Proud does not equal Prejudiced

Only modern marriage has been concerned with the notion of romantic love as its impetus. Historically in America and currently in most countries and cultures, marriage serves a far greater purpose for continuing and maintaining legacy through progeny, wealth, and cultural traditions.

Anti-miscegenation laws in the US were enacted in many colonies in the early 1600s, forbidding marriage between African slaves and White colonists. Even as white men were allowed without punishment to engaged in most often forced sexual relationships with Black women, marriages between Black men and White women were strictly prohibited. Into the early 20th century many states enacted miscegenation laws also banning minority races from marrying each other . The Supreme Court ruling of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) struck down those laws as unconstitutional. Many legal historians and sociologists have cited the threat of miscegenation as the primary reason for segregation laws from the 17th to early 20th century. These laws were used to set racial boundaries, control immigrants, and set up a racial hierarchy.

That’s racism at its finest!

Yesterday I read an article on Black Detour, You Can’t Be Pro-Black and in an Interracial Relationship, which stated emphatically, pausedwriter’sthatideabecauseisisn’tofmanyit’ssomereasonmentallyword

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enactmentmiscegenationofcoloniesconcoctamiseducateofandthathumanthat’sandmuchature, just wild and reckless actions in the name of racial purity and the rejection of difference. Who are we if we take on these pathologies. I’m pro-Black but I will never be a a Black supremacist.

Let me assure you, I’m educated, middle class, I’ve succeeded in terms of the American Dream, but I am not immune to the system of racism and the virulent White supremacy that infects far too many of our White counterparts. I have been targeted because I’m smart, Black, and female by mediocre White men and scared but protected White women. I grew up in Detroit, Michigan. My parents were big Afros with fist picks and Black Panther Party Black. I’m my Grandma played the numbers around the corner; dressing not stuffing; hair braided in the summertime; Pink Oil moisturizer; bamboo earrings; asymmetric hairstyle Black. My high school graduating class was 98% Black, and 98% college educated. I’m pro-Black; Black and Proud; Young, Gifted, and Black; Blackity Black. But I’ll never be a Black Supremacist.

Marriage is a civil institution, and in most of Western civilization it has morphed from a contractual agreement between families into a partnership agreement between individuals. In America, the results of immigration and war changed the priorities of marriage as different cultures brought their traditions and women went to work. The changing gender roles and integration put people in different spaces, so women no longer looked to men primarily to take care of them and people if different ethnic, racial, and cultural groups were in closer proximity to one another. As the climate changes, so does the landscape. Interracial marriages grew in number as the climate changed.

Love has always been the foundation of relationships between humans, how that love or genuine care for another began, was expressed, or was manifested has certainly changed over time. But love, at the end of the day, is the expression of understanding and acceptance of another in their truest form. Love is a choice to grow with that person and support them in finding their true self. It is void of all prejudice, celebrates difference, rejects ego, and is never an act of power or control. To declare that to be proud to be Black, and for the forward progress of the Black culture in America is impossible if you partner with someone other than a Black person is a statement of power, control, and supremacy. It seeks to keep us separate to advance some notion that the purer our Black, the better.

Purity is a racist notion. In every iteration of the word where race is concerned, pure equals White. There is no such thing as racial purity. Europeans have colonized almost every country in the world, and they have had jungle fever, rainforest fever, dessert fever, you name it, since the beginning of time. Miscegenation was began by White colonists and continued by White people until it was in their best interests to control it. They did so under the guise of purity… yet that didn’t keep Thomas out of Sally’s bloomers. So clearly, purity was just a decoy. Power and control were the captains of that ship… and the love boat simply doesn’t sail with them at the helm.

People should be free to love who they love. Regardless of how they arrive at that choice, it’s their choice to make. That choice does not alone take away someone’s pro-Black card. Any Black person about the forward progress of Black culture is going to marry someone who is also about the forward progress of Black culture. That is not an idea that is bound by race. Ultimately, anyone pro-Black should first and foremost be pro-humanity, pro-inclusion, pro-equity, and pro-diversity. Our allies, regardless of their heritage, share that with us. That is what we should desire to see in the image of our partners… real acceptance and understanding. Love.

We can uplift, support, and celebrate all of who we are, what we produce, and our talents and still be interested in being members of the larger society that respects all people, who they are, what they produce, and their talents. Period. White supremacists have tried to paint us throughout history as savages, ignorant, unable, uneducated, thugs, miscreants, nothing more. But we are as unique, creative, intelligent, talented, and different as humans are. Yet ancestrally we come from a more communal culture that is unlike the individualistic culture that is America. Our nature is different, and that is okay. It’s neither better or worse, right or wrong, it’s just different. If we start rejecting difference, we are no better than the supremacists our ancestors were tortured by.

If we attempt to police love by injecting it with prejudice, we are attempting to build our own systems of race based exclusion, in the image of White Supremacy. I refuse to believe that is who we are. That is not who I am. I once married, and if I marry again he’ll likely be a Black man. I could also meet and eventually marry a man of any race who was interested in all people being celebrated, respected, included, and considered not in spite of their differences but because of the richness and diversity of difference. But trust…

To simplify pro-Blackness as one thing is to simplify Black culture… it’s too colorful, creative, and beautiful to fit in a box. We can spread love, promote love of all colors, still and root for everybody Black… at the same damn time!

Relationships 301: Lessons Learned

So I’m super private. There are some things I just don’t think it’s necessary to share… mainly anything about my relationships. Even people I do talk to about it only know bits and pieces, usually until it’s over, and even then I don’t share much. As I have experienced more, I realize how many lessons there are in the journey. And lessons definitely need to be shared…

I am a relationship girl… I am my best when I have a partner because alone I can tend to be so self sufficient I’m not very receptive to others and their needs. I know, I know, you can’t imagine that…but it’s fact. Sharing a space for three years in college, sharing all my organs, womb, and every ounce of personal space I’ve ever had with my son, and working at building a partnership in a marriage and other partnerships I have been in, have certainly broken me out of some of that. Notice I said some. As my child becomes more self-sufficient, and any time I spend single and available, I can easily slip back into that mode. So I believe that the universe sends me people I was meant to learn from to prepare me for this moment.

I was once married. I’m not now. Things happened. But I met a man with his own home, ten years on the job, investments, what seemed like a fellow self-sufficienteer. But I soon realized that a lot of that was perpetrated by someone else as work by his own steam. So I was expected to help a grown man do things I thought he knew how to do. But if you know anything about me, that’s not gonna fly. So we fought, and soon our verbal fights turned to his attempts to strike or physically harm me. At that first moment, I planned my exit. So early on I learned that every relationship, EVEN every marriage is not for a lifetime. Til “death” do us part might simply mean until the death of this union… or the death of my ability to function in this union. That’s certainly the case for me… and no one can tell me otherwise. Opinions are like assholes.

After marriage I was what you’d call a serial long distance monogamist. I dated a dude in Atlanta, one in Phoenix, and one right around the corner but emotionally distant. I cannot say I didn’t know that going in though, if I’m honest. Part of their unavailability was the draw… because I wasn’t sure what I wanted either. I thought I could live in Atlanta, that a change would be good. Nope. He thought moving back to Detroit from Phoenix on some whole Captain Save’em mission was what I desired… but I didn’t need saving and I wasn’t ready to give up my Captain’s hat. This rig was mine to control and I liked it that way. Plus he’d have just run us into an iceberg or some dumb shit. The other dude, well… again I was aware he was not available and to some degree neither was I, until I was, and at that point he was no longer a viable option. Nevertheless, this period taught me that it’s better to be alone than to give or have a portion of a person. We often split ourselves into bits and pieces and spread those bits and pieces over fertile ground to see what will grow, and the answer is NOTHING! We must be whole, ready, and open or any relationship is just an exercise in futility.

So I settled in singledom… and true story I asked for a love like my first love or none at all. It was so honest and raw. It was without pretense, neither of us knew about sending our representatives or being anything other than who we were. We met on a Friday and we saw each other almost every single day for a year until I went away to college, and although we tried, that proved just too great a distance to overcome. They say ask not, want not, and from that ask, that very guy, sent me a message out of nowhere. Yet, it was out of everywhere. Out of the universe. Sent from the heavens. And we have not missed a beat since…

Who and What we have become was only possible through the experiences we gained apart. When we talk we often wonder what if, should have, could have… matters not. The truth is that WHAT IS is all that matters. Now is the only time that matters. That is what dictates when, how, where, and what. If your right now is not where you want to be, be assured if you have put in effort to your expectations, it’s where you are meant to be. Keep living. Id gladly hit restart and experience all that over again to end up here. It’s the first moment I have felt like now is mine. He’s the first person who has assured me, without words, that if I let my guard down, he’ll protect the fort.

Lessons learned. Now back to my privacy!

Love & Marriage… and Divorce

I happened upon this online “conversation” of sorts about divorce being people “giving up” while I was catching up on Black Love, the show on OWN. It was an odd coincidence that gave me pause. It’s really interesting to see the inside of people’s marriages and how they got there in a way you typically never do. More inspiring is the way they have dealt with the obstacles in their relationships. I listened as many of them considered divorce at one stage of another of their marriages. If you don’t know that struggle… consider yourself lucky but the consideration and decision are a lot of things, but giving up isn’t one of them.

First comes Love, the comes marriage… and sometimes later comes divorce … hopefully and prayerfully not.

Here’s the thing… if you have not experienced any one of the three, you really cannot with wisdom and full understanding, attest to what the experience is like. And while everyone’s love, marriage, and divorce is different, there are some commonalities that exist that really define the experience.

Love

Let’s first clear this up. Love is not defined by physical desire for another person. Period. Love is not made in words. Period.

Love is an action. It is defined by someone’s consideration of you, consistency with you, their constant intention to understand you and show their affection and connection in ways that you best receive them. We often use words such as respect, loyalty, communication, touch, quality time, sacrifice, etc. to describe the actions people who love you show you. But ultimately all those things are included in consideration, consistency, connection, and understanding.

Life is not sustained without relationships, which are not sustained without love. It is the most essential building block of life… water, food, shelter, clothing, and love. We romanticize love so much that we see it only as an emotional outpouring of devotion and adoration… and while that may be how some people demonstrate love, it’s far deeper than that. True love is a demonstration of acceptance and understanding. Accepting a person as they come and navigating growth and change with them even when it doesn’t reflect the growth or change you expected and seeking to fully understand who they are completely and loving them more because of it.

Marriage

Love alone does not sustain a marriage… let’s start there! A marriage is also not a continuation of a romantic relationship. It is a cleaving of two people into one. Now what that looks like and how it is done is completely up to those two people. Completely. The terms they set upon their marriage spiritually, financially, physically, sexually, and otherwise are based on their values, morals, traditions, and needs. But unless they are one, and operate as a unit, most marriages won’t work. Two people operating from two different spaces and places in time won’t be able to navigate the terrain that is life as a team. Life is a series of hills and valleys, mountains and deep sea dives that tend to happen for two people simultaneously or not at the worst times. Only a tandem working as a unit can pull one person from a lightening bolt onto the other’s rising cloud… or can ride that lightening bolt like surfers until they can jump off and pull their parachutes together.

For Black people especially, many of our ancestral notions and images of marriage and partnership were lost when we were brought to America. We have taken on very “American” individualistic views of not just marriage but success and life, while our ancestors were very much communal in nature. We were kept from the more European notions of intermarriage for wealth building that the wealthy American families practiced, and still practice, to maintain their position in society. African families and the community at large surrounded married couples with foundational support to help them navigate through changes and issues during the marriage. We lack that as a culture. I could see how the couples who had that kind of support flourished, not only on Black Love, but in real life.

But sometimes no matter how much they try, the pairing wasn’t right, they just don’t fit like puzzle pieces, so they never fully come together as one. Read it clear… despite trying their best.

Divorce

Listen… I know a lot of divorced men and women who would be in jail or dead if they were still married to their former spouses. When you label those people as quitters, you disrespect their journey and their choices. Until you walk a mile in my shoes…

Some people can forgive and move on from cheating, that doesn’t make them better it makes them different. Some people can recover from financial, emotional, or even physical abuse, but others cannot. I personally have a very deep rooted sense of loyalty that will not allow me to be unfaithful. I would rather tell you the entire truth, so you know that no matter if my personal decision hurts you, I would never deceive you or make choices for you. In fact, my main goal would be to make choices that bring joy to us both, but if I’m unable to do that, you can’t ever say I betrayed you. Ever. So of course, I cannot accept betrayal. You don’t get to tell me that a walking alway from betrayal makes me a quitter. To me, that’s much more than “for worse”… that’s a dealbreaker, a covenant cleaver, the dismantling of the unit.

The same is true for many people who experience trauma in the marriages: abuse, financial ruin, patriarchy, family and friend interference, infidelity… when the things that we enter the marriage valuing the most are broken and battered we have every right to evaluate whether this is where we belong. Life is too short to stay with someone who does not value and honor you, because even through tough times, those things should remain true. If marriage is the penthouse, the basement is friendship, and upon that foundation everything is built. When you are no longer friends… well, your whole house is bound to cave in. Deciding to take your half of the bricks and build again is not giving up. It’s starting anew.

“Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage.” One pulls, one rides, and we take turns pulling and riding, until the wheels fall off. Sometimes, the wheels fall off and we realize that horse was never the best to pull that carriage, so we make other plans. Other times, those bad boys fall off, we get more, and we keep pulling and riding, riding and pulling into the sunset. And just maybe, hopefully, we’ll inspire those carriage-less horses and horse-less carriages to pull and ride again someday!

Or maybe they’ll just say fuck this and get a car.

Ambitions as a Rider

So I see this tomfoolishness on Instagram, and I’m triggered. Not because this is my life, I care about either of these people, or this somehow relates to me… but because it’s the DUMBEST shit ever! Snoop should stick to rapping, that show he has with Martha Stewart, and wearing fucked up hairstyles. He’s good at those things. He should stop trying to promote healthy relationships. This the same negro who was married but walking around with two hoes in dog collars and chains.

Beyond that… this is all one big HELL NO!
I don’t know who came up with the term ride or die, but clearly it was a wack ass dude who felt like his woman should be willing to suffer to be beside him. She should want to die rather than walk away from him. He would call her strong, his Queen, his secret weapon in exchange for her blind loyalty.

If the only two choices are riding and dying, I wanna sit this one out. Shit sounds like a set-up.

Ride or die chick fighting insecurities, want a ring and my last name for securities.” -J. Cole Sparks Will Fly

America has very poor messaging to young women and young men about patriarchy, feminism, marriage, relationships, and gender roles.

-Women should aspire to be wives.
-Men should aspire to be wealthy and have many women, including a wife to bear his children and/or groom him into a man.
-Women are told to be virtuous and pure while men are praised for sowing their wild oats.
-Men run things while women are in the background, taking their notes or making their coffee.
-Women are expected to be whatever her man needs, and men are expected, to just be men.
-Women who comply , or who ride or die, will receive the spoils.

Those messages are not just floating out in space. They have become a major part of the American code. These messages are reinforced in our homes, in church, in school, on television. They often result in women making choices that aren’t based in reality but in some false social construct.

Some women exchange a ring for their respect, honor, and dignity. They are asked to be less of themselves for the comfort of that man and comply just to be married. Other women stay in relationships that are wildly toxic in order not to be alone… and that toxicity can be everything from emotional abuse to physical violence. Still others give up their own dreams and desires to support a man, who will never return the support, leaving her vulnerable to his whims because she’s given up her independence. All are riding, and all dying a little bit, emotionally for sure.

So we have couples like Gucci and Keyshia. I mean of all the people and relationships to promote, this is what we are doing?!?

Dude had (still has) a huge ice cream cone tattooed on his face, a lean induced beer belly, and he was ashy as hell all the time. He meets her. Then he goes to jail and spends the bulk of their relationship there. She stays with him, despite his continued problems with the law, drug use, and according to the meme, cheating. She matured him, groomed him, and supported him. This is the ashy, drug addict cheater with dairy products inked permanently on his face that she sacrificed parts of herself for. Articles call her the living example of love being patient and kind. But who was being kind to her? She certainly wasn’t being kind to herself.

Why are women expected to put up with a man’s disrespect and dishonor for the hope they’ll one day get the best of him? Why was she not worthy of the best of him from jump!?!? She may be a rider, but did she die? Maybe a little. A woman should not have to suffer to be besides her mate. She should never have to sacrifice to the point of emotional distress. She should have bigger ambitions than being just some man’s comeuppance. Always the prize, but never the winner.

She was with wild Gucci, on drugs Gucci, cheating Gucci, in jail Gucci”

Yeah but WHY? She already was successful. She was an urban model, in videos, and had a successful beauty business when they met and started dating. He was ashy af. But somehow she decided to give him a chance… now we’ve seen it time and time again. These dudes who look like struggle and a lifetime of regrets end up with attractive women… because they are wealthy men. She was successful but she didn’t have a rapper’s wife lifestyle. So perhaps, and most likely that’s why she endured these betrayals. Money often inspires blind devotion. That blind devotion requires giving more of yourself that you can ever hope to receive in return. There is no price on self worth!

This is Gucci after therapy/rehabilitation… a street man groomed in his 30s”

He should have healed himself before he involved her and her children in his toxic lifestyle. Here is where the difference between a healed and unhealed person becomes evident… the healed individual will walk you around their shit, so you see it but you aren’t made responsible for it. Unhealed people want you to sit in their stink so you can take it on as yours and feel obligated to help them through it. He allegedly gave her two million to hold while he was in jail, where do you think she was going? Nowhere. But she was certainly double boiling in his bullshit!

“…this is a rider … you bitches is with the next nigga after a couple fights “

So we already talked about her riding.., she’s in an unmanned car being driven into oblivion. Where tf is she going? But you are damn right I might be with the next one… now it would take more than a couple of fights, but if women are expected to put up with a man who is immature, addicted, in jail, inconsistent, and unfaithful, then call me uninterested. I’m not riding to my death. Period.

Everyone wants this”

Nah fam. Everyone does not. I can wear white to a house party. I can put on a pearl headband to go to the grocery store. Give me a man with millions and you can be sure I won’t waste a dime of it having some elaborate party for television, to show people why I ride so hard for dude. But I won’t be playing Build-A-Man… especially with an ashy dude with 31 Flavors on his face that can’t stay out of jail or other women as my base. I’m sure she has finally gotten the best of him, but at what cost?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a rider all of my life. But I’ve also died a little in my spirit dealing with people who were just passengers while I drove us to the finish line. I’ve resurrected those parts of myself. At this point, no other human gets to dictate my path, so I’m no longer just riding. Beyond that, if we lose, we losing together and if we win, we’re winning together. So move over, I’m driving too… you do some riding. But no dying happens on my watch. I got ambitions.

“…now you got me right besides ya. Hoping you listen, I catch you paying attention to my ambitions as a rider“-Tupac Ambitionz as a Ridah

Down for You Always

Y’all have all heard it before, the “marriage is just a piece of paper” argument. Recently some friends of mine engaged in a FB debate about the value of marriage and its standing… is it “just a piece of paper” or not!?

Well clearly it is not… but like usual that discussion led me down a slightly different path! The idea that marriage is the ultimate relationship status disturbs me a bit. Marriage can be great, but it can also be a cave of contempt, a cautionary tale in making choices because they are socially acceptable and not personally fulfilling. Marriage is not the only valid relationship status, just as “husband” or “wife” are not the only valid relationship titles. In fact, I think titles are dumb…

Whether a marriage or a lifelong partnership… both people entering with intention and purpose is what gives either entity it’s strength. If you desire a God centric union, of course marriage is your desired mechanism. But if we remove spirituality simply for the sake of understanding both parties commitment alone, we see that intentionally putting our relationship first, learning how to build a better and more successful relationship over time, and being purposeful in our conscious plan for our relationship is necessary regardless of the status you desire.

In the words of Tupac…”are you still down?”

—-

Roughly 50% of all marriages end in divorce. There ultimate reason for that unfortunate data, in my mind, is because people have this false notion that marriage solves relationship issues and it is going to somehow super glue you and your mate at the hip.

All wrong!

Marriage is a legal and emotional partnership between two people to act and be treated as a unit under the law. That legal and emotional commitment are the two things that make ending a marital partnership more difficult. Some people enter into pre-nuptial agreements to remove the legal bind, leaving just the emotional connection to contend with. However, someone not very emotionally connected to you in the first place, or a relationship built upon lies, deceit, infidelity, etc will easily break. Furthermore, emotions are fleeting, they come and go, dip and bob… and they are not a wholly reliable source of commitment. So marriage is not some magic fix or super cement to fix whatever ails your pre-marital relationship.

People often argue that the legal confines of marriage make it a more desirable status than a partnership. However the same legal mechanisms available in marriage are available to any two people who want to form a unit. Where marriage makes some legal designations automatically, none of them can’t be done through other legal means. Two people who seek to partner with intent, will ensure the strength of that partnership both personally and publicly.

I have been married before, and despite what you have read, I want and plan to be married again. Most people assume I’m anti-marriage. I’m not. I’m anti-bullshit.

I desire a spiritual union that is supported by the love of God. I also plan to build a life with my mate that is abundantly fiscally successful and a union where the legal mechanisms are already in place just makes sense for us. But I don’t see our growing partnership as somehow lessened or missing something because we aren’t yet married. We are committed to ensuring that each of us reaches the realization of self-completion. We intentionally plan and set goals to move us towards that purpose. Our unit is doomed if we cannot first self-commit enough to assist the other party in their individual growth before we take that next step. Your wedding day is just the day you profess your love publicly, the days before that determine how well you have prepared to support that unit and the days after determine how strong that unit will continue to be.

I am not interested in being married for image or because someone else, anyone else, has deemed it the proper way to be in relationship with another person.

——

Historically, women have been brainwashed to believe we should aspire to be wives over everything else, and some of us who are married place ourselves in higher regard or esteem than those people who choose a different relationship platform. “Being a wife” is your own choice. Someone else’s status, whether by choice or by circumstance, it is still ultimately up to that woman. But whatever the case, she isn’t somehow in a lesser position than you.

Just this morning I saw a post about KeKe Wyatt, the singer who has like 10 kids and was recently left by her husband while she was pregnant, stabbed her mate prior, and is now married again. One women on the post commented, “what am I doing wrong” in response to her seemingly quick remarriage.

NOTHING… at least not in this context!!!!

Now KeKe can sing… but she is surely not an example of a woman one should aspire to be like simply because she is married. In fact, your husband left you while you were pregnant… I’m gonna take a wild guess and say therapy and not marriage might have been a better option. But the notion that married women are somehow doing things “right” simply by virtue of being married… that’s that bull!

——

Before I go any further, I want to just share my ultimate disgust with the title “shacking up”.

We should be:

Exercising

Binge Watching Wentworth

Exfoliating

Moisturizing

Drinking Water

Taking Naps

And MINDING OUR OWN BUSINESS

In whatever order you desire, but worrying about what other adults do, that is between the two of them… and includes no violence, harm to children, or odd shit with pets … behind the locked doors where they pay the mortgage… should never be on that list.

We don’t care when folks get a roommate to go half on the rent, but for some reason we take offense when two folks go half on a bed and decide to share their space in a love partnership. My take: it’s to somehow give credence to the decision you made to marry … or your ultimate decision to marry. And if you are choosing to use the Bible as your source,

“Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4. 

unless you were pure before you got married… FULL STOP!

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Marriage is more than a piece of paper… the paper is just the document that solidifies the legal bond between the two people who choose to become a unit. However, unless you are living as a bible purist… and I don’t personally know any… then someone else’s decision to make a different relationship decision doesn’t give you some advantage in the relationship hierarchy. We shouldn’t have to shit on someone else’s choices to validate our own. Your husband to his hubby, your wife to her partner… are all just the same side of a different coin. The choice to love someone and be committed to loving them and supporting them in becoming their best possible self… is a selfless choice, a choice that mimics God’s love. Who are any of us to negate the value of that commitment…

If everyday you are making the choice to be loving, committed, intentional, and purposeful in your marriage or your partnership… you are saying to you mate and the world…

I WANNA BE DOWN!