July 19, 2013
Dearest Black Community,
Darlings, I have been thinking about the way that I view Black women and Black people in general and I’ve decided to start listening! I used to think Black folks would be helped by high expectations, encouragement, and teaching what to do and not do to be successful. I thought that Black people just needed to believe that they could achieve greatness and then they would strive for those heights. I believed that Black folks wanted help and mentorship from others who “made it” and a hand up to get on the same level. Now I’m thinking that my beliefs were wrong and I was simply misguided and ignorant. I used to think Black people were not a monolith and differences were accepted and respected, but experience has taught me that there is a Black party line and a Black woman will be shouted down until she falls in line. So I’m going to put my selfish needs and opinions aside and fall in line and conform.
Sweethearts, Black women and Black folks are great just the way they are and thinking they are flawed and need help is simply elitist and classist! It is brainwashing by the Eurocentric establishment that views their standards of living as better than Black standards of living. Black people have come together to define what it means to be Black and have chosen for it to be very different from being White. I have to accept that my goals of getting advanced degrees, owning a home and car, getting married, raising kids in a two-parent household, only preoccupying myself with my family and friends, and obeying “The Man’s” law are all Eurocentric ideals. Helping folks to achieve those things is betraying who they really are and it’s really patronizing, paternalistic, and evidence of self-hating. It’s better to just accept whatever choices Black folks make because that’s being positive instead of negative and being positive is the most important thing. The Black ideal is to do everything differently from what White people do and not to value what White people value.
My dears, trying to be attractive to most people and being placed on a pedestal is a Eurocentric ideal that Black women should not strive for. Only someone with low self-esteem would want that and care about what other people think. BW don’t need to be found attractive to most people, that’s just shallow. Black beauty standards by definition will not be acceptable to the mainstream. Therefore Black women should never expect to be included in mainstream magazines or to be found attractive by non-Black people. Mainstream femininity is Eurocentric therefore Black femininity must be very different, which is masculine or androgynous, or simply unattractive to the mainstream. Black people have to dress and speak differently from White people in all spheres of life (including work) in order to be distinct and not cave to the pressures to conform to what others want.
I used to think that it was unfair to have low standards for Black people and I thought it would be more motivating to hold higher standards. I believed that Black people could achieve those standards because everyone is equal. I was wrong and being judgmental by expecting anyone to live up to high standards. Due to the continued societal and mental effects of slavery it is near impossible for Black folks to achieve at the same level as other people (and who decides what high/low standards are and what’s worth achieving anyway…yes, more Eurocentric standards). You see my lovelies, slavery has permanently damaged Black people to the extent that Dr. Joy DeGruy has called it Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS). When I first heard about PTSS I thought it was ridiculous! But now realize I was being insensitive and brainwashed by the mainstream. I was worried that this would be more pathologizing of Black people and harmful to them. But that’s just “respectability politics” and it ignores people who are actually affected. These people are “special” and one must take extra care with Black folks.
It’s unfair and naive to speak to Black folks the way one speaks to the mainstream and expect to be understood. We have to be positive and praise people with these “challenges” so that everyone will feel good about themselves and their challenges can be normalized. Only then will Black people be seen as equal to everyone else. By holding lower standards most Black people are able to achieve them and that makes them feel better. As long as you feel good about yourself nothing else matters. This is very necessary because I’ve learned that Black folks are criticized, insulted, and ridiculed every day and experience debilitating PTSS symptoms. It’s too much pressure to live up to Eurocentric standards so now I’ll support having lower standards for Black people and not expect as much as I used to.
I have always had a “nobody’s perfect” and “there is always room for improvement” mentality. But now honeys, I realize that this is the wrong way to think about Black people. Black folks are perfect just as they are and they are as they are meant to be. There is no need to change or achieve some arbitrary Eurocentric ideal that the majority will never achieve anyway. I think the key is for Black people to look at their lives and try to find happiness. This means ignoring what other people have and just trying to survive day by day even if it’s by unconventional means. It’s not suffering, and calling it suffering is elitist, insensitive, and hurtful! Money doesn’t bring happiness so Black folks don’t need the money and resources that others have. The education system and English language are Eurocentric so Black folks shouldn’t place value on them or accept them. That would not be authentic and it would be caving to the oppressor’s ideals. Everything is as it should be and the state of the Black “community” is just as it should be. If Black folks do want anything to change, they will have to pressure the White establishment to change because it’s all their fault and Black folks can not and should not take on that responsibility. If someone does something bad to you then it’s blaming the victim to expect you to overcome the situation. Life is suffering and the more you suffer the more you stay true to your ancestors. Just wait my darlings, and someone will eventually come and help you because that’s what’s fair.
With everlasting love and big hugs,