The Bridge: We Think, Therefore We Are
By Darryl James
We think (bad about ourselves), therefore, we are (bad to each other).
African descendants in America may not be aware of salient political issues, but we sure do love to discuss relationship issues–purely from a position of blame. “What’s wrong with (insert Black men or Black women here)?”
Open a discussion on the minute details of ObamaCare and five people and some crickets will show up. Speak on relationships and the discussion will get hot! Sadly, people aren’t really into discussing alternate views, but in proving that what they think about the other gender is true (whether it is or not).
Americans in general have changed the ways in which we find each other as a society, while Blacks think it is only us. And then we point to the worst of us to indict the whole of us and to imply that the bad people within the other gender are the reason for our individual inability to find love.
Whites, Asians and Hispanics understand that it’s just hard for good people to find each other, but Black people blame each other across the gender divide as though we dislike each other, and sadly, it’s becoming a self-fulfilling prophesy for more and more of us. We’ve become divided and it has nothing to do with white people–just us.
For example, we hear the complaints that there are more Black women in college than Black men, but guess what? There are more white women than white men in college.
And what of the Black men in prison piece? White men are in greater numbers (and percentages) in prison as recidivists and for horrible crimes against humanity. White women also fear that white men are down low (although they don’t use that term, more white men are gay than any other group), child molesters and violent in the home (statistics prove they are more prolific in these pursuits). A growing pool of white males are failing and circling the drain, because America is. Yet, there is no mass exodus from the white community, regardless of how much our race thinks that their men or women are dating us–they fix, we flee, we focus…on them…
As a race, we have allowed propaganda and unresolved issues from the past (individually and as a race) to divide us in public as both genders point fingers.
We are so divided that we talk at each other without even listening. We ask to be heard, but fail to return the favor. As an example, I respond to the things I hear Black women say about Black men in the media, because, well, because I’m a Black man. The overwhelming response I get from Black women is that I’m angry or that I hate Black women. The only two responses that are accepted without such charges are silence and acquiescence–no strong Black woman should EVER want a Black man to deal with issues this way. Yet, if I curse or speak strongly, people act like it’s a problem–even though they curse regularly themselves.
Too many Black men have failed to stand up as men, allowing our people to fall because it is simply too damned hard to keep facing people who hate you because they disagree with you, not recognizing that there is freedom in not giving a shit. We no longer need to march in the streets, but we do need to stand up for our children and protect our image–even from ourselves. And, we need to define ourselves, rejecting definition from ANYONE–including our women.
It’s been said that the key to the demise of any people is through the female and many Black women don’t like hearing that–even when it comes from other Black women. But when you forget how much power you wield over men, that power is easily used against you and your men. You don’t have power over a man because you have a vagina, you have power because you can capture a man’s heart, give him a family and change his focus to protector because he has a reason to protect, not because you say that he should protect you as you place yourself and he in danger.
In differing ways, we need to protect each other. Back to back, us against the world, individually and communally. But instead, we stand as individuals and judge each other for not doing what we think the other should do.
But being judgmental over nothing is one of our greatest wedges of division. Instead of searching for common ground to unite as a community, to become friends or to even date, we search for irrelevant differences and then we judge and dismiss. We spend a great deal of time focusing on the white community, yet we fail to do the things they do that WORK.
The now former governor of California is a staunch Republican, but he married into the most staunchly Democratic family in the history of our nation–the Kennedies. Yet, if one of us is Republican instead of Democratic, spiritual instead of Christian, Buddhist instead of Islamic, we are promptly judged and dismissed.
I’m not angry or jaded about all Black women–only Black women who see Black men in a negative light and I don’t think that is all or even most Black women. I love Black women and the only problem I have is when a Black woman sees Black men through the media and statistics, because I am not a statistic.
I don’t see Black women as statistics.
I don’t see Black men as statistics.
I refuse to allow our children to be viewed as statistics in ANY discussion.
Honestly, the greatest problem we have is that we have changed the ways in which we view each other, which dictates reality for us as individuals who embrace such reality.
Malcolm X said it and it’s still a mandate that we need to embrace or become irrelevant: “We have to change our minds about each other.”
Otherwise, we will continue to become irrelevant.
We need to understand that we really don’t have to exist.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Now, listen to Darryl live on BlogTalkRadio.com/DarrylJames, relaunching on Sundays from 6-8pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at firstname.lastname@example.org.