Why are black (internet) relationships so dysfunctional

Posted: August 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

So I was reading a Clutch magazine article the other day written by Bene Viera entitled “Are you a Rose or a Thorn in the Black Man’s side?” The article itself wasn’t that groundbreaking. I didn’t read anything in it that was wildly controversial or offensive. But the comments section just fucking exploded. You would have thought Al Qaeda wrote a blog titled “Why Jews are evil” and the readership consisted only of ADL members and Hamas loyalists.  Witness one comment:

I’m probably more of a thorn. I regard most black men with an air of disdain. Too many of them are liars, players, and have no interest in black women. The black man you described in your article is somewhere salivating over an Asian, Latina, or white woman… Trust & believe sweetie. He is.

Honestly I barely pay any attention to black men and rarely speak to them unless I absolutelly need to. The only black men I care about are my two younger brothers and President Obama. The rest are sorry ass bums with more kids and baby mamas than money in the bank who always have an excuse and are looking for sympathy. I have no sympathy or praise for them. I like and respect the ones who give me the same in return. Other than that, the black man can keep on stepping. I have no time or patience for their games and schemes.

My natural reaction was one of disgust, disdain, and hatred. My inclination was to rip into her something awful. But I thought better of it. I don’t know her from a hole in the wall and yet, she made me feel some kind of way. So instead I said this:

@cosmoblkgirl: “Honestly I barely pay any attention to black men and rarely speak to them unless I absolutely need to.” Wow. That statement sounds like it comes from a place of deep disappointment and hurt which has turned into some real hostility. I don’t know how or if it’s even possible for you to have a productive relationship with a black man with that kind of worldview, but I hope something happens to lessen your pain. That’s a lot to carry around.

I was surprised buy what I got: honesty. Not anger, not insults, just what she was feeling:

@ Brandon St. Randy Too much disappointment & hurt to mention. I don’t trust any of them. It is very doubtful I will ever let my guard down again. When I go out with friends and brothas approach our table, I’m the one who excuses herself and goes to the bar or the bathroom. When I’m out and about, I keep my headphones on and my eyes are staring straight ahead. I don’t have time to get off track and fall prey to a man with malicious intent. It may be extreme to you and others reading but the last brotha I was with I gave him all the love, encouragement, and support he needed and in return he used me, lied to me, and played on my sympathy. He broke me. That’s why a black man gets NOTHING from me anymore.

Earlier in the week, over on twitter, I saw this hugely toxic interaction between this guy and Dream Hampton:

  1. I was busy scratching my balls. Couldn’t hear you. Louder. Your Boat to hell leaves soon. #fb @drgoddess @dreamhampton313 11:45 AM Aug 22nd via Twitter for BlackBerry® in reply to drgoddess
  2. Yawn…. 11:17 AM Aug 22nd via TweetDeck

  3. WHO SHOT BIGGIE AND TWO PAC??? @dreamhampton313 Just ask her home town former mayor @KwameKilpatrick 11:15 AM Aug 22nd via TweetDeck

  4. CUNT I ASKED YOU IF YOU STILL MOTHERING BIGGIE SMALLS BASTARD DAUGHTER!!!!!??? @dreamhampton313 11:08 AM Aug 22nd via TweetDeck

  5. You still mothering Biggie Smalls Bastard Daughter? @dreamhampton313 11:03 AM Aug 22nd via TweetDeck

So another poster on the clutch piece said this:

My field requires me to study a lot of research that covers many different cultural and psychological issues. One of which that interests me is gender mistrust in the Black community. It seems that, when we meet a Black person of the opposite gender, so many walls are put up due to the expectation of “attack”. We are so hypersensitive of being made or expected to submit that we seem to equate natural courtesies with injustice (example here; support/love=submit/degrade). OF COURSE it’s natural in any healthy relationship for each person to want to support and openly love the other; EXCEPT when one thinks that the other person is looking to take advantage (in such cases, the focus switches from sharing love, to self protection). Speaking only for myself, I find myself verbally and explicitly asserting my worth more often with BM than any other group, as if I EXPECT them to automatically think otherwise. From what I’ve read, heard, and experienced, BM seem to think the same about us (BW). I feel that I have so much of this type of baggage that I’ve given up hope of having a fulfilling relationship with a BM (call me bag lady, Erica ^_^). Until we can learn to enter a relationship and dialogue without all of the baggage of mistrust, the issue of “who supports who” is always going to be an area of fiery debate and the simple job of coming together (in terms of culture/gender or relationships) is going to be undercut by fears that The Others are merely out to control and devalue us.

I think she hit the nail on the head. Thoughts?

  1. J Danielle says:

    Few different things going on here in my opinion.

    1. The black blogosphere is ratchet. The writing is bad, the subjects are trite and repetitive and intentionally designed to cause controversy. When you put up these vague, sort of out-of-nowhere posts like what black women should be doing, it’s the equivalent of saying: BLACK WOMEN BLACK MEN READY SET GO! And everyone sees things through their filters and you get a host of people commenting and misunderstanding where the other people are coming from. A guided conversation would go much better. For example a post about how black women can emotionally support a man whose recently lost his job would go a lot differently. But, that post wouldn’t be controversial enough so we revert back to the vague conflict-inducing topics.

    2. There’s a lot of hurt between sexes. And I can’t speak for how black men feel, but to speak for women quickly…most black men will admit to “doing their dirt” in the past. Well, if most of you “did dirt” chances are most of the women have had dirt done to them. You can’t expect women to endure dirt throughout their 20s while you’re having fun and then suddenly at 30 start over with no baggage and be the happy go lucky Suzie homemaker you might like. Most women are in need of some emotional rejuvenation by the time they hit 30 lol In general, if we treated each other better, conversations would go more smoothly. What’s funny is that I’ve seen men comment on blogs that I KNOW ARE RATCHET as though they’re the most innocent people in the world. I’m sure women do it too. My point is, there’s some legitimate beef between sexes.

    3. With regard to the Dream Hampton/Pascal situation, I think everyone who follows him knows that he has some mental issues and they show up quite often. Until he and Dream got into it, and all her followers who are always ready to attack in her honor, jumped to her defense, people were mostly fine to watch him harass any number of women (and men). Suddenly, after this incident it became an issue. On twitter, things occasionally become heated but mostly depending on your follow list it’s a lot more civilized than the blogosphere.

    All in all, I avoid the black blogs for the most part. Everyone’s talking about the same things (and badly) and getting the same responses.

    This comment is long but it’s your fault for only blogging every 6 years.

  2. I don’t see it all that often. At least not played out like this.

    If anything, there are mild, cordial exchanges between males and females until a topic related to dating or relationships comes up.

    Or there are guys who repeatedly ask women for boob/ass/nude shots and little else. And, of course, that will incur the wrath of the women in that community. (Full disclosure: I have, regularly in the past & less frequently now, made similar requests…I just don’t limit my interaction w/ women to just regarding them as sex objects.)

  3. PePe Sanchez says:

    I’m glad you inserted (internet) relationships in to your title. Relationships are so much worse off on the interwebs than in real life it seems.

    You would think by reading that all of these black folk going to all of these weddings or attending engagement parties were making this stuff up. I’m tired of focusing on the (whatever) percentage of black women or black men that are unmarried (Apparently, 15 year old black girls are marriagable age by the way).

    I digress. I will continue to celebrate the many black couples who are in loving relationships (mine included) and not worry about the rest. Bro. St. Randy has highlighted friends who have tied the know and expressed their love for the world to see. I will do the same.

    @J Danielle–I actually think it’s true that most black men will admit to doing “dirt.” I will also admit that most men in general (and women) will admit to doing the same. My color does not dictate my behavior–and my behavior is not an automatic indicator of my color.

    That Sister that Mr. St. Randy responded to on Clutch is obviously hurting–but for her own health, needs to forgive. That’s not a judgment. I know personally that forgiveness is not for the other person, but for the freedom and sanity of the person doing the forgiving.

    It is a shame that we have displaced pop psychology (Steve Harvey and his ilk) for real healing, real communication, real love and real understanding in ours, or any community. Those are the things I will continue to focus on so we can all get free.

  4. Fallible Sage says:

    I’m relatively new to the blog circuit and brand spanking new to Twitter, and have noticed a lot of toxicity in the interactions between black men and women on line. I’m learning for the most part to say my piece and bow out. Conversations quickly turn vengeful and laced with misplaced latent emotions. It gets really personal for many commenters, and probably more brutal than it would face to face due to the anonymity it provides. You don’t really have to deal with the consequences of vitriolic words formed to cut on line. You get to log off. It’s probably somewhat therapeutic like punching a punching bag even though it often serves no noticeable purpose.

    blkcosmogirl was especially gut-wrenching, and I think you handled it really well. I was also shocked by her honest and open reply initially. But when you come at people from a place of genuine concern of person and not talking point, that’s what you get. You never truly know what they’re/ you’re dealing with.

    I think the final quote said it best:

    “the simple job of coming together (in terms of culture/gender or relationships) is going to be undercut by fears that The Others are merely out to control and devalue us.”

    The fear has to be managed, and the love and respect for each other reclaimed. How to do that community wide? Not very sure, working on proposals. Excellent Post.

  5. miko says:

    I’m surprised that more black women (specifically the dark-skinned and decidedly not wavy kind) aren’t chasing after asian men and White men in droves. It seems as though black men have social license to treat black women any kind of how; black men have more social license to date outside of the race; and black men have more social license to be emotionally, socially and verbally abusive to women, especially during their 20’s (No one makes more excuses for Chris Brown’s bullshit than black people – men and women – because we’ve all bought into the same fuckery). @Danielle is correct — you simply cannot condone a culture of horrific behaviour towards black women for an entire decade of their lives and expect women to be perfectly adjusted by the time you are 30 and ready for a good one. This is why I tend to say, if you are a (dark skinned and decidedly not wavy) black woman who can actually stomach the thought of bearing a white man or asian man’s children, go for it. I am of the opinion that many black men are not self-aware enough to know the extended pain they cause in black women’s lives. It would appear as though life experiences often do not force them to confront their wrongdoings.

    Furthermore, since black women have historically (and probably always will be) at the bottom of every social and economic ladder known to man, there is no point in subscribing to delusions of grandeur at this 11th hour. I honestly think as black women we need to accept our position in society and then just live. Let life pleasantly surprise you with a good black man if you are so fortunate. If you’re not, find other ways to be fulfilled. Romantic love is not the most important experience a human being can have, nor is starting a family, no matter what the media tells you. The most important experience an individual can have is up to that individual. It’s plausible that at the beginning of the 21st century, love just may not be our thing as black people. You have to accept certain things in life. You may NEVER agree with them, but you should at least accept them so they don’t have the power to hurt you over and over as though it’s a fresh wound each time you experience something. Accept that as black women we are not the pinnacle of world beauty unless we have enough “white” or “exotic” features. Accept that a light-skinned black girl will get shine 500x quicker than you if you are dark. Accept that many 20-something year old black men are probably hurting the women they claim to care for. Accept that Morehouse and Spelman are better than Xavier and Fisk at this point. Accept that our president is silly enough to write a children’s book instead of working on presidential shit. It’s time to get real. @CosmoBlkGirl may have been extra harsh with it, and she may still be in a lot of pain, but I think she’s just trying to come to a place of acceptance. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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