“Defying a history of horror and nowness of brutality, black men listen with strength; sparkle with wit and glow with love. I am the daughter, the mother, the grandmother, the sister, the friend and the beloved of wonderful black men and that makes my heart glad.” — Dr. Maya Angelou
In our community there is an undercurrent and perception of an “us-versus-them” sentiment among black women about black men. I have heard from a number of black women who feel that black men aren’t listening to them and don’t care about what they think or have to say. I don’t think that’s true, but I accept that that is the feeling among some women. I believe that there are a number of black men who are listening to their women and who care about what the women in their lives think and have to say.
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For more specific relationship advice visit LaDawn Black‘s advice page and the “Ask Snooky” advice column.
Seven Myths About Black Men by Scottie Lowe
Someone recently posted in my Yahoo group a list of 7 myths about Black men. The list was supposed to counter these lies with truth. Unfortunately, the list didn’t really address the core issues; it simply was a way for some poor soul to try to feel validated as a human being. I understand that need but it should have been done with much more introspection. Therefore, I’m going to step up to the plate and dismantle his list of lies and myths of Black manhood summarily and with efficacy.
1. Black men are morally and intellectually inferior.
The intellectual inferiority of Black PEOPLE, not just men, is directly related to the fact the educational system is designed to keep Black people stupid. Black PEOPLE are not inherently or genetically intellectually inferior. If you under educate an entire race for hundreds of years, yes, unfortunately, you are going to have a race of people who aren’t intellectually superior. That’s not an indication of our capability or potential as a race, it’s just a manifestation of the fact that whites are the beneficiaries of a better education in this country. Poor nutrition, a staple in the black community, leads to lesser intellectual capacity as well. That’s not something that is inherent to Black people; it’s across racial lines. If a child is raised on sugar and processed food, they aren’t going to be able to have their brains develop properly because they lack the essential and key nutrients that stimulate brain function. Again, not inherent to Black people, it just so happens that we’ve been socialized to eat out of Styrofoam boxes, not gardens. Black people are just as capable of learning and intellectual superiority as any other race. Unfortunately, we were denied education for our first 250 years and it takes a lot longer to catch up. Unfortunately, the playing field isn’t level so we haven’t been able to catch up en masse the way we could have. There are plenty of examples of Black brilliance in spite of our handicaps and that speaks volumes to our potential and our natural intellectual gifts despite the roadblocks that white people have institutionalized to keep us oppressed. Moral inferiority is a joke. White people are so amoral it boggles my mind. Who else could start a war that kills thousands of people, endangers the environment for thousands of years, destroys hundreds of thousands of lives, for MONEY? Serial killers and pedophiles and bestiality, white people got immorality on lock down but the media is white so they have a vested interest in making us look immoral.
2. All black men are well endowed and are better lovers.
Many, many, many Black men are better endowed. Not every single one, but a great many are. The reason why white slave masters were so intimidated by Black men is because they did in fact have larger penises. They would gather around in mobs and castrate Black men in order to feel empowered. The fact that Black men tend to have larger penises, and more muscle tone, which would make for a better lover, is not a myth. The myth comes in making their larger sexual organs and better skills something negative. The Black man is not a sexual savage. He should not be defined by his sexual skill or endowment. He is far MORE than just a big dick and a primal fuck. Sadly, most Black men have come to define their manhood as just that.
3. Black men prefer white women.
White women are seen as the standard of beauty in this society. They have been put on a pedestal as the icon of beauty for hundreds if not thousands of years. Black women, in this country, have been told for hundreds of years, not only are we not beautiful, but that we are ugly and undesirable. It’s no great shock that many, many Black men subconsciously see white women as more attractive, better partners. We have a nation of black women who are trying to change their aesthetic to those of white women, wouldn’t it stand to reason that a woman who doesn’t have to have a relaxer to “correct” her nappy hair is better than one who does? Doesn’t it stand to reason that if a black boy is told that he is black and ugly that he would want to make sure that his kids have a chance at being mixed and beautiful? A great many black men see white women as more beautiful subconsciously. White people feed their subconscious lust for white women by saying, “love knows no color,” and thus allowing them never to heal their wounds and address their own issues of self hate. Thankfully, not every Black man prefers white women, but the failure as a culture to address the centuries of brainwashing Black people have endured, does in fact create a large percentage of black men who feel white women are more socially, sexually, and/or romantically desirable.
4. Black men are irresponsible fathers.
Seven out of ten black children are born to single mothers. Black women are raising their boys in homes without fathers, in emotionally incestuous relationships that cripple their sons and make them incapable of accepting responsibility as adults. It’s a cycle that will repeat itself till the end of time unless we address the emotional maturity of black men. Parenting skills in Black men are dangerously lacking for the most part. Again, that’s not something that is inherent to us or a genetic trait that is passed down. It’s a manifestation of socialization and a byproduct of lessons learned, and unlearned, in slavery. African men were just that, men, and completely capable of raising their families. During slavery, breaking up the home, preventing men from being good fathers was essential to controlling the slave population. (THERE WAS NO GOD DAMN WILLIE LYNCH) The model for the black home was set when responsibility was taken from the black man and it’s damn near impossible to give it back to him now. Even when black men are present in the home, their parenting skills are usually based on a patriarchal “I’m the bread winner and the disciplinarian: model which is unhealthy as well. Are Black men incapable of being good fathers? Absolutely not. Are the vast majority of Black men emotionally crippled as to not lend themselves to being good fathers, unfortunately, yes, but it’s not an unfixable problem, its not something that in inherent to Black men because of genetics.
5. Black men are superior athletes and entertainers.
Black men ARE superior athletes and entertainers. Again, the problem isn’t in stating that as a fact, it’s in relegating that to the only things Black men are capable of. No, not every single black man is a superior athlete or entertainer. Our naturally muscular bodies and our natural rhythm lend themselves well to sports, dancing, singing, and playing music. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem lies in saying that’s the ONLY thing Black men are capable of. The problem lies in relegating Black men to roles of entertainer or athlete. Are there some white men who can sing and dance and have muscular bodies? Of course. But no one is telling them thats all they can be. Check it, white people wouldn’t have kidnapped and enslaved us if our bodies weren’t superior and our dark skin didn’t make it easy for them to differentiate us. Anyone who could survive the middle passage is a physically superior person, genetically. The fact that white people like to be entertained by us is more of a commentary on them than anything disparaging to us.
6. Black men are poor businessmen.
I’ve never heard of this, Black men are poor businessmen, myth. I’ve heard the myth that black business are poorly run so I guess whatever Black man wrote this list co-opted the myth to fit black men. It’s almost redundant at this point to mention that there is nothing inherently inferior about Black people that make us behave in negative ways OTHER THAN the set of circumstances that white people inflict on us. We aren’t as likely to have inherited businesses, trust funds, endowments, willed fortunes, and insurance policies to give us the capital to start and run a business. We also have, what I call, the Black people disease. We have been socialized to fear our own success; we would rather work for someone else. There’s no DNA code for Black people that renders us more likely to be an employee than an employer, it’s just that we have been taught to follow the rules, not make our own. White people are taught that they can do anything, its drilled into their heads from childhood, we are taught that we have to do whatever we can to barely stay alive and that we have to conform to do it. Those of us lucky enough to have gotten different messages are more than capable of running successful businesses.
7. Black men contributed nothing to the advancement of civilization.
I’m not sure why gender is an issue here. Black PEOPLE, both men and women, were the architects of civilization. This propensity to erase women from history is yet another example of how black men have been socialized to accept the norms of the white man. Erasing Black women from history serves what purpose, to elevate Black men to a position of superiority? The need for black men to want to rule over Black women, to diminish our contribution is one learned in slavery and it’s self-destructive.
Oddly enough, the most glaring myths about black men are missing. Black men are supposedly more criminal, drug addicted, and lazy. Those are the myths I would have love to seen addressed. In each of those instances, I think white people take the award, hands down. Stealing land, stealing people, stealing resources, slaughtering millions of people. THAT’S Criminal. White people can find ways to justify their criminality in ways that boggle my mind. In my local newspaper yesterday, they had a picture of a black baby left in a car white the guardian was robbing a bank, took up half the front page with a color picture. Two weeks ago, a woman was arrested for embezzling a million dollars from her company and her husband was the State Comptroller for the state of Delaware. Page six, no picture, two paragraphs. Her husband is the man responsible for the finances of an entire state and that wasn’t even enough to warrant being on the front page. White people might not be genetically more criminal but they certainly are socialized to think their criminal behavior is justifiable, invisible.
I don’t know about now, but I know when I was in college 20 years ago, white people were doing drugs like they were vitamins. Black parties I would go to, everyone was concerned with dancing and rubbing your little thing up on someone, there might be some weed somewhere. White parties, there was coke, and pills, I don’t know what kind, and they wanted to drink until they puked. Drug addiction certainly isn’t genetic but white people have this, “I need to get fucked up,” attitude far more than black people. Now, with all of these manufactured drugs like X and meth, that are being produced in white homes and neighborhoods, its hard for me to comprehend how anyone could say that Black people are more addicted to drugs. We might have more homeless drug addicts but that’s not a measure of us being more drug addicted, that’s just a measure of how white people treat their drug addicts and a whole measure of economics.
One could argue that if white people weren’t so lazy, they could have built their own nation rather than having to enslave people to do it for them. Is that a trait inherent to them? Far be it from me to say that, god forbid. In fact, SOME might say that white people are inherently more violent, that they’ve made violence a form of entertainment, that aggression is what they are capable of most. My great grandfather was a sharecropper for a white man. He would work 16 hours a day to grow and harvest food for the white landowner. At the end of the year, that white landowner would steal the profits he was supposed to share with my great grandfather and keep them for himself. One of those men was lazy, one was not. Sadly, the entire system of sharecropping was built on the model that the black man would work for an entire year and the white man would reap the benefits of his hard work and not give him one thin dime, and in many cases force the black man to pay him. If one were making an argument about who was inherently lazy, it would be hard to form the argument that it was black men.
Myths and stereotypes have origins in truth. The problem becomes when Black people are narrowly defined by their stereotypes. Black men are more than just big black bucks who can run and jump and shoot and breed white women. If one asserts that Black men are incapable of more than that, that all they are is a collective of negative traits that have been ascribed to them, that’s the definition of racism.
Scottie Lowe is the founder, CEO, and the creative driving force behind www.afroerotik.com.
Key Elements for a Healthy Relationship by Scottie Lowe
It’s become more and more apparent to me, over the course of the last couple of weeks that most people are absolutely clueless when it comes to what constitutes and establishes a healthy relationship. What’s worse, we aren’t even interested in changing our behaviors in an effort to move to a different place, we want to hold on to obviously dysfunctional and destructive patterns, justify them, and then blame other people for hurting us. The choices we make in our relationships are blatantly unhealthy and then we cry and boo-hoo that the other person has wronged us. I know that everyone isn’t on the same path of healing but it seems almost incomprehensible that it’s 2005 and people are not even willing to make efforts to examine their lives in a conscious effort to build a stronger relationship.
NOW, I’ll be the first to say that I’m not an expert on relationships. I haven’t been in a relationship for almost 15 years. In those 15 years however, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to analyze why I’ve chosen the relationships I’ve been in, what I did wrong, what belief systems I need to change, and trying to conceptualize exactly how I want any future relationships I enter into. I’ve tried to determine exactly what I want my partner to be like, how I want to interact with my partner, what I bring to the table, and what things I will and will not compromise on in a partnership. I’ve come up with some things that I think are essential for building a healthy relationship and I’m going to share my thoughts on the subject with the hopes that some other people will come up with criteria that will work for them in building a strong relationship.
1. First and foremost, in order to build a healthy and strong relationship, you must, you MUST look at why you are the way you are. You have to figure out why you like the men that don’t like you, why you choose the women that need to be rescued and then you resent them when they ask you for security. You have to look at the reasons behind why you fall in love in a week and then three months later you hate that person like they are a serial killer. Why do you continue to love people that don’t love you? Why do you feel like your life is over when you get rejected? All of the reasons why we behave the way we do are set up in our childhood. We duplicate the things we experienced in our childhood so we must figure out what caused us to be the way we are. Your dad wasn’t around, your mother played the martyr “Strong Black woman” icon, you saw her have a string of no good men come in and out of your life, you wanted your daddy to love you, you wanted to be like your daddy, cool and aloof and unattached . . . whatever the belief system, you have to figure that out first and foremost so you can identify the pattern in your relationships and work to correct it. When you see that red flag pop up, you can understand where it comes from and then work towards moving to a healthier place. The problem with looking at our past is that it’s painful. We don’t want to have to face the fact that we think we are unworthy of love because we feel fat, ugly, insecure, or flawed. We don’t want to admit to ourselves that we have fears of abandonment from when we had to go live with our auntie when we were little. It is that acknowledgement and that ability to examine YOUR OWN LIFE that will make you a better person in a relationship and without that, you are doomed to continue to perpetuate those same horrible relationships over and over again.
2. You must have a set of emotional criteria that you feel is essential for what constitutes a loving relationship for you. You must define your emotional boundaries and establish what you need emotionally in a relationship and you have to demand that from your partner. What does that mean? Everyone has different things that would make them feel loved and valued, you have to have that clearly defined in your head and then seek a partner that is willing to help you paint that picture. If you meet someone and they can’t subscribe to your vision of love, if its too much of a burden for them to do the things you need to feed you emotionally, that’s not the person for you. For some people, you need a partner that will call you every day and check in with you just to make sure you are doing okay. For others, it means you need physical affection, constant hugs and kisses, and intimacy. Others still might need a relationship in which there is no fighting. You have to know what you want your relationship to look like in order for you to be able to achieve it. The trick is to identify the emotional things that build strong relationships and not the material things that damage them.
Suppose, as a woman, you think love is having a man buy you all sorts of thing and pay all your bills. You seek that out in a partner and then he beats you, controls your every move, you feel trapped. What you’ve done is identify a selfish material need, not an emotional need. The emotional need would be to feel security. Security comes in many forms and can be expressed in lots of ways. If your man helps you organize your bills so you can pay them on time yourself, helps you get your resume together so you can get a better job with more income, quizzes you with interview questions, if he helps you plan a budget so that you can save to buy a house and you won’t have to be uprooted once a year, that’s meeting your emotional needs, not your physical ones. If, as a man, you want a relationship where you have a woman that looks like she stepped off the cover of a magazine or a video set every day in order to show other men that you are better than them, in order to prove that you have what it takes to get the best looking woman, what you are looking for emotionally is confidence and self esteem. That can’t come from a woman; true confidence and self-esteem must come from inside. That woman that has her hair done all the time, her nails and toes painted to match, that wears the designer outfit in her two-seater, convertible sports car will not honor you as a man, she will use you for your money and move on when the next man with more money offers to buy her. The woman that will help you go back to school and get your degree, and who will get up at 5 am on a Saturday morning to help you train for that marathon is the woman that will support your accomplishments and be a loving partner. As long as you go for the packaging and not what’s inside, you’ll be doomed to be miserable in your relationships.
3. A healthy relationship must be built on integrity and selflessness. Integrity means steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code and selflessness means exhibiting, or motivated by NO concern for oneself; unselfish. Those are foreign words to most people these days because we’ve been socialized to look out for self. The idea of putting another person’s feelings above our own is impossible for some people to grasp. You can’t be in a healthy relationship if you lie, cheat, or make choices that benefit you and not your partner. Every choice, every decision, every move you make has to benefit your partner or your relationship. Now, here’s the rub. Your partner has to have the same commitment to the relationship in order for it to work. You can’t say, “I love XYZ, but I have to go out on Friday night to party because that’s what I love to do and if they don’t like it, too bad.” Well, that’s not entirely true. You can say that but you will be in a very unhealthy relationship if you do. To be in a healthy relationship, you have to put your needs last and have a partner that is willing to put their needs last as well. If both of you are working on building a relationship where you honor and love the other person, where you put the other person’s needs ahead of your own, both of you will be in a relationship where neither on will jeopardize the relationship by doing something selfish. That means you can’t have instant gratification all the time. That means you won’t cheat when the opportunity comes up because you think you can get away with it because you will think about your spouse and know that your actions would hurt them. You won’t stay out all weekend without calling because you will know that they will be worried to death about you. You won’t buy the super expensive hot tub or the entertainment system you’ve always wanted without asking permission first because you know any selfish choice you make for yourself in the relationship will negatively effect how you get along. You will ask your partners opinion on things and come to a compromise that honors both of you.
4. It almost goes without saying because it’s so essential and most people will say they want it in a relationship but hardly anyone at all practices it. Honesty is the foundation for a healthy relationship. Honesty means telling your partner all your dirty little secrets, fears, fantasies, dreams, and insecurities. Honest y is the ultimate measure of respect for your partner and it’s the cornerstone for two people relating in a way that will grow and build. You must start by being honest with yourself. That means you must be able to admit to yourself that you really do like the idea of having sex in a tub of chocolate pudding and that it’s not going to go away, no matter how much you want it to. You have to tell be able to tell your partner all of the things that make you tick or otherwise you are only presenting a shell of yourself to your partner and you are not allowing them to love all of you. If you have a sexual fantasy that you are afraid to share your spouse, that means you are ashamed of your fantasy. If you are ashamed of your fantasy, that means you are not being true to yourself. “But my wife will never understand that I want to get fucked in the ass with a strap on, she’ll think I’m gay.” “My boyfriend will never understand that I want to be gangbanged.” If you are with a partner who will not be willing to communicate and love you for who you are, you aren’t in a healthy relationship. There is no consensual sexual fantasy or fetish that should not be able to be discussed. You, as an adult, should be able to A.) point to the emotional need it fills in you and work to get that in other ways, and B.) keep in mind that if you choose to fulfill a fantasy without your partner, you’ve violated the rule of putting your partner’s emotional needs first.
Honesty goes far beyond just sharing your fantasies. You have to be able to tell your spouse that you peed your pants in the third grade when the teacher called you to the blackboard and you were nervous because you didn’t know the answer. You have to be able to tell your spouse that your cousin molested you when you were 10 and it’s fucked with your head ever since. You have to have a commitment to telling your partner that you’ve made a mistake and were unfaithful and let them choose how to process that information in a way that is healthy for them. You have to not keep the information that the IRS is going to repossess your home for tax fraud you had before you got married. Any time you keep a secret from your spouse, any time you lie, and time you allow dishonesty to come between you and your partner, you are chipping away at the foundation of your healthy relationship.
“Well, I’m in a relationship and I know that he or she will leave me if I told them the truth about all the shit I’ve done.” That is a glaring indication that you are in an unhealthy relationship. There are too many things that will work to destroy your relationship outside your front door. Again, you have to have a commitment to telling the truth and you have to have a partner that is equally as committed to telling the truth. If you start letting dishonesty in your relationship, your partner will not have your back when the shit hits the fan. Having a healthy relationship is not easy, in fact, it’s very hard. Lies and healthy relationship just don’t mix.
5. Good communication is essential in building a healthy relationship. You and your partner must have a way to disagree that doesn’t include yelling, screaming, and calling names. Most of us don’t know how to do that so go get a book on communication or go to counseling. You must be willing to let your partner be mad without getting defensive. You must be willing to let your partner have the space they need in order to process their emotions. You have to be willing to look things from their perspective and see things as they see them. You have to be willing to find a partner that is committed to having the same standard to communication as you or else you’ve just entered into another dysfunctional relationship.
6. Similar belief systems are a key ingredient to building a strong, healthy relationship. I’ve heard many people say that they want a partner who shares the same social interests as them but they don’t care what their philosophical, or political, or spiritual beliefs are. That is a recipe for a shaky relationship at best. It would be great if you and your partner liked the same music and movies and you both liked to bowl. Those things are entertainment and it would be great to share those things with your partner. If, however, you are looking to build a healthy relationship with you partner, those things are icing on the cake and not the key ingredients to building a relationship. If you are a radical libertarian and you get involved with someone who thinks Bush is the best president since Reagan (which is saying a whole helluva lot) then you are going to be setting up arguments in your relationship about your core beliefs. If you like skating and your partner likes chess but you both are staunch Green Party, Pro-Choice, Anti-war, vegetarian, Hassidic Jews then you can go out skating, your partner can go out and play chess and when you come home you’ll be share your thoughts and feelings over a plate of curry lentils and plan out a strategy to hug a tree and rally for legislation to bring our soldiers home. Those are the things that will make the community better and building a strong community starts with building a strong family unit first. If you like 50cent and your partner like Cold Play, you can set times to listen to your music and his or her music that doesn’t piss both of you off. If you believe in your heart that a gay couple has a right to adopt and your partner does not, you are going to go to bed pissed off and mad many, many night.
7. Compromise is a huge keyword for relationships. People seem to confuse compromising with your partner and compromising your standards. If you have done your homework and you are really interested in building a strong relationship, you’ve already decided what you need to emotionally fulfill you. With that list in hand, you need to compare every person you meet to that list and decided which things are must haves, which things are “nice to haves.” On your emotional list, you must be rigid in the selection of your partner because if you compromise on what you need, you’ll end up unhappy and miserable and you’ll end up sabotaging your relationship by trying to make your partner feel as unhappy as you are. Now, there’s another list of things that you want in your partner, the physical things. You want a partner that is a certain height, weight, complexion, hair length, etc. Other than hygiene, treat everything on that list with a grain of salt. “Oh, but I know what I like and I can’t change what turns me on.” That’s great. Mature adults in healthy relationships, however, can see far beyond the outside of the package. Make your priority the qualities of the heart you are looking for and not the 38DDDs or the 10-inch dick. Compromise inside of a relationship is essential. Once you’ve found the person that has looked at their own issues, that is committed to being honest, and putting your feelings ahead of theirs, that is interested in communicating without yelling and has the same passions as you, THEN and only then can you compromise on what movie to go to Friday, whose parents you are going to for the holidays, and what to name the children. In order to get the sort of person that is worthy of that sort of compromise, you must BE that sort of person first. All too often, we say, “Oh, I’ll change when I meet the person that is worth it.” Sadly, you have to change who you are first and then you’ll attract the sort of people that will be worth it.
If you aren’t in a relationship now and you want to be, how do you ensure that the next relationship will be healthier than your last? Go down the list and start by making a commitment that you are going to work on all of those things before you enter into a relationship again. Practice being honest, it’s not easy. Practice resolving conflicts in a different way. Decide what emotional needs you want met in your relationship and be willing to put them on the table as non-negotiable. When you find a person and they fit the outside criteria and not the emotional needs, make a commitment to pass and continue to invest your time and energy into relationships that is healthy. Sit down and write out all the things that shaped your personality. Take the time to really get to know a person BEFORE you commit to them. Take some time to get to know yourself. That means stay in the house for a few weekends, don’t talk on the phone every night trying to find someone to hook up with. Don’t be so desperate to be in a relationship that you throw yourself at the next person that shows interest in you. I’d say if you did any combination of those things, you’d be on your way to a more fulfilling, satisfying, enriching relationship than the ones you’ve been in the past.
Copyright 2005 Scottie Lowe
Breaking the Shackles: Committing to an Enduring Black Love
By Scottie Lowe
There is a war going on. A war is being waged between Black men and Black women. Black women want to blame Black men for the demise of Black relationships and Black men want to blame Black women. Over and over again, I hear Black people saying that they have given up on love when I’m not even sure we as Black people have a clear understanding of what love really is. Sure, people can say that they still believe in love but if we don’t know what love really is believing in it is sort of a moot point. Our models of “love” are based on an inherence of dysfunction passed down from slavery, oppression, racism, bigotry, and patriarchy. Our models of “love” are based on repeating our parent’s dysfunction. Our models of “love” are based on what Hollywood tells us is romantic. I think the fact that we don’t know what love really is, that we can’t define it, that we don’t understand its parameters is what’s keeping us from it, not if we believe in it or not.
People are quick to say, “Slavery was in the past, what happened back then doesn’t have an effect today.” Well, Black people have been raised, socialized, and programmed for generations to internalize every pain, heartache, and tragedy as if it is nothing more than just another drop in the bucket and it has tragic consequences on our relationships. It’s Black people who suppress our emotions, who treat depression like it’s a normal way of life because we have been taught that to do anything less is paramount to a sin and a shame. The messages that black people have passed on, that we wear as badges of honor, aren’t healthy. In fact, they are the key factors to us having high blood pressure in outrageous numbers, of us dying from heart disease exponentially more than any other race, and that prevent us from forming healthy relationships. It is our legacy from slavery. Since Africans landed on these shores, we have been told to suffer in silence in order to make it to another day. To feel pain is to be considered weak; it’s not even an option for many of us. The toll of that belief system is feeling so angry inside, so disconnected, that we are afraid to open up, to reveal our true selves to our partners so we pretend to be something we aren’t and we suffer for it by never knowing true and abiding love.
Failure to process pain isn’t a good thing. Constantly projecting an image of hardness isn’t a healthy thing either. African Americans are so conditioned to be the emotionless and hard that we fail to realize that we are living in a constant state of depression that is killing us. We can’t even grasp the concept that there is a better way to live, that we can live life more abundantly, joyfully, and peacefully if we embrace our vulnerability rather than just pushing down the pain until it eats us up. We will forever be tied to slavery, and a slave mentality, as long as we as a people refuse to accept that our pain isn’t the foundation of our identity. We have to start loving ourselves enough to admit that it’s okay to break down, to cry, and to admit when we are overwhelmed, process those feelings and then HEAL. The objective is not to wallow in our despair but to acknowledge that we have been hurt, that we need nurturing and love and to find that source of love inside first and then to seek it out in potential partners who will help us move to a higher plane.
Black men don’t suffer with depression in the same ways as Black women. Men are obviously affected in different ways because they seem to internalize and rationalize in different ways. It’s more than apparent that black men don’t have the same ability or potential to be as introspective as women do so they appear to live rather contently with their refusal to look at their own lives. They’ve mastered the art of displacing any sense of personal responsibility onto the backs of black women and seem pretty content with rationalizing how faultless they are in the process. Black men are depressed, but they show it by numbing the pain with adrenaline, women, drugs, and denial. Rather than facing responsibility, they run away from it. Women are tied to our depression through our umbilical cords, through our wombs. We can’t hide from the sexual abuse that has scarred us emotionally. We can’t run away from the pain of rape and the abortions and the children that are our daily reminders of the accomplishments we didn’t achieve, our dreams deferred.
The vast majority of us don’t come from loving, two parent homes. When we do come from two parent homes, in far too many instances, the relationships aren’t loving but full of fighting, resentment and anger. We can’t build a healthy relationship if we don’t even know what one looks like up close and personal. What’s worse, we aren’t even interested in changing our behaviors in an effort to move to a different place, we want to hold on to obviously dysfunctional and destructive patterns, justify them, and then blame other people for hurting us. It seems almost incomprehensible that it’s 2013 and people are not even willing to make efforts to examine their lives in a conscious effort to build stronger relationships.
Being loved means being supported and encouraged, being accepted, cherished and honored. Being loved is a feeling so indescribable, so comforting, so encouraging and it’s based on someone else cherishing your feelings, caring about your entire being just for who you are.
What does love look like to you?
What does love feel like?
What makes love last?
Describe what your perfect loving relationship would be like.
Those are the questions we need to be asking ourselves as a community if we want to end the war and choose to open ourselves to an enduring love.
Scottie Lowe is the founder, CEO, and the creative driving force behind www.AfroerotiK.com, THE most unique website dedicated to showing the true beauty of Black sexuality in all its many facets. Tired of erotica that portrayed black women as man-stealing gold diggers and brainless nymphos, and black men as thugs, players, and emotionally immature dick-slingers, she decided it was time to write erotica that represented the complexity and full spectrum of African Americans.
Scottie Lowe is the owner of www.AfroerotiK.com, a website dedicated to showing Black people in a positive sexual light and the creator of Sensu-Soul, the groundbreaking erotic video that shows the depth, intensity, and passion of Black love.
The State of Black Erotica
By Scottie Lowe
From the rhythmic tales of the sagacious griot, weaving colorful, hushed tales of slaves whose love endured the horrors of dehumanizing captivity, to the Harlem Renaissance with its unapologetic yet poetic examination of those mysterious elements that made our natures rise, to the soul-stirring harmonies of R&B that have been the soundtrack to seduction for decades, African Americans have always had a long tradition of erotic expression. In 1992, an editor by the name of Miriam Decosta-Willis, published an anthology of erotica called Erotique Noire that was not only groundbreaking, it truly was a celebration of Black sensuality and set the stage for a new genre of expression. Today, if one is brave enough to venture into the African American section of any bookstore, they will find it’s filled with shelf after shelf of degrading, crude, and offensive books that don’t even deserve to be called erotica. We’ve come a long way baby, but it certainly hasn’t been an erotic evolution.
Writing Black erotica is a lot like rapping. Anybody who can come up with three words that rhyme can call themselves a rapper; anyone who uses the words dick, pussy, and fuck in a sentence can call themselves an erotic writer. Black erotic today consists of the same storyline told over and over again: super-beautiful women with abnormal libidos and superficial standards who seduce their super-rich, basketball-playing lovers who always have super-sized genitalia complete with matching, heightened sexual appetites, and a non-existent commitment to being in a relationship. Throw in several dozen references to capitalist trinkets and you essentially have every Black erotic story on the shelves today.
Black erotica has made being ghetto equivalent to being Black. African Americans have a unique culture and experience that have the potential to come across on the page in the reflections, words, and perceptions unique to the Black experience. That, however, doesn’t have to include baby mamas, visiting day at prisons, spelling the words boys with a z, or eroticizing the N word. Instead of writing about the beauty, pain, and history of descendents of slave, Black erotica has become little more than cliché tales of dysfunction with a few sexual escapades thrown in for good measure. Yes, our stories need to be told, but glorifying behaviors that are unhealthy isn’t art. There certainly is more to Black life than what we are being force-fed.
The road to where Black erotic currently resides has been paved with immaturity, ignorance, and fear. So terrified are the Black middle class of being associated with the freaks and nymphos depicted in Black erotica, so distanced are African Americans from a healthy example of sexuality, they sit in complicit silence, never demanding more, never complaining about the proliferation of erotic literature that reduces Black sexuality to nothing more than a sweaty, recreational activity. Rather than talk about sexuality openly, mature conversations about the subject are shunned in an effort to diminish the impact and scope of what goes on behind closed doors. So desperate are Black Americans for any sort of erotic imagery and representation that reflects the lives of melanin-rich people, that that they know no better than to embrace the vulgarity that denigrates and diminishes the humanity of the entire race.
Erotica is not pornography no matter how much the conservative talking-heads want to insist it is. Erotica is ART created to arouse the senses. There is subtlety, nuance, emotion, and creativity in true erotica. Porn has no subtlety; it’s graphic, it’s hardcore, it’s about arousing one region only. Pictures of oiled booties and close up shots of a woman’s labia are not erotic. Women being used, slapped, spit on, choked, and degraded is NOT erotica. “Erotica is tasteful but porn is tasteless,” is how porn star Linda Lovelace described it. As the old folks used to say, “She ain’t neva lied.”
The images of African Americans in the adult industry are largely atypical of the true Black experience. The perpetuation of racist and stereotypical images prevalent in the adult industry work to foster unhealthy perceptions of African Americans and render the majority of Black people without an avenue for healthy erotic expression. The perpetuation of the Black woman as the ghetto bitch, ghetto whore, and ghetto freak is not reflective of the vast and overwhelming majority of Black women. The perpetuation of the Black man as the barely literate, one-dimensional bull is offensive and steeped in sick prejudices that are not reflective of the vast majority of African American males either.
When our literary diets consist only of poorly written, grammatically incorrect, inane tales of ghetto sex, when the commercial objectification of Black women’s bodies can be downloaded for free 24 hours a day, that’s not feeding our souls, it’s poisoning our minds. It’s crippling for Black people to subsist on damaging and dysfunctional depictions of intimacy. We MUST raise the bar when it comes to what we are feeding ourselves erotically, when it comes to the sensual sustenance with which we nourish ourselves.
Even with the proliferation banal Black entertainment and the horrendous mediocrity of porn, there are still those who value the melodies and harmonies of jazz, who feel the angst of Morrison’s Beloved, who treasure the beauty of Alvin Ailey’s Revelations, and who appreciate the artistry of true erotica. Long gone are the days when we dog-eared the pages of Erotique Noire and quoted passages to our lovers in steamy late-night phone calls. Truly empowering erotica lifts us up, paints a picture of our lives and our sexuality that have nothing to do with exchanging sex for money or adultery but that allows us sensual release and to mentally travel to a place of sights, sounds, sensations, and tastes that arouse all of our senses.
Scottie Lowe is the owner of www.AfroerotiK.com, a website dedicated to showing Black people in a positive sexual light and the creator of Sensu-Soul, the groundbreaking erotic video that shows the depth, intensity, and passion of Black love.
The Original Man by Scottie Lowe
The power of a people reside in how they tell their stories. For descendents of slaves, African Americans, we don’t have many written records of the powerful stories our ancestors. The voices of those whose blood courses through our veins were effectively silenced by the system of chattel slavery. Slavery isn’t even something we as Black people want to talk about; it’s something we want to place in its own little compartment and reference it when we’re talking about racism and put it right back the second we start to feel pangs of inferiority and shame. Yet, there were true tales of survival, triumph, fortitude, enduring love, and even lust that slaves shared that have gone untold for centuries. This is one such story.
E’ry night, I gotta sneak out ‘n tend to my man. He taint none uh my husband on paper cuz ole Massa says niggers not ‘posed to get married legal ‘n all like de white folks but we jumped de broom under de full moon so I says we’s married. Maw says it too so dats good ‘nuf fo’ me. Adam, dats mu husband’s name, like in da bible, like de first man dey ever was. Dat ain’t his real name. His real name is . . . well . . . I cain’t say it outside ma head cuz it don’t be ‘lowed fo’ slaves to have no name lessin’ a white person give it to ya. Adam is big ‘n strong ‘n black as midnight. He stands tall as a tree and his arms be as big as a canon. His eyes is dark and sad, you kin see de sadness in ‘em like when he be lookin’ at sumtin that don’t be dere. He say he be memberin’ his real home, his real kin folk. He’s smart cuz on de boat over here, da captain learned him to read ‘n write ‘n do figgers but dis here Massa don’t know nuffin’ bout dat.
Dey call me Margaret on dis here plantation. When I’s a little girl, I had anuva name but I don’t reckon what it was no mo’. I jest member dat when I come here to da McKinley Plantation in Latta, SC, ole Misses say she don’t like da name I come wit so she change it to Margaret. Sometimes, ‘n my mind, I pretend like I’s Eve ‘n he’s Adam like in da Garden a Edun ‘cepin Massa say ain’t no niggers in da bible. I don’t be carin’. Sometimes, I closes my eyes ‘n sees us runnin’ around all free ‘n happy like. I’s scurred o’ snakes sumtin fierce in real life so I don’t eat dat dang apple in my mind’s eye, we’s just be free ‘n happy . . . free ‘n happy.
See, me ‘n Adam was runnin’ fo freedom when da catcha’s dun snatched us up in some place called Louisville. Folks say we wuz almost to freedom iffin we wasn’t catched. T’was my fault we got catched. I had my moon flow ‘n we was in de woods ‘n I didn’t have no cotton to swab up de blood so we jest walk ‘n walk ‘n walk most de night ‘n durin’ de day we hide. All de time we wuz walkin’, I was leavin’ a trail for dem ole dogs to follow. Adam dun tried to carry me but he was too tired from walkin’ all dem nights. I tole him to leave me be and go on but he wouldn’t. Dem ole hounds caught de smell o’ my blood ‘n tracked us ‘n catched us right on up ‘n brought us back to here to ole Massa.
Massa tell de ova’sea to do ev’rytin’ to Adam ceptin’ kill ‘em. Well, he say not to cut him down dere cuz he need him right for breedin’ ‘n all cuz Adam is a good bull. He make good babies for massa to sell fo’ lots of money. I kin’t have no babies cuz my insides t’aint right after ole Massa dun used a broken bottle on me dere. But I’m a fancy, meanin’ I’s yella cuz my pa was my ole Massa, so dis here Massa keeps me round for his “musemint” is wut he be callin’ it. I call it hell. See, Adam don’t love me cause I’m half white, he love me cuz I got . . . wut he call it . . . a regal air ‘bout me. I taint positive wut dat means fo’ sho’ but he say dat I be a queen where he from, a real live queen wit a crown ‘n all.
Massa say not to beat me. I was hopin’ to get da whip cuzin I know da pain of da beatin’ be ova in a few days. Wut massa do to me, dat pain don’t neva go way. Dat pain be in my heart, you know, you kin’t touch it but it be dere, from de sun to da moon ‘n back to da sun one mo’ ‘gain. Massa hurt me down dere. He make sure I know not to run away no mo’ ‘n he make me do awful things to make me pay. He say I need to know my place so he tell his sons to do things to me down dere too. Iffin’ I wuz all de way white, I could choose who could know me in de bible way. Slave gals don’t have no say in dat.
Adam been down almost 2 weeks. His fever dun broke but he tain’t ate nuffin’ yet. I be givin’ him tea with hyssop, nettle, ‘n honey in it fo’ when he get his strength back. Dey’s healin’ roots from in de bible so I knows dey gotsta work. His wounds got ‘fected real terrible like ‘n I had ta clean ‘em e’ry night after doin’ ma chores. I knows he gunna be betta, I’s can feel it in ma bones.
Sometimes, when I look at Adam, my eyes fill up wit tears and my heart feel like it wanna ‘splode like a fire cracker. I loves him more dan anythin’ in de whole world. I knows with e’ry bit o’ my soul dat Adam loves me with e’ry bit o’ his soul too. Massa say niggers ain’t got no souls. He say only white folks got souls but he crazier dan a loon. Even I know a soul is what makes you ‘live, a soul be da thing dat makes you sing ‘n dance ‘n jump around.
God dun answered my prayas. Adam is ‘woke. He’s still weak but da fire be back in his eyes. Ole Sadie say he pull through cuz he gots pure African blood in ‘em. Well, dat ‘n de love of a gud womin. She help me get fixed up nice an purty for Adam and de ovah slaves done left and let us be alone in da quarters.
I went to Adam in de night. He weren’t sleep none, he wuz just layin’ dere, eyes open, like he been waitin’ for me. He say I smell real sweet. I put some ‘o de missus toilet water straight from Paris France behind my ears. I let my frock fall to da floor and I stood dere, with nothin’ on but da light from da moon dat wuz lightin up da room, and showed myself to him. I could see da covers movin’ down below so I knowed he was happy to see me. I slid under da covers wif ‘im and he was warm to da touch. He wrapped his arms ‘round me and I felt safe ‘n . . . I felt like a womin is ‘posed ta feel. I put my leg ova his leg and my arms ‘round his body. His skin was smooooooooth like a baby. He put his full sof’ lips on mine ‘n kissed me, real gentle like. It wuz like he was sayin’ thank you fo’ takin’ gud care ‘o me, not wif words but wif kisses. My nature dun start ta rise and my body dun start ta squirmin’ ‘n wigglin’ round like a cat in heat. My lady parts wuz tinglin’ sumpin’ fierce. I neva get dose feelin’s with ole Massa. Sometimes, I wishes dat only Adam knowed me like a husband knows a wife but, tain’t so.
He started to nurse from me, Adam did, just like a baby does from his mama. T’weren’t no milk coming out o’ me tho’, just noises from me that say I liked it. And when he started ta touch me in my special place, it felt real good, real good indeed. His fingers went down where da daisies grow ‘n he wuz pettin’ it real soft. Seem like e’ry time he do dat, I start makin’ sounds I cain’t control. It be like a strange tongue be comin’ out ‘o me dat I don’t have no have power ovah. I was like a ripe peach with all ma juices flowin’. ‘N you’se can best b’lieve dat his rod was stiffer dan all get out. I took him in my hands and stroked him. He liked it, I could tell. His sap started to leakin’ and he was thrusting his hips.
I didn’t want him to climb on top ‘o me cuz I didn’t want him to get too weak so I had to do all de work. I got on top ‘o him ‘n he filled his hands with my backside and I joined with him. My, my, my. We was together, nuffin between us but love. I put my hands on his chest ‘n started ridin’ him like he was one ‘o Massa’s prime stallions. Our bodies was movin’ together, poundin’ out a rhythm in time sorta like a drum beatin’ out song of love. I see’d Adam’s eyes roll back ‘n his head and I knowed he was ready to spill his seed. Dere I was, filled up with joy and his manhood, his eyes were locked wit mine, ‘n he was whispering to me in his real tongue. I don’t be knowin’ wut he be sayin’ when he talk dat African talk but it sound real nice and I feel de meanin’ somehow. He be sayin’, “Margaret, I’s gonna love you til de end of time.” I say it right back too, with my heart.
Copyright 2013 Scottie Lowe
By Scottie Lowe
The African-centered community is steeped in sexual dysfunction. For all of our efforts to rid ourselves of European cultural, social, and spiritual norms, we have denied our sexual growth by blanketing everything under the assumption that anything other than heterosexual vaginal/penal intercourse is European and thus deemed not Africana. When the African-centered community discusses sexuality, they are most often satisfied with making uninformed references to ancient sacred sexual texts from the East and asserting that those texts were stolen from Africa. We are far from healthy when it comes to our perceptions of sexuality and we hold on to divisive, patriarchal, immature mindsets and defend them without seeking to expand our definitions, to redefine ourselves, to truly come to a place where we relinquish the shame and unhealthy belief systems we have been conditioned to accept.
I stand alone in my efforts to create an African-centered sexual paradigm whereby we transcend our repressive beliefs and are able to truly see ourselves as sexual beings without the fear, shame, or adherence to rules that are made up to feed fragile male egos. There is no true African-centered sexual theory. There are quite a few Afrocentric, homophobic, patriarchal men whose egos are so fragile that they have deemed that any discussion of sexuality is a threat to the Black community. There are scores of African-centered women who are taking back the power of their vaginas, who are coming to accept that their bodies are sacred temples and nurturing themselves, loving our menses, but that’s not addressing the issue of sexuality, that’s addressing the issue of gender. To address African-centered sexuality is to assert that our genitals give us pleasure, that we experience bliss in the throws of orgasm, that we have a sexual body just as we do mental, physical, spiritual, and etheric bodies as well.
First and foremost, the discussion of sexuality, merely talking about sex, intimacy and acts of pleasure is essential for our growth. We must discuss how our sexual identities were formed, we must discuss openly how we were raped, molested, abused, both men and women. We must be able to talk openly about our desires, fantasies, and what gives us pleasure. To asset that conversations of sexuality can be had in public forums, or that certain subject are off-limits is to assert that sexuality is something shameful and that is Eurocentric and unhealthy. Until we truly accept that our sexuality is a Divine gift, until we truly see our sexuality as something as natural and beautiful and not something to be compartmentalized or shrouded in secrecy, we will be tied to dysfunction. We’ve been socialized to believe that sex is something that happens behind closed doors and even then it shouldn’t be discussed.
The tenants of African-centered sexuality stipulate that:
African-centered sexuality is based on Love. Not romantic love as is seen in Hollywood, not based on lust or what the other person can bring to you, but a true genuine affection, concern, and caring for one’s partner. The process of loving someone creates a spiritual bond with them. Loving is the essence of our true nature as human beings. Loving someone not only raises our vibration, but it also raises the vibration of the person we are with. Because many of us raised in Western society have become so jaded by the concept of love, so hurt by someone we trusted with our hearths, we rally against it, claiming love has no role or purpose in the African-centered practices. Nothing could be further from the truth. To love someone is to care about their pleasure more than your own, to become aroused by their unique scent, to crave intimacy and connection with them. Descendents of slaves are fragmented and disconnected from our emotional selves so the concept of loving someone arouses fear: fear of getting hurt, fear of being vulnerable, fears of abandonment and the fear of not being loved equally in return. The opposite of love is not hate, it is fear. So, to form a bond with someone so intimately that you know them better than you know yourself is the primary goal of African-centered sexuality. Love yourself, love your partner; make choices, conversations and commitments based on the emotional and spiritual connection with the person with whom you choose to share your sacred and sexual body.
Know yourself. African-centered sexuality is based on accepting one’s own desires, not condemning anyone elses. Every person is unique, what fits for one person is not going to be appropriate for all. The African-centered individual can be comfortable and confident in knowing that they are secure in their own sexuality and that they are honoring their own natural drives and desires without having to diminish anyone elses expression of sexuality. The African-centered individual can respect that not everyone is at the same level of enlightenment and not feel the need to degrade, condemn, or criticize anyone else for where they are. Know what arouses you, know what makes you orgasm, know how your body reacts to certain triggers.
Sexuality is fluid – Gender is flexible. The African-centered community loves to assert that heterosexuality is the only acceptable form of sexual expression. They love to assert that homosexuality is European and that indigenous Africans never practiced homosexuality. They falsely and rather arrogantly assert that homosexuality doesn’t occur in nature. The oldest depiction of a same sex coupling came from ancient KMT (Egypt) of Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum. There are at least 70 documented words in various African languages for men or women who engage in homosexual relations. There are also a variety of ways that African societies have historically tolerated or even celebrated the people who engaged in these practices. Moreover, homosexual behavior has been documented in over 500 species of insects, vertebrae, birds, fish, and mammals including the African Elephant, Giraffe, Buffalo, Cheetah, and Zebra. Homophobia is Eurocentric. It is based on the fear of the men losing their masculinity, their fear of losing power over women, their fear of an equality of the sexes. Heterosexism perpetuates a male-created myth of women being created for men to oppress.
African-centered sexuality asserts that the terms masculinity and femininity are Euro-defined concepts to perpetuate sexism and that connection between individuals, regardless of their gender, is perfectly normal and natural. African-centered sexuality respects that couplings between a man and a woman are natural, predominant, and essential for reproduction but doesn’t negate or demonize other couplings that are not male/female. African-centered sexuality acknowledges individuals who are transgendered, those possessing the physical, emotional, and sexual traits of both genders, are human beings equally deserving of love, passion, and pleasure and having a voice in the community just as much as those who identify as men or women. Embrace, respect, honor, and celebrate inclusion rather than exclusion, diversity rather than uniformity, tolerance over narrow-mindedness.
Copyright 2008 AfroerotiK
Tired of seeing black women being portrayed as ghetto bitches, freaks and whores, and black men as barely literate thugs, bulls, and pimps, Scottie Lowe decided it was time to show black people in a positive sexual light. Ms. Lowe is the sole owner and founder of http://www.AfroerotiK.com, a company dedicated to eradicating the negative and stereotypical depictions of Black sexuality and providing customized, personalized erotic stories for and about people of color. Her innovative approach to writing Black and interracial erotica is shattering misperceptions and opening the doors to dialogue about subjects long considered taboo.
21 Points for Women Who Want to Get More Emotion from Men
A perfectly valid word for an exchange of thoughts and feelings is “intercourse.” That makes sense. For every complaint that women have about how we try to get sex from them, we can make a similar point about how they try to get emotion from us.
1. Don’t just snap your fingers and say, “Open up.”
2. Though you may feel a strong urge to “do it,” men are different. Intercourse does not always have to be in and out, back and forth. Men value and enjoy non-verbal intercourse, like being understood and accepted for what they are, not what they say.
3. You can’t force intercourse and expect your man to enjoy it. You might force him to fake an understanding just to get it over with.
4. Men will not hop into emotional intimacy with just anyone. Men know that women are always ready to get into somebody’s head. You must convince him that he is not just another piece of mind.
5. You should let him be on top sometimes. Men are tired of being in the inferior position, especially in hot and passionate intercourse.
6. Don’t perform tricks that make him feel inadequate. Remember that you have been raised with more skill in intercourse than he has.
7. Men were taught that only women are supposed to enjoy intercourse. Help him not to feel guilty and weird for doing it.
8. Let him take control sometimes. Don’t insist on controlling whose needs must be met when.
9. Don’t talk and tell. Don’t get him to “put out” and then rush to your women friends with the intimate details.
10. If your thrusting and probing hurts him, stop immediately. Don’t assume that he’ll start to like it just because you do.
11. Allow him to initiate. Don’t hit on him with so many requests for intercourse that he never feels the urge to start intercourse at his own pace, according to his own needs.
12. Men are often shy and insecure about their flaws and blemishes, about whether you will find them attractive. Don’t expect your man to show you everything right away.
13. Remember that good intercourse is not a wrestling match. There should be no winner and no loser.
14. Respect your lover as an equal partner. You don’t own him; he does not exist for the sole purpose of providing your pleasure.
15. If you have ever abused him during intercourse, understand that it may take a long, long time for your man to open up to you again.
16. Keep in mind that men’s and women’s rhythms are different. Don’t get angry if his needs don’t coincide with yours.
17. If you simply want to release tension, let him know. Don’t pretend that you’re doing it for him. Men often resist intercourse if they feel pressured about “getting into it.”
18. There is no such thing as the ideal lover. Don’t try to make your partner into something he isn’t. Accept your man as he is.
19. Foreplay is essential; gentle stroking of the ego can help. If you encounter a ravenous ego, remember it is ravenous not because it gets too much healthy attention, but because it gets too little.
20. Don’t get hung up on achieving simultaneous understanding. Men’s understandings take longer, but they are usually more intense.
21. Respect him in the morning.