(This post is piggybacking off the conversation in the Hear Ye post)
I have a cousin who has a sister and a father that her annoy her at times. My cousin often vents and complains to me about the things her sister and father does that irritates her and makes her angry. And I will agree that the things her sister does is just FOUL and the things her dad does are annoying. But I also recognize there is a line I have to draw when it comes to talking about them (even though I am also related to them) no matter how much my cousin vents and complains about them.
I sill understand that is her sister and her father and she loves them dearly no matter what – and will always love them no matter how many annoying things they do. I also realize that a lot of the frustration and complaining and venting she does to me about her sister and her dad, comes from a place of simply wanting them to get it together.
And so, I tread lightly when having discussions with her about the things they do that get on her nerves. I will offer her advice, listen, and even agree that she has a right to be angry. But I never cross that line of completely dumping on her sister or father because then I know she’d be defensive. And that is because even though we are all relatives and I love them as well, I am an outsider to her immediate family (her father and sister). I am her cousin. There is a bond there, that I simply cannot break by virtue that they are her immediate family.
Which leads me into why I and other African American women get annoyed and defensive when non-African Americans feel free to constantly diss America and African Americans YET while reaping all the benefits created by our struggle and fight from centuries and decades of blood, sweat and tears.
YES I and we will harp on America and African Americans all day long. But deep down, being both myself, a lot of that comes truly from a place of love and wanting to see us do better than what we are doing now. That means I have a dog in the fight. And when you have a dog in the fight, your motivations and intentions are much different than someone who doesn’t have a dog in the fight.
Just like my cousin. She constantly complains about the things her father and sister does because she has a dog in that fight and wants to see them become more independent and resourceful so they will be successful and stop always depending on her for everything. It’s the same thing here. I as an African American woman will and can point out the things that irk and irritate me about my country and other African Americans, because deep down I care about what happens to this country and I also want to see AA’s do much better.
I am so tired of people who are not even African Americans constantly ripping on America and African Americans. Too many people often forget PLAY STUPID when it comes to recognizing it was AFRICAN AMERICANS who fought to give me, you and all of the Black and Non-Black foreigners the resources and rights I & THEY enjoy now.
Another hard to swallow component is simply – Many people should be glad that Western Whites (In America and other heavily White dominated countries) are a lot more willing to share their piece of the pie with others outside their group/tribe. They certainly don’t have to and certainly have the power and resources to withdraw as much of that as possible if they so choose.
African Americans and other Blacks from other places living in this country and western countries have no INFRASTRUCTURE. So that means anything we achieve and get is truly because someone else GAVE IT TO US! PERIOD. Sowwy. It’s just the reality.
With that said, we should be GRATEFUL for all the opportunities and ability to live the best lives we can here in America because it certainly AINT like this all over the world for Blacks or other people of color. You want to talk about a real paper bag test. HMPH! Go live in some other countries where you are eternally doomed to live a life of poverty simply because your skin is darker than milk.
I’m so glad the discussion in the last post went the way it did with recognizing how so many Non AA people feel free to put down AA’s constantly, yet they are here in America reaping all of the benefits of what our ancestors fought for. And it’s ironic that the discussion occurred because last week at a Christmas Party, I ran into the SAME situation with my friend’s coworker who is from Jamaica.
Let me be clear. I have love for all Black women. I don’t care if you are African, Caribbean or American. Honestly, at the end of the day, we are globally all looking and fighting for the same things as Black women. We want to be prosperous, we want to have and reap all of the rights and benefits any other woman is getting and we want to simply just be free to live our lives on our own terms.
I have many friends from the Caribbean who I admire their drive and such when they come to America. There are things I admire about Africans and other foreigners who come to America and make the best life for themselves and who APRECIATE the opportunities given to them compared to their own countries. I also have 2-3 close Jamaican friends and have also dated Caribbean males in the past when I lived in New York.
My grandmother (who is not my biological grandmother) but helped raised my mother and whom I was also partly raised by is from Harlem NY and her parents are from Antigua. She is very proud of her Caribbean heritage, but to be honest I didn’t know of it much until I got older and moved back to NY with her. I never remember my grandmother putting down America or African Americans even though she was born and raised in a well-connected Caribbean family who migrated to NY through Ellis Island. My grandmother is 88. SHE even tells me how even back then during the roughest of times she and her siblings still had a great life living in Harlem. I ADMIRE THAT. That she never harps on the intense racism of that time, but rather remembering all the good things that she and her family were able to achieve here in America that they wouldn’t have been able to get in the Caribbean during those times.
I was born and raised in California. My first interactions with Caribbean’s was when I moved to New York in 1992 after graduating high school. I moved back with my grandmother (who is from NY) because I wanted to get a taste of living in NY. I enrolled in community college there and most, if not all of my friends we actually Jamaican. But I interacted with Caribbean’s from all over. I also found myself having dated mainly Jamaican males as well. It was something new for me, and I admired a lot of the Jamaican culture and my friends who I felt had it together.
But the one thing I remember irritating me back then was the arrogance in which many Caribbean people would talk about African Americans like dogs. This included some of my Jamaican friends (except one who completely was not interested in anything remotely Jamaican) previous b/f’s, their families and a couple of acquaintances.
It bothered me then and I remember arguing feverishly with them about how they had the nerve to insult AA’s when they were living off of the hard work our ancestors went through so they can come here and be successful. They would call us lazy and just all kinds of unfavorable things I hated. And then when I presented the ultimate question – “WHY ARE YOU HERE if you hate AA’s and America so much and Jamaica is so much better!!?” I was always met with silence and never got a response.
And that same thing happened last week at this X-Mas party where this Jamaican girl tried to tell me and two other White women that Jamaica/Carribean was the Holy Grail for race relations and America is just a hell hole full of no potential for anyone of color. YET, this young woman owns her own Townhome, has a good paying job, and virtually does as she pleases HERE IN AMERICA. I mean if it’s better in Jamaica, why on earth would you not go back there and live like a Queen???
Piggy backing off the conversation many of you ladies and Khadija discussed in the last post and comments I have made in the past – there is nothing SHAMEFUL about being African American or living in America. Also, I encourage AA BW to recognize the blessings we have here in America. Khadija also covered this in her latest blog post
Back to the XMAs brunch. So the Jamaican girl (pretty much raised here in America) was a co-worker of my friend who threw the party. I actually liked her *somewhat* as I have always gotten along well with Jamaican women.
But she went there and I wasn’t having it. LOL
So there was myself, her and two other White women (whom I already know and are friends with) there having a discussion about America and Europe and some differences. This Jamaican woman starts going on and on about how it’s so different in Jamaica where everyone is seen as a “nationality” and not just your race like here in America.
She continues to go on saying that in places like Jamaica and Caribbean, everyone is like one big family because even the Chinese, White and Indian and Black Jamaicans all see themselves as “ONE” nationality and don’t separate based on race. That here in America she always feels that people look at her race first and people judge you solely by that. That in America the opportunities are solely based on being White. That here in America, yada yada yada.
I agreed with her that yes in places like Jamaica people tend to call themselves JAMAICAN regardless of what they are. I also agreed that America does still have some serious racial issues. But I disagreed that it was one big CUMBAYA like she was trying to paint it compared to America.
So the White ladies seemed quite shocked that Jamaica was so diverse and accepting of different races as one nationality. This Jamaican woman continues to go on about how the Caribbean was “seasoning grounds” for slavery etc. So we briefly talk about slavery and the effects it had on the psyche of the slaves etc.
She continues to say how in other places in the world like Jamaica and the Caribbean, they don’t have the same problems with skin color and race that America does. That is where I was like “okay she really needs to stop this LYING”. I jump in and say – Yeah America def has its issues and bad history and certainly still has some issues with racism etc.,, BUT at the end of the day there is no better place for a Black woman or person to be compared to other places and thus why so many people want to come here if they can. These women looked shocked and the Jamaican girl starts getting a little huffy as I am saying this and starts trying to cut me off. So I stop her and say “let me finish”. I also addressed the whole “everybody loves each other in Jamaica and Caribbean” nonsense she was trying to spew.
She asked me how “I knew this” and I politely informed her that I have lived in New York and many of my friends (and even a couple past boyfriends) were of Jamaican background. A good friend of mine family also comes from Jamaica. And I said, yeah I don’t think that is 100% correct. I went on to say that what i do know in places like the Caribbean, there is a very well-practiced COLOR CASTE system as it has been for DECADES and that the lighter, whiter, more mixed Jamaicans/Caribbean’s tend to get the better jobs and live in the better areas. That skin bleaching and such run high as well. So she tried to tell me that isn’t true and that if you are light, White, mixed and DUMB that you will not fare better than a dark skinned person who is smarter.
So I asked her if she was denying the extreme color caste systems in Jamaica and she keeps going on about how in Jamaica everyone loves each other and judges you solely based on you character *INSERT EYE ROLL*.
So then I ask her, well if Jamaica is so much better in terms of America and its treatment towards women of color of all shades and everyone works together and loves each other – why did she move to AMERICA? Of course I got no answer. Then I went on to say that if all of these other nations and countries were so much better than America (for Blacks) then why are they coming or trying to come here in droves – not just Blacks but EVERYONE?
So the two White ladies were actually shocked because I guess they expected me to sit and whine about how horrible America is towards Black people. But I am so tired of people (especially Blacks from other countries) talking crap about how horrible America is towards Blacks when in their own countries half these people wouldn’t have a pot to piss in because (1) they didn’t come from money and because of that they stay in the lower caste (2) their darker skin color would keep them from obtaining better housing, better neighborhoods and better jobs. And frankly, if Jamaica or the Caribbean was so damn perfect compared to America, why is she and her family HERE!?????
This is something that Black American women need to be very careful about when conversing with others. Because this woman started looking and sounding like your atypical AA Black complaining about how “HARD” they have it here because people are so race obsessed. Yet she has a good paying Pharmaceutical job, owns her own home, and has her own money etc. and still complaining about how horrible America is.
I know these two White women personally, and I can tell you that between both she and I we have better paying jobs than they do and make more money than they do. I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT.
I’m just over the complaining already. Especially from those who cannot see the forest for the tree.
I don’t care how race obsessed people are here, if your Black ARSE is still living here when you have a home country you could go live your perfect life in, then LEAVE! The more AA women and non AA’s LIVING in America bad mouth America the dumber they look. That is because these women do not realize the blessing they have.
I hate to sound so harsh but it’s the truth! America is NOT PERFECT. But you best believe as a Black woman there is no other place you would want to be. In case some people forget the reasons why let me list them for you.
Often times when I find myself frustrated with America and its race problems, I have to bring myself back to reality and thank my lucky stars I have all the opportunities and resources that so many other women of color would never see simply b/c of their skin color.
There are places like Brazil where you can NEVER make it to the top simply b/c of your skin shade. In many places there are already ESTABLISHED roles that people play based on race and skin color. And those things NEVER CHANGE. You are automatically shut out from achieving success in many countries because of this. There is no “rags to riches” stories or abilities for a lot of Black women in other counties. You are constantly from the day you are born until the day you die living in a perpetual state of being POOR because of your race and skin color. And that is a result of having NO INFRASTRUCTURE (thank your Black “Kings” for that) as a race or culture.
THAT AINT THE CASE in America. You can become a rags to riches. You can get educated. You can enjoy all the resources and things that make life comfortable and enjoyable (if you work hard enough, and hell even if you don’t work at all).
Yet, we get so caught up in how bad we have it here, we forget how good we actually have it if we just took the opportunity by the bull hones and went for it.
Many of the problems African America and Black women have in this country are HONSTLY the result of dumb and silly choices we have made as women, ad sometimes just our overall MINDSET. AA women and Black women in general tend to do a lot of things that work against us as women. YES, a lot of that comes from indoctrinations and such, but no more excuses.
Black women in America do not live in a vacuum. We can clearly see day to day what kinds of bad choices lead to what kinds of consequences. We also have examples of COMMON SENSE things that other women do that work in their favors collectively. If we choose to not learn and play the game like everyone else – really whose fault is that???
The dating situation for Black women in America is something very new within the last one to two decades. And that is actually from a lot of things Black American women have created. We have allowed our image to be one that is the anti-thesis of what men look for in long term partners. We keep making choices and decisions that work against us collectively like fighting means battles, fighting to keep dysfunction that happens in the Black community, not standing up to colorism that affects our girls, allowing BM to exploit us as women, allowing ourselves to be used as cannon fodder for entertainment by the media and others who reap benefits from such presentations of us as women. I can go on. A LOT of the Black woman’s problems can and will only be solved STARTING WITH US.
Also, there are many places that if you are a woman without a husband you cannot make it. Here, no matter how bad the situation is for AA women and dating, we still have the ability to find other things to occupy our time and to enjoy when we do not have male companionship., We can travel, and we can do any and everything we want that our resources will allow. We can better ourselves as women and individuals without the need for a male. This is not like this in other places in the world, where single unmarried women cannot make it because society is set up against them.
THAT MEANS, at the end of the day, America yes has major issue. But when I see BW making strides in work and education, I know there is still a GEM to behold in America today. The dating situation can be fixed with patience and work and a chipping away at making our collective image better.
Understand this ladies – there is NO OTHER place on earth where you as an individual BW can make such great strides as in America. Everybody and their momma aint leaving their native countries or trying to leave their native countries to come here for nothing. Realize the blessings you have right now as an AA woman and do not allow NAYONE to make you think otherwise.
Black American women can overcome the problems and issues we have as a collective when we as a collective are truly ready to do that. Until then, as individuals we can keep living and making the best lives for ourselves.