Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Big Sort

One of the books I have been reading recently is entitled "The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded Americans is Tearing Us Apart." The book, written by journalist Bill Bishop with retired sociology professor Robert G. Cushing, argues that Americans are segregating themselves more than ever--by political beliefs and life-style. Well-educated liberals have been flocking to Portland, Oregon while conservative Evangelicals are swarming the exurbs of Phoenix, Arizona. Of course, Mr. Bishop assumes when he speaks of "Americans," "liberals," and "conservatives," that he is talking primarily or exclusively about whites; despite the fact that the white population of this country is steadily declining, it is hard for many whites to lose the habit of thinking of themselves as "people" who have varying characteristics, while thinking about others as just that: "others," who are monolithic and generally, can be safely ignored.

However, Bishop's insight about white working- and middle-class settlement habits does have some value to us as well, even if it is a value that he perhaps would not recognize: it explains why increasing numbers of black women are willing to seek out interracial relationships.

As Bishop points out, ideology and "lifestyle" considerations are shaping where greater numbers of Americans choose live, and those they choose to live around, than ever before. Bishop views this sorting through the prism of "Democrats" and "Republicans," and while most Americans probably lean more towards one party or the other, I think this kind of labeling is probably less than useful, considering the number of people who, if asked, would reject identification with either one. "Liberal" and "conservative" may be more constructive labels, but ultimately it is the sorting by a wide variety of values and lifestyle choices that characterizes the way that people choose to live today in the United States, a sorting that cannot neatly fit within traditional, narrow definitions, even if people all too often feel compelled to try and fit themselves within the existing constraints in the absence of any other options for socialization.

"Unchurched," pro-choice, affluent professionals with advanced degrees can be found in the suburbs of Dallas, but they are often clustered in the gentrified lofts of New York and L.A.--even if only psychologically. Born-again, blue-collar, anti-gay marriage activists without college degrees can be located throughout Manhattan, but more and more they are flocking to the suburbs of Orlando, Florida and Charleston, South Carolina. These are certainly generalizations, but the statistics reflect a kernel of truth to these images that cannot be ignored.

This "sorting" process has not bypassed black women, and it has worked a fundamental change in the way many of us view romantic compatibility and relationships. While race still has huge importance in our society, a black women who loves old-school hip-hop--AND Japenese anime, rock-climbing, and Foucault--can find a population of black men who share her interests, but she will find an even larger population of non-black men who do. This isn't because black people are monolithic, but because as education and affluence frees more people--including black women in particular--to focus on their individual interests and needs, it inevitably renders race merely one of many touchstones of attraction and compatibility--or may even render it largely irrelevant in the individual case. Similarly, sisters whose lives revolve, for example, around their Pentecostal church and sharing their faith, may find a dearth of men among their congregations--and if their faith is paramount in their lives, it may well be more important to them that the men they consider marrying share their beliefs as much, if not more, than their racial background.

Bishop finds this "clustering" phenomenon disturbing, because he fears the fault lines that it has created in white America. But for black women with options, choosing men based on shared values and interests is ultimately freeing--and healthy. Rather than a retreat to groupthink, for us, it is an escape from it. And while we can be as susceptible as anyone to a rigid of closing of our minds to different ideas, the very act of refusing to be restricted by race in choosing our mates serves as a tremendous opportunity to liberate us from knee-jerk thinking and reaction. Instead of continuing to huddle in "clusters," we are becoming more and more empowered to choose to be open. For us, this is a crucial opportunity, and I hope more and more sisters grab hold of it.

91 comments:

Felicity said...

I am glad that more and more women are opening their minds to men of quality of any race and must live a life which is rewarding for them.

GoldenAh said...

I will check that book out, I just finished reading Microtrends by Mark Penn. Interesting how people like to slice and dice the US population. I have to see if there are any web sites that do this as well. I find the Census site too dense.

Anonymous said...

However, Bishop's insight about white working- and middle-class settlement habits does have some value to us as well, even if it is a value that he perhaps would not recognize: it explains why increasing numbers of black women are willing to seek out interracial relationships.

Actually, this explains quite the opposite. The fact of the matter is that black women and black men overwhelmingly share the same lifestyles and political beliefs. Black men and black women generally listen to the same music, practice a similar culture/subculture, speak a similar language, etc. It is this reason that black women in America are so less likely to seek out IR than their counterparts in Britain whereas there is not as much of a cultural difference between blacks and whites.

I am into science fiction, graphic novels, etc. and when conventions come to town or when one visits comic and games shops, you commonly see white men, white women and even black men. Your rarely see black women. Black women seem to be generally more closed minded toward things outside of the "black norm" and less attracted to things like anime, rock climbing, camping, hiking, etc. and it is for that reason that so many find themselves limited to dating only within their race.

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

The fact of the matter is that black women and black men overwhelmingly share the same lifestyles and political beliefs . . . Black women seem to be generally more closed minded toward things outside of the "black norm" . . .

So do BM and BW "overwhelmingly" share the same lifestyles and beliefs, or are BW singularly "closed minded toward things outside of the 'black norm'"? You might want to think through the internal consistency of your thinking a little bit more.

The fact of the matter is that BW's interests are broadening and our opportunities are similarly broadening, and more and more BW are taking advantage of these broader opportunities. I enthusiastically encourage this trend, and happily support sisters seeking out more and better, wherever it may be found. BW are NOT limited to dating BM, as I and the many sisters who peruse these blogs and have already cheerfully dated/married all kinds of wonderful men--and will continue to do so--make clear. I'm thrilled to see more sisters recognizing this simple fact.

EmergingPhoenix said...

@Aimee - wonderful post, I think that some people are trying to make the case that this campaign to "free your mind", is actually just an exercise in group think. I beg to differ, and as you pointed out, it actually is a message to run for your lives (literally in some cases) from group think.

Although I think Bishop makes a point about the general society and group think. I also think that most people who claim to understand the detrimental effects of that phenomenon are sadly misconstruing it for their own personal agenda. Most people never ask themselves if the agrument inspired the agenda or if the agenda shaped the agrument. It makes a difference, b/c you can spin anything in life to "prove" your point. Otherwise there would be no need for debate, the word persuassion would be unnescessary in our vocab, and the perfection of spin, wouldn't be so passe that it is second nature to even the most common folk. It touches on another human trait, mob mentality. It is a direct manifestation of our desire to congregate in groups and seek comfort and security in the "herd". Not to say we should all be hermits, but "good-will towards man" comes to mind. And too often group think, turns villages into angry, witch-hunting mobs, rather than nurturing environments. Two ppl who have illustrated this well are Octavia Butler, her books are awesome, feature a black female heroine, and usually have her involved in an IR. I highly recommend her to sci-fi readers, and to bw who can tolerate sci-fi. I would start with the Lilith's Brood collection or the Parables collection. And then Stephen King's latest movie/book, The fog, also illustrates this (although not as poignantly as the late Ms. Butler).

@anon (July 17, 2008 11:09 PM) - I am not sure I agree with you on your assertion at all. Furthermore, you are more likely to see men (of any race), at these events, b/c there is more acceptance of a man traveling alone to such events. There are definitely bw who are interested in all of those things, but find a hard time getting a group of ppl together, b/c of the narrow minded ("black ppl dont do that ish", anthem). I cant tell u how many times I have heard and still hear that, even in the "progressive" CA bay area.

Personally, I went hiking last week, and the week before that I did a 12 mile hike that had us climbing through caves. I have gone camping twice this year, and will be going at least 3 more times before the end of the year. I also white water raft and have been sky-diving, and will probably get my license. I snowboard, it is my favorite hobby. I used to go rock climbing with my friends back in my home state, weekly. To add to my list, my goal is to take sailing and scuba diving lessons this year. And when anime first came out I loved it, until it became this highly hackneyed and trite fluff. However, I never went to a convention for any anime, b/c it was hard to find anyone who was willing to go (even in a ethnically diverse group of ppl). So, I really think that your assessment is based more on prejudice than true fact.

To the ladies, I will say that for the most part I had to broaden my social circle to get out and do those things. However, there are entire black professional social groups dedicated to these kinds of activities. There are bp who are way ahead of the curve on this (anon, u r obviously not one), and try to create groups to entice other bp to join in a familiar environment, for those who are not ready to be open to other ethnicities. Also, at Evia's Front Porch site, we are brainstorming to create such a group for young AA kids. Kids who are seeking to meet others who they can network with who share their interests. Interests that tend not to be "acceptable" black activities. I know there are already groups like that (as I alluded to above), but in some cases they have closed off their doors, and/or have become slightly or extremely elitists. You should all check it out, and give input.

Malacyne said...

Very good article.

Anonymous said...

So do BM and BW "overwhelmingly" share the same lifestyles and beliefs, or are BW singularly "closed minded toward things outside of the 'black norm'"? You might want to think through the internal consistency of your thinking a little bit more.

There is no internal inconsistency since sharing the same general lifestyles and beliefs does not mean sharing the same level of open mindedness toward outside lifestyles. In a general sense, black America is not very open minded about outside lifestyles, but in the sense that men tend to be more adventurous than women and are more inclined to explore uncharted paths, black women are more closed minded than black men in this respect.

For example, black men tend to socialize more and better with white men than black women socialize with white women.

The fact of the matter is that BW's interests are broadening and our opportunities are similarly broadening, and more and more BW are taking advantage of these broader opportunities.

The same can be said of black people in general and what you have is a segment of black America that is broadening while another segment seems to not only be stuck in alienation but is seemingly alienating itself more and more.

I enthusiastically encourage this trend, and happily support sisters seeking out more and better, wherever it may be found.

Well, that goes without saying.

BW are NOT limited to dating BM, as I and the many sisters who peruse these blogs and have already cheerfully dated/married all kinds of wonderful men--and will continue to do so--make clear.

Black women have not been limited to dating black men for at least four decades.

I'm thrilled to see more sisters recognizing this simple fact.

I think that this fact has been recognized for a long time. Are you likewise thrilled that black men are recognizing this simple fact to an even greater extent?

Either way, blacks in America are still the least likely to get into IR and are the most segregated group. The outlook today is that instead of looking at things from the standpoint of black and white, the way everyone else is mixing, it will soon be a case of blacks and everyone else.

Sandra77 said...

Anonymous, my life experience has been almost the opposite of yours. My opinion is the opposite of almost every point you just made, particularly your statement that BM socialize better with WM than BW do with WW. I have found that to be just the opposite, particularly in professional circles.

Sandera77 said...

Also, Anonymous - your sarcasm is not particularly appreciated. You are a guest on someone else's blog and the sarcastic tone of your response to the blog host's response smacks of insecurity (although I understand that you meant to convey the opposite impression). The blog host can decide "what goes without saying" on her blog and for her blog readers. And your "pronouncements" on what BW are free to do and how long they have been free to do it demonstrate that you do not even begin to understand the issues here. You might do well to read up on this blog's past posts in order to gain a more thorough understanding of the issues under discussion here, so that you may contribute something of value if you choose to post here again.

EmergingPhoenix said...

anon is using generalizations of gender stereotypes and then applying them to black ppl as if things are not a bit disproportionate in black areas. AND using them to make u feel inferior as not only a woman, but then again as a bw. Notice how they originally put ww in a category of adventurous, and then resorted to gender sterotype to conclude that women in general are not adventurous, black ppl are less adventurous, and through shoddy correlation we can therefore conclude that bw are the least adventurous. They are enforcing racio-mysogyny on you in a sophisticated manner, and you are eating it up.

And, according to anon, if bm have such an easier time conversing with wm, than bw with ww, then you are directly admitting to an advantage of being male in corporate america. Which relies heavily on your ability to network. With all of that said, then really bm do not suffer more from racism, as they have sexism on their side, and in effect gives them a leg up on bw who have to deal with racism and sexism. So, which is it?

Your goal is clear, and it is just to disrupt the discussion. I think this could be an interesting discussion, and I am eager to hear what the other ladies have to say, rather than entertain the sideways banter of an idiot, posting on a board they find distasteful. So, I encourage all of the ladies to ignore the anon, before he sabotages a good topic. If you allow them to take control of the conversation, and divert attention from the point, you will never be able to expand your thought, and will be stuck in the same old mired arguments. Let them fester in their own anguish, and move ahead and truly "free your mind". They are mosquitoes at best, until you show them any attention. This is a cyber version of the guy yelling at u on the street corner, except he already knows u dont like him, and has come prepared with an arsenal of insults, contrary data, and an overall negative vibe. As u would ignore the thug on the street, ignore the cyber thug. How can u even get through their entire post? I mean I find myself, blah, blah, blahing after the first 2 sentences, and their posts are never short. Sheesh! U arent missing ANYTHING, TRUST in that!!

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

There is no internal inconsistency since sharing the same general lifestyles and beliefs does not mean sharing the same level of open mindedness toward outside lifestyles.

Isn't one's "open mindedness" part of one's beliefs, about one's perception of the world and the people around you?

Black women have not been limited to dating black men for at least four decades.

Exactly. And now that we are legally free to do so, we are more actively pursuing our social freedom to do so.

I think that this fact has been recognized for a long time. Are you likewise thrilled that black men are recognizing this simple fact to an even greater extent?

--shrug--if you're happy I'm happy for you, but I really don't care one way or the other.

Either way, blacks in America are still the least likely to get into IR and are the most segregated group.

True--and I'm thrilled that BW as a group are taking action to reject segregation imposed on them, and seek out companionship based on affinity instead of race.

Anonymous said...

True--and I'm thrilled that BW as a group are taking action to reject segregation imposed on them, and seek out companionship based on affinity instead of race.

What segregation? The segregation of 40 years ago? Even before that, black women could marry who they wanted (and who wanted to marry them) up north. During segregation, black women were much more free to be intimate with white men than the reverse. What black woman was hung for sexing a white man? Originally, there were much more bw/wm marriages than the reverse. Black women have had much more freedom to be in IR than black men.

You know, you can't hide your hatred for black men behind preachy rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

And, according to anon, if bm have such an easier time conversing with wm, than bw with ww, then you are directly admitting to an advantage of being male in corporate america.

Being that white men overwhelmingly head corporate America, wouldn't such and admittance require me to say that bm have an easier time conversing with wm than bw with WHITE MEN (not white women). I've made no admittance one way or the other on that subject. I am talking about social interactions.

Aimee said...

Anonymous said...

You know, you can't hide your hatred for black men behind preachy rhetoric.

If I hated BM, I wouldn't bother to hide it, behind "preachy rhetoric" or anything else--I own my beliefs. Own your's, and don't bother posting to me again: go find some embittered, left-behind BM forum (I heard "tired BM" or whatever's it's called is good for that). Debate I respond to; but I don't play petty insults.

Pamela said...

Other folk can study trends and group dynamics. I find that I do not fit in anyone's mold. Those that try to say I'm one way or the other I pretty much ignore.

My black friends for the most part are pretty eclectic in their interests as I am. I would say my friends in general tend to be eclectic. You will probably be around people that share your interests, that is, if you want to enjoy life.

Pursuing your interests is the best thing a person can do. Whether those interests line up with the group speak in your so-called group is irrelevant in regards to having a fulfilled life. You will be happiest when you are around people of like mind and interests. If those interests allow you to meet men of different races, so be it and enjoy yourself. Race is NOT the issue. At least it is not mine. It's about having a life that you find fulfilling regardless of what others think about it.

Pamela said...

I forgot to add that at the same time you are meeting people of like mind you will find of course that you will NOT see everything in the same perspective. The one thing I really enjoy is talking with people about a topic that we have a sincere interest in and seeing how they approach and process their views. This does not have to separate people. It probably will not unless people identify themselves by their views.

Anonymous said...

After reading the sniping back and forth, I'm reminded of a saying that was running through my mind about ten years ago...

"You find what you look for".

I was in an interracial relationship, and was in love. And they say love is blind... I thought she was beautiful, wonderful, smart...

Apparently, she was not as deeply in love as I was, because as quickly as I found something we had in common, she found a way that we were different. After a while, I told her "I'm not perfect, and although I do my best, I'm never going to be perfect". She said "I'm not looking for somebody perfect, I'm just looking for somebody perfect for me". I kept finding funny little similarities, she kept finding differences. And the relationship didn't last.

But somewhere in there, I had a realization. I was finding similarities because I was looking for them. And she was finding differences because she was looking for them. And in both cases, the two people and circumstances were exactly the same... but a different perspective, and a different goal led to different results.

I'd like to put out there that the idea that you get what you look for has HUGE implications... on whether you can get along with your significant other... on whether our government can come to some kind of "consensus" solutions to problems... on the degree to which you experience and get past other people acting like idiots in a way that affects you... and on whether we, the world, can live in relative peace and harmony.

I am not saying we should ignore real differences that need to be addressed in some way or another, in either the small or big picture... but I think in most ways, the experience and needs we share in being humans can (potentially) bind us together WAY more than the differences we experience due to culture, race, faith, or sex can drive or tear us apart.

I'm not going to tie this directly into the theme of this thread... but if you read between the lines, it applies within this thread as well as outside it.

D

JaliliMaster said...

Aimee, as alot of us posters have done on previous threads, do you not think it would be a good idea to just not post any of the dribble these people come up with. I was very tempted to reply, but realised that just like the other bitter black male posters that tend to congregate on such sites, they are only there to derail our discussion.

Notice how out of nowhere, he accused you of trying to hide your hatred for black men, when you never even mentioned or refferred to them in the first place! Can all the anonymous posters use a username. That way, one can actually tell who is saying what. And frankly, if someone insists on being an anonymous coward, why should the rest of us be burdened with their opinions? Have the guts to back up your views with a name when you post!!!

m (again) said...

"I am into science fiction, graphic novels, etc. and when conventions come to town or when one visits comic and games shops, you commonly see white men, white women and even black men. Your rarely see black women."

Well, I don't have a lot to say about camping and hiking, except that I prefer yoga and martial arts and other types of indoor tournaments.

But, Mr. Opinionated and Pedantic Anonymous, if you don't see Black women as you look around scifi conventions -- I went to the Dark Knight premiere, and you don't write as if you've heard of Tananarive Due -- I would respectfully posit that you're
just
not
looking.

arthur said...

I was at the San Diego Comic-Con premiere night last night (Wed), picking up the 4-day badges for myself and family, and there were black girls all over the place.

Come to think of it, I saw more young bw than young bm. Some not so young.

JaliliMaster said...

The anonyposter who said it is black girls self-segregating themselves was posting out of their backside. The only reason you didn't see any black females at the convention you went to is because you were looking to not see any.

mekare said...

Hey Aimee,

I'm happy to see a new entry. I just want to make sure that I understand your post. The author of this particular novel is saying that Americans are harming themselves by only associating with people with the same values?

It’s interesting to take this case and apply it to black women. We definitely have a unique set of circumstances. If what I assumed above is right, then he is somewhat correct when applied to our situation. Black women have been restricted, bullied and lumped into a group not only by race but also by a skewed set of values. One thing that come to mind is constantly show that you are black enough or love your blackness by acting black, talking black, eating soul food, going to “black churches” being aware of “the struggle” and other superficial things.

I don’t see anything wrong sticking with those who share your values, as long as these values don’t destroy you. I think that is very important.

A black woman who expands and act on her options based on solid valves that are beneficial (especially when choosing a made) goes against the sorting process that the author is referring to.



“And while we can be as susceptible as anyone to a rigid of closing of our minds to different ideas, the very act of refusing to be restricted by race in choosing our mates serves as a tremendous opportunity to liberate us from knee-jerk thinking and reaction. Instead of continuing to huddle in "clusters," we are becoming more and more empowered to choose to be open. For us, this is a crucial opportunity, and I hope more and more sisters grab hold of it.”


I agree that it is crucial to take hold of this opportunity and run with it. Black women definitely need more ideas on how to take advantage of this chance. Maybe black women should attend non-race based singles mixers in their area to meet people with the same core values? Also, there is the “Survive and Thrive: Common Sense Club” idea going around that can address dealing with skewed values. Any thoughts?

Barry said...

I was at the San Diego Comic-Con premiere night last night (Wed), picking up the 4-day badges for myself and family, and there were black girls all over the place.

I was there also. I saw some black females, but not very many. I also didn't see very many black males, though they may have edged the black females in number. Saw lots of Asians and whites and a moderate amount of Hispanics. I generally saw more male than females.

Anonymous said...

Yea, at those conventions, you see a sea of white faces with sprinkles of black faces. Among those faces are mostly males and most of the black faces are males. Often there are black females with their black boyfriends.

While small, there is a black writing presence in comics. Dwayne McDuffie, Christopher Priest, Kevin Grevioux, and Reginald Hudlin are prominent black comic writers and there are several prominant white female writers, but I cannot think of one black woman writing for a major comicbook company. Of course, the industry is full of white male writers.

There are always celebrities at these events, so not everyone who attends them are comics/sci-fi fans.

knockoutchick said...

I was at the New York Comic Book Fair at the Javits Center recently and there were all races to be found.

Mostly white "boys" big and small :-) Many 40 year old guys dressed up as Super Hereos, but a little bit of everything.

I think it is so hard for a lot of black people to accept that there are black women like many on this board that exist in growing numbers happily living lives outside of black American norms!

Oh how could you!!!!

I have found when I am at events such as Comic book fairs, rock concerts, sports events, etc. I do see BM. It is funny that many BM will say they never see BW at these events. Could it be they are not looking for us or for them like many people we are invisible.

That is one of the reasons I love the Italian Vogue selling out. I mean...who knew there BW in America reading and buying magazines???? Shocking!

knockoutchick said...

@ Mekare

Very interesting post.

I think most BW who have varied interests have in the past been thrilled to find other women who had similar tastes. Because in the past our numbers were small, finding someone who shared your eclectic tastes felt like a haven.

In the way the folks at Black Rock Coalition came together awhile ago. Now it is common to find black folks into R&R.

But maybe like most groups as educated BW grow in numbers we will become more nuanced.

I was just thinking the other day how nice it would be to raise a family in a community that had a large number of open minded educated BW or others that might be in IRRs. How nice. A large prosperous community of active, intellectual black soccer Moms.

PG County is great, but very religious and conservative at its core.

Now that being said. I can just imagine after awhile some BW would run from that.

In New York, we have an area of Brooklyn, Park Slope that is filled with earthy, crunchy white Super Moms. Park Slope is a very kid friendly area of New York, though very expensive. Many single people can't stand going there as these "Stroller Nazi Mom" as they are called are known to tell folks in restaurants or passer-bys to stop smoking or cursing as there are kids around.

It is interesting to me, how an area becomes dominated by one group or another. Like what was the first thing that drew progressive or liberal people to Seattle?

Or conservatives outside Phoenix?

EmergingPhoenix said...

@knockoutchick - I bet it went something like this:

A small, but decent population of a certain group moved into (or already resided) in these areas. They developed social circles, that became very critical of others who thought outside the box. Then they began to alienate and ostracize those who were not in line with their thought. In the end, those ppl moved, to find a better quality of life. They probably took example from their exilers, and then started to do the same thing in their newly found home (e.g. create a group around their interests, and alienate others).

This is why I am somewhat in agreement with Bishop's assertions. Ppl do gravitate towards familiar and comfortable things, but it can end in elitism, delusions of grandeur, "witch-hunting", or something worse. Some ppl develop these mentalities, without even realizing how insane they have become, b/c they are constantly given reassurance and a "pass" from their fellow cultists.

Hmmm, sound familiar?

PioneerValleyWoman said...

It is interesting to me, how an area becomes dominated by one group or another.

Gentrification can do it.

An area is cheap to live in, so the young creative types and students move in, which is what I think happened in Park Slope when the old timers moved on--the Irish and Italians who lived there. They moved out of NYC and sold their places, or stayed and rented to the young creative types.

For example, Park Slope was an area where as recently as perhaps 15-20 years ago, students lived there. Now, they probably can't afford it.

As the area draws the young artsy crowd, it becomes hot, and others move in, paying higher rents and prices on existing homes. Some of the old timers sell and reap the benefits, or they can get pushed out when they can't pay their property taxes.

The folks who used to rent can't afford to live there anymore, so they move out; this can include the artist types who moved there in the early period. Existing landlords realize they can get higher paying tenants and act accordingly--push out the ones who can't afford the high prices.

All that is left are those who can afford to stay or buy in, the crunchy granola types of moms with high disposable income who create their own cabal, as Emerging Phoenix suggested.

But the importance of like-minded individuals can not be underestimated. They move to an area or they are already there and they have the same mindset.

As for your dream of an ideal community, knockoutchick, perhaps you might find smaller enclaves of black women who are like that in the midst of the crunchy granola types...or in the black suburbs or in more liberal parts of various cities...

mekare said...

Hmm, sounds like this sorting process can be applied to black women in more ways than one.

"PG County is great, but very religious and conservative at its core.

Now that being said. I can just imagine after awhile some BW would run from that."

Well, that would depend on if you were born there versus moving from another location. I wonder if a lot of black women who are currently "conservatives" were born in conservative cities where this was the norm?

"As for your dream of an ideal community, knockoutchick, perhaps you might find smaller enclaves of black women who are like that in the midst of the crunchy granola types...or in the black suburbs or in more liberal parts of various cities..."

Hmm...I'll have to observe that.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

As for PG, DC and its environs are very much Southern: Maryland and Virginia. Southerners definitely tend to be more conservative and black Southerners definitely when it comes to race matters...

Finding black women in likeminded community:

Hmm...I'll have to observe that.

It would be interesting to find census data on that, perhaps? Do liberal enclaves draw them, do they remain in black communities, etc.?

mekare said...

"It would be interesting to find census data on that, perhaps? Do liberal enclaves draw them, do they remain in black communities, etc.?"

That would be interesting. IT may correspond to the cities with high populations of single men? I would assume that black women would go where the men are.

Miss Pinky said...

"but I cannot think of one black woman writing for a major comicbook company."

____________________________________

Just because a black woman *may* not write for a major comic book company does not mean that black women artists in the industry are not working or they don't exist.

http://theormessociety.com/

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Mekare,

I wonder.

I think many black women gravitate towards cities where they believe there are lots of black people, because that is where they are more likely to find community. Many people believe that going to the big cities is the thing to do, because of larger numbers of singles. But I wonder just how accurate htat might be. Here is an article that suggests, the very places many women, black as well as white, go to in the hope of finding community, dating and marrying, actually put women at a disadvantage, because the numbers of single women outnumber the numbers of single men!

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/03/30/a_singles_map_of_the_united_states_of_america/

PioneerValleyWoman said...

type into google:


A singles map of the United States of America

classical one said...

"It would be interesting to find census data on that, perhaps? Do liberal enclaves draw them, do they remain in black communities, etc.?"


I've lived in some of the more liberal enclaves (Seattle and San Francisco) both of which have small populations of black women. However, Seattle and the bay area are places where single men outnumber single women. If you go to places like Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia etc. there are large numbers of single black women but not so much of single men, especially single non black men.

knockoutchick said...

Hey PVW!

You know I see so many amazing generational changes happening...and the movement and shifting of communities are the tip of these societal "icebergs"

I hope many of you read the fascinating WSJ article "The End of White Flight"
http://wsj.com/article/SB121642866373567057.html

The article was about the return of WP to urban cores across America long abandoned to the poor and/or black citizens.

The majority of WP I see moving or gentryfying areas in New York are young WP, the children or grand-children of the people who fled. I think it can not be over looked the fact that younger WP are more familiar and more comfortable with people of other races.

So as PVW alluded there are many factors coming together to create changes in a neighborhoods demographics. Yet for New York and other large urban areas the changes in racial views are of greatest importance.

Rents have always been comparatively high in New York, yet 10-15 years ago whites would not go above 96th Street. Whereas years ago it was the fear of blacks the ran WP to the burbs.... now it is the LACK of fear the finds their children moving back.

knockoutchick said...

Many BW do gravitate towards cities to find a sense of community. Yet Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles are where they are least likely to find a BM partner.

A BW moving to Alanta to find a mate would remind you of that Gnarls Barkley song.....and you know which one I mean :-)

They would do better in finding a partner of any race in cities like Phoenix or Denver

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Blogger knockoutchick said...

Hey PVW!

You know I see so many amazing generational changes happening...and the movement and shifting of communities are the tip of these societal "icebergs"

I hope many of you read the fascinating WSJ article "The End of White Flight"
http://wsj.com/article/SB121642866373567057.html

The article was about the return of WP to urban cores across America long abandoned to the poor and/or black citizens.

The majority of WP I see moving or gentryfying areas in New York are young WP, the children or grand-children of the people who fled. I think it can not be over looked the fact that younger WP are more familiar and more comfortable with people of other races.

So as PVW alluded there are many factors coming together to create changes in a neighborhoods demographics. Yet for New York and other large urban areas the changes in racial views are of greatest importance.

Rents have always been comparatively high in New York, yet 10-15 years ago whites would not go above 96th Street. Whereas years ago it was the fear of blacks the ran WP to the burbs.... now it is the LACK of fear the finds their children moving back.

July 25, 2008 11:29 PM
Blogger knockoutchick said...

Many BW do gravitate towards cities to find a sense of community. Yet Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles are where they are least likely to find a BM partner.

A BW moving to Alanta to find a mate would remind you of that Gnarls Barkley song.....and you know which one I mean :-)

They would do better in finding a partner of any race in cities like Phoenix or Denver

My reply:

Those are some important points, Knockoutchick! I saw the WSJ article too, and I can't help but wonder whether the apparent lack of fear of being around people of color is really indicative.

Do the people moving in attempt to get to know the people of color in their neighborhoods, or do they create their little enclaves they grew up with in suburbia and experienced in college?

It is not uncommon for people to live in New York but have no connections whatsoever to the neighborhoods they live in, ie., they socialize elsewhere.

This is especially the case for young single professional types who don't live in neighborhoods that are conducive to young singles. Class differences too, perhaps? The social outlets where they live draw the local people with whom they don't feel they have anything in common.

Note the NYT and their articles (one I saw some time ago) about what is happening in parts of Harlem, with gentrification. Not only are white people moving in, but professional black people are, and the merchants are beginning to cater to them, while the locals who have always lived there feel out of place in the demographics of this new clientele. Their old stores look different, or they are gone altogether, and the people who patronize them are different.

And yet, even if for example, the white newcomers love the diversity and find it exciting, does their very presence drive out the others they claimed to have no problem being around? For example, when the owners realize they can get higher rents from the newcomers, they have no qualms about pushing out the folks who were there before.

In other communities of color, what might happen, though, is that the areas might become integrated, with little enclaves of groups of whites (with some non-local blacks in the mix).

In some parts of Brooklyn, there are developers buying up single-family homes and turning them into condominiums.

The homes getting torn down are the ones bought by black folks in the 60s and 70s when white flight began--the older folks are moving out of the city, to the South, ie., Florida or back to the Caribbean and their kids are not staying in the old neighborhood--they are in other cities or the suburbs.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

I can think for example, of some young professional types I know of who have moved to cities like NY. They move to NY and they socialize within their cliques. They have their alumni associations and their professional organizations, through which they meet friends of friends and friends of colleagues. Again, their neighborhoods have less meaning. If anything, their apartments can be their base while they are doing whatever they are doing.

Once they marry, they then figure where they want to buy and raise their families. Then, perhaps, community begins to matter more in the sense of where they are living, ie., Park Slope, which drew lots of young married people who could no longer afford Manhattan, or who wanted some stability when they had children and were drawn to the "neighborhood feel" of that part of Brooklyn.

As for the mommies running Park Slope (and other places), the local merchants and so forth (local officials) listen to them because they have the moral authority of middle class white women whose very existence means stability in their minds: stable white families raising "nice middle class white kids" who are deserving of protection. White people get the rhetoric, and white women use it to their advantage: "women and children, first!"

Single people don't always bring that sort of organizing power and moral authority. For one, many are just passing through, and their causes--what are they? Their causes, do they pull at the heart strings in the same way the mommies' causes do?

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Remember that the WSJ and NYT are pro-gentrification.

Another important point, the WSJ suggested, is that clashes result in the one institution that gets people rabid: the schools.

Parents want what is best for their children. What happens when white middle class parents are competing with parents of color for scarce school resources? Serious clashes can result.

Moreover, many white parents moving into these neighborhoods don't want their children going to school with the local kids. So even though their parents and grandparents were the ones to flee and they might not have the same attitudes about race, in some respects, there might be some residual attitudes.

Their parents fled because blacks were moving in; they didn't want to live around them and have their kids go to school with them.

These were the people who took their children out of the public schools and sent them to private ones, if they remained in the cities, or they fled to the suburbs in the 1970s in places like Boston to avoid busing.

Today, schools that are majority black and Hispanic are seen (by many whites and even blacks who are in those very communities) as being substandard, which is a whole other complicated issue--violence, children not really learning, etc.

So the parents might live in a black/Hispanic neighborhood, but they send their children to private schools elsewhere or do their best to send them to public schools outside of the neighborhood.

Magnet schools in NYC were supposed to be the means of black parents who wanted better for their children to send them to schools outside of their neighborhood.

It seems to be a means too of drawing middle class white parents into the public schools, creating a school within a school, or a school system within a school system. Hasn't Bloomberg been working on that, closing down failing schools, having them reorganize, reorganizing the Board of Education?

Again, middle class white parents sending their children to the public schools is seen as a means of improving not only the quality of the schools, but the quality of the children who go to those schools.

It is as though there is some kind of panacea; get the white parents to come back from the private schools, and things will get better in the public schools.

It is as though there is nothing to be done with or for the impoverished black and Hispanic kids in the schools. Just warehouse them? Jonathan Kozol spoke about this.

knockoutchick said...

PVW says:
"This is especially the case for young single professional types who don't live in neighborhoods that are conducive to young singles. Class differences too, perhaps? The social outlets where they live draw the local people with whom they don't feel they have anything in common."

KOC
You know PVW the socializing behaviors of young white professional people has highlighted one of many huge differences in white and black behaviors.

One of the things young whites would always complain about in the neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan that they have recently moved into...is the lack of bars and restaurants.

These institutions are vastly important to young whites. Yet even among the black middle class and in black middle class nabes...you do not find bars and restaurants in the same numbers. American Blacks simply do not have the culture of "social drinking". I think this is partly because many blacks have just reached some level of financial security...in that this is the first or second generation of college education in the family or first access to disposable income that would allow eating and drinking in cafes all day.

About the rash of cafes recently opened in Fort Greene Brooklyn a long time black middle class resident recently said to me "Look at them drinking and lounging at 1:00 in the afternoon, and almost all of them are white. Of course black folks are working, that's why you don't see us sipping Lattes at all hours of the day."

But also the social drinking factor.....most middle class black nabes have few if any bars..they might have a dance club or two. Yet these restaurants, bars, shops and cafes help to create a small business community which makes a community more whole.

This is something that differs even from Latin communities. If you visit poor Latin communities in Jackson heights, the commercial areas seem more vibrate as they are packed with little restaurants, bars and cafes.

One urban planner recently said of the Projects or public housing, one of the mistakes in building them was that there were no commercial outlets on the ground level. So at night these large housing blocks went dark and were not conducive to people walking about. You simply came and went. But public gathering spaces are very important to building a community and help to define a community.

Yes, the more affluent new-comers want what they are familiar with....and the businesses follow them. You have an incredible amount of cafes, shops, etc. that have opened up in Williamsburg in the just the last 2 years...all to cater to white professionals and students. Another Brooklyn local commented recently about the wave of whites. "You knew when they came, all the comforts would be gone, Coffee would be $5 a cup and lettuce would be $3 a head....and everybody in their right mind knows coffee should only be .75 cents a cup. But why sell to black folks when I can put some foam on it and charge white folks $10.!

All of this brings a question to mind.

Is there less socializing in general among middle class blacks? Or is it all economics?

knockoutchick said...

Hey PYW!

Yes, Jonathan Kozol is wonderful and places a much needed spotlight on a complex issue.

PVW
"Magnet schools in NYC were supposed to be the means of black parents who wanted better for their children to send them to schools outside of their neighborhood.

It seems to be a means too of drawing middle class white parents into the public schools, creating a school within a school, or a school system within a school system. Hasn't Bloomberg been working on that, closing down failing schools, having them reorganize, reorganizing the Board of Education?

Again, middle class white parents sending their children to the public schools is seen as a means of improving not only the quality of the schools, but the quality of the children who go to those schools."

KOC says:

Middle class white parents who are moving back to these nabes do NOT want to send their kids to these urban public schools.

Would you send your kids?

I know that many educators see keeping schools intergrated by class and race as some kind of Utopia. Yet I think it is insulting to say urban schools "need" more middle class white students so black and latin kids can learn by exposure to parents and kids who understand the value of education.

I have a very "frugal"...well alright a cheap ass :-) Indian client who is very wealthy client and he always says to me he won't pay for private school. He says New York has excellent public schools as it is the responsibility of the parent to educate the child, not the school.

And he is right, we have amazing public schools in New York. The magnet schools that you spoke of which in fact began to cater to gifted black and Latino students but have become dominated by white students.
http://www.stuy.edu/about/gallery.php

Stuyvesant is beautiful...an amazing building and facilities..all public.

What we have to deal with on our own is a lack of the understanding of HOW to educate children in the majority black working communities.

We are not educating our children and other races of people don't want to toss their children in the smoking cauldron.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Great points, KOC!

As for the socializing issue, could it be that more black middle class professional types socialize after work or on the weekends, and if they live in NYC, they might go to the fancier type places in the gentrifying neighborhoods or in Manhattan?

One of the young black professional types I know who lives in Manhattan explained to me that there are certain days of the week when her circle within the professional crowd knows not to go to the bars and clubs, because that is when the "bridge and tunnel" folks come out.

She has found that the class differences can be apparent--being a young black corporate attorney in Manhattan is no big deal, but it can be for the "bridge and tunnel" men of color she meets.

Perhaps too, middle class blacks might spend more time socializing at home, ie., visiting with friends or having friends come over.

As for students who are around during the day, lounging in coffee shops. It happens a lot in white college towns. Is that something black urban students do, or is it that they are busy going from job to class and back home? Are they more likely to go to the libraries?

As for the middle class professionals, do many black folks have the type of creative jobs that permit them to lounge in coffee shops?

The people who sit in the coffee shops might have flexible work schedules or they can work from home. Again, it is what I have tended to see in college towns...people who are professors, writers, etc., who don't have to go to an office. They can afford to sit and pay the overpriced coffee at Starbucks or Barnes and Nobles or wherever else.

I agree, parents are responsible for raising children and educating them, the schools notwithstanding. Thus, there are black parents who teach more than the schools do or pull them out of the public schools altogether in NYC.

They might want to try doing the public school thing, but if there are large proportions of children who are coming to school with serious problems, the problem children can affect the parents who are trying to do better. They don't want their kids in the same schools and they don't want the kids (and their families) living near them.

arthur said...

..other races of people don't want to toss their children in the smoking cauldron..

You've got it. Forget about skin color; these are the issues. If black folk were leading the way in education, whites would be fighting to get their kids into black schools.

Aimee: another blue-ribbon discussion on your blog. Whatever you're doing, don't stop.

ava said...

Black women need to concentrate on changing their mindset about dating outside. Most black men see us as commodities. So they treat us like commodities. I went to a funeral about two months ago for a "brother" who died of AIDS. He was the type of man who would have sex with anyone. I just wonder how many black women he had sex with.

ava said...

And, according to anon, if bm have such an easier time conversing with wm, than bw with ww, then you are directly admitting to an advantage of being male in corporate america. Which relies heavily on your ability to network. With all of that said, then really bm do not suffer more from racism, as they have sexism on their side, and in effect gives them a leg up on bw who have to deal with racism and sexism. So, which is it?

Ava says

I agree. It sounds like a black man who prefers white women coming on this blog to try to put black women down in a slick way. He is being a little more subtle because he was thrown off of C-1's blog recently. I think that his name is William.

knockoutchick said...

Hey PVW!

As the black professional class and certainly the numbers of black professional women continues to grow, I don't know if anyone has studying the habits of this group.

I am sure someone is or will...

"She has found that the class differences can be apparent--being a young black corporate attorney in Manhattan is no big deal, but it can be for the "bridge and tunnel" men of color she meets."

Many well known figures of the black intellegentsia like Michael Eric Dyson, love to berate the black middle class about seeking to separate from the working class or under class so this is not something that is spoken about openly in the black community.

Yet, like you I wonder are there similiarities of the behaviors of black professionals across the country that can be so easily identified like our white counter parts?

Or is the black professional class too small to have such distinctions.

For instance if I say the "outdoorsy granola Mom" everyone knows what kind of white person I am talking about.

As for white people who have the disposable income to sip coffee all day. I think it is the case that many black people are just now starting to get those desireable creative jobs in greater numbers that allow large chunks of free time. Well paid writing gigs, stylists, producers, etc used to be jobs completely held by whites.

Further is there a solid black middle class comunity in America that has large enough numbers of people to allow for differences in beliefs and political views?

Are there enough black conservative Republicans to create their won community? And who could stand to live with them :-)...or could the stand each other! ......(sorry for that) :-)

knockoutchick said...

In regards to schools...are there any elementary or middle schools formed by black parents and educators for solely gifted black children?

There should be.

I believe black children are struggling with a unique set of circumstances that make it easier for them to learn from black teachers.

knockoutchick said...

From the New York Times

Clustering, sorting, grouping, gentryfying...and searching for more all night cafes.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/nyregion/27gentrify.html?_r=1&ref=realestate&oref=slogin

PioneerValleyWoman said...

KOC:

Yet, like you I wonder are there similiarities of the behaviors of black professionals across the country that can be so easily identified like our white counter parts?

Or is the black professional class too small to have such distinctions.

Further is there a solid black middle class comunity in America that has large enough numbers of people to allow for differences in beliefs and political views?

In regards to schools...are there any elementary or middle schools formed by black parents and educators for solely gifted black children?

My reply:

In the '80s, the phrase used to describe various black middle class folks was "buppie," black urban professinoals. I can't recall whether they were seen as having an aesthetic of their own.

But I do know of some perceptions: (excluding now, the black elite of laurence otis graham, blacks who might have been strivers, ie., their parents were working class or immigrants, or they came from working class/lower middle class backgrounds, living and working in urban environments.

Some criticized various of them as lacking "soul," meaning that they were so assimilated, that others wondered whether they were really "black," in that they stared across a divide of class at other blacks. Some criticized them as being all about conspicuous consumption, meaning that they bought all kinds of toys and stuff to show that they "arrived."

Today, it seems that because there are larger numbers of blacks who are professionals, the whole notion of "buppie," as something new or unusal, has fallen by the wayside.

As for their numbers, they are there, and everyone knows it, but the numbers I'm not sure of. A good indicator might be: numbers of black people graduating from colleges and professional schools as a proportion of all blacks in the country?

But what is interesting is that the gender dynamics become apparent. Looking at the numbers of young black people in college and professional schools, the young women outnumber the young men...Thus the perennial CNN-type report on black women in America. (Rolling my eyes here...)

Black professionals comprise a heterogeneous group--background, politics and so forth. I don't think it is possible to unite them into one group at all--some are urban, some live in the suburbs, geography, etc., etc.

Outside of their professions, all they might have in common is that they are of African descent!

Just look at Obama--black urban professional married to a black urban professional. Different backgrounds, different experiences: interracial, immigrant; working class African American. They are like a cross-section of black people in the US!

As for the charter schools for gifted black kids, there might be one or two in Harlem I heard of, in the early days when charter schools were begun as a means of reaching out to black parents who didn't want their kids in failing schools.

EmergingPhoenix said...

knockoutchick said...
“Yet, like you I wonder are there similiarities of the behaviors of black professionals across the country that can be so easily identified like our white counter parts?

Or is the black professional class too small to have such distinctions.

For instance if I say the "outdoorsy granola Mom" everyone knows what kind of white person I am talking about.”


I think increasing amounts of disposable income has already created groups of middle class blacks everywhere, who fit into one or another of the character types, but there behavior and preference is always just seen as “acting white”, or as PVW pointed out, called “Buppies”, or BAPs. They are not allowed to even be the stereotypical individual. I know there are enough, that they have started social groups across the nation and abroad. The labels u brought up, can easily apply to black ppl. Personally, I tend to think of them as American traits (culture), moreso than white culture. I remember I was in an argument with an Indian guy, who hated that I spoke properly, had knowledge about things he felt I shouldn’t. He cornered me one day in the lab, after everyone had gone home, and started to berate me and demand if I thought I was white. I asked him if he thought he was white, and he smugly laughed and said, “I AM BROWN”. I couldn’t help but laugh a little myself, at the absurdity of it all, and this was a PhD, of supposedly high intelligence.

I agree that there are more and more middle class blacks coming into the ability to enjoy more leisurely activities. I also think differences among our views were always there, but subdued for the good of “building the community”. Now that more of us own businesses, absolutely understand the practice of capitalism, and how it is useful, you see more black repubs. I remember I used to joke, that starving college activists are all democrats, until they graduate, get a job, start their own business (grow-up basically), and then they convert to republicans. We r a lot more multi-faceted than ppl give us credit for, and I totally agree with PVW’s assertion that, “Outside of their professions, all they might have in common is that they are of African descent!”

mekare said...

I'm baaaaccckkkkkk!!!!

PVW said

"I think many black women gravitate towards cities where they believe there are lots of black people, because that is where they are more likely to find community. Many people believe that going to the big cities is the thing to do, because of larger numbers of singles. But I wonder just how accurate that might be. Here is an article that suggests, the very places many women, black as well as white, go to in the hope of finding community, dating and marrying, actually put women at a disadvantage, because the numbers of single women outnumber the numbers of single men!

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008"

Hey PVW, I tried to read the article but it did not show. I do agree with bw moving to places where other blacks are for a sense of community. Now that I think about it, I wanted to be one of the many who moved to Atlanta. But I wouldn't consider it now, since the male to female ratio is so off balance.

Its kind of a bummer to hear women who move to large cities do themselves a disservice because they end up flooding these places. Especially considering that large cities should have large numbers of jobs?

I guess bw really, really have to think outside of the box.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Mekare, type into google, a singles map of the united states of america. You will see exactly what the map suggests...women on the East coast, outnumbering men. Men on the West coast, outnumbering women.

knockoutchick said...

Hey EP!

"I think increasing amounts of disposable income has already created groups of middle class blacks everywhere, who fit into one or another of the character types, but there behavior and preference is always just seen as “acting white”, or as PVW pointed out, called “Buppies”, or BAPs. They are not allowed to even be the stereotypical individual."

I agree with you that in the BC there is a very NARROW set of beliefs and behaviors that are acceptable.

Those who fall outside of christian, heterosexual democrats who love R&B have a difficult time.

So of course I know that the BC is varied but maybe peer pressure might stop certain groups from bonding and growing. For instance if you are a black businessman or woman you might NOT want to join the local Republican meet up knowing that the vast majority of your client base is likely democratic.

I am sure at this moment there are black Republicans who despite the racial connection w/ Obama still hold staunchly conservative views which will lead them to vote for McCain or Independent, yet they suuure would be afraid to speak up and say so in the BC.

We give independent thinkers a rough road :-)

knockoutchick said...

Hey PVW!

"but there behavior and preference is always just seen as “acting white”, or as PVW pointed out, called “Buppies”, or BAPs. They are not allowed to even be the stereotypical individual."

It is interesting that some social activities that are seen as "acting white" are common through out the black and brown diaspora, yet in America they are defined by class.

For instance, drinking tea or visiting coffee shops. Tea salons or shops are plentiful throughout N. Africa and lounging with friends and sharing tea is common. Yet here it is labeled a "white" activity. Maybe it should be actually be "acting black" :-)

I think the challenge for educated people of color is taking activities common amongst all peoples with a greater degree of education and fitting them within our cultural traditions.

Just last week at the gym I saw a young middle eastern muslim women taking an advanced cardio class in her head scarf and coverings. So would some say physical fitness is a "white thing"? Or Muslim women don't go the gym?

No..of course young educated ME women understand the value of being fit, they just have to find a way to blend their cultural norms with Western American norms. So this women got a light weight fabric head cover and some long wide leg pants and kept it moving :-) The extra sweating was probably good for her.

Also I wonder why in socializing working class or unemployed BM congregate on local corners instead of a local bar or gathering place?

For instance, even the poorest Central American immigrant here has the local bar he hangs out at...beers might be $2 and coffee .75 cents but they will all sit there on days they have off drinking playing cards, yelling and whatever men do :-) You can hear the drunk babbling in the summer when you walk by.

In West Africa, I saw the same local places for men to socialize.

Yet here I see BM who do hang around the corner to meet and socialize.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Greetings, KOC!

I would probably pass for the Middle Eastern woman at the gym! I wear a head scarf and loose clothes.

The headscarf, to protect my hair when I'm lying on the exercise mats, and loose clothes to feel comfortable. There is a dose of modesty there too.

I once saw a woman at the gym who might have been ME; she made eye contact and smiled. This fits in with what you said about perceptions of cultural norms...They are more universal than many people seem to want to admit.

Interesting about men socializing on street corners v. in their local places. So true, even in the Caribbean. Everyone knows where the "rum shop" is. It's a place for men to go and hang out. They take the rowdiness indoors and away from the public spaces. Women and children don't go there.

Yet, when men choose the street corners as their socializing venue, they claim these public spaces with their rowdiness and make them inhospitable for women and children. Public spaces become male spaces that women and children must negotiate. It is from those places that women are targeted when the men start to act out of line....

Again, this is a phenomenon of urban life in many communities of color...All the more reason to think about neighborhood and community.

arachesostufo said...

Ciao a tutti da scorzè, un paese visino a Venezia

freedom and peace

Anonymous said...

Great discussion ladies.

I am def. living this discussion as are my group of friends. We all live in NYC ,E.Harlem, W.Harlem and the Upper East and West Sides and none of us are orignally from here. We are all in our mid twenties and consider ourselves over-educated and underpaid :).I am from PG County and proud of it lol.A couple of the other women are also and there are a couple of folks from the South.

I live where I live because I got a deal on an amazing house, but don't have much in common with alot of people that live here. There are hardly any retaurants/bars cafes etc. The few of those establishments in my area are all super pricey i.e. Melbas,Mobays, Sylvia's and Creole. Or the cater to the large Hispanic population and aren't where my group would go to socialize.

In terms of dating I am the last of the group that has not gone the way of match.com but am SERIOUSLY thinking about it. My closet friends here with the exception of Native New Yorkers found their significant others on match; which has resulted in two engagments.

In terms of how Caribbeans/AA socilaize, it is VERY different than whites. I guess you could say that my friends and I have assimilated in terms of social drinking,brunch, dinners out a couple nights a week etc. Unfortunately, there is not alot of that where we live, which means we don't socilaize where we live and do treat our places as a "base".

I could go on forever, but suffice to say that I agree with most of what is posted and truly believe that everyone should keep their options open.

Best,

SpaHa ( Native New Yorkers know what I mean lol)

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Spanish Harlem???

Greetings!

I have been thinking of this in other ways too, that one transition which seems to occur is that once a neighborhood changes to become a "family" type, middle class neighborhood, the kinds of places that might have attracted singles seem to disappear???

For example, are bars and such more common in neighborhoods where there are more singles or working class people (ie., working class white neighborhoods where there might be one or two bars)?

I have noticed in different communities where I've lived, with increasing numbers of families, comes increasing numbers of different types of establishments: crafts stores, family-friendly restaurants and coffee shops. Less bars, but a liquor store, carefully regulated so that people can buy their alcohol and socialize at home?

This is especially the case in the suburbs--very rare to find bars. Instead, family friendly restaurants might have a section in the middle where the bar is.

knockoutchick said...

Hey SpaHa Chica and PVW!

I think as Ms. SpaHa alluded...a lot has to do with disposable income.

The restaurants she mentioned....Mobay, Melbas, etc tend to have an older AA clientele. As many of the better known restaurants and clubs that may cater to blacks. By older I mean 30-40s, possibly because they then have the income to afford the prices.

Whereas in terms of younger spots specifically catering to blacks...they do not exist. Or if anyone knows of a place owned by and operated with a mainly 20's AA crowd...please let me know.

So the question of how young blacks are socializing in this town is very interesting.

For instance since there are so many more young white college kids or young whites new to the job market.

You will find say ...in Williamsburg a bar, cafe and club that relates specifically to them. Meaning a cafe or bar that has $2 drinks, cheap food, less formal or elegant, more hip. But that can happen in Willieburg because there seems to be about 3 or 4 bars on every block! They can make up the cost difference in volume.

But could a black cafe or bar ever make that much $$$, because black kids just don't seem to drink beer in those quantities. Or even large amounts of coffee.

Do WP really drink that much alcohol? Apparently so.

So now if young urban professional blacks are in a different and un-familiar social environment...how do they meet???? Difficult.

I know a young well brought up AA guy who has a moderate salary but of course in New York he is struggling. He says often he will stay home and not go out to socialize simply because the cost is so high. Also the women so far outnumber the men in black environments he feels the need to be a gentleman and offer a drink to the young woman's friend if he seeks to chat with a girl in a group. Then he feels it is his place to get the chairs, hold the coats, or assist as a gentleman...which becomes rough in an environment of 3 to 1. It's not as sexy as many men might think. If you are an honest guy it actually becomes rough.

I am not crying tears for him ;-) I am just saying he says often times he and his friends just hang out at each others apartments...but they are too small or uninviting in his opinion to have a group of women visit for dinner or chat.

So for black guys in a place that drinks are $8-15 dollars a pop and they are surrounded by women who often make more $$$ than they do buying drinks becomes difficult.

Which brings up that joke that BW chat about...that you would have to be on fire for a BM to offer you anything liquid. :-)

So again we have disposable income issue. Yet you see throngs of young whites downtown roaming around having a ball. They are supporting an enormous amount of small businesses.

I think young black people are defining different ways to socialize. But the economics of it are hard.

For instance there were a few cafes that survived on Poetry slams about 7 or 8 years ago on Brooklyn. You could have a coffee for $2, hang out listen to poetry, have a glass of wine if you liked. These places seemed more suited to AA culture. Generally though they can't keep up with the rent.

But to tie this up on the BGR tip. Now more and more you see young BW venturing into mainly white bars and cafes or social environments. Used to be rare to see 2 or 3 black girls at the 'metal" bar...but no more. Hallelujah!

PioneerValleyWoman said...

KOC:

Don't forget, though, that some of the young whites who are socializing like crazy are doing it on a house of cards: amassing large amounts of credit card debt, or, alluding to an earlier point, they are living of the "Bank of Mom and Dad."

So it is about finding a middle ground, and a point you made makes sense--the venues which are not as expensive, but which attract a younger crowd.

Some ideas: the Nuyorican Poets cafe. Although the venues in Brooklyn might have shut down, Nuyorican has been around forever. How about the Joseph Papp theater? They offer memberships and have members-only events. The NYT had an article, Museums After Dark--the museums create a social space with music, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hi ladies,

I totally agree with whomever said that blacks socilaize differently than whites, at least at first. When I first when to college I was like beer? Ew...my Dad drinks beer. Slowly but surely though, you begin to go out and drink, go to dinners, Spring Break etc. Most blacks I came across in college either didn't have the finances for that or spend their money in different ways.

In terms of amassing large amounts of CC debt or having parents bankroll your lifestyle I def. think that happens. Most of my (female)friends here make decent money for our age, which is mid twenties. The guys on the other hand make pretty good money and are able to do the drinks, dinner, vacations or staycations type of socializing. My black male friends for the most part whether they are actuaries or work at PathMark don't socialize that way. They are not goiNG to take dIfferent women out for drinks, cofee and esp. not dinner on a regular basis.

On a sidenote I met this guy the other day that CONSTANLY asks me to come to his home and hang out.I really don't think it's a shady type of thing, just what he is used to. He would say things like maybe I'll take you to this restaurant or that venue etc. He's very nice but our ideas of how relationships start and play out I think are quite different. I'm certainly not going to a strange dudes house, I'm very sorry lol.

In terms of where young blacks socialize in this town, it isn't like D.C. here; where I could rattle off a ton of places. I don't see the sense of self and community that I do at home. I usually see interacial groups of people but not groups of blacks at any particular spot.A friend that I met in the neighborhood suggested Harlem Lanes and Moca (sp).I would also suggest Sin Sin Leopard Lounge where you can usually find me :).

Most of my close frineds ( across all racial groups live in Harlem) but alot also went in on large 1 bedrooms and built walls in Tribeca, Chelsea and the UES. Before I came hear I didn't even know people did that lol, anything to be in a certain neighborhood though.

Finally for better or worse I think that black middle class is too integrated to chronicle our story( at least in NY).

Hope my jumbled thoughts weren't too difficult to follow.

Best

SpaHa :)

knockoutchick said...

Hey SpaHa and PVW!

Well Lord! The beer issue! WP sure love their beers. Europeans and Latin Americans all have their local beers.

I know that many African countries have their own local beers but recent African immigrants generally come here to work like all recent immigrants they are not spending the bulk of their time in bars whooping it up and drinking beer.....in a time of war.

Here is an article about the closing of many local restaurants in Harlem that catered to blacks.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/nyregion/06soulfood.html

I think all ideas about how younger blacks are and will socialize is open for discussion.

I think we have to admit one of the reasons older Soul food restaurants have died in NY is that they have not evolved and younger educated blacks with the $$$$ to sustain these restaurants do not want to eat there. Why??? Because our diet is killing us.

In newly formed black middle class enclaves will there be no "soul food" restaurants?

In Brooklyn one AA woman with a keen eye for marketing is doing a booming business selling deep fried Turkeys at "Jive Turkey". A choice you would think most younger blacks educated about health issues would run from.

I don't know what new ways of socializing for middle class blacks will be.

We are eating different foods that our parents.

Behaving in different ways and interacting with a larger group of varied people.

And yes SpaHa Chica you are right....young BM do not go out and socialize in the way young BW do.

Again it is finance..over 50% of BM are unemployed in this town. I am sure you see them on the corner when you leave and return from work.

Which brings up the question...how can you form a community to live, to grow or to socialize without men?

Which leads me to......:-) I am glad you are at Sin Sin...the LES and downtown is where it is happening for young folks to meet. The drinks are flowing, chatter is happening and dark skin is welcome ......if you feel me :-)

Well PVW, as for kids spending their parents $$$$$ maybe 10-20 years from now you will be so lucky as to have your kid out spending your hard earned dollars on Tequila in the East Village :-) You can only hope !!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone,

I havent been around in awhile but I wanted to stop past and say hello, I had a bday and am working on my Match.com profile so I will be sure to keep you updated Knockoutchick and anyone else who cares to know :).

Oh yeah and agreed on the Tequila in the East Village statement.

SpaHa

Beckie said...

Your last paragraph is so dead-on in describing the transition I've made in my thinking over the last two years. Thank you for sharing your eloquent and persuasive writing!

Pris Robles said...

It's great that more woman are opening up. We could all open our minds up a little more. In fact a lot more. Racism is ofcourse out there but we practice a lot reverse racism on our selves as black people, put ourself in little boxes and don't come out and are very quick to say racism is the reason why something didn't work out, why we didn't get the job, why we got pulled over. It happens ofcourse but we need to rise above all that and stampede all over it. http://www.cafepress.com/galsrule

Phantom Mare said...

Let me throw in another "Black people don't do" activity.

Horseback riding and then swimming.
Now for me personally, I Loooooove to ride and I don't do cowboy(western riding) either, I do English(more refined and polished)...who are most english riders? White men!


This is one reason why I date out...I have more in common with WM than BM.

rebecca said...

The Lamb

(1)

Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

Gave thee life and bid thee feed

By the stream and o'er the mead:

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing, woolly, bright;

Gave thee such a tender voice,

Making all the vales rejoice?

Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

(2)

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,

He is called by thy name,

For He calls Himself a Lamb.

He is meek and He is mild;

He became a little child.

I a child, and thou a lamb,

We are called by His name.

Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Little Lamb, God bless thee!

~~~by aoc power leveling

Anonymous said...

Horseback riding and then swimming.
Now for me personally, I Loooooove to ride and I don't do cowboy(western riding) either, I do English(more refined and polished)...who are most english riders? White men!


There are also far more white women who are English riders, thus a black man interested in English riding would do better to date out.

Sandra77 said...

I have a feeling that among the population of WM english-style horseback riders, there might not be that many of them looking to date non-WM. And the non-WM had better be very financially sound!

Anonymous said...

I don't think that many WM english-style horseback riders are looking for non-white women and the non-WW had better be quite physically beautiful and refined.

Anonymous said...

Wow I like this but could the owner up date it please?

Sandra77 said...

WM english style horseback riders are more likely to be "master of the universe" types. Accordingly, they will "take" what they want. The same cannot be said for their WF counterparts - their actions will be more limited in order to keep their "place" in their social order.

foreverloyal said...

New post,please, amy!

Anonymous said...

WM english style horseback riders are more likely to be "master of the universe" types. Accordingly, they will "take" what they want.

Conquering a variety of coochie is a far cry from what you will bring home to mom and make a long term commitment with.

ieishah said...

i'm so late to this discussion. but let me say i don't believe mr. anonymous has ever been out of the country or knows any english people to speak of. much less english riders. in my ten years living in various countries in europe, spain is my 5th, black women are by far more numerous, more easily accepted, and assimilate more quickly than black american men. i've met three black american men in 10 months in bcn. black women, we have a group of 50 that gets together every month to cook and talk and stuff. outside of that, we have very separate, integrated lives. note to black american women: europe loves you. don't let anybody tell you different.

Anonymous said...

With all that you have said, you have said nothing to support that black women have any real chance of marrying WM english style horseback riders.

Plus, why should we believe your alleged experiences?

Sandra77 said...

Anonymous, bring proof of your point of view before you start asking others for proof of theirs. Otherwise, they have every right to hold and express an opinion on the matter, including one that is contrary to yours. And what's more, they belong on this website. I doubt that you do. And since you want to challenge another poster's opinions, why should we believe anything you say?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, bring proof of your point of view before you start asking others for proof of theirs. Otherwise, they have every right to hold and express an opinion on the matter, including one that is contrary to yours. And what's more, they belong on this website. I doubt that you do.

The burden of proof lies on the ones making the claim, and you and your cohorts are the ones making the claim that white English horseback riders are a viable option for black women in general. You guys try to promote this fantasy romanticized image of black women. A quick trip through the black community will bring you back to reality.

And since you want to challenge another poster's opinions, why should we believe anything you say?

It's a moot point since I have made no claims about my person life and experiences.

Anonymous said...

Well, at least this blogger seems to be civil and intelligent. This is unlike Taylor-Sarah, Evia, Halima and Zabeth who are all about as ignorant, stupid and cowardly as they come.

Sandra77 said...

Mr. Anonymous seems to think anyone here cares about his opinions. He makes an assertion, can't back it up, then tries to dance around the fact that he can't back it up. Anonymous, you don't seem to realize that the women on this site don't care what black men think re black women, and that more and more black women are coming to the same conclusion. He can't stand that thought, so he comes back obsessively to this site to leave his nasty little messages. Knock yourself out, Anonymous. No-one is this site is going to be influenced by your negativity and your desire to keep black women in a cage. We belong to ourselves now, and you and your opinions are no longer of any significance or relevance.

arthur said...

Aimee ... you still here?

Anonymous said...

Sandra77 with nothing of substance to say. I can and will back any claims up unlike you who expect folks to take your simple minded perceptions as facts LOL.

Sandra77 said...

Goodbye, Mr. Anonymous. Noone cares what you think. Your day has come and gone. You're not fooling anybody anymore. You seem to think that if you're going to invade this website and set all these "straying" and "wrong-thinking" black women straight. You're wasting your time. But then it's yours to waste (as long as the blogowner lets you). We're free to do as we please now, and so are you. We don't care what you do (but staying out of our way would be helpful, and I can tell that you like to be of use to black women).

Darkluv said...

This is a great site. It's about time that someone exposes the routine victimizing of black women and children. I know that this is off topic somewhat, but below is a good example of a black woman being victimized and her child being victimized afterwards by the system and it has gotten almost no real media attention.

http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/theotherside/

http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_11048218?source=most_viewed

It's sickening.

Anonymous said...

Sandra, I couldn't care less about what you do. I'm just exposing you and yours for the lies you tell. Simple as that.

Halima said...

Aimee get in touch please!

Rocky said...

Halima said...
Aimee get in touch please!


Why should she? Maybe she has come to realize how lying hateful women such as yourself are self serving and pitiful. Maybe she now sees through your ignorant rants and utter illogic. Maybe now she understands why you are alone and desperate in your psychotic cry for attention from the very black men you feel have rejected you.

DanaBash said...

miss your posts! hope you're just taking a break and will come back!

Anonymous said...

Folks like Halima, Eva, Khadija, Sarah, etc. are so ignorant and weak it is pathetic. The promote lies and refuse to defend those lies. Idiots they are.

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