Why Is Thinking About Your Needs First Still So Difficult For Black Women?

Perhaps, I should ask why putting yourself FIRST is such an anomaly for some black women who are reading BWE-related blogs? Do those readers ever notice they have failed to apply the basic principles in utilizing their free agency by not being concerned about what other people (be it black males or white women) are doing unless it is negatively impacting their lives?

You’d think women would be far too busy applying their Charm Offensive, Evaluating Men For Alliances and Marriage and continuing their education in the school of life by thinking and acting GLOBALLY. Instead, I keep seeing the same exact conversations resulting from the various straw-man arguments put forth by many women.  It begs the question what some of ya’ll are doing?

You don’t have any time to waste!

I’ve been watching the growing conflict between writers tethered to traditional publishing even after they’ve been shafted in some way, newer writers who are hedging their bets and other established writers who’ve decided to seek better opportunities as they present themselves.  It has been very interesting seeing these industry changes unfold.

You have some who are making fear-based decisions, ready to give up their book rights permanently. They insist traditional publishing is the only way even though they are alternately being raked over the coals and plundered for all their resources. Amongst them are a  select few who might be doing well, but the majority are being used. They’ve forgotten as content providers publishers need them, not the other way around.

The newer writers are busy sitting on the sidelines, coming up with all the reasons why they can’t take control of their careers and list various worst case scenarios so they do nothing. They want everyone to get along so they’ll align themselves with publishers, but not as equal partners negotiating from a position of strength. The don’t see themselves as the ones providing a valuable commodity. They go to the publishers as beggars, willing to be used to be accepted.

The writers who’ve set themselves apart are those who take the time to analyze the business lay of the land, knowing things are in flux, thus staying on their toes. They know what they have to offer is valuable, so they’re going to negotiate for the best deals that work to their interests. They’re not going to tie themselves down to any one model, but are more fluidly seeking out the best arrangements that work at that time.

That’s  more or less the gist of the current situation with writers. What about black women?

I ask this question and use this analogy because it seems the most fitting for those who know their worth and create opportunities that work for them – not against them.  They automatically have high expectations for reciprocity. I found a one particular conversation at two separate forums –  Betty Chambers Has Spoken and Black Women Living Well of great interest.  Both blog hosts were addressing identical “questions” from two black women (or so they claim to be). I found  it very telling how their commenters both made the same false accusations.

It shows just how indoctrinated so many black women are still and how the idea of putting their needs first is such a foreign concept they haven’t considered it. Or, I’ll say even if they venture outside the lines of the “black woman boundaries”, they want to make sure other black women stay firmly put in that box. They’re too worried about some imagined black thought police to haul them away for thinking independently.

As a blog forum host, I’ve seen this response over and over again. I’ve had a lot of black women protesting my discussions about the foul behavior of the black male collective towards black women. It was particularly virulent two years ago and last Spring, but now not so much. People have figured out that I don’t take kindly to being trifled with regarding these matters.

I wonder from time to time, if these women realize how unoriginal their questions are which means their thought patterns and motivations are firmly entrenched in old models that have not and do not work in the best interest of black women. Since they’re reading forums that are challenging the status quo, are they just passing through with blinders firmly attached?

I’ve asked this question in some variation over the past three years, but have yet to receive a satisfactory answer.  For if they actually comprehended the larger discussion at hand – black women free agency – how could they be stuck at zero? Ignorance or willful disdain?  When you see the same arguments repeated in a loop it gets tiresome but the blog hosts answered very patiently. I’m not convinced these were good faith conversations though and there wasn’t some subterfuge at play. I’d be so embarrassed to find myself amongst those recycling the same straw man arguments used by others.

This comment is an excerpt from a reader who claims to be happily attached to  a non-black male while chastising other black women for not hunting high and low for a “good brotha”  — like her brother.  Shouldn’t she be focused on her own life?

I myself am finding happiness right now with a non-black man… but it bothers me when I hear people say things like “I’m done with black men!” and I do hear this sometimes… and it speaks a couple volumes about our own damage when we become so jaded that we can’t see the black men in college because we’re blinded by the black men in jail… I say “to hell with them” if they can’t get their s**t together… but what about my brother?

This reader is a classic Sista-Soldier type, holding it down for the black male race. So…it’s okay for her to seek happiness by being expansive but other black women are still supposed to be mining for gold in the Wild West? Um, I don’t think so! Whether she sees herself as being an enemy to other black women or not, her behavior shows she has not done the necessary mental and emotional work required of a “free” woman. Not if she’s intentionally blocking other black women’s progress!

There is no confusion here. This is deliberate sabotage when you look at things in black and white, then you are either actively supporting or denying opportunities for growth. Being “blind” to it simply means you have closed off your mind to it, not that it isn’t visible. In case you’re thinking I’m being harsh here’s an excerpt from this other reader who emphatically states they are not a Sista-Soldier type but if it it walks and quacks like a duck….

“Um… You judge my intelligence base on a me re-blogging a post about being a Chris Brown fan? Yikes!…and no I do not coddle black men. Everyone should be held responsible for their actions. I am not a sister-soldiering, nothing-but-a-black-man type of girl. I just don’t don’t think it’s right to make generalizations about black men as a whole based on statistics. It’s not right to make generalizations about anyone based on statistics.”

A “Beat Her Down” Brown fan eh? Who claims to support black women? This begs the question of why certain black women are still SOLELY focused on protecting VIOLENT GROWN MEN instead of their own elevation? I could say, they just don’t get it. STILL. And write them off, but I’m hoping those of you reading will finally connect the dots and get away.


I am urging all of you who still think this way while commenting at these forums to stop play-acting at choosing the empowerment lifestyle. You’re compromised and unreliable. This is why I don’t allow this type of nonsense on my blog — nothing ever changes with most of you and it’s a waste of time. Get out of the way so that other women may move ahead of the line. Take the time to really decide what you want and act accordingly.

Some of you want to have it both ways, by pretending to be in support of black women moving forward, but divided loyalties make you a liability. When statistics point to negative conditions that effect a majority of black women why are you going to argue about it? If black males were so concerned about this they would do something to address it!  Women who are serious about their progress must separate from the fence-sitters as well as the direct obstructionists. I applaud both forum hosts for their measured and eloquent responses, but I urge other women to not fall for the con game of these “confused” women. They need to catch up — you should not stop to explain things to them. You might miss your “Love Boat” or have the life sucked out of you by a Zombie walking amongst you. Remember to keep it moving!

45 comments to Why Is Thinking About Your Needs First Still So Difficult For Black Women?

  • I am a young Black woman in late teens and I am already sick and tired of Black American men. I refuse to spend my money and time on men who don't reciprocate and it goes to the non Black racists and Black women bashers out there as well as Black American men. I don't see why the dysfunctional African American collective wants me to ''protect'', ''cuddle'' and ''uplift'' African American men when they don't protect, uplift Black women or children. Thus I refuse to spend my time on people like that.

  • jubilee

    I wish we could get PAST PROTECTING BLACK MALES!!-- Males learn to be MEN by protecting and providing for the woman--the only person a woman of any kind should protect is her husband and/or son, if he is small--WOMEN are the ones who should be protected, emotionally, and physically--when we sisters think of ourselves as WOMEN FIRST, black SECOND OR THIRD only THEN, things will change

  • Faith

    Perhaps, but my experience from running this forum is the ungrateful and combative attitudes of black women who reserve their vitriol for other black women exclusively. I have yet to see one example of one of these petulant ingrates actually change or ever apologize for their disrespectful behavior publicly to the forum hosts or readers. There are some BW who take time to adjust but they remain in the forums and do the work and prove their value. These drive-by spectators are here to sabotage the work that I do here and I will not stand for it!

  • Faith

    And I am officially DONE! Let's retitle this post: "All the Black Women Who Want To See You Trapped In Quicksand Are Gonna Be Mad We Warned You To Avoid It"!! I call any black woman who wants to do the research and create a blog landing page that discusses BWE "101" and — gets it approved can do that right now if she is so inclined. You know..to add value instead of creating conflicts and demanding mammydom from the rest of us. I'd also like to see some of you who are so outraged by this post spread that over to the BW & BM who defame and damage the well-being of black women. Oh, but wait. Supposedly speaking the truth is somehow beating up on black women and setting standards is wrong. Because you're still firmly implanted in the Matrix and refuse to take the red pill. Or you're out but you've put a broomstick over the door so others can't leave. Yeah…ok…got it!!!

  • (continue previous comment)
    The more black women (and men) who think for themselves and leave that hood mentality behind them, the more SUCCESSFUL black women we'll begin to see and the more SUCCESSFUL black relationships will begin to develop. I have a GREAT man and he's as dark as the deepest sea and I love every inch of his chocolate skin… He's not perfect, but he's mine and as long as I know how to make myself happy, he can't fail or disappoint me! Love yourself first…

  • I have been beatdown (verbally AND mentally) by men and women alike for my point of view when it comes to black men (or black ppl in general). Why do we pretend to be blind? I can see just as clearly as Jim Bob (my white counterpart) that MY people are failing in so many ways and we don't have to. I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE… I mean… I AM ONE, but that doesn't mean I can't see that we need to do better! Individually and as a whole, We have been moving backwards and being counterproductive for so many years that we're headed back to slavery and before we realize it, we'll be shackled and chained and won't be able to do a damn thing about it!!
    I am doing everything in my power to teach my children to be PROUD, black… dark skinned…. individuals and to live ABOVE the stereotypes (however true they may be). I can't stop the violence, I can't keep my "brothers and sisters" from trying to pull me down, but I CAN teach my children to do things differently, to think differently and to lead by example.

  • PlusSizedWomanist

    We are trained at a young age to think of black men first, to the point of our own self sacrifice.

    And that one woman is a trip. "But my brother is a good man!!!" Yeah, one drop in the sea of sharks that would have no problem ripping black women to shreds if push comes to shove. Black solidarity is done. Black women need to get their lives together, forget the nonsense that these fools are feeding us.

    The truth hurts, but it will also set you free.

  • BWLivingWell

    "Some of you want to have it both ways, by pretending to be in support of black women moving forward, but divided loyalties make you a liability. When statistics point to negatives conditions that effect a majority of black women why are you going to argue about it? If black males were so concerned about this they would do something to address it! Women who are serious about their progress must separate from the fence-sitters as well as the direct obstructionists."

    This is it right here!

  • Faith

    See my response in the other comment reply…

  • APA

    The best bet for black women is to learn how to be ambivalent toward black men. In fact, I believe that is what divestment essentially is because when you are ambivalent to something you're not emotionally or financially invested in it. Most black women aren't ambivalent toward black men they either absolutely love them or are bitter toward them (sometimes with just reason). Love and hate are too emotions that can be physically and psychologically draining and cause people to do some crazy things like disregard their own well-being. The best bet is to simply disengage. For example, I don't care or comment on what the latest black male celebrity is up to as long as he's not endangering the life of a black woman. I don't care or comment on the fact that my black male co-worker only wants to date, marry, or associate with non-black women. I simply don't care, comment on, or take action about the feelings, wants, or needs of random black males and others who aren't sincerely concerned about my welfare.

    How do you know that someone cares about you? Just ask whether they reciprocate the support, love, friendship, respect, etc. that you show them. If they don't, seriously consider limiting the amount of time and energy you expend on those relationships. In the past, I've spent too much time trying to convince folks who didn't care about me to like me when I should have spent more of energy finding like-minded people who wanted my company. That's what black women are doing when they get into heated exchanges with internet trolls, argue with a black male acquaintances about how they shouldn't write off all black women because there are good black women out there, play wifey for men in order to convince them to marry you, or go out of their way to praise good black men even when those men aren't talking or thinking about them. Disengage, and you'll find that you are happier and have more energy to pursue your dreams.

  • that's why there are archives though. people want to be spoonfed information when they can do what I did, which was to simply go back and read all of the amazing GOLD knowledge that was put out there already by Khadija, Faith, Halima, Evia, etc

  • Jamila

    As long as black women continue to stumble upon the black female empowerment message and the movement grows there are going to be a new crop of women every 6 months to a year who ask the same questions. I know that it can be frustrating to deal with them, especially if you are one of the few established BWE bloggers like yourself but we have to continue to deal with them because they can't be expected to come into the movement at the 'leader' level with a complete understanding of BWE from day one. I think the best solution is to refer to them to the website "Telling Black Women the Truth" or each blogger creating a BWE 101/"most commonly asked questions" page. This way you can point these women to the right place without having to continually waste time trying to bring them up to speed.

    Sister-Soldier City wasn't built in a day; we can't tear it down in a day either.

  • Buffy

    :) Delurking! The comment raised a flag for me too! Glad to hear you speak on it. At this day and age and at this point in time, ALL black men are suspect, EVEN my brother. The house is still on fire, ladies! I have been trying to convince my friend, who just got her J.D., not to marry her old high school boyfriend with 5 kids and 3 baby mamas (no ex-wives)…she's just buying the Penis King presentation, hook, line and sinker. (sigh) And then that gives HIS friends encouragement that they can go and get their broke butts a doctor or a lawyer too. Thanks for offering a sane viewpoint in this bizarro world black folk live in.

  • MesaATLien

    "What about my brother?" No she didn't!!

    WTH?! What do you mean "what about my brother"? What about me?!

    THAT just threw me off for real!

    The strawman arguments are getting ridiculous now. It seems she doesn't realize that there are plenty of DBR men trolling college campuses across the country. Education does not equal moral values and common sense. I'm guessing this person couldn't cut it outside of the Matrix, and, in one last ditch effort, is trying to pull some folks back in with her. By deflecting the problem to worrying about what will happen to all the single black men out there, I guess she expects us to drop what we're doing and run to the rescue. No thanks.

    "What about my brother?" WOW. That is some shameless selfishness right there.

  • wow, what an awesome piece. the 2nd example of the woman from the bw living well tumblr was going through some serious mental gymnastics to come to the the conclusion that she is not doing what she clearly is doing. some of these people just need to stay over in black thinktank land and not even bother. they CONTINUE to exhibit this "you have to make the bwe message sugar coated and to my liking OR ELSE nah nah nah I won't follow or hear it" AND??? Khadija or Halima had a great piece on that about how they shouldn't have to FORCE you to want to live better or think better, it's not their job to coddle and make you listen to the bwe message. hell, BOTH of them probably had a piece like that. what is wrong with these deranged women? dbr as well

  • Alee

    I think people are just afraid to speak in extremes, i.e. most/all of X group are such and such. They've been taught that this is stereotyping, discrimination, etc. And of course blacks are taught to protect one another (i.e. black males, mostly). People also have to realize that one can make generalizations without condemning every member of a group. The woman in the first comment isn't the only one with a black brother.

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