Front Street

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

By Gigi

It is said that the root causes of all our difficulties is: human selfishness, mistaken order of values and sin. We need a new way of thinking about ourselves, about our relationship with the world and with God. In the news and daily publications, human suffering, violence, starvation, poverty, disease and war is reported daily—not to mention the pollution of our waters, air and land.

When Jehovah created us, he envisioned a world of beauty and harmony; he created the world, making it every part an expression of his wisdom and love. Humans were created in his image and likeness; he gave us dignity, an immortal soul, self-awareness and freedom. But we sinned by disobeying him, and thereby rejecting his design for creation. So the original harmony of creation was destroyed; that was the first sin.

But as time marches on, the social and environmental crisis the world is facing is proof that we’re still betraying the mandate Jehovah has given us. Even still, I say no, God has not abandon us—but we as a race of people have lost our way. It is God’s hope and will that we eventually find our way and realize his original mandate—to bring about a relationship between not only God and mankind, but also mankind and the natural environment, which God entrusted to us to guard with wisdom, love and respect.

It is also God’s hope and will that the world be free of degradation, violence and blood shed; that we return to the power of prayer to enlighten us regarding our duty to respect
By Gigi

I say the majority of them don’t; and it goes beyond the misogynistically cruel lyrics in some of the rap songs I sometimes hear or the abusive and violent behavior I sometimes witness against the sistas in my own neighborhood. I had a phone conversation recently with a friend of mine who is trying to get back out there and date; but she’s growing despondent due to the lack of quality ‘brothers’ out there. In the interest of privacy, I’ll name my friend Marcia. Marcia is feeling a little bit of the ‘black, single woman’ angst and she doesn’t like it. “Black women are out of style,” she states. “Black women are out of style like marshmallow platform shoes and afros—like jheri curls and dashsikis…”

The reason for her comments? Marcia is tired of witnessing well-appointed Black men canoodling openly with White women. “I firmly believe that our Black men are endangered and we’re losing them to jail, AIDS, drugs, police brutality and now…White women.” She sputtered into the mouthpiece. “They’re becoming fewer and fewer by the numbers and the heterosexual, drug-free, disease-free, hard-working ones are being taken by Caucasian women.” Judging from Marcia’s statement, I know that this has ignited some ugly and unchristian-like hostilities within her in addition to rendering her helpless in controlling her hateful thoughts and feelings. She said that brothers of all shades will at first look at her, and then right through her, while risking whiplash to look at a White or Hispanic woman passing by. “Is there something wrong with me, Gigi? Should I dress sexier? Should I cut off my locks, straighten my hair or wear a weave? Perhaps I should seriously think about losing some of the weight I’ve been promising to do every New Years Eve. And I guess I’m just too chocolate for some brother’s…just check out the music videos. More and more of our brothers are exiling Black women from their lives and replacing them with White or ‘other than’ women…other than Black that is.” She sighed. I lamely answered, “Who the hell knows what Black men want…why don’t you do what they do—date outside of your race. Don’t limit yourself.” I tried reasoning with her. “Hell my baby sisters are doing just that…in fact they don’t even look at Black men. And my sons are currently dating Puerto-Rican women...they said the sistas are too loud and bossy.”

“Well I don’t care about what everybody else is doing…I can’t see myself with anyone but a Black man…face it, the brothers aren’t checking for me because I’m not thin, I’m too dark-skinned, I don’t floss designer labels and…I wear nappy locks.” She snarked.

“Well, I’m sorry Marcia, but I for one am not about to slip into the woe is me mode; no man does not or will not define who I am.” I answered defiantly. “I’m educated, attractive, have a good job, run my own business, I am published and have my own home in the Bronx. I’ve recently emerged from a twenty-two year marriage and I have three sons…two of them are almost grown. I’m a young woman of a certain age that can stand to lose a few pounds but I’m not obese, far from it. So unlike you, I don’t feel that anything is wrong with me…I like who I am, and I will date outside my race if I have to.” I answered confidently.

“We’re as beautiful and desirable as our Caucasian sisters, right? So how come White men aren’t publicly and shamelessly chasing down Black women like the brothers are doing with White women, and pleeze don’t mention Robert De Niro, with his tired ass…is he the only White man who sees the beauty in Black woman, since the brothers are obviously blind?” She implored. “Oh, I don’t know...there’s Bill Maher who dated Karrine ‘Super Head’ Stephens…” I answered. “I’m sure there others…you know, there was once a 19th century French artist by the name of Charles Cordier, who was an Ethnographic sculptor; he traveled the world capturing the look of people from other cultures and races. Being French, Cordier had a taste for exotic faces and shapes, especially faces that belonged to North Africans. It was in 1892, that he said something most astonishing for that time period. He said that, “every race has its beauty, which differs from that of other races”, and that “the most beautiful Negro is not the one who looks most like us…he meant Caucasians or White people.” After an hour on the telephone with Marcia, I hung up, thinking about some of the things we discussed.

Marcia’s angst stems from knowing, that as attractive as she knows that she is, she feels unattractive and not good enough whenever she see an attractive Black man walk down the street, arm-in-arm with a White woman who may or may not have a smug look on her face. And the feeling that the feeling that she has, is constantly being re-affirmed by society echoing its value system within the confines of the White-owned magazines, television and other consumer driven venues of the media. Of course, this is obviously charged terrain that’s rife with complications and resentment. Rarely do you see positive affirmation in regards to dark Black women no matter how beautiful they are, only and unless if you have “crossover appeal” and light skin like: Vanessa Williams, Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Jennifer Beals, Nicole Ritchie or Mariah Carey. In no way am I impugning these lovely women or hating on them. I’m just merely pointing out a value system erected by White men, designed for us to assimilate and with a clear ideological and aesthetic concept, to divide us and keep us fighting. Moreover and sadly so, we’re all a product of a White western world.

In this society, White women are superior, privileged and protected, simply by virtue of being White…and they know it. And I don’t care if most White Women don’t happen to agree with the ideology set up by mainstream society because again, they have the luxury to oppose it. The point is, they still enjoy the privilege that extends from it whether if they agree with it or not. In addition to that, confused Black men are consciously and sub-consciously perpetuating the myth of White women as the image of beauty. And what’s even more embarrassing is that White men know that their women are desired and coveted by Black men...especially Black men with money. From the time Black men (and Black women too) are born, most are bombarded and fed untruths about light skin, good hair and ‘marrying up’, that has lend itself to a destructive value system which has influenced the way that they as a people think and feel about the Black woman and each other in general.

And so, gradually, some Black men have moved away from the light skinned Black women to coveting, dating and marrying the ‘real thing’—White women. Most high profile Black men, athletes in particular, have White or ‘other than Black’ spouses. Tiger Woods, who claimed once on Oprah to be ‘other’ than Black, recently tied the knot with his Swedish girlfriend in Barbados. What skills does she possess? Well get this, she doesn’t need skills…she’s White and blond, period. The same could be said for a number of prominent Black men in sports; entertainment or other business fields and the list go on. Rarely do you see a White man leaving his White wife for a Black women; but brothers have left long-term relationships with their Black wives or girlfriends for White women. And those same White women, who marry the Black man, believe that the whiteness of their skin, in addition to their euro centric features, is a bulwark against infidelity and other women, especially Black women.

To offset this, most Black women have subjected themselves to skin-bleaching products, weaves and what not. But other Black women, such as myself, have chosen to go another route: to develop our attitude, self-determination and strength, for all the good it’s doing. How can brothers adopt attitudes that our former masters had fed us for the sole purpose of dividing us and therefore keep us fighting with, disliking and distrusting each other? Here we are thirteen generations from one of the most heinous systems of slavery ever erected in history and Black men, whose ancestors were shackled together with mine; reject my friend and other Black women who look like both of us, just because we’re not euro centric-looking enough. And I’m tired of listening to the same old excuse from the brothers, that: Black women are too bossy, nosy and we always cuss them out while rotating our necks on its axis. My favorite excuse: we’re too materialistic! And that White women are docile, caring, have more class and they’re not materialistic. Pleeze! If some of these affluent Black men didn’t have any money, White women wouldn’t be running behind their asses either. So let’s be fair. Black women want what White women have been getting for centuries due to the sense of entitlement that was erected for them. Black women want the same thing as White women—financial security; only with us, we’re castigated as gold diggers and that is so unfair.

The real reason Black men don’t want us and afraid to say or admit out loud, is that they’ve been brainwashed into thinking, that White skin is better than dark skin; and Black men purposely, deliberately and publicly seeking out the White woman is perpetuating this myth. They secretly want light-skinned children with ‘good’ hair, but they’re not man enough to admit it.

A question was raised on the Oprah Winfrey Show about 14 years ago, about what Black men prefer. One of the brothers on the panel had the nerve to say on national television that, “having a White girlfriend is like sporting a Rolex watch.” Jackass!! So what does that make the Black woman, a Timex watch? A Swatch? It’s partly due to comments like that, which is why my friend, Marcia has been more or less, ‘forced’ into celibacy.

We’ve both run the gamut of night clubs, athletic events, church, etc. But Black men at these places are usually paired up, and if not―we’re just not what they’re looking for or want. For myself, I want and prefer a Black man who is loving, who loves Black women, the idea of being with a Black woman and more importantly, who loves himself instead of self-hating; that when he looks at himself in the mirror, he sees the images of his proud ancestors stamped on his face. But if I can’t find one, there are other types of men from other races to explore. Because no matter what Black women do, at the end of the day, the brothers will do exactly whatever pleases them.

I say all this to say, go’ head my brothers; have your White, Asian and Hispanic women. If being with a White woman floats your boat and you think that you’ll gain entrée to the mainstream, well that’s just fine. But I further say this, the minute you mess up, and a lot of you do mess up, White people will always be there to remind you that you’re just a Black man in White America; that they’re running things. And further, they’re unforgiving and they’ll try to hurt you professionally and financially…just ask Brother O.J. Simpson and Kobe Bryant.