absolute best. Can you imagine anything crazier than not breastfeeding my child so I could take better care of other folk's children?

So yeah, I walked. Left my 'good county job.' And am grateful for it. I've had five years to watch my child grow, teach him the things that I want him to know and nurture my own budding writing career. I am actually grateful to that hateful woman. Had it not been for her, I might have stayed in that job until it absolutely destroyed me.

tasha212 said...

Khadija,

I am so happy that I decided not to spend my time and money becoming a certified teacher. After I started subbing, I knew teaching was not for me. Like I've said before, childten are not who they used to be. Also, most of these public service jobs offer one little opportunity to be autonomous or for advanceement.

One thing I would like to mention though is for those who are already in thosse fields who've had these experiencess have produced products (such as novels, movies, art work, etc.) based on the experiences that they have had. So at one positive thing can come out of these horrible experiences.

The career path that I eventually chose was speech language pathology. As an SLP, I will be considered an allied healthcare professional, which will allow me to work in many clinical settings. I have decided to only work in the school system for three years. And I mean that. That will give me enough time to pay off my student loans and save money. This is a career that I encourage more sisters to get into because it is rewarding as well as lucrative. There are so many opportunities to help people as well as make money. And there is also a critical shortage for SLPs in the school system as well as in rehabilitation, home health, and hospitals. You can also open a private practice. These are just suggestions.

Peace and solidarity,

Tasha

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Greetings Khadija!

I am sooo happy to hear you mention that black women should leave the helping professions!

They are often ENCOURAGED to choose those career paths by other blacks!

Ministry is a "helping" vocation but it isn't dangerous unless we choose that path. I used to minister at prostitute corners and have actually "walked the beat" with them because they have to keep walking or else their pimp may wonder if I am an undercover cop. I have ministered outside of crack houses in very dangerous areas AGAINST the advice of other ministers (who I felt were cowardly). I have ministered in prisons (but they are SAFER than being on the street).

I had no problems sitting down with male killers and male rapists. One minister told me that a guy I was ministering to was convicted of murder and my response was "so??"I would tell ministers, "I don't mind being tossed in the lion's den. Where's your faith in the protection of God?"

At one point, a minister mentioned to me that I needed to carry a pistol for protection if I was going to be ministering in the streets. For two whole minutes, I was crazy enough to think it over: "okay I'll learn to shoot a gun."I ultimately told my ministry colleague that I didn't want to be in the newspaper for killing an assailant - even if I was protecting my own life. I didn't want to be the minister who took anyone's life.

At that point, I had to make a difficult choice about the TYPE of environments I would minister in.

I still minister in the emergency rooms when someone is raped ...when they call me to come in.

Now, I am fully supportive of female ministers (like Juanita Bynum) who have security guards when she is walking through crowds. I know ministers who have had men feel their behinds in the crowds and even grab their breasts! In church service!I still believe that there HAS TO BE intervention by ministers on the streets to reach those who will never step foot in a church but most will not go into any danger zones. I used to scoff at the ministers who would ONLY minister inside of the church building in the comfort of their staff offices or in the Sunday services.

Oh but now.... I FULLY understand what Hagar's Daughter is saying.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

Khadija said...

Hello there, Roslyn, Tasha, and Lisa!

Let me repeat part of a comment I made to Part 1 of this series.

Lorraine's comment got me thinking with her mention of "Lifetime" movies about White "saviors" in such settings.

A very large part of the problem is that Blacks think these sorts of stories are cute and inspiring. These situations are NOT cute. They are NOT inspiring. There's nothing cute or inspiring about being in physical danger, or being physically attacked.

Black folks act like these experiences are an episode of Good Times or Welcome Back, Kotter where it all works out in the end. NO. It's not a tv episode. It's real people who are left wounded and suffering because they tried to help poor and underclass Blacks. There are lots of things horribly wrong with that particular equation.

Black folks' basic assumption is that if the helper is hip enough, down with the peeps enough, and dedicated enough, then the clientele will feel and appreciate their positive energy---and then they'll be safe from being attacked, wounded or killed. NO. None of these attributes will prevent helpers from being left wounded and suffering because they tried to help other Blacks.

When most people choose helping careers, they do NOT choose to go into a lion's den in order to be beaten, raped, or killed as martyrs. Choosing a helping profession among poor Blacks should not be the same as choosing to be an aid worker in Somalia of Afghanistan.

NOBODY, including ministers, should be belittled or mocked because they DON'T want to put themselves in a situation to be beaten, robbed, raped or killed.There's nothing inspiring about these "savage Negroes attack the Black people who came to help them" scenarios.

Lisa, I'll have to agree to disagree with you about any alleged need for assistance to savage recipients.

It's very similar to the Somali pirates. When folks feel so ENTITLED to help that they pistol-whip, rob and kidnap the people who come to help them, then they DON'T need any help. And there's no real need for intervention with such individuals.

There's NO higher purpose served by having a decent, productive person beaten, robbed, raped or murdered while trying to help them. What such individuals actually need is to be left to their own devices.

Lisa, as far as I'm concerned, you putting yourself in unnecessary physical danger serves NO purpose. How does you potentially getting beaten, robbed, raped or killed help our collective? It doesn't.

In any event, my main point is that BW deserve safe working environments where their efforts are appreciated.

It's interesting. I didn't realize how "radical" this basic idea would sound to many of us until Faith pointed it out in her comment during Part 1. She pointed out that such an idea would be rejected out of hand; and often by those BW who are working in physically dangerous environments where their work is denigrated.

I've been thinking about all of this today. It shows how deeply entrenched the BW as service mules tradition is. Almost everybody says that they support freedom and self-actualization for BW. They say that they are against BW being used and abused.

But let somebody make a concrete suggestion that would remove BW from the (often self-selected) current role as mules, and people get agitated and fearful.

"Leave the helping professions? What? What will happen to the Black collective if BW actually insist upon SAFE, rewarding work where their efforts are appreciated?

...Oh, nooooooo! Don't do that! Don't leave! There's no need to leave! If you're down with the peeps, and treat them with respect, then you'll be okay and appreciated. Those other people only got hurt or mistreated because they didn't have what it takes. Their personal energy wasn't right."
Ummm...NO.

Here's the answer to the "What will happen to the Black collective if BW actually insist upon SAFE, rewarding work where their efforts are appreciated" question:

What will happen is the same thing that is ALREADY happening while BW continue to martyr themselves in the helping fields. The majority of African-Americans will form a permanent underclass in this country. The only difference between the 2 scenarios is the numbers of BW who will survive and get to live fulfilling lives. The more BW who leave/avoid the helping professions, the larger the number of BW who will "survive and thrive."

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Hagar's Daughter said...

Khadija,

First of all I'm shocked at all my typos, sentence structure and syntax errors, and all the other grammatical errors. I was just letting my thoughts and feelings flow. (If my mother reads this I'm in trouble and may have to reimburse my parents the tuition they paid. LOL)

Second, I'm shocked that I contributed the "money quote!" Thank you for expounding on this topic and extending the conversation.

About the "white saviors in those 'Lifetime' movies: I think when BW view those movies there isn't a real connection. I think that some BW think that bad things happen to those movie characters because they were middle class white folks in a poor black neighborhood. BW believe that their skin color will protect them because they (BW) is helping "our people." What a denial! Most crimes against blacks are committed by other blacks (criminaltiy statisiclly is intra-racial from a victim perspective).

The other disconnect or denial is that BW helpers / rescuers believe that underclass blacks "identify" with the BW helper / rescuer. Not so. I admonish those who believe this to quickly put that fantasy out of your mind. It's the "hateration" that you so poignantly write about Khadija. The professional helper is accused of "thinking you're all that." [I used to think, "Let me get this straight. I think I'm all that because I am wearing a $15 swap meet outfit because your house is so nasty that I won't bother to wash my clothes instead I'll throw them away. Okay. Right. I enjoy returning home from work smelling like urine and whatever else those weird smells are in dirty apartments.] My thoughtful clients would show geniune concern about me and would warn me to not come in the neighborhood after dark. They would have their children available for my weekly assessments at their homes. But these clients were those who probably shouldn't have been in the system and only needed resources; a rarity.

Another point is that work public servants who provide direct services is not only unappreciated by many (most) of the clients they served, but also unappreciated by administrators they work with. It doesn't stop there, but public service is also undervalued by society, hence the low pay. There was an outcry in CA about the pay public servants earned. Reports showed several professions where public servants earned 6 figures, but the report excluded information about how much overtime it takes to earn that salary. I was outdone. I yelled at the tv, "We EARN it people!" We are overworked and often underpaid and forced to work in sick buildings with antiquated equipment.

Even when I was on vacation, the cases never left me. Another thing is that the public servant is expected to serve the public first - before your own children and families and yourself.

I totally agree with this: "Sharifa zeroed in on the critical point to this. If you're going to help, make sure you do so as an EMPOWERED helper who has a measure of CONTROL over your work environment and your clientele. Control versus a total lack of control over one's work environment is what makes all the difference between rewarding work and a gravedigger career."
_____________
@Tasha

Girl, work your plan and don't be afraid to modify when necessary.

@Roslyn,

You're living proof that BW can change and control the direction of our careers. A co-worker raped on the job and being denied workers' comp. Hmmph. That sounds so familiar. I was told that if I could no longer make home visits (ironically it's called 'work the field' - talk about slave language) then "the county" couldn't use me. [more like misuse]

tasha212 said...

One of the worse experiences that I had as a sub was when a middle school child stole my cell phone.The child and her friends called my parents and told them that I had been shot and was on the way to the hospital. I live about an hour away from my parents. So you can imagine that they were frantic. Luckily, my sister was able to get in contact with them before they came down here. But my phone was never recovered. Nor were any of the children punished for stealing the phone. I am currently looking for another job until I can get out of grad school. I hate being a substitute teacher.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Hagar's Daughter!

Thank YOU for being so generous in sharing the "reality check" details about the helping professions. You've helped a LOT of readers make more informed choices about what they do with their careers!

And you've helped with your comments in a way that I can't. I knew when I began this topic that my comments would be counterproductive in some ways. Mostly because I am profoundly enraged about all of this. This particular topic pushes ALL of my "fight the injustice" buttons. On so many levels:

Who speaks for the multitudes of American Black children that were screwed over educationally because of these Negro grassroots parent-activists and their folly?

There's some accountability built in for everybody except these grassroots idiots. I wish there was some way to sue these Negro grassroots parent-activists for activist malpractice!

These Negro parent-activists DESTROYED the futures of countless Black children by their tampering with the public school system. And then these same grassroots individuals have the gall to scapegoat various Boards of Education for the result of giving in to THEIR demands (such as social promotion)!

Who speaks for the Black professional helpers who have been left wounded and/or maimed because they tried to help the Black poor/underclass? Who speaks for their left-behind loved ones when they DIE at their desks?

Well, as things stand, NOBODY speaks out about these wrongs.

Instead, we have smug, ill-informed Blacks heaping non-stop denigration on the Black folks who actually tried to help. We have smug, ill-informed Blacks screaming at everybody EXCEPT the people who caused the destruction of the public schools. They are yelling at everybody EXCEPT the multitude of "Sheniquas" who demanded the drugging of their children in order to get some more free money with the "crazy checks."

The Black people who have done the most to precipitate the destruction of the public schools and the mass drugging of Black children have been successful in "throwing rocks and hiding their hands."

It makes me sick to my stomach to know that these miscreants have gotten away with all of this unscathed. When you look at the damage that these individuals have done to the African-American collective (by the harm they caused to Black children's education), they are a thousand times worse than the White yuppie felons (Enron, savings and loan, etc.) that Black folks love to scream about.

Where's the justice in that? Where's the accountability? There is none.Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Tasha,

That's appalling. {shaking my head in disgust}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Hagar's Daughter said...

Khadija,

I apologize for taking so much time, but I've been thinking about this all through the night (before I knew about the "money quote"- lol) and awakened with it on my mind.

For those of us who feel "stuck" in the helping professions are mired in fatalism. It's so deeply ingrained in us that we are powerless to change. We've forgotten that we choose to be public servants and we can choose to do something else. We are such poor mentor / role models for younger professionals. The past couple of years I've been advising young social workers to "not get stuck." I admit it's a do as I say and not as I do approach, but I had to start somewhere.

I and the other BW I work with struggle to get through the day. We refer to ourselves (brace yourself) as "Beulah." On any given day you may hear one of us say, "Beulah, you worked hard today. or Beulah sure is tired." Isn't this sad. We acknowledge that we are degreed and highly skilled mammies.

One of my WW co-workers asked why did we refer to ourselves in this way. I was too exhausted to break it down. I gave a short answer about having to solve other people's problems. I know she didn't get it.

BW who are working under these harsh conditions trying to help those who don't want help because we BW are expected to 'keep it real' are digging our own graves. Not only is this dysfunctional, it's suicidal. We would surely seek help for a suicidal client (ethically we are bound), what stops us from seeking help for ourselves. Could the answer be that we have be indoctrinated that everyone comes first or that we can handle our own business or strong women don't break etc?

Our career choices and the manner in which we conduct our work are manifestations of our philosophy of life.

I'm still baffled that so many BW reject the idea that saving our own lives is an imperative that cannot be ignored.

"Mammy Two Shoes" will try to keep quiet now.

Khadija said...

Hagar's Daughter,

Pleade DON'T keep quiet! Please feel free to say as much as you like! Like I said earlier, I believe that your comments are much more effective than mine in furthering my goals with this conversation.

"Beulah," you say. {chuckling} Well, "Beulah" sounds better than the running "joke" that I and my coworkers have: of being "Hebrew slaves"!Then there was the mini-management incident I caused years ago by referring to the South zone courtrooms as "the chitlin' circuit" because Black attorneys seemed to be automatically assigned there. As opposed to more "cush" spots in less busy, non-sweatshop atmosphere (White) suburban courtrooms.

Other Black attorneys in my firm started repeating the "chitlin' circuit" label, and it eventually got back to management. A (Black) supervisor found out and was enraged about that reference. She angrily insisted that the Black attorneys were not being herded into the South zone, and that the South zone was NOT a "chitlin' circuit." {chuckling}

I will note that once I began working my plan to "steal away" from the world of "Hebrew slaves," I felt MUCH better. I'm still irritable and unhappy about work, but I'm not totally stressed out like I've been during prior points in my career. Praise God, I can see freedom on the horizon!

You made a very important point when you said, "Our career choices and the manner in which we conduct our work are manifestations of our philosophy of life."

PREACH!

You said, "I'm still baffled that so many BW reject the idea that saving our own lives is an imperative that cannot be ignored."

This attitude is what I'm trying to dismantle with these conversations. Thank you for helping with that process!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Anonymous said...

WoW a lot of this divestment is very similar to Ayn Rand "going Galt" phenomenon.

I'm really suprise with all the similarities between the black community and the society that Ayn Rand describes in Atlas Shrugged.
" John Galt, who is leading an organized "strike" against those who use ...... moral guilt to confiscate the accomplishments of society's productive members"

It's like black women have become the industry makers of the black community solely carrying the burden of the community on our backs.

"The concept "Sanction of the victim" is defined by Leonard Peikoff as "the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim (or mule) for the 'sin' of creating values."

"When Atlas shrugs, relieving himself of the burden of carrying the world, he is revoking his sanction.

When black women relieve ourselves of the burden of carrying the black community, we are revoking this sanction.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Anonymous!

I don't want to get too far off topic, but I'm tickled by the Ayn Rand reference.

I have mixed feelings about her, her books, and her philosophy. On the one hand, she was an accomplished, remarkable woman who managed to found a secular, intellectual cult with influential members AND a male harem at her disposal. Good for her! *Smile*

On the other hand, I can relate to the snarky comments about her quoted by a blogger named Fabius Maximus:

http://fabiusmaximus.wordpress.com/
2009/03/22/ayn-rand/

"#96 Kevin Says:

Going Galt after reading Atlas Shrugged is somehow akin to moving to the Shire after reading Lord of the Rings. This meme has now had it’’s fifteen minutes.

#99 Jon Says:

I can’’t remember if my passing desire to be John Galt came before or after my passing desire to become the Kwisatz Haderach."
{chuckling}

For those who don't know, the Kwisatz Haderach is a reference to the messiah in Frank Herbert's Dune novels.

["The spice must flow..." {more chuckling}]

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Aphrodite said...

Hagar's Daughter and Roslyn,

I knew that things were bad from the stories shared with me, but I had no idea!


I can't imagine going to work in that kind of environment. It is insane! I would have so many anxiety disorders worrying about my safety. That is truly not worth it at all. There is no way I could advise someone to have that kind of job/career in good conscience.

This sounds like working in a war zone.



Re: social promotion


I googled this and I am just stunned. I was aware of this happening, but not on this scale and I definitely didn't know that black activists were behind this. Wow. What in the world made people listen to them?


It is frightening to think of the end result of legions of people just being passed along like this.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Greetings, Hagar's Daughter,

I also want to add my thanks that you have come forward to talk about this.

Thinking back to some conversations on this blog and in other places, all I can think of is to repeat an ongoing theme being addressed, that this is the fallout of black women being encouraged to see themselves as "race women" when the earlier circumstances for being "race women" made sense: reciprocity, respect, protection.

But now, black women are still being encouraged to be "race women," but at what cost?

I found it striking that your husband, who might have had some experience with law enforcement, mentioned his surprise that social workers go into situations without protection where MEN (as police officers) go in with guns, bullet-proof vests and back up!

But we expect WOMEN (who are acting in a similar role as the police, where they bring the instruments of the state into these households and communities) to go in to these same places with at most only a prayer that God is by their side.

Once again, gender, people???? Once again, black women as the "strong black women" who can "take it", who don't need protection, etc, etc, because as was mentioned earlier, they are the "mules" of the world...

I hate to say it again, but that is what it means for a black women to be a "race woman" today.

Hmph!

roslynholcomb said...

The part that amazes me, is that I had to get angry and it still came down to my determination to nurse my child before I was willing to walk out the door. I was angry and deeply hurt that after the sacrifices I made they would not allow me the leeway to nurse my child because 'everyone will want to do it.' Uh, we are a child welfare agency, right? So why is the welfare of MY child supposed to go on the backburner? It still makes me furious every time I think about it.

I think for many of us, we're so mentally exhausted that we stop thinking clearly. I'll never forget working so hard to place this one young teen to get her out of a bad situation. I drove three hours to take her to a placement in a group home. I miscarried later that week. (I don't blame the driving for the miscarriage, but it couldn't have helped.) She was gone before I was released from the hospital. That exemplifies the hopelessness of the 'helping' professions.

An old supervisor of mine who had been around since the sixties used to say that 30% will get better no matter what you do, 30% won't get better no matter what you do, and you can help 30% get better. That's an incredibly depressing statistic, but I found it more or less true. The die is already cast, and getting yourself killed or dying on the job isn't helping anyone, and leaving those who love you all alone.

That same old supervisor used to tell me that it didn't use to be that way. That they used to be far more accommodating to young mothers. That was, of course, when we still had white social workers. They all left when they brought in higher accountability standards after the state lost a federal lawsuit. They said those white women got out of there so fast they had windburn. And they got the cushy jobs at the non-governmental agencies.

Evia said...

But now, black women are still being encouraged to be "race women," but at what cost?PVW, I just had to jump in here. LOL!

The crux of this issue is: what is going to become of the "African American" group itself if AA women stop playing these roles?" This question is lurking beneath a lot of these discussions. Most AA women KNOW on some level that if AA women don't use next to their last drop of blood trying to solve these problems and hold the AA group together, then the group is going to just disintegrate and FAST. This is clearly already happening. But this is why so many AA women willingly become the 'family slaves' or those 'Beulahs.' Most AA women will privately admit that they know that MOST AA men these days aren't going to stress themselves about any of this.

It's interesting that after I posted my essay yesterday re Kola Boof, where I talked about my general indifference towards AA men and asked for someone to explain to me what the attraction towards AA men is based on, I got notes to the effect that if AA women don't continue to mate with AA men, or if AA women mate out in very large numbers, the AA group will not continue to exist. One person wanted to know how it is that I can so "easily" give up on the group. This question is almost always thrown at AA women but rarely at AA men because MOST people know that MOST AA men are not going to pause in getting their own needs met. That question is therefore just another maneuver used to keep AA women confused, dizzy, and paralyzed "in their place."

However, AA women like me don't give a blip either because I'm way past the point of thinking that the women can do it alone. It would have been wonderful IF there'd been a commitment from both genders, but there wasn't/isn't, so that's THE END. Many AA women are now thinking that the Obamas will remind AA men of the wonders of 'black love' and will bring about magical changes in AA men's makeup and/or drive AA men 'back home.' Purely magical thinking because the women are overlooking the fact that the actual makeup is too 'damaged' in a very large portion of these males.

In essence, many AA women DO want to hold the group together or do their utmost (become Beulahs--SMH)trying because many AA women don't believe they can go anywhere else (assimilate into other groups) and be accepted or feel like they belong. Or they don't want to do that. Therefore they try to keep the AA group from totally sinking so that they can feel they belong to a group--for safety and acceptance and ????? It's apparent by now that if many AA males had the education and financial resources of AA women, they would have become a distant memory. As more of them get those tickets into mainstream society, they'll be gone. In so many ways, this is one of the greatest tragedies not yet told. It's like so many AA women are getting all dressed up and have no where to go or choose to just refuse to face the fact that AAs, as the group we once were, are done.
I found it striking that your husband, who might have had some experience with law enforcement, mentioned his surprise that social workers go into situations without protection where MEN (as police officers) go in with guns, bullet-proof vests and back up!

But we expect WOMEN (who are acting in a similar role as the police, where they bring the instruments of the state into these households and communities) to go in to these same places with at most only a prayer that God is by their side.
I used to work as a mental health professional in several school districts in 3 states in the northeast where the black female teachers were EXPECTED to control the out-of-control, sometimes violent elementary and middle school students. Black female teachers were used or allowed themselves to be use as the schools' bogeymen. This was the standard practice in ALL of the schools I worked in. I'll bet anything that this is still going on. This is VERY stressful! Students (whites, Hispanics, and blacks) would be told by white female teachers (mostly) and even white male teachers sometimes, "If you don't sit down and behave right now, I'm going to call Ms. Jones (black female teacher) over here!" Mind you that Ms. Jones and the white female teacher had the same position and were making the same amount of money. Sometimes, the white female teachers would purposely sit the bad (acting out)kids at the classroom door, knowing that the bad kid could see Ms. Jones across the hall in her classroom and Ms. Jones could also see him/her. LOL! This was enough to at least keep the child seated. I often wondered why the Ms. Joneses didn't ask those white female teachers for any portion of their salary since Ms. Jones' were doing a big chunk of their jobs.
. I also saw this same dynamic among the black, white, and Hispanic female students where the white girls especially, but also the Hispanic girls sometimes would keep a tough black girl "on retainer" as protection against the other tough girls. The white girl would refer to the black girl as her friend, but actually the black girl was her 'bodyguard.' SMH This is really a pronounced pattern where black girls and bw allow themselves to be used and abused by so many folks just to be accepted and get a few crumbs of attention or love. They do the same thing with bm.

The fact is that so many black female teachers willingly accepted this extra work and stress. I think it made them feel needed or powerful. This used to irk me to the max. This adds fuel to the notion that bw are more "masculine" women. The fact is that many AA women love this "Sapphire" role. I think they feel powerful and comfortable acting out that role from slavery. This really needs to be discussed. I know that there are bw reading this right now who love being "Sapphires." LOL! Some bw have perfected this role of acting like a black caricature from de ole plantation.

Once again, gender, people???? Once again, black women as the "strong black women" who can "take it", who don't need protection, etc, etc, because as was mentioned earlier, they are the "mules" of the world...I recall that my ex-husband used to talk about AA women on his job who he said would never willingly give up their dominant role in AA life because he said AA women love the power that comes from having that role.

They may not willingly give it up, but it is and will continue to be the cause of the demise of many of them.

And the bottom line is that AA women are going to have to re-invent themselves by getting rid of MOST of what they think they are because most of what they are or think they are is a program that is implanted in them to serve others and to cause self-destruction. MOST AA women either outright reject or are VERY uncomfortable about the notion of rejecting what they think they are.

I realize that some folks online think I'm a Sapphire, LOL! but I don't have that type of persona at all in person. I smile a lot, am soft-spoken, very polite, am friendly, and I've been told I'm very feminine. But I'm respected because I mean what I say and people can tell that from my actions. This is why I constantly say to AA women that they don't need to be loud and belligerent to get their point across and they need to flee any environment where the bw feel compelled to act like Sapphire caricatures or display what you've labeled, Khadija, as "Butch" behavior. And I firmly believe that practically any adult AA woman, of sound mind, could flee if she stops making excuses and uses the bulk of her energy focusing on her flight plan and not her fears.

foreverloyal said...

I read the original post and kept saying out loud, "Ouch. Ouch... Ouch!"
A thought of "But what about the ki-" started to form, and then I though to myself, "Heck, isn't the reason I never considered teaching is that I never wanted to deal with someone else's bratty, disrespectful, entitled, spoiled kids? NEVERMIND children that are actually DANGEROUS?"

Can't bregrudge another sista for looking out for number one, since that's what I have always done.

NO GUILT, ladies! If the parents don't care and do their part, not much you can do. May as well go on and earn real money and have some peace to boot. :)

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hi again!

Thanks for this dialogue!

I should clarify that I was not saying that there is NO NEED FOR protection in dangerous environments. I was saying that IF the ministry work that we do in these environments REQUIRED that I pack a pistol for my protection then I am not going to be in a position where I kill anyone to save my life. That's MY decision for ME.

I am not saying that OTHER ministers who do intervention on the streets should not carry pistols if they feel that they need that level of protection to minister on the streets in ghettos.

I also said that I USED TO scoff at the ministers who would only minister in the church building and that NOW I fully understand what Hagar's Daughter is saying.

Just clarifying my earlier comment...

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

brightstarr said...

Hi. This is my first time posting, but I've been a reader since last summer when I linked from Evia's blog. This topic really hits home for me. I'm 26 with an English BA from a state school in CT. I teach in a private school that costs around 30,000 a year for kids to attend. Of course, there are kids here on financial aid and scholarships, too. I used to feel tremendous guilt for working in such a privileged environment and thought maybe I should finish my state cert and teach in a public school. The public schools in Hartford are considered some of the toughest in the country, lots of poverty, teen pregnancy and other issues. I'd probably burn out in a week, but still I wondered if I should be a good "race woman" and educated and uplift "my people." I am sure now that I am better off here, there are some great kids of color here who need my help navigating their futures, especially the girls, who I encourage to only befriend and date smart, kind motivated young men of any color, who will treat them well. I know they see me "living well" and look up to me. I have a kind thoughtful partner who sometimes brings me lunch or attends school events and they ask me all sorts of questions about what we do on the weekends (kids are nosy but I share appropriately nonetheless because they need these good examples of positive grown-up life and what they have to look forward to if they make good choices.) So thank you for helping me feel secure in the choices I've made.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Roslyn!

You're right when you said, "I think for many of us, we're so mentally exhausted that we stop thinking clearly."I think another part of this is the impact of unquestioned assumptions ("doing THIS is doing the right thing, so there's no need for me to question the cost"). BW generally only tend to back-up and reconsider something when it costs somebody ELSE that they care about---such as their child. We won't question the value of a course of action for ourselves, but we will usually do it if it looks like our children might get shortchanged.
_________________

Hello there, Evia!

Thanks for mentioning the Kola Boof essay on your blog. I bought it, and it's profound. I strongly recommend that folks read it.

I haven't finished reading it, but I have the impression that Ms. Boof doesn't know (or refuses to accept) that it's GAME OVER for the overall Black collective, Black love, Black unity, the Black family---and the rest of that "good stuff." It's long GONE; and it's not coming back.

You said, "In essence, many AA women DO want to hold the group together or do their utmost (become Beulahs--SMH)trying because many AA women don't believe they can go anywhere else (assimilate into other groups) and be accepted or feel like they belong. Or they don't want to do that. Therefore they try to keep the AA group from totally sinking so that they can feel they belong to a group--for safety and acceptance and ?????

It's apparent by now that if many AA males had the education and financial resources of AA women, they would have become a distant memory. As more of them get those tickets into mainstream society, they'll be gone. In so many ways, this is one of the greatest tragedies not yet told. It's like so many AA women are getting all dressed up and have no where to go or choose to just refuse to face the fact that AAs, as the group we once were, are done."
Thanks for explaining that. I see your point. This would explain why BW are clinging to these fantasies even at the cost of their own destruction. They really feel that they have no other options.

Well, it's for those of us who know better to redouble our efforts, and continue spreading the word that there ARE other options for BW.

You said, "Black female teachers were used or allowed themselves to be use as the schools' bogeymen. This was the standard practice in ALL of the schools I worked in. I'll bet anything that this is still going on."

...I also saw this same dynamic among the black, white, and Hispanic female students where the white girls especially, but also the Hispanic girls sometimes would keep a tough black girl "on retainer" as protection against the other tough girls. The white girl would refer to the black girl as her friend, but actually the black girl was her 'bodyguard.' SMH
This is utterly insane.You said, "This is why I constantly say to AA women that they don't need to be loud and belligerent to get their point across and they need to flee any environment where the bw feel compelled to act like Sapphire caricatures or display what you've labeled, Khadija, as "Butch" behavior. And I firmly believe that practically any adult AA woman, of sound mind, could flee if she stops making excuses and uses the bulk of her energy focusing on her flight plan and not her fears."YES! Freedom IS possible and waiting for BW!
__________________

Hello there, ForeverLoyal!

You said, "NO GUILT, ladies! If the parents don't care and do their part, not much you can do. May as well go on and earn real money and have some peace to boot. :)"Yes, BW are ENTITLED to live well; including in their work lives.
______________________

Hello there, Lisa!

Thanks for clarifying that. I get it now. *Smile*
_______________________

Hello there, Brightstarr!

You're welcome! You are ENTITLED to live well. Good for you!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Evia:

"In essence, many AA women DO want to hold the group together or do their utmost (become Beulahs--SMH)trying because many AA women don't believe they can go anywhere else (assimilate into other groups) and be accepted or feel like they belong. Or they don't want to do that. Therefore they try to keep the AA group from totally sinking so that they can feel they belong to a group--for safety and acceptance and ?????

Khadija:

"Thanks for explaining that. I see your point. This would explain why BW are clinging to these fantasies even at the cost of their own destruction. They really feel that they have no other options."

My reply:

I would add, that in the workplace setting another dynamic at play can be that some black women might not scrutinize majority black workplace environments in the same way they would scrutinize majority white workplace environments.

Perhaps there is more at play than just "keeping it real and saving the people," in that it could be about believing that those other types of workplace environments (ie., in the non-government sector) are not welcoming to black women?

Perhaps some black women presume as a result that majority black workplace environments are more conducive, supportive, caring and so forth, and thus they believe the hassles of dealing with "the people" are worthwhile?

It might be the old saying, "better the devil you know than the one you don't!"

This is something I have heard from some of my young female students.

Not only have they been socialized to think in terms of "caring" professions, but they believe the lucrative fields (ie., corporate law and finance) are soul-sucking in a way that would make them uncomfortable, because of class, gender, or race reasons.

Or they believe certain fields are more woman- and family-friendly.

Tam said...

Hi Aphrodite,

You said:

I googled this and I am just stunned. I was aware of this happening, but not on this scale and I definitely didn't know that black activists were behind this. Wow. What in the world made people listen to them?


The same people who convinced the Oakland School Board that children need to learn in their native language, Ebonics. LOL

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Regarding the issue of class, race and gender in the workplace, I found that some of my students who were strivers, ie., coming from working class backgrounds, were so self-conscious about doing anything that would make them seem to become more than what others, ie., friends and relatives, thought they should be.

This fits in with the notion of "keeping it real" that Hagar's Daughter spoke of, and it is worth mentioning.

If they became too different, for example, too middle class, they were accused of not only thinking they were "all that," but they were "acting white," or in the case of the young women, sometimes they were accused of thinking that they were "white girls."

That says a lot, and it is deeply troubling. That to live good, healthy and happy lives, ie., to pursue their bliss, means to reject their racial identities.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Tam!

You said, "The same people who convinced the Oakland School Board that children need to learn in their native language, Ebonics. LOL"

The Ebonics garbage is another example of grassroots malpractice. I can endlessly foam at the mouth about the foolish and insulting nature of promoting this slavery-based dialect, but I'll leave it at the following:

When are we going to STOP begging others to lower standards to accomodate our laziness and lack of discipline? And it IS laziness.

Failing Black children aren't always stupid (although many are). Much of the problem is that their parent(s) allow them to spend 4, 5, and 6 hours a day watching tv, playing video games, and shooting hoops.

When are we going to lift up REAL African names and REAL African languages instead of pretending that invented welfare-recipient names and slavery-based dialects are worthy of respect. They're NOT. Nobody respects mess like that; and they shouldn't.

I wouldn't have any problem with AA children studying Wolof, Hausa or Kiswahili AFTER they have mastered standard English. I think it would be a good thing. But the first step is to be able to function in one's OWN country. That means learning to speak standard English.Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Godelive said...

"When are we going to lift up REAL African names and REAL African languages instead of pretending that invented welfare-recipient names and slavery-based dialects are worthy of respect. They're NOT. Nobody respects mess like that; and they shouldn't."

Thank you! Thank you! A thousand times thank you! Love this blog! It's not too hard to go to the library and get a book on legitimate African names. But, as I've heard it said, if you want to keep a secret from (most) AAs, put it in a book.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Godelive!

Thank you for your kind words about the blog. I truly appreciate it.

These invented, welfare-recipient, prison-bound names are yet another topic that I can rant endlessly about. These names FILL the dockets in criminal and child abuse courtrooms. These names are a constant source of smirks and giggles among (non-Black) court personnel.

First you have the gaudy product names: Courvoisier, Lexus, etc.

Then you have the invented, welfare recipient "a-ee-a" female names: Lateesha, Shaniqua, Tanisha, Tanika, etc.

Then you have the series of names with "La" slapped onto the beginning like a prefix: LaShawn, LaDonna, etc.

Then there's the series of names with "De" slapped onto the beginning: DeShawn, etc.

I was extremely annoyed with so-called Queen Latifah for naming her character after my name. The historical Khadija was an honorable and remarkable businesswoman in her time. With an honorable name. I DON'T enjoy seeing welfare recipients "riff" off of my/her name with grotesqueries such as "LaQuadeesha," etc.

I also DON'T enjoy encountering bigoted, sectarian Christian colored girls who are offended to find out that the name they (ignorantly---because it sounds pretty) gave their daughters is a MUSLIM name after a MUSLIM woman who was the Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) wife.

These invented, welfare recipient-affiliated names are NOT deserving of respect. This type of mess will (and should) lead to resumes being discarded. No matter how much we whine about it.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JaliliMaster said...

"I wouldn't have any problem with AA children studying Wolof, Hausa or Kiswahili AFTER they have mastered standard English. I think it would be a good thing. But the first step is to be able to function in one's OWN country. That means learning to speak standard English.Peace, blessings and solidarity."




Agree. In fact, it doesn't have to be an African language. I'll be happy as long as it is an ACTUAL language. Ebonics is not a language. It is corrupted English. VERY corrupted. Slang! No educated person with common sense would mistake it for a language.

And I also agree with what you said concerning some Negroes wanting others to lower their standards because said Negroes aren't up to scratch. It reminds me of a case that has been brought before the Supreme Court. A fire department(I can't remember what state) is being sued by 21 of their fire fighters (all of the 21 are white men, except one, who is a latino). Basically, they always do this test to determine who would be considered for promotion and be made chief. This time around, they wanted a black man to get the post so they can show their diversity. Unfortunately for them, not one, not a single one of the black male firefighters who took the test managed to even reach the basic cut-off score, let alone score a high mark. As a result, they decided to scrap the test, and made up some new method of testing folks common sense. They decided to assess 'other' factors. The guy who scored the highest was a white male. All the other 21 men also attained really good scores. Now they are bringing a racial discrimination case against the state. The states excuse is that if they hadn't done what they did, the black firefighters would have sued them for racial discrimination in the work place. I was so embarrassed for Back folk when one of these Negro males actually said in a t.v. interview that he feared that if they brought the test back, it would lead to 'all-white' fire departments. In other words, this fellow believed that if the yardstick one uses is based on intelligence, the black firefighters are doomed. If you know you have an aptitude test coming up that is going to determine your suitabilty for a post, why can't you study? And if you did in fact study but got too low a mark, then accept that you fall under the category of the majority who just aren't that bright! There is a reason why most end up on the factory floor and few end up as the manager.

I was so disgusted when I found out that alot of HBCU's have an SAT entrance score as low as 700.....out of a possible 1600! Anytime that I point out that alot of these HBCU's are sub-par, folks want to ring my neck. They act as if they are all like, say, Spelman or Howard. Read the back pages of Essence (or is it Ebony) where they advertise these colleges. Look at the requirements for admission. Yet it is these same batch of students that will graduate and expect to be employed in good positions. There was a news segment I saw on t.v where some folks were celebrating because their son managed to get an SAT score of 1150. They thought this made him a genius. I kept thinking to myself..."Are you kidding me?"

JaliliMaster said...

"First you have the gaudy product names: Courvoisier, Lexus, etc."



Lord have mercy! This is the first I've heard of someone being named after a product. There is this show 'American Princess.' One of the contestants was called LaToshua Joshua. I was in England when they aired it, and the brits made so much fun of it. I just shook my head!

Hagar's Daughter said...

Khadija:
"These invented, welfare-recipient, prison-bound names are yet another topic that I can rant endlessly about."

Reply:
This naming foolishness has to end. Middle class parents are choosing crazy names for their children as well.

I have an incomplete blog post that I began writing 6 months ago about this very subject. Names like: Cashmoney (cash Mo nay), Pimp Deele, Danger, Michelob Lyte - you get the point. One mother named her child LaZonya (pronounced lasagna like the Italian dish) because mother was hungry during labor.

Some people may brush this off as not being important, but it really is.

Khadija said...

Hello there, JaliliMaster!

The most ignorant of the ignorant AA welfare recipients name their children after liquor and automobile brand names: Tanqueray, Corvoisier, Lexus, etc.

I will note that this business of invented, idiotic names among AAs didn't start (in terms of large numbers of people) until the 1960s or so. I'm not exactly sure, but I think the choosing of liquor and car brands as baby names started with the hip-hop era.

{insert primal scream}

In terms of the language thing:

I think it would be best (for psychological reasons) for AAs to pick an African language. First, it would help dispel the lie that African = grunting savages with nothing of value. Second, AA children would probably feel something closer to a sense of "ownership" with an African language.

I think that it's good in general for AAs to learn another language. I've watched the cultural and psychological benefits that non-AAs derive from having their own language---it's a way of being able to exclude others---which is a form of emotional power.

My bottom line with the language issue is that it is extremely unhealthy for AAs to have almost nothing left of our very own. I feel that AA linguists should either create a language for us, or promote the study of an African language. If Star Trek fans can invent alien languages like "Klingon," we can do whatever we truly WANT to do! LOL.

About the grades and test scores issue:

We're so busy trying to get others to lower standards that we never consider this issue from a public safety angle. I DON'T want the guy/chick with a 700 SAT score or a barely-passing GPA flying the plane I'm on, or performing any other critical function.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Hagar's Daughter!

Oh yes, the madness is spreading to the AA middle class. In large part due to the Acting Black Crew loudly asserting that these invented, ghetto names are somehow actually "African-American" names. As if. And that to reject these idiotic names is racist.

One of my friends is a ob-gyn nurse. Over the years, she has had more than one "Sheniqua" ask her for the spelling of a medication name in order to name their baby...after...the... medication. She refused to give them the spelling.

These tend to be the same women to whom she has patiently explained that they don't have to allow their baby daddy's MALE friends to be in the delivery room watching them give birth. These "Sheniquas" tend to tell her that they don't mind having their boyfriend's MALE "homies" in the delivery room (looking at their genitals). {very long sigh}

The fact that so many AAs don't think this is important is yet another indicator of how low we've sunk as a collective. The fact that so many AAs are lazy and frivolous with something as important as naming their children is a disgrace.

A name affects the course of a child's life. A poorly-chosen name has "price tags" attached to it. As you know, many employers routinely throw away resumes with these ghetto names. I don't blame them---I would too. And even beyond the practical, "worldly," negative impact of these invented, ghetto names, I DO believe that there's also a negative spiritual impact. I've noticed that these invented, ghetto names have a different (and NOT in a good way) "vibe" and "energy signature" to them.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

blackgirlinmaine said...

I enjoyed this post especially as someone in a helping profession though as the Executive Director of a small agency, I don't have much direct contact anymore with clients. Though when I was living and working in Chicago, I could share some stories...I used to work with the homeless and had some scary days.

However it was the comment about made up welfare recipient, prison bound names that caught my attention.

I was born in the early 1970's to young parents who gave me one of those names. In the early 90's I made the decision after years of hating the name to simply stop using it. I never legally changed it but lets just say very few people know my full legal name.

I have grappled over the years with that decision having some on my own family question me for wanting to be white. (eye roll)

Its just that I did a test where I sent resumes out with legal name, wouldn't get any response, then inserted new name...guess who got responses.

I agree folks need to stop giving their kids made up fake African sounding names because in the end its really a burden for that child. Even a straight A good kid will have assumptions made when they have such a name.

Lorraine said...

Greetings everyone,

I have chuckled at a couple of these responses especially about the ghetto sounding names and would laugh out loud if it wasn't so sad. I recall this starting around the time of "Roots" even beng in 7th grade not understanding why someone would name their child "Kunte Kente" Smith. And later Akeem, Tutankhamun, Ali Jenkins --- in some effor to reconnect with the African motherland. Most of the thinking is that the names are cute. Such immature thinking ghetto thinking is still quite the norm. There has been controversy over some of those names being shut out of the work force. I know a capt. in the Navy who worked hard to earn her rank complain about her ghetto sounding name. She chose not to change it as she has been able to excel and marry very well, but had she not gone into the military may have had a more difficult time being taken seriously. There are exceptions but most of those resumes go into the trash.

I was surprised to see news reporter named "Drakeel". She was a good reporter who has gone on to become an entreprenuer in the DC area. I honestly don't know that her name was a turn off to people but I have my suspicions. You can read Drakeel's testimony on her website. http://www.drakeelenterprises.com/index.htm

There has been study after study about these names and the impact they will have on these children's future. What in the world can one expect for their child by naming them after a car or fashion designer (except for Chanel Iman Robinson)?

Corey Martin of the Daily Mississipian wrote a very accurate assessment of the whole "black name' phenomenon. Check it out.
http://www.thedmonline.com/2.2840/stop-using-ghetto-names-1.110607

I am shaking my head on this.

Khadija said...

Hello there, BlackGirlInMaine!

What you described is the reason why, as an employer, I would throw away resumes with invented, ghetto names: You had the common sense to be uncomfortable with that type of name. You had the common sense to stop using that name.

I would have GRAVE concerns about the common sense (much less savvy) and professionalism of somebody who persists in trying to use an invented, ghetto name in professional settings.

The harsh reality that I've observed is that ghetto issues usually accompany people wearing ghetto names.For just one of many examples, the striver-Black attorneys I've previously mentioned who felt that it was appropriate to use Ebonics in court---they have invented, ghetto names.

The invented, ghetto names are a stigma and a burden. AAs need to STOP inflicting these names on their children.
____________________

Hello there, Lorraine!

The man who wrote the editorial against these names is absolutely correct.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Godelive said...

Speaking of child abuse courtrooms, you should hear the snickering going on among the county attorneys and the deer-in-the-headlights look of the judges when AAs have the nerve to exclaim that they belong to a Native American tribe. (When a child belongs to a Native American tribe, there are certain procedures that must be followed before the parents' rights can be terminated.) If I had a dollar for every time this happened, man! And these folks would truly believe that they are part of some Native American tribe. The judge would ask, "what tribe?" And then, of course, you get the "well my grandmother was Cherokee ..." So the judge has to take this into account. (I think the judge was just humoring these people and going out of the way to be fair.) We would have to stop the court proceedings and the State's Attorney had to write a letter to the tribe to verify this. The tribe ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS wrote back that this Negro is not part of the tribe - no way, no how, not even remotely. It's so embarrassing. I just wanted to crawl under a desk each time this happened. And it almost always did -- and a lot of these people would be blacker than tar (not that there's anything wrong with that). But come on, that Cherokee mess is another thing that needs to die a quick death. (And yes, I know there are some AAs who have legitimate Native American ancestry. But guess what, the NAs are not trying to claim AAs, especially now that there's money involved.)

Khadija said...

Hello there, Godelive!

{chuckling} I've seen similar unintended comedy routines in paternity/child support courtrooms. Imagine the following setting:

1-The paternity of an OOW Black child is at issue.

2-The child is VERY light-skinned.

3-The mother is VERY dark-skinned.

4-The Negro that the mother chose to name as the father in the paternity complaint is also VERY dark-skinned.

From my observations while working in these courtrooms, dark-skinned Negro males are MUCH more likely to claim paternity of an extremely light-skinned child. I suppose they feel that "officially" having a light-skinned child represents some sort of trophy or accomplishment for them; even if the odds are that the child is not theirs.

I recall in one such case, the elderly, dark-skinned BM judge looked at the named defendant like he was crazy when he said he was the father and said, "Come on, man." The judge, on his OWN motion, ordered a paternity test in that case.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Lorraine said...

"From my observations while working in these courtrooms, dark-skinned Negro males are MUCH more likely to claim paternity of an extremely light-skinned child. I suppose they feel that "officially" having a light-skinned child represents some sort of trophy or accomplishment for them; even if the odds are that the child is not theirs."

Unbelievable! I know this is truth. Years ago before I was schooled in the interworkings, intricacies, dynamics etc., of why skin color is such an issue within the black community, I was coming back from lunch one day and a bm/ww couple, baby and mother-in-law (I assume) were driving up. This negro almost broke his neck to get that white looking baby out of the car so I could see it. I knew what he was doing, but didn't understand why. First of all he was holding the baby in his arms instead of the saftey of a car seat, and then, the car had barely stopped. Even though I now know why, I am still shaking my head.

A quick note: Maury Povich can attest to some of these Negros not even claiming children by white girls who turn out light, bright and damned near white. Who knows if they just want a free trip to New York along with the limo service, nice hotel and all the free food they can eat, or if they are really that trifling. Not many bm do this as they are too busy denying their children by black women, but there are a few who appear on the show and some of these negros even have the nerve to bring their stereotypical ghetto mothers on the show to deny the child as well. It turns into an insult fest with the poor (stupid but poor) girl being called all kinds of sluts and hos. (No one sees the producers and staff behind the scenes asking the stimuli questions that get those conditioned responses right on camera). Sometimes, the child is not the guys, but most of the time, these men know the children are theirs. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to reveal such a personal story before millions of viewers (oh yes, the ratings have been consistent for over 10 years based on DNA testing alone). Don't they know that someday a child will see this crap and know that the mother did not know who its father was? Or that the father denied paternity? truly truly smh on that.

Oh, and let's not forget some of the names on these poor children are listed in the "Book of Ghetto Sounding Names" Its tragic all the way around and so familiar in the black communities. White girls have the issue too, but black and Latina girls far out number the white girls on these shows. If I didn't know who the father of my child was, I would be so ashamed and the world would never see my face on TV, just for the cost of a trip to New York or any price. Have some dignity.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

I got an Amazon alert for a book the readers might be interested in as we consider alternatives.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1440464537/ref=pe_5050_11944580_snp_dp
It's titled Move Abroad Start Your Own Cafe with little Money and Live From It. Now I haven't read it but the title grabbed my attention!!

Khadija said...

Faith,

THANK YOU! I love information that helps open up new possibilities! {raised fist salute}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JS said...

It is a shame that the black poor have fallen so low. As a child, I use to believe that if you were poor you had morals and dignity but had to survive with much less. That viewpoint quickly changed though once I became an adolescent. However, I cannot help but feel a little strange when class based discussions come up. Khadija, it is not that I am offended but its weird being a product of divorced parents with all siblings conceived in wedlock but growing up in low-income areas with a different value system and shy personality. I have witnessed this dysfunction, not to this level of intensity though, with my own eyes. Yet I know that I am nowhere near middle class.

Sometimes I feel like a class orphan.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

One more thing I wanted to add as I'm moving files from my laptop to my external HD. I bookmark websites and save info for later use and wanted to share this from the Center for Women's Business Research: BUSINESSES OWNED BY WOMEN OF COLOR GROWING FASTER THAN ALL U.S. FIRMS
Businesses owned by women of color provide 1.7 million jobs and generate $235 billion in revenues in 2008.

The full report, Businesses Owned by Women of Color in the United States, 2008, is available for $50. Contact: Center for Women’s Business Research, 1760 Old Meadow Dr., McLean, VA 22102. Phone: 703-556-7162. Email: info@womensbusinessresearch.org, Web site: http://www.womensbusinessresearch.org.

Khadija said...

Hello there, JS!

As far as I'm concerned, middle class is a state of mind. The mindset outweights the external trappings.

My grandparents were poor. They didn't base their self-identity on poverty. They thought of themselves as decent, working people. My parents grew up poor. They also didn't base their self-definition on being poor. They thought of themselves as people who simply hadn't "come into their money" yet!

My parents became middle class internally LONG BEFORE they acquired the external material, monetary and educational "goodies."

[I've always been tickled by that phrase "come into my money." I'm especially tickled with the way my mother says it with such quiet confidence. She knew that if she made the right moves, she would no longer live in poverty.]

Granted, the nature of Black poverty has drastically changed since my parents' and grandparents' eras. The Black poor still had dignity in their day. However, I believe that the general principal still applies. Within limits that are less confining than most of us believe, we DO have the power to pick our own place in the scheme of things.

JS, I'm saying all of this to say that you're in whichever "class" you feel like you belong in.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

amy said...

@ JaliliMaster,

I remember reading about this case but what stood out to me the most was the comment made by one of the black firefighters. He indirectly admitted that AA men are lazy but should be held to a lower standard due to the past racial discrimination against blacks.
I couldn't help thinking, if my house ever catches fire, I want the most competent firefighters on scene to save my burning house. After all fire does not care if the firefighter have had a rough past or not. I really hope those guys that passed the test win their case. AA men need to served a resounding notice that their excuses are worn out.

roslynholcomb said...

@Jailimaster, I heard about this case as well. To me, it was a no-brainer. As long as the test was about being a firefighter, I can't imagine why the black firefighters thought they were entitled to promotions. Either you have the aptitude or you don't.

I've often felt like a class orphan as well. The mindset of poor has morphed to such a degree these day that I can no longer relate to them. We were definitely raised with middle class values, or maybe they were working class values, I don't know. But what I encountered working with poor people in social services was so different from the way I was raised I literally used to say I was taking an expedition to Mars every time I went out into the field.

JaliliMaster said...

"I remember reading about this case but what stood out to me the most was the comment made by one of the black firefighters. He indirectly admitted that AA men are lazy but should be held to a lower standard due to the past racial discrimination against blacks.
I couldn't help thinking, if my house ever catches fire, I want the most competent firefighters on scene to save my burning house. After all fire does not care if the firefighter have had a rough past or not. I really hope those guys that passed the test win their case. AA men need to served a resounding notice that their excuses are worn out."



"@Jailimaster, I heard about this case as well. To me, it was a no-brainer. As long as the test was about being a firefighter, I can't imagine why the black firefighters thought they were entitled to promotions. Either you have the aptitude or you don't."




Bear it in mind that I was in Europe when I saw this on the news. This sort of nonsense is being broadcast to the rest of the world, not just in America. Negroes have a problem with other folks thinking they are stupid or of lower intelligence.......till they think they can benefit from it. I'm all for Affirmative Action, if it means that an exceptional black person (note that I didn't say minority or just woman) can get an opportunity that would have otherwise been denied him or her. Similarly, I'm all for it if two people of the same level of competence, whether average or above average are being considered. However, if the choice is between a white man who scored, say, 400 out of a possible 600 (i.e. an average score) and a black man who scored 300 (i.e. just managed to scrape past the half-point mark), I'd pick the white guy anyday. I don't believe anyone should be getting an unfair leg-up. Affirm. Ac. was meant to reverse that (and the cumulative effects of centuries of discriminations). However, if one isn't even qualififed for a post, I get disgusted at the thought that they think they are still more deserving of it because they 'is a minoreetee'!

And not to harp on AA men, but I think it is very unfortunate how the actions of some AA men when they are outside America ends up making things bad for AA women when they travel abroad. Many folks don't know, but in the Middle East, Black women are viewed as whores. This is all through no doing of our own. It's become an even more widespread belief due to the degradation of BW in these music videos. Their view is (those in these parts of the world), that if Bm think so low of BW to portray them in this way, then it must be true. As I'm Black, any negative image of AA women is still, in most cases, going to be applied to me as well. I remember once when I met an Arab man who lives in Dubai. There are quite alot of Africans who go there to do business. He saw me, and assuming I was AA, decided to get semi-lewd with me. I just ignored some of the things he said as at the time, I assumed it was a culture thing so didn't want to get rude. I was like "dude, what do you want?" He then looked at me weird and then went away. Later, out of nowhere, this guy came to me and started apologising profusely. He went on that he "didn't know that I was African", and he was talking about me to someone else and found out that my Mother is from Nigeria (Understandably, my accent isn't African, but it's not American either). Turns out, he travels quite alot, and has a very negative view of AA's. Additionally, alot of the AA men he's met were usually rather dismissive of AA women in general. I then asked this fellow whether most of the AA women he'd met had actually given him reason to believe he could act that way. Turns out he had never met a single AA woman in his life! So all the negative stereoptypes he had of AA women were due to the actions of AA men. At the time this happened, I was much younger (a teen), so I was still not as clued-in to how racial dynamics play out in other parts of the world and the effects of media stereotypes. Now, I wish I had actually gone further and called him out.

Similarly, there was a case somewhere, it was either in an Eastern African country or somewhere in the Middle East. Some type of U.S. representative (I can't recall, but I don't think it was an Ambassador), was invloved with several 'way too young' girls and some very financially degenerate behaviour. As a result, there were grumblings in the country's press that why did they have to be the one's that got the AA. yes, it was a black man. This man was engaging in the sort of behaviour one get's used to from the typical negro politiicians (in the mould of Kilpatrick and Jefferson, with underage sex thrown in). One of the other guys who was helping him cover his tracks was also AA. No African-American woman had ANYTHING whatsoever to do with it, yet got lumped together with this negro and his henchmen.

If one notices, folks are able to make distinctions between gender when it comes to every other race. It's only when it involves Black folks that the two are just lumped together. And it is done the most with Black Americans. AA women in particular need to realise that women in every other part of the world (yes, even African women and women in the Middle East) know that their men have a certain obligation. I was thinking about it this past week and talking with some friends. I get more and more annoyed when I'm trying to figure it out. AA women are the only group of women that I know about that would keep on giving to community, men etc., even when it is no longer in their interest.

When a group has abandoned the community, those still there know to not let them continue to leech off it, as they are contributing nothing. In this case, a good majority of AA men have abandoned the AA community, yet AA women are dragging their feet to let these men know what's up. Last week, I got a bit upset when Khadija first wrote about leaving these sorts of 'helping' professions. I kept thinking 'what about the kids, what about the suffering'. But after a lot of thought, I realise that she's right. Most of the people I see trying to improve the community are.....Black women. Most of the people I see bearing the burden when things go wrong in the 'Black community'.......Black women. Most of the people who get praised when they decide to act and do the right thing......Black men. Most of the people actually getting support from said 'community'......Black men. Most of the people providing support and resources to organisations that are meant to help the black community.......Black women. Most of the people said support and resources are actually being spent on.......Black men!

What does that tell you?!

Khadija said...

Hello there, JaliliMaster!

What you described is one of many reasons why I'm DEEPLY angry with Hip Hop Crack House subculture and videos. {seething}

You asked the question, "What does that tell you?!"It tells us that it's time to walk away and pursue our own interests.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

geekgrl said...

Re: Fire Fighter Examination

I heard the story on NPR and having studied HR Selection, it looks like a valid case. It sounds like a clear case of employment discrimination in the form of disparate impact.

[pulling textbook from shelf]

… In this form organizational selection standards are applied uniformly to all groups of applicants, but the net result of these standards is to produce differences in the selection of various groups. …. A number of frequently used and seemingly valid selection requirements have been the subject of disparate impact discrimination charges, including arrest records, type of military discharge, various educational degrees, scores on some tests and interviews, years of previous work experience, and financial history. (Gatewood, Robert D. “Human Resource Selection”)


http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103289178

From NPR:

‘Kenneth Yusko, a specialist in employment testing, says psychologists aren't sure why certain written tests produce racial disparities in certain job categories, but they do.

Indisputably, blacks and Hispanics did poorly on the New Haven promotional test, more poorly than they had in the past. Critics say the test was flawed in part because 60 percent of the grade was weighted toward a multiple-choice written test. A brief submitted by industrial organizational psychologists contends that such weighting is out of line with current practices.

The brief also argues that even New Haven's oral examinations did not use many of the modern techniques relied on in the majority of fire departments today, where real equipment or tabletop models, for instance, are used to simulate real-life situations.’


In our HR department, when we hire security staff, we do exercises where a distraught caller is asking for security and rate the candidate's response. (The caller is in one room, the candidate in another.) This is rated by two people and weighed higher than the written exam.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Geekgrl!

{shaking my head}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Aphrodite said...

Re: AA women helping and giving


This is so funny that I have to share.


You know the demon with the radio show M.B. had a contest yesterday called "pay it forward" based on the movie. He says due to the economy being so bad - this is his way of helping and he wanted others to pay it forward within the community.

Well, in the small ending section I listened to the majority of callers were BM and to make a long story short M.B. was flustered and didn't know what to do because none of the men who requested help had any plans for "paying it forward".

They would get on air and ask for what they wanted and then when he would ask them on air how were they going to pay it forward there was silence. Well crickets and then silence. LOL


And M.B. was surprised and shocked that not one BM in a how many hour show could say how they would "pay it forward".


Not only that, but he acted shocked at the requests. One BM had a job, got fired, and wanted the show to pay for his housing as he had no where to stay.

He said he was tardy all the time and his boss told him to show up 15 minutes early everyday and he told his boss where he can put it and now he wanted this show to get him somewhere to live.


I was laughing my butt off! MB just couldn't understand- he was confused.


But event though this was a man, albeit a demonic DBR man- I think it illustrates all the points that BW empowerment bloggers are driving home re BM and the AA collective

1. Believe your eyes and experiences

2. BW have been and some still are being used collectively and individually - for all their resources

3. BM feel entitled to BW's resources and help

4. BM are already divested


etc so forth and so on...


So if you are a BW still romanticizing helping professions just consider that these BM were a part of a game where one of the requirements was that you had to do something good for someone else and they had no shame in admitting that they were not going to reciprocate on national radio!


I would think that if it was "your job" to help them then your treatment definitely would be much worse as they 'know' you have to help them.

Khadija said...

Aphrodite,

Thank you for providing this evening's belly laugh. I enjoyed it. LOL!

You said, "Well, in the small ending section I listened to the majority of callers were BM and to make a long story short M.B. was flustered and didn't know what to do because none of the men who requested help had any plans for "paying it forward".

They would get on air and ask for what they wanted and then when he would ask them on air how were they going to pay it forward there was silence. Well crickets and then silence. LOL"

RESPONSE: {chuckling}

You said, "And M.B. was surprised and shocked that not one BM in a how many hour show could say how they would "pay it forward". Not only that, but he acted shocked at the requests. One BM had a job, got fired, and wanted the show to pay for his housing as he had no where to stay."

RESPONSE: {laughter} Yep. They key words were that the Negro radio imp "acted shocked."

Let me ask a silly question: Did M.B. (the Negro radio imp) question or (God forbid) challenge these BM callers about their unwillingness to "pay anything forward"? Or did he just roll through these crazy requests as if they were reasonable? Or did he play it off as one big joke?

I'll be extremely surprised if M.B. actually confronted any of these trifling fools about their WEAK, SPOILED, lopsided demands & expectations. {eye roll}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Aphrodite said...

Hello Khadija,


His co-host, the comedian, was the one who challenged them on the ridiculousness of some of these requests while M.B. laughed and giggled in the background.


But neither one of them ever challenged the BM callers directly on not paying it forward. M.B. just complained on air about it.


So - he was playing their responses off as one big joke.

Peaceful Lane said...

so Khadija, do you think becoming a RN (reigstered Nurse) is one of these professions you mention to not go into? Nursing has many areas and options. They also have doctorate positions, college professors, House Supervisor, etc. I have to say you have a point. Nursing is my dream and I am going for it. I can start my own business with a nursing degree too. With social work, you are pretty much limited.

Khadija said...

Peaceful Lane,

I think any field that has an influx of foreign workers is usually a very risky field to get into.

Everybody's mileage may vary.

Expect Success!