Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beware of Advice From Outsiders Who Want You to Do As They SAY, and NOT as They DID For Themselves, Part 2

I'm so proud of many of the African-American (AA) women who have learned to apply the core values of Black Women's Empowerment, such as (1) screening ("vetting") people, places, ideas and things to see if they bring worthwhile benefits to one's life. And (2) [on-par] reciprocity, a large part of which involves having and setting boundaries with other people.

It warmed my heart to see the pushback to a certain type of commentary during a recent post at the For Black Women Only Facebook page. Here are the relevant screen captures below:

THANK YOU, Barby Jayne! And I liked the smooth way you called out this mess without having to go into the underlying ethnic issues involved.
For confused AA women, Imma say out loud some of the things you refrained some saying in that exchange.
#1 - Think about your OWN circumstances and context when examining ideas. 
Lifestyle optimization requires you to examine ideas from the vantage point of your own particular context and circumstances. This one statement will probably be a recurring theme in the blog posts here. It’s impossible to have an optimal lifestyle when you make critical life decisions based on other people’s circumstances. Listening to other people whose circumstances or interests are out of alignment with yours will throw your life into chaos and ruin. 
This is the primary reason so many African-American women are living in misery and hardship. They’re programmed to think about other people’s (read: Black men’s, and the already-dead Black community’s) circumstances and interests, instead of their own. Or they’re taking positions that only make sense in the context of nonblack women’s collective life circumstances.
The same concerns apply regarding the advice and commentary that foreign Blacks give to AAs. I say again: The advice that foreign Blacks give AAs often does NOT apply to (or work well within) our particular circumstances.
Sometimes unhelpful advice is due to good-faith accident because some foreign Blacks don't understand the dangers inherent in the cross-cultural "preaching" and advice they sometimes give to AAs. It's extremely dangerous for any doctor to prescribe medication for a patient when they don't know that patient's history.
Sometimes that unhelpful advice or commentary is due to deliberate sabotage. Which brings me to my next point.
#2 - Beware of advice from outsiders who want you to do as they SAY, and NOT as they DID for themselves!
For all their warnings to discourage AA women from going to Europe, I somehow doubt these non-AA "I truly believe the interaccial dating aspect has many blinded by some harsh truths" BW have left Europe to go back to their countries of origin/ancestral homelands.
"Do as I say, NOT as I did for myself" is almost always an okey-doke.
Unfortunately, falling for this "Do as I say, not as I did for myself and my 'tribe'" okey-doke is an old problem among AAs. As I mentioned in a post 6 years ago, that's how many Jews "did" AAs:
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that outsiders have deliberately given African-Americans advice that they didn't follow for themselves. Many Jewish-Americans did the same thing throughout the 1960s. Jewish-Americans did not solve their problems with anti-Semitism by having protest marches. They solved their problems through education, and building Jewish businesses that could offer employment to Jewish people. However, whenever African-Americans attempt the same strategies, Jews (and other White Americans) have been quick to tell us that this is "separatism" and something that we shouldn't do.

The true test of what people really think is a good strategy is what they do for THEMSELVES. If somebody is telling you that you must do something other than what they did for themselves, watch out! And examine this person's motives. They probably don't wish you well.
In that post, I blasted a foreign-origin BW blogger who had been making extremely strident comments shrieking that AA women should not--and must not--divest from AA Black residential areas or from non-reciprocating entities such as most AA organizations, Black men who are not protecting and providing for Black women and children, etc.
This woman insisted that AA women must "stay and fight" to improve conditions in the [already dead] Black community. That blogger didn't "stay and fight" to improve conditions in her Black country. Her immediate family didn't "stay and fight" to improve conditions in their Black country. THEY LEFT. And apparently had no intention of ever going back to their Black country. Which is perfectly fine with me. Just don't try to block AA women from seeking out what's best for our own interests.
As I recall, while telling AA women we must "stay and fight" in what is now called Blackistan, that particular blogger was living in Seattle. Which is not exactly a hotbed of deadly violent crime, struggle or strife.
#3 - Feedback about AA women moving to Europe FROM an AA woman who has lived in Europe for 10+ years with her European husband.
In relation to the topic at hand, I've traveled quite a bit in Western Europe and I have an AA friend who has lived in a Western European country for over 10 years with her European husband. We've talked about this issue over the years, and here's what she had to say specifically in response to the discussion at the For BW Only Facebook page:
"More often than not, if one has mastered the language, respect the local culture, carry oneself well (dress, attitude, etc) and looks like someone that is not leeching* off the system" then one should do well in Western Europe as an AABW.
*That "leeching" bit is in reference to an unfortunate situation my friend has read about at one BW expat's blog (which I mentioned during a conversation at another blog): 
I’m not going to call the woman’s name (or name the country), but there has been a BW blogger who (as I recall, I haven’t read her blog in quite some time): 
(1) went to Western Europe,  
(2) didn’t bother to even try to learn the language (even a few phrases go a long way—with folks who aren’t French (LOL!)—non-French people appreciate a guest making the effort to try to learn their language (the French are prickly about their language and culture, but on the other hand they have a lot of good stuff to be proud of),  
(3) didn’t bother to try to learn the cultural expectations, which led to her having debates with minor government officials (a major NO-NO as a guest), 
(4) ultimately had a “swirl” bastard baby over there, and of course signed up for the FOR-NOW generous government benefits, 
(5) from what one could see in the photos she posted, routinely dressed in a revealing (and inappropriate—it’s best to dress conservatively when in somebody ELSE’s country) manner—- 
—-and then wondered aloud in multiple blog posts Why, Lawd, why?” wasn’t she being treated with respect by the typical random “native” over there. As if it was a mystery. Maybe she was mystified, but I wasn’t as I lurked and read her blog. 
Ladies, Please—for the love of God, DON’T do what this chick did (as I described above). Don’t ruin what might be a needed safe haven for sensible AA in the future!
Right now, AA women visitors are generally perceived as “exotic” and “nice” in these places. Don’t ruin it and give us a trashy image by engaging in the foolish behaviors this woman engaged in.
[I will note for the record that this woman is apparently of West Indian heritage. I don't want her foolishness attributed to AA women. We already have more than enough concerns of our own.]
Anyhoo, it's been my experience as a repeated visitor---and the experience of AA women I've talked to who live in Western Europe*---that AA Blacks are perceived differently and more positively than African and West Indian former colonial subjects in these countries. It's often easier for Whites to be friendly toward "total outsider" Black ethnic groups who don't share any negative history (slavery and/or colonialism) with them.
Outsider Black folks often get to be favorably "exotic." In the US, Africans and West Indians often get to be perceived by White Americans as preferable to native AA Blacks. And in Western Europe, AA Blacks often get to be perceived by Western Europeans as preferable to their various African and West Indian Black former colonial subjects. [*I emphasize Western Europe because from everything I've read and heard of Eastern Europe from AAs who have gone there, it's not a good environment for AA women looking to relocate.]
My sisters, you need to travel and see Western Europe for yourself. And work this "exotic Black outsider" advantage (and the advantage of American privilege) as much as you can while you're there. And STOP taking our foreign Black cousins' advice and commentary at face value!