Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Sojourner's Path: Reject False Egalitarianism And Cultivate Your SUPERIOR Traits

LIFE IS NOT FAIR OR EQUAL -- Everything And Everybody Are NOT The Same

The first thing that aspiring Sojourners must understand is that real life is not fair or equal. In fact, life is filled with naturally-occurring, lopsided ratios! In order to survive and thrive, we must position ourselves on the WINNING side of these ratios.

From The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less, by Richard Koch. My comments are in blue:

"The reason that the 80/20 Principle is so valuable is that it is counterintuitive. We tend to expect that all causes will have roughly the same significance. That all customers are equally valuable. That every bit of business, every product, and every dollar of sales revenue is as good as any other. That all employees in a particular category have roughly equivalent value. That each day or week or year we spend has the same significance. That all our friends have roughly equal value to us.

[Khadija speaking: African-Americans love to believe that "everybody's the same." And that "everything is the same," and that "things aren't any different in other places." This sort of thinking leads to our angry (really deranged) assertions that out of wedlock parenting is "equal" to married parenting. That a child having a "weekend only, telephone father" is "equal" to having an onsite 24/7 father who is married to one's mother. Well. . . umm. . . NO. This is not how real life operates. Not at all. Real life is filled with HUGE, natural imbalances. Real life tends to follow Pareto's Law.]

. . . That all problems have a large number of causes, so that it is not worth isolating a few key causes. [Oh, let's stop here for a moment. This is a critical point. This is a large part of why African-Americans love to believe that people are the same. This notion serves to obscure the TRUE source of many of the problems among us. These "people are basically the same" and "we're all equally responsible" delusions provide cover for those among us who are truly aberrant.

If we sought to isolate the primary causes of certain problems during our analyses, it would put an extremely unflattering spotlight on some of our cultural "sacred cows." Sacred cows such as the Black underclass, and the "young Black males" that we refer to in our political slogans.]

That all opportunities are of roughly equal value, so that we treat them all equally." The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less, by Richard Koch. Amazon Kindle Locations 203-14 (emphasis added).

Pareto's Law

From The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss:

"Pareto's Law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. Alternative ways to phrase this, depending on the context, include:

80% of the consequences flow from 20% of the causes.

80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time. [African-American women spend the bulk of their efforts on things and people that have the LEAST amount of impact. This is why we work so hard for so little. This misuse of effort and time applies to many situations.]

80% of the company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.

. . . The list is infinitely long and diverse, and the ratio is often skewed even more severely: 90/10, 95/5, and 99/1 are not uncommon, but the minimum ratio to seek is 80/20." The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Timothy Ferriss, Amazon Kindle Locations 940-52 through952-62 (emphasis added).

[Yes, I agree that in real life the ratio is often extremely skewed---95/5 and 99/1. Real life has a lot of "winner take all" scenarios. For example, in terms of income, there are many fields where a few "superstars" within the field earn millions, and those ranked just beneath them (in terms of reputation) make only a comfortable living. Think of the likely difference in earnings between the author of the Harry Potter books and authors who are in the next lower tier of sales. Real life has MANY "winner take all" types of situations!]

People Are Usually Shocked When They Open Their Eyes To This

"The 80/20 Principle also asserts that when we know the true relationship, we are likely to be surprised at how unbalanced it is. Whatever the actual level of imbalance, it is likely to exceed our prior estimates. . . Teachers may know that the majority of their disciplinary troubles or most truancy arises from a minority of pupils, but if records are analyzed the extent of the imbalance will probably be larger than expected. We may feel that some of our time is more valuable than the rest, but if we measure inputs and outputs the disparity can still stun us.

Why should you care about the 80/20 Principle? Whether you realize it or not, the principle applies to your life, to your social world, and to the place where you work. Understanding the 80/20 Principle gives you great insight into what is really happening in the world around you." The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less, by Richard Koch. Amazon Kindle Locations 214-24 through 224-35.

Real Life Also Has Many Feedback Loops And Sensitive Dependence On Initial Conditions

Real life also has many positive and negative feedback loops. The rich get richer; the poor get poorer. Furthermore, real life is often extremely sensitive to initial conditions. This means that even small advantages or disadvantages at the beginning of a process can have a huge impact on end results. Think of it as similar to a ship navigating its course with a compass. If the the course chosen is off by only a few degrees at the beginning, it will be off by many miles the further it sails.

We see many examples of this in everyday life. Those of us with common sense know that a good beginning for our children's lives dramatically increases the odds of their future success. Shrewd women know that how they begin an interaction with a man will impact the entire relationship.

WHAT ALL OF THIS MEANS FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN
1. Stop Pretending That These Ratios Don't Exist

No matter how much African-Americans weep, wail, and gnash our teeth, these skewed ratios will continue to dominate real life. Nature is filled with imbalances. Everybody is NOT the same. In any field, by any measure, there are only a FEW outstanding people. Whatever "it" is, there will be a sea of relative mediocrity with only a handful of standouts in either direction (good or bad).

A critical point about this angle is to look at what a group's "baseline" is. A group's collective baseline is how you measure that group's general success or failure. Some collective baselines are MUCH higher than others. There's the mediocrity of being a lower-middle class person when your ethnic group is mostly affluent. [Oh, you can probably guess which ethnic/religious group I'm thinking of.] And then there's the mediocrity of being a poor, fatherless, African-American person who was born out of wedlock. If the odds are that you'll be mediocre, would you rather be "mediocre" in the sense of the first group or "mediocre" in the second group?

Most African-Americans resist the reality of these ratios because we're used to being on the losing side of these numbers. In fact, we've embraced a collective "loser" identity.

It never occurs to us that we have it within us to be SUPERIOR regarding anything that matters. It never occurs to us that we can be on the winning side of these ratios.

So, we have a mindset of trying to pretend that everything and everybody is the same. Pretending that everybody's "equal." So, we have a mindset of trying to coerce the "winners" into giving the "losers" (that would be us) large slices of their "pies." We want to try to force situations into an artificial, false veneer of "equality."

This is only a temporary solution to disparities and inequalities. It will always fail in the long-run because these ratios will always exist. And unless a group raises its collective "baseline," they will always be disadvantaged relative to others. They will continue to lose. Not only have African-Americans failed to raise our collective baseline, but we've allowed it to plummet.

Over the past few decades we've started saying things like "BMW = Black Man Working." What do these sorts of expressions say to the world about our baseline? Our collective's baseline is currently at ground level. And it will fall through the floor once the Endless Night of Permanent Underclass Status becomes entrenched.

2. Understand That "Equality Talk" Is A Subtle Trap

Equality talk is actually a subtle mental trap. If you really believe that "things aren't any better anywhere else," then you have no incentive to move anywhere to seek a better living environment. If you really believe that you're "the same" as everybody else, then you're not going to cultivate those traits of yours that are actually superior to the masses. And so on across the board.

All of this stems from embracing a mass loser self-identity. Equality talk is usually heard coming from losers who are trying to convince themselves that they have some merit. Winners don't talk that equality talk. Now, gracious winners might publicly engage in equality talk so as to not upset the losers around them; but that equality stuff is NOT their self-image. People who are winning feel that they have superior skills or traits that enable them to win. Losers feel that they were lucky to win.

3. Use These Ratios To YOUR Advantage. Embrace And Cultivate Your SUPERIOR Traits!

I often praise God for my parents. In terms of raising us, they were NOT for that false equality mess. Egalitarianism was not for their children. They never wanted us to be "equal" with anybody. They wanted our points of SUPERIORITY to shine brightly!

Ladies, stop thinking like losers who have to scramble for scraps! You can position yourself to be a winner who takes all! This applies across the board. From one's personal life to one's financial life. Keep in mind the fact that some people actually made a LOT of money during the Great Depression.

There are general things about us as Black women that are actually SUPERIOR to other women. You already know many of these traits, but somehow most of you don't take these things to heart and work with them to your advantage. I don't understand this behavior.

This includes surface beauty traits. You know that we generally age better than other women. You know that our complexions usually have a glow and vitality that others admire. You really KNOW that other people admire our curves! Non-Blacks have noticed and commented on all of this. Why don't YOU seem to know this? Why don't you cultivate these advantages?

[I know. . . Lord, I know it angers some of you, but I'm going to ask: Why persist in hiding your God-given curves under extra weight? I never said that it was easy. Don't you remember me complaining and whining every step of the way during the workout check-in posts? I'm still complaining about being sore, tired, etc. I complain, but I keep working out.]

This includes inner beauty traits. Generally speaking, African-American women are resourceful. We are industrious. We are intensely loyal. The problem is that we've got all of these traits harnessed in support of unworthy causes, goals and people.

There are specific things about YOU as an individual that are SUPERIOR to most others. Are you ready to embrace and cultivate your superior traits? Are you ready to be a winner who takes all?

30 comments:

MangoButtahQueen said...

"This includes surface beauty traits. You know that we generally age better than other women. You know that our complexions usually have a glow and vitality that others admire. You really KNOW that other people admire our curves! Non-Blacks have noticed and commented on all of this. Why don't YOU seem to know this? Why don't you cultivate these advantages?"

You know this is funny that you brought this up today.....

I finally resigned and embraced the idea to letting my hair go "silver". (Mainly because I got a few eyebrow hairs that are also coming in silver at a much faster rate but I digress.)

My oldest son (who is 16) asked me why I am no longer hennaing my hair.

I told him it was because I got tired of being mistaken for a grad student instead of the soon-to-be 44 year old woman that I am. No one believes that I'm in my mid 40's but with the silver coming in the stupid intrusive questions about "establishing my future" have finally come to a halt.

I also told him that even though I will no linger be considered that hot chick of indiscriminate age but will be the old hot chick, I told him to ask his uncle what the typical 40ish Midwestern woman looks like....he was surprised at they look older than I do.

I am even in better shape since starting yoga 4 months ago and it has toned me to the extent that I am carrying myself much differently (given the overuse injuries I've dealt with) and has given me a "glow".

I must attest that when we take care of ourselves, people do notice.

Khadija said...

MangoButtahQueen,

You said, "I must attest that when we take care of ourselves, people do notice."-

Yes, we've got some inherent advantages (external and internal) relative to other women that we generally don't cultivate. Because most AAW have allowed their spirits to be broken by the non-stop drumbeat of AA men's slander against them, they don't use their inherent advantages.

They don't use these advantages because they don't perceive them. But there are some other, hidden reasons for not perceiving that which is superior about ourselves: This "equality talk" ["Everything is the same...everybody is the same...things won't be any better elsewhere, etc."] that has become deeply entrenched in mass AA culture.

All of this stems from embracing a mass loser self-identity. Equality talk is usually heard coming from losers who are trying to convince themselves that they have some merit. Winners don't talk that equality talk. Now, gracious winners might publicly engage in equality talk so as to not upset the losers around them; but that equality stuff is NOT their self-image. People who are winning feel that they have superior skills or traits that enable them to win.

Equality talk is actually a subtle mental trap. If you really believe that "things aren't any better anywhere else," then you have no incentive to move anywhere to seek a better living environment. If you really believe that you're "the same" as everybody else, then you're not going to cultivate those traits of yours that are actually superior to the masses. And so on across the board.-

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Miriam said...

I agree 100%

There is social pressure to not think in terms of superior.

I remember when I first started my blog I took a turn and focused more on BW separating from the crowd a bit and seeing what good they have specifically.

My blog got under (albiet gentle) "disapproval" by a liberal reader. I felt sad from the pressure and thought to cave in, but didn't. BW need to separate and discern, then look at their own good points.

Alas, I think this is an important message!

Khadija said...

Miriam,

You are absolutely correct when you noted that there is "social pressure to not think in terms of superior."-

It's practically heresy among AAs to even think in terms of superiority. Which I find to be quite telling. It tells me that the AA masses actually feel inferior. I notice that other racial groups don't have any problems with staking out their asserted claims to superiority in various realms!

I agree with you. Yes, BW do need to seperate and discern, and then "work it" with our good points!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Halima said...

Standing ovation on this one khadija!

I can feel your heart towards bw, and that you want them to win.

it is my wish that bw see this and know that we are not just all about scourging them. We.Want.Them.To.Win.

we want them to see how things really are and we want them to stop being afraid to open their eyes and stop hedging their bets because they can win, the odds are good.

And we know that winning is so very possible with just a bit of brain work, a few adjustments here and there. Thats all it will take.

Khadija said...

Halima,

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

Yes, I want other BW to win. It bothers me to see so many BW who have winning attributes act as if they are born-losers.

From the already-physically stunning BW who needlessly feel unattractive (due to only socializing in all-Black settings with colorist, deranged Negroes).

From the striving BW who have already propelled themselves out of poverty who don't believe that they can be truly wealthy. So many of whom seem to feel that they were only lucky to make it into college, "good jobs," and in some cases, the professions. NO. George W. Bush was lucky to be born into wealth. These women who scrambled out of poverty weren't "lucky," they were RESOURCEFUL and/or SMART. And they were blessed with these God-given attributes.

[Blessed is NOT the same thing as "lucky." Blessed is being given something of high quality (savvy, smarts, looks, etc.) to work with!]

I know that this particular post will be difficult for most readers to digest. Because it's diametrically opposed to the "equality talk" that most of us have been indoctrinated into.

Nevertheless, The first thing that aspiring Sojourners must understand is that real life is not fair or equal. In fact, life is filled with naturally-occurring, LOPSIDED ratios! In order to survive and thrive, we must position ourselves on the WINNING side of these ratios. Not pretend that they don't exist.

It might surprise some of us to learn that Elijah Muhammad's NOI talked about these sorts of lopsided ratios!
They taught about the 85%, 10%, and 5% of humanity. [This concept is what the offshoot group from the NOI, the "Five Percenters," took their name from.]

The gist of the idea was:

That 85% of people are clueless and easily led into disaster, while hard to lead into abundant life. [This is because they are deaf, dumb and blind to "knowledge of self and knowledge of God."]

10% of people know what's going on, but use that knowledge to exploit the clueless 85% masses.

And then there are the 5% who know what's going on, but seek to guide the 85% masses to abundant life.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Felicia said...

Excellent new essay Khadija.

Much food for thought as always.

Keep bringing it on.

Enlightened said...

Khadija, you have been coming with the HEAT lately. Excellent post.

This culture of inferiority is real in the field and stretches across all racial boundaries. I know you are focusing on black women learning to dismantle that kind of thinking. However, I'm curious to know if you think some of this mindset is an American thing? I have several friends who were born in other countries but attend school here and they joke about "stupid, lazy Americans" all the time.

Miriam is also on point regarding the social pressure to not think in terms of superiority. This has really taken a turn for the worst in the last 10-15 years. Little kids are playing in competitive sports games now where everybody gets a trophy, even the team that LOST. College professors complain constantly about students expecting to get credit for attendance and "effort", like they are still in high school. I've talked with parents who have children in Gifted Education classes that receive backlash from the parents of "regular" kids who don't think gifted children should have special classes that are more intense and rigorous and that they should have to be in class with everybody else. "The regular kids will learn from the gifted kids!", they say. YEAH RIGHT.

Okay, enough with my anecdotes. Great post, Khadija.

Sister Seeking, Miriam said...

ASA Khadija,

WOW! Ma’sha’Allah (so God willed) yet, another outstanding essay/post!
THANK YOU for sharing your wisdom here!

So, we have a mindset of trying to pretend that everything and everybody is the same. Pretending that everybody's "equal." So, we have a mindset of trying to coerce the "winners" into giving the "losers" (that would be us) large slices of their "pies." We want to try to force situations into an artificial, false veneer of "equality."
______________________________
Evia challenged your readers (Sojourners Path: Active instead of passive living thread) to examine if we had any co-dependent behaviors, and relationships with family/friends. I’ve seriously been reflecting ( for me that’s prayer, meditation, journaling, asking questions, hearing opposing viewpoints) about allot of Evia’s, and Reverend Lisa’s call for us to examine our internal selves ( I personally think if you don’t reflect, you’re merely faking the funk). My adoptive family ( parents and grandparents generation) are active members of: 100 Black Men, NAACP, National Urban League, and some other groups. I know that my siblings, and I were conditioned with this: We are all equal mentality. Not from some “Were God’s elect mentality but existentially speaking. I could NEVER tell my parents, and the few siblings I keep up with, how much I’ve changed on so many issues. I’m inter-culturally married( 7 years and counting), and many BW in my family HATE it. As you, and others have articulated, some of us truly are holding on to a contract that is outdated/invalidated/broken. Saying all this to say: I finally have understood on a personal basis, the contract that so many of you ( BWEB) have been talking about. I now get it. Some families would react with utter horror, and take it as a sign of disrespect. And I half to be honest, my farther would never consider himself equal to the young men his organizations are trying to save. He came from a generation of men that chose not to allow poverty/racism/classism to force them into so many of the behaviors you speak about present in the underclass. He joined the military, went on to college, joined law enforcement industry, and excelled—even through temporary PARALYSIS.

Cont..

Sister Seeking, Miriam said...

I’ve also noticed this pattern with a segment of my biological family I have recently met as well. The men found ways to be protectors, providers, and decent family men to black women ,and children. I too, am grateful, for God’s mercy in opening up their heart to adopt me. I had a model/foundation to work with when I decided to marry. This is probably the only reason (And of course God’s mercy) that I was able to mentally lock out the BAM female skin shade racist haters, who kept telling me, I wasn’t going to find anyone willing, ready, and able for marriage.

Khadija, you said something to the extent of “ today’s black poor is not like yesterdays black poor”. You’re right Khadija, what makes it worse, is (recession aside) we have MORE resources than just the military to access mainstream middle class life.


This is only a temporary solution to disparities and inequalities. It will always fail in the long-run because these ratios will always exist. And unless a group raises its collective "baseline," they will always be disadvantaged relative to others. They will continue to lose. Not only have African-Americans failed to raise our collective baseline, but we've allowed it to plummet.
__________________________________
My husband was listening to NPR radio yesterday, and a financial analyst reported that during the last 8 years AA’s, and LT’s had lost nearly all of their various forms of wealth( especially real-estate, retirement funds, college funds,) than in other time in history. He also stated that , it would take both AA’s and LT’s a good 5 to 10 years when the recession/depression ends to just recover half of what they have lost.

I’m certainly NOT trying to play God, but precisely because of the point you make in this statement, I’m not convinced that our ethnic groups will EVER recover, and now completely understand your warnings to BW/BG to escape NOW. The game is UP—I think this is a un-precented time in black history period.. but especially for black women, and children.

I can feel your heart towards bw, and that you want them to win.-Halima
__________________________________
I concur.

Thank you Khadija, and EVERYONE else. Honesty sister, thank you for the PATIENCE, empathy, and tough love ( yes I sad it lol). You, and many others are a completely different phase, and just thank you for listening and creating a safe place.

g-e-m2001 said...

it is my wish that bw see this and know that we are not just all about scourging them. We.Want.Them.To.Win.

we want them to see how things really are and we want them to stop being afraid to open their eyes and stop hedging their bets because they can win, the odds are good.

And we know that winning is so very possible with just a bit of brain work, a few adjustments here and there. Thats all it will take.


But alas, that is not often the main gist of the tone of the discussions online. I ( I'll take responsibility for what I say) place a great deal of emphasis on trying to get people to see the errors of their ways, but that doesn't always come off as "loving" or "supportive" but "chastening."

Tough love is great, but in order for that to happen, there has t be some basis in love. I don't know if up to this point, that's been a luxuray many Black women bloggers could extend because it often feels as if you are warring with people just to get them to recognize foolishness, but I think there definitely is more room and there should be more emphasis on an unabashed desire for Black women to win as opposed to chiding others who haven't yet arrived at the conclusions many of us have drawn.

You're competing with a "myth" of Black Unity. Why would someone want to leave the "loving" arms of something the know, however dysfunctional it may be, for something they don't know that appears "critical."

An example would be the fact that the army doesn't use drill sergeants to do recruiting. You don't meet those folks until you've already signed the contract.

I think "We Want You To Win" is an excellent campaign-style theme as opposed to "Why don't you stop making bad choices." They both are saying the same thing, but the packaging is different

Delishmish said...

Khadija said: (in part)

This includes surface beauty traits.

YES YES YES..
To me there is nothing more powerful than a confident fit black woman and yes dammit...we should cultivate our superior traits. Our skin is magnificent and our bodies CAN be like works of art. This is something to be celebrated.

It is not about arrogance. It is about what you THINK in your head about YOU.

"She walks in beauty like the night." (Lord Byron)

If other groups of women can take images (Cleopatra???) and poetry plainly not ascribed to them and turn it into a huge positivity for themselves...then SO CAN WE.

I love this line from this poem...and I assure you all that if Lord Byron had ever met me, then that poem would be about me...and you. (He'd have to change a couple of words though...lol)

Aphrodite said...

Hello Khadija,

Thank you again for another amazing post.


This is another layer for me. This has been and still is difficult for me.


I have alluded to this a few times when I posted here - that I have difficulty is seeing myself accurately in many areas.


There have been moments in my life when I knew and felt that I had advantages and superior qualities whether it is regarding looks or my brainpower, but I got that kind of stomped out of me in so many ways by other AA's even some family members.


But at the same time - I have had many people volunteer to me throughout the years , including creeps who were trying to/and went on to take advantage of me, that I "sell myself short" and I wasn't and still aren't aware when I sell myself short.



My fear is in overestimating my assets, qualities, and abilities and failing miserably.

tasha212 said...

Khadija:

I am very inspired by this post. I was taught as a child that in order to succeed, I must be superior in whatever field I chose. According to my parents and my paternal grandmother, black folks don't have the luxury of being mediocre. I was taught to strive for excellence. So it baffles me when I encounter other blacks who settle for mediocrity. I just don't understand that mentality.

I am working on singling out my superior traits. I know that there are things that I am good at but I am contemplating what I am the best at. Because I think when one finds and cultivates her God-given talents, she will rise to the top. I think alot of sisters go through life thinking in terms of finding a "good job" rather than in becoming the best at whatever they're good at and cultivating that into something profitable. How do you think that a woman should go about finding her superior traits? How did you figure out what yours are?

Peace and solidarity,

Tasha

Khadija said...

Felicia,

Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. We're in the last few moments before The Endless Night. It's time to mentally pick up the pace of our understanding.
___________________

Enlightened,

Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it. You asked, "However, I'm curious to know if you think some of this mindset is an American thing? I have several friends who were born in other countries but attend school here and they joke about "stupid, lazy Americans" all the time."-

The behavior only looks similar on the surface; the motives underlying it are entirely different for AAs versus White Americans. Many AAs really do feel inferior. White Americans don't feel themselves to be inferior to anyone else---these are the people who are quick to chant that America is #1 ( which = they are #1). What has happened is that Americans in general have embraced intellectual laziness and stupidity.

Americans generally ARE lazy and stupid. We depend upon foreigners to do the vast majority of our scientific and technical thinking and work. I noticed this in college back during the late 1980s. Look at the computer science, and "hard" science departments at any university. Lot at MIT. Look at Silicon Valley. They're packed with foreigners. Both as students and as instructors.

Look at how the FBI is constantly arresting Chinese and other foreign-origin scientists for technological spying on behalf of China, etc. Well, how in the world is it that we've got these people working in sensitive areas such as our nuclear and other industries in the first place? Their employment in those capacities in the US is only possible because of the lack of Americans to fill these roles.

The lack of Americans is because of Americans' general aversion to studying math and science. That stuff requires effort and we don't want to be bothered.

Khadija said...

Part 2

SisterSeeking/Miriam,

Wa Alaikum As Salaam!

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

You said, "My husband was listening to NPR radio yesterday, and a financial analyst reported that during the last 8 years AA’s, and LT’s had lost nearly all of their various forms of wealth( especially real-estate, retirement funds, college funds,) than in other time in history...

...I’m certainly NOT trying to play God, but precisely because of the point you make in this statement, I’m not convinced that our ethnic groups will EVER recover, and now completely understand your warnings to BW/BG to escape NOW. The game is UP—I think this is a un-precented time in black history period.. but especially for black women, and children."
-

Yes, the game is up and over! Let me stress something that I didn't get into in the body of the main post (which is already too long---LOL!). Creating-seeking-"bogarding" one's way into material progress requires some sort of assertiveness or aggression from the person who wants to make progress.

I don't object to any political strong-arming/"bogarding" AAs did in order to gain access to education, jobs, etc. Historically, other ethnic groups did similar things and created ethnic employment MONOPOLIES for themselves (such as the Irish in this country's police and fire departments).

Most groups have to do some type of "Bogart" maneuver to get their group's economic foot in the door. But this only works as a short-term strategy.

My issue is that the "Bogart" maneuver is only viable for a couple of rounds. You can't keep demanding wealth redistribution from the "winners" over and over again. People are NOT going to allow themselves to be continuously, and permanently strong-armed into giving others a slice of their resources. There will be a backlash._

At some point, every group has to develop ways of CREATING and SUSTAINING whatever gains they made after they got their foot in the door. AAs have failed to do this; and we are suffering the consequences. These consequences will be HARSH and unforgiving of our mass folly. As you noted, the game is up.
________________

Gem2001/Gina,

You said, "Tough love is great, but in order for that to happen, there has t be some basis in love. I don't know if up to this point, that's been a luxuray many Black women bloggers could extend because it often feels as if you are warring with people just to get them to recognize foolishness, but I think there definitely is more room and there should be more emphasis on an unabashed desire for Black women to win as opposed to chiding others who haven't yet arrived at the conclusions many of us have drawn."-

I hear you; and I will work on that. But I must admit that I have somewhat mixed feelings about this aspect of the message marketing angle. Mostly because I don't believe that any perceived harshness is the primary cause of any resistance to the life-saving messages. I think that the bulk of the resistance is caused by BW's general aversion to seriously listening to other BW. I believe the bulk of the resistance is motivated by internalized sexism.

It's similar to the mind games that Black consumers play ONLY with Black businesses. We start requiring things of Black businesses that we NEVER require of anybody else before we give them our money. Meanwhile, we have NO real intention of shopping with the Black business; no matter what external excuse we give for not doing so.

I believe that there's a similar dynamic operating in this context. Why does a literally life-saving message from BW have to feel like its rooted in love in order to be received by other BW? Meanwhile, these same BW avidly consume harsh messages and advice from BM that do NOT look, sound, or feel as if they are rooted in love! And many (most?) of the advice/messages that we eagerly lap up from BM are harmful.

So, I'm willing to do what I can to better market the message. But I draw the line at catering to internalized sexism.

Khadija said...

Part 3

Delishmish,

You said, ""She walks in beauty like the night." (Lord Byron)"-

I looove that quote!

You said, "If other groups of women can take images (Cleopatra???) and poetry plainly not ascribed to them and turn it into a huge positivity for themselves...then SO CAN WE."-

Hear, hear! YES!
____________________

Aphrodite,

Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it. EVERYBODY is a work in progress. Onward and forward!
_____________________

Tasha,

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

You asked, "How do you think that a woman should go about finding her superior traits? How did you figure out what yours are?"-

Well, I believe author Michael Masterson is correct when he made the following observations:

"There are four levels of proficiency in any valuable skill - incompetence, competence, mastery, and virtuosity.
•• To get past incompetence, you must spend about 1,000 hours practicing the skill you eventually want to master.
•• After putting in about 1,000 hours, you will be competent. To achieve mastery, you will have to continue to practice that skill for a total of 5,000 hours.
•• Virtuosity is extremely rare. You can’’t get it simply by practicing. You must also have a natural gift. Even then, you must practice at least 10,000 hours to achieve it."
-

http://www.earlytorise.com/2009/03/16/was-michael-
masterson-ripped-off-by-malcolm-gladwell.html

Working with a mentor can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to reach any of these levels.

No matter what, people still have to study, practice, and train to refine their skills. However, I believe that having superior innate talents is another factor that will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to reach any of these levels.

So, I think one key to identifying one's superior traits is for women to look to see what comes MUCH easier to them than to others. And build on that.

In my case, I looked at what skills came significantly easier to me than to most others. And built around them. I'm only saying the following because you asked specifically about me. [So, I'm not bragging. LOL!]

For me, one example is writing. I watched others struggle with book reports, research papers, etc. throughout my school years. I never quite understood what the fuss what about, because those writing projects required very little effort on my part. In fact, the running joke throughout high school and college was about how I literally composed my papers as I was typing them. No notes, no outlines. I would read the books and then just start typing.

Another example is MLM (multilevel marketing, network marketing) for those women who have naturally bubbly, "social butterfly" types of personalities. I know a woman who has done very well with this sort of thing because of her innate superior social skills. It's not a strain for her to add these extra steps of selling to what she's already doing naturally(developing a cheerful surface rapport with almost everybody she runs across during her daily life).

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Miriam said...

I like the idea of searching for one's inate skills and talent.

If I may be so bold, I say And sleep with it, wake with it, eat it, drink it. It should be one's new best friend. Toy with it. See in various other lenses. Find teachers.

This helps in several ways

1)Keeps us busy and distracted from utter noise and bad messages waiting for our reaction.

2)It gives us an alternative recourse when we're down and out about something. Rather than react (Rather than getting reactive, we hone the knowledge with a vengeance.)

3)We gain a skill that we enjoy and do well at. (then we have to be willing to go where its marketable)

Felicia said...

Khadija, you said...

"I hear you; and I will work on that. But I must admit that I have somewhat mixed feelings about this aspect of the message marketing angle. Mostly because I don't believe that any perceived harshness is the primary cause of any resistance to the life-saving messages. I think that the bulk of the resistance is caused by BW's general aversion to seriously listening to other BW. I believe the bulk of the resistance is motivated by internalized sexism."

This internalized sexism angle is something I had never really given serious thought to.

Since I myself certainly don't suffer from this ailment- and the majority of the women I associate with also do not - I obviously very wrongly assumed that most modern women weren't.

Or at least not to the serious degree that apparently many BW are.

Please consider writing a specific post about this in the future.

I believe it would be helpful to many. Because too many BW certainly appear to be "sleep walking" through life.

Mindlessly regurgitating useless nonsense and out dated non working concepts that are detrimental to them, like robots.

It's downright frightening.

Khadija said...

Felicia,

I say that because the dynamics register to me exactly the same way as the complaints from Black consumers about Black businesses.

[I'm NOT speaking in reference to what Gem2001/Gina is saying---she's on the front lines of being an online liberation-service-provider. Bless her heart, Gina is talking about all of us becoming more effective at spreading our messages.

I'm thinking in terms of the various angry BF blog readers.]

You see, I've watched many AAs over the years state that Black businesses need to do x,y, and z in order for them to shop there. Meanwhile, these same Black people choose to shop in Korean/Arab stores that are FILTHY, RUDE, and sometimes LITERALLY DEADLY (as in the case years ago from Los Angeles of Latasha Harlins).

This feels like a similar mind game to me. I wonder how many of the BW who are sooo put off by the tone of various BW empowerment bloggers ran out and bought Steve Harvey's book that purports to give relationship advice to women.
-

Now, I AM willing and ready to refine my efforts at marketing the message that I'm trying to communicate over here. But I'm not going to twist and contort the message while trying to appease BW who are fundamentally unwilling to seriously entertain ANYTHING said by another BW.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Halima said...

But alas, that is not often the main gist of the tone of the discussions online. I ( I'll take responsibility for what I say) place a great deal of emphasis on trying to get people to see the errors of their ways, but that doesn't always come off as "loving" or "supportive" but "chastening."

Tough love is great, but in order for that to happen, there has t be some basis in love. I don't know if up to this point, that's been a luxuray many Black women bloggers could extend because it often feels as if you are warring with people just to get them to recognize foolishness, but I think there definitely is more room and there should be more emphasis on an unabashed desire for Black women to win as opposed to chiding others who haven't yet arrived at the conclusions many of us have drawn.

You're competing with a "myth" of Black Unity. Why would someone want to leave the "loving" arms of something the know, however dysfunctional it may be, for something they don't know that appears "critical."

An example would be the fact that the army doesn't use drill sergeants to do recruiting. You don't meet those folks until you've already signed the contract.

I think "We Want You To Win" is an excellent campaign-style theme as opposed to "Why don't you stop making bad choices." They both are saying the same thing, but the packaging is different


This is a salient point right here. I personally would love nothing better than to get the right 'formular' to enable black women recieve the messages we have for them. i am willing to take pointers on this one because i havent quite cracked the code.

In the beginning I was very much 'flowers, peace and love' (at least I thought so but it is hard to understand how one is perceived on the other end and there are days when I just loose it with bw lol!), my background is indeed working within liberal environments where they actually wrote the manual on extreme tolerance and patience with even deliberate tomfoolery (which you can imagine only encouraged more of the same).

So maybe there needs to be a balance somewhere, I am not sure where the line is to be drawn.

Some bw will repond to overtures of kindness and sensitivity but then again we need to employ wisdom, because I know black women who respond with suspicion to any attempts at kindness and affection (I have said it before that i notice that some bw respond better to harsh recriminations, accusations and judgements, its more likely to get us filing to the altar of penitence). And there might be some gender dynamic there as well as khadija has pointed out.

But I am open to any effective approach to the whole bw empowering work! WWY2W could be a good approach to try.

Felicia said...

Khadija,

I HEAR YOU.

And this last comment you made was SPOT ON.

"Now, I AM willing and ready to refine my efforts at marketing the message that I'm trying to communicate over here. But I'm not going to twist and contort the message while trying to appease BW who are fundamentally unwilling to seriously entertain ANYTHING said by another BW."

roslynholcomb said...

According to my parents and my paternal grandmother, black folks don't have the luxury of being mediocre. I was taught to strive for excellence. So it baffles me when I encounter other blacks who settle for mediocrity. I just don't understand that mentality.

Still on deadline and promos for my release next week, coming up for air. I was taught the same thing, and don't understand folks who don't get it. My son is five and we already teach him that life isn't fair. We don't 'let' him win when we play games and when he cries about it, we tell him that everybody wants to win, but you have to develop the skills and talent to win. In very short order he beats us at UNO on a regular basis. :D

I think that the bulk of the resistance is caused by BW's general aversion to seriously listening to other BW. I believe the bulk of the resistance is motivated by internalized sexism.

I agree, that's why I did the blog post on taking relationship advice from men. Black women have a major problem with sexism and until we address it we can't move forward. IMO, sexism is one of the issues that's holding black women back. It's why we put the needs of black men first, and blithely dismiss assaults like DV, etc...

ActsofFaithBlog said...

I'm putting this here because this is your latest post but it ties into being a Sojourner and everything:

SXSW is accepting submissions for their 2010 panels. Now this is late notice but if you wanted to participate in media, technology & film and have any idea submissions are due tomorrow. This past year they had a much more inclusive selection with quite a few tech oriented black bloggers etc.

Here's the info: http://www.sxswbaby.com/index.php/site/reminder_panel_proposals_due_tomorrow/

Even if no one can submit this time we can begin to prepare for the future. Our future away from the DBRs. Media representation ties into it. Of course we could also start our own conference like Gina McCauley did as well, but I also think saturating some of these larger conferences can be beneficial as well since everybody else will there and we can seek out our own separate alliances.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

I had to come back. I saw Halima's comment and as I read it I felt myself choking up a bit and was thinking that would be a great blog post. Then Gem2001 echoed that sentiment. I wrote about black women being the real Cinderella. We deserve that happy ending (on our own terms) as well. That's what we're all reaching for isn't it? I learn something every time I come here! So grateful for that!!

g-e-m2001 said...

I think that the bulk of the resistance is caused by BW's general aversion to seriously listening to other BW. I believe the bulk of the resistance is motivated by internalized sexism.

No doubt. I'm not talking about those folks. Of late I have been thinking about how to broaden the platform. How to reach, not necessarily the masses, but women who are seeking something or are restless.

I will say that as you have these discussions and you speak about what comes next, it seems clear to me that several people are making their transitions to the next step, those transitions don't necessarily have to be in lockstep and there are some arguments that would support the notion that we should all continue to build our sovereign "nations" with strong borders and strong defenses. We all can't be the recruiters we all can't be the drill sergeants. It was just when I read Halima's comment about wanting women to win, it struck me that that a message you don't hear clearly and unobstructed in very many places. Likely because many are in a "crisis" mode. When your focus is on survival, marketing and packaging isn't necessarily a priority. I don't think a great deal of mental resistance is rooted in outright fear.

I know others disagree, but I don't believe everyone knows that there is something that you are supposed to "resist"- As if we are born knowing the way things should be with all of our options neatly laid out. Lets not act as if the internet as we currently experience it has been around for centuries.Or that the reigning institutions, however ever incompetent we may think they are, aren't still powerful and still control the majority of the discourse. To the extent that we "debate" we tend to debate within boundaries set by these institutions.

Blogging, which made publishing online available to the masses as opposed to those with HTML coding skills, really only took off about 4 years ago. As "educated" as I am, it wasn't until I stumbled on Evia's blog about two years ago that I even pondered some of the concepts she was preaching. It truly was a "Matrix" moment.Like taking the red pill like Neo. I wasn't resistant, I was just asleep, ignorant. I knew what I knew because that's what I knew. That was a scant two years ago, so lets not act as if a wide swath of Black women have been exposed to our brand of "heresy."

I know you, like I, get emails from people all the time who have their own "Matrix" moments. As much traffic as many of you get, you're still only reaching a minuscule slice of Black women. In addition, don't assume that making that leap which was easy for you or me will be as easy for them. You're asking them to give up what they know, what are you offering in exchange. Everybody can't be Neo. The reason I was so open to some of the concepts I encountered two years ago was because I was so fed up with my life in every way. Some people aren't fed up yet. They are comfortable enough. There are others who are searching, they just haven't found you yet.


I'm not talking about trying to go drag slaves kicking and screaming from the plantation, I don't have the time or energy to "convince" people of anything.

The question is the various methods folks can hang a drinking gourd from the porch indicating that this is a place where we want you to be free. We want you to win.

Heck that sound like a heck of a commercial to me. Montage of all the foolishness and chicanery and then closing with snippets of Black women saying "We want you to win."

Khadija said...

Gem2001/Gina,

You said, "It was just when I read Halima's comment about wanting women to win, it struck me that that a message you don't hear clearly and unobstructed in very many places. Likely because many are in a "crisis" mode. When your focus is on survival, marketing and packaging isn't necessarily a priority."-

No, "winning" is NOT a message that is often heard among us. AAs' discourse usually revolves around "survival." But the thing is that AA women are currently in an unprecedented situation where the only way to survive IS to "win"! In our current context, aiming for only survival will lead to destruction and death.

And I understand the disorientation of stumbling out of the Matrix. The Dunbar Village Atrocity (that I only heard of because I stumbled onto your blog) snatched me out of my prior Black Nationalist trance-Matrix. I discovered that I had been worse off than merely being ignorant***I had been under the influence of an illusion. For decades. So, I understand what that can be like.

You said, "The question is the various methods folks can hang a drinking gourd from the porch indicating that this is a place where we want you to be free. We want you to win."-

I'm open to suggestions about various methods of displaying the drinking gourd. Yep, I want BW to win.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Evia said...

This includes surface beauty traits. You know that we generally age better... our complexions usually have a glow and vitality that others admire...other people admire our curves! Why don't YOU seem to know this? Why don't you cultivate these advantages?

Khadija--YES! Ageless, gleaming brown skin and curves galore are powerful assets that most of us have that are drawn from our recent African ancestry. Some other aspects of SOME bw's body structures and facial appearance that wm in particular are drawn to are our high cheekbones, pillowy lips, sculptured shoulders lines, sloe-eyes, etc.
With my comparative cultures hat on, I've talked with dozens of wm over the years who swear that bw's skin has a different (dense?)texture and that it's THE softest skin. LOL! I dunno about that.

ALL men are wired to be drawn to those (skin and curves)assets and with social barriers being lowered, they will approach more and more bw--whether they are AA women or not.

Sadly, so many AA women are driven to cover up their curves with the weight OR clothes OR they don't know how to present their curves in a tasteful manner. I also used to cover up my lil curves with clothes when I was younger, so that I wouldn't be hounded as much by bm. (Didn't help much.)So I can fully relate to that, but outside of black constructs, a bw can exhale. Other men KNOW that women have breasts and booties and they don't go beserk. They appreciate our assets, but they do so silently or by chatting with you or complimenting you in other ways, or asking to chat further with you or asking you out for coffee or a meal. This applies to wm and African men. I don't know much about other groups of men.

We are also generally known by non-AA men as being women of more warmth, substance, more loyal AND as being witty women with fun personalities. Not talking about ABC-bw here because the typical ABC woman tends to be a caricature of the distorted bw she sees in the media.

When I was dating, men generally saw AA women as being playful and having a natural joy of life that nonblack women didn't tend to have. We laugh more and will touch more. Men like to be touched. LOL! As I've said, I've only dated Quality men, so everything I say is from that perspective.

Quality men like lighthearted fun type women who they can relax around. A Quality man wants a woman who knows that she needs to focus on winning him, not the argument. And some bw need to realize that it's shrewd to defer to a Quality man on non-important issues because he SHOWS you that he is worth it. He will reciprocate GREATLY and will enjoy doing so. Of course, things have to be discussed and negotiated, but a Quality man will DO what he's supposed to do, so a woman can just relax and doesn't have to be his mama. A woman can be playful, nurturing, and feminine when she's with Quality man because he's not going to allow her to be burdened down. Of course, she has responsibilities, but that goes with being an adult--for any adult. This is why I beg women to choose Quality men--in the first place. I'm not making any of this up. These are things that I have experienced and observed.

Along with getting our education creds, developing ourselves in the arts and/or other ways and becoming as flawless as each of us chooses be (which differs for each of us, IMO), and remaining ambitious, I think that those of us who are Sojourner Pathers (SPs) must be careful to continue with and PROMOTE these inner qualities and traits too because they are natural and/or cultural assets.

I think that we need to take full stock of our assets across the board--do inventory of all of AA women's assets, so that the SPs know what our brand contains--to avoid confusion and not 'throw the baby out with the bathwater.'

IMO, the SP brand would NOT include adopting children out of desperation, but BY CHOICE, if that's what an AA woman prefers to do. I don't think that desperation should be ANY part of the SP manifesto in any area of life. The SP focuses and moves on the abundance in life--not the deficits.

Southland Diva said...

I had a problem for a long time accepting that class difference really existed in the bc. Why? Because of the 'everybody is equal' paradigm. Despite encountering situations where my values and perspectives differed greatly from some of the people around me, I didn't not want to acknowledge the differences.

Perhaps the resistance was due to the belief that it was every black person's responsibility to uplift the race. Except, oftentimes, it seemed like I was the only one interested in the uplift.

After running into the same brick wall (empircal evidence) a time or two, without a change in the outcome, I let go of this mentality. I realized I was not responsible for (or to) all AAs everywhere! Nor am I responsible for representing (or explaining) AAs to non-AAs.

I cannot tell you how much weight lifted off my shoulders!

I am free! Free to pursue what I want for my own enlightenment. And if anything I learn or any action I take helps someone else, great! If not, I'm cool with that too.

Peace

Khadija said...

SouthlandDiva,

You said, "Perhaps the resistance was due to the belief that it was every black person's responsibility to uplift the race. Except, oftentimes, it seemed like I was the only one interested in the uplift."-

This is one of the more troubling aspects of the "everybody is equal" paradigm---it provides cover and camoflage for all sorts of AA miscreants. While at the same time unduly burdening those AAs who are of great value.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.