Friday, July 25, 2008

Sista, Where Art Thou? : The Missing Link In Critical Self-Thought About Black America.

[Editor's Note: This one's a doozy! You're probably not going to agree with me, and you're certainly entitled so your opinion. But read with an open mind if nothing else. Then flame me.]

Every month or so, there seems to be some sorta televised "Townhall Discussion on The State Of Black America". BET always is airing something or another about hip-hop's effect on black kids. T(r)avis Smiley's got his annual State Of The Black Union. And now, not to be outdone, CNN is diving headfirst into the sewer of Negro Dysfunction with it's own series, entitled Black In America.

The prelude to this series aired last weekend. It was your typical townhall discussion about how screwed up black folks (particularly men) are, and took place in New Orleans, the new Ground Zero for Negro Intellectualism. On the panel were the usual suspects: an academic (Cornell West in that same damn black suit), a preacher (TD Jakes), an entertainer (Tom Joyner), a journalist (Ed Gordon), and the token woman (the always brilliant Julianne Malveaux, spoken over repeatedly) to round out the bunch. And as expected, the show was little more than a feelgood hour of SoundByte Olympics™. Lots of $5 words were bandied about. Black men were singled out as the Root Of All Negro Evil. White folks and "the system" were blamed. And at the end of the 90 minute discussion, I walked away with no greater insight into exactly what the solutions are.

Like every other panel discussion, this one delved headfirst into everything that's wrong with black men. They don't want to get married. They make babies and don't support them. They get locked up and bring home AIDS. They don't take responsibility for what they create. Blah, blah, blah.

These are all very valid points, and I'd be the last one to catch feelings, given the fact that I more or less advocate the very same thing here daily. There is little doubt that we as black men need to get our collective sh*t together. This is an indisputable fact. No denying it. You won't hear any sorts of denials of that on this site. No siree Bob.

But what about the other side of the equation?

I know I'll probably lose some female readers here, but it needs to be brought (BRING IT!!) so I can't hold my tongue any longer. How about somebody on one of these shows challenges Black Women to make smarter, less emotion-driven decisions about whom they give the nookie to?

Yes, there are, have always been, and shall always be triflin' men (Negroes or otherwise). But blaming them for every societal ill misses the fact that it takes two to tango. Two to lay down and make a baby. Two to get married. Two to maintain a healthy marriage. Two to run a household. Two to make a family, at least as defined by the standard everyone seems to advocate.

By just continually calling out black men, yet treating women as perpetual victims, you're missing a huge chunk of that whole "shared responsibility" thing. Women are on average vastly smarter than men, but they sometimes choose to see what they want to see. Women have a far greater gift of discernment when it comes to relationships. They remember things better. So why let them off the hook if they're so much better equipped when it comes to sniffing out B.S.?

Let's keep it 100, ladies. You know you can tell if the Negro is sorry from the moment you meet him. You know that if he's already got three babies by five women, chances are you're just gonna become another harrowing statistic. You know that if he's got a crime record longer than Manute Bol, he is prolly not gonna be able to hold down a 9-to-5. You know that is he looks like a playa, walks like a playa, and talks like a playa, chances are he's a sorry, triflin' assed Negro. This is all common sense, yet so many women overlook this glaring evidence when it comes to choosing mates.

Yes, I know some men lie. Some of us are exceptionally good at doing so. But women are always smarter. They always know what's up. They just choose to see what they want to see.

Men in general do about 75% of what we do to attract the opposite sex. Wack Niggas do about 110% of what they do to attract the opposite sex. Wack Niggas will not evolve as long as they're rewarded (with cookies) for being Wack Niggas. This isn't too complex an equation, ladies.

In short, stop giving your cookies to Wack Niggas!!![1]

Think about it, Barack Obama got both applauded (by me) and reamed (by others) for challenging Black Men to step up during his recent Father's Day speech. This was completely necessary, and any dude who caught feelings about this needs to seriously check himself. But cunning as Barry is, there's no way in Holy Hades that Beige Negro would even remotely consider pulling such a stunt on Mother's Day. You know this and I know this. Because you just don't talk about nobody's Mama, and most Black women will be somebody's Mama during the course of their lifetimes. But that's a part of the problem that these shows, and black culture in general, seem to ignore for some odd reason.

Here's some real solutions for Black America.

  • Black men need stop being grown 16 year olds to stick around and raise the babies they make. Getting married ain't Kryptonite, so we might wanna try that out too.

  • Black women need get out their feelings and not prevent these men from being fathers, just because the relationship didn't work out.

  • The Black Church needs to quit worrying about building sanctuaries and focus on building families. This means more classes on healthy relationships, marriage, and parenting.

  • Black families need to raise their sons to understand that being a "playa" isn't what being a real man is about. Being a real man means being committed.

  • Black families need to raise their daughters to stop chasing flashy guys and focus on character.

  • Black families need to raise their sons to have character.

  • Black folks in general need to stop "hittin' that raw". Condoms are cheap and easy to find. Use em'.

  • Black men who've "made it" need to give back.

  • Black people without kids need to help someone who has some.

  • Black people with common sense need to help those without.

  • If there's one thing black folks are good for, it's talking. Fixing? Uhhh, not so much. And shows like this, which seem to be little more than Intellectual Masturbation™ really trouble me, because for all the brains and fame these panels usually include, there's seldom, if ever any definitive takeaways for the audiences to implement. There's just lots of good "talkin", lots of applause, and plenty more questions than answers. And as a result, we stay losing.

    Nope, no solutions. Just plenty of pontificators "gettin' off", thus the photo above, in case you were looking for context.

    So, I prolly won't be doing any recaps of CNN's Black In America, because I've frankly got better things to do, like being a husband and father and generally making sure I'm more of the solution than the problem. And who the hell wants to sit around watching more and more bad news about Black folks? Shouldn't any black person with a brain already know most of this stuff by now? Aren't Black people more or less born knowing this stuff? So since we're putting our worst foot forward, I wonder exactly whom this show is for? It's clearly not to educate, inform, or challenge Black America to grow. So it must be for White America to watch, and gawk at, and further ingrain the same negative stereotypes about Negro life in America.

    Sorry, but I can't bother watching any more of this crap until we can be totally honest about the issues that plague Black America, not just pandering to see who can get the loudest applause.

    I hope that Emmy was worth it, Mrs. O'Brien.[2]

    Question: Did I just lose half of female AverageNation™? Were my points about the victimization of Black women anywhere in the ballpark, or is just a piece of sexist propaganda? Did you watch Black In America? Did it "need to be brought?"

    CNN Presents: Black In America []

    [1] I hate using that word, but sometimes it's the only one that's appropriate. Forgive me if you're as squeamish about this sorta thing as I am.

    [2] BTW, I didn't even watch this crap, but I told ya'll about Soledad "color-me-mine" O'Brien months ago. But you ain't wanna hear me though. Now ya'll mad. Hmmmm.

    56 AverageComments™:

    Brown Man said...

    Gotta give to you - buddy of mine asked me yesterday why I wasn't watching. I told him "cuase I saw it for five minutes and its the same old shit.

    The sad thing is, most of the stereotypes the directors and editors INSIST on playing up are fading away as wee speak.

    The rest of the bullshit out there doesn't need understanding - it needs a kick in the ass.

    As long as those of us who know better, which is the majority of us, continue to accept the actions of these cartoon characters who represent the lowest common denominator of human existence as the AUTHENTIC BLACK, we dseserve what we get.

    Having high standards never killed anybody, and they sure wouldn't hurt us.

    Tam Tam said...

    I don't have cable or a dish (by choice), so I haven't been subjected to the nonsense.
    AB, I agree with your post 1000% I told my sister that I was tired if being the victim AND tired of being "the exception to the rule" black woman. Yes, I am educated and have some common sense. But why is that seen as the exception? Why aren't the video hoochies and drama baby mommas seen as the odd one out? Okay, I am venting now, not good LOL. I guess I want to be seen as "normal" and programs like Black In America don't help at all. I feel like itt sets me back a zillion years, always trying to explain and educate to counteract the foolishness of such documentaries. These next comments are in reaction to he pic: They only had three women? And where were
    the under 40 set? (((Heavy sigh)))

    Twanna /// FUNKYBROWNCHICK said...

    Oooh, you pose such delicious questions!! Very sexy. :)

    You ask: "Did I just lose half of female AverageNation™?" Probably not. Hell, you said "[w]omen are on average vastly smarter than men" so how could we not love you? ;)

    And, yeah, I think you're spot on. One of the problems with the CNN show (and others like it) is that they talk about so-called "problems" in the black community without posing any solutions or, at the very least, hilighting the things are going quite nicely for us.

    Nice thought-provoking post, by the way.

    Wilma said...

    I obviously can't offer a black perspective on this, but I recognise these problems in the white-trash community I stem from. My mother got out of that environment by getting a good education, but my aunt and cousins live it every day. My cousins have different fathers and the eldest of them has four children by three different fathers, stopped her education and now lives as a single mom on welfare. I never got that. The first child was an accident she says because her meds and birth-control didn't mix, but then she didn't take measures to prevent that from happening again. With every child it's the same old excuse. The fathers all dabble in drugs and petty crime. I just don't get why she made those choices when the bad example of her mother, who has lived in poverty and abuse because of her choices, was right in front of her. It's a choice, it's not just something that happens to you, you do have ownership in your own life.
    In The Netherlands people are starting to recognise the problem of inherited poverty. There recently was a study that showed that in a certain demographic (which is a nice way to say the white trash demographic) there has been no social mobility for three generations. Single mothers with an average of five children with different fathers seem to be the key to that problem. So to me it would seem that the solution lies with them too. Get the girls when they're young before it's too late.

    Jazzy said...

    I’m still relatively new to your blog but no you did not lose me as a reader. This was the very discussion my husband and I had last night after we watched the close of Black in America. You are 100% correct the focus is no longer on family unity it’s a “get it how you live” mentality. Everyone is out for just themselves. I just wanted to let you know DON’T despair people there are FAR more Black men holding it down than what the media will represent. Get out in your community and show this. Get involved in boys and girls clubs, big brother and big sister programs show kids that are struggling that there is something greater out there than what athletics or the rap game can offer them. For many of them they don’t even know a middle class black family exists. Show them and they will follow plain and simple.

    Symphony said...

    I obviously can't offer a black perspective on this, but I recognise these problems in the white-trash community I stem from.

    I was chatting with a group of galpals who are all white. One of them is from suburban CT and had mentioned the pro-Cosby email she received from her racist, ignorant father.

    Another friend said, "We have the same thing in Iowa and instead of ghetto its called white trash."

    I'm working on my post but essentially I feel this way:

    Most Black people who have blasted this series for being stereotypical would, if given the opportunity, produce the same thing (whether they set out to do it or not).

    Just look around the Black blogosphere. Its the same topics. Interracial dating, Black women loving thugs, Black men can't handle strong, independent Black women, XX% of Black women aren't married, XX% of Black children are born out of wedlock.

    Novella said...

    thank you wilma for pointing out that the problem in Blacks are facing are not that color specific. when I here about what is wrong with Black America, I think that white people have the same problems and we need to start looking at the problem as a whole and not just in racial sections. I also do not have cable or dish, and do not miss it. I would love to see a series about the positive things that Black America is doing, how to Black love is still strong, not matter what "The Man" may have you believe, how Black people are going to college, graduating, and making positive contributions to the country. I think if we start to highlight the positive, those caught in the negative will learn how to make a change. said...

    Average Bro!

    The CNN BOGUS REPORT was such a crock... I watched both nights...only because I was going to blog about it...NOT because I expected it to have any concrete solutions!

    My own blog has more in depth solutions for black women than CNN came up with!

    Soledad was not the person to use for this AT ALL... black people are talking about her like a dog now... *LOL*

    There were no other spiritual leaders in the mix adding any comments... just T.D. Jakes... black people are New Agers, Muslims, JWs, from many different groups...

    You mentioned that the church should DO MORE... you may not have been at church lately...I don't know... but if you watched the episode the on "The Black Woman & Family, there was a church woman who hosted a seminar on HIV... the cameras were rolling and the room was completely EMPTY...not one person in the church showed up.

    The church can spend time and money and host classes and seminars...THAT does not mean that the people will show up...

    The black clerics who are online and host blogs don't have nearly the readership of those bloggers like you who aren't I think that the increasing number of black clerics who are setting up blogs and reaching out... I'm a cleric and I visit many blogs... THAT is evidence that the black church is NOT just sitting back waiting for the people to show up in the pews but is actively reaching out to people...

    oooooops now I think I've over-stepped my comment allotment at this blog! *LOL*

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

    SingLikeSassy said...

    You didn't lose me, cause I've been saying some of the same stuff -- take ownership of your choices. If we wanna lay down with dogs, then we can't get all crooked in the face when the fleas start biting us in the ass.

    I get tired of the black male bashing, too. And this may not be a popular thought, but I don't believe black men are going to get right, til black women get right. Til we COLLECTIVELY say no, we aint sleeping with you without a condom and no we aint sleeping with you and you have a girlfriend/wife/significant other and NO we aint making no baby with you outside of holy matrimony, until WE draw the line in the sand and say NO, NO, NO, NO, NO and raise the bar and force black men to meet and surpass it if they want our time, attention, affections, love etc. then the cycle of dysfunction will continue. We gotta raise our expectations and self-esteem. Want better, do better, get better.

    Daedalus said...

    I have always said, that when black women stop having relationships and babies by felons and others of that ilk, alot of it will stop.

    Alot of black women have dont have relationships and babies by legitimately successful black men as it is, and of course they get mad when they end up with Mulatto's (One non-black parent to and one fed-up-with-black parent) or with someone who's not black at all.

    I'd say that Barak is being a great example of our potential as a people (and, in spite of his political beliefs he is) but Lauren London called and she aint havin none of that so, I think I'll go rob a store, go to jail and have sex with men and then get rewarded with sex with Lauren as a reward.

    AB Has a point. Its time for women to acknowledge their role in encouraging this foolishness.

    Symphony said...

    singlikesassy, you aren't alone. I wrote a post called: Black Woman: The Black Woman's Worst Enemy back in October of last year.

    Its the same way I'm critical of the Black middle class for acting as if all our problems stem from poor Black people. Not the case.

    Ever notice when one of these shows come up you always have a bunch of Black people criticizing the "stereotypes" they see on TV by saying, "I don't know anyone like that. My girlfriends aren't like that." or "My boys aren't like that."

    Yeah, sometimes I feel like I'm only one of a very small few bloggers who know people "like that". Hell, they are my family members. And sometimes they are me.

    Not everyone has the same background. Not everyone grew up in dysfunction but there is a lot of putting on airs in the Black blogosphere in my opinion.

    nia said...

    You make some interesting points, and I definitely agree with the shared responsibility bit and all that. But I think this argument that a lot of men like to throw out, "Well women are generally smarter than men so blah, blah..." is actually an insult disguised as a compliment. Women need to stop being bamboozled by this and the 'Strong Black Woman' myth. They are NOT compliments. Although you say men need to get their act together, you still more or less give them a free ride later by saying "There will always be triflin' men." So, why then will there never just always be triflin' women?
    I won't be watching the series. I can't stand those kind of things either.

    T said...

    Seriously--that program was not FOR black people. It was FOR white people ABOUT black people(since we are about to have a black president and all) :)It was the Cliff notes version of "Don't be scared, they have issues"

    There was nothing new included--it was just presented on a non-BET channel so that white people would have access to it.

    And, Yes, most of it was stale crap that WE all know and are tired and bored with. However, as long as those issues are evident in 1 person, family, community in the country then it should be a problem for all of us.

    I put the TV on mute and went back to reading somthing intelligent while getting ready for bible study class, volunteer math tuturoing sessions with a young black 4th grader (because I am one of those single black sisters without kids who is trying to help those with kids), and setting out my outfit for work then to happy hour with the non trifleing black man in my life.



    AverageBro said...

    @ brown man

    I don't really agree that these stereotypes are fading. There's some truth behind every statistic, and I don't really see this changing dramatically overnight. In fact, I only see it getting worse, as long as the discourse is always focused on the problems with no solutions given.

    @ tam tam

    I think that photo was from some recent townhall. I forget which one. Does it even matter though.

    @ twanna

    Welcome, and stick around.

    @ wilma

    I agree. The issues presented on these shows are hardly unique to black folks, they're just (in some cases) worse in our community.

    Will there ever be a similar miniseries on the dysfunction in White America (and I don't just mean Appalachia. I mean the burbs too)? No freakin' way. The MSM just pretends that the millions of whites on welfare rolls, or unemployed don't even exist. These people are invisible, but I grew up around enough of them to know better.

    That'll never happen though, which is why these issues keep being projected as uniquely "black" issues. And that's bull.

    @ jazzy

    I agree. And for that matter, painting black men (and women) as a single stereotype (jailbird, absentee dad, unemployed) ignores the fact that even people down on their luck can have a positive outlook and try to do some good things in the community. Every time I am out coaching my bball team, or at the school tutoring my mentee, I see other men who may not have it all together, but are trying. But trying to portray complexity is something the MSM never bothers with. Catergorization and stereotypes are sooo much easier.

    @ symphony

    Most Black people who have blasted this series for being stereotypical would, if given the opportunity, produce the same thing (whether they set out to do it or not).

    Just look around the Black blogosphere. Its the same topics. Interracial dating, Black women loving thugs, Black men can't handle strong, independent Black women, XX% of Black women aren't married, XX% of Black children are born out of wedlock.

    I agree to disagree. Before I made that sorta documentary, I'd just steal CNN's budget and flee the country. Why keep rehashing the same crap over and over if you've got the time and resources to do better?

    I do agree that the black blogosphere more or less tackles these same topics, but at least it generally seems to be in the interest of discussion towards a resolution, as opposed to rank exploitation and the gawking factor. At least the handful of sites I frequent (peep the sidebar - yours is included there), do.

    @ novella

    I'd love to see a series of "positive" depictions, but you and I both know there's nobody interested in creating this sorta content. Except for TV One, every other media outlet is corporate owned. Negativity sells. In general, they know a "positive" depiction of Black folks would result in zero ratings. I don't really blame black culture for this, it's just human nature, really.

    I'd love to be proven wrong though.

    @ trumpet

    Agreed, Soledizzle shouldn't be talkin' about any one ethnic group/race until she decides to actually "claim" one. She always addresses black folks like some cultural anthopologist, not like they're the same Negroes at the family reunion she skips every August.

    She makes me sick.

    My church does happen to do quite a bit, and I know these churches do exist, but as a whole the black church needs to do MORE. Preaching "come to Jesus" every week when people's families are disintegrating before your eyes is dishonest. Again, I know many churches (mine included) are on top of this. I just wish more were.

    @ singlike

    Man, could you write for my blog sometime? That was SOOOO on point.

    @ daedalus

    We're in agreement (sorta) today. Is the apocolypse nearing? :-)

    @ nia

    Are you SERIOUSLY trying to tell me that on average, when speaking about the tools (communication, patience, forgiveness, phonographic memory, cooking) essential for healthy relationships, women aren't vastly superior to men? If you're telling me this isn't the case, then we can't even debate this.

    Yes, I meant that as a compliment. You can take it however you like.

    Yes, there will ALWAYS be triflin' women. But there's NO SERIES talking about them. The onus is (apparently) completely on black men to get their sh*t together and stop messing these poor innocent women over. As if men have some secret formula that just scrambles the logic out of womens brains, opens their legs, and drops in baby juice.

    Come on now, Nia. You know how stupid that scenario sounds.

    Again, I am NOT absolving black men of their need to GET RIGHT. Anyone who reads this Blog knows that's my mission in life (myself included), to GET NEGROES RIGHT.

    But pretending these men operate in a vaccuum and don't somehow respond to what women do is insane.

    Hollatyogirl said...

    AB this is off topic but did you hear about Nas making a speech in front of the Fox News headquarters yesterday. I think he deserves a post for that since he got a "dont ask a rapper about politics" post.

    nia said...

    I will probably need to read what you wrote a few more times , but: Apart from the patience part, the other tools you mentioned - yes, I actually can debate who is actually 'superior' to who. Women on the whole are better communicators with other women, but do an equally lousy job at communicating with the MEN in their relationships in my opinion.

    Women can also have other faults when involved in a relationship such as over-emotionalism, lack of confidence and self-insecurity that often negate the postive tools: cooking, forgiveness, etc. you just mentioned.

    Women definitely need to make better judgement calls when choosing who they want to be intimate with. No argument there.

    But the theory that: "Well, women are smarter so we should always see it coming," and "Men will be men" is what I took issue with, nothing else.

    Symphony said...

    I do agree that the black blogosphere more or less tackles these same topics, but at least it generally seems to be in the interest of discussion towards a resolution, as opposed to rank exploitation and the gawking factor. At least the handful of sites I frequent (peep the sidebar - yours is included there), do.

    Do we really need to do anymore discussing? What are we coming up with that hasn't been discussed before? You and I (and others) consistently use our blogs to encourage people to be involved and mentor.

    And to me, particularly when discussing the torn family instead of gawking and exploitation its nothing more than gender and generational finger pointing. Much like what you're talking about now with the focus and hard criticism squarely, in your opinion, on the men.

    I don't disagree with your post I'm just "amused" by the mass outrage throughout the entire blogosphere over the series as nothing more than crap and slander. But knee jerk, overly emotional is not a rare reaction in the world.

    Whether I think the series is necessary is one thing but since it was done I was disappointed they lacked the stories that aren't shown on the nightly news and in movies.

    But those stories they showed are very much real and if they weren't showcased there would be a lack of integrity regarding a series called "Black in America".

    Now, if they had a "Living Black and Well in America" and showcased only positive stories then I wouldn't have an issue with not showing the problems because it would have been true to the name and point of the series.

    AverageBro said...

    @ holla

    I applauded Nas last weekend for his album.

    I heard about the Fox News thing but didn't have time to dig deeper. I'll look into that.

    @ nia

    But the theory that: "Well, women are smarter so we should always see it coming," and "Men will be men" is what I took issue with, nothing else.

    Okay, agreed, my assertion was a little harsh. Sorry about that.

    But them again (and I'm asking all women reading this), CAN'T you usually SEE IT COMING from a mile away? I mean, come on. I'm wise enough to simply observe other men from a distance and I can usually pick up on this sorta stuff. Are you sayin' ya'll can't usually?

    That's not a rhetorical question. I really want to know.

    Claire said...

    I beleive that it is time to take the "Black" out of the equation. There is a wide spectrum of behavior among black americans and it is becomming more and more unreasonable to try and pool us all together. Each individual, whether you are wealthy, poor, black, or white, needs to take responsibility for themselves and for their choices. If your family has money and is able to pay for covering up your misktakes, that does not make you any less responsible or screwed up. We are what we make of ourselves and there are no excuses. The problem is how do you inspire this generation to take control of their lives and accept the consequenses?

    Hank Nasty said...

    As many have already opined, "Black in America" was not particularly groundbreaking in its content. In fact, it seemed to follow the same formula that most white MSM programming does when depicting black people: 10% positive (college degrees, successful entreprenuership, house in lily white suburbs) + 90% negative (inner city squalor, fatherless children, incarceration). I would argue that the majority of black people exist toward the positive end of the spectrum, but white MSM's audience doesn't want to hear that. I think they would prefer to believe that black folks are either involved in some professional sport/entertainment or in jail.

    ebonygentleman said...


    The post was on point. Black men are not the only ones having these babies.

    White folks have the same pregnancy addictions as well. They just make 18 babies in the name of Jesus and end up as a POSITIVE news story. Case In Point:

    Now, where is all of the welfare $$$ going again?

    While my in-law was visiting, my family all watched both episodes in the series. The only thing that caught my eye was the experiment that one black lady did. She recorded every local news broadcast for a defined period of time. Most of the crime stories featured black men on each broadcast.

    I think that we need to hamper down on those media outlets that continuously portray us in a negative light. As long as black men are portrayed as the booga-bears on TV, other races will always have something to hang over our heads.

    Vee (Scratch) said...

    I'll just co-sign the following.

    "Just look around the Black blogosphere. Its the same topics."
    - Symphony

    "Well women are generally smarter than men so blah, blah..." is actually an insult disguised as a compliment. ... you still more or less give them a free ride later by saying "There will always be triflin' men." So, why then will there never just always be triflin' women?
    - Nia

    There are some negative stats are changing for the better, they're just not highlighted. AverageBro, you and a couple of other blogs definitely inspired me to work on a project - Thanks.

    Cool post but I often tire of the party line where men are hapless beings who are incapable of getting things done.
    Take note, there are many women who are very successful in business working with no interest in playing out the traditional role of Miss Betty Homemaker.
    Phonographic Memory?
    Aww come on brother, I think we're dealing with way to many stereotypes here. I will not argue that men are superior to women in either category or trait but to concede inversely is . . . not healthy. Yeah, it is not debatable.

    So I guess if women are superior to men in cooking, then men shouldn't bother to learn how to cook and depend on women for their superior skills in cooking. I know that's a far stretch from your point but I'm just saying bro.

    nia said...

    Speaking strictly for myself, yes, I think many women can and do see it coming. But like I said, lack of security and self-confidence, issues with self-image, buying into romanticized notions of what a real man is (like Lauren London) and so on will often override commonsense and logic.

    AverageBro said...

    @ vee

    Come on, you know that "cooking" comment was pure satire. Do I need to add smileys behind everything today? :)

    And for the record, AverageSis is very successful in business, and can BURN in the kitchen. It's not like it's impossible.

    But again, the "cooking" part was satire. The whole issue about "phonographic memory" is pure science. Ditto for socially acceptable forms of communication. I'm not just making stuff up, I've read enough books by people far smarter than myself to know. Women genetically have the upper hand across the board here.

    @ nia

    Are men responible for "self-confidence" and "lack of security" in black women? I'd prolly agree with you, but you'd have to agree that vice versa also applies to some degree.

    And yeah, men should also "see it coming", but we sometimes get, uhhhmm, sidetracked and whatnot.

    ebonygentleman said...

    AB, I got ya back.

    Some modern women just don't want to take on the role as a home-maker. That doesn't excuse the bruhs from being able to look out for #1 when the lady won't cook (meaning that she probably CAN'T cook).

    Dudes, get some of the cooking basics down. That's to protect you when your lady gets mad or falls asleep on you (That HAS happened to me). Don't starve yourself for the sake of women's lib or that new Rihanna song.

    Honestly, most dudes on the marriage prowl aren't looking for a SUPERWOMAN. They want a WIFE.

    My WIFE is a medical assistant, but she can cook. Hallelujah, Glory!

    Come Thanksgiving and Christmas, she holds it down. When Grilling Season is in effect, I'm the man.

    I have to be on top of my game too...don't want my woman (or any woman) to hold me hostage.


    Monie said...


    "Now, if they had a "Living Black and Well in America" and showcased only positive stories then I wouldn't have an issue with not showing the problems because it would have been true to the name and point of the series."

    Wow, it would be great to see a series about Black people living well. I, however, don't think we are ever going to see that.

    First because that would confuse the hell out of many White people that think we all live in the ghetto, etc. And second, the so-called Black leaders would boycott any network that tried to do a series like that. If America knew how many of us were living well then it would ruin their (Black leaders) hustle.

    Tiffany In Houston said...

    And I would be disagreeing with you, WHY???????????????????

    Spot on, AB, spot on!

    nia said...

    AverageBro said...
    Are men responible for "self-confidence" and "lack of security" in black women?

    I actually don't belive that they are; it's a bit more complicated than that.

    Morgan said...

    coming from the "WT" background myself, I've seen exactly what you are talking about. poverty problems are not colorblind. the only reason our people aren't featured on the TV as "problems" is because poor white people are not the bugaboo used by the Rush Limbaughs of this world to get middle class white people scared into voting. maybe some day that will be different---plenty of poor Appalachian white people on TV when Johnson was pushing his "Great Society". Do I think the MSM or any of those politicians actually care what happens to welfare folks/unwed mothers/prisoners of any color? no, just good politics to create hysteria about it.

    the woman/man thing works both ways. there's something "sexy" about sleaze in our culture. we could all do a better job about holding up [inner] quality as desirable instead of fast-and-easy trash. i'm as guilty as anyone. (my $.02)

    good post!

    AverageBro said...

    @ monie

    Agreed, I'd love to watch a couple of hours of people who look just like me. Every black person's life isn't a series of jail stints, dead homies, welfare, single moms, and hoop dreams. That ain't the case for MOST of us, despite what we believe about ourselves.

    Ya'll give me the money and I'll shoot it myself. It would prolly be "boring" to lots of folks, but hey, real life tends to not make for the best TeeVee.

    @ EG

    Ditto. I'm the grillmaster. I can handle my own in the kitchen, but she's just better. It's not the only thing she's better at, which is good. A marriage, or any relationship for that matter, should work to the advantages of both involved parties. Is there something sexist about that? I think not.

    Ditto. That Superwoman crap is played. Cause I sure as heck ain't Superman.

    @ tiff

    Thanks for having my back on this one.

    @ nia


    @ Morgan

    Thanks for the different PoV. Hope you stick around. Different viewpoints are always appreciated here.

    The Black Snob said...

    Personally, I think a lot of these problems come from black people struggling with how to love each other when they don't love themselves. I'm actually working on a blog post on this.

    You don't love yourself when you can walk away from your own child. You don't love yourself when you have unprotected sex with an unreliable man. But everyone craves love, everyone craves what they didn't get from their parents, their families, the world and we act it out in our relationships and repeat the negative pathologies of the past, not modernizing or moving forward in how we relate to each other.

    My answer: Therapy. Like for real. The whole black race should have mandatory therapy. Psychological therapy, family therapy, relationship therapy, group therapy, detox, rehab, AA, AL-NON, church support groups, everything and anything. We've been hurt, but we've never healed. We just power through it and pass it on to the next generation, not making the connections as to why there are so many broken parts of us and our families.

    But that's MHO.

    spool32 said...

    Am I the only one who saw these?

    African American Lives

    I thought it was pretty positive all the way through both of them. If you haven't watched before, they're both excellent. Moving stories... and 24 positive role models.

    As for the point... yeah AB, gotta break out the smileys! This topic is the 3rd Rail of black sociological conversation.

    I think you've got a really strong point here, and yeah it's certainly not a problem that's exclusive to the black community. One further thing I think ought to be suggested (cos I'm always thinking about the policy angle) is:

    Those of you who agree with AB should strongly consider voting for and supporting local, state, and federal legislative candidates who want to remove financial incentive to stay unmarried, and campaign against politicians who want to penalize marriage. Right now, most states give more assistance to unmarried women with kids than they do to a married couple. This creates a very strong incentive NOT to get married and expect the father to help raise a family, and perpetuates a poverty cycle that has already done serious damage to poor communities and to the black community in specific.

    When it's a choice between "Get Right" and "Get Paid", we all know what most struggling women will do... especially when Getting Paid is the only way she's ever known how to survive in the situation she threw herself into. Fixing the financial incentive to staying unmarried is critical... some state programs cut assistance if there's an employed man living in the house - married or otherwise! That is just screwed up.

    This is an area where the actions of your lawmakers (and therefore your votes) really do matter, from local city councils right up to the President. The federal fix to the IRS "Marriage Penalty" for married couples will expire during the next President's term... not renewing it will cost every married couple about $3000 a year in lost deductions. Similar programs are to be found all the way down to local city ordinances about how you qualify for public housing, rent assistance, or food aid.

    Whatever your political persuasion, this is pretty clear-cut - there should never be a government financial incentive for a woman to stay unmarried, have bastards, and avoid a working father. This sort of behavior should never be rewarded.

    ebonygentleman said...

    I have African American Lives 2 on DVD. It's very good, except I'd like to see more "average" blacks have their family trees re-traced. There was one common lady on there, but she was hand picked.

    I'm sure the celebs (Chris Rock, Tina Turner, Tom Joyner) had their genealogies searched for free. That stuff gets expensive.

    I'd love to have mine done.

    By the way, can someone sell me on the perks of being a Republican? What exactly are you conserving?

    Do you get free checks for thinking the way you do? It appears that Juan Williams, JC Watts & other 'progressive' blacks seem to be doing alright. I'm an independent....I'd just like to know what the attraction is.


    Huntdaddy said...

    AB - Whether I agree or disagree with you blog posts, I always appreciate a strong, intelligent opinion. I think your readers are here for that reason. If anyone leaves your readership because of your last post, they are missing the whole purpose of blogging. So, rock on my man!

    I watched the series and while I was disappointed at it's lack of depth, I also was not surprised. This was not for Black folks so why in the world would I expect it to be something we can actually benefit from.

    Personally, we ALL have to do better in the Black, women, GLT, the poor, the affluent, the ex-con, old, young, religious, secular, etc. As a community we all have issues, weakness, and vulnerabilities that we have to strengthen...instead of finding the ways those very same issues, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. We also have to stop taking the path of least resistance and 'man up' to the road less traveled...which invariably leads to success.

    As for the solution, I have to quote my main man Michael Jackson (not really) for this one..."I'm starting with the man in the mirror..and asking him to make a change..." And so I'm not accused of talking and not doing, here are some of the things I'm working on:

    Starting businesses for my own economic empowerment
    Reading More
    Blogging More
    Going to the doctor regularly
    Improving my Diet
    More Exercise
    Taking my BP meds
    Traveling more
    Saving more
    Drinking less (alcohol)
    Drinking more (water)
    Speaking with my family more frequently

    We can't lead anyone else to a better life if we cannot take stock of our own sh*t and make improvements. It is rough at times but I'm committed and I am a better man for taking this path. And maybe, just maybe, I can encourage someone else to take a similar path to an improved life.

    So, AB Bloggers, what's on your list of improvements?

    spool32 said...


    There aren't any perks for being Republican... looking for the handout is liberal thinking. ;)

    i.l.l. said...

    "But them again (and I'm asking all women reading this), CAN'T you usually SEE IT COMING from a mile away?"

    In my own experience, yes, I saw it coming from a mile away. Years ago, Eric Benet had a song out called Love the Hurt Away. I am guilty, as are many of my sisters, of seeing a broken man and trying to love him into shape.

    ebonygentleman said...


    Again...sell me on being a Republican. I don't want a bunch of "rah-rah sis-boom-bah" cheerleading for the party you rep.

    I'm sure you can convince me to ride elephants without degrading the donkeys.

    What makes life as a conservative more appealing than being a liberal?

    cjames30082 said...

    @AB Phenomenal post, man. Freaking OUTSTANDING.

    I agree with you whole heartedly. I understand the "It takes two to tango". Unfortunately only one of the two stays around and cleans up after the dance if you know what I mean. To agree with you, last night Soledad went through great links to identify a young man as a deadbeat dad or absentee father. The problem I had with the piece was the the 'BABY's mama' was pregnant with twins at the time of the interview. Of course she was unmarried and apparently living at home with mom. The father of the twins was some other guy. So the piece being on black men made the young man look bad but the young woman looked even worse 'cause she did it AGAIN. WTF?!?

    They did a piss poor job on what I see as the Average Bro(Good Thing you are here). They made a point to make references to 1 out of 6 Black men blah, blah, blah, and 1 out of 4 black men blah, blah, blah. But what about the other 5 of 6 or the other 3 of 4. Alot of men are doing the right thing but after that piece you would think that being black is disgraceful.

    cjames30082 said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    spool32 said...


    email me:

    I'd love to have this conversation with you, but it doesn't really go in this thread. I looked for your email but the link for your nick points to a missing myspace page... so email me and I'll answer!

    Seriously, I'm interested in having the discussion, but I don't wanna clutter AB's comment thread with it.

    Anonymous said...

    "Shouldn't we see it coming"

    I guess that is a testament to how much we really do believe in the black man--that no matter what we SEE/KNOW we are still willing to give you a chance to do better(especially when no one else will)

    However, as Eddie Murphy said"don't thin you can continuously dog your woman out and she won't get back at you..."

    Collective patience will run low without SOME action towards improvement.

    Anonymous said...

    Naive Obama supporter here. Won't his presidency help to erase the "black victim" idea? Role models are so important and underestimated IMHO.

    MissJay said...

    Wow all of the comments are great ones. Something to add to that.

    Yes there are triflin women as well as men. I agree that we should collectively say no. The only thing is it will never happen. As long as there's a check in the mail there will be women having unprotected sex to please their men or get that check. Mankind needs to do better. Not black people, not white people, but all people. You haven't lost me AB. That's why I myself do not have any children. Have I dated triflin men? Yes, but I don't have any children by them. Did I see their triflin'ness(yes I know it may not be a word) a mile away? Not quite at that time. I think that comes with age and wisdom and good (notice I said GOOD) advice. Yes we do see what we want to see. I think everyone does. It's up to us to open our eyes and hopefully in enough time to not have 6 kids but 6 different men. And to all the good men out there who get caught up with the wrong woman(it happens) they same goes for you too.

    I saw some of the first night of that show. I liked the family who had the 6 kids all going to college and successful. It was also interesting to see a single father(not mother) trying to make ends meet. But other than that I didn't see or apparently miss that mich. I had other shows to watch.

    MissJay said...

    It's up to us to open our eyes and hopefully in enough time to not have 6 kids but 6 different men.

    The above sentence should end with BY 6 different men.

    Anonymous said...

    yOU ARE SOOOO RIGHT. I come from a family of highly educated females, and I was one of the few that had a father in the home. My dad stepped up to the plate to help be a father to them as well. My dad passed away, and they said I should be happy because at least I had a daddy? My dad belonged to them as well. He helped their momma's raise them....... I say, so what. Your father's may be trifling, but your mother shares a lot of the blame. If he ain't hittin' on anything stop at one child... don't have three or more children.... Hello people we gotta get it together. My friends mom says it best. A man will do no more than you let him do. If you have high expectations of him, his ass has gotta live up to them..... I live by this mantra. nuff said.

    Gracie B. said...

    Amen, Amen, Amen - I hope people are reading this. I'm not watching the show since I don't have a television. But I figured it would be more of the same. CNN isn't brave enough to actually tackle real issues. It's so much easier to throw up the same story, over and over again.

    Miss Gypsy Eyes said...

    Did I just lose half of female AverageNation™?
    No, I think that most of the sisters who frequent your spot have already had this conversation with someone in reference to that one friend that just stays losing.
    Were my points about the victimization of Black women anywhere in the ballpark, or is just a piece of sexist propaganda?
    I'm one who sunscribes to the theory that people can only do to you what you allow them to do, so it's only right to call women on their bs. If you are a victim it's because you choose to be one and no one can be blamed for that but yourself.
    Did you watch Black In America? Naw, I gave it a shot, didn't work out... Percocet is a wonderful bullshit deterant, I watched all of 5 minutes and started getting sleepy, so I turned it to something more appropriate to sleep to.
    Did it "need to be brought?" I guess the idea looked good on paper, and the suits at CNN have now shown their sensitive side, and it can't be said that they don't care about the "po colored folks." We can all applaud CNN for attempting to turn the light on in a dark room but it's the same old crap that's been happening since forever so it's really past being news. My advice is the next time a young black woman goes missing and they don't cover it we flood their offices with calls and emails, and when they ignore it like they've done previously, we remind their asses of this travesty and ask how they can preach about "black america" and still not give a damn.

    ms.kimba412 said...

    I agree 100%, AB - though I really didn't expect you to take it there.
    There's a reason, though, why sistas keep giving up the cookies to wack niggas - Black men get so much negative attention, that we Black women want to look deeper to find the positive. Either that, or we're just horny, and kinda stupid.

    the uppity negro said...

    wow...i'm so late in joining the convo, oh well, here I go.

    Even as a young brother, I was more turned off even before the special started because they have been hyping this thing up for some months now and then as it got closer, I found out that it was two days.

    TWO DAYS?!??!

    I didn't know if I was mad that we had two days worth of problems to hash out, or that the "very serious issues in black America" as O'Brien says on the promos, were only going to be relegated to two days.

    I think this is the same ol BS that I grew up watching. Everytime some big racial thing happens, they have these town hall meetings on friggin race. Rodney King Riots, Tdd Koppel did his hour long specials on America in Black and White where "we assembled a panel of all black citizens" or with OJ Simpson trial, or Hurricane Katrina.

    If CNN or any news outlet was serious about talking about issues surrounding race and/or class, I'd be in favor of them having a weekly segment to discuss these issues--not some crap like this.

    I was listening to WPGC, yes, with Big Tig 95.5 today and he said he fell asleep on it last night, because it wasn't intriguing. Now Tig doesn't strike me as some bastion of black intellectualism, but I think its very telling. Some school teacher called the show, and stopped short of going postal on him and her reasoning for lauding the special was that "we gotta start somewhere."

    I almost wrecked my car.

    Did she just say start somewhere!?!?! I mean, we've been doing this townhall shuck and jive for some years now. I wrote a whole paper about how I was sick of townhalls and prayer breakfasts. I think SOTBU is unique because it provides a topic for a two day forum, and it somewhat allows for the hashing out of deeper ideas, of course always dependent on the guests and how well Tavis moderates. The problems come when you get a Dick Gregory just grandstanding like he did last year. The problem with this Essence/CNN forum was that O'Brien had like 12 topics to cover in only 5-7 min time slot, and then they recycled the panelists and you couldn't even give a rebuttal to someone elses argument. Malveaux said she wasn't having none of that and called Fryer on the carpet for the idea of paying students to learn--and yeah, Malveaux gets no love. I love the woman to death, she's up on her stuff.

    Tonight, on Campbell Brown's show (and yeah, I don't like her either) Roland Martin kind of snapped because he said essentially the same thing against the other pundits when he said "we still have a long way to go." He went on to say, he's sick and tired of talk, there needs to be action.

    Aside from the fact that the average Negro prolly didn't learn a bunch of stuff, you're right, this was more geared for a white audience to get a peep into black culture--to help better understand Barack Obama no doubt. As a result, I'm not convinced that the average white person changed their views on black people. This show prolly did nothing more than reinforce the stereotypes--or in typical white fashion, or just viewer fashion, we pick and choose what we hear and listen to; they saw what they wanted to and drew their own conclusion.


    Your right, I heard Otis Moss III (yes, J. Wright's successor) give a sermon on Mother's Day called "Why Big Mama Tends To Shout" and he said not the "stereotypical" image of an Aunt Jemima but of an "archetype" rather the matriarch who holds a family together, a working mother, who did what needed to be done to save the house, family, kids, husband.

    And you're right, we hear all of these statistics and focus on the 1 out 3 black men, or the 2 out of 5 black women who are pregnant, and neglect the other side, the archetypical side, and its clear what it says to white America, but what damn damage is it doing to black Americans forced to eat the shit of the stereotypes day in and day out--now to see them displayed as though this special is friggin groundbreaking.


    I agree that it DOES "take two to tango" but what do you say to the black women who grew up in the household where the father was crap, and crap to the mother and of course that's what she will think is a "real man." Clearly we learned that lesson from "The Color Purple" for some women, a sign of love was for the man to hit them.

    Now, this isn't every woman. So I guess as far as this post is concerned the adage "if the shoe fits, wear it" is appropriate.

    And clearly, per your last line "I hope that Emmy was worth it, Mrs. O'Brien" you're not the only black person who can't help but have some sort of issue with Soledad O'Brien being the point person on this story.


    Anonymous said...

    No you have not just lost your female readership. You bring up some good points. In black churches those at the pulpit need to emphasize that marriage and family are part of Christian living. Also in regards to black girls I think that very often our young women and girls have low expectations. I would like to tell them you deserve better than some triflin ass playa, don't settle for just any man.

    KC said...

    Well said! I agree with your analysis about trifling brothers but have never heard anyone out the female side of the equation. Just like some brothers have 3 baby mammas, often those same women have 3 baby daddies. There's enough blame to go around to all involved.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm a sista, and I agree that there's blame on both sides, so I think you bring up some very valid, cogent points. During the second part of the Black in America series (Soledad. . .Soledad. . .SMH), I was equally appalled by the actions of the young man who was late to his young daughter's birthday party, but I was equally disturbed that the mother of his child was also pregnant with twins by another boyfriend -- and had remained unmarried (What kind of future will her children have?). The older I get, the more I realize the power I have over the choices I make -- particularly in relationships -- and I think more women need to tighten their grip on personal responsibility.

    On a side note, I'm a horrible cook, so I can't agree with you about women naturally being superior in that particular area, as I have met more than one man who easily overpowers me in the kitchen. I'm like the black Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City -- I use my stove for storage. :)

    Mwanga said...

    AB, if no one else has your back on this particular post, I do. Tell the truth and shame the devil (lol). I understand you're not trying to throw blame, just asking for mutual accountability. Sistas, to paraphrase Dr. King, a man can't ride your back[side] unless you bend over.

    Ginger said...

    My brother from another mother:

    How about somebody on one of these shows challenges Black Women to make smarter, less emotion-driven decisions about whom they give the nookie to?

    How about that chick who was pregnant with twins needed to be called out about getting preggos when her current BD isnt even doing much about anything with regards to his relationship with their kid? WTH!?!?

    Anyhoo, I wrote an open letter to Soledad which goes live tomorrow morning-check it out here:

    Maglet said...

    I know I'm late, but I had to chime in, as I just found your blog (thru BMWK).

    I watched about 15 minutes into the first one. I had dvr'd it--my husband and I sat there in silence and then we couldn't continue watching it. I wish I were exaggerating when I said it was excruciating knowing that this had been aired for millions of people to see. Soledad accomplished NOTHING, IMO. That whole thing was annoying. There are no solutions, so what the hell was the point of those shows? No point, as I got nothing out of it. Just more fodder for some misguided white folk. *sigh*

    You haven't lost me as a reader! You're not lying... not one bit! Ladies... listen to him. Guard your cookies with your life! You're absolutely right, AB. Anyone that's uncomfortable is suffering. That's how I look at it. Great blog--you are bookmarked! ;o)

    dp said...

    Chuuuuch like a muvv up in this muvv

    Post a Comment

    Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.