“To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.”
Yesterday I was reading an article by a fellow black manosphere content provider. Unfortunately, both the brother’s name and the name of his article escape me at the current moment. However, I was reading the comments section of said article and came across an exchange interesting exchange.
This brother was having a war of words with a black woman. They went back and forth exchanging roughly five comments a piece between each other. As tends to happen, the longer the exchange went on the less civil it became. Eventually, the brother made a disparaging remark about the black woman.
I don’t remember verbatim what was said, but it was to the effect of black women need to stop wearing weave. The woman responded, and again I’m paraphrasing, that so many black women wore weaves, fake eyelashes and the like because black men haven’t provided black women with an environment where they felt comfortable to do so. She goes on to state how white men have made white women the standard of beauty, and how other races of men elevate their women and revere them above other women and we as black men do not.
That exchange got the wheels in my head turning. What, if anything, do we as black men owe black women?
I want to address this woman’s assertion that the reason that why so many black women wear weaves, fake eyelashes, and various other artificial accoutrements is because we as black men haven’t provided them with an environment in which they felt comfortable doing so. I believe that it is a weak position to take for several reasons.
First, it absolves black women of any personal accountability. As usual, every shortcoming that befalls the black community in general, but black women specifically is always because of some action or inaction of black men. This is a tried and true, go to excuse for black women because it raises them up while simultaneously tearing us down. This is important because as we all know there is no cost, social or financial, to shitting on black men.
Second, I think it’s a weak position because it undermines and runs counter to the “Black Girls Rock,” “Black Girl Magic,” and “Independent Women” mantras and narratives that black women love to espouse. If you are so independent, why do you need black men to provide an atmosphere for you to present yourself, your natural self to the world? Not all, but a large number black women love to talk about how educated they are, their degrees, careers, etc as if they are better than bothers. If that is in fact the case, that they are better than us, then surely they should be able to able to provide this environment for themselves, right? After all, according to them we are impotent and unable to build anything. So why leave us with the task of providing you an environment in which you feel comfortable in your own skin, or as it is in this particular case, your own hair? I would imagine that for something so important that you’d want it done correctly, right? What’s the old saying? If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Yet another reason it’s a weak position is because it ignores a very obvious elephant in the room. Human behavior is driven by incentive. Mating is another powerful driver of behavior. Another reason that sisters say they wear weave, fake eyelashes, and other paraphernalia is because that what brothers like. Granted, there may be some truth to that. There will always some people who like somethings that are considered a typical. Fair enough. But let me ask an honest question bothers. Given all the evidence that we’ve got to on, be it anecdotal or more concrete such as social media, what has been the overwhelming sentiment among brothers? How many pro weave videos from black men have you seen on Youtube, Instagram, or Facebook?
Brothers have very loudly and consistently said that we don’t prefer weaves, yet black women continue to wear them, which is their right. I respect a woman’s right to present herself however she sees fit. They have that right. Just don’t use the excuse that you are doing it because brothers like it because it’s a fallacy and is intellectually dishonest. We have an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary.
Finally, it is a weak position because it comes across as entitled and further serves to undermine and emasculate the black men. Black women often forget that we come from the same place as them and had the same disadvantages. However, we have the burden of being men and don’t have the luxury of casting blame onto others. While we as a people have made improvements in terms of equality, all equality isn’t equal. Black women have enjoyed benefits that we as black men will never enjoy.
Also, for at least the better part of the last 30 years, they’ve dominated the media. They’ve had a voice and influence for far longer than black men. Did they use their voice to help us? Did they help provide brothers with an environment where we could thrive and be accepted? No. They helped to perpetuate longstanding stereotypes of black men. They called us deadbeats. They said that we’re all on the down low. They said that not enough of us were on their level. They did articles and TV series, such as CNN’s Black in America; about how so many black women are unmarried and how they’re weren’t enough dateable black men and how so many black women will never marry.
Not only did they not help us, but they made a lot of money telling the world that black men ain’t shit. How the mighty have fallen. As Optimus Prime told Megatron in Transformers the Movie, (the cartoon movie)”you who are without mercy now plead for it? I thought you were made of sterner stuff.”
Now that black men have a voice they are pleading for us to have diversity and to accept all types of beauty, etc. Where was this mercy and diversity of thought all this time as it pertains to us? You notice we have all manner of recognition for black women, such as Black Girls Rock, but no black male equivalents? Why, because in the aggregate, we don’t matter. We aren’t to be celebrated or made to feel good about ourselves. No, we must be intrinsically motivated because seeking validation from anyone else, especially sisters, is a fool’s errand and an exercise in futility for black men.
So, what do we owe black women? In my opinion, I don’t owe them anything. Owe conveys a sense of entitlement. But I will give them respect when it is earned, because respect is earned, not given.