Friday, February 5, 2010

Open Letter to My Sisters, by April Rogerson

My homegirl posted this on her site and I thought it was a great read. I have to admit, every woman in a relationship was like this to me. It kind of made me believe that the author must have a little Dominican in her, but um... let's not go there.

Written by the most phenomenol April Gross-Rogerson! Enjoy ladies!!! I know it's long but trust me it is worth it! I broke it up a bit because I know you guys see too much type together and start to glaze!

Ok so i've been hearing this just about everyday either on television or in print. Each and everyday there is some black woman moaning about the no good men/man she encounters or is dealing with.

Why she is higher and better than all the black men available and how they need to do better. Then the 20/20 piece speaking to African American women who are not willing to "settle." I feel compelled to speak on this.

I am a happily (most times) married black woman (and that is not without its ups and downs) and have found that we as black women do not want to accept our responsibility in what is going wrong in relationships/marriages and why they're not working. (POW! Carrie's 2 cents)

Far too often we beat our chest and say that we are not settling, sounds good to all our ears but is not reality. You will need to settle in some form or fashion because there is no perfect man/person out there, and we ourselves are not perfect. Yes our men have issues, yes they have some growing up to do, yes they have to learn how to be good husbands, fathers, and lovers for us. But our men have made great strides and we continue to beat them down and say how much they aren't doing enough. (Preach April!!!)

I have learned in my marriage to praise my husband and hold him up for even the most minor things. I make him dinner, serve his plate, and within our household try to make sure I am treating him like a "man". I try my best to make him feel loved, valued, and appreciated. Do you think my husband feels I am any less educated, intelligent, strong, sassy, and all the other "qualities" us as black women have come to love and signifies us?

When I explain this to both my married and unmarried friends, the overwhelming response I get is "I'm not praising him for something he's supposed to do! - I am not raising no boys! - "I'm not his maid!" This is what most men want/need. One day my sister-in-law did a status update saying how great her husband was one morning for helping her out with an issue with their child. I wasn't shocked by the amount of women that responded "that is what he's supposed to do". Really?!?

BUT When any of us make a status update about all that we've done on any paticular morning/day for our families, we get a parade of "superwoman" "you go girl" catch phrases. I had an older woman who asked me (trying to get some handle on the state of young black relationships) "When did it become a problem to take care of your mate??" I did not have an answer for her.

As for us women, I think one of the problems is that we have taken great strides to become great women in our careers and motherhood, but I think success in those areas does not necessarily lend itself to being a successful WIFE.

Women, we are our own worst enemies. (BOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!! my 2 cents again)

Whenever you have a girlfriend come to you with a problem she had in her relationship or date, most of us will not call that woman on the carpet and ask her what she may have done to ellicit that response from her significant other/date. Most times they will be patted on the back and told "Good riddance girl! - "He wasnt the one for you" - "Oh no don't deal with that, you deserve better!"- "Kick him to the curb" and the like.

Most of the women who are great in their careers and great mothers think they are a fabulous catch for any man and dont see how he could resist marrying her.

Do you make him feel like you need him - or do you let him know everyday and every way how much you can and have been doing things on your own? Do you tell/show him you appreciate the father he is - or do you do a check list of the things he doesnt do? How are we as women striving to help each other be better spouses thereby creating better homes and futures for our children? Have we learned how to be happier more amicable and loving towards our spouse, even when we're mad?

I have been with my husband for 14 years and trust me we have been through hell. He has not always been a good mate to me. But I also had to start to look at myself and start making changes within me and hope that led to positive changes within him. I was angry, I was hurt, I felt betrayed, but I stayed. When I made a decision to see our marriage/relationship through, I realized I was always angry and looking at him sideways.

Literally one day I decided to be happy.

Whether he was doing things to make me happy or not.

I began to talk to him and treat him in a loving way. What I found was, although I had a right to be angry, didnt mean that it was RIGHT to be angry - forever. Most of us are angry, we wont admit it to ourselves, or each other, but we are. Our men have been listening to angry black women all their life - their mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters...on and on. Why do you think he wants to listen to your angry-ness non-stop? How many of us fall on the crutch of being a "strong black woman" "HE JUST CANT HANDLE A STRONG BLACK WOMAN" never thinking that...

maybe - just maybe, YOUR ASS IS A LITTLE TOO DAMN STRONG AND NEED TO TONE IT DOWN A BIT! We say our men don't have any examples of how to be a good husband, however, many of us don't have good examples of how to be a good wife EITHER . We have watched our mothers, grandmas, aunties and such run their men right out the house with their mouths and actions. Rarely do any of the women in our lives sit us down and say "dont be like me, I didnt respect and appreciate your father, I ran him out and I dont want that for you".

Be a woman of virtue, loving, loyal, and appreciative, you'll be surprised how much your personal life/relationships can change. Deal with your baggage and issues - we all have them - figure out how to exist in the dating world while working through them. We are all looking for this great man. There are very few great men out there (if there are any).

My advice, find a DECENT MAN. Sometimes he will be great, there are times where he may be horrible, but most times he will be decent. Also, being a good husband/father is not mutually exclusive. Just because a man drinks doesn't mean he is not a good supportive father to his child (that child may remember him drinking every night but also remembers him being at every baseball game or recital). Just because he gambles doesn't mean he is not a good father or supportive spouse, etc. A man is not a "bad" man because he has a vice. Let he without sin cast the first stone. These are things the man will have to work on and have the support of his wife to be better and do better. I think the question you have to ask yourself, is whether on not you are capable of dealing with whatever your man's vice happens to be.

Believe that this is in no way making excuses for what men do/don't do, but we as women have a lot of power in our words and actions that can make a decent man strive to be a great one. Stop resigning yourself to being a victim of all the horrible, "bad" men out there. There are still decent black men out there (lets face it some of us will never marry a black man just based off the sheer numbers). However, if we continue to delude ourselves that the problem is only the men - and as soon as they get their acts together we will all be better off...we will continue to the be unhappily unmarried.


de-cent - (adj)
1. conforming to the recognized standard of propriety, good taste, modesty, morality.
2. respectable; worthy.
3. adequate; fair; passable.
4. kind; obliging; generous.
5. suitable; appropriate.
6. of fairly attractive appearance


Carrie Pink
Pretty World Inc
Modern Day Supergirl


Ada said...

Um men need to grow up and stop looking for women to come and mother them. same goes for the women, who sit there and let the man do everything. there has so to be a balance
We are in the day and age when both men and women go out to work, come back at 5.00pm and then the man sits his behind in the sitting room waiting for the woman to serve him and pamper him. did you realize that maybe just maybe Im just as tired as you and my boss gave him just as hard as a time as you got?
The dynamics of relationships has changed. this is the time where both parties in the relationship need to pull their weight together to make things work. It is unfair to start applying the principles that worked eons ago because the structure is totally different.
Why should the man be praised because he helped with the diapers? um are you not my partner, didn't we fuck together to bring that little rascal into this god forsaken world? why should I lose sleep and you snooze your life away when we have to both be at work by 8.00am.
If a woman is a housewife then the above does not apply with her, she better have hot dinner for him when he gets back from work...

I am sorry something is disturbingly wrong with the authors argument..

woodallkendra said...

I agree 100% percent with this letter. We as Black women must become more submissive and less defensive with our fragile yet strong black men. We need to motivate and uplift our men more, we seem to bring them down. Instead of saying Nigga go get a job how about baby i'm proud of you for trying...try to understand and experience his situation.We black women want to be so self righteous and argumentative. For once no smart mouth and black lip just give the situation time to diffuse. Address the problem in a subtle/peaceful/assertive manner. Being submissive and sweet can get you a long way. Stop wrrying about being played or looking soft...because if you are confident in your life choices you can never be played.Women don't understand that just as well as men have power over us we too have power over them more of us need to learn how to use it.Make sure you are happy because if your not happy you will not know how to make someone else happy properly.Get to know yourself and who you are don't expect the man to know if you don't he shouldn't know more about you than you know yourself and 9 out of ten he will not. And to Aba no you are not supposed to be mother to anyone but your children but you are supposed to be a woman and don't go looking for daddy either because your man is not suppose to be him.We need to find out what being a woman is.Make sure you have a good relationship with god and are intouch with your spirit and look for a man who is also.And if you see a brother or sister that you can help please do it, it will make our people better and our relationships.Yes our beautiful brothers have problems, we need not think about fixing theirs before we fix our own.And pleas,please,please do not tell your friends your business.And just in case you don't know i am a strong black woman, who knows what being one is.
With so much love for us that sometimes it hurts.