Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Color of You

While I was on "The Devil" last night (check my last post for what "The Devil" actually is), a friend of mine posted a video which showed a preview of Bill Duke's new documentary Dark Girls. As I watched the four minute video, I cringed a couple of times. As a Black woman, I've obviously been involved in many race related conversations and the dialogue has, by and large, been between other Black people. We've argued about interracial relationships, "the man" bringing us down and a host of other things. But, one of the most heated debates I've ever witness was the light-skinned vs. dark-skinned "issue."

It is my belief that this issue which has plagued us for YEARS is one of our biggest downfalls. Dark-skinned women have continuously been shunned for their complexions, whether it be in music videos (and not just the infamous "video hoe," which I don't believe anyone wants to REALLY be portrayed - I'm talking about a regular lead), movies or tv shows, in their relationships and lest we forget, the paper bag test which some might say really catapulted this problem. I've never, EVER had a problem with my complexion. I've always been taught to love who I am and what I am and whoever doesn't like it...well, they can kick rocks. But sadly, some of my other sisters have not been told that and if they have, they've not been able to believe it. And how can they? One woman in the video stated they her friends saw a pretty black woman and they said, "...she's pretty for a dark-skinned girl." I've been told the same thing and being that these are one of the topics that have the tendency to rile me up, a side eye with a slick comment is right around the bend. Another woman in the film said she heard her own mother speak so highly of her and then said at the end, "...can you imagine if she had any lightness in her skin at all? She'd be gorgeous." This is from someone's mother. Names like "tar baby," "blackie," and "monkey"have been thrown around towards dark-skinned women for YEARS so its no wonder some of us can't "get past it." If it were that easy, it may have changed a long time ago.

Further in the video, it shows a man saying that he'd rather not date a dark-skinned woman because she would look weird with him. Now based on the video, the man didn't exactly resemble a glowworm himself but that's neither here nor there. We can be as gung ho as we want but unless that never wavering self-esteem is there, there is the strong possibility that not only will we question ourselves but we'll also accept anything from any man (or any woman, if that's your preference) just so that somebody...anybody will accept us. People are entitled to have a preference in terms of "the look" but it goes beyond just a preference when you outright hate or are disgusted by one of your own because of their complexion. This, in turn, further destroys our families and continues the cycle of self-esteem. This problem - this COLORSTRUCK life that many of of us are living, whether openly or not - is doing more damage than we know.

But, then there's the other side. The side that says, "Okay, so some people don't love dark-skinned women. So what? Get over it." Honestly, I've said it myself a time or two. Part of me does not understand how as we get older, we fully let people have so much control over how we feel about ourselves. Part of me thinks that people still feel the way they feel about dark-skinned women because we as dark-skinned women have not empowered ourselves enough to let it show that we will continue to be beautiful despite what some may say. Again, maybe I have these questions because I've never felt "less than" because I was darker than some other girls and they may have gotten the boy because they were light-skinned (and yes, most had the long hair as well). In having the conversation with some of my friends about this very subject, I've been very clear that they've allowed a voice other than their own lead the way on how they will be seen. The woman in Duke's film? Some of them I truly felt pain for in the pit of my stomach but others, I really believed that they might choose to stay in a place of "feeling bad" because that way, it might give them some sort of an excuse for not pulling themselves out of out of place in their own community. I know having self-esteem isn't always easy to build but it is necessary. Its a cold war out there...we better bundle up.

I could go on and on, without a doubt, on both sides of this. I didn't even want to really touch on the "light-skinned views" I've heard. This post would truly take flight in yet another direction. What I did want to do is just get a starter topic going [again] based on what I saw which focused on how the "Dark Girls" felt about this and how hurt they've been over the years. There is a pain and there is a cut and no matter how much I might feel that we have to get over it ourselves, we must first fully acknowledge that there has been a separation for decades and it will continue (as seen in the preview, there seems to have been a recent version of the Clark Doll Experiment done for the film) and be HONEST about it so that we can perhaps scratch the surface on how to fix this.

How to figure out how we ALL can get out of our own way.

Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Devil Has a Website?

In case you've been in a remote part of the world where you are the ONLY person there and there is absolutely no form of communication, Facebook is THE phenomenon of ALL phenomenons. It has over 500 million active users as of July 2010 and it seems as though our connections and re-connections become closer everyday. These connections have led to job opportunities, new and/or rekindled friendships, and new and/or rekindled relationships. It can be exciting, annoying, funny, and downright scandalous sometimes. When it becomes closer to the latter, you almost always hear or read, "Facebook is the devil."

Facebook is the Devil? The DEVIL?? REALLY?

Since I've been a member, I've seen my fair share of relationships crumble right on my screen. On the internet. It has always amazed me that FACEBOOK, a website, is blamed for relationships blowing up in an ugly way. All it has ever been is a platform for people to show a side of themselves that some may not have ever seen. People are behind these profiles. People are the ones posting subliminal wall posts on the jumpoff's profile, thinking no one will notice. People are sending private messages to others that they think will never get out. What happens is curiosity kills the cat and these people who decide to cheat using the internet think it is a way for their dirt to never be found out. So is FACEBOOK the devil?

What is could be is that some people are showing who they really are - sneaky, conniving, and dishonest - via a website. Sadly, when someone's relationship comes to a nasty head out in public, the person on the receiving in adds in a, "Facebook is just the devil. I can't deal with it." No, the person who carried on the indiscretion(s) is the only one of maybe two people who's to blame for the "devilish" behavior.

We need to be honest here: Facebook (and rest its soul, Myspace) has not ever been to blame. I don't think. Am I missing something here? Did the Devil get a username and password?

Let's Discuss.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Girl Melanie Effect

In keeping with the mention of Girl Melanie from "The Game" yesterday, a conversation has been brewing within me. For those of you who've never seen the show and those who need a reminder, Melanie decided to forgo medical school at John Hopkins Medical School (her DREAM school and apparently, one of the best) to follow her boyfriend Derwin across the country once he was drafted into the NFL and go to med school in California. Now, some would say, "And? So what she didn't go to John Hopkins - she still went to school." Others would say, "Well, she wanted to live that lavish life and to 'keep the man,' you likely have to follow him." Another alleged example of this scenario, is Ludacris' girlfriend, Eudoxie, who is said to have dropped out of her pre-med program to travel and be with him (some reports say that she failed her MCATs and other reports say he told her to drop out - I don't know the truth but I'm giving alleged "tea"). Again, another example of a woman putting her life "wants" to the side to be with her man.

Now, let me be clear: If your main goal as a woman (because that's who we're talking about here) is to find a man - especially a wealthy or soon to be wealthy one - and "lock him down," then so be it and I suppose you have to do what you have to do. That's not something that I understand because (1) I wasn't raised to "find" a man and (2) once I was old enough to decide what I wanted out of life, carving my own way was always number one on my list. I've always believed that by society's definition (and we believe it too), women already stand in the shadows of men so why not go grab more for yourself first or in conjunction with "having your man?" There is something to be said for a woman whose name and work (no matter WHAT it is or how much money it makes, as long as its her own) can stand by itself. What do you have left of yourself if you drop what you're doing to follow your man's dreams and his life? Again, when you don't fully have anything for your own yet?

Conversely, the argument can be made that why should it matter if they can have all the things (likely material) they want in life and more without having to work that hard for it? You have money, you have a lavish lifestyle (if you have a man who is wealthy or about to be), and hell, you have the man? People primarily work hard so they can do better for themselves so if you don't have to work hard and still reap the same rewards, isn't there a balance? Granted, Girl Melanie had her trials with Derwin (cheating, a baby, his attitude, his celebrity, etc) and if Eudoxie's choices are true, I'm sure she's had her tribulations with Luda (ladies love the guy and he's made no secret that he loves them back), but compared to me...they're CHILLIN. I can barely get all my ducks in a row sometimes to go to the South of the U.S., but these women are lounging in the South of France! I might have to think about if I have the game twisted!

My position is...well, I think that is pretty clear. But what say you? Is it okay to put your life and dreams on temporary or indefinite hold to run the world with your man and follow his life and dreams?

Let's discuss.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The First Time

Relax, it's not a sexual post...this time.

I have a good friend who admittedly has had visions of grandeur of a dream man and relationship. Now, maybe this dream comes from a fictional "perfect man" that we sometimes see on television who would come her way, and sweep her off her. Of course, they'd get married, buy the house, have some children and add whatever else comes with that "fairytale" life. Here's her reality: she recently started dating a man who is a widower with three children. No, it isn't her ideal situation but she's giving it a whirl. When I asked what was the fairytale she was looking for, she mentioned something that I've only heard once before (on the tv show The Game): "...Just a fairytale about me being a first wife to someone and being the mother of his first children."


I thought about this. I thought again. And then I thought some more. I've dated a man with a child and I've dated a divorced man. My preference has always been to not date either of those options if I can help it but we all go against the grain from time to time. In my experiences, the latter of the two listed what I would like to never do again. Having said that, my reasons for not wanting to date any man who comes with one or both of those has never been "because I want to be the first." As I reflected, I can honestly say I never even thought about it that way. In thinking about it now, it still isn't something that holds weight with me. To me, being "the first" only matters because you're literally just that: the first. The reality is that, in my opinion, it doesn't matter. Whether you're the first or - Cupid forbid - the third, if a man is going to be good to you as a husband and/or father, that's just his way. If he's trash as a husband and/or father, then it won't matter that you're the first. It sucks in a major way but it's true.

But this is just me. This is something I know nothing about so I need some views. Ladies, have you or your friends ever had this conversation and learned that one (or all) of you think that way? Men, have you ever been turned down by a woman over this?

Let's discuss.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

May/December...Not so much!

When I was 19 years old, I had an experience with a 28/29 year old man. He was not trying to be in a relationship with me and I, being a college student only home for certain breaks, definitely did not want to be serious with him. At 24, I dated a man who was 32 (ironically, we *stupidly* tried to kick it again when I was 29 and he told me he was 34...blank stare) years old. The latter guy had owned a couple of business, seen a couple of things I definitely hadn't at my age, been married and divorced, and subsequently, was kind of bitter towards women. Yet, he was ready to settle down again and be married/have children. By the end of that, I realized that older men were just not my cup of tea. It wasn't solely because of who he was as a person but rather, he was just on a very different page than I was and I find that more when I do meet men more than 5-7 years older than me.

A friend of mine is 30 and is dating a 43 year old man. She questioned before they started dating if there were such thing as "too old" but even with whatever responses she received, she pursued it. I spoke to her about it prior to writing this and she told me that she chose to give him a try because (1) she doesn't seem to be having any luck with the guys she's been meeting who are closer to her age and (2) he treats her nice and she doesn't want to miss out on a possible "good man" because of her fears over his age. But she does have her reservations: not only is he older but he is a single father already. "Being that he has children already, will he even want to have anymore?" Good question and personally, I think this is what women in particular question as we get older and are involved in dating or just dating, in general, men with children.

But its not just "dating up." A male friend of mine dated a woman who was 28 when he was just a mere 21 year old lad. Now, I don't find that men ever have a problem with dating older women and this was no exception. He enjoyed it but they broke up because of some personal issues he said she had (he knew this was going on the blog so he wasn't about to share which is totally understandable but likely not to be posted if it had nothing to do with the topic). Ironically enough, he says he would never be serious with a woman roughly seven years younger than him (he's about to be 28) because they need to "see" things and do things that he likely has already gotten out of his system.

I'm still not checking for men that are more than about seven years older than me (and let's keep it real: I'd prefer you'd not be more than five years older) AND I will date younger than me. Let's not get out of hand, the man would have to be at least 25 but I'd absolutely be down with it. I'm not sure if I'm right or wrong by excluding the men that might be 10 years older than me. Is there a right or wrong?

Hi, I'm DrennaB...and I'm an ageist.

And you? Let's discuss.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A New Dawn, A New Day!

And I'm feelin' gooooooooooooooood! That, my friends, was the Nina Simone original version.

Sooo its been a couple months. I needed time to refocus on everything I'm trying to do and why this blog exists. So I decided that I have it because: (1) I like to talk to people and find out their opinions on things that go on in the world whether it's something serious or lighthearted, (2) this helps me with my writing and (3) I find myself slightly entertaining at times so why not?! Sometimes I'm long-winded and those who either know me personally or know me through the blog know this. I just have a lot to say and sometimes just want you to fully understand my point of view!

We can talk about the things that go on in my life and how they should be or were dealt with. Well, not everything since we all have a little "business" we keep to ourselves but I do like to open some of the chapters of my book. There are few things that are off limits. My opinions are just that and not everyone will agree with me. That's okay because that's why they call it a discussion.

So let's get this engine moving again! This is life and it can be simply complicated!