Monday, May 26, 2014

The Importance of Context and Nuances, Part 1

Tl; dr version: Stay fluid and stay away from binary thinking and ideological thinking. Take whatever position works for YOU in each situation.
Short version: Do what Whites do, and apply various “rules” in whatever way works to your benefit. Reject the “one-drop rule” in situations when doing so brings you a benefit as an AABW. For example, don’t let modern-day half-Black women replace and erase you.

Adopt the one drop rule when doing so benefits you. For example, don’t let other people use rejection of the “one drop rule” as a way of stripping the AA tribe of those of our historical heroes who happened to be mixed. Our historical heroes that were mixed were (and are) Black in that context. Be flexible and take whatever position works for YOUR benefit in each situation.
Long version: Unfortunately, African-Americans generally don’t “do” nuance. We like to think and operate in hard binaries. We also usually fail to think through the costs/benefits of the binaries we adopt. We lock ourselves into positions, even when doing works to our disadvantage. Meanwhile, other people are experts at keeping context in mind and in keeping their options fluid. All of which works to their advantage.

This post is the result of a couple of things. A few things that I’ve had mentally marinating for a while, and then a more recent question asked at another blog.
For a while, I’ve been thinking through my mixed reactions to the thoughts expressed in reaction to THIS reprinted post. On the surface, this sounds good and self-affirming for AAs. But, as the original writer emphasizes, she’s African. She’s not AA. The positions she advocates won’t necessarily work for you in your AA context the way they work for her as an African. It might not cost her “tribe” anything to reject the American historical “one drop rule.”

But in some contexts and situations, there’s a price tag for AAs in the blind, uncritical and universal application of this “I’m rejecting the one-drop rule!” position. Because many of us are blindly taking this position AFTER we’ve invested heavily—for years— in newly-described-as-biracial folks that we’re now absolving of any responsibility to repay our support.
The pattern with how many AAs use the “biracial” label is that we use it to absolve biracial persons of any responsibility for reciprocating the material, monetary, and career support that AA Blacks have already given them. And the support that most of us continue to give them.

And so, with our hip new slogan of rejecting the one drop rule, we preserve the same old pattern of our resources flying out to others while nothing ever flows back in our direction.
Somehow, we never use the “biracial” label as a reason to CUT OFF the flow of our resources toward these people. We don’t say—like I did when I was in law school—“If this person is saying they’re not really Black, then why are they allowed to have their hand out for a Black student scholarship from a Black women’s auxiliary organization?”

My friends and I had great respect for the monies that had been raised by Black AA church ladies, Black lawyers’ wives,  secretaries, school lunchroom workers, and other BW for the benefit of AA Black students. That money was precious to us because it represented the hopes, dreams and aspirations of generations of AAs who didn’t have access to professional schools. We wanted that money to stay in house among loyal members of the AA Black tribe.
Unfortunately, the older AA Blacks who ran these various organizations and church programs didn’t agree. They were okay with giving the money raised by elderly AA church ladies to mixed students who only said they were Black when there was something to be gained by saying they’re Black. And so some of that Black student scholarship and stipend money went to several mixed individuals who did not speak to other Blacks on campus, and who never reciprocated that material support. During our final year of law school when it was time to give back to the same AA Black organizations who had given all of us material and monetary support during our first two years, these no-speaking mixed people refused to give.

Which brings me to a peculiar position I’ve heard said by some AABW who are in interracial marriages and are raising mixed children. Some of them are making a point of raising their children to reject any connection to AA Black people. So they’re basically pouring ALL their material resources into children they’re deliberately raising to have ZERO affection, respect or loyalty to these women’s own tribe. Sounds to me like a fast track to becoming the Black grandmother whose descendants claim was just a family servant and not a relative.
I don’t get that point of view because whenever I invest in anybody I expect a return on my investment.

Then there was a recent question asked in the comment section to THIS excellent post. The commenter basically asked how membership in the AA ethnic group is defined. I thought it was a good question because it highlights a couple of points about nuance and context. Essentially that there’s a huge difference between modern notions of technical, legal citizenship versus traditional understanding of tribal and ethnic membership.
All the way back from caveman times, membership in most tribes, ethnicities and nations are based on BLOODLINES. In other words, based on SHARED ancestral descent.

The modern, Western, technicality-driven (like “anchor babies”) view of citizenship does not trump bloodlines and shared ancestral descent. Anchor-baby-driven, technical U.S. citizenship does not change a foreign-origin person's bloodlines or ancestral descent.
The children of White/Black/Latino/whatever type of NON-Korean immigrants to South Korea don't get to wake up one day after growing up in South Korea and proclaim themselves as being part of the Korean people. It wouldn't even occur to anybody who lacks Korean bloodline ancestry to try that. Folks only presume to do that with African-Americans because we've been negligent in setting boundaries with other people.

African-Americans (AAs) are those Black folks in the U.S. who are descended from the African captives who were held in slavery in the United States. Anybody who's not part of this shared bloodline is not part of us. Pres. Obama married into the AA bloodlines. His children are AA. But his bloodline (continental African and WW) has ZERO connection to AAs. He's not descended from the African captives who were held in slavery in the United States.
There are nuances to all of this. I'm not as annoyed with Pres. Obama calling himself AA because he's married into my “tribe.” *And I let that slide in mixed company because I feel that overall, it operates as a “credit” to my tribe.

I'm also not annoyed with Min. Farrakhan calling himself AA (even though he's of West Indian bloodlines) because he's married into my tribe (IIRC); and he's been loyal to my tribe. And most of all, he was willing to follow and SERVE the leadership of an AA man (Elijah Muhammad). Too many foreign Blacks want to preside over AAs in the U.S. And tell us what to do about OUR issues—like some of the folks who have entered this conversation and the earlier post's comment section. Which is our own fault because we generally don't set boundaries with people.
*Side note to other AA readers:  I'm leery of people who want to strip the AA ethnic group of anybody and everybody who might be perceived as an accomplished person. I feel that some of y'all need to watch that. In your excitement to call yourself discarding the “one drop rule” you're making it easy for non-AA bigots to subtract a lot of historical AA heroes/sheroes from our tribe.

There are folks out there who hate AAs so much that they don't want us to be credited with anything or anybody who's productive. These bigots are in a hurry to find a way to describe any accomplished AA Black person as anything other than AA and/or Black. And in your fervor to call yourself discarding the “one drop rule,” you're helping these bigots do exactly that—subtract illustrious historical persons from our Black AA tribe.
I notice that there’s an ongoing, persistent effort to change the historical narrative and either destroy, erase or distort AA history. Like THIS situation. I've never watched this TV show, so I can't speak to the merits (or lack of such) regarding this character.

But I was extremely disturbed by this clip in which the fictional head of the historical Universal Negro Improvement Association (which was Garvey’s organization) goes straight from hosting a UNIA meeting in which he's telling members about the equivalent of a “talented tenth” uplifting Black folks to placing an order for $80,000 worth of heroin from White gangsters.
Regardless of whomever the actor involved (and I like and respect Jeffery Wright’s work as an actor) claims to be modeling his character after (a West Indian policy king named Casper Holstein that I mentioned in THIS post), he physically resembles W.E.B. DuBois with that handlebar moustache. That bit about referring to Blacks as "Libyans" is a riff on how the real-life historical Moorish Science Temple calls all Blacks “Moors.”And the writers have apparently used the name of the real historical Black organization, the UNIA.

The writers are showing a DuBois-resembling, historical Black leader character as somebody who peddles heroin to other Black folks. This is a problem because most AA sheeple get their history from TV shows.
In specific terms of lifestyle optimization for AA women, you can see what happens when your history is erased and distorted: People start selling you lies such as the notion that the masses of AA women have always been overweight.

I reject the one drop rule when it benefits me to do so. But if I see that somebody is using the rejection of the one drop rule to subtract some of our historical heroes from my tribe, then I’ll adopt the one drop rule for the purposes of that particular discussion. Context and nuances.

Lest we forget: The historical reason why so many of our early leaders and accomplished ancestors were more immediately “mixed” than is typical for us is because those were the first AAs who were positioned to have access to education. Either as the slavemaster's direct offspring or as (already) “free persons of color.”. In that moment in history, out of all of us, those were the types of Black folks who first gained access to education.

The productive, loyal tribe members Black folks that many of y'all new school individuals are in a hurry to call “biracial” and not Black—like the slavemaster's son Booker T. Washington—used their resources to help lift up other, NON-mixed AAs. Back to nuances, I disagree with a lot of things Booker T. Washington advocated. Nevertheless, he created a college that is still educating AA Blacks today. Not everybody’s going to get into Harvard, like W.E.B. DuBois. Washington built something that is still serving AAs’ needs today. As a Black AA business owner, I’ve seen for myself just how very hard it is to create a functioning institution. Especially one that uplifts AAs.
Ladies, please learn to examine the costs/benefits angle with everything. It helps the AA tribe to distance ourselves from and discard toxic, useless people by calling them “biracial.” It does NOT serve our interests to subtract any of our tribe's esteemed historical members by referring to them as “biracial.” 

Rhetorical question—Why is this so hard for so many of us to understand? White folks have this down pat. When somebody who is half-White & half-Other is a “credit,” they're quick to claim racial & tribal connection to that person. Folks like Keanu Reeves are identified as White by many (most) other White folks. When somebody who is half-White & half-Other is a turd (like this half-White/half-Asian creep who did the latest mass shooting), they're quick to distance that miscreant from the rest of their race & tribe. Nuances, ladies—nuances.
In closing,

My concern is that more AABW learn to perceive nuance and context. And learn to be flexible with rules, the way everybody else is. Instead of AABW continuing the behavior pattern of rigidly applying slogans and rules in ways that undermine their own interests.
I disagree with throwing the “biracial” label on esteemed historical AA/Black heroes/sheroes. Because that serves to subtract too many justifiably acclaimed and loyal people from our tribe.

This is a separate issue from the identification of modern-day biracials and multiculturals. These modern-day folks are mostly used to replace and erase “un-mixed” AA Blacks. Half-Black women in particular have been used to replace Black AA women in the media. I draw a distinction between myself as an AA Black woman and THESE modern-day half-Other folks because it serves my interests to do so. The modern-day biracials, Cablanasians, and multiculturals don’t represent me or AA Black women like me. As far as I’m concerned, there’s a world of difference between these modern-day biracials, Cablanasians, and multiculturals and our esteemed, loyal ancestors who happened to be half-nonblack.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

One Less Soldier Says, "Smile When you say that!: The Multi Cultural Editions"

I 100% co-sign what One Less Soldier (blog host of Not Your Girl Friday) said HERE.

Far too many straight African-American women are addicted to knee-jerk muling for other people. Other people like Black men, foreign Blacks, Latinos, gays and lesbians, transvestites, hunchbacks, etc. Anybody and everybody except themselves.

And instead of breaking the muling habit, some of y'all have started coming up with hip-sounding excuses to justify your choice to keep engaging in that same, old behavior pattern of knee-jerk muling for other people.

Furthermore, I would suggest that readers pay close attention to the very first comment to that post, which was made by an African-British commenter named JaliliMaster. She gave an honest description of the dynamics involved when African-American women catch a clue and start looking out for their own interests.

As JaliliMaster noted, a person who is acting in good faith is not going to have a problem with (much less a tantrum in response to) you asking the common-sense question of "How does this benefit me?" before giving knee-jerk support to anything or anybody.

And if a person chooses to have a hissy-fit in response to you asking the common-sense question of "How does this benefit me?" then you know what that person's intentions are toward you: Nothing nice - that's somebody who's looking to use you.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Overall African-American “Tribe” Is Ruined, But You Can Still Thrive As An African-American Woman If You Get Back To Basics

Evia, who is a social science expert and the blog host of Black Female Interracial Marriage Ezine,  often talks about “indicators” that show where ethnic groups, nations or any other groups of people are headed. Years ago, many of the BWE/Common Sense bloggers saw that African-Americans (AAs) were on the way to becoming a permanent underclass in the U.S. Almost 5 years ago, Evia and I had the following exchange in the comments section of a July 2009 post.

Evia said...
I think Khadija, that some bw are reading our warnings here, but are still NOT connecting the cold, hard, bitter dots.

We've all heard by now about the swim club in Philly that didn't let the black kids use the pool.

This is going to sound harsh, but if as is being reported that the OOW rate among AAs has risen to 82% (???) as ActsofFaith Blog is reporting on her blog (and 70% was ALREADY just mindboggling), why is it that we don't expect for people to not to want to have anything to do with us AAs with either of those rates? We are a FAILED people--as a group.

You've continually warned--ever since I've been aware of you--about the permanent underclass that's forming--that the bulk of AAs will be stuck in.

I've been keenly aware of this too and this is why I've advocated that those AAs with common sense need to try to separate and get a new brand. AAs will very soon become complete pariahs. No one will want to associate with us. Other races and even other black ethnics cannot tell most of us apart from the Sheniquas and DeShawns even now if we're out of context. Most people already consider us a part of that permanent underclass. I know this may be painful to some, but AAs have been written off as a loss.

I even know some working class AAs who don't want their children to socialize with, go to the boys and girls club or any camp with, or associate with other working class AA children because the AA TITANIC is mostly underwater. Everyone knows that way too many AA children tend to be rowdy and out of control. No one wants their children to sink to where Sheniqua and Ray-Ray's children have sunk. Many AA parents I know have already taken their children out of public schools to get them away from Sheniqua and Ray Ray's children. There's going to be a lot of fallout. Things are going to get very ugly!

This is what we've been talking about here all of the time. I'm not quite sure why there's surprise about this story. There are black clubs that wouldn't want those children to use the swim club. The Ywca and Ymca in the last 2 areas I've lived in have raised the fees astronomically high to keep out Sheniqua and Ray-Ray's children. They let a few of them in after a 2-week waiting list and then a screening process. They check police records, school records, family records, etc.

So guess what? Folks will protest and that club may let those black kids in there, but the whites are then going to put their kids somewhere else.

Also, let me point out that many continental Africans ALSO don't want to have anything much to do with AAs these days. AAs have degenerated and everybody seems to know it except for some of us. You constantly talk about this and I constantly talk about the ABC-DBR effect on all of us, yet I think some people think we're exaggerating. LOL!

Many young continental African women here are STRICTLY forbidden not to EVER date an AA man. Some segments of AA women are still considered okay because we're considered education-oriented, ambitious and more responsible, but this general ABC-DBR virus is really a pox on all AAs. Yet so many AAs continue to make excuses, defend, rationalize, enable, cover it up and not call it out for what it is.

Some of us individual AAs will do fine, but the general group had better brace itself. AAs are in a free fall. The bitter truth is that many people in other groups do NOT want ANY connection with AAs unless it's on their terms.

And AAs have sat back and allowed the ABCs and DBRs to do this. There's no point in being angry at anyone else. 'We have met the enemy and he is us' (or those AAs who sat silently and allowed this to happen.)
Khadija said...
[. . . . ]

I 100% co-sign your comment. Like you said, other people have quite logically and rationally written AAs off as a liability/loss. And they should do so, because we ARE a failed people.

I saw that 82% OOW rate cited on Faith's blog and I still can't get over it. Even though I know better logically. I know that we're in FREE FALL; but each new indicator that documents just how low we've sunk as a collective is still painful to hear.

This is why I'm so frantic about encouraging as many AA women as possible to get OUT while they can.

Soon, AAs will be TRAPPED in unofficial "quarantine zones." AAs will be quarantined and KEPT FAR AWAY from everybody else for the safety and preservation of these other people. The bulk of AAs will be quarantined socially, economically, employment-wise, and in terms of residential areas!

The quarantine zones will be areas where the DBRbm will be free to rob, ravish, torture and kill Black women and children as they please. These places have already begun to emerge in Black residential areas. Places with names like DUNBAR VILLAGE and HOVEY STREET.

The TRUE purpose of tv shows like CNN's Black in America is to WARN those few non-AAs who haven't caught the hint that we're to be avoided at all costs! They put all our various pathologies on display as a warning to others about us.

Evia, like you said, "AAs have degenerated and everybody seems to know it except for some of us."-

I know that as you stated,"some bw are reading our warnings here, but are still NOT connecting the cold, hard, bitter dots."-

Well...the unfortunate reality is that these women (AND their children) won't make it through what's coming our people's way in a few minutes: The Endless Night of Permanent Underclass-Pariah Status for AAs.

I just know that I've done what I can to sound the alarm.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

For those folks who understand the connections between things, there have been plenty of “indicators” over the years that demonstrate the final demise of the AA collective as a functional group of people. Ranging from official indicators like the out-out-wedlock statistics among AAs. To casual, everyday life indicators like the Mass-Fatherlessness-Created dysfunctional family dynamics on display in a lot of new school AAs' family portrait photos.

Another indicator of AA collective death and destruction is many new school AA women's penchant for choosing ideology over common sense. One example has been new school colored girls cheerleading casual sex and promiscuity, which was discussed here.

Former blog readers often send me links to various online discussions going on among African-American women. That’s how I became aware of the controversy surrounding the ideas expressed in this blog post. I don’t see anything that warrants genuine controversy. After all, the normalization of casual sex and promiscuity among African-Americans has created an absolute disaster for the (AA) collective over the past 50 years. I won’t bother to repeat the obvious connection between casual sex, out-of-wedlock childbearing (oow), fatherlessness and the deadly violence that currently exists in the dead AA “community.” Anybody who refuses to see the connections between all of this is choosing to remain deaf, dumb and blind. Which is their free and voluntary choice. God respects free will, and so do I.
Casual sex generally does not work to women’s benefit or long-term interests. Casual sex also generally does not work to the benefit of children who are born as the result of casual sex. The exceptions don’t nullify the rule. As I read various pro-casual sex comments, I had the nagging feeling that I've heard this catastrophic level of foolishness before. But I couldn't immediately remember the context.
And then I remembered where I had heard of such controversies before: this type of Ideology Over Common Sense played a large role in the mass AIDS die-off of American gay men in the 1980s and early 1990s. That's the context in which I had heard of Sexual Liberation Ideology Over Common Sense controversies before. I remembered reading interviews in papers like the Village Voice with the handful of sensible gay male activists who were imploring their fellow gay men to reduce their promiscuity and change some of their sexual practices in order to save their own lives. And these sensible White gay male activists were often viciously condemned by other White gay men as a result.
The ruined AA collective is one of two recent examples of what happens when a group of people disconnect sex from binding commitments to each other. The other example that most folks have forgotten about was the mass die-off of American gay men during the AIDS plague years of the 1980s and early 1990s.
The same way that many new-school AAs refuse to see the connection between casual sex, oow, and the death and destruction in AA areas is the same way many gay men from that era refused to see the connection between their promiscuity and their own deaths from AIDS. Even as their friends and lovers were dropping like flies all around them.
Another indicator was the plethora of fervent Never Spank Children ideology spouted by a lot of commenters in response to this post. Another indicator (that was an addendum to this post) is that new school AAs are extremely arrogant in their foolish choice to put experimental ideologies over common sense:
**ADDENDUM** Let me give a concrete example of what I mean. During the Spare The Rod And Destroy The Child post I repeatedly mentioned that I have never seen the “we don’t ever spank the children” parenting style succeed in raising decent children. I’m in my 40s and I’ve been actively paying attention to how relatives and others have been using various parenting styles for roughly the past 25 years. If you’re a “never spank children” believer who has only been alive for 25 years, that observation I mentioned should have raised some concerns for you.
Let me make it plain: I’ve been watching this “never spank the children” parenting style repeatedly fail for as long as some of you zealous “never spank the children” believers have been alive! I’m not saying that this observation by itself should change anybody’s mind. But it should have given some of the “never spank” believers who haven’t been on the planet as long a reason to step back for a minute. And think. But I noticed that not a single one of the 20-something, or even early 30s “never spank” believers gave that 25-year-long observation the weight or consideration that it deserved. That “as long as their entire lifetime” observation didn’t cause them to slow their roll for even a millisecond. They blew off that observation as if it had never been said. This kind of refusal to pause and listen for a moment is exactly what I’m talking about in this post.
That kind of behavior is not how I was raised. When somebody has been watching a particular phenomenon for as long as I’ve been alive, I listen. I don’t automatically believe or agree with them; but I do step back, sit down, and listen.
All of these ideological choices lessen the odds of having a stable, productive family unit. I don’t assume that every newfangled idea always represents progress. And I’m hesitant to discard traditional methods that have stood the test of time in favor of experiments. Especially not when the stakes are so high. Thousands of years of human experience have shown that stable and productive families are based on: (1) marriage; (2) the children being born within marriage; and (3) parental authority over the children during their childhood.

Forty-five (45) people were shot during the recent Easter weekend in my hometown Chicago. Six of those who were shot over Easter weekend in Chicago are children. These shootings mostly occur in Chicago's “Blackistan” areas. Residential areas in which there are very few marriages, very few fathers who live with and raise their children, and very little demonstrated parental authority over minors.

New school AAs like to pretend that there's no connection between the lack of marriage, the lack of fathers, the lack of parental authority and the rampant death and destruction that takes place in “Blackistan.”

If you want to thrive, and if you want the best for your future children, don't play dumb and dishonest. Nobody ever said that spanking guaranteed a good outcome. What I am saying is that any honest observer can see that traditional* methods of family formation and child-rearing on average yield much better results than the experimental practices that so many new school AAs have bought into. And even when there are problems and failures, the baseline quality of life that forms the context of those problems and failures is much, much higher.

[*By “traditional” I'm referring to the best practices of AA old school culture.]

Back to indicators: I recently saw an indicator that, at least for me, confirmed that it's GAME OVER in terms of the AA collective. I saw a number of new school AA women in the Black blogosphere echoing Jada Pinkett Smith's idiotic comments about the photos of her 13-year old daughter in bed with a 20-year old man. Whether or not one considers the photos “sexual,” common sense dictates that a responsible parent would never allow males to have that kind of unrestricted, unmonitored access to their underage daughter.

It's a waste of time talking to any adult woman who doesn't understand this. More than a few men will play dumb and advocate all sorts of irresponsible parenting practicesfor girls (specifically for other people's daughters)because some of them are predators who are looking to have access to underage girls. For large numbers of adult women to be too gullible to see the risk of harm this type of situation creates for underage girls is unprecedented.

Which is why this is an indicator of Game Over for the AA collective. When you have mothers and future mothers who don't understand the need to limit males' access to their daughters, that lets you know the AA "tribe" is ruined. Because this indicates the already-epidemic levels of molestation and rape among the AA collective will only get worse. Real talk: You can't build or sustain a healthy collective composed of increasing numbers of future molestation victims who will grow up to be like Tyler Perry, Mo'Nique or Oprah. Money alone does not create an emotionally healthy or wholesome life. It's a wrap for AAs.

AAs with old school values know that you have to protect your girls from the many males in their environment (which often include "friends of the family") who are looking to exploit them sexually. You have to protect them from the males that you know are trying to get at them. AND from the males that you don't know are trying to get at them. The undercover child molester who's your neighbor, your pastor, your imam, your brother, your nephew, your cousin is not going to tell you that he wants to sex your underage daughter. If you have any sense at all, you'll make sure that nobody has unrestricted, unmonitored access to your daughter [or son, but I'm talking specifically about girls in this post].

It's basic common sense. The same way you don't allow toddlers to play in a group of older children—because the toddlers would most likely end up being trampled by the older children. The same way you don't leave your child unattended with animals. The babies are the ones who pay the price (often in blood) for adult stupidity and negligence. Like this poor little boy who was killed after being left outside alone with his idiot mother's friend's 3 pit bulls.

I understand that a lot of new school AAs gravitate to experimental, newfangled practices because they themselves were illegitimate children who've never seen a wholesome, traditional marriage or family from the inside. I understand that a lot of new school AAs resent the traditional marriage and child-rearing practices that they never got to benefit from. I've noticed an envious, sour grapes undercurrent in many new school AAs' bashing of traditional marriage and child-rearing practices. I get that.

Nevertheless, if you want to increase the odds of you and your future children LIVING WELL, you need to get back to basics.

And leave these newfangled, experimental marriage and child-rearing practices ALONE.