Saturday, July 25, 2009

Al-Walaa Wal Baraa---Allegiance And Aversion Based On Values, Part 1

In preparation for the discussions I hope to begin in August, I've been asking the audience to reflect on what values they're taking with them into "the lands of the living." However, I haven't given any concrete examples of why I believe this is important. I also haven't mentioned any of the angles I want people to consider in reference to their values. I hope to rectify that omission with this post.

Next month, I would like to have a series of conversations about what we draw close to (and why), and what we distance ourselves from (and why). These two factors determine the course (and sometimes the duration) of our lives! In terms of Islam, the concept is called in Arabic: al-walaa wal baraa.

For this series, let's work from the specific out to the general. In this post, let's first look at some specific incidents and I'll review them in light of considerations that are part of my particular faith tradition.

I. Preliminary Matters: Why I'm Using Traditional Terminology

For this conversation, I'm going to mostly use traditional terms to describe certain concepts. When discussing matters of faith, I try to stick as close to possible to the terminology used in the Quran, and by traditional religious scholars. I believe that it's dangerous to deviate from the clearly-defined, known earlier terms.

Let me give a secular example. "Messence" magazine has started doing an apparently yearly feature on what it calls "Do-Right Men." Well, the more this was discussed on various blogs, the more people realized that there didn't seem to be any real criteria to being referred to as a "Do-Right Man." From their interviews, these men did NOT sound as if they were ultimately looking for wives. Nor did they even sound as if they were looking for "serious" relationships. Some of these men apparently already had girlfriends.

But yet Messence was encouraging Black women to celebrate and respond to these men as if these men were eligible bachelors. I realized that Messence had done yet another "bait and switch" on its readers. It was encouraging Black women to respond to these men as if they met the criteria of being eligible bachelors (men who are called such because they are interested in and eligible for marriage), when these men never verbally signed-on to the "eligible bachelor" package.

With this verbal bait and switch, Messence was encouraging its readers to pin eligible bachelor hopes onto men who were just looking for a good time (some of whom were already hooked-up to somebody else). This sort of "bait and switch" is often what happens when we get away from traditional, known terminology and start using new terms.

People are then free to define these new terms however they wish. Such as so-called Do-Right Man versus what it takes to be an Eligible Bachelor. So, this Messence example is one reason why I believe that it's safest to stick with the already clearly-defined and known terminology when discussing certain things.

II. Preliminary Matters: Glossary

Fiqh: Muslim jurisprudence. The science which deals with the observance of rituals, the principles of the Five Pillars [the fundamental tenets or requirements of Islam which are accepted as such unequivocally by all branches], and social legislation. The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, pg. 126, 132.

Al-Walaa Wal Baraa: "Al-walaa means loyalty and al-baraa means disownment. In the context of Islaam al-walaa is loyalty to Allaah and whatever He is pleased with as well as friendship and closeness to the believers, whereas al-baraa is freeing oneself from that which is displeasing to Allaah and disowning the disbelievers." Al-Walaa' wal-Baraa, pg. 3 Shaykh Saalih bin Fawzaan al Fawzaan.

The point is for Muslims to draw close to that which is pleasing to God, and to distance themselves away from that which is displeasing to God. Unfortunately, extremists tend to reduce the concept of al-walaa wal baraa down to "loving and hating for the sake of God." {shudder}

Since I'm speaking to a mixed audience of Muslims, non-Muslims, believers and non-believers, let me put this specific concept into a more general context: I believe that it's essential that we draw close to that which supports our deepest values; and that we distance ourselves away from that which is opposed to our deepest values.

A large part of the reason why the African-American collective is in a state of free fall is because most of us don't have any clear values. Those of us who do have values generally fail to integrate these values into the fabric of our everyday lives. Such people only pull their values out for "special occasions."

Most African-Americans are not grounded in anything at all.

Our lack of basic, firm grounding is also the reason why we are so easily deceived and pulled off course.

III. Preliminary Matters: The Fiqh of Balances

"When interests conflict, an interest of a lower status is sacrificed for the sake of a higher interest, and an interest of a private nature is sacrificed for the sake of a common interest; and the owner of the private interest is to be compensated for his loss. Also in cases of conflicting interests, a temporary interest is forsaken in favour of a long term or permanent interest; a superficial interest is disregarded for the sake of a real interest, and a definite interest is given precedence over a doubtful interest." Priorities of The Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase, by Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, pg. 48.

"If evils conflict, and some of them are indispensable, then one should choose the lesser of the two evils and the smaller of the two harms. Muslim jurists have prescribed that harm should be eliminated as much as possible. A harm should not be eliminated with a harm of the same nature or with a greater harm. A minor harm should be tolerated if such tolerance would make it possible to avoid a major harm; and a specific harm should be tolerated if it alleviates a general harm.

. . . If interests and evils conflict, they should be examined carefully in terms of their size, effect and duration. A slight evil should be forgiven for the sake of realising a major interest. A temporary evil should be forgiven for the sake of realising a long term or permanent interest. Even a great evil should be accepted if its elimination would lead to a greater evil. In normal conditions, the avoidance of evil should come before the realizing of interest." Priorities of The Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase, by Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, pg. 49.

A word about weighing evils: It's extremely dangerous. Especially for confused people. Confused people like most African-Americans who are NOT firmly rooted or grounded in any clear values whatsoever. I've made the following comment on other blogs:

"What people don't seem to comprehend is that by presuming to weigh evil, you are putting your hands on it. The taint rubs off and seeps into your skin. It's dangerous to try to weigh evil. Evil must be fought, NOT measured! I believe this is why those people who have settled for so-called "lesser" evils get so angry with people who refuse to compromise their principles. They are usually angrier with the non-compromisers than they are with the so-called "lesser" evil. They are envious of how the non-compromiser stayed clean of the "lesser" evil they compromised with."

There are many times when we have to try to weigh evils and harms in assessing various situations and how we will react to them. However, we must always keep in mind the dangers involved in this process. We must continuously check back with our various touchstones---our scriptures and anything else that we use to guide our actions.

When we don't continuously refer back to our touchstones---or even worse, don't have any touchstones to check---we set ourselves up to be played and to do great harm to our own interests.

This sort of self-inflicted damage to our own interests is the general behavior pattern for most African-Americans. We don't react to events based on clear, firm values. We react based on emotions.

Let's examine some recent events in light of the above concepts. Keep in mind that I'm talking about examining situations based on values. I'm NOT talking about what specific legal concepts (such as due process, etc.) require various officials to do in a particular scenario. Legal codes do NOT necessarily reflect the ETHICS of a situation. Many of us lose sight of that.

[For clarity, I'll add that I support ideas such as "the rule of law," "due process," etc. That's why I started doing defense work. But that's not what I'm talking about here---I'm talking about values. So, let's keep that separate for this conversation.]

IV. The Prof. Henry Gates Incident

Is this a matter of public or private interest? Matters of public interest usually involve concerns greater than avenging a single wronged person. Let's first look to see how the purported "victim" in this situation, Prof. Henry Gates, is treating the matter. This should give us an idea as to what the person directly affected by the situation feels that it's about.

If this was about a principled stand against injustice, one would expect Prof. Gates and his supporters to be critical of everybody involved in the injustice. That's not happening here. The only person that Prof. Gates and Cheerleaders seem critical of is the White, male police officer who arrested him. Not the White female neighbor who made the call to the police department. One might expect her to recognize her own neighbor during the afternoon when the sun was shining. Not the Black male police officer who was present during the arrest. One might expect a Black officer to refrain from aiding and abetting racist police misconduct against other Black people.

Here's part of a comment I made at another blog [Acts of Faith in Love and Life; it's on my sidebar]:

"Another irritant is that we never address the fact that there are often Black police officers present during this type of misconduct. On what basis do we focus ALL of our rage on the White officers present?

I tend to be angrier with Black officers who collaborate with racists. Historically, AAs protested to get more AAs hired as police, and THIS is what some of them do?

IIRC, I saw a Black-looking officer in the foreground of a video still picture of Prof. Gates being arrested. Well, who was that colored boy in uniform? Are any of the outraged AA voices talking about that particular individual? Is there a local Black police officers' league? If so, is this group talking about/to that individual? Are any of these outraged AAs talking to the local Black police group about that person (if such a local group exists)?

The presence of Black-skinned officers during racist police misconduct incidents is not rare. This sort of thing raises the question of whether or not it makes sense for AAs to continue to clamor to have Black-skinned police officers. Maybe we need to find some other criteria to use for lobbying for various people to get hired. Skin color alone is obviously not it.

. . . Faith, yes, from talking to relatives who are in law enforcement there IS what I'll call a "Serpico Effect": Any cop who is not down with the program (be it racist, or simply corrupt) can find themselves without back-up if/when their life is in danger at work.

From what I've been told, this isn't always the case. But it happens enough to keep most people in check.

However, going along with the program is no guarantee of safety at work for Black officers. Even if they 'go along to get along' with racist coworkers, Black officers are still much more liable to be shot BY OTHER OFFICERS when working in plainclothes or undercover. Despite police protestations that everybody's "blue," a BM is a BM is a BM to racist Whites. And if they mess up and shoot a BM who turns out to have a badge...oh well, ooops.

I've heard similar "Serpico Effect" tales from several WW I've known who are in law enforcement.

On a non-life-threatening level, similar career pressures often apply to Black prosecutors---the Christopher Darden Gambit---where they dig a Black prosecutor out of the basement office to be a Black face prosecuting high-profile AAs.

But all of this brings into question one's personal integrity and how cheaply one is willing to sell oneself.

My refusal to be used like that is one of several reasons why I quit my first job as prosecutor after about a year; and it didn't take long for me to see "what time it was" at that office. The crazy/dishonest/racist officers quickly learned that they could NOT trust me to blindly buy into whatever they wrote in their police reports. They also knew that they couldn't "joke" about "testi-lying" in my presence. Unfortunately, there are PLENTY of colored prosecutors that entertain that mess.

Nobody is REQUIRED to keep a job where the work environment demands that you collaborate with evil. Most jobs are not the Mafia---you CAN quit. You can look for another job that doesn't require you to be an accomplice to evil. And I don't believe people who claim that it took them many years to figure out what was going on at their job. NO! They knew. They just didn't care until something happened and they were exposed as the ultra-cheap prostitutes that they are."

Prof. Gates is responding to this incident as if it's about some personal grudge against White, male authority figures. That lets me know that this is primarily a private interest that does not require public intervention from others. Prof. Gates can seek redress through a lawsuit or an administrative complaint against the officer.

What's the size, effect and duration of the harm(s) involved? Is somebody seriously wounded or dead as a result of wrongdoing? From my earlier comment:

"Another irritant is wondering how long will it take for AAs (of all economic classes) to get it through our heads that it's NOT a good idea to have a direct confrontation with racist police out in "the world." By yourself. Where it's their word against yours. Where they could shoot you dead and be done with it.

Why is it that so many of us (who should know better) have not considered how critical it is to keep our heads in such circumstances? Why is it that so many of us (especially so-called "prominent" Black folks) haven't thought through what they're going to do when something like that happens?

Whatever the possible strategies might be in such circumstances, trying to fuss at armed police...by yourself...with their word against yours...is NOT the move to make.

Prof. Gates was blessed that they didn't just put a bullet hole in his head. And lay a "drop gun" (or something else metallic) beside his dead body. These things do happen. And most of us know this. When faced with these situations, why do so many of us still respond as if we don't know this?"

Prof. Gates could have been killed. He wasn't. Prof. Gates could have been beaten. He wasn't. He was blessed that the only injury was to his pride. It could have been much, MUCH worse. Serious injuries and/or fatalities weigh in favor of making the matter one of public interest that requires public intervention.

Serious injuries and fatalities can also weigh heavily against someone who was otherwise a victim in the particular incident. Victims whose inappropriate behavior or bad choices cause death or serious injuries to themselves or others lose much of their entitlement to support from others.

In any event, serious injuries or fatalities didn't happen here, thank God.

Is dealing with this particular incident going to damage a long-term or permanent interest? Let's examine this point in terms of the Black people who were calling for Pres. Obama to speak out about the Prof. Gates Incident. Let's look at what this means in terms of our long-term interests as African-Americans. From my earlier comments at Faith's blog:

"Yep. As I've stated before, this 'racism is officially over because there's a Black president' meme is part of the price tag of having the Obama-ssiah in the White House. One of MANY, somewhat-hidden price tags that AAs have ignored while enjoying our Obama-ssiah-induced-delirium.

. . . Yes, there's going to be various forms of blowback for our Pavlovian, knee-jerk whining about this incident. Blowback that we haven't bothered to consider, much less calculate.

For just one example, the Obama-ssiah has chosen to expend a bit of his "non-threatening Black male" currency with Whites over the Skip Gates Affair. The President (who has to maintain favor with Whites) is NOT going to readily do this again...if EVER again. His statement about the Skip Gates Affair is the only bone he's going to throw to AAs for a LONG time. It might be the ONLY bone he throws us throughout his term.

Since Pres. Obama has only budgeted about 1, maybe 2, "bones" specifically for AA concerns, did we really want to spend one of these bones/crumbs of Presidential attention on Skip Gates? It's one thing if we had decided that the Skip Gates Affair was worthy of using up our 1 scrap of attention/input from the first Black President. But, we didn't make that calculation. Even worse, we're not even aware that this sort of calculation is being made by the Obama-ssiah!

We're too silly to comprehend that Pres. Obama's statements about Skip Gates means that when the next 'Katrina'-type thing happens disproportionately to AAs, then he will feel that he CAN'T afford to respond to our concerns.

In terms of the next 'Katrina' to hit AAs, Pres. Obama is going to respond with the same empty platitudes that Bush used. He will do this because he already spent that 'I'm going to anger White folks' chip on the Skip Gates Affair."

Just based on this one angle, it was NOT a good thing (in terms of our long-term collective interests) that Pres. Obama commented on the Prof. Henry Gates Incident. That's not even factoring in the damage that's done by Pres. Obama saying something, and then diluting or retracting his statements. It's usually better to say and do nothing than to say and do something weak.

Many of us enjoy "sticking it to" White men, or wealthy Black folks, or whatever targets we choose. Or we enjoy giving knee-jerk support to the poor and other people that we've decided are "underdogs." I'm not immune to those considerations. It was a large part of why I enjoyed the political career of former Congressman Gus Savage. He had a real talent for making local, racist Whites VERY angry. It's part of why I've been deeply amused by many of the public statements of a local (White) Catholic priest, Father Michael Pfleiger. Father Pfleiger has a similar talent for infuriating racist Whites. So, I can relate to indulging in these sorts of pleasures. However, NOT at the expense of other, more serious considerations.

I can think of some other angles of analysis about the Prof. Gates Incident (important questions like reciprocity---does Prof. Gates have any personal history of speaking out against injustice, etc.), but you get the point.

V. The Chanequa Campbell Incident at Harvard

We talked about this during some earlier conversations. http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/05/reality-check-african-americans-still.html and http://muslimbushido.blogspot.com/2009/06/postscript-to-racial-discipline.html I won't repeat my detailed thoughts about that situation. But you can run through the partial checklist of considerations that influenced my thoughts about that situation.

Is this a matter of public or private interest?

What's the size, effect and duration of the harm(s) involved? Is somebody seriously wounded or dead as a result of wrongdoing?

Is dealing with this particular incident going to damage a long-term or permanent interest?

You might draw conclusions that are the opposite of mine! *Smile* That doesn't bother or concern me. What does concern me is the widespread African-American mental habit of making knee-jerk, emotion-based responses to anything and everything.

VI. Summary

I would like you to reflect on your deepest-held values.

Where did you get them?

What are they based on?

Do you frequently refer back to your touchstones---your scriptures and anything else that you use to guide your actions?

63 comments:

Felicia said...

"The only person that Prof. Gates and Cheerleaders seem critical of is the White, male police officer who arrested him. Not the White female neighbor who made the call to the police department."

"Not the Black male police officer who was present during the arrest. One might expect a Black officer to refrain from aiding and abetting racist police misconduct against other Black people."

"Prof. Gates is responding to this incident as if it's about some personal grudge against White, male authority figures. That lets me know that this is primarily a private interest that does not require public intervention from others."


I concur Khadija. The facts that are currently known are enough to tell me this issue has nothing to do with me so I'm not interested in the outcome one way or another.

Most BM have a fixation on the perceived (and actual) wrongs done to them by WM yet conveniently turn a blind eye to the wrongs done to them by racist WW. This is hypocrisy.

You're either against racist acts ACROSS the board, whether committed by WM OR WW OR anti-black black folks or shut the Hell up.

I also noticed that Skip basically said that this issue was less about him and more about BM suffering from police profiling. Well... Skip conveniently forgot to mention (and we remember things and people we care about) that a certain percentage of BW ALSO suffer from police profiling. Which is ALSO wrong.

When Skip - and Skip types - forget BW and what WE go through, I forget them.

Because I base EVERY relationship I have, and everyone I support regardless of "race" based on the simple principal of reciprocation.

If someone's not there for me and mine, I'm not there for them and theirs.

Khadija said...

Felicia,

Once I saw what this was actually about for Skip Gates (his losing and LOST dominance struggle with WM), I washed my hands of the incident.

And what few details have come my way after tuning out have confirmed that I was correct to wash my hands of it (Skip talking about sending flowers to the WF neighbor who called the police; the Obama-ssiah backtracking, etc.).

And I didn't even really address the reciprocity issue that you explicitly raised.

You said, "You're either against racist acts ACROSS the board, whether committed by WM OR WW OR anti-black black folks or shut the Hell up."-

I 100% co-sign. And I will note that Whites have noticed our general hypocrisy about this. This observation has practical, long-term implications for AAs. I saw a headline online from some White columnist arguing that the cop didn't "profile" and stereotype Skip Gates; that instead, Skip had "profiled" and stereotyped the White cop! [I didn't bother to read the column.]

So, that will probably be the meme racist-enabling Whites and others will use for future racist incidents---the argument that the AA victim is "stereotyping" the oppressor!

AAs and AAW in particular need to learn how to step back, take a breath, and think before we respond.

We need to learn to think about who and what we give our allegiance to. And under what circumstances is somebody deserving of our allegiance (our "walaa").

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Delishmish said...

(Skip talking about sending flowers to the WF neighbor who called the police;

(Sorry...not sure if it was Khadija or Felicia who said this. I like to attribute quotes to the correct person. I have to run in a sec, so please forgive me)


Sending flowers to the neighbor who called the police????? What an IDIOT he is. I wonder if the ww neighbor also failed to notice that her black neighbor is married to her sister? (Meaning a WW)

I always remember seeing Gates's face (on the PBS series "African American lives") practically illuminate with joy and glee when it was found that his DNA contained 50% "black genes" and 50% "white genes" (sorry to not put it in a more scientific way.)

Maybe he should have pointed this out to the officer who arrested him?...(said tongue in cheek)

I am not really vested in the outcome of this "story." We do live in a society where unfair things happen. One must "cooperate" (ie not resisting arrest) with the police to the full extent of the law. There ARE remedies for improper behaviour on the part of law enforcement....I would suggest that everyone be aware of their basic rights in the face of such treatment.

As for Mr Gates, please remember that he has taken his "substantial" resources and shared them with the WW, thereby (in all probability) improving HER life greatly. Please remember this before you rush out to the "Free Gates" rallies... (no one who is a regular HERE I am sure.)

Off to the treaddie..1/3 AA's obese. I am the in the group of 2 actively working to NEVER be that "1"

Ladies.. (slight bow and nod)

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Great questions for us to ponder, Khadija.

When I first heard the story, I thought about it in the way I tend to think about cases like these, in general terms of my values: addressing the way in which black people in general are affected by racial profiling, and assessing the ways in which racialist presumptions can influence how one sees cases such as these.

Going on to think about the reference points. As for Gates in particular, I was not getting worked up about it, because I know that he is a highly connected man who does not need any grassroots support. Charles Ogletree, head of a civil rights think tank at Harvard Law, is representing him. I said to myself, this is about Cambridge folks.

Then this thing took a life of its own and began to look like a circus. Like you mentioned, the silliness about giving the woman flowers, which led me to reevaluate and think further about it and how Gates' perception could have been affected by these--his ultimate values--his touchstones, and his reference points. We were talking about this at Faith's blog.

Once I thought about that, it became even more clear to me, that there is nothing of value in this to anyone but Gates.

As for Obama, this was all about standing up for one of his, a privileged man. He appeared interested in doing something in support of people of color, but that attempt fell short. It became something about Gates only and Obama's attempts to placate whites.

Khadija said...

Delishmish,

Yes ma'am,...Skip was talking about buying that WW some flowers...

You said, "I always remember seeing Gates's face (on the PBS series "African American lives") practically illuminate with joy and glee when it was found that his DNA contained 50% "black genes" and 50% "white genes" (sorry to not put it in a more scientific way.)"-

I've heard plenty of folks on other Black blogs bring this up. Black slave-minded folks don't realize how much they tell on themselves when they swoon over the 1/37th Irish/Cherokee/Martian heritage. All that racial self-loathing hanging out for others to look and giggle at...

You said, "Maybe he should have pointed this out to the officer who arrested him?...(said tongue in cheek)"-

Now there's a thought!

Ciao, Delishmish!
______________________

PioneerValleyWoman,

You said, "Like you mentioned, the silliness about giving the woman flowers, which led me to reevaluate and think further about it and how Gates' perception could have been affected by these--his ultimate values--his touchstones, and his reference points. We were talking about this at Faith's blog.

Once I thought about that, it became even more clear to me, that there is nothing of value in this to anyone but Gates.

As for Obama, this was all about standing up for one of his, a privileged man. He appeared interested in doing something in support of people of color, but that attempt fell short. It became something about Gates only and Obama's attempts to placate whites."
-

Yep. The underlying thing that's wrong with both Gates and Obama is that they are REFUGEES, as I have used the word during the Sojourner series of posts. This might be a good time for new readers to check out the post Sojourner's Meeting #1: First, LOVE YOURSELF As An African-American Woman from 5/3/09.

During that post, I said:

"Avoid Becoming A Refugee

‘A sojourner is not a refugee. Refugees learn new routines and ways of living on the outside. But they do so as servile beggars in relation to non-Black people. Refugees have absolutely no ethnic or racial self respect. Instead of traveling among outsiders as self respecting people with their own proud history, refugees seek to lose themselves among outsiders.’

Unless we make a conscious decision to find and strengthen our basis for ethnic self-respect as African-Americans, we will inevitably turn into self-hating, Black-hating refugees. This is exactly what our people have done with previous paths such as integration and multiculturalism. As a result of not securing our ethnic self-respect, many of us started "carrying water" for other people (be they non-Blacks, non-African-American Blacks, "biracials," etc.) once we got on these previous paths.

This is what our people have previously done when we sought to lose ourselves in a purely "religious" identity. Many African-American Muslims (mostly men) have already fallen into this self-hating, Black-hating trap."
-

As far as Pres. Obama, I've heard a lot of Black folks expressing disappointment in his backdown regarding the Gates incident. I'll say it here: I told y'all so! And keep in mind that this little episode WON'T be the last time the false Obama-ssiah disappoints y'all.

I've been trying to warn AAs about the Obama-ssiah from the very beginning of his career here in Chicago. A handful of us have woken up about him after this incident. Most are still worshipping this false and weak idol to our detriment. Oh well, I did my duty and gave the warning. Folks can do what they want.

And the Obama-ssiah is demonstrating some of the structural problems that are INHERENT with crossover Black politicians. New readers might want to check out some previoius posts about this. Specifically, these 2 posts from 2/8/09-Machiavelli's 'The Prince' Versus Pres. Obama's 'Team of Rivals' Cabinet, and For Your Own Survival, You Must Become a 'Sovereign Individual' Instead Of A Typical Employee.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Everybody,

Let me paste a comment here that I made over at Faith's blog. What Pres. Obama is showing y'all with this episode is much bigger than the immediate incident that precipitated it. It's a sneak preview of what AAs can expect as the civil rights dinosaurs die out, and all we're left with are the crossover Negro politicians that most of us are so enamored with. It WON'T be a pretty picture when all of the "old heads" are gone.

I said:

"Months ago, I angered a LOT of Black folks by saying this during some of the discussions at my blog, but let me repeat it here:

Pres. Obama doesn't have a strong, faithful posse of his own. He didn't create any of the people around him. Instead, he was loaned the use of other people's posses and retainers. To use Renaissance/The Prince terminology, Pres. Obama has surrounded himself with mercenaries and auxiliaries. Auxiliaries are troops borrowed from another (typically more powerful) prince.

There are multiple things going on regarding Pres. Obama. There are some things going on that are particular to Pres. Obama:

*weak, people-pleaser personality

*half-White & half-foreign Black

*raised by Whites

*didn't grow up among AAs, therefore no natural AA posse from childhood/high school/parents' friends, etc.

*only really exposed to AAs as an adult

And then there are some things that apply to almost ALL crossover Black politicians:

*didn't pay any "dues" in any Black organization or movement

*no Black "posse"/troops as a result of the above

*primarily focused on being perceived as "non-threatening" by Whites

*no Black "posse"/troops as a result of the above

I think this situation is exposing some of the costs of being a disconnected, crossover Black politician. Basically, Pres. Obama doesn't have a natural posse because he was dropped in by parachute among us.

He HAS to cater to White people; even more so than the "typical" crossover Negro politician, because he has NO organic connections to AAs. Politically, he has NOTHING of his own.

Pres. Obama's situation is somewhat more extreme than "typical" AA crossover politicians because of his family background. Typical AA crossover politicians at least have Black potential posse members that they grew up with, or are friends of the family, etc.

Because he never formed a natural, Black posse, there's nobody around him that HE created and lifted up. NOBODY owes him. Meanwhile, he owes many, many WHITE people and many WHITE political "princes."

AAs are too stupid and caught up in emotionalism to see any of this. Black people did NOT make Pres. Obama. WHITE people made him, and WHITE people OWN him. Period.

This sequence of events is quite predictable to anyone who would just read and ponder Machiavelli's book The Prince.

I firmly believe that AAs are going to reap the whirlwind from these Negro crossover politicians once all the "old-heads" such as Rev. "Baby Daddy" Jackson, and Rev. "Hot Comb" Sharpton leave this mortal coil.

As problematic as the "old heads" are, they are at least somewhat responsive to our people's needs. Not so with the crossover Negroes. Whites bought and paid for those crossover Negro politicians. We don't understand this, but AAs are just bystanders
.

Faith, you mentioned that AA women have to avoid making these refugee-status mistakes that BM like Pres. Obama and Prof. Gates made when stepping out into the larger world. This is a critical point that all aspiring Sojourners must keep in mind as we make our moves."

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Everybody,

This bit about the crossover Black politicians is another aspect of the questions posed in this post.

To those fervent Obama and other crossover Black politician supporters:

On what basis are you giving your allegiance to these crossover Black politicians?

And on what basis are you distancing yourself from the civil rights "old heads"?
-

Now, I'm not saying that folks should or should not support either category of Black politicians or activists. [I've got my own thoughts about that; but I'm not trying to tell anybody how to vote.] I'm asking what folks' support and aversion are based on.

I submit that it's generally not based on anything except emotions. The emotional payoff of feeling like one is "beyond race." The payoff of feeling like AAs have made progress. The payoff of feeling like one is "sticking it to" White people. The emotional payoff of nostalgia for sepia-toned legends of the civil rights era. Anything and everything except firmly rooted values.

Those of us who intend to survive and thrive in this 21st century will have to break out of those sorts of mental habits.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Well I know why I voted for Obama: I didn't want either Clinton or McCain in the White House. I was amenable to having AA women there as it would be beneficial to uplifting the much-aligned status of black women. I was opposed to the war. The Clintons' race baiting attacks certainly helped solidify things. Somewhere in the back of my mind I've always wondered if we were being manipulated by the situation as well. Edwards was a wash out. I also supported Cynthia McKinney's run and would have loved if more blacks had actually tried to get her elected, but I knew that wasn't going to happen.I'd love a serious 3rd party to split the votes in this country. Then we could see some real change.


Thinking about values a) keeping your word b) being willing to evaluate and reevaluate people & situations as necessary c) practicing what you preach d) don't put someone down when you disagree with them e) honoring your commitments

I have more but I'm still thinking...

Khadija said...

Faith,

I voted for the false Obama-ssiah. I did so without enthusiasm and without pleasure. I have an aversion to crossover Black politicians. Based on my values, I would label them as thieves. Like other con artists, crossover Black politicians trade on the hopes and dreams (AND martyrs) of our people. They do so without any real intention of doing anything specifically FOR AAs. Certainly, with NO intention of looking out for our collective interests with the fervor that Jewish politicians look out for Jewish interests.

I would have preferred Cynthia McKinney. I would prefer a real 3 party system; instead of endless Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum choices.

I hope to put myself in a financial place where the choice of political caretakers becomes mostly irrelevant. Doing so would be so much more difficult with individuals like McCain and Palin in the White House.

I voted for Obama to prevent that TOTAL disaster from happening. McCain and the nut from Alaska would have enacted policies that finally finished off this country. So, I voted in furtherance of my own personal self-interest. Period.

I'll have to think about it, but I believe that the Obama-ssiah is the only crossover Black politician that I've ever voted for. [Mayor Harold Washington got crossover votes; but he was never a crossover politician. Mayor Washington did NOT run from Black people; and he did NOT run away from addressing Black folks' concerns. He was AAs' champion.]

Most AAs are voting for various crossover Negro politicians for empty emotional thrills and chills. Meanwhile, these crossover Negro politicians uniformly ignore our concerns.

What will ultimately happen is that these crossover Black politicians will literally ignore us to death. The same way they ignored New Orleans to death. The same way they continue to ignore the enduring devastation of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. None of that is on their "radar."

AAs (and our issues) will completely drop off the radar screen. We will, for all practical purposes, drop off the planet. The same way Africa & Africans have already dropped off the planet. Life for others will go on and get better.

As you know, this process has already begun. As you know, AAs are ALREADY obsolete in many ways. We're not needed for cheap labor---the illegal aliens have that angle covered. We're not needed for modern-day political machines---the legal Latino voters have that angle covered. And we have NOT repositioned ourselves to fill a higher niche, like Jewish-Americans in the professions, or Asian-Americans in the science fields.

Those of us who are going to "survive & thrive" will have to position ourselves and our children into a higher niche. This is why I'm busy building a business for myself. This is why I can't afford to allow myself to be pulled off course into dead ends and blind alleys. All of these things are some of the reasons why I try to frequently refer back to my various "touchstones." I choose to stay on course.

More AA women need to learn how to stay on a deliberately chosen course that's calculated to take them where they want to go in life.

The energy that some AA women are spending getting agitated over Skip Gates' tribulations (and other non-issues) needs to be spent on securing their own futures and that of their children. I believe that if more AA women had clear values and sources of guidance, then they wouldn't be so easily deceived and diverted into the various dead ends that we've been warning others about on our blogs.

I'm still doing a lot of thinking also. I'm busy reading and listening to what my various "touchstones" have to say about certain topics.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Felicia said...

"The energy that some AA women are spending getting agitated over Skip Gates' tribulations (and other non-issues) needs to be spent on securing their own futures and that of their children."

That's what I've been saying ALL along. The Skip Gates of this world don't give a DAMN about these SILLY BW with their misguided priorities.

Once you realize there IS no "black community" as far as BW and the children of BW are concerned, it's ever so easy to turn a deaf ear to the "trials and tribulations" of the Skip Gates of this world.

These silly BW in an uproar over this fool, still haven't accepted the fact that over half of the "black community" that they're fighting for the defense of, have LEFT either physically, emotionally, or both.

These deluded BW need a "check up from the neck up" as they say.

You don't just blindly support someone because they share your lineage.

A shared heritage in itself means NOTHING and TELLS you nothing about someone.

BW need to start vetting and investigating those who they lend support to.

And if that support and concern isn't being reciprocated it needs to STOP.

Felicia said...

OUTSTANDING article related to the Skip Gates affair...

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/
2009/07/24/gates/?source=newsletter

"Skip Gates thought that he’d worked hard enough, achieved enough, become Harvard enough that this sort of treatment did not apply to him. And now, rather than channel that outrage in a way that is subtle but effective, he’s very publicly suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, having "joined the ranks of the million incarcerated black men in America." That’s laughable. He does not see those million men as kin and he doesn’t, by and large, give a damn about those guys. He’s merely annoyed that such an irritation as police misconduct found its way into his home. If he read about this story happening to a plumber in Roxbury, he’d shake his head in disappointment and then go on with his life.

So before we heed the call of racism, let’s be mindful of the tower from which that call came. This has something to do with race. But it has a lot more to do with messing with Skip Gates.

The Ivy League Effect, people. The Ivy League Effect."

Aphrodite said...

Hello Khadija,


This is another amazing post. I love and appreciate how you so simply broke this down:

"What's the size, effect and duration of the harm(s) involved? Is somebody seriously wounded or dead as a result of wrongdoing?Is dealing with this particular incident going to damage a long-term or permanent interest?"


It makes me think of the comments you have made regarding AA's and the lack of critical thinking and examination. I realize that sometimes I flounder with grasping certain things, but sometimes when dealing with others I listen to what they say and get clues as to how they think - I am terrified.




Re: Prof Gates.

Maybe it is bad of me, but I regarded this whole thing with a measure of amusement because in the back of my mind I kept thinking of Dunbar Village. I saw some shows where all these outraged BM and WW came out of the woodworks and I was just amused.

At any rate the thing that I scratch my head about and am in agreement with you on is why did Prof Gates get belligerent with the cops? I was never told directly not to act a jerk with a cop, but from all that I have taken in and observed I know that certain behaviors are a no-no.

I have never seriously had a run in with the police- thank God! Only traffic stops for insurance or DL/sobriety checkpoints when I have gone out with friends at night, but even then I am hyper-aware and cautious.

I can't believe that this man didn't know better.


@Faith

"I'd love a serious 3rd party to split the votes in this country. Then we could see some real change."


I totally agree I would love to see a multi party system in the country.

Khadija said...

Felicia,

You said, "That's what I've been saying ALL along. The Skip Gates of this world don't give a DAMN about these SILLY BW with their misguided priorities.

...These silly BW in an uproar over this fool, still haven't accepted the fact that over half of the "black community" that they're fighting for the defense of, have LEFT either physically, emotionally, or both."
-

Exactly. The "Skips" haven't (and WON'T) given 2 thoughts about BW or their children. This groaning about Skip Gates reminds me of the mass hysteria that most AA women went into over OJ.

I was amused to see Johnnie Cochran beat the DA's office. But that was about it. Before the murder trial, OJ hadn't said the word "Black" in decades. And after the murder trial, OJ didn't give 2 thoughts about "Black" anything. And he went right back to his single-minded pursuit of WW. Which is his right.

I just feel that OJ, Skip, and the rest of such individuals need to seek support from their non-Black women's people when they get into trouble with White male authority figures. And more AA women need to develop the common sense to calmly leave OJ, Skip, Wesley Snipes, and the rest of such Black males to their fates.

[Although thankfully, I didn't see much hand-wringing about Wesley. I think he did too much public badmouthing of BW to get our usual knee-jerk support. Hmmm, I wonder if he found some workout partners in prison, that is if he went to prison---past a certain point, I tuned out any further news about him. He might want to stay in shape for possible future Total Gym commercials.]

You said, "You don't just blindly support someone because they share your lineage. A shared heritage in itself means NOTHING and TELLS you nothing about someone."-

Once upon a time, shared AA heritage actually meant something to most of us. That time has passed.

And at this point, the DEADLIEST physical enemies to AA women are internal ones---the people killing BW and children are BM. BM are also busy slaying each other. In volume. Like I said in an earlier post, racist White males are a distant 3rd place runner for the Who's killing Black Folks? Sweepstakes. [Racist Latino males---of all races---are the 2nd place contestants in this contest.]

You said, "BW need to start vetting and investigating those who they lend support to. And if that support and concern isn't being reciprocated it needs to STOP."-

That's the whole point. Assessing people according to their actions requires comparing their actions to values, such as reciprocity.

When you don't have values, then you substitute other markers---shared AA heritage, empty emotion-inducing slogans ("We've GOT to save our young BM!I gotta save alla our people! Black on Black love!" etc.), and empty symbols ("We have to support the first Black ___________!"). These markers take the place of SUBSTANCE.

Reacting according to slogans and symbols is one of the underlying reasons why AAs are in a state of free fall. We don't seem to notice that the more symbols we have in place, the worse our condition gets.

AAs in general, and AA women in particular, are at the end of the road. Those AA women who fail to screen people according to their actions, and who fail to require reciprocity in their dealings will perish. And their children will also die as a result of their folly. End of story.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Aphrodite,

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

You said, "I love and appreciate how you so simply broke this down..."-

Let me stress that I'm not breaking much down, Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi broke it down! LOL! I'm just applying some of the guidelines that he and other Muslim religious scholars have deduced from their studies. The Quran, and the suggested applications of its verses by scholars like Shaykh al-Qaradawi and reformers like Elijah Muhammad are my "touchstones."

I will generally begin by reading several translations of the Quranic verses about a subject. Then I'll read several different commentaries about the verses being examined. Then I'll read the works of Muslim activists who have actually applied the relevant verses out in "the real world." And I begin with reading the works of those Muslims whose circumstances are closest to those of AAs. Out of the activist/reformer works, this is why I read Elijah Muhammad's Message to the Black Man FIRST.

Foreign scholars can be helpful in terms of general principles, but they don't understand our particular circumstances as AAs. It never ceases to amaze me to discover that AA Sunni Muslim Negroes are actually sponsoring teleconferences to take advice from elderly Saudi shaykhs who know NOTHING of our circumstances here. That's utterly insane.

In order to be successful, a person has to have firm "touchstones." They don't have to be found in books.

They can be the common sense values and lessons taught by one's parents and elders while growing up. But we DO need touchstones. Otherwise, we float like leaves in the ocean. Being pulled this way and that way by other people's manipulations
.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Aphrodite said...

Hello Khadija,

You are welcome. Thank you for sharing your process and knowledge.



"I just feel that OJ, Skip, and the rest of such individuals need to seek support from their non-Black women's people when they get into trouble with White male authority figures. And more AA women need to develop the common sense to calmly leave OJ, Skip, Wesley Snipes, and the rest of such Black males to their fates."


I agree with you. The more that I think/feel about this professor sending flowers to the woman who reported him - the angrier I get. I know this is useless, but I keep going over in my mind the motivation/possible tone of that call she made and yet her sends her flowers in response.


"That's the whole point. Assessing people according to their actions requires comparing their actions to values, such as reciprocity.

When you don't have values, then you substitute other markers---shared AA heritage, empty emotion-inducing slogans ("We've GOT to save our young BM!I gotta save alla our people! Black on Black love!" etc.), and empty symbols ("We have to support the first Black ___________!"). These markers take the place of SUBSTANCE."


This is another amazingly good point! I have witnessed many times whenever someone calls something/someone out on principle/values there is this rush to shut them up/maintain status quo with - lets not judge etc...


"Foreign scholars can be helpful in terms of general principles, but they don't understand our particular circumstances as AAs. It never ceases to amaze me to discover that AA Sunni Muslim Negroes are actually sponsoring teleconferences to take advice from elderly Saudi shaykhs who know NOTHING of our circumstances here. That's utterly insane."


I would say that AAs are consistent with this. In the ATR community you have many who allow non AAs including whites and latinos to assert themselves into sensitive discussions and situations regarding the AA condition (kind of like some have tried to do at your blogs). It involves admonishment, instruction what AA's ought to be doing and feeling etc with no blowback whatsoever. There are some revolutionary/nationalist factions, but they seem in the words Evia has used, to produce more heat than light.

I have definitely learned much from you and these blogs bc I am instantly able to sense this when it is occurring and how this is wrong.


It has even gotten so bad that many non AAs in ATRs are trying to wash all the Black and African out - literally.

I know that is different from soliciting someone to tech, but the fact that this instruction is allowed in the first place and people listen to it as if these people have a stake or voice or can relate.

Sometimes I give the side eye to certain Africans and other non AA blacks bc they are clueless as well and can give poisonous advice that supports continued AA dysfunction.

Southland Diva said...

For the last few years I have been cultivating compassion. Compassion encompasses a great deal, from kindness and respect to love and forgiveness. Compassion is practiced on self and others. The practice of compassion does not make you are a doormat or weak or powerless. It does not mean you do not hold yourself or others accountable for their actions, it means you can do so without coming from a place of punishment, vengeance, or anger.

It's amazing how much more peaceful my life has become.

Peace

Khadija said...

SouthlandDiva,

You said, "For the last few years I have been cultivating compassion. Compassion encompasses a great deal, from kindness and respect to love and forgiveness. Compassion is practiced on self and others. The practice of compassion does not make you are a doormat or weak or powerless. It does not mean you do not hold yourself or others accountable for their actions, it means you can do so without coming from a place of punishment, vengeance, or anger."-

I'm happy you said this. It gives me a chance to ask some follow-up questions.

As you know, "compassion" is one of the trickbag words that have been used to deceive oppressed people into accepting their oppression. That's probably why you felt it prudent to list the victim-making things that "compassion" does NOT mean (as you see it).

So here's the follow-up series of questions:

Where are you getting your definitions of "compassion" from? What are you basing your ideas of what applied "compassion" looks like on? What are the touchstones you use to identify what is, and is not, "compassion"?

Are there limits and boundaries to "compassion"? If so, where do these definitions of the limits of "compassion" come from?

What I'm getting at is---What is this concept of "compassion" rooted in for you?

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija:

I will generally begin by reading several translations of the Quranic verses about a subject. Then I'll read several different commentaries about the verses being examined. Then I'll read the works of Muslim activists who have actually applied the relevant verses out in "the real world." And I begin with reading the works of those Muslims whose circumstances are closest to those of AAs.

In order to be successful, a person has to have firm "touchstones." They don't have to be found in books.

They can be the common sense values and lessons taught by one's parents and elders while growing up. But we DO need touchstones. Otherwise, we float like leaves in the ocean. Being pulled this way and that way by other people's manipulations.

My reply:

Thinking here in reference to your readers who might not be Muslim, your discussion on how you read and interpret Muslim scriptures is one that is similar to the "biblical exegesis" done by Christian scholars and lay people, especially when their tradition encourages use of the tools of literary criticism in interpreting the Bible.

It is important to note that critical thinking skills are essential to this endeavor and any sort of endeavor in which we are called upon to think about touchstones and how they relate to what we approach or draw away from. That is in effect what you are doing and what you are urging your readers to do.

I liked that you mentioned the importance of touchstones coming from one's "old school" wisdom cultivated within family structures.

I would add that these too should be put through the same critical thinking skills that you have described, because if anything, not using critical thinking skills got many people to where we are today: using the old school wisdom in new circumstances where the old strategies don't work well.

Your questioning the use of "compassion" is an example of this.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Aphrodite:


It has even gotten so bad that many non AAs in ATRs are trying to wash all the Black and African out - literally.

I know that is different from soliciting someone to tech, but the fact that this instruction is allowed in the first place and people listen to it as if these people have a stake or voice or can relate.

My reply:

I noticed this years ago when I was doing African dance--whether from the continent or from the diaspora.

Outsiders to the tradition, especially whites, learning from African or Afro-Caribbean people who might have once had roots in the African based religious traditions that comprised the dance.

Or if they were people of color who did not come from the tradition, they too learned from people in the tradition and then capitalized on interest in the dance.

In certain places, especially when those students moved to or lived in places far removed from the dances' communities of origin--African and Caribbean communities in large cities like NYC, the dance has now become nothing more than a commercial dance/exercise craze, its roots in African traditions long forgotten.

A similar thing has happened with Middle Eastern dance in the US.

ak said...

Felicia:

Most BM have a fixation on the perceived (and actual) wrongs done to them by WM yet conveniently turn a blind eye to the wrongs done to them by racist WW. This is hypocrisy.

You're either against racist acts ACROSS the board, whether committed by WM OR WW OR anti-black black folks or shut the Hell up.



Yes Felicia. Racists can come in the form of ANY color and gender. But some black men and black women automatically find white women 'saintly' or more than likely innocent automatically and paint the black men as all harmless, blameless victims.

Why are things so skewed. There's no sense behind any of it. But Professor Gates just gave that woman a pass which was rather silly.

Khadija said...

PioneerValleyWoman,

You said, "Thinking here in reference to your readers who might not be Muslim, your discussion on how you read and interpret Muslim scriptures is one that is similar to the "biblical exegesis" done by Christian scholars and lay people, especially when their tradition encourages use of the tools of literary criticism in interpreting the Bible."-

Yes. My concern is that I don't see Christian AA women doing any of that. I see Christian AA women running around repeating slogans, such as "I'm blessed and highly favored...Put God in it for a minute..." etc. AA Muslim women are repeating a different set of slogans.

You said, "It is important to note that critical thinking skills are essential to this endeavor and any sort of endeavor in which we are called upon to think about touchstones and how they relate to what we approach or draw away from. That is in effect what you are doing and what you are urging your readers to do."-

Exactly. Another concern is that without critical thinking skills, people start to reduce any new idea down to a slogan. People will plug hip, new terms into their same, old behaviors.

For example, I've seen this happen with Evia's essays about the importance of carefully "vetting" men. I read a lot of comments from BW using that word in ways that show that they don't understand what the "vetting" process looks like in terms of real-life applications.

In particular when I read some of the letters from readers that Evia posts seeking advice, it's quite clear that many women are simply doing what they've always done and calling it "vetting."

At times, BW write to her seeking her blessing for their choice of underemployed men as marriage partners. These women have talked themselves into taking up with men that deep down they know are inappropriate for them. But they've learned to parrot the terminology that Evia uses to justify their bad choice!

I've seen many AAs do the same thing with the "hold politicians accountable" meme. They continue to vote for people for emotional reasons and then claim that by doing so, they were "holding them accountable."

This behavior pattern is why I'm skittish about giving suggested reading lists, etc. I DON'T want to give people hip, new terminology that they plug into the same, old thought patterns and behaviors.

Khadija said...

Part 2

You said, "I liked that you mentioned the importance of touchstones coming from one's "old school" wisdom cultivated within family structures.

I would add that these too should be put through the same critical thinking skills that you have described, because if anything, not using critical thinking skills got many people to where we are today: using the old school wisdom in new circumstances where the old strategies don't work well.

Your questioning the use of "compassion" is an example of this."
-

Yes, I was waiting for someone to mention a generalized term when describing their values. The danger is that these generalized terms have no real meaning unless they are rooted in some sort of touchstone. These words then begin to mean whatever people say they mean. Which is how folks find themselves being played.

For example, the word "compassion." NOBODY says out loud that, "I let other people walk all over me, take advantage of me, and use me until they use me up." Instead, they say "I'm compassionate."

Now, I'm sure that SouthlandDiva has touchstones to define "compassion," I'm just asking these questions out loud to get the audience thinking about this.

I found it interesting that Faith described her values in the form of concrete actions. She said, "Thinking about values a) keeping your word b) being willing to evaluate and reevaluate people & situations as necessary c) practicing what you preach d) don't put someone down when you disagree with them e) honoring your commitments"-

There's greater safety in thinking of values in that way because this makes it easier to keep track of whether things are in harmony with one's values. When values are conceived in terms of concrete actions, they are given form and means of measurement. When we know what a value is supposed to look like in ACTION, in PRACTICE, then we're quicker to spot when something is contrary to our values.

I'm compiling a partial checklist of CONCRETE manifestations of giving unwitting allegiance to inappropriate things. Actions that are an unwitting form of TREASON against one's stated values. AAs do a LOT of this. Regarding AA women in particular, that widespread, unwitting treason against our professed values is why we're in the collective spot that we're in.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija:


Yes. My concern is that I don't see Christian AA women doing any of that. I see Christian AA women running around repeating slogans, such as "I'm blessed and highly favored...Put God in it for a minute..." etc. AA Muslim women are repeating a different set of slogans.

My reply:

Exactly, I meant "some," not all, fully aware of the phenomenon you are describing--ie., my reference to those who come from a tradition where exegesis and criticism is expected....

Khadija:

I found it interesting that Faith described her values in the form of concrete actions. She said, "Thinking about values a) keeping your word b) being willing to evaluate and reevaluate people & situations as necessary c) practicing what you preach d) don't put someone down when you disagree with them e) honoring your commitments"-

There's greater safety in thinking of values in that way because this makes it easier to keep track of whether things are in harmony with one's values. When values are conceived in terms of concrete actions, they are given form and means of measurement. When we know what a value is supposed to look like in ACTION, in PRACTICE, then we're quicker to spot when something is contrary to our values.

My reply:

Exactly! I have heard the same thing from some my co-religionists, who only mouthed the "shibboleths," the "magic words," the slogans, but without assessing the application of the slogans, only to result in situations, that to my mind, did not seem right.

Celeste said...

Khadija,

Your posts have really been an education and a revelation to me. In regards to Prof. "Skip" Gates case, I kept getting an O.J.ish feeling about it. And when I saw your comments on O.J. they were my sentiments exactly. I mean, all of a sudden the professor realized he was black and wanted the whole black world to take up his offense,and he was going to spend the rest of his life making sure that what happened to him (which I think he helped precipitate)never happened to another black man in the whole wide world again. LOL. Come on, and the poor man didn't even have the grace to be embarrassed, creating this tempest in a teapot, when we have so many issues in the b/c that AA men should be in an uproar about. We AAW should be careful with our knee-jerk support of blk folks (mostly AAmen) who want to use us in their dominance issues with the WM. Where was Gates' wife? If his wife had been an AA you know she would have been on camera, protesting for her man. I agree with one of the posters who said let these bm's women's folks come to their rescue. Which I never see them do. Anyway, I didn't want to get all caught up writing about Skip's woes. It sounds like he has personal problem to me. I'm looking forward to your August conversations.

Peace,
Celeste

Lorraine said...

Wonderful post Khadija. This Gates espisode has found him thrust into the national spotlight all because he did not control his temper. Oh, the speeches and books and research dollars that will come pouring into all his efforts now the poor baby got arrested and thrown into the back of a cruiser. Now he gets to go to the White House for a beer. He didn't make out too bad. Gates does have soldiers (some ignorant) fighting his battle (keeping the mess stirred up) while he basques in luxury on his Martha's Vineyard estate. I don't begrudge him for having wealth and prosperity. I aspire to it myself, but he has made it in spite of all the racism around him. Is he a real victim here? No, Ego and pride going on. Did he suddenly realize that he is after all only a black man at the end of the day? Don't know.

I recall entering his/PBS contest to have my DNA researched on part II of his series. I filled out the essay part but did not want to provide a photo. I don't know what that had to do with anything but that was a requirement. I would never have guessed this learned man, rich with cultural history providing a wonderful service could ever be in the middle of this total mess --- and even has the president involved.

Just now they are playing just released. Apparently, the neighbor, Lucy Whalen said NOTHING about race. It was all Gates on this one. That is why the tapes were released to squash any lingering doubt about who brought up race first.

I appreciate your commentary about the bone being thrown to the AAs from Obama and the comparison to the oldtimers of the movement. He owes a lot of people favors and all of this diversity is fine and good, but at the end of the day, would they (any other minority group --- especially Latinos) be appointing us to all of those high level positions? Don't know, not trying to go there. One thing for sure Pres. Obama has the PR core working overtime on getting this fiasco corrected in the media. A beer in the White House should do the trick. And the officer who has also been thrust into the spotlight will get to do his public speaking events, maybe a movie or book deal and ride it out too.

I can't help but think about regular black folks who are not feeling sorry for Prof. Gates. Happens to them all the time. They couldn't get a police chief's ear, let along the President's.

Thanks for the great article Felicia.

Khadija said...

PioneerValleyWoman,

Yep. We've got to move beyond the "magic words." I hope to discuss CONCRETE examples of what principle-based allegiance and aversion look like in action in August.
_______________________

Celeste,

Thank you for your kind words about the blog; I truly appreciate it.
You said, " We AAW should be careful with our knee-jerk support of blk folks (mostly AAmen) who want to use us in their dominance issues with the WM.

...I agree with one of the posters who said let these bm's women's folks come to their rescue. Which I never see them do.
-

AA women have got to STOP giving knee-jerk support to anything. And you're right: These interracially-involved BM's non-Black women are NEVER around to protest when their Black husband, boyfriend, baby daddy, whatever is attacked by an agent of White racism. And these BM don't seem to even ask their non-Black women or inlaws for support in these situations.

Why should they? They KNOW that they can count on legions of foolish AA women to come running to their rescue. If AA women want to survive, this behavior pattern has got to stop. Right now.
___________________________

Lorraine,

You said, "He owes a lot of people favors and all of this diversity is fine and good, but at the end of the day, would they (any other minority group --- especially Latinos) be appointing us to all of those high level positions?"-

Well...we can ask what have Latinos, and Asians who are in positions of power ever done for us NOW? What has the Latino mayor of Los Angeles done for AAs? What have the Cuban politicians and business owners in Miami done for AAs?

What have the non-Black folks who were lifted up by foolish Negroes EVER done for AAs?

For just one example, let's think about the non-Black folks whose careers were created by the Wayans idiots on In Living Color. How many Black actors, camera people, technicians are hired on ANY of Jim Carrey's movies? Jim Carrey has some "pull." I would imagine that he could steer some jobs our way if he wants to.

How many AAs has Jennifer Lopez hired for her various videos, etc.? What these other people have already done in the past regarding AAs is the best prediction of what they'll do in the future
.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

anna (tertiary#anna) said...

having "joined the ranks of the million incarcerated black men in America." That’s laughable. He does not see those million men as kin and he doesn’t, by and large, give a damn about those guys

One of the things that bothered me about the Gates affair is that in his statements about 2 Live Crew, he did stand up for and as a result, reinforce the idea that it was normative for BM men to behave in ignorant, perverse and illegal behaviors. I'm not even discussing the issues of censorship (of which I disapprove) but the labeling of degenerate attitudes as part of the BM "experience."

And so while BW were being disrespected by BM, BM were determinedly creating an image of themselves as lawless, crude and disrespectful of authority. Who needs the KKK when they can get you do do the hard work for them?

So now Gates is being treated in the image he's helped foment? Why should anyone, BF or male support him?

So this grandstanding, this empty posturing is just noise, and to now align himself with the victims that he helped to victimize is flatly hypocritical.

And past that, the fact that he's slipped in his own filth doesn't change the fact that he's protected by his reputation, his income, his class, his connections and his intellect.

I think that what the cops did was wrong, so I'm not condoning it. But it could have been handled as an internal matter, even in spite of Gates's prior record in the degradation of Black culture. His status alone provides him adequate resources to deal with this at a lower level. To give him additional support, in contrast to those cases where people were clearly oppressed AND had no recourse, achieves no purpose in of itself. And it unnecessarily exposes the supporters to criticisms that will be used to further undermine a legitimate concern.

Had Gates been truly concerned w/the status of even BM, much less Black people, he would have approached the whole topic differently. It could have been a teachable moment about the consequences of overreaching police authority.

Well, actually it is a teachable moment, but perhaps not to the people he originally intended and not the lesson he'd planned. However, I hope we as AA, and especially BW can learn from the underlying truth.

So I can say that I value logic, and a calculated summation of events and their consequences. I may not always act in a logical manner, but I want to know I'm doing so by choice, rather than by lazy-mindedness.

Petite.Pomme said...

I grew up with both “parents” who are seriously ill, confused, and have a lot of dbr traits. These two, you wouldn’t know how screwed up they are even if you became best friends, they have their act down. For example, they both have completed college and university. My mom has put her diplomas to use but that deadbeat has two degrees in computer science, for the last 20+ years he’s been working as a JANITOR at the same university he went to?!?!! She has been taking care of my brothers, me, and that foolish grown child. Point out her wasted life and she’ll come back at you with, “why would YOU worry about it… things could be worse”.

I always heard “you expect too much” growing up. No, I don’t ask for enough! The values I’ve added to the ones that have kept me safe so far are: reciprocity and hard work. I was foolish enough to fall for the belief that if you give eventually you will receive and that average was good enough. My biggest problems are looking back and falling for bull. Sometimes I know a person is full of it, but that “give ‘em a chance to screw up first” that was passed down to me seeps in. I am so thankful for this blog. Great job, Khadija!
S.

Evia said...

AA women have got to STOP giving knee-jerk support to anything. And you're right: These interracially-involved BM's non-Black women are NEVER around to protest when their Black husband, boyfriend, baby daddy, whatever is attacked by an agent of White racism.

Exactly, Khadija! This was precisely my comment to Darren about this situation when I first heard about it. The fact is that a man's influence, money, status, and other resources--if he has any--are his POWER and it flows to his woman one way or the other. That POWER flows through her to whichever individuals/community that she chooses to get it. Gates is a high-status, influential, maybe wealthy man, so his woman shares his status, influence, and wealth. This is normal. I would bet that his resources are NOT flowing through his wife's hands into the hands of AA women.

Can AA women afford to spend time and energy on Gates? Well, maybe Oprah can, but from my standpoint, the typical AA woman CANNOT afford to spend time and energy vexing over Gates.

So as I told Darren, I would expect for ww and the white community in general to rush to Gates' defense and rescue him since his resources are mostly, if not totally, invested with them. That would be reciprocity.

So that was the end of it for me. It would seem to me that sensible AA women would just let this Gates situation roll off their back and focus on promoting and protecting their OWN interests because while they're vexing about what's happened to po Mr. Gates, who exactly is promoting or protecting or vexing about the interests of AA women?

I think that the lesson AA women COULD learn from this though is to note that Mr. Gates' resources are being used to provide a life of comfort for his wife who is a ww, by his choosing.

When any woman spends time with or marries a man who has whatever amount of resources (status, quality education, financial wealth, expertise, talents, etc.), he shares those resources with her in various ways. So AA women need to focus on that and make a firm decision to NEVER spend any serious time with ANY man who doesn't have a high probability of bringing a matching or higher amount of resources (not talking about only money) to the table.

And the part about her being white, well this is what HE chose to do, so it's not her fault, though SOME bw continue to want to vent about the ww that AA men CHOOSE. This is displaced anger. AA women really need to stop that. These women are NOT forcing bm to marry them.

Also, that reveals that some bw STILL believe that there is a shortage of quality men and/or that AA men belong to them. It also shows that bw of this type believe they are obligated to try to rescue AA men. AA women of this type are still operating out of their indoctrination.

There really needs to be a de-INDOCTRINATION center in every community where AA women live to separate them from their self-sabotaging notions.

I just got back from vacation and trust, the bw there (almost all Africans or African-reared) were not hurting for attention from men, including non-bm. I'm deliberately not mentioning the place because it doesn't really matter much at all. Plenty of places outside and inside this country, there are many non-bm men for sure who are interested. My observations during my vacation CONFIRMED to me that it's not that wm (outside and inside this country) are not interested in AA women, because more than enough of them are. It's AA women in general who are not being realistic and/or are hesitant to be receptive, etc. And I've been saying that from the very beginning.

This hesitancy is changing slowly, but other women in the world are not going to wait for AA women to catch up.

Khadija said...

Anna,

You said, "And it unnecessarily exposes the supporters to criticisms that will be used to further undermine a legitimate concern."-

Yep. In the long run, Skip inadvertently did a LOT of damage to future BM "victims" of police misconduct. However, that's NOT my problem as a AA woman. BM can deal with that. Or not. Whatever...
___________________

Petite.Pomme,

Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.
____________________

Evia,

You said, "Can AA women afford to spend time and energy on Gates? Well, maybe Oprah can, but from my standpoint, the typical AA woman CANNOT afford to spend time and energy vexing over Gates".

I don't feel that Oprah can afford it either. She's unnecessarily missed out on a LOT in life fooling around with Negro(es).

You said, "So as I told Darren, I would expect for ww and the white community in general to rush to Gates' defense and rescue him since his resources are mostly, if not totally, invested with them. That would be reciprocity."-

Hah! That'll be the day. With these sorts of BM it's ALWAYS a one-way flow of resources. These BM's resources always flow OUT to non-Blacks; nothing ever comes from non-Blacks in to the BM. Not even during their hours of need. But again, that's these BM's problem, not mine. I don't have any stake in all of that.

If BM such as Michael Jackson, Lionel Ritchie, etc. want to have all their money end up in the hands of Whites, that's their choice. The same way I can choose to NEVER buy any of these BM's products. Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing.

You said, "Plenty of places outside and inside this country, there are many non-bm men for sure who are interested. My observations during my vacation CONFIRMED to me that it's not that wm (outside and inside this country) are not interested in AA women, because more than enough of them are. It's AA women in general who are not being realistic and/or are hesitant to be receptive, etc. And I've been saying that from the very beginning.

This hesitancy is changing slowly, but other women in the world are not going to wait for AA women to catch up."
-

Again, it's a matter of free choice. AA women can stay stuck on stupid, and DIE because of it, if they want to. Meanwhile, the beat goes on for everybody else. Including for non-AA BW who don't have our general hang-ups about marrying well.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Karen said...

Hi,

There is nothing I can add to the Skippy discussion as I agree with all the points raised.

I thought I would share some of my values/principles:

1) Trust has to be earned via actions - if you have shown you cannot be trusted to take care of little things, then you certainly will not take care of big things. If I tell you something in confidence and you blab it: game over. If I am told something in confidence, then I don't blab it elsewhere (the only exception and I will tell the person "before" they tell me is if it causes harm to them or someone else, I will not keep the confidence, so don't tell me)

2. Honesty - If you don't want to know the truth then don't ask. If I ask for the truth, no matter how ugly, I expect to be told.

3. Loyalty - I am loyal to myself and those in my nuclear family including my inner circle (which is very small). I do not apply loyalty to jobs. It is a business transaction. For the duration of the assignment, I am there to do a job and the company is there to pay me for my work. As companies treat employess as assets or liabilities, I view the relationship in the same way, as long as it is an asset to my goals, I remain. When that is no longer the case, I will leave or move on. I am actually now self-employed and it is even easier to apply this.

4. Family - my family will always come before my job/career. I have turned down jobs/positions if I thought it would have an negative impact to the well-being of my family. My spouse has done the same. See above on the loyalty issue. Also my nuclear family is my refuge and safe haven, I will not jeopardize it for a company or client.

5. Workplace Friendships (when I was an employee) - I do not have "friends" at work. I can be friendly but they will always be acquaintances. A "friend" today can be your boss tomorrow.

6. Honoring marriage/commitment - I once told my spouse, I am mature enough to know people can change so if he finds that one day our marriage is not working, then be a man and tell me and we will work out an amicable arrangement. If I find out via adultery, then hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.


My strict values may sound harsh to some but that is who I am. I grew up with people who were never honest and could not be counted upon when the chips were down. Therefore, I do not compromise my principles for anyone.

I once had a boss who stated that I am too inflexible with my "principles". I stated to him that there were times in my life when that was all I had to see me through the "dark periods". I will not compromise them for anyone. I do see one exception and that is if the life of a loved one was at stake, then I truly do not know what I would do. I hope never to be in such a position.

Southland Diva said...

Khadija

Before I responded I wanted to seriously reflect on what my ‘touchstones’ are. So here goes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peace

JS said...

Excellent and thought provoking post as usual Khadija. I haven't participated much lately but wanted to thank you deeply for providing this life saving and changing information. Sometimes I get intimidated because of the high caliber insight and articulation from other commenters. It is nice to see black women bringing their professional, scholarly, and keen observation skills to these discussions. Often in the MSM we don't see this. Once again, thank you.

Khadija said...

Karen,

You said, "My strict values may sound harsh to some but that is who I am. I grew up with people who were never honest and could not be counted upon when the chips were down. Therefore, I do not compromise my principles for anyone."-

None of what you said sounds "strict," "harsh," or "inflexible" to me. It sounds PRINCIPLED. Sometimes we have to risk being seen as "strict," etc. in order to be kind in the long run. We can all see what too much "understanding" and "flexibility" has caused for our collective. Not having any standards at all (which we mislabel as "flexibility" and "understanding" and sometimes "compassion") has ultimately caused GREAT suffering among our people.

You said, "I once had a boss who stated that I am too inflexible with my "principles". I stated to him that there were times in my life when that was all I had to see me through the "dark periods". I will not compromise them for anyone. I do see one exception and that is if the life of a loved one was at stake, then I truly do not know what I would do. I hope never to be in such a position."-

There's a VERY short list of people that I would be willing to compromise my values for. But that's not something that I take lightly. Not at all. They are basically the same EXTREMELY short list of people that I'd be willing to kill and die over in order to protect in a life-threatening situation. __________________________

SouthlandDiva,

You mentioned Thomas Merton, and Thich Nat Hahn. I'm not familiar with the other persons you mentioned, but it is significant that these 2 individuals put their values into action through non-violent social activism.

I greatly admire the stands that they took during the Vietnam War. I greatly admire a pair of Catholic priests that participated in a number of initiatives with the Trappist monk Thomas Merton---the Berrigan brothers.

[Audience note: A good book about the Berrigan brothers (one of whom left the priesthood and married) is Disarmed and Dangerous: The Radical Life and Times of Daniel and Philip Berrigan.]

It's been my observation that there are basically 2 categories of Black folks that talk about "compassion."

There's a very small number of people such as yourself that have given the concept great thought; and are (at least in part) rooting their use of the word in the tradition(s) and works of those Christian and Buddhist clergy/thinkers who are serious about putting compassion into action.

And then there's the great number of powerless, conquered Black people who use the word "compassion" as a way to smooth over their personal and political weakness and/or cowardice. To me, it only really "counts" as exercising "compassion" if the person truly feels/is empowered to do something not-compassionate. Conquered Black people who are too weak to seek justice, and too weak to strike back against their oppressors, like to call their state of weakness---"compassion."

I've seen that with the exception of those (relatively few) people who are grounded in serious Christian, Buddhist, and sometimes Sufi Muslim practice, "compassion" is a word that is generally only used by the powerless.
________________________

JS,

Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it. There's NO need to feel too intimidated to participate! One of my "touchstones" is the work of Elijah Muhammad, who IIRC only had a grammar school education. However, he was EXTREMELY wise. And I've seen countless examples of how people have elevated their lives by following the spiritual, economic, and personal program that he laid out. Elijah Muhammad's program continues to succeed---decades after his death---while ALL of the programs devised by educated AAs have crashed and burned!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Southland Diva said...

I now know why you clarified certain terms at the very beginning of the post.

I did not stop to consider people might not see compassion as a verb indicating action but rather as an adjective implying victimhood.

Got the Berrigan book on my list.

Thanks for the questions.

Peace

Khadija said...

SouthlandDiva,

You're welcome; and THANK YOU for your detailed response! You've given a lot of people a lot to think about. Including me.

[I usually find myself briefly browsing through Thich Nat Hahn's books whenever I pass through the Buddhism section in bookstores. However, I've never read any of his books. The next time I pass through, I'll finally buy one of his books.]

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Karen said...

Khadija,

My list is also very short too, the people on that list do not add up to all the fingers of one hand.

On another point: I think everyone should give thought to the "overuse" of the word "friend". Most people that refer to others as friends are really speaking of acquaintances. I classify a friend as someone I can trust completely with no reservations, that I can depend on in an emergency and is a person that I admire due to their personal integrity.

With that definition, the majority of the people I know are acquaintances (as they do not meet one of the criteria stated above). This definition that I use also simplifies my life with regards to what extent I involve myself in other people's lives. My inner circle compromises only a few people (less than the number of fingers on my hand).

My personal opinion is that if more people had a definition that they applied based on their values, to their selection of friends there would be a lot less misery and drama.

A further critical note, if your significant other or future potential spouse does not meet the definition of your friend, then this person should not be someone you plan to commit your life to or being involved with (needless to say should not be fathering your children either). It is in my opinion one of the criteria one should use for vetting a potential mate.

Evia said...

Khadija, I don't think I have any touchstones that come directly from religious doctrine. Mine come from 3 areas: the common sense wisdom and values from my "old school" African American family structure, wisdom and practices from my adopted continental African family structure, and general common sense wisdom.

Since I naturally tend to be analytical, I watch carefully to see how the wisdom or values play out in my current life and if they need to be tweaked or laid to rest, I do so. The thing is that they rarely even need to be tweaked. I can just use them 'as is.'

So my rock hard values and 'compass' come from those 3 areas. However, the wisdom and values from those 3 areas may have been derived in part from religious doctrine and I'll give you an example. My grandmother taught me LOTS through her endless "sayings." She must've had dozens, if not hundreds of sayings and they covered a wide range of life. My African ex-husband did the same through African proverbs. These 2 people applied these sayings & proverbs to various situations in daily life and SHOWED me their validity. This is an excellent way to teach any child (or adult, if the adult will listen) and I've done this with my children.

As an adult, I've critically thought about many of these sayings/proverbs. I've realized that MOST of them are very valuable because they have withstood the test of time for the reasons that they enable you,with a few words, to pass on highly valuable knowledge about human interactions. Humans have NOT changed for thousands of years!

So here's a saying that covers how to use "compassion." My grandmother often said that: "If your right arm offends you, cut it off!" That may have been biblically derived or a variation of something biblical. I don't know.

Therefore, I'm a compassionate person, but if someone offends me after I've extended myself or helped them in some way, I cut them off. If I later find that the offense is based on a misunderstanding, I'm willing to talk about it. IF we can talk HONESTLY and clear it up, then, I will continue with that person, HOWEVER, I don't allow any game-playing. I carefully watch that person--BECAUSE "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, then shame on ME." So you can see, I switch to another common saying. LOL! IMO, it's insane to continue to give other people a chance to offend you, which is what countless AA women continue to do with AA men. Yet these women continue to complain that these men continue to offend them. Well, DUH!!

I was never taught and see NO value in sayings such as "Let go and let God," or that ' Put God in it for a minute stuff. Those, to me, sound like the magical thinking of lazy, non-thinking people. It was drilled into me that "God helps those who help themselves." I don't know whether that is biblically based, but I've SEEN the validity of it. It WORKS!

Also, I've shared my life mostly with people who had firm, solid, common sense values. Likeminds attract each other. For ex., both my ex-husband and Darren have rock solid values--based on their backgrounds and family structures--just like me. Yet they can be flexible, when necessary, just like me. While vetting them, I found that they were as solid and strong as the Rock of Gibraltar. YES! This is one of the reasons I became strongly attracted to them. I cannot tolerate a wishy-washy man. LOL! Any man I'd allow to remain in my life MUST be rooted in solid, life-enhancing values. I dated men who couldn't think for themselves and would blow whichever the wind blows. UGH! Or they were absolutely rigid about stupid stuff. They equated rigidity with strength, which is NOT smart. I never allowed those relationships to go far.

Khadija said...

Karen,

You said, "On another point: I think everyone should give thought to the "overuse" of the word "friend". Most people that refer to others as friends are really speaking of acquaintances. I classify a friend as someone I can trust completely with no reservations, that I can depend on in an emergency and is a person that I admire due to their personal integrity.-

Hear, hear! Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that we've got to rethink our use of the word "friend". What I see with most AA women is that the people they call "friends" are of even LESS value than acquaintances. The vast majority of these people are actually "frenemies".

You said, "With that definition, the majority of the people I know are acquaintances (as they do not meet one of the criteria stated above).

...My personal opinion is that if more people had a definition that they applied based on their values, to their selection of friends there would be a lot less misery and drama."
-

Yes! Accurately identifying relationships would automatically spare folks a lot of misery.

You said, "A further critical note, if your significant other or future potential spouse does not meet the definition of your friend, then this person should not be someone you plan to commit your life to or being involved with (needless to say should not be fathering your children either). It is in my opinion one of the criteria one should use for vetting a potential mate."-

100% co-sign!

Khadija said...

Part 2

Evia,

You said, "So my rock hard values and 'compass' come from those 3 areas. However, the wisdom and values from those 3 areas may have been derived in part from religious doctrine and I'll give you an example. My grandmother taught me LOTS through her endless "sayings." She must've had dozens, if not hundreds of sayings and they covered a wide range of life. My African ex-husband did the same through African proverbs. These 2 people applied these sayings & proverbs to various situations in daily life and SHOWED me their validity. This is an excellent way to teach any child (or adult, if the adult will listen) and I've done this with my children."-

Yes, sayings and proverbs are extremely important tools for transmitting COMMON SENSE! Halima made an excellent point in one of her recent essays about the modern lack of proverbs/sayings among us. It's one of the reasons for our decline as Western Black people. After she mentioned it, I can see how the lack of proverbs among us has helped cause the EXTREME lack of common sense among us.

I believe that a large part of the answer is for those of us who are on the Sojourner's Path to get back in touch with time-tested, OLD proverbs. I might do a post about this in the future.

You said, "I was never taught and see NO value in sayings such as "Let go and let God," or that ' Put God in it for a minute stuff. Those, to me, sound like the magical thinking of lazy, non-thinking people. It was drilled into me that "God helps those who help themselves." I don't know whether that is biblically based, but I've SEEN the validity of it. It WORKS!"-

That "Let go and let God," and "Put God in it for a minute" stuff makes my skin crawl. For several reasons. First, folks can correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this mess a MODERN invention? As in within the past 25-30 years? The rhyming of the 2nd saying is what leads me to believe that this is some new mess that we've come up with. I don't trust ANY notion that we've recently come up with. We've been INSANE for the past 30+ years! And every popular idea that we've come up with supports that insanity.

Second, the ONLY contexts I've seen AA women repeating these sayings is when they are talking themselves into accepting something that is unacceptable.

Third, AA women are the ONLY people saying these 2 particular sayings---which is another tip-off that they're probably dysfunctional. I've learned to be DEEPLY suspicious of anything that AAs are the only ones participating in/doing. We're so far out of step with human norms, that whatever many of us find pleasing is probably NOT healthy.

Of the unhealthy 2 extremes, I would generally pick rigidity over "anything goes." Rigidity is predictable and leads to order, even if it's an unhealthy, oppressive order. "Anything goes" leads to anarchy. I think the example of places like Iraq demonstrate that anarchy is even WORSE than an unjust "order."

Unjust order usually provides a minimal level of physical safety for people (as long as they don't run afoul of whatever tyrant is in place). Anarchy means that EVERYBODY is in CONSTANT physical danger. Which is what exists in Black residential areas.

Rigidity usually stems from people not comprehending the underlying reason for the "rule" that they want to enforce. And so, in their confusion and fear, they take refuge in enforcing "magic formulas."

It reminds me of the animals in the book Animal Farm. They couldn't comprehend complex ideas like democracy, etc. so instead they memorized simplistic formulas: "Two legs bad." (Human rulership = bad.) "Four legs good." (Animal rulership = good.) One problem with this is that the formulas didn't protect them from dictatorship being imposed by other animals! IIRC, several hardworking horses ended up being killed and sent to a glue factory because they didn't understand.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Evia said...

Rigidity usually stems from people not comprehending the underlying reason for the "rule" that they want to enforce. And so, in their confusion and fear, they take refuge in enforcing "magic formulas."

I AGREE, and I certainly don't want anyone in my intimate circle who makes major decisions or even those of moderate importance based on magic anything.

I've taught my children to always keep in mind the ultimate goal or outcome desired in any situation. That's the deciding factor. Will they gain more or less by being rigid? For best results, it's necessary to keep an eye on the process as it's occurring so you can tweak or switch up. If remaining rigid will lead to the success of the goal, then remain rigid, but if
you end up failing due to your rigidity, then remaining rigidity is foolish and many times, you can prevent these negative outcomes by tweaking. This is why you have to continue to think about any situation because change is a constant.

Some say this is why American business has, in general, outperformed the business world in other countries. American business can and do switch up instantly in many cases, whereas way too many, business practices in other countries are bogged down in customs/culture.

I'm goal-oriented. If I have to "appear" to temporarily stoop to conquer, I'm willing to do that because I KNOW that I haven't compromised MY principles. And it's what ***I*** think about me that makes all the difference for me.

If other people want to ***think*** that they've broken me down, that's fine because ***I*** know that I'm succeeding. LOL! In other words, here's a saying that fits this: "He who laughs last, laughs best." LOL! Or as in "Living well is the BEST revenge."
YEEEEESSSS!

These are some other sayings that have guided my life and kept me from faltering or getting confused. The only time I get confused is when I don't know WHY I'm doing something. I always STOP at that point until I can figure that out because whatever I'm doing MUST benefit me and mine to a satisfactory extent.

Delishmish said...

Khadija said in part:

It reminds me of the animals in the book Animal Farm. They couldn't comprehend complex ideas like democracy, etc. so instead they memorized simplistic formulas: "Two legs bad." (Human rulership = bad.) "Four legs good." (Animal rulership = good.)

........

I love this book. It's been a long time since I read it. I think it might be time again.

my other favorite expression... "all animals are equal, but some animals are MORE equal than others"...absolute brilliance....you can spin that expression into just about anything.

Evia spoke of the whole "friend" thing. I have been aware for a great deal of time that some people I refer to as "friends" are not my "friends." I know this. I feel it, and sometimes I catch a look that appears on their face, a look that indicates utter jealousy or some other negative emotion...and of course, sometimes it is the words used. I actually do know who these people are. SO why (in conversations) do I refer to them as "friends?" I think it is because we are acutely lacking a category to put them into. We know they are not friends, but they are a bit more than acquaintances at times and sometimes not quite enemies. I suppose "frenemies" is fairly accurate, but it is a made up word...the point (for me) is maybe I should stop announcing them as "friends" out there to the Universe....

Just a thought really.

Facebook (among others) certainly adds to this "perception." IF I were to have such an application, I would be certain to know every person I listed as a "friend." A stranger is not a friend, and should not be privy to the inner workings of your life. I have heard of people with hundreds of UNKNOWN friends on this particular application. Very strange to me. :-(

AND even among us who blog on a regular basis...the truth is none of us know each other...(for the most part)..and as I like to say, I COULD easily be a 900 lb white man blogging about BW from his parents basement apartment....in truth I am NOT (lol) but I cannot speak for anyone else.

Satya way said...

I believe that a large part of the answer is for those of us who are on the Sojourner's Path to get back in touch with time-tested, OLD proverbs. I might do a post about this in the future.

This dove tails into something I've been thinking about as I've read many of these blog entries.
My jaw dropped in surprise when I've read about some of the wisdom and life strategies that your and some of the posters' parents or other relatives relayed to them. I got very little of this eventhough my parents went to college, became middle class and financially stable: we had a disfunctional family in other ways. An example- My parents never talked to me about racism and what to expect, how to handle that, how to keep strong- never had any of that explained as a young girl. I was simply told,"you can do anything you want to. You're a ---( family name)" And marched right into the (possibly) hostile or uncomfortable situation. I'm in my 40's, so this was fairly early on in desegregation. So when I did get out into the world, I was quite unprepared and suffered the consequences. My parents did not imbue me with the confidence they'd somehow gotten from their upbringings. Perhaps they just weren't prone to reflection and analysis. They made assumptions that we'd "get it" without explanations or discussion.
So in any case I am wondering if you would also consider inviting posters to share the wisdom of their particular families-what they were told that really helped them or they felt was useful. How their families helped imbue them with a solid foundation of self-confidence. It might be benenficial to pool this inherited wisdom. Possibly things they had to discard might be instructive as well, I'm not sure.

this was a slight digression, apologies, just wanted to submit this request for your consideration.

Thank you for this wonderful blog, BTW! I really admire the sense of clarity, discipline, self-knowledge, discernment and certainties born of experience.

Khadija said...

Evia,

You said, ""He who laughs last, laughs best." LOL! Or as in "Living well is the BEST revenge."
YEEEEESSSS!"


Indeed. We've got to get back to those OLD sayings that have withstood the test of time.
__________________________

Delishmish,

You said, "my other favorite expression... "all animals are equal, but some animals are MORE equal than others"...absolute brilliance....you can spin that expression into just about anything."

Oh yes, I remember that expression. The pitiful thing is that these "magic formulas" used by the deeply confused fictional animals in that book are NOT very far removed from some other "magic formulas:"

"We have to elect the first Black __________________." (White political leadership = always bad. Black-skinned political leadership = always good. All of which is the same as "Two legs bad; four legs good.")

"all animals are equal, but some animals are MORE equal than others"..." (= "Pastor_________/Pres. Obama/_________ BM leader was 'annointed' by God, we have to trust his judgment/give him time/give him a chance, etc.")

I could go on, but we all get the point...

You said, "I actually do know who these people are. SO why (in conversations) do I refer to them as "friends?" I think it is because we are acutely lacking a category to put them into. We know they are not friends, but they are a bit more than acquaintances at times and sometimes not quite enemies. I suppose "frenemies" is fairly accurate, but it is a made up word...the point (for me) is maybe I should stop announcing them as "friends" out there to the Universe....

Just a thought really."


And a good thought. You've piqued my curiosity. I'm wondering if there's a Victorian-era word that more accurately describes these relationships. I'm sure Miss Primsy Proper would know! LOL! [I'm almost certain that I've misspelled/confused her name--my apologies to her. LOL!]

About the Facebook, etc.: I see how these modern gadgets have totally distorted many people's sense of what is an appropriate amount of disclosure with TOTAL STRANGERS. I see the same thing with these public cell phone conversation that blast extremely intimate details out for everybody in the area to hear.

I've watched so many people do these sorts of things, and then be surprised when these inappropriate disclosures bite them in the buttocks.

All of this makes me thankful that I came of age pre-gadgets.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

SatyaWay,

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

You said, "So in any case I am wondering if you would also consider inviting posters to share the wisdom of their particular families-what they were told that really helped them or they felt was useful. How their families helped imbue them with a solid foundation of self-confidence. It might be benenficial to pool this inherited wisdom. Possibly things they had to discard might be instructive as well, I'm not sure."

What a wonderful idea! Yes, we'll do this in August. Something to the effect of "Things My Parents/Elders Told Me That I Know To Be True," and maybe a follow-up of "Things My Parents/Elders Told Me That Are No Longer True."

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Karen said...

As I brought up the comment about friends, I decided to look up the definition of a friend per Merriam-Webster:


Entry Word: friend
Function: noun

Text: a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another

Synonyms: buddy, chum, comrade, confidant, crony, familiar, intimate, pal

Related Words: acquaintance; associate, cohort, colleague, companion, fellow, hearty, hobnobber, mate, partner, peer; brother, sister; accomplice, ally, collaborator, confederate; benefactor, supporter, sympathizer, well-wisher; friendly

Near Antonyms: adversary, antagonist, opponent, rival; archenemy, nemesis

Antonyms: enemy, foe

I do not particularly like the definition as it does not speak to reciprocity, but some of the synonyms/related words, I find may be more useful to go more in the direction of an acquaintance such as such as pal (non-work settings) or colleague which I use frequently in work settings both distinguishing from a friend.

I think facebook has also done major damage with regards to people no longer knowing what a friend is or should be...

blackotome said...

I blogged about something like this, but another one for me to add...
1.THINK. I've avoided mostly all pitfalls bw fall into. I just followed my instincts and figured I was "strange". Thanks to these blogs I realize that wanting to live a quality life is normal.
2. Indepence. I want to be financially, emotionally,etc free. I've been researching opening either a cake shop or butler cafe. I also hope to write a book about being a gothic lolita and encourage black girls to embrace that world. I think black girls need a positive subculture to go into.
I will have to think more about values. I draw close to me kind people, beautiful objects, things/people that make me think, basically anything beneficial
I push away... anything harmful.
This is a great post(with great comments), I have so much to digest.

Khadija said...

Karen,

Thanks for the info! I'll eventually get around to looking up all the various synonyms and shades of meaning for "friend" in my writer's thesaurus.
________________________

Blackotome,

Thanks for sharing!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Evia said...

Actually, Delish, it was Karen who made those comments re "friends"--not me.

However, on the topic of REAL "friends," well I think volumes could be written about that because there are virtually no rules anymore. Therefore, lots of people are very UN-likeminded until the meaning of friendship. To one person, it means something totally different than it may mean to another person, yet both people are using the same word. This causes lots of confusion and disappointment.

For ex. when I was in college I had what I considered a close girlfriend. Everything was fine until she went into the hospital to have some surgery. She was there for a couple of days. She NEVER told me she was going into the hospital!! I only found out later when she came out. I was devastated! We talked about it afterwards and she said she didn't understand why that even bothered me. OMG!!

My take on this is that when you go into the hospital for surgery, you should WANT those people who are close to you to know about it and BE there for you. So when she didn't tell me about her surgery, IMO based on my background, that was an indication that she didn't consider me a close friend. That also told me that if I went into the hospital, she wouldn't consider it important to be there for me either. These are MAJOR values differences, and I knew at that point that we would most likely never be really "close".

However, both she and her mother had been born and raised in NYC (Harlem) and had taken on the whole array of NYC "individualistic" values whereas, I grew up on a rural farm down South and had "communal" values from that background, so our backgrounds were VERY different. It wasn't her fault and it wasn't mine. That was the first experience that made me realize the importance of VALUES and likemindedness and how they determine whether people will get along with each other satisfactorily and have a mutually satisfying relationship. I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying it's a lot more difficult.

And this has nothing to do with ethnicity or race because I've met continental African women and white women with whom I've bonded almost instantly, whereas I've met AA women who I know I could never bond with.

This is a very clear example of why people from very different thought systems and value systems cannot jell, in many cases. There are so many unspoken expectations and assumptions that will usually trip them up.

So I have **sisterfriends**, **friends**, and then I have a variety of acquaintances. A sisterfriend is a friend of the 1st degree. A sisterfriend is the type of friend who could live with me indefinitely. I would go all out for her and her children to the extent that I could, without harming myself. She is, in a sense, my "sister" with the full meaning of the word. I would expect her to do all of the same for me.

At this point in my life, I put energy into cultivating sisterfriends, and I've had a moderate degree of success. I'm finding women who also relish this type of REAL relationship. It requires HONEST talk though about your needs. You cannot make assumptions. You have to tell a potential sisterfriend the biggies that you expect and she does the same and then you both have to decide whether you're willing to come through for each other.

I think AA women need friends, but due to the massive breakdown of the fledgling AA culture which eats away at even supposedly close-knit family relationships, I think that every AA woman REALLY needs at least 2 sisterfriends and 3 or 4 would of course be a lot better. That would make a typical AA woman feel a lot less vulnerable, alone. A sisterfriend is a type of insurance. You know there's a 95% that she'll be there for you when your "friends" and acquaintances call to give you excuses as to why they can't be there for you in whatever way. Also, you're her sisterfriend too. So the sisterfriend relationship requires obligations and responsibilities.

Human beings are not islands. We have been wired to need a variety of others.

Khadija said...

Evia,

I'm happy you talked at length about friendship. The topic is the very FIRST thing that I'm going to get back to in detail in August. It's the FIRST order of business for August.

You said, "My take on this is that when you go into the hospital for surgery, you should WANT those people who are close to you to know about it and BE there for you. So when she didn't tell me about her surgery, IMO based on my background, that was an indication that she didn't consider me a close friend. That also told me that if I went into the hospital, she wouldn't consider it important to be there for me either. These are MAJOR values differences, and I knew at that point that we would most likely never be really "close".

However, both she and her mother had been born and raised in NYC (Harlem) and had taken on the whole array of NYC "individualistic" values whereas, I grew up on a rural farm down South and had "communal" values from that background, so our backgrounds were VERY different. It wasn't her fault and it wasn't mine. That was the first experience that made me realize the importance of VALUES and likemindedness and how they determine whether people will get along with each other satisfactorily and have a mutually satisfying relationship. I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm saying it's a lot more difficult."


You're being very gracious. I grew up in Chicago (as did my parents), and that person's behavior sounds CRAZY to me (for somebody who calls themself a friend). The harsh reality is that there are a LOT of improperly socialized, SAVAGE AAs out there. You described one of them.

And I think it's a very good thing that you mentioned the reciprocity implications involved in this sort of crazy behavior. A so-called "friend" who does not expect you to be there for them does NOT expect to be there for you!

You said, "I think AA women need friends, but due to the massive breakdown of the fledgling AA culture which eats away at even supposedly close-knit family relationships, I think that every AA woman REALLY needs at least 2 sisterfriends and 3 or 4 would of course be a lot better. That would make a typical AA woman feel a lot less vulnerable, alone. A sisterfriend is a type of insurance. You know there's a 95% that she'll be there for you when your "friends" and acquaintances call to give you excuses as to why they can't be there for you in whatever way. Also, you're her sisterfriend too. So the sisterfriend relationship requires obligations and responsibilities.

Human beings are not islands. We have been wired to need a variety of others."


Exactly. And too many AA women try to rely on their husbands and boyfriends to supply ALL of their emotional needs. Not only is that unhealthy (one person simply can't supply ALL of another person's emotional needs). But it also sets women up to be extremely needy and vulnerable in their relationships with men.

It also sets them up to be utterly destroyed by divorce/break-up. I've seen this happen over and over to women who felt that they didn't need friends or sisterfriends because they "had a man." It's NOT a pretty picture. In fact, I'm been observing a BW coworker like this who's in the middle of a mini-breakdown right now because she threw away what few friendships she had as soon as she "got a man." Meanwhile, her ex-boyfriend held on to his friendships with "his boys" throughout their relationship. Now that he's broken up with her, she's almost catatonic.

I don't feel particularly sympathetic to her. She got what she created for herself.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

SweetSoulSister said...

Khadija,

Magnificent blog. I know Evia and Halima started it all but, you're the absolute best, in my opinion. Very cerebral and no nonsense.

Anyway, you asked:

To those fervent Obama and other crossover Black politician supporters:

On what basis are you giving your allegiance to these crossover Black politicians?

My answer:

I supported Obama because I looked closely at the entire field of candidates on BOTH sides and found him to be the most intellectually equipped for the job. Harvard, top of his class, first black President of Harvard Law Review, started out working amongst those less fortunate, I liked that he wanted to reform health care, make access to college easier,etc. The other candidates had no such agenda (nor experience) with the exception of John Edwards. Edwards was my FIRST choice but, I knew he would not get far and after he dropped out of the race, I firmly supported Obama. The racist mess coming from the Clintons certainly helped me. I've never been a fan of either Clinton (Bill nor Hill). John McCain and Sarah Palin were never in the running, imo, and thinking of them at the helm was wholly unacceptable to me. They were both dumber than dirt and looking at the alternatives, McCain/Palin or Obama/Biden, I felt it absolutely imperative to put the intellectual in charge, considering the dire straits this country is in. I will vote for Obama in 2012, unless something much better shows up.

You also asked:

And on what basis are you distancing yourself from the civil rights "old heads"?-

my answer:

I have never been a supprter of Jesse and Al. The reason? They only care about the interests of their fellow negro males. I never have and I will not start to support people like that. Negro males have enough people looking out for their interests. Jesse and Al are pimps to me. They are the first to come out if some white person does something against a black MALE but, they stay silent when it's black on black. I can't stand the hypocrisy. At least when I vote for Obama, I know I'm getting a crossover and I know his reach is limited. I would rather support Obama's evil than Jesse and Al's evil because Jesse and Al don't care about my interests at all. Not as a woman, not as an African American. At least Obama seems to care about WOMEN'S interests. Until Jesse and Al start talking about what negro male degenerates are doing to my sistas and heir children, I will never take them seriously. They also have failed to change their tired message from the 1960's. They should come into the new millennium or just fade away. Black men are the biggest enemy black women in this country, not white men.

Khadija said...

SweetSoulSister,

Thank you for your kind words about the blog; I truly appreciate it. However, let me repeat that I would most likely still be in my earlier Black Nationalist, BM-protectionist "trance" if: (1) I hadn't found out about the Dunbar Village Atrocity [from running across the blog What About Our Daughters]; (2) I hadn't run across the works of pioneers such as Evia and Halima.

Everybody has their own angle to this work; I'm standing on the shoulders of the pioneers. But I do appreciate the compliment! Thank you!

You said, "At least Obama seems to care about WOMEN'S interests."

Hmmm...that's interesting. That's not the impression that I've gotten from Obama. I distinctly recall him NOT defending his own wife from attacks during the campaign. And it seems that the only person that he's ever gone out of his way to verbally defend from attack has been Skippy Gates---another BM---not his own wife. Obama also verbally defended the rapist Genarlow Wilson, and mischaracterized what happened in that case as some sort of "teenagers in love" type of scenario. In my view, Pres. Obama is simply a more suave version of the "old heads" when it comes to mishandling BW's interests.

But, reasonable minds can differ and form different impressions.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

SweetSoulSister said...

Khadija,

You said:

That's not the impression that I've gotten from Obama. I distinctly recall him NOT defending his own wife from attacks during the campaign. And it seems that the only person that he's ever gone out of his way to verbally defend from attack has been Skippy Gates---another BM---not his own wife. Obama also verbally defended the rapist Genarlow Wilson, and mischaracterized what happened in that case as some sort of "teenagers in love" type of scenario. In my view, Pres. Obama is simply a more suave version of the "old heads" when it comes to mishandling BW's interests.

My reply:

I had no idea he supported Genarlow Wilson. No idea whatsoever. Thank you for that bit of information and believe me, I will keep it in mind. You are so right about his lack of response over the vicious attacks on his wife. I have actually lost alot of respect for him because of this. He was acting in a very typical fashion by remaining silent. To me, silence is akin to condoning. Do you think George W Bush would've allowed horribly racist and sexist remarks about Laura Bush go? Do you think the media would've let them go? Hell no because everyone defends Miss Ann.

Reading your response and reflecting, you are very right. He's only spoken up for Henry Lousi Gates and himself (during the Reverend Wright fiasco)yet he could not be bothered to defend his wife, whom he claims to love more than anything. Yeah, right.

Khadija said...

SweetSoulSister,

Here's the quote from BarackObama.com, the section featuring News and Speeches From Obama (I've put the pertinent part in boldface):

"Obama Outshines Fellow Dems at NAACP
ABC News | July 13, 2007
By David Runk

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama outshone his Democratic rivals Thursday, drawing the loudest cheers at a civil rights forum as he assailed the Bush administration's record on race relations.

The eight Democrats shared the stage at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's 98th annual convention. John Edwards called on his "brothers and sisters" as he evoked the struggles of the civil rights movement. Front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton thanked the organist for soulful musical interludes.

But it was Obama, seeking to become the first black president, who drew the strongest applause and cheers from the 3,000 attendees.

"I know what you know, which is that despite all the progress that has been made we still have more work to do," said the first-term Illinois senator.

Black voters are a core party constituency, and the candidates are in a fierce struggle to capture their support, refusing to cede it to Obama. Clinton is counting on the goodwill engendered by her husband during his presidency, while Edwards has won praise for his anti-poverty effort.

Obama's performance Thursday marked the first time he has managed to best Clinton in a candidate's forum, including last month's debate at Howard University, a historically black college in the nation's capital.

At the forum, each candidate responded to five questions from NAACP delegates on topics including health care, gun violence and voting rights.

Obama derided President Bush's commutation of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's prison term, noting black men routinely serve time behind bars.

"We know we have more work to do when Scooter Libby gets no prison time and a 21-year-old honor student, who hadn't even committed a felony, gets 10 years in prison," Obama said.

Aides said Obama was referring to Genarlow Wilson, a Georgia man serving a 10-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. A judge last month ordered Wilson to be freed, but prosecutors are blocking the order."

Khadija said...

Part 2 {continuing the news story}

"Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of lying and obstruction of justice in the CIA-leak case. He received a 30-month prison sentence, which Bush commuted last week.

"I'd like to thank the NAACP for letting me follow Barack Obama," joked Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who delivered his opening remarks after the Illinois senator.

Obama, 45, said he was too young to have participated in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, but said he was inspired by it. That comment prompted a mild dig from Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, who stressed his long career in public life.

"I've been around a while, and I'm old enough to remember the civil rights movement," Biden, 64, said, adding he was the best candidate to bring an end to the Iraq war.

Clinton said the forum would cover more issues of importance to the black community than the administration had in six years.

"We have a president who does not see what you and I see. ... With your hard work, we will render the people that you and I see visible once again," the New York senator said.

She cited "The Invisible Man," Ralph Ellison's classic novel of black alienation. And she thanked the organist, whose music helped fill the gaps between programs on the stage, for providing a spiritual dimension to the forum.

"I think we needed to have a little uplift here," she said. "If we're going to win this election, it's going to be because we have faith."

Edwards touted his commitment to fighting poverty, calling it "the cause of my life." He plans to launch a multistate tour Monday in New Orleans to spotlight the millions living in poverty.

Edwards' call for felons' voting rights to be restored also received loud cheers, although as a North Carolina senator in 2002 he voted against a bill allowing felons the right to vote in federal elections.

The topic of voting rights drew an impassioned response from the candidates, many of whom spoke of the disputed 2000 election in Florida that saw many black voters disenfranchised.

"The American people don't feel that when they go vote their vote counts," New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said.

Dodd praised the NAACP for holding a burial ceremony for the "N-word" earlier this week.

"We ought to have more burials. Why not bury neglect? Bigotry? The failed policy in Iraq?" Dodd asked, adding that he believed every Democrat on the stage would be a better president than Bush.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel also participated.

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo was the lone GOP candidate, and said he accepted the invitation because his message is for all Americans. A vociferous foe of illegal immigration, Tancredo said the wages of black workers suffer because of illegal workers.

Click here to read the article from ABC News"

COMMENT: I'm assuming that then-Sen. Obama was misinformed about the facts of Genarlow Wilson's case. But that's the SAME type of carelessness that the "old heads" engage in when it comes to BW's issues. One might also argue that candidate-Obama was simply telling AAs what they wanted to hear.

However, whatever the motive was, this statement fits the SAME behavior pattern as when Rev. Al "Hot Comb" Sharpton originally spoke out in favor of bail for some of the accused Dunbar Village perps. As usual, our BM leaders are so fixated on what they perceive to be "disparities" between BM and WM criminals that they totally IGNORE the harm that has been done to BF crime victims.


Again, reasonable minds can disagree about Pres. Obama. I'm just pointing out some things that have been mostly dumped into "the memory hole."

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Karen said...

Evie,

Your example about shared values with regards to friendships is a critical point.

With your reference to "sister-friends" given the energy it requires to support and maintain a good friendship (including one's spouse or significant other), I cannot imagine more than 3 people being in my inner circle.

Do you really have up to 4 "Sister-friends" and if so, how do you balance that with all the other activities in your life including your primary relationship with your spouse.

I agree with Khadija also that one should never sacrifice these relationships for a man or spouse but at the same time, I wonder how one does it with more than 2.

I have two friends plus my spouse with many pals and acquaintances. I find that it is enough with these three people in my inner circle. Perhaps I should expand but I have yet to find it necessary.

I would appreciate your insights on this.

Evia said...

You're being very gracious. I grew up in Chicago (as did my parents), and that person's behavior sounds CRAZY to me (for somebody who calls themself a friend). The harsh reality is that there are a LOT of improperly socialized, SAVAGE AAs out there. You described one of them.

Khadija, re my college chum and your comments above, this was a very eye-opening experience for me--having Freda as a "friend." She had been raised not to trust black people because her mother, a hard-working black woman had had a hard life. The mother was a very bitter bw. She had been preyed on by a good-looking, sweet-talking, womanizing bm. He impregnated her mother and abandoned her. To her mother's credit, she had pinched pennies to send my friend to a private girl's school in NYC and then Freda went on to college, which is where I met her.

Freda came from a very different background than me. She grew up around lots of predators, and with barely any protection from them. Her mother worked 2 jobs all of her life and provided a clean,comfortable home, but there was no time for Freda. Freda had been molested a couple of times while she was a teenager.

My childhood wasn't perfect, but I grew up in a safe environment surrounded by various adults in my extended family watching over me, protecting me. At the time, I thought they were TOO protective, but now I know better. I also always got enough attention from adults. It certainly sounds like you also had a bunch of people who protected you and were there for you.

Even today, I don't think Freda has ever gotten over some of those childhood experiences and the LACK that was in her life during critical periods.

So after my initial hurt, I just accepted her as she was and knew that we could never be "close."

Evia said...

Do you really have up to 4 "Sister-friends" and if so, how do you balance that with all the other activities in your life including your primary relationship with your spouse.

Karen, I'm currently cultivating only 2 sisterfriend relationships at this point. One woman is married to a bm and they have 3 kids and the other one is divorced with a child. I incorporate these women and their families into my family's life, so it's good for ALL of us.

I also had 2 sisterfriends where I previously lived, which is about 50 miles away from where I live now. They and I talk on the phone and only get together maybe once a year. We're still tight but we don't exactly need to mingle much. They also have family members and other friends or sisterfriends, so they don't depend only on me for closeness.

Khadija said...

Evia,

Thanks for explaining the history behind your college chum. I knew there had to be something SERIOUSLY wrong with that person. It's NOT normal to act like that regarding somebody you call a real "friend."

Yes, I was also BLESSED to grow up being protected and loved by many, many adults around me. Unfortunately, that sort of emotional and physical security are becoming unknown among AA children.

There are a LOT of sociopaths among our people. These bizarre attitudes toward friendship (like what you described about your college acquaintance), and the inability to form close friendships are a part of that syndrome.

That's why I was horrified by some of the statements made during the True Fellowship discussions (which I'm going to revisit in August). I was shocked and appalled to see people say out loud, in public, statements like "I don't want any friends." That's mentally SICK. For real. And it's the kind of statement that I hear from sociopathic clients. IIRC, the inability to make or keep friends is one of the DSM-IV-listed symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

rainebeaux said...

Well, to put it mildly, I got my values from my family (which I just realized a decade ago was dysfunctional)--whatever they did or are doing, make a concerted effort to do the exact opposite. Case in point: save a bunch of money and do the research before I leave.

As I read The Gift of Fear, I realize that although I don't mind new friends (the few I do have are just miserable, and I have my own stuff to deal with), I suddenly feel like I have to perfect my side eye for anyone in my new environment who smiles a nanosecond too long. Oh, that reminds me: I'll be bringing along some renewed discernment.

Khadija said...

Rainebeaux,

You mentioned "renewed discernment."

I LIKE that idea!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

foreverloyal said...

"Let go and let God". I always had a different take on this saying, but then, I've only heard it a few times. I always took it to be one of those "accept the things you can't change" type of ideas.
For example: Someone you know is irresponsible despite all good advice and help rendered by loved ones. Accept that you cannot change that person (only God can) and leave them to their own devices.
I've never heard "put God in it for a minute"

I guess like with all things, how you "spin" the saying will depend on your individual beliefs/worldview/education/indoctrination/etc.

Khadija said...

ForeverLoyal,

You said, "I guess like with all things, how you "spin" the saying will depend on your individual beliefs/worldview/education/indoctrination/etc."

I agree. However, I'll note that I've only personally heard these 2 sayings from BW who were talking themselves into accepting the unacceptable, and tolerating the intolerable.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.