I just spent a heart wrenching, spirit deflating several hours on YouTube watching videos in which black women defame black men and black men demonize black women. Of course, I knew of the great – and I claim quite damaging – divide between black men and women. I hear about it a fair amount because of what I do. I read a lot and watch enough TV to know what the current mood is. But I never just dove in and watched what was out there on line.
I got pulled into it because a guy on my twitter page tweeted a picture of a black woman, with a weave, a big booty and shopping for designer sneakers and asked me something like “Can you save us from our black queens?” I responded by saying that “Black Love often struggles to survive in inhospitable circumstances. We should all do better ourselves and stop blaming the other side.”
I included this with my response:
His response was hilarious. He said, “I guess I should better myself. I’m not going to lie, I had to look up the word inhospitable.”
Of course, gender blaming is not unique to our community. As I always say men are odd and women are weird. Accordingly, we’re always going to have a few ‘What the hell is wrong with those people?’ thoughts about the other gender. To some extent we have always found each other befuddling and a bit confounding.
But I digress.
Before today I just never sat down and went through the cesspool of negativity that exists on the subject of black men and women that WE generate ourselves.
Sometimes the videos simply contained a man or a woman commenting on behaviors they have seen or experiences they’ve had. Many were accompanied by videos or pictures of either gender displaying what no one can deny is less than beneficial behavior.
Unsettling as the behavior was, what truly alarmed me was the vitriol with which each side spoke about the other. “Black women are single handedly destroying the race.” “Black women hold their children’s minds hostage to ignorance.” Or, on the other hand, “Black men are worthless.” “Black men are the weak link in Black society.’
I have a lot to say on this subject and I will return to it. But what I will leave you with at this moment is this. To universalize your own experiences or that which you see on TV and YouTube is a mistake. Each reflects certain stratum and populations within a very diverse black community.
There are historical and cultural reasons for how things have ended up the way they are. They serve as reasons but not excuses … so no one gets a pass … but it helps to understand the challenges.
Here’s my point. What has become culturally common in certain parts of the black community cannot be solved by blaming one gender or another. We all have some fixing we can do. Demonizing one another does nothing to fix the problems we face for no other reason than that kind of dart throwing rarely, if ever, gets others to change their behavior.
I see a lot of anger and hurt, not thought and understanding. My concern is we’ll become our own worst enemy by tearing each other down in a way that doesn’t do us any good.