Sunday, July 29, 2007


African Americans are in the midst of a social crisis that threatens the very viability of the black community. The core of this crisis is the deepening plight of black men . . .

Throughout America, but especially in the inner cities, African-American men are disproportionately surrounded by poverty, violence, mass incarceration and disease. A confluence of ills has long conspired to marginalize black men and track them into a trajectory of failure.
Quoted from Black Men: The Crisis Continues, by Salim Muwakkil, In These Times,

Black women, when not scapegoats--think: single parent homes, juvenile
crime, and welfare--are after-thoughts. Black men's problems, we are to believe, are black people's problems . . .

Yet, without much public notice, black women have been taking care of business, and not primarily via lawsuit and bullhorn. As Woody Allen noted, 99 percent of success is just showing up--for application deadlines, for class, for birth-control pill refills, for each day on the job--and that is simply what black women have done. No magic. No treachery against black men. The continuing existence of racism, they deduced, is simply no reason not to try.

In recent decades . . . the number of African-American women earning bachelor's degrees has increased by three-quarters; the numbers attending law or graduate school have more than doubled. Between 1988 and 1998, the number of black families earning $100,000 or more almost doubled, driven largely by black women's increased earning power.

Quote from Post-Ghetto Fabulous: Coming to Grips with Black Women's Success, a review of HAVING IT ALL? Black Women and Success, by Veronica Chambers

New statistics from the Census Bureau confirm the powerful economic advantage that accrues to African Americans who hold a four-year college degree. The most current figures, for the year 2004, show that blacks with a college diploma now have a median income that is 90 percent of the median income of similarly educated non-Hispanic whites. Blacks with a master’s degree have incomes nearly equal to those of whites with a master’s degree. Blacks with a doctorate actually have higher incomes than similarly educated non-Hispanic whites.

These are extraordinary achievements that have been consistently overlooked by most commentators . . .

When we break down the income figures for black and white college graduates by gender we find that the superior performance of black women is responsible for the progress that has been made. In 2004 black males with a bachelor’s degree had a median income of $40,329, which was only 79 percent of the $51,184 median income of similarly educated white males. Thus, a very large
racial income gap persists for black men . . . On the other hand, black women with a bachelor’s degree had a median income of $33,877, which was 111 percent of the $30,413 median income figure for non-Hispanic white women who
held a college degree. It is clear then that the strong income performance of black college graduates is largely due to the earnings performance of black women . . .

There is more good news to report . . . In 2004 blacks with a master’s degree had a median income of $49,716. This was 98 percent of the median income of non-Hispanic whites with a master’s degree. Furthermore, in 2004, the racial income gap for master’s degree holders closed substantially. In 2003 blacks with a master’s degree had a median income that was 88 percent of the median income of whites who possessed a master’s degree.

Once again, in percentage terms, black women fared much better against their white counterparts than did black men. Black women with a master’s had a
median income that was nearly 109 percent of white women’s median income at that educational level
. Black men with a master’s degree had a median income
that was only 89.7 percent of the median income of white males with a master’s degree.

Quoted from Higher Education Is the Major Force in Closing the Black-White Income Gap, The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

As noted in one the the exceprts above, taken from a review of Veronica Chambers' book HAVING IT ALL? Black Women and Success, "Black men's problems, we are to believe, are black people's problems." Thus, the crisis that grips black men we are told is actually a crisis of the black community and of black people.

Yet, as the numbers make clear, black women have made extraordinary strides in recent decades. In education, careers, income, and even longevity, black women have gained parity with, and even surpassed many of their peers, despite facing obstacles that most women in our society have never had to cope with, let alone overcome. Indeed, many of the struggles that black women do continue to face are largely derivative: women of African descent who are most vulnerable to HIV/AIDS are those who are married and have only one sexual partner; most black women in poverty are single mothers of children who receive little or no support from their non-custodial fathers; increasing numbers of black women are being incarcerated for low-level drug offenses committed in support of their "man's" petty drug conspiracies.

In other words, those areas of black women's lives over which they exercise the greatest autonomy and control are the areas where they have achieved the greatest success. Nonetheless, black women continue to be burdened by the stigma of "crisis" and pathology that has less and less to do with many of our lives. This stigma follows us into schools, the workplace, and in our efforts to seek intimate relationships. Black women also struggle with the unique burden of being made to feel guilty for our achivements, as if the crisis that grips black men is a result of our incredible accomplishments, rather than the spur that has forced us to shoulder a disproportionate share of the responsibility for our families and communities. Asian women's superior academic and professional achievement has only made them more attractive mates, to Asian and other men. It has not defeminized them or made men feel "emasculated" by them; it has not encouraged Asian men to blame them for their own struggles or difficulties.

Conversely, instead of celebrating black women's achievements, and pointing with pride to this cause for optimism in the midst of despair, "the community" continues to alternately ignore, downplay or even disparage the value of black women's vibrant work ethic and unflagging commitment, despite the fact it is this very capacity that has kept "the community" going.

It is time for black women to reclaim our reputations and to start celebrating ourselves. We are truly incredible, and for men with drive, ambition, values and character, we offer a total package of womanliness and accomplishment that can simply be found no where else. No more hiding your light under a bushel ladies--Black Girls Rule! Never forget it, and never be ashamed to shout it from the rooftops.

Friday, July 27, 2007

"Sleeping With the Enemy"

Black males typically feel angry when they see a white man with a black woman because to them, she is “Sleeping with the enemy.”

Quote from "Black Women Who Like a Little Cream in Their Coffee," by Matthew Lynch, Bahiyah Woman Magazine,

Just got some real interesting info from a source regarding the most vocal opponent of the Hot Ghetto Mess Show and website. Like my mama told me, "aint nobody right". Watch whose lead you're following people. If anyone has more info to add or confirmation, let me know...

Word on the street is . . . she is part of a coterie of women who have organized themselves around Evia. As part of that coterie she blogs as Synamon. They began a few months ago under the guise of an interracial dating site. The site ain't about interracial dating at all. It is about spreading white supremacist ideas among black women.
Excerpt from the Myspace page of Jam Donaldson, the creator of the "Hot Ghetto Mess" website.

Halima, at the Black Women's IR Circle, recently blogged on the issue of "What is an Ally"? This is a crucial issue for BW to undestand, because if we cannot distinguish our own best interests, than we cannot distinguish who has our best interests at heart.

However, it is equally important that we understand "Who is an Enemy"? BW in interracial relationships with WM, probably more than any other group, must contend with the "sleeping with the enemy" charge hurled at them by members of their own community. Even BM involved with WW do not face this invective to nearly the same extent, since WW have generally been held less responsible for white supremacy and the sins of institutionalized racism than WM. Both WW and many BM have cheerfully promoted the concept that WW are "victims" too, and thus, no "betrayal" is involved in a BM becoming intimate with them.

The history of colonialism, the black holocaust, slavery, Jim Crow, and the continuation of institutionalized racism inevitably effects even individual relationships between black people and white people. Of course, it also effects individual relationships between black people and other black people as well. Black people are prefer biracial children for adoption over black children just as whites do. BM prefer lighter skinned, straighter haired women over darker skinned, kinkier haired women. As the existence of websites and television programs like "Hot Ghetto Mess" make glaringly obvious, black people today are some of the most brutally
exploitative traffickers in dehumanizing, stereotypical imagery of other black people. And just as there are whites who benefit from "white skin privilege" that provides them advantages in employment, housing, educational opportunities and the criminal justice system, there are blacks like Jam Donaldson and Reginald Hudlin (President of BET Entertainment) who also benefit from promoting white supremacy and black degredation.

The upshot of all of this should be clear: you can't determine whether you are "sleeping with the enemy" by the amount of melanin in his skin. When Jam Donaldson, who originally entitled her website "Nigga Mess," can claim that blogs devoted to supporting BW in having healthy, positive relationships with men regardless of race are actually "spreading white supremacy," it is clear that not only is her internal compass confused, but that she thinks that your's is as well. When DBRBM come to these blogs to slander and abuse BW, all in the name of "racial loyalty," they are not coming out of love for you. As you well know, these same men don't think any more highly of BW who are "loyal," and are no more loving or supportive of them. Their problem isn't that you have "betrayed" them, but that you will no longer make yourself available for them to betray you.

An enemy seeks to do you harm. A friend seeks to do you good. Friends and enemies do not come in specific phenotypical packages. No matter what happened yesterday or what may happen tomorrow, smart sisters never lose sight of these crucial insights, because we never forget what our own interests are. As the late Congressman Bill Clay like to point out "there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies: only permanent interests." Let your interests and your values be your guide, and your internal compass will always be resistant to these transparent manipulations.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

"Every Brotha Aint a Brotha"

Black women’s families had more objections to interracial relationships than
their Black male counterparts. Many relatives of Black women (especially male relatives) tried to protect their daughters/sisters/cousins from White men who
they felt would sexually exploit Black women. Given the history of White male
sexual violence against Black women this is not surprising. However, family
opposition also has the affect of denying Black women’s agency because their
judgment is held up to much more scrutiny than Black men in interracial

Quote from, a blog devoted to discussions of Race, Gender, and Sexuality from a Sociological Perspective

As a black woman in an interracial relationship, I am familiar with the discomfort often expressed by family members at the prospect of a beloved daughter/cousin/niece dating a non-BM. Though my family has come to love and respect my fiance because of his unmistakable love and respect for me, they certainly had more initial reservations about our relationship than they did about my prior relationships with black men.

Even more intriguing to me, however, is the issue of black male response to BW/non-BM interracial couplings, which it doesn't appear has been formally studied. The popular perception is that it is only envious, embittered BW who resent interracial relationships, while BM not only eagerly participate in such relationships, but liberally accept them regardless of who the participants are. This is surely the case where the relationship involves a BM and a non-BW.

But virtually all BW who have dated or married interracially know that BM are not nearly as accepting of their choices as they are of those of their "brothas." Certainly, sisters in the blogosphere know this to be the case, as even the briefest perusal of sites devoted to BW interested in interracial relationships reveals a consistent thread of hostility and anger from Damaged Beyond Repair ("DBR") BM directed at the very concept of BW seeking non-black companionship.

This hostility is expressed not only in outright attacks, but in subtler forms as well. Often, BM will simply insist that no other men are interested in BW, and that BW's efforts to date non-BM will thus fail. Sometimes they will encourage BW to seek BM from Latin America, Africa, or the Caribbean for relationships, instead of dating non-BM in their own communities. Often, dark hints are made of the "harm" that BW will suffer at the hands of Scott Peterson-type WM (who can also be found in abundence among BM, of course).

Often, the "brothas" making these complaints assert that they really don't care who BW date, but they don't want BW to criticizing BM as an "excuse" for our choices. However, as an initial matter, that doesn't explain why they would seek out blogs devoted to this subject in the first place, before they have any awareness that BM are even mentioned--obviously, no one goes to unless they are interested in either dating a white guy, or interested in those who do want to date a white guy.

Secondly, our society is still largely segregated by race--socially, residentially and religiously in particular. That being the case, most adult BW who are seeking to date interracially will come from an experience of primarily dating BM--and no one can move forward into the future they seek without coming to terms with the past they are leaving behind. BW who want a different experience must figure out in exactly what way they want their future experiences to be different--which means they must look critically at their past experiences, and the people they shared those experiences with.

Above all, many BW most cope with substantial, well-documented social pressues if they seek to date interracially. Much of that pressure will come from other black people, male and female, who will deride her decision as "self-hating," "disloyal," and "selling out." For BW who have coped with less than respectful treatment from DBRBM, it is difficult for them to come to terms with the external pressure to conform to a version of "self-love" that often endorses standing by males who treat you badly, and decries pursuing relationships with men who will treat you well. Very often, the same family and community who stood by silently while their daughter/sister/cousin was being abused or exploited by a DBRBM will be quite vocal in their disapproval of her relationship with a good non-BM. Too many sisters learn the hard way, in the immortal words of Chuck D., that "every brotha aint a brotha."

As Halima of the Black Women's IR Circle has pointed out, many BW have had their internal compasses confused by such manipulations. They no longer recognize what their own interests are, and what behaviors they have a right to expect and a right to reject. Our community has become dependent on BW accepting a status quo that is essentially exploitative--that places disproportionate burdens and responsibilities on the shoulders of BW. And that is the real reason that so many "brothas" troll these blogs, full of vitriol and frustration: they see BW with options shrugging off the role of "mules of the world" and putting ourselves first for once. No longer are we content to wither away as a "reserve army" of spinsters and babymamas, ready at a moments notice to provide sex, support, mothering, shelter and anything else a DBRBM may require, with no expectation of reciprocity in return.

Unfortunately, as more of us free ourselves, the recrimination will only increase. Fortunately, what we will gain in meeting our own needs will far outweigh the momentary distress of an caused by an anonymous plaint.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Ain't Black Love Beautiful?"

How many times have we have we all heard these words spoken (usually by a black woman--isn't it odd how rarely black men express this belief?) in response to the latest candid photo of Will and Jada, Bill and Camille, Holly and Rodney, Denzel and Pauletta? And who could disagree? Black love--love period--is indeed a beautiful thing.

However, what is often implicit in these expressions of wistful admiration for "black love" are some more uncomfortable, often unspoken emotional beliefs--the belief that black love is increasingly rare and imperiled, and that other kinds of love ("non-black" love?) are in some way inferior or even threatening to the gold standard that is "black love."

Very often, the same black women who wax poetic in response to images of "black love" respond more acidly to the vision of black men with non-black women. This particular love is often dismissed as not being love at all, but a false, lust-driven form of self-hatred and self-annihilation, an expression of contempt for black women and blackness itself.

The resentment that many black women express towards black men in interracial relationships is often rooted in their very real experience of discrimination, both in the larger society and within their own communities. Few women have ever had to face the degree of character assassination and disparagement of their womanhood and feminine appeal that black women have had to cope with. When the very same black men who all too often have not only joined in mainstream contempt for black women, but have actively spearheaded the dissemination of hostile and demeaning images of black womanhood (see the essay "Virulent Racio-Misogyny in the Black Community" for an in-depth discussion of this phenomenon at,) simultaneously express their respect and appreciation for the beauty and appeal of non-black women, black women feel doubly betrayed.

However, black women's embrace of the "black love" ideal and resentment of BM/WW interracial relationships is also a product of black women's own refusal to consider pursuing relationships with non-black men. Many black women have concluded that racial loyalty and "self-love" requires that one only love those within one's own race, and they are angry that increasing numbers of black men do not seem to share this belief.

Ultimately, black women find themselves one of the least married demographic groups in American society, and many have concluded that the culprit for their plight is the accelerated abandonment by black men of their "duty" to marry black. What black women must consider, however, is what actions we can take to have the lives that we want and deserve. When healthy, attractive, intelligent, accomplished women are alone while there are available men who want to be with them, something is wrong.

The answers that black women get from the "community" as to what that something is all to often simply fall back on the same knee-jerk scapegoating that has become something of an addiction for the black community over the past 50 years. Whether the issue is single-parent households, rates of imprisonment for black men, the spread of AIDS, crime, poverty, there is always a simple explanation: the problem is black women. Black women themselves have come to accept and embrace this concept, and can often be found hectoring and cajoling their "sisters" to "do better."

In terms of declining marriage rates, the latest version of "do better" typically incorporates two contradictory concepts: black women must stop being so "picky" when it comes to black men and lower their gold digging standards; and black women must become more discriminating when it comes to black men, and stop pursuing "thugs" and losers. That perhaps there maybe some problems with the pool of black men from which black women have to choose is an idea that is rarely if ever seriously considered.

My version of "doing better" and finding "black love" begins with black women loving ourselves enough to pursue our own best interests. If you are smart, witty, charming, kind, honest, pretty, fit, and successful, and you want a man who is comparable and compatible, you are NOT too picky, and you do NOT need to change your standards. What you DO need to do is consider whether the pool of candidates from which you are seeking companions is actually sufficient. If it is not, you need to increase that pool--plain and simple.

Ain't black girls loving themselves beautiful?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Why "Black Girls Rule"?

In my "mission statement," I wanted to make clear that this blog will act primarily as a place for black women and the men who love us to meet, communicate, exchange information and ideas, and enjoy each other's company! In time I hope to learn more about all of you, and to share more about my own life.

To provide a brief introduction:

I am a black American woman originally from the Midwest, currently living in the NYC metropolitan area. I am engaged to be married (in August '07!) to a white American man. Perfection is for the gods--but my life is damned good, and I want to share that good fortune with other sisters, and with the men who love (or want to love) those sisters!

This blog is dedicated to all of those fabulous women, and everyone with the discernment to appreciate them--this is YOUR forum to utilize in your individual journeys to achieve your dreams and maximize your access to every good thing the world has to offer. Now is our time!