Blavity, Gender Norms Do Not Kill Black Love…You Do.

By:  H.T., Podcast: Kuroi And Youth

Blavity is back again with another article trying to give its intellectual hot takes on why black men & women don’t love each other.  If you ask me, it’s because some men need to grow the fuck up and mature and some women need to stop chasing a dream and just accept that there are good black men out here, but most aren’t the “carefree” black boys they claim to love so much.  But of course, here’s a few excerpts from the article and my response.

It’s 2017 and #MenAreTrash.  There is a clear divide between genders over R. Kelly’s sexual assault allegations where men argue for Kelly and his girlfriends to be left alone and women urge that the young girls are being held hostage are sex slaves.  Rapper Kodak Black received large dispute after saying he’s not attracted to black women because they are too angry, and because of Serena’s marriage to white Reddit CEO, Alexis Ohanian, black men feel chose over.  In all of our exhaustion with the opposite gender, we still look for love- black love, specifically- and support within our counterparts.

Ok, I’ll admit that I have argued with John Pennymon about R. Kelly, but that’s ONE GUY.  A lot of you go on Twitter seeking out arguments with these kinds of guys to fulfill some sort of need for self-righteous indignation.  Really, these guys aren’t going to change and that’s the brass tax of things.  Which leads to the issue of guys like Kodak Black and the ones mad about Serena Williams marrying a white guy.  Guys like Kodak are easy to see through:  they’ve spent their whole life being made fun of for being dark and having unattractive features so now they simultaneously took out their anger and self-loathing via their dating choices.  Also, the guys hurt by Serena being with a white guy were just insecure guys that didn’t like that they were attracted to a woman that was physically stronger than them.  That’s it.  Doesn’t make it right, but it’s the truth.

With time only moving forward, we have set high expectations for where we should be as a race, as our respective genders, and as blacks in love.  Despite what we expect, not much has really changed in regards to our perspectives on the opposite sex and the way in fact we view ourselves.  Both have a lot to do with why we can’t find happy love anymore, and more specifically why we can’t be in healthy intra-racial relationships.

Our fears, our identity, and sense of love have been both impacted and hampered by white American impositions which tell us how we should regard black people and gender roles.  Compared to the rest of the world black folks live differently and love differently; and our experience with gender roles is, in fact, different.  Our outlook on love and communication is shaped by our systematic experiences, our intimacy with black culture, and even our familiarity with gender norms, among other things.  It’s 2017, and world wide there is a spring of bold minds speaking up for their right to define what gender norms mean to them.  It is also the first time in our millennial history that we experience the global uplift of black unity and sanctity first hand.

Im just gonna say this now:  that’s not all black people.  Hell not all black millennials are like this.  Fact is, most of the so called “ashy” black people are the ones who were raised in traditional ways, saw your false utopia dream and boom, decided they’d rather stay a deplorable than follow a trend.  A lot of black millennials aren’t pressed to feel like their grandfathered into being victims.  A lot of us live good happy lives while recognizing that, yeah, some shit is a bit fucked up.  But you’re not smarter for noticing that there are systems set up that harm the disenfranchised.  That’s just life.

While race and gender cross for every person, the black experience of the intersectionality between the two is completely different from that of a white person’s experience.  The expectation of blacks to prescribe to gender standards that relate to the white American experience is simply unfair; and the resentment that lingers because these expectations have gone unmet is what keeps us from holding healthy relationships with others and ourselves.

No, this is what YOU want.  See, the average black millennial has no real issue with gender roles.  People like this took one or more classes in college or read some Tumblr blog and now assume this is the case for everyone.  The gender standards that you don’t like are your problem and not the sole reason why black people don’t date each other.  If anything, black people who think like this are better off dating outside their race as frankly a lot of black people stick to traditional gender norms.  I’m just saying.

In the 1990, author Deborah Tannen wrote the debatable book You Just Don’t Understand! that elaborates on each gender’s learned practices.  In the book, Tannen declares that men in America are typically raised to be proactive problem solvers.  The text says they suppress their emotions and are trained to focus on working independently to resolve issues.  Women, according to her, have been raised to be nurturers:  empathetic, expressive, and desiring of community in which they can relate to each other for comfort and resolution.  This sort of dialogue is generally false and problematic.  America’s understanding in accordance with these generalizations of gender behavior has left black men and women especially to approach emotions in unbalanced manners.  If a woman is angered and wants to take out her aggression physically, she is told it’s not lady like- and she is discouraged from doing so.  When a man is crying, he tells us he’s okay even if it’s not, because “men don’t cry.”  These practices hinder black people especially.  We are not typical.

Look, the 90s were a weird time.  A year after this book came out I was born and clearly no one around me took heed.  Also, those norms work when you think about it.  One group protects and fixes shit, the other cares for their wounds and needs.  It’s called a symbiotic relationship.  Something this generation forgot when we were given so much shit just to make us feel special.  Also, stop saying this hinders black men and women just because it doesn’t fit into your Williamsburg-Coachella narrative.  This kind of thinking is why all those hippies joined the Children of God cult; because they were so desperate to just get away from the hedonism they indulged in the name of rebellion, they let an old preacher lead them right back into what they ran from.  Yes, you are very typical and difficult.

Yes, generally our men still want to be problem solvers and our women empathetic.  In the same breath, our women are also fixers and our men need empathy too.  When we follow American gender roles, especially with our trauma and experiences, our struggles with suppressing emotion sometimes seep out through acts of self belligerence or harm against our loved ones.  Challenged by our understanding of how a boy or girl is supposed to behave versus what is instinctual for us, we have experienced great struggle in navigating self love and love for others.

The exhausting battle of the sexes is even more harmful within the black community.  Living by American gender standards in combination with our black experience is often how our understanding of love and communication is skewed.  When our partners can not deliver on our expectations, we lose faith and ask “Why can’t we find any good men,” or lament that there are no “real women”  any more.  Both responses encourage a resentful alienation of intraracial dating.  For our partners living the black experience, we sometimes uphold behavioral ideals and standards that are unfair to who they are in that moment.  It is important to keep in mind that we, as blacks, deal with incomparable, deep-rooted trauma, that affects each gender differently, let alone each person.  Self-love and relationships with others is the first place in which we see how our peers handle their traumatic experiences.

Again, where are you getting this idea that black people all grow up facing such grueling racism.  I’m not saying racism is dead, I’m saying that unless you grew up dealing with the cops fucking up all the time or people being an actual hindrance to your life, don’t sit here and tell me you faced traumatizing racism.  These tend to be the kinds of black people who think because they grew up dealing with trolls saying fuck shit to them, their life was Mississippi Burning.  Grow up and get therapy.

Our media image of the black women circumscribes her experiences to being unable to find love, being extremely callous, and solely accountable for her misfortunes.  As strong as she is, the rest of the world, including black men, have alluded that her maverick demeanor is the reason why she is alone.  In the case of black love this is an unfair  assumption.  Although black men want to be providers, often they are not fairly equipped with the necessary tools to do so.  Whether it be within education, occupation, or in a familial sense (like nurturing their own mental health,) black men have often been deprived of the resources that America blindly says all men should have access to.  In outcome, they are not able to nurture these facets of their lives and they may be looked over by the black woman who is supposed to equally partner with them.  A black woman who does not feel like she is matched in companionship may downplay her partner’s validity.  Also known as “I can do bad all by myself.”

And you all fucking watch it.  Don’t lie.  Mona Scott Young is about to start up another spin off of Love & Hip Hop because you FUCKING WATCH IT.  Also, there are men with the money, education, occupation and maturity to foster relationships.  Fact is, for one reason or another, you all don’t always give them the time of day.  This isn’t my “black women only want the bad boys” argument, it’s that you literally demand a guy out of a fucking movie.  You want him to have a good job, highly intelligent, and look like a model.  Looks, I’m sorry but even the men you DON’T argue all the time with know you can’t have it all.  Seriously.

The black culture has familiarized themselves with the black woman’s “Move Nigga, I’ll do it myself,” behavior.  She manifests self-love through survival, without restraint to abandon anything that threatens her legacy, and she teaches this value to her children.  This woman raises all of her youngins to be unapologetically independent.  Her commitment to survival has both gotten her to where she is, and it has also exacerbated her battle in balancing her vulnerability and sense of protection.  The suppression of her emotions, or the outpour of them are places where you will likely see this battle.

Yah know, Tariq Nasheed & Jason Black say this kind of shit all the time and catch hell.  But let some Shea Butter Solange fan say it and suddenly she’s onto something.  Hypocrisy much?

This is not to be confused:  black women are not unlovable, nor are they ignorant to what sweet love is like.  Black women however, have to fight harder to bask in their sense of self love inwardly and outwardly, because so often they have been used, abused, denied and taken advantage of.  She has anger and justifiably so.  To love a black woman, the man needs to be understanding of her struggle, and respect that not every day in her black body will she be peaceful amidst a storm.  This can easily be mirrored for a black man.

Bullshit.  Black women can be loved, it’s just impossible to love THIS kind of woman.  Ask any man of any race that just wants a drama free relationship, they’ll tell you, there’s no reason to make themselves suffer for love.  Call me a coon if you must, but I know a lot of black people who love each other or other races and don’t have this problem.  This is an individual issue you are trying to spread across all black people.

The gender standards that we have grown up with, in ways set back this harmony.  White American ideologies of masculinity influence men to stifle their emotions and dictate the behaviors of women; doing things like judging her for her sexuality and in the same breath engaging in infidelity or disregarding a woman’s rights to her own body.  The global village has acknowledged and addressed behavior like this with tropes like “men are trash,” and still we fail to recognize why trash men have these thoughts in the first place.

It’s called standards, miss.  I’m sorry, but guys typically aren’t gonna chase and adore the girl that’s clearly jockeying for attention from other men.  Ain’t even about sex really.  A man can ignore if his woman fucked a few other guys, it’s the attention that drives us up a fucking wall.  Men are trash to you because we don’t just roll over and accept that if we love a woman with this particular mindset, and thus divide arrives.  It’s not trash men vs good women.  It’s women who want to have their cake and eat it too vs men with standards who aren’t going to just gump out.

The values that are maintained by this society surrounding gender, only perpetuate lies and internal conflicts for each individual.  Following these norms when they do not fit, mask our true selves and suffocate our relationships.  We as black couples especially need open sense of communication, in order to better understand ourselves and to guarantee a strong partnership with each other.  Unfortunately, we run from this vulnerable communication in fear that it will unmask painful truths about ourselves.  Wilson says that we love people that help us escape our realities.  We keep people around that embrace our masks and love our self aggressions.  When black men intentionally choose not to date black women, they are not running from her bitterness, they are running from required communication and truth of self.  Black men that avoid dating black women are looking for their own internal peace, and have estranged themselves from what they believe to be is existential pain.  Non-black women offer the empathetic and nurturing traits of a woman- without the accountability or opening of Pandora’s boxes that comes with dating a black woman.  All the same, when a male counterpart requires his black partner to be vulnerable, it can be triggering for her, reminding her of past experiences where her vulnerability had been taken advantage of.  Both sexes challenge themselves when engaging in black love, as nourishing as it can be to water the garden, breaking through the concrete on top is painful.

Again, this isn’t all black women.  I know plenty that don’t have these kinds of issues.  Also, black men don’t ALWAYS date interracial to run from something.  Sometimes that’s just who the fuck you meet.  I can date a woman that has past issues, but at this point, you’re expecting me to hop in an animus and relive centuries old trauma you inherited.  Not fucking fair really.

We are reflections of one another.  So, whether that is operating out of fear or love, the intolerance of the countering gender’s downfall within our race is, in a sense, an intolerance of ourselves.  Love is to have the patience, respecting each other’s feelings and understanding that your counterpart still deserves to be treated with care, even when he or she can not present that for themselves.  We have to learn to be kind to ourselves as well, and tap into the powerful feminine energy-  a civil right that the patriarchy has forever tried to revoke from both men and women.  In doing this, we would see that we deserve to be heard, respected, and understood.  We also deserve the truth from our counterparts, who may point out areas in which we need to grow.

We should accept and give healthy love wherever it comes.  Be gentle:  as resilient as we are, we deserve delicacy.  To completely alienate ourselves from black people, however, because we feel that we can’t find a black person that is where we are in life, is an unfair generalization.  It is limiting and promotes this agenda for both black men and women to be seen as undesirable.  If you want a black man who’s about his money, teach your man about IRAs and how easy it is to start investing.  Love a peaceful woman?  Encourage her to engage in activities that bring serenity like therapy or nature walks.  The key to this partnership is patience.  It is also healthy self-love.

Yah know, there’s a lot of black men and women that tried to shape their mate into their ideal.  That’s why they have kids, debt and restraining orders out against them.  You don’t have to suffer for this.

Harmony is in some takes about compromising and learning.  Gender norms are changing.  Just because society says that a woman should cook, or the man should pay the bills- that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.  Maybe it’s opposite.  In manifesting what we ideate our relationships to be like, we have to sometimes learn to “take the L,” balancing out when we have a point to make and when we should be vulnerable to our partner’s message.  In a sense, you can’t tell a black woman to not be so hell bent on her independence, because that’s all she knows.  Still, we as black women have to let love in when it comes; we deserve it.  And it is okay, to love a man while he is navigating his manhood.  It is also okay to let him know when he needs to reconsider what actions fall under the umbrella of being a healthy man.  We were not raised within the fair realms of White America – we are different and we are redefining gender roles as time goes on.  The compromise comes in with being willing to accept the person as they are; we should love our partners for what makes them human, and have the patience to love yourself and accept the areas in which you need to receive love:  both nurturing love and tough love.  Balance is key.

Writer’s Note:  This may not be applicable to “ain’t sh*t N*ggas” that aren’t ready for growth.  Both partners must be open and willing to grow in these respects.

And this Baby Boomers and Gen X parents of millennials is why you will likely never get grandkids, or only get grandkids from some insufferable person your children decided to lay with:  our generation has deluded itself into thinking it’s special and beyond the rules & standards of past generations that maintained society, so now they’ll be the special kid we were all told we were growing up or die trying.  It’s not hypocritical standards some of them have, it’s not the attention whoring from both men & women on social media, it’s because we won’t compromise to be someone’s dream mate.  God help us all.

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