Sunday, May 31, 2009

Today's Black Male/Female Dynamic: What's really going on?

This entry is in regards to something that I've noticed for a while, but failed to speak on previously. Maybe it was because I didn't want to see a problem, or possibly because I thought it was no big deal & that it wasn't that prevalent. However, recent events and observations have me rethinking that, so I have to talk about it.

IMHO, there seems to be a decline in the level of respect shown to black women by black men. (Now, before I go further, let me say that I am in no way saying that the level of respect for our males is up to par either; however, being that I am not on the receiving end of that, I cannot speak on it as I can this issue.) Some of the comments that I've heard & read from black men concerning black women are truly disconcerting. From crude, degrading and unwanted commentary concerning physical traits and sexuality, to actually assaulting (verbally AND physically) a woman for turning down advances... It makes one wonder what has taken place for so many of our young men to treat "their" women that way?

I question whether we, black women, have had a hand in this depletion of integrity in some of our men by not standing up for ourselves at the first sign of disrespect. And trust, this is not a case of someone pointing fingers. I know there have been times when things were said in my presence, about myself or about other women, that were out of line. I should have said something, let it be known that it wouldn't be tolerated. But I kept silent; even worse, sometimes I laughed just so I wouldn't cause a problem. Maybe I should have. Maybe someone should be willing to cause a problem to show what is and is not acceptable. Perhaps if someone had said, "That's not cool" and explained why, some young black man would think twice about the words he chooses to describe black women. If I'd done it, maybe I could have prevented something from being said or done by my male friends that another female found offensive.

And it could be that they are taking their cues from the way we treat each other. If we constantly tear down and berate each other, should we really be surprised when they do it? If we can't value ourselves, how can we expect them to do it for us? We should be more united than we are, which of course is easier said than done; but it's still necessary.

I am not absolving anyone of anything. Everyone has a decision to make as to their words, actions and attitudes. But the real question now--more important than the why of it all-- is what can we do about it?

There is so much more I want to say, but right now I just can't. There may be a Part II soon. I'd really like to hear feedback on this though.

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