Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Trust Others To Be Only Who They Are

"The things I’ve witnessed over the past 10 days or so, especially tonight, have truly led me to understand why black women remain the most unmarried demographic of females in the entire fucking country... Jesus fucking goddamn Christ…I did not think it was physically possible for me to be this pissed off."

-Chris, Stuff Black People Hate

I read Chris's blog almost daily. I thought his line, "Come on ladies, get the fuck out of your own way" was hilarious. It's funny because like most good comedy, it has a ring of truth to it. However, I wondered what events he was talking about.

He has goo-gobs of fans who leave hundreds of comments on his posts. I scanned through most of them, expecting he'd give a clue by responding. As I read them, I wondered how the sistahs really felt inside, especially the loyal ones who leave comments on a regular basis on this extremely social blog. I could see their bewilderment superimposed over pain in some, which equaled his anger in his post.

I'm fairly new at blogging so this drama was kind of interesting. Like
everyone else, was wondering why this normally funny guy was in such a snit over black women. Maybe he was pissed at the ones who had been R. Kelly's playtoys, yet kept him from doing jail time. I'm not into the celebrity thing, so it's the only big public story I can recall of the past 10 days.

Because I'm middle-aged, the dating game is more a mix of good and bad memories than a central part of my life. With this distance, I was able to read it without feeling threatened. Nothing has changed since I was in my 20s and 30s - the same argument goes on - the woman feels betrayal when a brotha she genuinely likes suddenly lashes out and says something that is perceived as hostile toward black women.

I'll never forget one evening I went to a club with a good friend. We were in our early 20s. She was happy that she'd be meeting her somewhat new boyfriend who was a decade older, had a big job and owned a house. She wasn't a gold digger. She had a college degree and great entry-level job.

I don't why he felt compelled to put her down that evening. We hadn't been at the club for 10 minutes before he said - to her, not us - that black women weren't smart.

She replied, "That's not true. A lot of black women are smart. Look at me. I'm smart! And educated! How can you say that?"

He replied coldly, "You're not smart. You're just knowledgeable. There's a difference."


She tried to talk this brotha out of his sexism. Arguing with bigots is always a waste of time and anyone who has ever argued with a racist on a right wing blog knows this. But we didn't have blogs back then. Hell, we didn't even have chat rooms.

I watched these two in awe. I couldn't believe the anger and prejudice coming out of his mouth. Neither would shut up. It amounted to her pleading her case to a man with years more experience in winning arguments.

Failing to change his belief that all black women are stupid which included her, she drove home drunk. I'd never seen her intoxicated, but she lost track of her drinks while arguing at the club.

Drunk driving is never smart, so we can be unkind and say she proved him right, but then again, she had never been attacked so fiercely by someone she admired and trusted. A good sucker punch to the eye can blindside you, and this is what his words did to her judgment that night. She was lucky; her night could have ended up much worse.

And thus lies the key to avoiding disappointment and/or pain we feel when a black man (or woman) essentially accuses the other gender of being idiots or whatevah, and being shocked when other black women give them the kind of pass that they rarely give to one another.

Here's the key: We can only trust people to be who they are.

To do otherwise is to set oneself up for disappointment. As for the women who appear to coddle a man who has said hurtful things, try not to sweat it.

Why? Because eventually most of us learn to say So what? rather than WTF

This is a glorious stage. Instead you mean it when you say, "Well, that's your opinion. So what? That and a dollar will buy me a cup of coffee at McDonalds, and by the way, thanks for letting me know how you really feel. Light my cigarette and I may even let you rant a little longer."

This philosophy can save you hours of trying to reason with people whose minds are made up and their opinions set in cement.

In a luke-warm defense of Chris, he finally responded deep in his comments section that black women need to stop dating no good men, as though this was the real issue.

Yeah, right. He responded to very few of the over 400 comments. At least one of his last comments was to a reader that was breathtakingly harsh.

She said: I’m a frequent (well, semi-frequent, at least) reader of this site, and I must say I am amazed by the rancor Chris’ comments have caused.

Chris - I say this with love…grow the phuck up, stop analyzing and worrying over other people’s relationship choices (thus, inducing some irrational frustration). If it doesn’t have to do with you, why are you concerned? And why are you generalizing?

Personally…not into thugs, gangsters, wannabes, etc. I love a smart, funny man, who is attractive to me and open-minded. I think I want the same things most people want in a partner (blah, blah, blah). One day I hope to find it. That is all.

Well, he ain't the one, honey, that's for sure. His response:

“grow the phuck up…If it doesn’t have to do with you, why are you concerned?”

Giving a damn about people other than yourself is, to me, a central part of the definition of maturity. If everyone subscribed to your insanely selfish philosophy of “if it doesn’t concern you directly, fuck it”, then the abolitionist movement, emancipation, and the civil rights movement would have never happened. Please don’t breed. We don’t need anymore self-centered apathetic assholes running around in the world. Thanks.

Damn. He took not-giving-a-fuck to whole new level on that one when he told her not to breed, followed by noxious, unwarranted name-calling. It was also dishonest. Just because you don't stick your nose in other people's love affairs doesn't mean you don't raise hell when it comes to broad social issues like the ones he mentioned.

Part of me - the part that's been around the block more than a few times - wonders if Chris was really doing damage control after he saw the firestorm, before he finally said fuck it and got really hostile. He may have been telling the honest-to-God's truth about his anger over black women dating losers, but I swear, doesn't his explanation sound like the kind of lie you'd come up with after sticking your foot in your mouth?


Man: (mutters under breath) "You're such a bitch."
Woman: (angrily) "Did you just call me a bitch?"
Man: "No, I said you were acting bitchy, only 'cause I thought maybe you're on your period. Why do women get like that anyway? I'm gonna go chill with my niggas for awhile."

See how artfully the guy has used denial, then changed the subject and put the woman on defensive?

Women do this to men too.

Woman: (on phone with her girlfriend): "He can't fuck for shit."
Man: (overheard this): "You really think I can't fuck?"
Woman: "Oh hell no, honey! I was telling Dee-Dee what Tamika said that her cousin told her about her new boyfriend. Why you all up in my phone call anyway? Are you jealous? I hate jealous men. They're dangerous. I'll have to dip outta this relationship if you got stalker inclinations."

See how artfully she lied and then switched it around like he has a problem? She even set the stage for making an exit in case the sex doesn't improve. In the future, he'll be trying to be Superman on Viagra in bed - and proving that he's not jealous.

I trust Chris to be funny, write well, and be occasionally offensive to others. Period. At least he doesn't discriminate. He explained on one of his pages that he writes for himself to keep from going insane, not to please folks.

Fair enough; I can relate to that.

He also doesn't censor what others think of his opinions. They can cuss his ass out and it's there for the world to read. This is a big plus to me, because I can't stand it when I write a thoughtful comment that disagrees with the author, who then refuses to print it.

This happened to me the other day when I spent a lot of time writing why I disagreed with a blogger about his negative take on Obama's Father's Day speech. He titled his article, Any Fool Can Be A Politician and repeatedly called and alluded to Obama being a fool.

There are a number of reasons to look long and hard at Barack, but after listening to his entire speech in church that day, I felt that criticizing him for his "any fool can father a child" comment wasn't one of them. If you're going to attack someone, at least do it on solid ground, ya know?

And if the shoe don't fit, don't wear it, and ignore the racist media that chooses to make it an indictment against all black men. We know who the good daddies are and we know who the deadbeat fools are too.

Apparently this man only publishes comments that agree with his. Offended, I wrote him back and pointed out the problem with this. Hell, I'm black and hadn't even used profanity unlike one of the three comments he approved. Doesn't my opinion count? Not on that blog.

That's his prerogative, but I would have appreciated some sort of warning like "Only comments that agree with mine are welcome." This way he wouldn't have wasted my time by giving the illusion that anyone could leave comments on his self-described 'think tank for people of African American descent' where he's a contributor.

I came up in with the anti-war, Civil Rights generation when differing opinions stimulated fantastic discussions and occasional riots. Folks could agree to disagree, especially them there hippies, and all the black folks were going back and forth over whether they should be called blacks or Negroes and if afros were cool or not, and wondered WTF were we fighting for Vietnamese to be free when we weren't free ourselves. Lots of debates over everything. I like open discussions, and only review comments here before posting to keep the klan and loony right-wingers off my back.

The best blogs as a rule have this spirit of minimal censorship, and this includes Chris's SBPH blog and many others, which I'll continue to read as long as they're entertaining.

But back to the war between brothas and sistas, and men and women in general.

In a nutshell, it takes time to really get to know people. This is particularly true in dating. If it starts to look and feel like a relationship, decide how much energy you're willing to invest in trying to alter some of his/hers unexpected and highly unnerving opinions, or if that fails, whether their pluses exceed their minuses.

It is only after you get to know someone that you can really trust that person. I don't mean to trust who you want them to be, but to trust them to be who they are.

If the two of you are comfortable with that, then you're friends. Not fuck friends or make believe friends, but fo' real friends who agree to disagree without becoming too disagreeable.

Now, anyone want to light my cigarette or pass the matches? If so, I'll take another sip of coffee, and I'll listen to you...



  1. I really appreciate your perspective and your take on this given your profession and age. You touch on a lot of things I wouldn't have noticed. I really didn't want to make a big deal about Chris's blog because what he said (including the comment you included-which I agreed with) didn't offend me. But this was a very enlightening read, thanks for directing me here!

  2. Thanks for explaining your philosophy and approach to blogging. Mine isn't nearly the same, but if we were all the same, the internet (and the world) would be a pretty boring place!

  3. ST - Thanks. The drama and cult-like response to it was fascinating, and perhaps a microcosm of young adult black male-female relationships, if not the world.

    ATL - Thanks, I guess, since I'm not familiar or sure about your own approach.

  4. People in the adoption blogsphere tend to tread very lightly, that's all. Perhaps it's a function of it being 99% women. I speak quite plainly sometimes, when I get especially irritated, but I'm also diplomatic to my "neighbors" in the adoptoblogosphere on some issues. As an Asian adoptive parent there's hardly anyone else in that shares my perspective in certain areas. My neighbors are often Asian transracial adoptees and white adoptive parents. I don't mind being diplomatic, actually, because it's helped me understand some perspectives that are very different my own. Again, that's just my own approach, and I also reading others that are totally different.

  5. Hi ATL Asien!

    Okay, I see where you're coming from. I've followed your blog but didn't really pick up this.

    Diplomacy is like water, you don't miss it until the well runs dry. As I think about, it's in short supply everywhere, from the way many nations are dealing with one another, to many sections in the blogosphere where everyone's in a snit about something or someone. I'd love to become snit-free. I think I'd have to turn off the Internet and cable news for that. What a novel idea! *laughs*

    Moving on... New parents, including new adoptive parents, are very excited about having a little one. We can get pretty touchy if someone is critical of our parenting ideas which most of us have fantasized about since our baby doll days or adolescence.

    BTW, I haven't forgotten you. I've been working off and on writing an article about parenting the special needs child since last week. It's been a real challenge because it's so personal. It's 90% finished and I hope to post it either Sunday or Tuesday.

    It's sort of a teaching tool by example to give ideas to adoptive parents of special needs children. Many are clueless of the really rough ride ahead when their bundle of joy becomes a pain in the neck teenager who drives them to the brink of insanity.

    I hope that sharing some of what I've learned from my own mistakes and those of the mental health profession will help you and others.

  6. Looking forward to it! By the way, you might also really like these other adoption blogs...

    Brenda McCreight: has written several great books on older child adoption

    Harlow's Monkey: foster care adoption social worker and transracial adoptee

    Deesha Philyaw: Black adoptive parent and freelance writer, doesn't write much about adoption currently though

  7. Nice post. I have tatooed the title in my brain so it will protect my heart in the future.

  8. Another great post, Kit, thanks. Enlightening in many ways for this white boy, for sure, though I haven't digested it all yet.

    Regarding blog comments, you wrote,
    "I like open discussions, and only review comments here before posting to keep the klan and loony right-wingers off my back."

    Sounds very wise, and I hope the latter aren't on your back much. I've been surprised to have them off my back at my place, and haven't had to turn on the moderating function yet. I am able to delete comments, though, and have only done it to one so far.

    Thanks again for sharing your caring.

  9. Thanks, Anonymous. It took me awhile to master the art of trusting others to be only who they are. Once I did, sanity was restored. :)

    Macon, good to know this. I've been toying with the idea for sometime of turning off the moderation button too. As you know, some of my previous posts tackle racism head on, and I've seen how damn persistent and hostile those who hate can be. I'm encouraged and will give it a shot anyway and see how it works out.

    Otherwise, the War of the Sexes dates back to Adam & Eve. Ain't much changed.

  10. sidebar:

    it was satire and 5 mths ago i wrote about the 40 billion earmarked for an invasion of iran

  11. That convo played out like every other convo on that topic.

    But, your comment about trusting people to be who they are has been my mantra for quite some time.

  12. I'm a lurkr, and this is one of my favorite articles by you. I've been learning the hard way to trust others to be who they are, b/c sometimes I get caught up with their good side and what I hope they could become. I spent two years trying to change a boyfrind and that was a waste of time. Thanks for the motto.

  13. Torrance, scary satire indeed.

    Big Man, me too. Anything else sets up to be disappointed.

    Anonymous Lurker, welcome, and I'm feelin' ya. Love is often rough on us. I wish you better BFs in the future and hope it helps you. *hug*


Hi, this is Kit.

I haven't posted since summer 2010, and comment moderation has been on for a very long time.

My old blogger friends (you know who you are) are welcome to email me.

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