Updated: Aug 19, 2022
Strap in because this isn't some quick two-minute flash piece.
As far back as I can remember on social platforms, Black men have had this urge to speak on supposed issues that plague Black women. First it was just for entertainment purposes, music, comedy relief, random content creation and whatnot. There was supposed to be no harm in making a joke, a song, a YouTube skit, or anything of that nature about a “select group of Black women.” Besides, the Black woman’s image had already been through the mud on T.V. and movies, and the concept was met with success. Exploiting and disrespecting the Black woman’s image for entertainment is an awkward staple with examples such as Wanda, Sheneneh, Rasputia, Big Mama, Madea, and a few other characters that wouldn’t have seen their extreme success were it not for Black men exploiting the “Black woman’s identity.” It's now even a trend for TikTok and IG Reels characters.
That was the norm, and it was not exclusively Black men who wrote or produced those scripts. The media portrayal of the Black woman’s image has never been under the absolute control of Black men. Not even counting such characters seen on shows ranging from “In Living Color” to Tyler Perry’s repetitive story arcs, the image of the on-screen Black woman consistently leaves much to be desired. Though the collective on-screen Black image needs work, this issue harms Black women more because there is no media norm to make Black men a caricature.
That epidemic is largely out of the control of Black men when factoring in the opportunity for wide-scale visibility because of who controls the industry. What is in their control, however, is how they’ve now decided to participate in the tearing down of the Black woman’s identity. The backwardness, however, of this illogical decision doesn’t only rest in the fact that this has the adverse reaction of placing a negative cast on Black men, but the backwardness is also displayed when Black men paint this commentary under the guise of helping Black women see the truth and/or under the guise of defending Black men from the problematic Black woman.
Let me make a disclaimer before going any further. I’m not going to claim that Black men merely get on social media to bash Black women. We won’t pretend as if the bashing of Black women is what all Black men engage in. It should be known that the social content you feed on will heavily influence your recommendations. If you spend your time watching African dance videos, that’s what will flood your feed, the same goes for candle makers, video editing tips, entrepreneurial advice, Black history, Black love, Black marriage goals, or dusty logic breakdowns. There is a wide variety of content on which you can feed your mind. In that same vein, we won’t pretend that Black women don’t engage in the bashing of Black men or even, at times, bash Black women to a degree worse than some Black men will. I refuse to lie and pretend as if there are no Black men who will defend Black women on social media. I also refuse to claim that any comment made by a Black man who does not praise a Black woman is bashing by default. There are issues with Black women that need to be addressed, and they are at times addressed in a healthy manner by some Black men.
Now that I’ve covered the required “not all” portion, which often defeats the purpose of the conversation because people prefer to see themselves as the "not all" group…
I want to address this misconception that a few particular Black men have who believe they are enlightening or forcing accountability on Black women when they regurgitate the same ole’ negative talking points.
In this opinion piece, I’ll be going over two common examples Black men use to set up these talking points. Unfortunately, they don’t understand that the only reason they repeat these talking points is to boost the Black male ego and reassure him that he’s better than his counterpart in the community. Due to the current social climate, the Black men on these platforms already feel attacked and can’t help but behave in the defensive in the name of male solidarity. In their state of defense, the talking points they use are weaponized in an effort to put Black women in our place. The claim of holding up a mirror to provoke positive change in the community is false because their talking points help no one, not even the men they are attempting “solidarity” with.
This is where the delusion sets in. If we’re going to have a war of words, I can't get offended because you’re speaking in retaliation to a negative talking point a Black woman has said about you and the barbs are little more than a game of tit for tat. How could I expect you not to retaliate against someone who’s putting you down? It would be illogical and dehumanizing to expect no pushback. A person in a state of defense will always react to criticism from someone they deem imperfect.
If you’re pushing back against a persistent narrative and negative portrayals of Black men in entertainment, I can also understand the defense mechanism which triggers you to throw out negative and repetitive talking points about Black women. For example, Black men build a defense mechanism to stave off feelings of ineptness when we consider the gender role aspect in how Black men may believe others judge Black society. The viewpoint may break down as such: The Black community is Black women surviving being in relation with Black men; Black women living with the weight of Black men’s ineptitude to provide and protect a thriving community as other men do for their respective ethnic groups.
The concept of “Black women surviving Black men” is realized with Black women feeling and stating experiences of “surviving romantic relationships” with Black men, be it emotionally or physically, as well as feeling and stating experiences of being the most unprotected and disrespected group of women. The concept is also realized with stats and figures giving evidence of Black women leading in institutional successes while showing Black men are leading in institutional struggle. The concept is most certainly realized by the universal opinion of Black men being a burden, a danger, and a derelict to their own women and children.
This reality relentlessly being expressed challenges the self-worth and community value of Black men. Romantically speaking, they’re a traumatic experience. As a source of protection, they’re useless and sometimes the reason protection is needed. As the means of providers and builders, they’re placed as an added responsibility such as a child. This concept of reality is damaging not only to the man’s ego but to his psyche, a psyche that has already been conditioned by generational traumas. Realistically speaking, a defense mechanism will result from this despite the truth about their societal positioning and how they perpetuate this reality. The expectation of “rising to the occasion” has not been conditioned into Black men because that is a threat to an oppressive system. Their only other recourse is the immature defense mechanism. Regardless of any analysis, however, this defense mechanism must be identified for what it is. Labeling a defense mechanism as trying to “guide” Black women into taking off their blinders is ludicrous.
In my humble opinion, there’s more to this defense mechanism than fighting back against low expectations. In the way Black women collectively perform against our negative stereotypes, Black men are capable of doing the same thing. The sad truth, however, is the conditioning of the Black man’s psyche. While Black women are held to the highest expectations, regardless of being bashed for falling short, Black men are praised for basic achievements and not even expected to produce if there is no “personal” reward. The “patriarch mindset” has effectively been pounded out of Black men over multiple generations. They’ve been emasculated.
Now regardless of the narrative Black men attempt, that emasculation did not happen under the thumb of Black women. Black women are not forcing Black men to follow them. Black women do not hold power through “feminism,” which forces Black men to behave in any fashion. Black women have been forced not to expect a “patriarch” from Black men. Black women have been forced into being providers, builders, protectors, and those who hold the responsibility. Child support, “womanly wows,” and single mothers are not the cause of the psychological breakdown of the Black man. The “oppressive Black woman” is merely a placating lie for Black men because removing the comfort of this lie would force them to face who or what has beaten them into submission. Once in that truth, they would have to turn their attacks and disdain on their true oppressor who has placed them in this perfectly chaotic box. They would be made to deal with the authority who controls resources, dictates policy, funds and regulates education, controls job markets, housing, land, and conditions, and exploits the entire Black community.
Regrettably for them, fighting back against the attacker they’ve been conditioned to submit to is much harder than attacking the ally they’ve been trained to blame. The broken psyche of Black men leaves them feeling like the “real victims” of the hardships in Black life. They believe they’re the ones with the real struggle. They’re the only ones being raised by single mothers, they're the only ones surviving the dangers of "the streets," they’re the only ones targeted by the government, and they’re the only ones hearing their counterparts referring to them as “ain’t shit,” all while feminism, government handouts, and simps make life easier for Black women.
At the same time as this “pity party,” the bruised ego of Black men drives their desire to be validated as worthy. In this anti-Black, patriarchal society we live in, they see the non-value of Black women and see the perfect object to step on to chase the allusion of worthiness. They navigate society's expectations and judgments through their defense mechanism and their need to be viewed as the ones with sense in the Black community, the ones with logic, the ones ordained by The Most High to guide women. The best way to do this, in their state of brokenness, is to show their counterparts as the illogical, ignorant, self-destructive creatures who Black men are burdened with. The broken psyche reduces them to the Black male ego, which needs a villain who is conquerable.
Some may feel that I’m exaggerating and exploring too far into the man’s mind of which I have no biological understanding. However, if, for argument’s sake, we stick to the falsehood of Black men attempting to help the community and then analyze what’s happening in the community, we see the idiocy in thinking the strategic way to fix the community is to negatively sum up Black women. Even if we were to get away from an explanation of the behavior of Black men, more specifically Black male content creators who focus on "exposing" Black women, we can explain why their methods are useless in the sense of help because of the simple fact that they’re lacking in facts, they're agenda based, and they're emotionally fueled despite Black men refusing to analyze their emotional trauma.
The single most important issue these Black male content creators push is the problematic Black woman. There is no problem given to be fixed other than “the Black woman and her actions.” If this is a problem that one cared about fixing, the first step would be figuring out why Black women engage in said negative actions. Black men skip over that step and move straight to obnoxiously calling Black women out on our actions. They genuinely believe, “Merely calling out the problematic actions of Black women will help because the only reason Black women refuse correction is due to being blind to their faults.”
This is an example of why they aren’t useful in this situation because they believe everything wrong with Black women is just “Black woman syndrome.” To be fair, I get the premise that Black women are doing something wrong, and the thought process is, "Black women need to stop this specific action." However, the action in question came from somewhere, so that nucleus is the truth that should be addressed to fix a problem. Addressing the symptom, “her negative action,” is a waste. Otherwise, how do you help a problem that is the problem? If the problem is “the Black woman”, then the solution should be eradicating “the Black woman.” Anyone who doesn’t want to be disingenuous and instead use their intelligence knows eradicating the Black woman is not a viable solution. Eradicating the Black woman is genocide. So, unless the goal is to end the bloodline of “ADOS,” planting the seed of needing to be rid of the Black woman is treasonous to our community.
This makes it seem as if Black men are more concerned with how Black women react in a situation rather than trying to help the situation. Something as complex as out of wedlock children can boil down to, "Black women need to learn how to control the number of baby daddies they create for themselves." A conversation isn't had about the oversexualizing of our women and how that affects our community, nor is the conversation had about Black men's equal responsibility to stop impregnating so many of our women. This issue will spin into Black women needing to choose better with no complementary assessment that Black men need to become better choices. The sentiment will be set that Black women ought not be so promiscuous while ignoring the accepted reality that men need sex and will do what must be done to get it, even cheat on a current sexual partner.
The burden of situational responsibility is always placed on the Black woman. This common understanding leads back to the practice of placing Black men as a responsibility of Black women’s judgments and decisions because Black women are charged with building the societal norms. Black men believe they are simply demanding that Black women take self-accountability, not realizing this also forces Black women to hold responsibility for a resulting situation that took two parties. If she has sex with herself, she’s not getting pregnant, she’s not abandoning herself with a child, and despite the possibility of multiple personalities, she’s not “adding to her body count.” If Black women are solely responsible for the “single mother epidemic,” that means Black men and their actions (impregnating Black women) are a responsibility to the builders and authority of the community. That reality is what damages the Black man’s psyche as it normalizes his submission to the Black woman’s actions, yet this mindset is relentlessly pushed by Black men.
The kind of help Black men offer is not typically helpful for either men or women. Unfortunately, Black men believe they can complain Black women into being better women or at least tear them down enough to feel better about themselves. Let me change that context and speak specifically about the Black men using social media to prop themselves up as mouthpieces for Black men. I’ll leave out the occasional rant because a random Black man is emotional about something that has upset him. That’s simply a rant, not a fake teaching lesson.
When dealing with the topic of Black women, these mouthpieces have this idea that they can—or perhaps need to—teach and “correct” Black women due to Black women being the creatures who need guidance. Guidance in what, however, still needs to be clarified because in the Black community, entrepreneurship is led by Black women, the workforce is led by Black women, higher education is dominated by Black women, Black women value monogamy and marriage more than Black men, parental responsibility is accepted 75% more by Black women, searching for spiritual guidance and emotional healing is more common for Black women, investing in oneself is drilled into Black women, racial pride is embedded deeper into Black women. Regardless of this, Black women are still conditioned to believe we are somehow lacking and not producing what’s required. This then further conditions Black women to strive for validation, despite being weighed down by our trauma, as opposed to Black men who are excused for their behavior because of their traumas and rallied around because of their struggle in an oppressive system.
So, what guidance can Black men offer? What guidance can be offered that will not center around Black women learning how to please and “support” Black men while we all languish in an oppressive system? What guidance are these mouthpieces assuming Black men naturally come equipped with? How can The Most High entrust the importance of guidance to a group of men who refuse to even admit to being partially culpable in creating single-parent homes?
Mouthpieces for broken men don’t often think critically, yet they consider themselves enlightening other men about the wayward Black woman. Honestly, these mouthpieces are merely conditioning Black men to think engaging in an emotional purge fest is the new norm as well as beneficial. Evidence of this is the repeated carbon copies I come across on all social media apps, which impressionable young people are routinely being conditioned by.
Under the delusion of “having an understanding of what's going on in the black community,” the mouthpieces feel they have the authority to chime in on a recycled punchline. There’s never anything new brought to the conversation, just the same ole’ stone-in-hand commentary about the "mistakes" that Black women continuously make.
Really, it’s not even a conversation. It’s an emotional purge fest, as I’ve stated before. Some of them even believe “real men” or "alpha males" are the only ones willing to speak on the issues. The problem with that assumption is they’re not speaking on anything more than feelings. They don’t dig deeper than what disturbs their feelings about a situation. They don’t consider why, what, when, or how unless they want to throw some “daddy issues” in the mix or mother’s passing down the same bad habits. They don’t consider stats and figures. They don’t consider the psyche and psychology. Instead, they give angles of facts overwhelmed by reactionary emotion to a society that targeted their identity and manhood long before their fathers were even born.
And none of this has anything to do with them being the ones who “understand things better” or being the ones who “care more about real issues.” This played-out dance has everything to do with Black men now being trained to be more “sensitive” and emotional than Black women. (Side Note: When some of these said mouth pieces worry about the effeminization of Black men, I’m not sold on the push being about turning Black men gay as they say, but more about making them the damsels in distress for the Black community.) Because instead of having a conversation about the community, they throw stones and kindle this war between the genders. When Black women disagree with their viewpoints, these mouthpieces will say Black women don't want honesty and don't know how to take criticism and correction. Be damn if it’s constructive information or that they don’t even remotely care about change, they just want Black women to learn how to take criticism and listen to an alpha male tell them about themselves.
Question: What has your "honest criticism" done except make you and pockets of other emotional Black men feel better in that moment?
All and all, here's the issue I have with this. I've yet to see anybody take everything into consideration before giving a lecture to Black women about their mistakes and hang-ups. These mouthpieces think they're helping Black women see the light and understand better. Unfortunately, they can't and probably never will be able to substantially help Black women because of their gigantic fault. These mouthpieces seem very eager to preach about the "wrongs" of Black women as if the "wrongs" have no beginnings and no justifications.
Right now, I know what some may be thinking after reading my last statement, which I worded purposefully. It sounds like I'm trying to make excuses for Black women's mistakes. On the contrary, I'm not even denying said mistakes or saying don’t address them. I’m only suggesting you consider the meat of the situation and not merely call out the shit it produces. You must figure out what caused the mistake, and just chalking it up to “Black woman syndrome” is bullshit and won’t help solve the problem you’re pretending to care about.
The result of calling out Black women's faults has only been fueling the gender war. No headway has been made in bringing about a change in the Black women these mouthpieces are claiming to teach. There has also been no building of true self-worth in those claiming to defend Black men. Degrading Black women doesn’t build Black men’s self-worth because the “growth” solely depends on bringing the Black woman down by knocking her pedestal away. In my book, that equals failure—only if you’re trying to teach and build self-worth.
One could be biased and assume this is why more women teach than men. It's easier for a "nurturer" to be a teacher than for a "hunter.” If a teaching method is not working, the teacher should find another method. Again, this is if the goal is to teach versus have an emotional purge fest and feel validated.
The examples I promise I’m getting to. First, I want to go back to that idea of "considering everything." Considering everything is but one hurdle to ending this gender war that's waging in and diminishing the Black social and "conscious" community. Another hurdle is defeating this desperation from both genders to prove that they are not the reason the actual community is so chaotic or to prove that it is really their gender trying to help the community. It’s becoming this process: "If we," speaking for one gender, "can prove the problem lies with them, we won't have to accept blame for this mess. We won't have to look at ourselves as the ones who need to change. And we’ll also prove that it’s us trying to help the community." Both genders feel this way, especially men. It’s their defense mechanism.
I say this because for every female YouTuber you can find who's speaking about the issues in the black community, there are another three to four male YouTubers who will drown her out while preferring to focus on Black women. And one could assume it’s because men care more about the community, but in my opinion, men just want to cry the loudest and most consistently. Most Black women are more about silent yet practical action for home, as history and current stats will back up. Then, when you look at the mouthpieces' content, you see that most of it is just emotional bullshit, which they claim to be logic and experience. But despite all this logic and experience, they all seem extremely limited because they tend to stick close to home with repetitive talking points, which boils down to the "illogical Black woman."
None of these mouthpieces ever believe they're buying into the long-running theme of trashing and blaming the Black woman because they believe they're just calling it as they see it. Often, they bring up the Moynihan Report, which was written to prove that it was not the government's responsibility to continue rectifying the national injustices that the Civil Rights Movement was fighting against at the time. After all, the problem with the Black community was not redlining, biased employment practices, limited educational opportunity, restrictions on political mobility, or the psychological effect those injustices forced upon Black people. The problem then and until this day has always been the Black women, according to the Black male mouthpieces and the Moynihan Report.
This situation boils down to black men's feelings, emotions, and egos. Mouthpieces refuse to believe this viewpoint, however.
Well enough of that. Now that we’ve established an idea behind why Black men have claimed this negative commentary movement as an opportunity to teach lessons to Black women and/or defend Black manhood let’s break down just two talking points commonly being used.
One talking point has been reinvigorated because of the recent “feminist push” with the Women’s Marches and the “MeToo” movement. The talking point is: “Black women were gamed by white women and the feminist movement. Black women sold out the Civil Rights Movement for their own ego and white women and ended up getting slapped in the face.”
Will I disagree with the fact that white women used Black women to push their own agenda? No, I will not. However, let's go back to that time and consider what was going on. First and foremost, we were fighting for our civil rights. At a time when the struggle was to feel equal and safe in this country, we started a movement to fight for the Black community. That was the mindset.
Now let's also remember who the backbone of the Civil Rights Movement was. Black women. It was Black women who organized the movement and energized it. Black women put in the most hours and drove most of the local level progress. It was Black women who outnumbered all at the protests and marches. Black women were most of the litigants in suits against the states and the ones attempting to vote the most despite the harsh reprisals. Black women kept the movement going, which stands to reason why it deflated when they left the movement. (The debate about the real agenda of the Civil Rights Movement some people have can be discussed in a later essay. I also will be going into full detail about the movement in my book “Reframing the Civil Rights Movement.”)
"Why does it matter who the backbone was?" you may ask. Simple. The movement was highjacked by Black men, who became the faces, loudest voices, and “real victims” of the movement. In hindsight, you can say Black women should have stayed with the Civil Rights Movement. You can also be narrow-minded and say Black women shouldn’t have been looking for glory, which they weren’t. However, we're considering everything right now.
Black women pushed the Civil Rights Movement, but men said, "Sit down. Men run this." The consensus was and still is that Black men are the targets, and Black women are merely collateral. After a while, that consensus shifted from Black women being collateral to being the real problem in the Black community. Once More, read up on the Moynihan Report and learn how talking points and opinions have yet to change about the real issue plaguing the Black community. Now, after being pushed from the forefront of a movement and then being scapegoated as the real problem in the Black community, up pops the second wave of the feminist movement.
Again, you can say Black women should have picked their people over their gender. You're Black First. Always. However, you're not dealing with robots or people brought up in a healthy, positive, and equally benefitable society. They were hurting, suffering, and being blamed while fighting for Black people. Obviously, anyone dealing with those issues might not be in their best emotional or mental state. (This is a remarkably similar response to Black men today.) To then be pushed aside and blamed, how could one be expected to react? How are we reacting now when we lay blame at each other’s feet?
Now let’s consider again who these beings were who reacted to being scapegoated. Black women are a group of people who have always had a history and an instinct to push back in whatever way we can. In this country, we are a group of people conditioned to fight and struggle. Understand the psyche we have, a psyche that at that time led Black women to push a movement of change courageously and tirelessly. When there comes a fight, Black women go in. For Black women, the fight shifted from equality and protection in the country to inclusion, loyalty, and protection in our own communities. Wrong timing and wrong way to handle the issue? I am willing to listen to you make your case. But here you have a beginning for their mistake, and I'm not shaming Black men. Black men had a reason for what they did also. Once you consider everything, racism, patriarchy, etc, it was basically inevitable.
When we break down this talking point, I think we get quite a different picture than most Black men paint of Black women selling out the community because they wanted to roar and government assistance. As I see it, while Black women played the steam for both movements, both Black men and white women played Black women as workhorses. Black men didn't make Black women feel as if they were part of the movement in which they orchestrated and actively participated for their children, their sisters, their men, and especially for themselves.
Many people believe the Civil Rights Movement started with Emmet Till’s mother in August of 1955 or Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in December of 1955, but 11-years before that Rosa Parks had started her social justice warrior fight on behalf of Recy Taylor, who was abducted and raped by a gang of white men. In December of 1955, Rosa Parks stepped up to initiate a boycott that had been repeatedly postponed due to the judgment of a Black man. Way back in March of 1955, a 15-year-old “single mother,” Claudette Colvin, had attempted to initiate the boycott with her trial for refusing to give up her seat, and the mastermind and heartbeat of the boycott, Jo Ann Robinson, was standing with her. Unfortunately, respectability politics, which had been decided by society and reinforced by Black men, concluded that Colvin wasn’t a good face for the boycott. Despite Black men being shot and killed by bus drivers, Black women being sexually assaulted by bus drivers, and both parties routinely jailed simply because of the bus driver's say, respectability politics kept Jo Ann Robinson from being able to lead the boycott with young Colvin as the face of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The need to fight was embedded in Black women regardless of “respectability” because everyday life for Black women at the time was a constant state of worry over their own bodies. Recy Taylor’s story in 1944 was the first to pick up national steam thanks partly to the Black-owned publication the Chicago Defender, but her story was not a random “one-off” occurrence. The abuse of Black women was so expected that Black women operated in society by passing down “tips” of how to numb themselves from the aftermath, knowing which roads to take, always having a few people to walk the roads with, and always having escape routes from random white men, employers, predators pretending to be potential employers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, and even police officers. In 1946 two officers were charged and convicted of rape after abducting a 32-year-old mother and raping her at gunpoint. The Civil Rights Movement was about more than wanting proximity to whiteness, defending Black men against white reprisal, and funneling money out of any of the legendary successful Black towns. Black women’s safety and sanity were also on the line, but because of things such as the Moynihan Report painting the narrative of Black women merely being collateral while at the same time being the “true Negro problem,” Black men relegated their allies to “support” because it was Black men who had to deal with society trying to tear away their dignity and manhood. Often their manhood was torn away when they had to bare witness to the crimes committed against their women and children, knowing if they attempted protection, they signed their death certificate.
Where Black women messed up was not keeping Black First. They didn’t take the time to realize the repercussions of their actions. They decided to believe people who were part of the group oppressing them would fight for their best interest more than Black men. Black women didn’t fight harder to work things out with their own before jumping ship. Fine, lay out our mistake. Black women must own that. If not, history will repeat itself, not unlike the plunge we’re taking into a “divest” movement. This move lays the foundation for eradicating the "Black American" (ADOS for definition sake) because it attempts to normalize "writing-off" a part of yourself on bad terms while thinking the generations to come will somehow find their way beyond the hostility that has been sown. The same split between our people is being manufactured and repeated, only now, more resentment is building.
Breaking away from each other is what caused this fracture in the community. Our era in history is now taking the fracture and creating a canyon. Is this response without reason? No. Will it amount to success or a higher/easier/happier functioning generation? No. Will it cost a lot to suck it up and figure out a way to rebuild ourselves for the bare minimum sake of survival? Yes. Is it, regardless of fairness, on the Black woman to nurture a more productive conditioning into the Black community? Yes, because Black women couldn’t stop exuding wisdom if we tried. It’s in our nature as the Original Woman. ... & if you don't want to be "extra," it's because mothers(women) are the teachers.
As far back as world history goes, “Black” women have a legacy of not being able to “sit still.” Even with the broken foundation and emotional trauma from America’s history, Black women cannot turn off the “Original Woman Essence.” And please note, this “trait” is not something beaten into the Black American woman. This is not the bastardized trope of the “strong Black woman.” In multiple cultures, countries, and eras of the entire historical timeline of richly melanated people, “Black” women have been the strong backbone of the civilization. It is why people follow our sway without us even attempting to influence people. It goes as far back as the matriarchal dynasties of ancient Africa. Black American women, though it is nothing to write off as cake, and though we deserve the opportunity to be treated delicately, we are merely living in our historical footprint of “Original Woman Essence.” Some eras are easier than others, and some eras need stronger beings than others. The question now becomes do you throw in the towel or does a better outcome for future Black American generations deserve your effort to correct course and not only survive but thrive?
Now certainly we can’t leave everything on the shoulders of our women, not when we need to reestablish manhood, Black men’s psyche, and Black men’s self-worth. We must also accept where Black men messed up so he can evolve and not repeat the same errors in history. Black men in the past messed up by relegating women to mere support for their fight. "I AM A MAN!" How many people even know the true efforts and reasoning of the women of the Civil Rights Movement? How many men are willing to give them credit without feeling like that would slap them in the face? Yes, Black men were targets. Yes, Black men had a lot of danger to deal with. Yes, Black men were dealing with a lot and needed support in a patriarchal society, so one could understand why they took the vocal lead in the Civil Rights Movement. One could understand why, in a patriarchal society, Black men would want Black women to play that support role. However, Black women weren’t just your support who brought collard greens to your meetings. Black women were your soldiers and riders in a war that involved the entire Black community.
That too continues to repeat itself, only now, Black men have been conditioned and beat down to the point where they won’t even take a vocal lead. Complaining about the problematic Black woman nor commentary on systemic oppression should ever be considered as taking a vocal lead. When comparing the vocal lead Black men took in the past, there was still action behind that voice. Black men, at a point, were willing to be the mouthpiece and inspiration for Black progression, and this “chess move” is what protected the women who led the action. Black men would become not only the voice, but they willingly became the target. Their vocal frontline facilitated an environment for the foot soldiers. Unfortunately, this move also left the stain of self-centered importance. The progressive steps being won stroked a sense of pride and manhood that was sorely needed. The only choice an oppressive system had to break the building blocks of manhood was to break the unity between Black men and women.
So how did Black men allow this unity to be destroyed? One of the most common points of breakdown is often given to welfare and the “no-man-in-the-house” rule. This point is usually brought up to squarely place blame on all Black women regardless that the welfare program was only for mothers. What’s not considered is Black mothers weren’t even allowed access to this relief program until the National Welfare Rights Organization stepped in in 1966. It’s also not taken into consideration that a Black man, George Wiley, started this organization because he wanted to help Black mothers feed and house the children of his community. It took ten years, from 1959-1969 for the Black poverty rate to fall from 55% to 32%, and the unemployment rate has always been well over the national recession rate of unemployment. Black women didn’t choose a “check” over having a man in the house. An oppressive system made Black mothers choose to feed their kids over having an “able-bodied man” in the house who was himself suffering the consequences of high unemployment, underemployment, and poverty. George Wiley and others understood that, and two years after the NWRO fought to make Black mothers eligible for assistance, the “no-man-in-the-house” rule was stripped.
Regardless of this fact, Black men now lambast Black women for breaking the family unit in pursuit of a check. Black men of today allowed the narrative to change because of a report that came out even before Black women had access to the welfare program. The timing of the Moynihan Report is three years before the dated end of the Civil Rights Movement. After the Civil Rights Movement, the era of the Black Panther Party followed, so it is obvious that the fight hadn’t been won. The attacks on the fight were also far from over. The manipulation of how we see our allies intensified, evident with how this country took on the BPP. Black men allowed their vision to be blurred on who was a true ally in their community and their organizations. This gave their true enemy free rein to beat them into submission.
Were Black men targeted to cause their value in a patriarchal society to drop? Yes. Does this reality groom the Black man’s defense mechanism? Yes. Does it help them to lash out at the group “in the shits” with them simply because the reality is too hard to cope with? No. Is it the responsibility of Black women to fix how this society treats Black men? No. Is it the responsibility of Black women to patch up Black men’s brokenness while pretending we have none that need healing? No, a broken person can’t heal anyone. Charging Black women with failing to speak life into Black men when Black women aren’t provided with an environment to do such is madness. Is it the responsibility of Black men to provide a safe, secure, and emotionally stable environment for Black women to nurture a more productive community? Yes, it’s a circle that feeds itself.
It must be remembered that it was power in the words spoken by those Black men of the past that allowed Black women to feel secure enough to be foot soldiers. I would be remiss, however, to leave the impression that the only action Black men took was to be the vocal targets when it was also the actions of those like Robert F. Williams of the NAACP and Ernest Thomas from the Deacons for Defense and Justice. The Black men of this caliber were the ones who had it out with supremacist groups and bigoted government agencies. Because of respectability politics in the past and stamping out the warrior spirit of today, these Black men are the ones written out of history. As the Black women litigated and organized, these Black men ran supremacist groups out of Black neighborhoods, kept burning crosses off Black lawns, and kept violence away from the protests—the ones which respectability politics didn’t keep them away from. Was it a utopia, and did the clashes end with total victory for Black people? No. However, it was the chapters of the Deacons for Defense and Justice all over the south who checked the supremacist groups, which police and government officials refused to do because they were part of those groups. Read the book “This Nonviolence Stuff’ll Get You Killed” and “We Will Shoot Back” to understand the untold pieces of the Civil Rights Movement.
Even with this, Black men then allowed this country to blame Black women because respectability and self-centered “manhood” were more important. Black men took for granted the “Original Woman Essence.” The struggle was on the entire Black community, and Black men hung Black women out to dry and started the breakdown that halted our potential to continue our pyramid building. Our elders built a pyramid of modern times, a social pyramid that is. The Pyramids of Giza are considered one of the greatest feats in human history. I link the Civil Rights Movement as a social pyramid because that movement built the country that draws everyone to its magnificence, and they built this social pyramid against opposition. The generations after should have built the second and third pyramids, but constant oppression has stifled us. How we see each other has broken us, which is on Black men because they are the ones routinely labeling Black women as the negro problem while our only problem seems to be a "bad attitude" as we continue to be the foot soldiers. (per the statistical evidence they deem inadmissible in these types of conversations.)
Each party should own what they did; otherwise, we’ll repeat the same issue: fighting for self and not each other. We have the benefit of history. I hope to add to our understanding of history with my books “Reframing the Civil Rights Movement” and “History Versus Us.”
Now we can finally move to the next example.
Another talking point that really gets to me is the whole narrative: "Black women continuously choose the wrong guys.” “They always want the bad boy who's no good for them, and then they want to blame all brothers for their poor choices.”
First, why are "wrong guys" a separate entity from Black men, yet Black women are all lumped together with the "choosing wrong guys" narrative?
Also, why is there never a plethora of open and honest lectures, man to man, telling Black men to become better choices for Black women?
The way I see it, there are too many "wrong guys" if Black women—and I’m picking up an implied “most”—are repeatedly choosing them. Are we to pretend that “wrong guys” are the only men with no problem getting women? Are we going to pretend it’s six “wrong guys” out here running amuck with hordes of Black women? I mean, what's the justification for saying so many Black women pick the wrong guy if there is an abundance of right guys?
Explain that fraction to me. If we imply that most Black women are picking the “wrong guy”—or enough of them to cause such a talking point—we would also have to imply that there are a lot of “wrong guys” out there. With the simple fact that, by nature, women outnumber men, one would estimate there would have to be a larger number of “wrong guys” to help further this narrative. Again, unless we’re saying “most” Black women go after the same six guys and then condemn the majority of Black men, who they’ve totally ignored.
Now we could stretch this narrative by stating that men make up 48% of the black population, so the population difference isn’t that great. However, we’d have to look at the age range and check how many available Black men are per age group. We’d also have to factor in those of our community who were born male but born as the wrong gender. That definitely cuts into the number of available men.
Per statistics, the numbers simply don't play in favor of Black women. Following the issue of nature, Black men have the highest incarceration rate. Most Black men are not incarcerated, but the massive incarceration rate helps drop the numbers for finding the “right guy” because men with any type of criminal record are out.
Black men have the highest unemployment rate. Most Black men are employed, but again the workforce dynamic in the black community helps drop the numbers for finding the “right guy” because men whose careers aren't matching or above are out.
Black men have the lowest percentage of college educated men. I’m not claiming Black men are uneducated, as I don't believe you need college to educate yourself. However, countless studies claim women with more college education than their men have a harder time finding love. With the college education gap between men and women in the Black community being the largest out of everyone’s, that helps drop the numbers for finding the “right guy” because lesser educated men are out.
Black men date interracially more than any other group of men. This is gathered from data compiled from court marriage licenses. We can’t say Black women don’t date interracially, but Black men do it twice the rate of Black women. That helps drop the numbers for finding the “right Black guy” because the self-hating coon is definitely out.
Black men also have a healthy percentage of gay men who will never be romantically involved with women, save for the DL brothers out there. This again drops the numbers for finding the “right guy” because homophobia got men out here scared to live in their truth and fucking up Black women's peace in the process.
All in all, the odds seem stacked against Black women for not finding one of those supposed six “wrong guys” just hanging out there for any and everybody to grab.
Also, statistics aren’t the only thing putting a chokehold on Black women finding the “right guy.” Black women have very conflicting guidelines for choosing the right man. Black women are expected to give Black men passes because of the disadvantages they face in society. Black men are targeted in the workforce, the justice system, and the school system.
So, if Black women don't give Black men who are unemployed or underemployed a chance, that's an issue because of how hard it can be for Black men to find work or be employed with "respectable work." It's been proven that regardless if a Black man has a degree, it would still be easier for a white man to get the job even if he dropped out of school and has a felony.
It's also an issue when Black women only want a man who comes with a certain wallet size, and I'm not talking about legit gold-diggers, like the white women whom wealthy Black men see as status symbols. Black men like to lump all Black women checking for wallets in the gold-digger category when she could just want her man to be the breadwinner and take care of her as society deems is the norm. This is something that happens in every other ethnic group; however, it's suddenly a problem and an extreme, a downright sin when Black women desire this norm.
Despite these two understandings, people are still quick to remind Black women that getting with an “unemployed or underemployed bum” who she must take care of is a poor choice.
Also, Black women are expected to understand the unfair treatment Black men face from the justice department. Just to name a few: Black men are being criminalized and funneled into the system; Black men are not punished equally under the law; the school to prison pipeline is a major issue; Black men face danger every time they're pulled over, and the risk of death or even jail time presents itself. Black women should understand how hard Black men have it. Yet we still say Black women are making a poor choice with the wrong guys who can’t stay out of jail or can't "grow" because of priors.
Which guys are we picking, “wrong guys” or Black men struggling under a suppressive system? Which description of Black men is the majority? Whichever answer you give is who Black women are picking because that’s who’s out here. Again, unless we’re saying most Black women pick the same six felonious, unemployed, less educated men.
At this point, and if any Black men are reading this, I feel they will think I'm attempting to talk down about Black men. They may feel as if I'm attempting to put them in a bad light. However, I'm not talking down about you. I understand why the prisons constantly funnel Black men into their system, and the difficulty Black men face in the workforce. Unfortunately, for your feelings, that does not change the slim numbers for Black women.
Black men must understand that they cannot be the targets, the ones who suffer the most, the “real victims,” and still be the ones providing for and holding the community together. Black men must accept the difference between understanding their situation and working with the women in the community to better it versus blaming women to ease their hurt feelings.
Before concluding this example, here's an add-on point for thought. How does it strike no one as odd that we will carry on rants about the system attacking our men, locking them away, killing them, holding them back in school with bogus ADHD tests, rigging the job market, all out targeting them for destruction and making it harder for them to be the patriarch, and we don’t include that in the reasons why Black women are least likely to get married? This has become a dangerous narrative of Black women being the least desired. This narrative builds psychological walls between Black men and women because instead of focusing on the destruction of our foundation, the narrative turns into a superficial one. The narrative turns into what is wrong with Black women to make them so undesirable.
"It’s Black women and their attitudes that make them undesirable. Black women aren’t as attractive as other women, so that’s why they’re the least desired. Black women are too controlling, demanding, and masculine, pushing men away. Black women don’t know how to love because of never having a father around." The list could go on with why Black women are alone in this country, which will always boil down to her.
We must be careful of trying to assign blame so quickly, and this is not to coddle or protect the egos of Black women. This is simply because it does more harm than good to throw blame and doesn't deal with the real issue. Black men being targeted will directly affect how Black women cope in this country.
If, in this patriarchal society, her patriarch is constantly being stifled, which leaves a heavier burden on her, her emotions will not be the healthiest. Her emotions affect her attitude. This is not an excuse. This is logic. The void left by the missing patriarch will cause a dynamic burdening the relationships between Black men and women. He wants her just to be the “support.” Her “support,” however, includes her playing a more involved role or taking up his slack completely. This affects mental and emotional health because Black women must find that balance of being an active partner and a support system. If she doesn’t, she’s the problem. Here you must keep in mind the workforce dynamic. Black women make up over 50% of our workforce, while men in every other “racial” group make up over 50%. This is not because Black women work harder or they are better than Black men. Black men are targeted, so Black women are left to deal.
Some mouthpieces will even say that Black women are colluding with white supremacy, which is why they have the highest workforce participation rate out of every group of women. This is an idiotic assumption because Black women are suffering under this dynamic. This is not the work of Black feminism. I personally conclude that because Black men are targeted, Black women must work more.
To deal with the claim of Black women not knowing how to love a man because of the father situation, I believe that is a valid claim in some cases, but this issue should push beyond assigning blame on victims who were conditioned to survive a spinning wheel. I also believe women have a deeper desire to be “attached” to someone. I also hear an implied notion that Black men innately know how to love Black women regardless of their upbringing, which I don’t believe. I believe because of this deep desire to be “attached” to someone, men can get away with more than they should, and they can manipulate women into believing that giving into patriarchal rewards is how to get someone to stay “attached” to them. Being the patriarch is how men are taught to “love,” while being “attachable” is how women are taught to love. We can dress it up with fancy wording and describe all kinds of emotions and sentimentalism, but this is the nitty-gritty as far as I’m concerned. How we love each other is completely compromised because both the patriarch and the idea that Black women are attachable are routinely being conditioned out of the community. To sand it all down to Black women not knowing how to love and driving men away is simply another form of scapegoating the Black woman.
Having no choice but to live in a system that conditions us to put the women to work, go to school, and take care of the babies because the man is targeted, all while feeding us this fantasy of normalcy that we can’t take part in, will damage our collective psyche. None of us will behave emotionally or mentally healthy. Black women contribute to their community more than any other women, yet our men refuse to believe that and would prefer to show us our faults because we don’t deal with them as other women do with their men. And these are faults that are emotional reactions caused by the same tangible threat targeting them.
I can’t say Black men don’t struggle. I can’t say Black men aren’t villainized by society as well as Black women. I can’t say Black men have no reason to behave in the manner they do because they are reacting to the same society I am. But I won’t claim to call them out on their shit is an attempt to make them better.
In my conclusion, no. No, Black men cannot enlighten Black women because they are too busy making sure a negative light falls on Black women. They do this while ignoring the cause of the “negative actions.” This causes them to have emotional purge fests, which feeds a broken man’s ego while tearing down his war comrade.
If you, as a Black man, want to help and the problem is Black women are picking the wrong guys, your lectures should be teaching men how to become better choices for Black women. If you are trying to teach Black women, you obviously have a desire for Black women to follow the teachings of Black men. If that is the case, there should not be such a high number of “bad choices” that would cause this “wrong guy” epidemic. That means enough of you, Black men, aren’t someone who needs to be followed. I’m sure Black men believe a woman can’t teach a man how to be a man. I believe that as well, and I also believe a man can’t teach a woman how to be a woman. That leaves Black men to teach these wrong guys how to be better choices, which would condition women to believe Black men are worthy of leading.
Moving on to the issue of Black men wanting Black women to learn from our mistakes, i.e. leaving the community to fight another’s fight. It would be wise not to only focus on the mistake. Understand why that mistake was made and find a better solution than merely calling Black women illogical and over-emotional creatures. The only thing you can teach us from your insults is how to harden ourselves against you. Your approach could quite possibly work on men. If you want to teach other men by not caring about how they take what you have to say, then by all means harden their feelings all you want. If you want your women “softer,” teach us as if our feelings are fragile. Our attitudes are already considered a problem. Do you want to add to it by not caring how we take your criticism? Is it more important to put women in their place or more important that we understand your concerns in a healthy manner?
Black women are not imbeciles. Black women are not trying to dominate Black men. Black women are the foot soldiers and backbone of the community. This has been proven repeatedly if we gave a damn to pay attention to history versus feelings from designed propaganda. However, if you see us as the weaker beings who need help and guidance, you need to remove the pressure placed on us to hold down the community while society continues to target you. If you can’t ease that pressure, find a way to support us. That’s how Black men can help Black women.
Unfortunately, Black men don’t see it this way. So, they can't help Black women.