Musings in the Dark: Who's Responsible?


Who's Responsible?

Disclaimer:  When I use the term “black men” and “black women,” I specifically mean the collective and not the individual.  Not all brothers or sistahs exhibit the behaviors that I’m speaking of.  In fact, I personally don’t know any black men who do.  Sadly, I know women who do some of what I’m about to describe.

So my bff and I were talking about relationships and husbands and significant others and the like.  She’s going through some things in her personal life, and I’m her sounding board.  Granted, there’s little I can tell her in the way of marriage, but I do offer a unique perspective.  Anyhoo, she recited an instance in which a woman complimented her husband.  Her frustration lay in the fact that the woman, with whom she’s familiar, chose to do this at a time when she and their son were not present; in spite of having many times to do so when she is.  Her husband told her that the woman claimed to be so impressed to see him in church, and always looking so nice.

Our church is full of nice-looking black men, but she made it seem like he was a fucking unicorn.  I felt that the woman was trying to hit on my bff’s hubby.  My bff thought so too.  She said, “I know that we should be uplifting the black man and all that, but why couldn’t she have complimented him when I was standing beside him?”

I said, “Why is it expected of us (black women) to uplift the black man when they don’t uplift us?”  We are not responsible for the insecurity of our brothers.  We are dead last on the pole of upliftedness, and even though we are, there are some of our own who are willing to tear us down through some misguided sense of loyalty to men first.  Someone on FB, a woman and an advocate of Steve Harvey’s bullshittery, believes that he offers a beneficial perspective that some women refuse to listen to.  You’re damned right some of us do.  What perspective can a thrice-divorced not-very-funny comedian offer a woman on what to do to get a man?  As if being boo’ed up or wifed up is the most important thing in this world.  And as if he’s got all the answers on understanding what women truly want.  Black women aren’t a monolith, but everyone wants to treat us as such.

The point I’m trying to make is that it’s not the black woman’s responsibility to uplift the black man.  That should be something they do on their own.  I understand that the real point my bff was trying to make was that within the confines of a committed relationship, both parties should uplift each other.  That makes total sense.  But I hear this us uplifting them tripe from single and married women, and they sincerely believe that if they support everything a black man does, that they will be loved and accepted by them.  All you have to do is read the paper or go on the internet and you’ll see that the opposite holds true.  There are black men on YouTube and in every form of media that openly spit vitriol about black women with such vehemence that it’s disgusting...and to think they came from black women and are the fathers of black daughters. 

Why should sistahs support men who would kick us to the curb for a Becky in a hot second?  Why should we uplift men when it’s far more important to uplift ourselves?  No one will rush to our defense; our tears don’t work on the masses; we’re left to raise the kids; we can’t afford to break down…you’d think that sistahs would come together and elevate one another.  But we don’t.  We are truly a house divided, one which is destined to fall.

The black men I know are good and family-oriented.  All of them are married to black women, and I’ve never heard (or seen) any instance of them demonstrating dislike for any sistah.  And from the women who are their wives have mentioned that elevation comes from both sides of the union; not just one.   I’m of the belief that this applies to most men; it’s the 10% who do the opposite that garner the attention.  Just like it’s the sistahs that follow the stereotypes others have of black women are the ones most likely to get the attention, simply because they perpetuate the myth.  Those of us who don’t live the lives described in hood lit, on reality TV, or anywhere else, will never get noticed.

Likely it’s these same men who need selfless soundboards that are quick to blame “The Man” for bullshit they themselves have done or caused.  They always find fault or manage to blame someone else for their failures.  They can’t accept the fact that they’re responsible for their own lives, and those of the families they may have.  It’s always someone else’s fault, and the woman in his life, if she doesn’t agree or support him, is betraying him.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for supporting men (and women) who actively seek to live better and have no problems elevating themselves.  But to expect me to do it for them is to ask for a whole lot.

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  1. Why is it expected of us (black women) to uplift the black man when they don’t uplift us?” We are not responsible for the insecurity of our brothers. We are dead last on the pole of upliftedness, and even though we are, there are some of our own who are willing to tear us down through some misguided sense of loyalty to men first.

    Million-dollar question, boo-boo.


    And anyone blaming black women or anyone else for things they aren't doing anyway, isn't a real man.


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