“Black men can’t keep their sausage in one factory,” lamented one of my female associates during a conversation we had about relationships. To be more specific, we had been discussing the possible factors in why black men and women seem to be drifting further and further apart in the dating world.
“I know too many women, including myself, who have been cheated on or talked down to by their partners. In most cases, these women are black and so are the men they’re involved with. I can’t speak for all black women, but for those I know, we have simply gotten tired of clinging to the fantasy of building something real with a ‘good’ black man. I’m not saying they don’t exist—they do, but there are very few of them, and thousands of us competing for scraps. It’s a big waste of time.”
My associate, who asked to be kept anonymous, also mentioned that women of color have come a along way from the days of old when they were expected, mainly by church folk, to follow the leadership of their husbands or significant others.
“We (black women) don’t have to rely on men for financial or even emotional support,” she explained. “I blame the church for convincing women in the past to be homemakers and slaves to their husbands. That era is over. My job pays me more than most men I encounter. That’s probably the case for many black women. We’re also making progress in education and politics. We have finally reached full independence as a gender. Why would we jeopardize that for the sake of companionship? I guess that by not having a man, the main sacrifice would be long periods without sex. But that’s what toys are for, and like I said, we live in a different day, women are exploring their sexuality more and having sex with more than just one person. Women used to be stigmatized for hopping in bed with multiple partners, but lately we have been controlling the narrative. We decide the outcome of our sexuality.”
She continued, “Black men aren’t deserving of a submissive woman. They have collectively failed to provide leadership and security to the black race. I have confronted my pastor about this topic. We aren’t living in the prehistoric era. In this day and age, how does any male clergy have the nerve to exhort women to be submissive to men? Especially black women—we have single-handedly carried the weight of our community on our backs. The males should be following us.”
*The internet is bloated with various reports and studies regarding the increasingly high rate of divorce among African American couples. Some experts contend that inflated statistics are responsible for the notion that black marriages are failing. In contrast, there are numerous sources of content that highlight the pending demise of black romance.
When my associate and I finally parted ways, I took a minute to ponder our discussion. On my drive home I dissected her words, trying to pull out every ounce of substance I could gather. I eventually reached a disheartening conclusion: if even a fraction of black women have the same outlook as my associate, there’s a legitimate possibility that African American couples as a whole will ultimately experience failure or disappointment. I brought this scenario to one of my male compatriots during an impromptu jaunt to one of our favorite hangouts—a strip club (don’t judge me). He conceded that black men have a reputation for stepping outside their relationships for sexual enjoyment, but “in our (men) defense” he explained, “it’s nearly impossible to get along with sisters these days.”
“Don’t get me wrong, there’s not an ounce of my being that dislikes black women. However, in my experiences with sisters, I have been part of more train-wrecks than happy endings. To me, it’s cultural. Our (men) need for dominance is no different, or more intense, than Hispanic men. On top of that, black and Hispanic men are predominately Christian. We’re taught that men are designed by God to lead, and that women are designed to follow—this philosophy is drummed in our heads from birth. Even if I didn’t come up in the church, I wouldn’t allow my manhood to be compromised by today’s reconfiguration of traditional gender roles. I believe women have a specific purpose and place in society—it’s not behind us, but it’s certainly not ahead of us either.”
He continued, “I work for a company that’s owned by a woman and the employees are predominately female. If I were truly a misogynist, I wouldn’t be able to work under these conditions. Still, on a daily basis it seems, I’m confronted by a headstrong coworker who feels as if she has something to prove to her male peers. I can’t speak for other men, but I’m not adverse to women being in positions of power or authority. The problem is that in many cases, they get carried away with the power their given. It’s a classic case of the Napoleon complex—women on every part of the globe feel as though they have been belittled and marginalized. So how do they respond? Quite often, it’s by trying to flip the power dynamic—they assert themselves, often aggressively, to create the illusion of dominance, when in reality, they appear weak and insecure.”
As my buddy whipped a folded stack of dollar bills out of his pocket, I asked what his thoughts were about the failing condition of black romance.
“Someone has to take a back seat and let the other lead,” he explained. “If the partnership is fifty-fifty, then who will make the final decisions if and when the two parties involved can’t agree on a particular issue? On a biological level, black women are no different than any other race of women. They are naturally programmed to be nurturers for their children and their spouses. That requires a certain amount of submissiveness. Unfortunately, there are aspects of the black experience that have hardened black women to the idea of being submissive. On a social level, many of them have, for decades, been forced to survive without the support of consistent male counterpart. In my opinion, instead of waiting for the ‘right one’ to come along, they are hedging their bets and relying on themselves. After years of self-survival, I understand why it would be difficult for any woman to relinquish control. It’s partially our (black men) fault, but that doesn’t mean we have to stick around for the drama.”
In my opinion, feminism is the single greatest threat to the preservation and longevity of black relationships. The concept of feminism was originally developed to spread self-awareness and self-worth among the world’s female populace. I could be wrong, but it seems black women in large numbers have added their own spin to feminism, using it as a weapon to further emasculate the already subjugated populace of black men in America. If this doesn’t change, it will eventually lead to the permanent extinction of black love.
Readers, what do you think?
The Black Hat is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood, a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his blog: corythewriter.blogspot.com
The Crenshaw Mall Battle is Far More Than A Battle Over One Mall
*The instant that a major outside development company announced that it would bid to buy the Crenshaw Mall, the battle was on. Here are the familiar charges. It is a naked money-making grab by outsiders. It will jack up rents for struggling small Black-owned businesses. It will usher in a rash of chic, high priced, new housing for mostly young upscale whites. It will drive even more lower-income, working-class out of their community. It will continue to send the wrong signal that inner-city Black neighborhoods are ripe for major outside development dollar pickings.
Outside Developers say just the opposite. They claim that their purchase of the Crenshaw Mall will boost minority-owned businesses, spur economic growth, and provide quality retail outlets and restaurants for the Crenshaw community
The developer who toyed with putting that bid in for the mall got the message and backed out. Now there’s another developer who reportedly has put up the cash for the Mall. The same pro and con arguments on both sides are being shouted. The battle to send this developer packing by some community activists is even fiercer. Whether it’s the fight over ownership of the Crenshaw Mall or any other inner major business and residential area, the watchword that rings on all lips is this word: gentrification.
Like any other controversial, hotly debated, and divisive issue that bursts on the public policy scene, there’s a history. Gentrification is no different. It didn’t start in the late 1990s with young whites pouring into mostly Black and poor neighborhoods in America’s central cities and buying up rundown houses and apartment buildings. Then soaring the rents and home prices thereby driving the Blacks out. Or developers hungrily eyeing prime commercial space and land in neighborhoods such as the Crenshaw district.
The Urban Land Institute in the first major study in 1976 on gentrification that year found that a rising number of big cities experienced some form of gentrification. There were lots of new rehabbed housing and apartments in almost all cases occupied by affluent, educated young professionals. The report noted that the newcomers were “establishing a new investment climate.”
This was not lost on investors and developers who see bigger profits to be made selling to the young affluent whites interested in moving back into these areas. It didn’t take long for the first rumblings of protest to be heard. The rumblings came from residents and community activists. They demanded to know, what about the folk who live in these neighborhoods, what happens to those who can no longer afford homes and apartments there? There were warnings that the transformation had consequences, mostly dire for those residents and for cities. There would be even more distinct areas carved out for the rich and poor, this time not out of the city, but within the cities.
A decade later the ante jumped on inner-city real estate. The influx of young affluent whites snapping up distressed properties in inner-city neighborhoods turned gentrification into a major growth industry. The properties bought often at fire-sale prices in distressed areas became solid financial investments for the present and future for investors and speculators. The ramp-up in tax revenue and fees was a windfall for municipal and county governments. The sweetener for investors and developers was to offer an even greater goodie bag of tax breaks and incentives to spur them to gobble up even more land in these areas.
There was scant if any attention paid to the effect of the make-over of these areas on the increasingly displaced Blacks and Hispanics, and the poor in what were fast becoming nouveau rich neighborhoods. Instead, there were countless articles and stories and features on the lifestyles and habits of the new urban elite in these neighborhoods. The words” increased poverty,” “displacement,” “racial disparity” was nearly totally absent from the gentrification conversation.
With gentrification now becoming a buzzword for seismic urban change, the battle lines were now tightly drawn in the debate over whether gentrification and development or at least the types of development it brought were a good or bad thing for poor Black and Hispanic communities. Developers, a slew of government officials, and real estate moguls are solidly on one side repeatedly citing the supposed benefits: more jobs, a spur to businesses, more and better housing, schools, and services, and spruced up public space. Community activists, legions of residents, counter with their checklist of bad things it purportedly will bring: homelessness, displacement, unaffordability, racial tensions, and erosion of the decades of racial and cultural cohesion that ironically forced confinement to racially segregated neighborhoods engendered.
The fierce battle over the Crenshaw Mall is set hard against the backdrop of class and race, and the rapidly changing demographics of America’s cities. The debate will continue to sharpen over the best use of valued land in and near central cities. Locally, the Crenshaw Mall is simply the flashpoint of this debate; a debate that will only grow fiercer with time.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of The Gentrification Wars (Amazon) He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network
Shawn V. Branch: My Personal Experience with COVID-19 and the Life Lessons Learned
Changing Our Narrative
*The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on so many of us. Not only have we been dealing with quarantining, wearing masks, and social distancing, but we have also been dealing with all of this with the added pressure of a national reckoning with racial injustice and a nail-biting election. For so many of us, we are looking forward to 2021 and praying it will be much nicer than this crazy year.
My personal experience with COVID began the first week of March. It started with symptoms of a common cold that then turned into what I thought was the flu. I did not feel awful, but I developed a fever that would not go away. I tried everything that I had done in the past to rid myself of the flu, but nothing was working. Having COVID never crossed my mind until two close friends kept asking me if I thought I should get a test. My immediate reaction was to say no. In my mind, I was still thinking it was the flu and I felt sure I could not have COVID.
EUR Reviews: ‘Mangrove’ a Must and ‘The Giant’ a Bust / WATCH
*“Mangrove,” is one of five films from the “Small Axe” anthology by Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”).
Based on true events, the film chronicles the 50th anniversary of the day in 1970 when 150 protesters of West Indian and African heritage in Notting Hill, West London, took to the streets because of police brutality. In a reign of racist terror, the local police raid Mangrove—a lively community base for locals, intellectuals and activists—time after time.
When nine men and women are wrongly arrested and charged with incitement to riot, a highly publicized trial ensues. his must see film follows the Nine and their road to justice. One of the Nine, Altheia Jones-LeCointe (Letitia Wright), is the leader of the British Black Panther Movement.
Ironically, Wright is the sister of T’Challa in Black Panther. During the highly publicized trial of the Mangrove Nine, tensions ran high as they fought against brutal treatment and discrimination.
“Mangrove” is not only timely, but universal in its depiction of bigotry and injustice throughout the universe. The raw emotions that spill out into the streets, and at times inside the Mangrove, are real. “Mangrove” hits its mark going for the jugular with in your face necessary narratives.
Co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, “Mangrove” also stars Malachi Kirby, Shaun Parkes, and Malachi Kirby, Rochenda Sandall, Jack Lowden, Sam Spruell, Gershwyn Eustache, Nathaniel Martello-White, Richie Campbell, Jumayn Hunter, and Gary Beadle. “Mangrove” is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
Watching “The Giant” is like watching paint dry. At least with the paint drying, viewers are spared the doldrums of Charlotte’s (Odessa Young) sleepwalk-like trudge through “The Giant.” Minutes after the film begins, Charlotte mother’s quivering feet are seen because she has just committed suicide. This scene is tantamount to what audiences are in for; in addition to a serial killer storyline.
Charlotte is a 17-year-old spending the summer in her Georgia hometown before heading off to college. Her questionable first love Joe (Ben Schnetzer), who mysteriously disappeared also returns. And Charlotte’s best friend Olivia (Madelyn Cline) only adds to the dire state of affairs with her dark appearances.
The surreal scenes and dreamlike sequences set up to pique the imagination fail miserably because of the monotonous and maudlin tone of the movie. Charlotte’s belabored, psychological trek drains viewers to the point where they could care less about the conclusion.
Directed by David Raboy, “The Giant” also stars Jack Kilmer, Madelyn Cline, Danny Ramirez, and PJ Marshall. “The Giant” is available on Digital & On Demand.
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