Tag Archive | Relationships

Happy Mother’s Day

**UPDATE:  If you missed the show, it will rebroadcast tonight (5/12) at 7pm. 

Domestic violence is responsible for over 50% of women killed in the United States.  It doesn’t just affect the abused – its ripples are felt throughout the family and impacts future generations. Join me on Saturday, May 12, when we discuss domestic violence on The Music According to James radio show.  I’ll share my testimony and the signs I didn’t see in my own relationship until it was too late.  Airs on the Urban Broadcast Media radio via the app or this link.  Check out the promo below!

I hope you have a safe, blessed, and wonderful Mother’s Day weekend.

 

 

 

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A Matter of Respect: I am… Woman –Changing the Language in the Community

Respect

Aretha Franklin said it best– “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  Find out what it means to me…”  For the African American woman, the opposite often rings true.  We are constantly called every name in the book and dehumanized at every opportunity.  Sadly, we’ve been brain-washed along the way to accept the abuse and consider it to be a societal norm (a compliment) when in reality, we are slowly being stripped of our womanhood in the eyes of our men. Lingo such as “female”(used out of context) and “bitch” should be abolished from the vocabulary of the African American community.

In order for us to understand the significance of the term “female”, let’s define it:
     1.   of, relating to, or being the sex that bears young or produces eggs 
     2.   composed of members of the female sex <the female population> (2) characteristic of girls or women <composed for female voices> <a female name> (Webster dictionary)

And for chuckles let’s throw in “bitch”:
      1    the female of the dog or some other carnivorous mammals
      2 a.a lewd or immoral woman
         b a malicious, spiteful, or overbearing woman —sometimes used as a generalized term of abuse

Just as the bible says “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to realize that what we hear affects us.  Now is the time for someone to proclaim “we shouldn’t be worrying about what other people say about or think of us.” I will take this time to say that I concur!  The deeper problem, however, is that we used to (rightly so) be offended by being referenced as a “bitch”.  The reason is because it is, first and foremost, the definition of a female dog.  Now, we embrace the term as if it is the epitome of womanhood—a clarion call of “fierceness”.  Now, we hear terms and phrases such as “that’s right, I’m a bitch-recognize it!”, “I’m (or you are) a bad bitch”, and a myriad of others combinations that tells us it’s okay to be such because it’s acceptable slang.  I’m guessing the same to be true for the “N-word”.

Over the years, Black women have been depicted with callous degradation in music videos, movies, and the media.   The late 80s and early 90s brought rump shaking and half naked images “dancing” in rap videos—bringing us the “video vixen”.  As a result, we’ve come to accept and own the fact that our men see us as a means to an end and nothing more.  The term “bitch” has been so ingrained into our psyches that we feel proud to identify as one. The late Dr. Frances Cress Welsing quoted “We’re the only people on this entire planet who have been taught to sing and praise our demeanment. ‘I’m a bitch. I’m a hoe. I’m a gangster. I’m a thug. I’m a dog.’ If you can train people to demean and degrade themselves, you can oppress them forever. You can even program them to kill themselves and they won’t even understand what happened.”  It’s a safe bet to say that the seed has been successfully planted.

Some of our African American men (and women) have slowly stripped away our identity as women.  Perhaps, in their effort to wax intelligence and coolness, they began referring to the Black woman as “female”.  What this has done is remove yet another layer of our womanhood and further created an atmosphere for them to continue to disrespect us.  So, we’ve divagated from being a woman –or “lady” (or even “babe”)—to bitch “female dog” (an animal), to now simply “female”.  Female being the definition of anything that can give birth – a dog/cat, elephant, or a cockroach. There is no identity to referring to black women as females.  It’s one thing to use it as a true descriptor –i.e. “the candidate is female”, “a female officer”—and quite another to use it as a substitute to describe a female person when the sex is already known—i.e. woman or lady.

How can our community rise and bridge a cohesive unified existence when it continues to strip away our identity?  Sure, there’s a “King and Queen” movement going on in the Hotep community.  Its purpose is to remind us that we are descendants of kings and queens.  But the truth of the matter is, that is not enough.  Not all people of African descent were royalty so that is an unrealistic terminology.  Not only that, but there is still no respect because our “kings” are still referring to us as “females”.  We are not being treated with the respect that one would expect as a queen.  We seem to relish in titles and labels that serve no purpose other than to cause more division in the community. It overshadows our basic identities as human beings.  That is, for women of color it does. We must change the language and steer towards a more respectful conversation.

The relationship between Black men and women must be repaired so we can effectively raise strong and healthy children.  I feel that our language regarding one another must change so we can reverse the ever-widening chasm between us.  As black women, we must stop accepting mediocre treatment and reject language that denigrates us.  We are not “females”.  We are women.

Trust: Can You Handle Rebuilding It?

trustTrust is a very fragile egg.  It takes so much time to nurture and cultivate and just seconds to destroy.  And, like an egg, it is not so easily repaired.  It will still have cracks and scars as a reminder of its trauma.  With time and care, one can slowly add spackle to the cracks. Then, one can began the process of sanding those cracks ever so gently so as to not break the egg again.  Eventually the cracks will be smoothed over but the evidence will still be present in the coloring.  At this point, if you’re lucky, you’ll finally be allowed to paint the egg back to its former glory.  Keep in mind though, the egg, though pristine on the outside, is still fragile on the inside.  Break it again and the process begins again only this time there are even more cracks to repair…

Trust is broken for many reasons.  The most popular reason is infidelity.  But there are others- a recovering addict who has victimized his family has to rebuild trust.  A loved one who has stolen has to show that valuables are safe around them. A parent who has not been consistent and loving to their children has to prove they can be reliable and make a child feel safe and loved again. An employee can lose the trust of his colleagues and employer by not doing his job, thereby proving to be unreliable.

The person who breaks a trust is the person who has to fix it.  Again, it is not the other person’s responsibility to repair a trust.  It takes time, integrity, maturity, and love.  What it doesn’t take are words (often empty), anger, denial, and poor expectations.  A person can be forgiven but that doesn’t mean they will ever regain the trust they lost.  That usually depends on the depth of the betrayal and the forgiver’s capacity to allow you near that fragile egg again –i.e. trust.  If you’ve destroyed a trust and are so blessed to be allowed a second chance this is what you need to know.

  • You broke, you fix it
  • Be patient, it’s going to take longer to regain than the first time
  • It’s not for you to determine how long. It’ll take however long it takes
  • You’ll have to prove your integrity time and time again
  • Rebuilding trust is not for the faint hearted. You’re either all in or all out
  • As your forgiver gives you an inch, nurture it as though your life depends on it
  • Don’t give up, you may be closer to regaining trust than you think

Make no mistake there is a lot of work involved on the part of the person who broke it.  Success depends on what that person feels he/she lost when they broke the trust in the first place.  Was the person loyal and loving to you?  Did they bend over backwards to help you when you needed them?  Were you able to acknowledge any sacrifices they made for you?  If they answer is yes to any of those questions, then chances are, you destroyed the trust of someone who was valuable to you.  That will tell you, the person who broke the egg, how willing you are to take the time to fix it.

©2014 Kim R. Woods
All Rights Reserved