This is an unusual response post for me; I’m actually not in opposition to what was written in Brenda’s very intensive post. It’s actually one that black women who visit this site should read. Mainly because it attempts to explain the reaction to black men coming up in black woman-centric spaces. I was actually working on something similar to what Brenda brought up, but a conversation in the post and Chris’s follow up made me adjust my thoughts a bit.
I think in order to better understand why black men as a topic come up in BW-centric and BWE spaces, you must understand why they do not come up.
When black men come up, it’s because they are part of a black woman-centric problem. And it’s already been accepted by a number of black women that the solution lies in getting away from black men. Some may mistakenly think this means merely advocating interracial relationships. No, this means divorcing one’s self emotionally, mentally, and financially from the black community. The black community has made being African American synonymous with being a black man. Even worse is the coddling and deification of black manhood, despite nothing relevant to show for all the praise. It’s gotten to the point where black men are expected to show up and be black, and that be enough to be deemed “a good man”. Meanwhile, black women are expected to be a compliant workhorse and ignore all of their black woman-centric issues. This is unacceptable, so it’s rational to expect women who want to maintain their happiness and sanity to leave such a demented structure behind. Often discussing an exit strategy or dealing with the PTSD means bringing up black men. Some black women have no reason to discuss or bring up black men because they are not a part of their reality. But they are sympathetic to those women trying to work a lot of poison out of their systems.
Black men may feel uncomfortable hearing that they as a group are largely responsible for the suffering of black women, but it’s not like this conversation is happening in a space they can’t navigate away from. Why do black men stick around and try and coerce black women into excusing them or adjusting their tone to something they personally find more acceptable? I think it’s because they don’t understand the next point.
As stated in the other point, the black women discussing their thoughts aren’t looking for black men to explain anything. Because we’ve heard all the explanations. From slavery to mind-control, many black men who enter these conversations do so to convince us that they are not responsible for their own thoughts and actions. And they try and do this by forcing their way into the conversation and then trying to tone police the black women having their discussion. It’s not always black men, sometimes it’s their coddlers.
What these people don’t know is that a safe-space is meant to be free of such attempts to shut down down conversation and sharing of emotions and experiences. Black women participants are not tone policed because some black women as I said are working a lot of poison out of their system. Some women are very hurt, others angry. And they arrive to spaces like this at different stages of grief. Some have already accepted that black men will not change as a group for the better and have moved on. Others are not able to start moving to the acceptance stage because they are angry or in some ways still bargaining.
But whatever the case, no one is looking for black men to tell them what to think about their own experiences. Because-
The above, which I suggest some people read several times for comprehension purposes, is why I simply do not care about the existence of so-called good black men. If someone brings it up again, I may scream at this point. Because what I highlighted above simply does not happen. Ralph Richard Banks attempting to get black women to ask about why they stay unmarried rather than raise standards and marry out if they have to is probably the equivalent of Halley’s Comet passing in front of the Sun during a solar eclipse.
I just don’t see black men, for all the knee-jerk “good black men exist, are the exception, etc.” talk, stepping up to say anything about anyone but themselves. Whenever they want in on a conversation it’s either to go to bat for themselves, gas-light the black women in question, or hurl further abuse.
I can count on one hand all the times I’ve seen a black man show up and stand up against GAT-DL abusers in this or similar spaces. And I wouldn’t use all the fingers. And I’ve NEVER seen it in general black-male identified black spaces.
So the way I see it, you don’t get to interrupt a conversation you were never expected to be part of to talk about “good black men” when those men never show up to prove how good they are by giving a crap about black women when they are needed. And even when they do show up, it is too rare to really mean anything in the long run.
Ultimately, it’s just another sign of black people loving to make the exception the rule because they are running from a reality that they can’t deal with: Most black men simply do not care about black women, and have no intention of “fixing” anything or repairing a dysfunctional status quo.
And if anyone wants proof of that, you need look no further than the continued absence of black men when it comes to expectations of moral responsibility and defending of black womanhood.
Overall, black woman-centric discussion in this and similar spaces I found is not concerned with black men despite them being a topic. There is no wailing and moaning about why black men won’t change. There is no impatient demand that black men get themselves together. Or a lot of wincing for them to “come home” from non-black women. African American men simply have caused a lot of irreparable damage to themselves and the women in their group. And no amount of excuses, finger-pointing or demands that black women shut up about their experiences is going to change that. A man, a true man, owns his mistakes and tries to fix them. Black men need to preoccupy themselves as a group with getting themselves and their heads right and passing on some sense to their male offspring.
Such things have nothing to do with black women or black womanhood. Nor can they be accomplished by lurking BW-centric spaces and fretting over why black women do or don’t bring up the words “black men”.