And here is the promised final part to a rather touchy subject. Just like how not everyone may have agreed with the observations made in the first two parts (here and here, for those who missed it), there is likely to be controversy over what follows. Note: You are perfectly within your right to agree to disagree. (Let’s just let’s all please keep it civil and on topic. No derailing or attempts to shut down discussion!)
So, should black women who frequent BW/BWE/IRR-centric spaces shut up about black men altogether? It depends. I say this because the topic or usage of the term “black man” is going to be helpful or harmful depending on the black woman and her psychological state at present. I’d even go so far as to say triggering.
Some women can discuss situations involving black men that aren’t remotely negative because they’ve had no such interactions with black men ever. Other black women can bring up negative experiences in a way where the discussion is therapeutic, but not hostile. And some women react so strongly to the topic of black men, regardless of context, that it may mean that it’s something they must back off of because it’s doing them mental and emotional harm.
Now before anyone get’s that last statement’s meaning confused, I’m not saying that every black woman that has a negative reaction to bull crap situations where DBR black men are involved are emotionally unstable. Quite the contrary: You are right to realize that there is something wrong with abnormal and damaged persons and that interacting with them can be problematic. The following list is more or less what I mean:
– The words “black man” immediately bring up feelings of anger and resentment, even fear. You already anticipate a negative discussion. You do not feel better after having shared your insight, in fact, you feel markedly worse.
– You assume that everyone else feels this way or is wrong NOT to feel this way about black men.
– You take generalizations to the absolute extreme, and actually resent any positive attention towards black males (even when no negative images of black females follow).
– You feel that any mention of black males means that the speaker is secretly still “in love” with black men*, and react in a hostile manner towards this person as a result. I’ll go a step further and say that you feel that any black woman that has any positive feeling towards black men is somehow a “traitor” to black women.
– You are willing to vouch for a non-black racist at the expense of a murder victim only because the victim was a black boy (I know, I know, that post was shut down, but THIS HAS TO BE SAID, because it freaked me the heck out in the worst way. Remember, people: Racists hate you regardless of your gender. They will try harm and discriminate against you in any way they can. These are not the kind of people a sensible black woman sticks her neck out for…)
While there is certainly a scale from one extreme to the other, it’s safe to say that if you are experiencing or expressing the majority of the above, it may be time to zip it for your own good and the good of everyone around you.
Discussing a topic of importance such as OOW birthrates for black women and abnormal sociological behaviors within the black community is meant to be educational, affirming (if you’re escaping and avoiding these relationship patterns) and helpful. That’s why so many BW-centric spaces exist: To help guide black women into a line of thinking that puts themselves and their own best interests first, while pursuing as high a quality of lifestyle as possible. The words “black man” on any of these spaces does not make this intent deviate in the slightest, nor will it ever mean you should expect to change your focus from that primary goal.
If you can participate in a discussion
– where you aren’t triggered
– where you don’t immediately feel attacked or need to attack others
– where it will be helpful and educational or affirming and therapeautic in some way
You should be good to go, and have no need to worry that the topic is going to negatively impact you overall. Some women may shrug off, laugh about, or cry over experiences, but feel better after relating their stories to other black women. They then move on to some other topic. What doesn’t happen is that they are mentally or emotionally prepared to go to war for whatever reason should someone mention black men in a discussion and or where they gradually feel worse as they continue to participate/be exposed to such discussions.
If you, on the other hand
– resent any discussion of black men
– will react with hostility, fear, paranoia regardless of the context of the topic
– have PTSD in relation to dealing with damaged black men and the discussion is extremely triggering
– simply have nothing to gain by participating in any type of discussion on the matter
What’s the point? At best, you’ve gained nothing of value. Attempting to shut down discussion is a waste of time, because you can’t shut down the life experiences and opinions of everyone else just because they differ from your own. And if you’re acting out in this way because you have been triggered and the idea of thinking about black men is jarring and painful, do you really need to put yourself in that position if you don’t have to? In any case, it’s kind of obvious that the topic will never stop coming up for one reason or another, here or in various spaces for whatever reason. But, you have absolute control over whether or not you choose to read the articles and comments or scroll by and not cause unnecessary mental/emotional strain.
In determining whether or not this applies to you, the best thing you can do is be honest with yourself. This isn’t about anyone else and what they should believe or think or feel on the matter of black men. It’s about how YOU feel about YOURSELF in those topics and whether or not YOU are coming away better or worse. If the answer is worse, then you need to let it go and walk away.
*This is more or less solely relevant to IRR spaces like this, because the truth is that ALL women who wish to pair with someone should be looking at the quality of the character of that person, and not the color of their skin. And remember, not every black woman who dates out interracially is opposed to dating black men. Different strokes for different folks!