Know What ‘Empowerment’ Really Means? It Means I’m Not Your Mammy

I made a few resolutions for this year. For example, I would try to be less confrontational and not expend energy in pointless arguments. Another resolution was to severely reduce the amount of give-a-damn I have when it comes to black people determined to be trifling. Not just trifling: Wanting someone to rescue or feel sorry for them while they refuse to do what they need to do to better themselves and their situation. Now, my give-a-damn tank was already dangerously low coming into the new year.

There will be no refills.


The Mammification of Empowerment? Saw that Coming…

You know, some black women are used to this idea of the “black woman as the backbone” to the point where they expect upwardly mobile black women to keep acting in this capacity, even if it’s for other black women. Somehow, shedding a gender makes the behavior less harmful and backwards. It’s okay if you coddle dysfunctional behavior. It’s perfectly rational to expend time and resources on trifling individuals and criminal deviants. Just make sure they’re black WOMEN. Because that’s not remotely a waste of time and resources, right?

If you don’t want to change, if you don’t want to improve your life and your circumstances, if all you want is to be coddled and enabled to do absolutely nothing but collect dust while hating on black women trying to get ahead in life, I have nothing for you. Not even a pretend head-pat.

Listen, there has been some mix-up about how “encouragement” and “empowerment” work.

You are ENCOURAGED to stop sinking so far into your computer chair that you are in danger of never moving again.

You are EMPOWERED when you take responsibility for your own life and actions, and stop waiting around for people to do the hard work for you.

You are ENCOURAGED to know that there are people who are willing to help and advise you if you wish to move forward in life and live well and you are EMPOWERED when you are actively seeking to move forward in life and live well.

I don’t know who flipped the script, but consider the pages turned back to this earmarked lesson: Empowerment is not something that happens to you because of something anyone else does or says. That’s passive thinking.

Empowerment is NOT Passive. You’re Going To Have To Move.


I remember watching this nature program involving a mother bird and her babies and they were way up high, on the side of a rocky cliff. The mother flew safely down and then you know what happened? The babies were expected to JUMP. Jump from a height no human would dare.

And jump they each did.

Except one.

One baby bird did not want to do it. It sat there squawking its little heart out and I was pretty sure it was saying something along the lines of:


The mother bird looked at it for a long time, and then she turned around and started to walk away, as did his siblings. When the little baby bird realized that mama wasn’t coming back, he bounced his little feathered behind on every rock trying to get to his family. And he succeeded in doing so.

That little bird learned a very powerful lesson that many humans never do:

The world is not built around your individual comfort and if YOU are not willing to be proactive in ensuring your own survival and happiness, you will not survive!

Granted, mother nature is a lot colder than the world that humans occupy, but human existence isn’t that much warmer. Do not think that sitting on your rump and expecting everyone to feel sorry for you because you feel sorry for yourself is going to result in the desired outcome. Some people love a good sob story. Other people feel their well of compassion dry up when it’s clear that someone wants nothing out of life but a handout and an ego-stroke. So don’t take advantage of people.

What Is The Point Of All This?

YOU are the source of your own empowerment. It is not a substance to be found at the bottom of a cereal box or bought at a secondhand store. It is not breast-fed to you by other women
and it is not something gained where accountability for your own thoughts and actions is absent!

Please don’t try to tell other people how they’re supposed to go about empowering you or how they get to write about topics based on how you feel it empowers you.

Are you trying to be better than you were yesterday? Are you eliminating negative habits and behaviors from your life? Are you enabling and coddling dysfunction around you?

These are far more pressing questions and priorities than what’s written on a website.

Priorities. Definitely another word for the year ahead. I sincerely hope those who need to get them in order do…because failure to do so will leave them that much farther behind.

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