Friday, September 17, 2010

Best Pickings

Sista, this
This is not the time or place
To be throwing a tantrum
What was was, yes
And if anything's going to be
It will be the fact that
You learn to make wine
Out of store brand grape juice
You're resourceful that way
Or did you forget?....

A White woman was speaking to a group of angry Black women on the subject of Black men choosing her over them. Most anglo-saxons, particularly females, tend to avoid this type of confrontation. But this one wasn't stepping down or moving to the side. She held her own by reminding the sistas that it's the brothas who pursue her; that if anything, their anger should be directed at them. "But ask yourself this question", she said. "What is it about me that he finds more appealing? And don't give me that crap about long hair and alabaster skin! Not when you can buy the illusion and put on the bleach. It's even deeper than that. More to do with Black men needing to feel like kings; the kind of nurturing many of them didn't get from their mothers. When he speaks, I listen. When he tries to speak to you, you cut him off and say what? 'Nigga, please!' But you resent me for being the one who allows him to be himself. I'm not your bitch. Don't put your sht on me!

Even now, I have to speak thru a Black man just so you can focus on the message and not the color. But I watch how you cut him down, behind your doors and in the boardroom. You despise him. You resent him. But you don't know him. If you did, you'd know that toning it down doesn't mean losing your queen status. You'd know that the empowerment of females doesn't mean disempowering males. Those of you who have that softer touch aren't threatened by me. In fact, you're open to crossing over because you've come to a place where you no longer place limitations on yourselves and your options. But it's she. The sista with the fist up who won't even learn how to cook him a good meal, so busy wanting to be wined n dined. But what have you done for him lately? And don't say you give up the nani because nani's overrated. Fifteen standard minutes of getting your eyes to roll back can't compare to holding the little boy in him and whispering in his ear,

"This is to mother you
To comfort you and get you through
Through when your nights are lonely
Through when your dreams are only blue
This is to mother you

This is to be with you
To hold you and kiss you too
For when you need me I will do
What your own mother didn't do
This is to mother you

All the pain that you have known
All the violence in your soul
All the wrongs you have done
I will take from you when I'm done
All mistakes made in distress
All your unhappiness
I will take away with my kiss
I will give you tenderness

For I am so glad I've found you
Although my arms have always been around you
Sweet baby, although you did not see me
I see you

And I'm here to mother you
To comfort you and get you through
Through when your nights are lonely
Through when your dreams are only blue
This is to mother you."*

There're times when I feel guilty for being the object of his affection and the focus of your outrage. But not anymore. Not even when you cut your eyes at him whenever you see us arm in arm and in love which is the point you often miss. It's not always about the objectification of the Black man, but you do it. In your Tyler Perry minstrel shows. It's not always about the Black dik, but you do it. Every time you tell him to shut up and just perform. And it's not always about White females getting the best pickings, if you tell him at the age of five to man-up and stop his crying. I'm not your bitch. Don't put your sht on me!

Author's note: I'm an educator and I write books for and about marginalized Black youth. My first project, a help guide for Black teenage girls. I know a lot of nurturing, wonderful and attractive Black women who deserve "the best pickings". But I do meet and advise sistas who fit the image this White woman is referring to. And, my dear sistas, when we brothas get together without y'all around; when we feel free and safe enough to express our innermost feelings (we generally believe we cannot in your presence), we do tell each other how everyone else is more nurturing and supportive to us than you. If any of you are put off by this, then you're only confirming what we believe in private. That you don't take constructive criticism well, that you can't handle the truth and that's why we lie. Sometimes to ourselves, just to keep the peace. But those of you who are willing to listen to a different perspective can stop the generalizing by making a difference. If you have a husband, boyfriend or potential partner, I challenge you to set some time out with him tonight in a quiet, private, loving space. If you have chidlren, find a sitter. We need your total attention for this.

Now, brothaman is most likely going to be caught off guard and be a bit cautious, especially if you've never done this before. If you're the type that tends to cut him off when he speaks, don't be surprised if he thinks it's a set up. So be easy as you begin to explain why the two of you are here. Try to be casual about it. Something like, Babe, (or whatever endearing term you use for him) listen to this... The point of this exercise is not to share YOUR feelings because it won't be about you. Control your desire to control the conversation. This is all about him feeling like he can express his emotions. His way.

Timing is everything, so if there're other matters that may interfere with the flow then it may be best to save it for later. But when the mood is right; when the both of you are in that zone where intimacy (not sex) and harmony are at their best, hold him close to you and the intention which, again, is to allow him to reveal his child to you. Not his macho or provider/protector role, but his self. While you're reading, let him interject, if he wants to or just let him process. Have fun with it. But don't give him any indication that you're completely at odds with the message. You may very well be, and that's you're right. But it's not about you right now, remember?

In the end, you want to be sure to ask the following key questions-- Do you think I'm controlling?...Am I a nurturing person?...Do I come off bossy?...Do I cut you off when you speak? I love you and love us, and I want to make sure you're happy." Like I said, if he's not used to you being this interested in him, he'll need a moment to regroup; maybe ask you what is this really about? Depending on how connected y'all are, to begin with, will determine what happens from there. If your love is beyond sex and superficials, then the convo should go smoothly. The two of you may very well engage in some good lovin' afterwards with a loud appreciation for your being sensitive to his own feelings. If your union is based on what he does for you and how you look, then this can be an opportunity for the both of you to reconsider your priorities, especially if there're children involved. Because the war between genders begins in kindergarten; subtle inuendos kids throw at each other that were once merely sitcom laugh lines and bedroom jabs-- lazy good-for-nothing, golddigger, he should know, she's always complaining, simple, silly, faggot, ho, nigga, bitch... They play this type of dress up all the way through high school when they no longer trust each other, but feel forced to deal with one another for society or fam-sake until one of them either screams or flees.

When all is said and done, remind each other that Black people still suffer from post-slavery syndrome, that politics do enter the bedroom and that there's a reason why so many brothas prefer long hair and light-skinned sistas. Not only out of historical scars, but from more current media and fashion trends that dictate how we look at one another and ourselves. Some of us are beginning to recognize the self-loathing in our language and ways, but our music videos say we still got a ways to go.

There's also this rumor about Black men prefering White women cos they don't mind domination. But that's not a lovestyle. That's control, self-esteem issues, and a chic who doesn't yet know her name.

Look, a blonde is still like carrying the American Express card! We think she'll help open doors that you can't. Other brothas turn to White for solace, not realizing they're only setting themselves up for a parent/child relationship. She'll have her turn at fidgeting in her seat as she reads these here words, while you and I nod that universal pan-african nod that keeps us from killing each other altogether. So let's consider this too-- Why is it that when brothas crossover they lose their Black? Their African? They're not even men anymore, but safe, little boys who need White mama to tell them what to do? When you can't feel like a king with your sista but accept being treated like a child by a White woman, the issue is no longer whether or not Black women are nurturing enough towards Black men but what's going on with him? The individual without the Black collective? Might sound a bit raw, but how many times have we seen this script played out? Or does it come down to power and control? Who gets to keep the Black man in check and who gets to reconstruct him?

When all is said and done, it's not about White women stealing good Black men from Black women or, for that matter, Black women who date outside of their race, but Black men being allowed to live their lives fully and authentically, and to be celebrated for daring to do so.

*Sinead O'Connor


Anonymous said...

Wow, that's is really deep. Thank you, a true lesson in what it really means to be intimate with a man *black* or otherwise. Thanks too for the Sinead reference.
Fellow Sojourner! DK-Mucuha

K. Koromantee said...

Thanks back. i appreciate any feedback on issues we tend to avoid, yet are on everyone's mind.