The “Sistahood” Has No Clothes

“When you go looking for the truth, be prepared to find it.”
-Unknown

In a ham-fisted column written for the New York Daily News, former attorney, freelance writer, book author and sometimes talking head in the media one Ms. Sophia A. Nelson, cites two incidents involving two high-profile Black women – US Congresswoman Maxine Waters and longtime White House news correspondent April Ryan – as part of a larger plot to degrade, defame and otherwise tarnish the image of Black women nationwide. Nelson has embarked on a “crusade” to rid the world of ne’er do wells who dare to call out the faux pas of the “Sistahood”, appearing on numerous “hangout chats” with Ms. Christelyn Karazin, the self-proclaimed “Girl who Swirls” and has even gone so far as to setup a Change.Org petition, which last time I checked, had more than 800 signatures with a goal of getting 1K.

While I would never attempt to censor or silence Black women like Nelson from having their say in the public square (unlike her and her ilk is trying to do to me and mine!), I do find her full-throated defense of Waters and Ryan to be at the very least, curious, if not downright indefensible, given the facts of these ladies’ track records in the public eye.

Waters, for example, has been in the US Congress and one of the better known “faces” of the Congressional Black Caucus for more than a quarter of a century, also has a very dubious record when it comes to corruption. In an article written by independent citizen journalist Michelle Malkin last year entitled “Congressional Black Corruption”, Malkin says the following regarding Waters:

“Maxine Waters (CA-43). This 13-term Beltway swamp queen and past chair of the Congressional Black Caucus walked away with a slap on the wristfrom the toothless House Ethics Committee in 2012 after being charged with multiple ethics violations related to her meddling in minority-owned OneUnited Bank.

The banks’ executives donated $12,500 to Mad Maxine’s congressional campaigns. Her husband, Sidney Williams, was an investor in one of the banks that merged into One United. As stockholders, they profited handsomely from their relationship with the bank.

And vice versa. After Waters’ office personally intervened and lobbied the Treasury Department in 2008, the financial institution received $12 million in federal TARP bailout money—despite another government agency concluding that the bank operated “without effective underwriting standards” and engaged “in speculative investment practices.” Top bank executive Kevin Cohee squandered money on a company-financed Porsche and a Santa Monica, Calif., beachfront mansion. After the federal bailout of Fannie/Freddie, OneUnited’s stock in the government-sponsored enterprises plunged to a value estimated at less than $5 million. Only through Waters’ intervention was OneUnited able to secure an emergency meeting with the Treasury and its then-Secretary Henry Paulson.

Waters’ government cronyism of color earned her a “Most Corrupt member of Congress” designation from the left-wing Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).”

Waters was only one of five current or former members of the CBC that Malkin cited for either ethics violations or outright lawbreaking – and again, this article was published less than a year ago. So it seems odd as to why an “officer of the court” like Nelson would be so hellbent on “defending the honor” of someone who clearly has at best, a shady track record, as Waters?

That brings us to Ryan, who, to be frank, pales in comparison to the aforementioned Malkin when it comes to journalistic integrity. A quick Google search turns up nothing by Ryan when it comes to documenting and reporting on the rife corruption of the aforementioned CBC members – several of whom have by now been sent to prison for their crimes, I might add. Ryan, like Nelson, are charged with the public trust to be the eyes and ears for the rest of us; to defend us from the depredations of the rich and powerful. Yet, Ryan’s journalism does not touch the CBC’s tainted garments.

And yet, Nelson is right there, eager to defend Ryan’s tepid reportage.

More puzzling (and troubling, to be frank) about Nelson’s piece, is how she attempts to paint all Black women as defenseless lambs being led to the slaughter, by using Waters and Ryan – two American citizens of formidable wealth and privilege, regardless of gender or race – as the standard bearers. While Nelson is right to point out the abysmal financial state many rank and file Black women find themselves in – among other things – what she conveniently omits is how so many Black women got there in the first place.

Luckily for my audience, your correspondent has the answers.

In a piece written for the men’s issues website A Voice for Men two years ago, I note the following:

“I had just barely put in my copy for last week’s column, a response to Brittney “Prof. Crunk” Cooper’s own column appearing on Salon.com, when I got a tip from one of my readers that actress and comedienne Mo’Nique was virtually blackballed from the Hollywood entertainment machine. I didn’t even need to read the articles to understand what was at the root of the issue, but by the time I had scanned through several of them, they only confirmed my initial suspicions – and provide powerful evidence for my argument made last week: that, contrary to Prof. Cooper’s assertions that Black women en masse are somehow being held down economically due to some vast White-wing conspiracy (read: Racism), I offered that one of the biggest impediments to Black female achievement and success in our time today, in 2015, is their own behavior and life choices they make. Mo’Nique is a case in point.”

I continue:

“Many Black women subscribe to the notion that they, and other Black women, are “divas” – a term that literally means “goddess” – and in any event was originally taken to mean a woman of incomparable talent and ability. Names like Maria Callas and Aretha Franklin come to mind, as they are ladies whose outsized singing talent have made them household names.

Unfortunately for many Black women, and even Mo’Nique herself, they have seemed have latched on to the more commonplace understanding of the term “diva”, which suggests merely a woman who think’s she’s all that and is extremely difficult to contend with. While it may not be cricket to say in polite company, the truth is that IF you’re extremely talented – and therefore difficult if not impossible to replace – then yes, people can and will put up with you. But if you’re merely “alright” or even a bit above average, then people can and will put some considerable distance between you and them. And, when you stop to think about it, who can blame them?”

More to Nelson’s economic point, I write the following:

“Speaking of economics, when topics like the one we’re currently examining comes up, it is rarely done so with the bottom line in mind. However, when one considers the facts, it becomes clear just how fiscally ruinous certain cultural norms and behaviors actually are in Black American life, and accounts much more for the state of things there than anything “racist”. For example, last week I made the case that a major reason Black women as a group have the lowest net worth of any group of American women, was due to the fact that they are the least partnered group of women – they have the lowest marital rate, the highest divorce rate, the highest rate of breakup and infidelity (both cheating and being cheated on) in relationships, and of course, the highest out-of-wedlock birthrates – and that this too, was due at least as much to the adherence to “diva culture” among Black women, than anything else. I stated a simple truth: that for most average Americans, a surefire way of upping your economic profile was to get married, stay married and work together with your spouse to build a better life. It’s something that has worked, and continues to work, and if anyone knows this, it’s the White feminists in our time who have successfully implanted the notion into the minds of millions of Black women that “they don’t need no man”. They’ve played a seriously cruel joke on their “sistas” – one that amounts to real dollars and cents lost on the ledger.”

My piece goes on to more fully flesh out, pardon the pun, the problems so many Black women face in today’s climes and times – and more often than not, they are problems of the “Sistahood”‘s own making. The good news is that they have the ability to address those problems, if they want to.

As I’ve noted numerous times on my popular podcast shows heard on YouTube, the fundamental problem Black women, those like Nelson especially, face is that we no longer live in the past. We are now in the 21st century – where information is shared instantly and where it is no longer feasible to “hide one’s dirty laundry”. The “Sistahood” is standing in the public square stark naked – and it ain’t pretty. And no amount of attempts toward throwing fits, flopping all over the fainting couch, trying to silence or censor critics, or florid bouts of cajoling or shaming language, is going to work.

Instead of being “offended”, perhaps Nelson would be best advised to help her “sistas” act right.

Mumia Obsidian Ali is the Sunday columnist for the Negro Manosphere. He also hosts a daily podcast “talk radio show” called “Obsidian Radio” on YouTube. Follow him on Twitter @ObsidianFiles.

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