A Note Black Gender Relations in 2011

After writing that post on Nate Dogg, I spoke to Rob and  learned that there is an entire dating blogosphere were men, Black and White, blog about their relationships. I always KNEW these blogs existed but I didn’t know that they existed across race and I didn’t know how popular they were.

The second thing that he mentioned is that in DC there is a concentration of what I will term men who fall under the Ugly Ducklings doctrine, cats for what ever reason or not, didn’t get play in college, high school or both or they are new to city living.  Now they are working, got that government gig, a personal trainer and for arguably a range of reasons they treat  many of the women that they interact with like they are expendable and replaceable. Which makes my ass itch, because I am a human being, you are a human being and why and the hell are you coming at me like that….Lol.

For instance, a boo snack (peace to @huny, @jonubian) I have been seeing since January has recently gotten into the habit  of calling me late after he has marinated all through out the city on Saturdays. Now I told this negro man, on spring forward Saturday, be honest, be human, express your desire and we will take it from there. You calling or texting me at God awful hours, is just disrespectful. I know him to be a kind, considerate and an analytical dude, so I thought we were good. For instance he knows me well enough to know that decent week night date me is bier, a ball game and Chinese food. I mentioned the beef with the late calls again this past Thursday. And I #swearfoJesus I woke up Monday morning with a 12am missed call.

I was done. Like I have #toldyoass what not to do, and you gone do it anyways. Ummhmm.

#Blackgirlsarefromthefuture.

I am a choice not an option.

As a writer I have to have tunnel vision. The downside to that is that I sometimes don’t see the possibilities of other perspectives. In having this conversation with Rob, I was able to see that I had been making the assumption that if Black peoples material needs had been met, then the ways in which we treated each other would improve. Why in the same hell I would think that, I don’t know. Wait, I do, my family fell apart when I was 8 when my dad lost his union job, so according to my own experience, stable employment meant, or arguably provided the conditions for an all good household and decent gender relations.

This is only partly true. Because I also know some people who have serenity no matter whats in their pocket. My daddy is one of them. But on Sunday when I was processing this I hadn’t gotten there, yet.

I think this all came to ahead because the last few days have been the first time that I have had a chance since work school started back in January for me to reflect. Normally I am on the work hustle, grading papers, reading four books, emailing students, calling my family, going on a date,  praying, paying the rent grind, talking to my sisters. In short, there is very little time to reflect.

Rob also asked me a couple other questions that got the anthropologist in me thinking. I swear I do not know another man who can question my thinking, I mean poke holes in my ideas, but not come across like he is trying to dominate or belittle. He is a light, in some ways, for this reason. So he asked me when I was talking about Black gender relations, well what are my White girlfriends dating experiences like. I said I only know about their experiences in Black spaces.  And then he asked do working class and low income Black folks relate to each other differently? I then began to think, wait, maybe I can talk to an older Black woman, who can tell me about how gender relations were in DC in say the 50’s or 60’s. Rob then responded that, during that time period, men and women got married earlier and far more often.

It was then that I realized that we are at a rare historical moment, not only in terms of electoral politics, and youth driven social movements in Egypt, Iran, along with  labor movements in Wisconsin. We are also in a historical moment in terms of Black gender relations.

So boom. I got clarity today talking to @Afrolicious. And she asked me why I was sad. And I said, well, the constant negotiations that both my work and social life take is wearing on me. It’s cool, because I don’t have resentments, but its challenging because its work. I also said that it bugs me out that some of the  Black people in DMV who are arguably some of the most well off in the history of Black people in this country have such janky gender relationships.

She listened.

I listened.

And while I was listening to her I had an epiphany. I realized that the material needs, having your food, clothes and shelter met are important, BUT, a person who is going to treat a woman, a Lover, a lady friend like a human being is going to do so regardless of whether these things are taken care of, if their spiritual needs are being met.

Its an issue of spirit. Not the material world. Not about jobs, or Ugly Duckling doctrines or degrees. But about realizing that the people that you interact with are spirits and deserve your respect or for you to respect them enough to leave them alone.

Peace to my little sister who has her heart broke right now. Little bear you will emerge stronger. Trust. With each break up I became closer to becoming byrd Girl.  I Love you.

Have you assumed that if people had more cake, they would treat each other better?

Where are the women in the blogosphere writing about this? Why don’t we do it more?

Speaking of gender relations. I will be speaking on on panel, “Happily Every After”, Saturday March 26th at the Red Tent Symposium for Women.  Join us.

And You Even Licked My Balls: A Black Feminist Note on Nate Dogg

So I have been thinking of Nate Dogg in general but rap music in particular and the difference between how I as a Black woman and how White men relate to rap music.

While I understand that sexism and patriarchy is systemic, that we LEARN and are taught how to be “men” and “women,” how to be racist, how to be sexist as well as  how to Love, how to forgive.

What I am getting at is, to be crude, we don’t pop out of our mommas knowing how to be men and women, we are taught from infancy on through blue and pink clothing,  girls being told to sit a certain way that is lady like, boys being told crying is weak, and not manly etc.

I also know that there are several structural things impacting the lives of Black men and women such as archaic drug laws, mandatory minimums, three strikes, the underdevelopment of public education, gentrification, police who shot and kill Black people with impunity, and the lack of good grocery stores in working class and low income neighborhoods. All this shit matters.

Culture matters as well. Culture meaning,  music, books, websites and films.

Culture is hegemony’s goon.

Which brings me to Nate Dogg. The recent coverage of his death clarified for me why some issues that I have thought of about rap music but didn’t have the language to articulate.

I am a little troubled over how White mens investment in Black mens misogyny in rap music isn’t interrogated. And how that shit impacts me and the women who look like me.

Society is organized by and for men.

And our lives in the US are hyper segregated racially.

By and large Black people don’t live around White folks, so most White men can experience the pleasure of singing “and you even licked my balls” in the comfort of their cars, homes and apartments, whereas a young Black man said to me nearly two years ago on 125th street that he wanted to “stick his dick in my butt.”

On the street, in broad daylight.

That shit was so absurd I thought HE was singing a rap song initially. No, he was talking to me.

Consequently, largely, White men are  not subjected to the kinds of violence and sexism that is sung about in the songs that Nate sang the hook on. As a Black woman, I am.

As a woman, as a Black women who Walks like she has a right to be in the street, this means my ass is toast.

For example, there is an officer in my neighborhood that harasses me so fucking much that I am now on a first name basis, Peace to Officer Anderson. Typically he stops me because there is apparently a 11pm curfew in DC for children under 18 on week nights. He normally asks me from his car, “Hey, how old are you.”  Dead ass, the second time he did it, I responded saying I was grown. o.O

After the third time, I was like “Mr. Officer whats your name because this is either the second or third time you have asked me that, and seeing as we are going to keep running into each other, I thought we could just on speaking terms.” He smiled. Doesn’t MPD carry 9mm’s too? Sassing officers of the state who carry legal weapons?  Ummhmm. And, he told me his name.

My clarity on this issue came about after I read a excerpt of a post on NPR about Nate Dogg by Jozen Cummings. He writes,

“There’s also “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Get None),” a song that was never chosen as a single from Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle but has become a favorite for many DJs trying to work a room. The song is a tour-de-force of misogynistic lyrics, but only Nate Dogg can make a verse about dismissing a one-night stand sound so sensitive and endearing.”

“Remembering Nate Dogg, Hip-Hop’s Hook Man”

by Jozen Cummings, NPR.org,  March 16th, 2011

(via beatsrhimesandlife)

Then I reblogged and responded on tumblr saying:

In some ways, Cummings comments re Nate Dogg remind me of why I think The Chronic and Doggy style are the Devil, in terms of rap music. Men in general and White men in particular have a different relationship to the kinds of violence that I am subjected to as a Black woman who WALKS like she has a right to be in the street. Shit…two weeks ago I told two dudes to kill me or leave me alone. Dead ass. This ain’t for play. This is our lives.

Have you ever thought about White men’s investment in rap lyrics by Black men that are hella outta pocket?

I went to look for Cummings racial identity and I learned that he is African American, Japanese and Korean, so I am not saying that he is White. What I am saying is that his writing about Nate Dogg’s misogyny reminds me of how when the misogyny bomb is dropped, people who look like me tend to get hit with hella sharpnel. Whereas White men get to live out their thug fantasies singing along with Nate “And you even licked my balls.”

The Chronic and Doggystyle are sonically genius, however, did they up the ante on allowing White men and even some Black ones live out their Black sex fantasies?

Do you see the connection between Black women and White men that I am trying to make, why or why not?