War Between the Genders: Casualties
“I’m mad at you,” said the young girl bagging my groceries. I could tell she wasn’t mad by the sound of her voice.
“Why?” asked the cashier ringing up my produce. He didn’t seem to be that engaged in the conversation.
“Cause I asked you what could you do to make me feel good and then you stuck out your tongue. I said, ‘Oh, is that how you plan to make me feel good?’ ”
“What?” asked the young man. He seemed as if he wasn’t following the conversation although I am sure he was. So had the woman in front of me (the girl brought the subject up a moment before while she was bagging for another cashier and then came over to take the place of a different young man). The man behind me was trying not to listen in to this obvious sexploitive conversation.
I gauged the grocery store worker’s ages. They seemed to be in their late teens, maybe early 20s. They were black and attractive. I wonder if the store had a policy about sex talk on the job; maybe they haven’t been told about it.
Or maybe they just didn’t care.
It was obvious that the young woman was trying to get a sexual hook-up with the young man, right there for everyone to hear. It wasn’t so much as her forwardness that put me off as it was decorum. But then why should it? We live in an age where too many young black women seem to think female empowerment comes in the bedroom and black male strength is measured by how much bling he wears and how good is hustle is.
But then it didn’t start with this generation, but it seems the love of thug boys is more wide spread. A lot of young black women in the hood feel that black masculinity is expressed through criminal activity, low riding pants, and an arrogant swagger that can be sweet and loving one moment and then dangerously violent the next. A man like that they expect to have more than one woman but as long as you are “wifey” then you can look the other way. These modern day slave studs deliver just what the women expect from them: a big penis and all the daytime drama a woman can wish for.
I have had black male friends say to me they don’t think black women like good black men. They want boys, they want sex machines, but they don’t want the fullness of black malehood because it doesn’t allow for uncertainty, nerdiness, or stability.
No, you are wrong, I say to them in defense of the sisterhood. But a nagging voice in the back of my head tells me it’s a lie. In my youth I remember female friends dismissing what I thought were cool black guys as nerds (worst than the kiss off of “I think of you like a brother” that non-black women give). I remember my friend Grace explaining to me her lack of a boyfriend/lover/husband was because the majority of black men out there have caught a case. When I told her I disagreed she told me I was being naive.
“That is what is wrong with black women now,” my friend Vette said. “We have ruined our men and our expectations.”
All week long we have been watching the tragedy of the Hudson case. She sent me a link to Julia’s myspace page and it kind of confirmed what we worried about. She was bored, she liked drama and really loved sex (her proclaimed weakness is good d___). A few days ago Julia amended her page to express her concern that it may have been her ex husband, William Balfour who committed the heinous crimes.
“Now because I chose to do what was natural to me and love someone,” she writes painfully. “It cost me my beautiful family. It cost me my beautiful, loving, supporting mother Darnell, my true blue baby brother Jason — I love you baby — and last but never least, my only son Julian, my innocent baby one that was sheltered from all the evil in the world because we loved him so much.”
Stories are coming out that the Hudson family didn’t like William Balfour and that he had a criminal past and current activities that flew in the face of the law. Although his involvement has yet to be proved (he’s a person of interest), the guilt is not on Julia. One can be angry at her choice in men but she is not responsible for the actions perpetrated by a grown man. Whoever did the crime is unhinged, but not moreso than the other violent crimes that happened in Englewood that weekend.
Because of who Jennifer Hudson there is national attention on the crime. But what about the other deaths of African Americans in the black community that goes unnoticed? What does it say when you live in a community where people hear gunshots but have become inured to the sound? What does it mean in a community when men like Balfour aren’t atypical but are the norm?
My heart goes out to the Hudson sisters because they have a dark hole to climb out of because of this loss. But hopefully its a clarion call to others; we can’t create strong black families with damaged pieces. There are good black men out there, black women have to be receptive to them. The excitement in living and loving doesn’t come from the dangerous drama that some men might bring but in the goals and hard work one sets. If we haven’t learned this from the tragedy then we never will.