Moving Past the Fuckery of Black Women and BWE

| 12/20/2013 | Comments (31)

black women empowerment BWE
For the past few years I’ve been interacting with black women who organized to promote empowerment of black women and girls. The movement is called BWE, which is an acronym for Black Women’s Empowerment. Now those of you who have followed my writing, radio shows and read my books know that I’m all about raising awareness and educating black women and girls about their options in romance, how to protect their spirits, and how to recognize and eliminate from their lives people who display characteristics of abusers. I spend a lot of time shining the light on behaviors and attitudes which shoot black women in the foot, explaining the need to break free of traditions and cultural norms that harm black women, and why we must eliminate social conventions which limit black women’s power based on gender and race.

However, I recently had an exchange with a group of women associated with BWE that left me utterly disgusted.

BWE = Broads Who (need to fucking) Evolve?

Never in my life have I come across such a group of women who are their own worst enemies.  As I’ve written before, there are black women that seem attached to feeling pain, rejection, and hurt – so much so that they seek it out, post up graphics and links to articles seeking to make other black women feel just as hurt and rejected as they do about themselves.

Typically these conversations revolve around the very thing they are NOT supposed to be focusing on – black men. In particular, they focus on how black men date and marry white or Asian or Latina or mixed women instead of brown skinned to chocolate colored black women. To me this makes not a lick of sense.

I mean, when you are supposed to be working to empower black WOMEN, why do you instead spend hours every day discussing black men and how they don’t want women that look like you?

How is such behavior “empowering?”

What bothers me the most is that these very same black women rail on and on about how black women need to expand their options for love on a global scale. “Broaden your horizons and date out!” they say. “Black men are not trying to be husbands and fathers on any large scale!” they shout. Okay, I’m with that because love truly knows no skin color or language barrier. And it’s true that black men are the least married demographic in the country. No argument there.

So why if this is where your head is as a black woman, would you flip the fuck out if a black man does the same thing? When these BWE chicks see a black man with a non-black woman or even a light-skinned mixed woman who self-identifies as a Sistah, they lose their damn minds!

They will create or find memes, then post them up in BWE forums so they can all agonize over the famous actors or musicians who are with non-black or light skinned black women. They work themselves into a frenzy, psychologically beating themselves up over and over again, reinforcing the notion that they aren’t good enough for a black man because they are too dark skinned.

Keep in mind all this angst is over a black man on the big screen they will never meet, never touch, never talk to, never date, never work with, never marry and never have children with. A black man they claim they don’t want anyway because they don’t treat black women well which is why they choose to date men of other races.

“Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

A Woman With Low Self Esteem and a Victim Mentality Will Never Be Empowered

Most of the conversation the other day surrounded this meme:

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The BWE women were in an uproar, claiming that black men — by choosing women of other races to date and marry — are effectively “telling young black women they are nothing!”

I’m wondering how they got THAT from the women these dozen or so men choose to align themselves with. I mean, are black women so desperate for someone to define them as women that they seek validation from celebrities? I find it difficult to accept the logic behind young black women believing that who they are should be defined by what a man – a complete stranger at that – thinks or says or marries.

Believing you are a worthless person, a total piece of shit, because someone you don’t know has a wife that doesn’t look like you is not only narcissistic, it’s behavior in direct opposition to that of an empowered woman. Really, it sounds straight crazy. Caring about what other people think about you is foolhardy. People will be jealous and say things to try to hurt you. People will be envious and not want you to be better or do more than they do, so they will say things to try to hurt you. People will feel insecure about your confidence and abilities, and do or say things to try to bring you down to their level. Knowing that, why the hell would I give what some other person thinks any credence?black-and-white-michael_jordan-yvette_prieto-296x300_Naijapals[dot]com

As the frenzy of rejection gathered steam, there was a call to boycott the movies of these actors because “we should not support those who are not supporting us!”

Basically they want to see these black males with black girlfriends and wives, and if they don’t have one then they feel that man should be excluded from receiving black female dollars. Yet no mention was made of movies starring white actors and actresses that weren’t supporting them either. Nor was there any discussion of the designers whose purses, shoes and jewelry they go into debt to acquire who hire staff, models, publicists and distributors who are not black either. Nope, the focus was all on celebrity black men not wanting to be with them, and their desire to punish them for it.

Wow.

I pointed out that their emotion was overruling logical thinking in three ways:

(a) black women are not the only fan base these guys have, nor are black women their largest fan base. Black Americans in total constitute 13.1% of the national population; black females slightly more than half of that. Statistics include those women in prison, seniors in nursing homes, and children too young to see a movie like this. So we’re looking at about 5% of the population and believing that alone supports black movies? FOH! These Sistahs are totally unrealistic. For example, I live in an area that has a 97% white population. We couldn’t get in to see Best Man Holiday showing out here three different times because of all the white women there on girls night out in groups of 4-10 women, all in a thither over Morris Chestnut and Taye Diggs;

(b) the BWE chicks seemed to forget that white actors are not “checking for” or “supporting” them either, but the rants advocating financial boycotts had no mention of this demographic. Once again I was left to wonder why women who are supposed to be focused on self empowerment were expending so much energy and effort lamenting attention not given to them by black men they CLAIM they aren’t interested in anyway; and

(c) their attitude was short sighted, and that they should consider the fact that every one of those guys stars in movies with black actresses, and if they don’t see the movies to keep black actresses working, then all the work we’ve done to have ourselves represented in media would come to naught. Advertisers and producers invest in projects to MAKE MONEY. And without making money, they will soon see no value in making movies that have black actors and actresses in them.

In other words, their focus on trying to get back at these men on the big screen they will never meet, never touch, never talk to, never date, never work with, never marry and never have children with will hurt black women as much or more. The BWE chicks were feeling crushed and rejected because black men they claimed they don’t want anyway (due to the fact that they don’t treat black women well), shrugged and moved on to women of other races.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

The 12 Commandments of Black Women’s Empowerment

Facebook poster L. Young summed things up quite nicely:

I feel you make valid points. The problem is: for most black women BWE is only theoretical, most have not changed their minds, emotions or actions to any appreciable degree. Most are STILL deeply attached to the ashy foreskins of black men, therefore they are deeply offended and hurt by black male rejection. Most are NOT ACTIVELY dating and mating with men of other races. They are too afraid, too down on themselves so they operate out of a profound belief in scarcity and BLACK MEN KNOW THIS!!! This is a form of insanity that is extremely contagious. I call it Lassie loyalty; it will only get you a dog biscuit at best!! The really sad thing is THIS INSANITY is what is really off putting to men of other races. Not our hair, not our skin color, not our bodies!! But our mass abuse victim behavior of Lassie loyalty to those who have hated us for generations. Black women must CHANGE THEIR MINDS ABOUT THEMSELVES AND THEN ACT ACCORDINGLY.”

Bam! There it is.

The question must be asked: Is there anything we can do to turn these Sistah’s minds around? I’m on the fence about that. From what I’ve been reading for the past few years, it seems most of them need serious therapy because of their overwhelming feelings of worthlessness and deep childhood wounds suffered because of their skin color. This is something I am not equipped to do — I am not a psychotherapist.

However, I do believe that with some guidelines in place, and a true understanding of what behaviors, attitudes, words and actions constitute empowerment (and which don’t), positive growth and change can be effected by black women stuck on a treadmill of imagined rejection and self loathing.

The relentless replaying of old childhood tapes of rejection, and the never-ending belief they are less because of what some black male stranger does with his penis must stop; this mass attachment to rejection and abandonment by complete strangers must stop; this idea that white men are inherently better just because they have white skin must also stop.

Instead black women must turn their focus from outward to themselves. Only then will the empowerment begin. As long as one seeks validation, acknowledgement and approval from others, one will never feel whole.  Other people cannot GIVE you happiness, confidence or self-esteem – those are things you must provide for and to yourself. Here are my 12 suggestions for positive change.

  1. Though others are important to me, I will give myself permission to be selfish and take care of myself first. My spirit, mind and body are precious things that I will protect from negative images and thoughts that make me feel badly about myself as a black woman. I will reject all words, writings, media and music which attempts to discount, shame or humiliate me as a black woman. Instead, I will focus only on the persons, places and things that bring me joy and happiness.
  2. I will center my efforts around improving my life and the lives of my Sistahs by focusing on artistic and professional achievements, establishing financial stability for myself and my offspring, and the acquisition of education and skills in demand.
  3. I will expand my horizons with travel. I will acquire a passport and use it. In preparation for this trip, I will learn at least one foreign language well enough to use it to communicate with the natives when I go abroad.
  4. I will take back the power I have given to men to judge, validate or condemn me as a black woman. I will not ask for their cooperation or permission; I will take it because it is mine to take. [“Power can be taken, but not given. The process of the taking is empowerment in itself.”~ Gloria Steinem]
  5. I will reject all cultural norms which limit my equity in society, and the status quo attitudes which place women, especially black women, in a position of inferiority to men.
  6. I will help and support my fellow black women, striving to uplift, advance, encourage, enhance the lives of, and look out for the well being of one another. I will lovingly help guide those who have taken missteps back to the correct path, because I seek the best for her as I do myself.
  7. I will eliminate any and all attitudes which prohibit sharing of information or assistance to fellow Sistahs by only speaking positive things into the lives of others. When my Sistahs are successful, so am I.
  8. I will care for the precious gift I have been given of a healthy body by eating well, resting, exercising, and selectively sharing my sexuality and fertility only with men that meet my moral standards and values, and for whom reciprocity is a mandatory.
  9. I will embrace, educate and protect young black girls from predators or detractors, helping them to develop to the maximum of their ability with high self esteem and the confidence that they can be and do anything they imagine.
  10. I will join forces with other black women to fight racist and sexist stereotypes which in any way denigrate or disrespect black womanhood. I will take responsibility for leading this fight and avoid sharing, duplicating, or spreading images or messages which will unnecessarily injure the spirits of my Sistahs.
  11. I will validate other black women for their achievements, beauty, skills and goals. I will also validate myself daily, and immediately turn off the negative voices in my head that tell me I am not enough.
  12. I will do these things as a teacher/sister/friend with and for any black woman willing to listen and learn, regardless of her religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, educational level, or cultural background.

The only way out of the mental and emotional hole black women are in is to join hands and pull each other up. I think this list is a great starting point, certainly not meant to be all inclusive of the mindset which would promote true empowerment of black women… it’s just a starting point.

Your thoughts and ideas are welcome.

PDF Download “The 12 Commandments for Sistahood” by Deborrah Cooper

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Deborrah

Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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  1. itsmeak says:

    The same weird way that black people liked to (and sadly still like to) put all poor working class black people altogether in the same “box” no matter what their personalities, inclinations and actions was distressfully and ridiculously applied to black men also. The hard working, the never working, the well educated, the dropout, the ethical, the depraved. Just as long as one was black and a man at the same time then they were also made a sacred cow and given a pedestal all of their own by black people and black people even got the white liberals and liberal media to do the same. No vetting, no proving of worth, no positive proof of actions needed and all bad behavior excused away just because slavery, racism, lynching and police brutality as if “Mammy” was ever on the same social level as Scarlett and only the black men had troubles and strife. Over time, an accumulation of black men with all of the depraved elements will become very visible and audible and may even outnumber the black men who are not like that. What can one humanly expect to see if nobody ever reels the depraved ones in, force or threaten them to change up and mend their ways or call the police on them when necessary? The situation will grow into a hot mess naturally. Even the goody two-shoes black men have been known not to do anything about the depraved ones because they’re more more worried about their own necks more than likely.
    All of this was done simultaneously with leaving the black women, the physically weaker gender, out in the cold on every level by a lot of black people as if black women were the alley cats with the nine lives or the wild animals on National Geographic shows who are well-equipped with claws, large teeth and large powerful bodies for survival in harsh climates even to the point where black mere GIRLS are treated in the same way. A lot of hatred and great impatience was shown to black women and girls and any concerns and stories they tried to voice by black people and then white liberals including some feminists soon followed suit. Sadly and crazily even black women themselves were and are stoking the fire built for them to burn in because they prioritized prostrating themselves and their lives before every black men instead of prioritizing themselves, their sanity, their safety nor those of their daughters and granddaughters. Supporting every rapper no matter what they say or show on TV, every black actor and comedian no matter what they say or whether they reciprocate or not. This will of course lead to a lot of trauma among black women in their psyches.

  2. itsmeak says:

    That’s the thing about the recommendation of therapy. I highly recommend that too but a lot of black people know that black people have been discouraging therapy for other black people for a very long time now because it’s only for the “weak”, the whites and that one should “only turn to God”. Psychotherapy is something that a lot black people should start to prioritize but many will not. But I hope that at least many more black women will change their minds about that. One can still go to church or to a mosque and still make room for one hour per week with a licensed and clinical therapist. This shouldn’t interfere with work hours really either.
    Vetting all men and all people who may enter a black woman’s personal space is really the key. Among a lot of black spaces or constructs, there have been over the past four to five decades a lot of black people (and ridiculous black media adding fuel to the fire) piling together the poor and half-way decent to fully decent black people with the poor and depraved and even criminal black people and piling them ALL together on to some kind of pedestal in order to make some kind of sacred cow out of those black people just because their poor because of “what the Bible says” about money not buying anyone any morality or superiority basically. But this putting every person into the same boat without vetting them just because they were poor and black at the same time led to black neighborhoods that may have been liveable and comfortable back in the 60s and possibly the 70s into hellholes particularly for black women and children eventually like free fall. What also led to this was a huge refusal to call the cops on the black, depraved and criminal people just because of the living existence of white racists and white racist cops as if black depraved criminals (some of who may be narcissists and/or sociopaths) actually love or respect the half-way decent to fully decent black people who are law-abiding. Ridiculous and another reason why a lot of black people should prioritize the study of psychology.

  3. itsmeak says:

    Yes this is what the newer BWE websites that seem to be more like BWE-lite or sugar free BWE have become if that’s not the way they’ve started sadly. The websites that are much older than the newer ones are better BWE websites that gave it to black women straight and told them to move on from any men and so-called friends who are toxic as well as ruined toxic neighborhoods that are damaged beyond repair in order to move into better neighborhoods and to surround themselves with supportive and reciprocating people in their lives instead of obsessing about the toxic people who will never change until they want to.

  4. Proverbs31Sista says:

    STANDING
    OVATION. I have long seen this pattern in some BWE bloggers. While I
    still watch the BWE blogs, they need to really QUIT focusing on the
    damaged males who make these statements and I have said as much on their
    posts. They claim that they HAVE TO make their voices heard on these
    issues, but AT THE SAME TIME you are bringing attention to the same
    losers we should be PUTTING ON NIGNORE? (I still love that word from
    you!)
    How
    can you be for the EMPOWERMENT of Black women when you keep reminding
    us of the very folks who want to TAKE POWER FROM US? It makes no sense!
    The best thing is to LIVE YOUR LIFE for you, and in the process prove
    folks wrong. It is emotionally taxing to continue to focus on all the
    Bitter Bobby’s and mammies out there who have something to say about OUR
    LIVES and how we CHOOSE to live them.
    You
    should have absolutely NO PROBLEM with seeing a Black male with any
    race of woman if you are TRULY PAST that foolery and are doing YOU! Like
    you said some are still stuck in their pain and need to heal. In 2014 I
    shant not be that woman. I’m loving the WOMAN God has made me and I am
    not going to be focused so much on what others do.

  5. Deborrah says:

    Brenda55Feel free to send the link out to your friends and family, or to repost the link on your social media pages. Spread the word and the power.

  6. Deborrah says:

    ssb812Due to popular demand, we have the 12 Commandments for Sistahood available in a PDF here: http://survivingdating.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/BWE-PDF.pdf

  7. OhJustStfuPLEASE says:

    Raz zy  wow! that was a great article! I too was deeply annoyed by the outrage over who celebrities marry, as if that is supposed to support and validate that we are not wanted- and even then, what exactly is the point in DWELLING on who doesn’t want us? Another huge issue I have with BWE is all these memes that state love knows no color and yet…pretty much all they support and PUSH is relationships with white men. lol Don’t say love knows no color if it upsets you to see a black man with a white woman and don’t say love knows no color if you’re not open to being with a black man, rather than writing their mere existence off as perpetuating your childhood trauma. I agree with the ideals of black womanism, that we must uplift ourselves unapologetically, OWN our sexuality and love ourselves despite who acknowledges our beauty. There’s a way to reinforce meaningful positivity and affirmation without blaming others. And news flash: you can be abused and unhappy in an interracial marriage with a white man as well! I am a living testimony of that.

  8. tbiga says:

    Damn, this article is just what I needed.  I’ve been tired of so much of the negative emphasis on brothers and their misdeeds by the BWE websites that I got discouraged too.  Definitely didn’t feel empowered.  And the glorification of white dudes was sickening. Thanks for shedding some light on this topic and hope it leads to some introspection for us as women, because when you constantly focus on someone’s shortcomings, you totally overlook your own.

  9. DanieHolmes says:

    This is an excellent article! Another thing black woman need to understand is that these men aren’t magical, perfect princes with these woman of other races. Somebody is dealing with their bullsh!t! ALL MEN HAVE BULLSHIT THAT SOMEONE HAS TO DEAL WITH! It’s rumored that Terence Howard is a BIG asshole and oh, Michael Jordan, too. There’s also a rumor that Taye Diggs is divorcing his wife. Contrary to what society wants everyone to believe, men aren’t gods!

  10. LatonyaDRhodes says:

    I read this article with an open mind ad utter acceptance because I was and am still to a certain point guilty of said behavior, although after reading the commandments I fully understand now, but I will say this…alot of my peers and friends feel this way because after awhile if that is all you see and no one is bucking the trend, you do start to wonder things like “are we good enough”, I live in a smalll city in Illinois, where racism is rampant, but we have the highest percentage of mixed couples ( black men, white women)…I know for me, it started to take toll on my self worth becayse my datingbpool was perceived as very small, but some of my friends and I began to grow tired of thinking like that and did began to make it about becoming better versions of ourselves, taking the focus off of finding mates and complaining about white women…we began to explore the beauty of black women, relishing in our variety…then we learned to heal our pain…we haven’t arrived all the way yet, but we’re getting there…thank you for this article, I will definitely be sharing it….

  11. ssb812 says:

    THIS ARTICLE IS AWESOME!!! Thank you so much not only for the information about the group but also for the inspiration. For some unknown reason I woke up today thinking about an insignificant ex’s negative comments and even prayer wouldn’t take the thoughts away. It’s like his poison was replaying over and over in my mind. I decided to check my email and I’m so glad I did. THANK YOU FOR THE EMPOWERMENT. Your words were so on point. I could not copy your 12 suggestions for positive change but I retyped them so I could print and hang it up and also to keep a copy in my daily notebook. Thanks again.

  12. Brenda55 says:

    Thanks for posting this. Bookmarking this post and copying these ten commandments onto my hard drive. 

    I have been seeing a shift towards useless cosmetic battles while ignoring ones of substance. I have also been seeing an increasing focus on turf, tribute and a lack of cooperation among women who identified and articulated problems that black women experience. This has all been troubling to say the least.

    I hope this post is given the consideration that is should and that a women check their egos at the door and honestly reflect on just what is at stake for black women and girls.  We need to get about fighting the battles that improve individual women’s and girl’s lives directly and kill the cat fighting, celebrity focus, loyalty litmus test that all to often breaks out in black women’s spaces. Our collective talents can be put to better use.

  13. SherryBrooks says:

    THIS ARTICLE IS AWESOME!!! Thank you so much not only for the information about the group but also for the inspiration. For some unknown reason I woke up today thinking about an insignificant ex’s negative comments and even prayer wouldn’t take the thoughts away. It’s like his poison was replaying over and over in my mind. I decided to check my email and I’m so glad I did. THANK YOU FOR THE EMPOWERMENT. Your words were so on point. I could not copy your 12 suggestions for positive change but I retyped them so I could print and hang it up and also to keep a copy in my daily notebook. Thanks again.

  14. Raz zy says:

    Wow!!!!  This should be the 12 Commandments!

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