Thursday, January 24, 2008

Black Female Jedi Mind Tricks

Today, I find myself extremely angry, depressed, and disgruntled. Since I started blogging I have been completely intrigued at the number of black men and black women that attack other black women for having a pro-black women stance on any issue at all. Oh there will be the right statements made "I support black women" and "I'm a black woman too" and then comes the "but"......

And this "but".....always involves something these individuals always eventually state is more important than the original stated issue or problem focusing on black women! They say, "well if only the black woman or women had made better choices," "why weren't they at home with their mamas?" etc...etc...etc....blah, blah, blah...... Adding insult to injury, if you attempt to defend your pro-black woman stance, you are accused of "not seeing the big picture", "copying the blunders of the white women's movement", "not concerned with the plight of black men." etc...etc...etc.....blah, blah, blah.......

I can and have been irritated with black men about their failure to understand the need to have an intensive and extensive discussion of issues affecting black women, but their resistance and ignorance is understandable, they are men. It's the black women that piss me off. Cut the apron strings and take your titties out out the black man's mouth, they are grown-ass men! The simple act of discussing, let me repeat, THE SIMPLE ACT OF DISCUSSING black women's issues should not trigger your passionate and vigorous defense of black men or black people to other black women. They are not the subject of discussion and that is the point. If we get black women in a healthier space emotionally, physically, mentally, etc....then all black people will benefit.

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with black women discussing their issues, problems, and concerns, free from the burdens of the entire black community. I am damn sick and tired of having to defend that position. I care about the black community, I love being black, I love being a black woman, but I want just one minute to talk about the world I live in without having to worry about everyone else and their problems. Is that too much to ask?


Separating your gender from your race. You are not anti-black or you are not anti-black male, and you are not a traitor. Every racial group in the world has special interest groups, but only in the black community is it a problem if black women want their issues to be considered first. This backwards ideal must cease existence in the black community.

A black feminist unless you chose to accept the label. Oh horrors! Remember that "the F word" sends many black women running to the next available mountain top to shout like Spartacus; "I am not a feminist!" So many black women fear being labelled a feminist or womanist that it has become a powerful tool to silence black female voices. Why is that?

Putting black women before black people. How is that? If every statistic says that black women control the money in the black community, are making the most educational gains in the black community, are heading up most of the households in the black community, holding up the black church, have the most powerful voting block in the black community, how in the hell can improving the lives of black women hurt the overall black community? If you don't take care of the engine driving the train, the train goes nowhere!



JJ January 24, 2008 at 2:46 AM  

Cut the apron strings and take your titties out out the black man's mouth, they are grown-ass men!



I'm speechless.

Anonymous,  January 24, 2008 at 7:05 AM  

I agree with everything you're saying.

I also think people are arguing over things they agree on. Its like going around in circles. For me, its annoying as hell, its why I pretty much disengage from any movement no matter who it is advocating for and do things to be of service in my own way.

There isn't a responsible woman alive who wouldn't say empowering girls and women with knowledge is a tool. But when you dare mention we need to tell people the importance of the decisions they make its seen as blaming the victim.

Yes, there are acts of violence against women who do everything right but we all know you can lower your risks. Whether thats securing your home or who you date and things you do.

I teach my nine-year responsible decision-making. We had an issue two weeks ago.

Teaching girls why they shouldn't do things is not blaming them--its a lesson for not only themselves but others.

It does limited good to talk about pop culture and men and don't tell Black females they have some control over some of the situations they find themselves. After all, we are strong, bread winners, etc.

Educating sisters is part of combating the evils out there.

I can't imagine anyone really disagreeing with me. But surely someone will because I apparently dont get it.

Professor Tracey January 24, 2008 at 8:57 AM  

Unfortunately Symphony, we're not all agreeing because when WAOD is disputing the fact that Genarlow Wilson should not be rewarded with a college scholarship for being a sexual predator and the discussion turns into a re-hash of his case and what the girls should have or have not done, we are not having the same discussion.

When we are discussing the Hovey Street murders and folks start talking about the "choices" the dead women should have or could have made, we are not having the same discussion. Those brothers in that cases would have murdered anyone that day regardless of any preventive measures that were taken by the victim.

See when I am discussing how once again the black community has let black women and girls down, I don't want to hear about
"prevention." You are right, teaching girls and women to make better choices is important and necessary, but it should not be the first line of discussion in these cases because it is implying the victims were somehow responsible for their own victimization and it is deflecting responsibility away from their attackers.

If we care about black women and girls, why are we always putting the responsibility of "crime prevention" on their shoulders?

Anonymiss - January 24, 2008 at 9:37 AM  

Wonderful post.

If you noticed any of my angry posts in that WAOD posts, you can see my disappoint with the Blk community in how we absolve terrible parents and irresponsible baby boys.

What else are Blk men & boys supposed to determine by not being held accountable for their actions?

And I do agree that we should teach young girls preventative methods, but that comes secondary to healing the damage. We also have to make it a concerted effort of ours to teach young men to be respectful towards women. It's counterproductive to allow boys to deviate into sick animals while girls are being taught to defend themselves.

All the preventative measures can't keep a sicko from executing his plan. Gabrielle Union can attest to that.

DJ Black Adam January 24, 2008 at 10:26 AM  

@Professor Tracey:

"how in the hell can improving the lives of black women hurt the overall black community?"

It won't hurt the Black community. Fact is that Black Women and specifically Black Girls issues need to be at the front of being addressed.

"If we care about black women and girls, why are we always putting the responsibility of "crime prevention" on their shoulders?"

Like I said over at Gina's, I think that urging women and girls to make better choices in WHO they are around is not a problem, however; some folk's timing on bringing up the obvious was not wise. Ultimately, when a criminal chooses to commit a crime THEY are responsible.

Seriously, WHEN WILL PEOPLE SEE THAT IT IS NOT AN EITHER OR? If anyone is truly concerned about the Black community, there is no reason to not be for the betterment of the conditions that Black women endure.

Miss Pinky January 24, 2008 at 11:29 AM  

Every time a pro-black woman group tries to speak out about black-on-black crime against black women and children, you end up in these frustrating circular arguments.

At some point you have to cut loose the folks who "don't get it" and move on.

Trying to "win the hearts and minds" of those who don't get it is a waste of time in my humble opinion and does nothing to help the bw/children you are trying to speak for.


tasha212 January 24, 2008 at 11:55 AM  

I think the reason why a lot of black women reject the feminist label is because feminism is associated with ant-male sentiment. From what I have read there was an element of the feminist movement that was anti-male. There was also an aspect of the feminist movement that was associted with lesbianism. So when most people hear feminist, they hear "anti male" or lesbian or both. I think u can be pro-black female without being anti-male. Not that anything is wrong with being a lesbian, but their is a lot of homophobia in our community.

As for the victims of the Indiana murders, a call to be safer and make better decisions in whom to surround yourself with should not overpower the cry for justice. This crime was reprehensible, no doubt. For someone to kill babies is inexcusable. For someone to kill young women in the presence of their children is horrible. I don't think that anyone is saying otherwise, but I am starting to kinda undersatnd what u mean. In our community, we do have a tendency to hold women to a higher standard than men. We expect women to change their behavior without expecting men to change theirs. I think its going to take a lot to change this.

That being said, empowering women to make better decisions is part of the battle. There must be a discussion about that in order for there to be balance. Otherwise, we will continue to perpetuate the image of women as always being poor defenseless victims with no intelligence or common sense.

g-e-m2001 January 24, 2008 at 12:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
g-e-m2001 January 24, 2008 at 12:45 PM  

Professor Tracey what they don't get is that all the right choices in the world isn't going to protect you if civilization devolves into human beings engaging in whatever barbaric act that they can get away with. Any threat to society by the "choices" of the victims are dwarfed by the threat posed by the choices of the attackers.

Your "choices" don't keep you safe. A decision by other civilized people not to take you out or abuse you when they get the chance makes you safe.

Any lessons you are teaching your kids doesn't make them safe. The decision that every older bigger stronger child and adult that comes into contact with your child not to hurt or harm your child is what keeps them safe because I am sure there is many a child that kicked screamed yelled and didn't talk to strangers that have been murdered.

There is nothing that keeps the other people on the highway with us during rush hour to decide that they are going to get home by driving down the highway in the wrong direction because it is faster other than their decision to adhere loosely to the rules of the road that we as a civil society have come up with.

You are getting stuck on the individual facts in these particular cases when what you should be focusing on is the underlying assault on civilization taking place.

In civil society, a man or woman does not abuse the body of an unconscious human being even if they CAN. In a civil society, men and women don't mow down toddlers even if they can. right now any number of us can walk into a grocery store and fill our carts up with food and walk out without paying. In most places no one is going to physically restrain you in fact in my grocery store, I can check myself out. i can go to the library and walk out the door with as many books as i want and nothing can stop me. And at any given time any one of the women fighting so vigorously to inject the "choices" of the dead and brutalized can be driven off the road and attacked because every day on the high way you encounter people who are bigger and better armed than you are. guess what? in some parts of the world a woman cannot travel alon anywhere at any time of the day without threat of attack. Is her "choice' not to travel even if it means starving to death or dying? yet I dare any of these "choices" advocates to tell refugees that they should not have risked rape in order to travel to a hole in the ground to get water. because THAT is what is happening right now.

You arne't safe because of the choices YOU made. you are safe because someone bigger, stronger, and more armed decided not to harm you when they had an opportunity. Our individual choices don't keep us safe, it is the collective choices and social mores that keep us safe.

Professor Tracey talked about the Congo, that is an excellent example. Would "educating' the women of the Congo save them from being raped en mass? What "choices' could they have made to keep the militias from coming down from the mountains repeatedly to brutalize them? How many locks on the doors of the women of Darfur would keep the janjaweed out?
What about those unfortunate enough to find themselves in a German concentration camp? What better choices could they have made?

Barbarism is a threat to us ALL. Not just the unwise. not just the ignorant. not just the immoral. it is a threat to us all. maybe its because I have lived through hurricane evacuations where you can literally see how precarious civilization actually is. How quickly the power goes to those who are armed and those who are not. those who are willing to kill you with their cars over a gallon of gasoline and those who will stand in line and wait their turn. Those who will follow evacuation instructions and those who will drive the wrong way down an interstate highway because the law is too busy doing other things to stop them.

Yet here we are fighting over which knife to use in a gun fight.

When your institutions start handing out rewards to barbarians or choosing to ignore barbarism, then you are in a world of hurt because all the individual choices in the world will not keep you safe if barbarism takes root.

So keep making wise choices. Good luck with that. i hope it give you some small comfort as the world goes to hell in a handbasket right in front of our very eyes. We don't have a crime or a drug problem. We have a civilization problem. We are literally watching the black community in certain places descend into chaos. Utter complete anarchy. And if you think your choices are going to protect you or act as a buffer then you haven't been paying attention to what is happening in Sudan and the Congo or Rwanda. There are many a wise righteous human being that got hacked to death by a machete wielded by a neighbor who made another "choice".

I agree you have to leave the unbelievers behind. Really. They won't ever get it. They'll get it when there is a knock on their padlocked door from someone who made another "choice".

Dirty Red January 24, 2008 at 2:11 PM  

Professor Tracy,
I blogged about this on my site. It is called, "Why Are Black Women So Difficult To be With?" Don't let the title fool ya, If I say so myself, I actually dropped some science on that one. Check it out at your leisure.
It is an older post, but it is still good reading!!

Miss Issues January 24, 2008 at 3:01 PM  

This my last statement on this. People are not getting it. You can make all the right choices and be responsible, but when you have a person who don't give dam*, then it doesn't matter.
For example, You can make all the right choices, work hard, buy a home and move into a good neighborhood. But there may be someone who thinks they have the right to kick door your door and put a gun in your face, because they don't want to do the same.

So, where does the personal responsibility come in when you have a criminals who are looking prey on you? Many in our community are not understanding the depth of this problem. We have a bunch of black men who don't give a heck about taking a life or raping a woman.

rjweems January 24, 2008 at 3:41 PM  

I feel ya' Prof. Tracey.

In all my years as an acadmic and a professor I've never spent so much energy defining and defending feminism and my pro-women's advocacy as I have since I started blogging.

I rarely used feminist as a term to describe myself before becoming a blogger, but the hysteria, the almost anti-woman reasoning of the women I'm encountering in blogosphere has convinced me to dust off the term, give it a new coat of (black woman) paint, and put it up on my shingle. Something to make it clear that I don't just give lip service to women and women's issues, I believe women are key to change and transformation in the world.

Makes you understand why Harriet Tubman carried a gun in her travels. Wasn't just for the bounty hunters who tracked her and her runaway slaves in the hopes of dragging them back into slavery. Was also for those slaves who might have second thoughts about freedom and wanted to go back to the plantation.

roslynholcomb January 24, 2008 at 5:14 PM  

The reason the 'be careful' argument resonates so strongly with me is because I've lived it first-hand. Growing up in a small town in the rural south it was customary to hear about young men 'running trains' on young women and girls. Of course they were typically 'low class' women of no consequence. We girls were warned to 'be careful,' and to avoid certain areas and of course, not to be out alone at night.

This continued for years, then something happened. Halloween 1975 I was 11 years old. In our small town it was customary for children to trick-or-treat all over the neighborhood with only their older brothers and sisters. That Halloween was like every other one, except that night 4 young men in the neighborhood kidnapped one of my friends as we ran across the railroad tracks. Right before our very eyes they dragged her into a car and took off with her.

Keep in mind, we knew these young men, they'd grown up in our neighborhood. They brutalized this child in every way imaginable, then threw her into a field near our house. Fortunately, she survived, and they were prosecuted. They got long sentences and some of them are just now being released from prison.

But here's the question, what would've happened if instead of warning the girls to 'be careful' parents in our neighborhood had instead fostered a 'zero tolerance' attitude towards brutality towards ALL women and girls? Instead, we had a culture that it was okay to brutalize certain young women who weren't 'careful.' And, in the mind of a predator that's an exceedingly dangerous message.

It's sad to me that there are still young women and girls who don't comprehend this simple fact. You can never be careful enough, it simply doesn't exist. We will only be safe when society stops tolerating and making excuses for violence against women. This apathy is the very reason black women are so much more likely to be raped and brutalized than other groups. Until we stop owning someone else's perfidy this will continue.

I've been in the trenches on this issue for a long time. I've investigated and built cases. I've held young women's hands while other women on juries have acquitted their rapists out of fear of their own vulnerability. A woman should be able to walk down the street bare-assed naked if she is so inclined and not have to fear for her life. Until that is so none us of will ever be safe.

Woman in Transition January 24, 2008 at 5:49 PM  

Excellent post, Prof. Thank you.

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