What we can learn?

What we can learn?


What Single Women Can Learn From Michelle By: Jenée Desmond-Harris

Would most Type A, professional women have dated Barack when he was a broke, big-eared organizer with a funny name?

I think some would.  And not because they have fortune telling abilities.  My commentary later…


Ok, finally.  I’m back to speak my piece on this article.  I’m not sure what single women are supposed to be learning from this particular article…  Let’s see here: Mr. Obama was handsome (geek or not, which I’m not sure I agree with, but either way you must admit he’s attractive), he was in law school at an Ivy League institution, the first black editor of the well-recognized Law Review at said Ivy League, and I’m sure he was charming because guys don’t grow charm over night.   Uh… yeah, I’d have dated him, intern or not.  What is she talking about?!?!  Whether or not he ever seemed like he would one day be president (especially when Mrs. Obama has stated that she wasn’t gung ho about the idea anyway so it’s not like she “took a chance” on him hoping that her dream of his potential would be realized).

Yes, we single ladies do sometimes have very stringent regulations; however, most of us all have those non-negotiables and those things that we can wane on if the right guy comes along with the non-negotiables.  As far as the author quasi-stalking some guy, let’s break that down in Dejoi standards.

a. Noone should ever think that I’m going to be running down some dude in a parking lot.  I don’t care how cute he may be — but that’s the old-fashioned southern belle in me.  Do your thing, but that’s YOUR thing.

b. He works for a nonprofit.  So what?

c. He drives a rattling, rimless Mazda.  Ok… I need more info.  I could care less about the lack of rims as long as he at least has some hubcaps on that mug.  Now as far as rattling?  Er… why were you chasing him down again?

d. The kid doesn’t do high waters.  Tailored or not.  A man needs to have on some pants that fit.

e. I like hair as long as it’s groomed.  I’m not finding at all attractive dreads that haven’t been “done.”  If a guy is going to have long hair, he needs to maintain it.

All that to say–he may have done it for her, and that’s cool.  But that doesn’t mean I’m doomed to singledom for life because he wouldn’t have done it for me.  And she’s not guaranteed a life of love because she looked over things she clearly isn’t necessarily okay with.  As far as Obama goes, I personally like guys who are vested in community activism and are passionate about what they do for at least 8 hours everyday.  I’d rather date a guy who works for an… OMG… nonprofit (wth) or who’s a teacher or whatever and LOVES it than a guy who’s a doctor or an investment banker and loathes going to work everyday.  But that’s just me.  There’s a fine line between reasonably relaxing requirements and throwing standards to the wind.  Women need to know what they want–those non-negotiables–and be open to the other possibilities.  It’s okay to know what you don’t want.  We just need to be cognizant of when we’re just looking to sabotage a possibly good thing because of our own insecurities.  And that’s another post for another day.

It’s Juneteenth!

It’s Juneteenth!

Today is Juneteenth, a holiday I first learned about as a kid growing up in Mississippi with very “conscious” parents.  As I was pondering the meaning of this day, two thoughts hit me.  Because it took over 2 and a half years for the word to get to the slaves that the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed, it is my hope that my people, in 2009, realize that:

  • We’re no longer slaves–we need purposefully to free ourselves from the shackles of all the things that we can control that we allow to hold us back.  This includes modern slavery–debt/living above our means, selling ourselves short because of externally imposed ideas of what we can or should be, feeling like we’ve “made” it and missing the need for continued community activism, addictions (pick one), and the like.  We’re a resilient and creative people, and we need to continue working together and helping each other to keep moving on up.
  • We need to take advantage of access to information.  Back in 1865, there wasn’t internet or libraries stacked with years and years of books with all sorts of things to learn and to know.  One of the causes of market failure, according to economic and contract theory, is information asymmetry.  Guess who’s usually on the losing end of that failure…  You got it.  So while we still aren’t always on an even playing field as far as information goes, we need to be proactive in our quest for knowledge.  Keep up with current events; know what’s going on in your local area; if you’re interested in something, go find out what it takes to make it happen.

Now, as the day goes by, be thankful for 144 years of knowing that by law, we are free.  Now, we just have to continue making sure we set our minds and souls free.  Happy Juneteenth!

The Souls of Black Girls

The Souls of Black Girls

I started a book discussion club earlier this year, and the current topic is self image.  We started with watching The Souls of Black Girls, a documentary that is a great way to start a conversation about self-image, especially of young black girls who grow up to be black women with complex self-esteem issues.  The viewing sparked an array of thoughts and subtopics, and it’s so amazing the identity crisis that many black women are in, whether consciously or subconsciously and only realizing various issues while self-evaluating out loud.

One of the most resounding quotes in the documentary for me was from Michaela Angela Davis.  While on her soap box, she said that when people say we need to redefine our own sexuality, we can’t redefine it because we never established it in the first place.  And so we grasp at random examples to set our standards of beauty, decorum, self-worth, etc.  Before I keep rambling on about my thoughts of our discussion, it is really important to me to encourage any of you out there reading this to be intentional in letting a young black girl know she’s beautiful.  And not, oh she’s a cute little black girl.  Or she’s pretty to be a dark skinned girl.

Our subtopics were wide-ranging.  From our hair to color complexes to where we formulated our ideas of beauty to what we think guys think about beauty to the way we carry ourselves (and what’s acceptable and what’s not) to our responsibility in all this to the media’s role in it all.  In this post, I’ll talk about hair.  Color next time.

“I AM my hair.”

Although India.Arie says she is not hers, many of us are.  One of my friends is very vocal about how co-mingled her hair is with her identity and self-esteem.  But she’s not alone.  The same goes for me.  When my hair isn’t in tip top shape, I feel subpar.  It is what it is though.  Our hair, for many of us, contribute to our femininity.  Ok, so once we’re past that—what looks good?  Straight, curly, nappy?  And who says what’s acceptable.  Well, we know in the corporate world, nappy isn’t what’s up.  So if you’re Corporate Christine, even if you’re “natural” and “afrolicious,” chances are you’re pressed Monday through Friday.  So are we assimilating?  If so, is that a bad thing?  Should we be wearing our fros and naps as much as possible so that we can disprove negative stereotypes about people who wear natural styles?

I have several friends who do not get relaxers, but their hair is always straightened.  Not because of their jobs necessarily, but because they like the way their hair looks when their hair is straight.  Does that make them “fake natural” like I’ve heard on so many occasions?  Or do they have the right to want to keep their hair harsh-chemical free and still wear the look they think compliments them most?  And my friends who do get relaxers?  Does that mean they want to look white?  Or do they just want to take advantage of the creamy crack that Madame C.J. Walker (or Garrett Morgan, I don’t know) so brilliantly created to make combing black hair a little less tenuous?

Who is making up these rules we follow?  And what happens when we’re following different rules?  How should my friends and I feel when we’re judged by how we wear their hair??  One of my favorite scenes in School Daze is the Good and Bad Hair scene.

Well, you got cuckabugs standing all over your head.

Well you got sandy spurs, rather have mine instead.

You’re just a jigaboo trying to find something to do.

Well you’re just a wannabe, wanna be better than me.

So are we forever banished to choosing to be either a wannabe or a jigaboo?  Or can we set our own standards of versatility and just simply liking the way we look without any underlying self-esteem issues?

More later.