First let me say I think the title of this article does not necessarily fit the content of the article and is simply named such for shock value. With that said, enjoy and I look forward to the responses if any are posted. My response is I think there is a shared responsibility in the breakdown of the Black family and this article focuses on a part of that breakdown.
WHY ARE BLACK WOMEN SCARING OFF BLACK MEN?
by Tina Lester
Have you met this woman? She has a good job, works hard and earns a good salary. She went to college, got her master's degree: she is intelligent. She is reasonable, articulate, well read, interested in everybody and everything. Yet she's single.
Or perhaps you recognize the community activist. She's a black lady, or as she prefers, an African American woman on the move. She sports a short natural, sometimes corn-row braids or dreadlocks. She's an organizer, a motivator, and a dynamo. She works for her people. She organizes women for a self-help, raises funds for the community cause, and educates others around about new issues in South Africa. Black folks look up to her and white folks know she's a force to be reckoned with, yet once again the men leave her alone.
What do these women have in common? They have so much: what is it they lack? Why is it they may be able to hook a man but can't hold him?
Women puzzle over this quandary themselves. They gather at professional clubs, at sorority meetings or over coffee at the office and wonder what's wrong with black men. They hold special prayer vigils, fasting and praying and begging Jesus to send the men back to church. They find the brother who is attending political strategizing sessions or participating in protests, but when it comes time to go home, he goes home to someone else. I know these women because I am all of these women, and after asking over and over again "What's wrong with these men?" it finally dawned on me to ask, " What's wrong with us women?"
What I have found and what many of these woman have yet to discover, is that the skills that make one successful in the church, community or workplace are not the skills that make one successful in a relationship. Linear thinking, self-reliance, structured goals and direct actions assist in getting assignments done. It helps to organize church or club activities and in positioning oneself for a raise. But relationship building requires different skills. It requires making decisions that not only gratify you, but also satisfy others. It means doing things that will keep the peace rather than achieve the goal. Sometimes it means creating the peace in the first place. Maintaining a harmonious relationship will not always allow you to take the straight line between two points. You may have to stoop to conquer or yield to win.
Oftentimes when dealing with men you will have to sacrifice being right in order to enjoy being loved. Being acknowledged as the head of household is an especially important thing for many black men, since their manhood is so often actively challenged everywhere else. Many modern women are so independent, so self-sufficient, so committed to the cause, to the church, to career or their narrow concepts of same, that their entire personalities project an "I don't need a man" message. Consequently they end up without one. An interested man may be attracted but soon discovers that this sister makes very little space for him in her life. Going to graduate school is a good goal and an option that previous generations of blacks have not had. But sometimes the achieving women will place her boyfriend so low on her list of priorities that his interest wanes. Between work, school and homework, she's seldom "there" for him on the outset when a man should develop a commitment to a woman. She's too busy to prepare him a home-cooked meal or to be a listening ear because she is so occupied with her own concerns. Soon he uses her only for uncommitted sex since to him she appears unavailable for anything else. Blind to the past she plays in her mind and ends up thinking. "Men only want one thing." And she decides she's better off with the degree than the friendship.
When she's 45 she may wish she had set different priorities while she was younger.
However, it's not just the busy career girl who can't see the forest for the trees. A while ago a couple I know was having marital troubles. During one argument, the husband confronted the wife and asked what she thought they should do about the marriage, what direction they should take. She reached for her Bible and the man took it and turned to Ephesians. "I know what Paul says and I know what Jesus says about marriage," he told her. "What do you say about our marriage?" Dumbfounded, she had no response. Before the year was out the husband had filed for divorce. Women who focus on civil rights or community activism have vigorous, fighting spirits and are prepared to do whatever, wherever, to benefit black people - that 's good. That's necessary, but it needs to be kept in perspective. It's too easy to save the world and lose your man.
A fighting spirit is important on the battlefield, but a gentler spirit is wanted on the home front. Too many women are winning the battle and losing the home. Sometimes in our determined efforts to be strong believers and hard workers, we contemporary women downplay, denigrate or simply forget our more traditional feminine attributes. Men value women best for the way we are different from them, not the ways we are the same. Men appreciate us for our grace and beauty. Men enjoy our softness and it as a way to be in touch with their tender side, a side they dare not show to other men. A hardworking woman's good to have on your committee, but when a man goes home, he'd prefer a loving partner to a hard worker.
It's not an easy transition for the modern black woman to make. It sounds submissive, reactionary, outmoded, and oppressive; we have fought so hard for many things, and rightfully so. We have known so many men who were shaky, jive, and untrustworthy. Yet we must admit that we are shaky, jive, and willful in our own ways. Not having a husband allows us to do whatever we want, when and how we ant to do it. Having one means we have to share the power and certain points will have to be surrendered.
We are terrified of marriage and commitment, yet dread the prospect of being single and alone. Throwing ourselves into work seems to fill the void without posing a threat. But like any other drug, the escape eventually becomes the cage. To make the break, we need to do less and "be" more. I am learning to "be." Stop competing with black men and to collaborate with them, to temper my assertive and aggressive energy with softness and serenity. I'm not preaching a philosophy of "women should be seen and not heard." But I have come to realize that I-and many of my smart and independent sisters-are out of touch with our feminine center and therefore out of touch with our men. end.
"We got to organize ourselves, We got to mobilize and there can't be no confusion in our collective solution, If not for ourselves, then for our kids, because we know who our enemy is!"
DPZ "for the hood"
More to come later!
Your Brother Faheem