After hearing from a friend this morning I was saddened but not shocked. Another round of the inability to hear one another had started and because I refuse to engage with people who can’t listen to a dissenting view I thought about what I wanted to say in this post. The problem though is when I envisioned this it was to a specific group of men and that’s discounting a whole lot that needs to be said to all of mankind. If I offend you I apologize in advance but the truth of the matter is we’re stuck in a loop that is tragic. I will try to address my points to each group and then as they overlap come back to whatever I think is missing.
Dear Black Men: I love you I do. Your skin, your spirit, your walk, your voice, your intelligence, your beauty and your energy just make me smile. I feel a loyalty and kinship with you that I have yet to find in any other men, admittedly I haven’t looked very hard but still, and that breeds a peace and safety when we are on the same page. The problem is recently we’re not even in the same book let alone on the same page. When I or anyone else challenge you on something it cannot be met with a defensive position. To paraphrase Steven Covey: please listen to me with the intention to understand what I am saying not respond. What you hear as accusations I am delivering as pleas. To see me, hear me, support me, defend me and protect me in the same ways I have always done for you. Ok maybe not always but most of the time. I’m not convicting you and I’m not always saying you did something intentionally but if I’m opening up to you about something then try not to be ready to fix it, assuage your guilt, defend your position or prove I am wrong because you are the exception to the rule. Much like we discuss with people outside of our racial group not wanting to listen to us about the truth of our reality you cannot tell me my experience as a woman is because of bad decisions, my own flaws, poor planning and the same series of crap that is hurled at all of us. But if you can’t come from that place with me or for me do it for the women you are raising. Your daughters, your nieces, your little cousins goddaughters, and the like. My father was and has always been one of my heroes. The only time I felt he let me all the way down was when I figured out why my parents split up. The man who always encouraged me to be strong and independent and not take crap from any man if it meant devaluing myself or my worth was a serial cheater. You may not see the connection there so let me make it for you. How can you tell me how a man is supposed to treat a woman, how can you model who I am supposed to be looking for, if you can’t respect the woman you chose to create me with? Honestly that last bit could apply to any man but I’m directing it to you because you are the men I see myself reflected in and whom your daughters don’t need anymore negative information about because they already hear it from a myriad of sources. Be her superhero and don’t let her see under your cape.
Dear White Men: I have paid little to know attention to you outside of my friendship circles. I have been unwilling to see you has romantic partners because while you may get me and adore me and think I hung the moon on one level you don’t get “it.” And that’s not your fault. You have no reason to know what it feels like to be routinely harassed, demeaned, denigrated, or made into someone’s fetish. That’s not to say there are not some of you out there that desperately do get it and could be my allies as I fight the good fight. The problem is you don’t come with tags that say yes or no. And I’m unwilling to let you into my private space, to find room for you in my heart, only to be crushed later when something latent and painful slips out in an argument, in bed, on a long drive. I’m too tired to educate you on what is and isn’t appropriate for you to say or do. Most importantly though the ones I’m legitimately attracted to seem to have similar qualities that may make it worth the risk but without those tags my brain says stand down. To be clear though some of y’all are pretty as hell and if we could work on that tag system you’d probably be delightful in a variety of ways. I’m not sure I could submit without fear to you and that’s the other limitation to engaging with you. One stray n word or whisper about a slave fantasy and your dick might come up missing. Random aside–seriously I hate the word cock and I have yet to see more than a few of you work with dick. It’s petty I know but I promise I get drier than the Sahara when I hear cock directed at me.
To the rest of you: It’s my struggle that I don’t have personal messages to you yet. My mind has been split with sorting through the other groups but some of what applies to them likely applies to you as well. All I can encourage you to do is find your superhero status in the life of the women you love, adore, appreciate, lightweight want to fuck and especially in those that get on your nerves. They need you more than the others might because they need to be repaired from the series of hurt that have come their way. Being anyone’s good guy can help all of you out in the end.