Thursday, January 26, 2012

Black Women In America

Being Black in America has become much easier than it was in my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother days. But it still aint no walk in the park. We have learned to adjust to our surroundings and have made ourselves successful in the direst of situations.

I am the eldest of four children and took on a great deal of the burden in my household by helping raise my siblings. I started babysitting when I was about 9 years old. My mother worked outside the home and on the weekends she needed me to watch the kids. At the time I had two brothers one was 7 and the other was 1. When I was 10 my mother gave birth to my sister so I started watching her too. I was resentful but I knew that this was not an option. I helping my family survive and it simply had to be done. This were I learned that family always comes first. It is expected that sacrifices be made to make things work, no matter how uncomfortable they are.

My father was in and out the home. When he was at home the financial stability her brought to the household was amazing. When daddy was home we had the best of everything. We ate good, we dressed good, we looked good and mama didn’t have to work as hard to make the ends meet. But when daddy left things went back to normal and we back to me and mama co-parenting the kids and keeping the house together. This is where I was taught that as a woman you gotta get your own you can’t depend on a man. Even if a man looks dependable always keep a few dollars hidden so if he leaves you won’t fall off.

I went to college and thought that doors would swing open and people would beg me to work for their organization. Well…..needless to say that didn’t happen. I graduated with my bachelors degree in Business Administration in 1999. I had a few nice jobs but when it lay off time it was like a first in, first out type of deal. I went back to get an Advanced degree because I was drilled that the more educated you were the better your chances of getting that six figure job. Yes I got that degree and got a job after looking for 6 months. However, it took 4 years to make a decent salary.

The Washington Post and Kaiser did research on Black women in America and here are some of the findings.

More than a fifth of black women say being wealthy is very important, one in 20 white women.

Sixty-seven percent of black women describe themselves as having high self-esteem, compared with 43 percent of white women.

Forty percent of black women say they experience frequent stress, compared with 51 percent of white women.

Nearly half of black women fear being a victim of violent crime, compared with about a third of white women.

Forty percent of black women say getting married is very important, compared with 55 percent of white women

63 percent of black women said it is acceptable to have a child without being married, roughly the same percentage as white women.

I can attest to all of those findings I over value being financially sound. My self-esteem is very high because I have trained myself to think that I am beautiful. After years of being down played for my dark skin and kinky hair, I decided f*ck what you heard I am phyne? So yeah I really don’t have a problem with how I look. Stress what can I say about stress.. there is more than enough of it to go around. Its always lurking somewhere. Being a victim of a violent crime is also on my list. I live alone in the city in a pretty big house. It wouldn’t matter if I lived in a tiny apartment. I always feel vulnerable like anyone can just come kick down the door and do whatever if they really wanted to. What can I do to stop them?

As a black woman we have so many titles. Ever heard of them…well here they go
The angry black woman, The strong black woman, The unfeeling black woman, The manless black woman, Welfare Queens, The work horse, The loud and obnoxious black woman, The black bitch and The black woman with an attitude.

I can personally say that people have used a few of those titles to describe me. Strong, bitch, manless and attitude. Normally these titles have been bestowed on me by people who either fear me and my potential to outshine them or they don’t know me.

Finances vs Love

The Post article stated that,
It is an age in which young black women see more options for themselves than ever. They can run a cable network (like Oprah Winfrey), lead a Fortune 500 company (like Xerox’s Ursula Burns), become an international pop icon (like Beyonce). Secretary of State? Condi Rice has been there, done that.
But even in this “age of Michelle Obama,” black women are rethinking the meaning of success and fulfillment. Many are concluding that self-empowerment is the road to happiness, and happiness does not require a mate.
“I can go to school. I can be successful. I can make money. I can have a career. That is in my power to control,” says Towan Isom, 39, who owns a public relations firm in the District. “Finding a husband — that would be great, but that’s not in my power to control.”

I’m going to agree with the sister. Making my coins and building a financially fit and stable life is of great importance to me, finding a soul mate…uh…not so much. Yes I have found someone whom I love and would like to spend the rest of my life with. However, when I met him I was not looking for him and it just never really made a difference to me if I ever got married. Yes there were times when I wanted to have a mate, but I dated pretty frequently and hell getting sexed up was never a problem for me.

As time went on many of my friends started having babies and getting married and I briefly questioned if that was the path the right path, At the time I was 30 unmarried and no children. I was chasing money living from state to state going after the most lucrative job offers. I am 35 now and I am still in the same space. I don’t know if that will change anytime soon.

Some say what is riches without someone to share it with. To that I say now that I found someone who loves me I am happy to grab is hand and walk through life. But I didn’t grow up being told I was a princess and that love would conquer all. All the women in my family worked and obtain financial freedom with the strength of their own minds and hands. I was expected to do the same thing. It’s was laughable to think a man would come along and make my dreams come true and that our love would bring us through the storms. I was taught.. “Girl if you wanna eat steaks, drink fine wines, go on vacation, own a home, drive a nice car and live the life you desire…YOU better make it happen.” And my Grandfather was one of the people that planted those seeds in my head. Did I believe love was possible well….yes. But on a level that I would find a guy he would work and I would work we would build a life together and no one would be 100% for the other person, unless there was a change in circumstances. And that is exactly what I got. However, if he never would have come along I would have been okay with it.
Breaking down stereotypes
Asha Jennings Palmer was quoted in the article said, “black women are too often viewed as flashy, provocative, eye-catching — imagery that makes her cringe. According to the stereotype, African American women — educated women — are b------, and they run men out of their lives

Yes I can most certainly relate to this. Like I said earlier I have been referred to has a bitch and made to feel that my education has cost me the likely hood of marriage. When you are the boss at work and you happen to be black if you ruffle a few feathers you are considered a bitch. Well this concept applies to women in general, However, I think it is just as hard as a black women being educated and salaried in the work place as it is being a regular worker. Some people expect the black woman boss to be an asshole and have an attitude. Of course she is single no man can stand to put up with her. I will call bullshit on that in a minute. I have been playing this corporate game for a minute and I am more educated and knowledgeable than most of my counterparts. Yet I have watch them climb up the ladder with little to no effort.

Interracial Dating

According to a 2010 study by the Pew Research Center that looked at the rates of interracial marriage among newlyweds in 2008, just 9 percent of black women married a spouse of a different race — a rate that was less than half that of black men.
The reasons for the gap between black women’s interest in interracial marriage and their rates of interracial marriage are complex, according to experts who have researched the subject. Studies of online dating, for instance, have shown that black women are less likely than other women to receive messages of interest from men of other races. Researchers attribute that to a social hierarchy that still undervalues them and unflattering stereotypes of black women — loud, aggressive — that remain in the popular culture.

Okay just turn on the television on any music channel and you will see a black beauty shaking and gyrating like her life depended on it. The black music industry idolizes a big black ass. It makes it seems as if all you need to stay laced with the best is big ole fat ass! Black women are more than likely the bread winner in their household. Most of us have babies with no daddy in sight. If you look at VH1 and Bravo and see Basket Ball Wives (most of which are not wives), The Real House Wives of Atlanta (most are not wives), Love and Basketball. If this is your only contact with black women personally ( which for a great deal of white folks it is) your likely to think very low of black women. In the show we come off as putting materialistic possessions before our self respect, our kids and any other value we are suppose to have. Not to mention that it shows that we cannot handle conflict and fight at a drop of a dime.
Okay we have Oprah, Beyonce, Michelle Obama and Condi Rice but they are marketed to the world like a freak accident. Like they some type of exception and a true rarity. Are they rare? The answer to that is HELL NO. Black women have been making things happen and doing amazing things since we graced the earth. No our accomplishments are not spread across the media lines. We normally don’t get kudos for our efforts, but rest assured there are plenty of fabulous black women, some work at the school serving lunches, some work in factories, others are stay at home moms, and plenty work at fortune 500 companies.

Let’s just say being a black woman in American is very complex. I will be glad when people stop analyzing us like we’re some type of abnormal species. We are an ever evolving group of people. It is really hard to categorize us, and I wish they will stop with their (mainstream white America) attempt.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Friends and Your Business.. Does the Two Mix?

So I’m at my friend house picking a drill I let her borrow. I sit down for a minute and we start talking. I start venting about some issues that I am having with my man. She responds by saying, “ Yeah I was telling Aunt Annie about you and your guy and she says she don’t know why you put up with it.”

First of all I only met her Aunt Annie twice and the lady has to be at least 60+ years old. Of course I’m looking her upside her damn head trying to figure out why the hell is her and her Aunt discussing my personal business. I mean at least why the f*ck you sitting up here telling me that you shared my business with a woman a barely even know? Clearly she doesn’t know when to shut the hell up!

She still sitting up there talking and I’m calling her all kind of four and five letter words in my head. So at the moment I decide that I will be very conscience who I share my issues with. People quick to tell your business and keep their shit extra secret.

So the moral to that story is every friend can’t handle knowing your business. Especially if they think your situation is more messed up than their situation so be careful who you share with….I know I will be.

Same friend different scenario. She is without a vehicle at the time and her boyfriend’s car has broken down. I don’t mind helping out my friend and her kid…. but I do mind helping the guy out because I am not his friend. So the other day we out to dinner and on the way back to her house she ask if I can drop her boyfriend off to work. Mind you he calling all through dinner asking her to ask me to take him to work. Okay so I give her the side eye and I say okay. She paid for dinner so I taking her guy to working was just semi irritating.

A few days later I went back to get the drill and on my way out the door I catch him mumbling something and making gestures with his head towards the door. She comes outside and asked if I have anything planned because her and her guy wanted to go out on a day. I let her know I have plans for the evening so that was not possible. I walked away thinking what the hell is wrong with her. If the ninja wanted to take her out he should have asked one of his friends to borrow their car and NOT told her to hit up one of her friends.

Then yesterday I was going to the store and thought she may need a few things too. I called her up and asked if she wanted to ride to the store while I was going. She said she needed to get a few things. I get to the house to pick her up and who comes to ride with her……you got it the boyfriend. I’m like why is he going I have a small car and he is a big dude he just taking up space and really there was just no need to go. So I’m looking all crazy in the face when he gets in. So I am debating if I should tell her that I do not mind helping getting her where she needs to go until she gets on her feet… but I do not want to be hauling around her man too. I don’t know it just rubs me the wrong way. I doesn’t seem manly to me. What are your thoughts?

Can You Blame Him

The captain of the Costa Cruises ship that partially sank on Friday after hitting rocks off the coast of Italy had diverted the vessel onto a route not authorized by the company, its CEO says. Foschi suggested that the 10-year veteran of the company wanted to show off the ship to the port area of Giglio that it was passing. He decided to change the course of the ship to go closer to the island and pass in front of the little city that sits on that island," Foschi said. "This is what he wanted to do."

Okay I can understand the captain facing manslaughter charges because he made the decision to take the ship closer to shore. But then there is that abandoning ship charge. I must admit I don’t know what to think about that. The caption claims her fell over board after the ship hit the rocks and ended up in a life raft. He says he asked to be taken back to the ship but he was refused.

I kinda think the caption is lying cuz if it was me I probably would have beat everybody including the children getting off that damn boat. Tell me why is it expected in that profession that the Captain go down with the ship? We don’t expect airline pilots to stay in a burning plane while all the passengers exit first. If a bus or train gets into an accident we don’t expect the drivers to stay on board until every passenger is safely off.
Hell yeah that captain got the f*ck off that ship before he was dead too. Don’t get me wrong it would have been noble for him to stay but at the end of the day he has a family too, not to mention pure survival instincts. My heart goes out to the families that lost loved ones one that boat and yes someone need to pay for their pain and suffering. Maybe it’s the captain or maybe it’s the cruise company.

The last I heard the cruise company was giving back a 100% refund to all passengers and 30% off their next trip. ******blank stare……and crickets******

Sunday, January 8, 2012

I almost forgot about HIM

Today I went to church. Now as much as I would like to claim that I go to church every Sunday....that would be a lie. But today was one of those days that I felt moved to go to the Lord's house. While there I realized how distracted I have become with everyday life.

I'm back in school and fight for every good grade I can get. There there is the fiancee and separation anxiety. Since we live so far apart there are times that I want to be with him so bad that he takes up all of my mind space. Then there is the healthy plan, which requires me to workout at least 4 times a week. I'm not gonna mention my shaky finances and my inability to save as much money as I would like.

Needless to say I have a lot on my mind. There are times when I can go days without thinking about God or thanking him for his blessings and grace. I even have a bible on my nightstand and lately it has turned into a coaster for my cups.

Today I reflected on how I have placed all the temporal things above God. God has been great to me and that is a fact. I have relied on God when there was simply no one or nothing to hold on too. I have confided in him when I was too embarrassed to tell my friends and family the stupid things I had done.

Things loosened up and got better and I forgot about God. Now I think about him from time to time but not as much as I did when I was sinking and I thought my trouble would overtake me. Lord knows I don't want to be in trouble to find God again.

I didn't have a New Years resolution but I think I will make one. I will make time for God. I will make him a priority in my life because after all he gave up his Son so I could have life.