Black Relationships : Independent Women - Myth or Reality?

Discussion in 'Black Relationships' started by HerukhuMaat, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. HerukhuMaat

    HerukhuMaat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I've heard many women these days spout the claim that they're Independent Women.

    But can black women truly claim this because the black struggle has always had black women in the forefront?

    Is there a difference between being so-called independent and just being simply responsible?

    If a man has a job or pays his bills is he also independent.. or just responsible?

    Is independent womanhood valid for black women or simply a part of the white feminists reality?

    I'd like to know your thoughts.
     
  2. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Interesting question

    Hmmm...what do you mean by "independent"? I don't view "independent" and "responsible" as synonymous.

    When I think of the word independent when used to describe women, I think of a number of things. For example, an independent woman is one who has the ability to support herself without the aid of, in this case, a man. So in this case, she has economic independence. I also think it describes women who perceive that they have the "right" to think for herself without seeking permission of men.

    Your point about whether "independent" takes on the same connotation for Black women as it does for white women is a very interesting one. Maybe to a lesser degree it does because Black women have always been prominent in the struggle for equal rights as it relates to race but I think as more and more Black women entered the workforce in corporate America, she confronted sexist treatment the same as other women. White women, for the most part, were trophy wives. They didn't have to work outside the home. In fact, back in the day it was frowned upon whenever white women had jobs. So they were extremely dependent upon their husbands for their livelihood. I haven't looked at the data in a while but I think it would be very relevant to this discussion to do a little research based on gender and race. But not long ago, for every dollar a man earned, a woman earned .75, and that's for doing the same job. I'm not sure about the distribution of wages between Black men and Black women though. I think the margin is closer but I know that on average, Black men earn less than white men for the same jobs.

    Being independent doesn't necessarily mean that people behave responsibly does it? I can be independent and not take care of business. I think that responsibility means you're doing what is necessary to do or behaving with a high sense of integrity. My independence only means that I can behave responsibly by myself, but doesn't mean that I will.

    Okay, I know I rambled a bit on this topic but I think it's a very good question. I'm looking foward to other opinions.

    Peace :spinstar:
     
  3. Sun Ship

    Sun Ship Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I know one thing. If we ain't movin', they don't have time to tarry.

    Peace Brother HerukhuMaat

    I think there’s probably, no such person, as a fully “independent woman or man”. For even when sisters extraordinarily expressed this sort of reality, like raising children alone and excelling in education or business against all odds, there were still men in the immediate and extended Black family and/or community that were many times supportive and useful.

    Now as far as the black struggle, I think it’s almost impossible to leave sisters behind_lol. They don’t play that :lol: and we usually welcomed their presence and many times followed their smoke i.e., Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks, among many. But, on the other side of this collective union, there is a lot of historical fact that is being discussed and revealed, that from the Civil Rights Movement to the Black Panthers, not excluding some sister’s feelings about the Million Man March, black male leadership has not always been as inclusive and inviting as some would like to think. And were guilty of some preconceived chauvinist ideas about a Black woman’s place, in the movement.

    Peace,

    Sun Ship
     
  4. HerukhuMaat

    HerukhuMaat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I appreciate all of the responses so far. Very thoughtfully put.

    My concern has always been that we as Black people usually in all of our progressiveness, forget that we are treated differently in this society than our white counterparts.

    In most areas of our workforce, they would sooner higher a black woman over a black man. This is because our society still views black men as very threatning. You even have white females in power who adopt the same practices as their white male counterparts in how they deal with black men.

    My best friend is an executive for a major international Music, media, and entertainment firm. Has long thick dreadlocks and all. He tells me all the time how the white females in his dept. have verbalized to his face how they don't like the fact that he travels overseas and around the country although he has more education and experience than them. They tell him that it's not fair.

    Both my father and mother and myself, have worked in executive positions in the corporate world and can testify that over the years, black women are placed above black men in postions of power in the workforce. Also look at the white woman's voting history. For all the crap that they spout, these progressive white women vote very conservative. Check out the statistics for how many white women voted for Bush in the last election and look at their income status.

    Black women however, have historically not enjoyed the same liberties as white women. Our mothers have had to work as nannies and domestics while white women stayed at home. Our black women have earned their right to be called independent since on the cotton fields and sugar plantations and raising their children when their husbands were murdered or sold off somewhere.

    So in essence I think that black women historically start off from a different place in time than other women do. Their struggle is different than other women. Black women compete unecessarily with their men. Yes, there has been some chauvinsism in the past but gender roles and responsibilites have changed drastically in the last 20 years.

    My issue is that our black women talk about independence, and develop the mentality that black men are worthless. In nature nothing works in isolation. Everything is interdependent of each other.

    Although white women speak about independence too they know that white men are still the true ballers and players in this society.
    I see black women as always being independent, even before white women found their own liberation, simply because black women came from a different world and circumstances than white women did. The double income household has long been a reality for our race and families.

    I asked many women I know this question of why they consider themselves independent and the answers that I recieved had more to do along the lines of not being subservient to men as opposed to being responsible for themselves. My question to them was ultimately, who do you expect to take care of you if not yourself? Your man? Your mom/dad?
    Who do you expect to pay your credit card bills?
    Your grocery bills?
    Your eating out tonight on the town bills?

    I think that some of our women are confused about this issue of independence vs. accountability and responsibility for yourself. But that's just my understanding. Any enlightenment is welcomed.
     
  5. sadie's brown

    sadie's brown Active Member MEMBER

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    I've heard many women these days spout the claim that they're Independent Women.

    But can black women truly claim this because the black struggle has always had black women in the forefront? I don't believe that black women have had a forefront position in the black struggle partiuclarly not publicly. i would say that it's been more of a "backbone" contribution to the struggle. Black women having leadership positions is a recent happening )I would say in the last 30-35 years). Black women in the Civil Rights mov't, black power, and even trhe pre-Civil Rights mo't personal narratives are in fact full of examples in which black male leaderships hampered their wishes to "be out front."

    Is there a difference between being so-called independent and just being simply responsible?
    Yes, I think it is in the sense that many black women are saying that they are independent. Most of the black women who are saying this are prehaps realizing that they are doing many things without the benefits of marriage or a "man" in contrast to other women...white, asian, etc. So many of these women are taking on responsiblities that were traditionally amle or they are taking on roles that are "typically" male in contrast to their other female peers not necessarily their male peers.

    If a man has a job or pays his bills is he also independent.. or just responsible?
    It's nothing big about a man being independent...there's supposed to be independent according to gener stereotypes. The traits that consider "male" are not considered "atypical" when they are possessed by a female. I believe the man is being responsible.

    Is independent womanhood valid for black women or simply a part of the white feminists reality? Yes, independent womahood is valid in fact as a group black women (educated blackw omen, who have many of the advantages of the civil rights mov't, family support and encouragement, and safe and effective birth control, and the ability choose partnerships based on more than the moneytary benefits or societal expectations are examples of it's validity.

    I'd like to know your thoughts.

    I would identify myself as an independent woman-I am very grateful for the support adn encouragement I have received from family members, the benefits of a formal education, and the ability to decide when and under what conditions I will have children...with the added bonus of knowing mentally that I can do this. This could make my definition of independent idfferent form my mother's or my grandmother's because of the different obstacles we have faced (in different generations). I don't being indepenmdent is about being difficult, or making poor choices adn than struggling through and proclaiming that you are strong...I think it's about using all of your options and of course excercising your right to say No (which black women do not do enough of).

    There's not spell check and I am too lazy to proof...so sorry for the misspelled words.
     
  6. kenyatta

    kenyatta Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    You are joking...right ?

    Independant black woman ? Independant black men ? What planet does that exist on ? What is a Black woman without a black man ? What is a Black man without a Black woman...the answer is...THEY ARE INCOMPLETE, NOT WHOLE. We depend upon each other...even if it is for nothing else but BALANCE...and no black man or woman could possibly be whole, independant or balanced as a human being without their counterpart. Now if you're talking about alienated black men or women, that is another story.

    Luv Ya
    Keita Otiba Kenyatta
     
  7. HerukhuMaat

    HerukhuMaat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I cosign on that one!
     
  8. sadie's brown

    sadie's brown Active Member MEMBER

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    So...Black women shouldn't assumethe of independent label and / or they are in fact not independent because: (a) they are basically doing what all responsible beings do-taking care of themselves (b) they should understand that it's common knowledge that black women enjoy certain advantages in contrast to their black male counterparts particular in the "corporate world" (c) they should understand that they are part of a unit / partnership (here I am assuming black men) in which each gender is dependent upon the other for balance?

    I am correct in my assessment of the post under this thread or am entirly off line...am I even in the ball pakr?
     
  9. HerukhuMaat

    HerukhuMaat Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I think you just won the World Series!
     
  10. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I don't see this as a philosophical question although some may choose to view it this way. It's more than a notion so I think it is a reality in our society today and for a number of reasons, in my opinion.

    I view the term "independent" as it's used in the context of the women's liberation movement that was going strong at the same time as the Civil Rights Movement. The women's liberation movement came about in protest of the patriarchal or male-dominant society which still exists in large part today. The independence of a woman does not void the fact that she needs a man if she wants a relationship with one or to bear children one day. Independence does not mean that a woman hates men or is lesbian. I see independence of women in several social arenas: economics, politics and the judicial systems--not biological or sociological independence. Independence in the sense that women have owenership of their bodies and the right to choose their biological function and sexual freedom. To me it means that women can vote and can compete in the job market along with men. It means that women now must live with the consequences of their decisions and men shouldn't have to pay for their mistakes. All things being equal, a woman's independence can also create independence for men as well. It means that men should have equal rights to have custody of children born to couples who choose not to live together. It means that men shouldn't automatically have to pay alimony to women as part of a divorce settlement just because he's a man and his ex-partner is a woman. It means that women can now choose when to become birth mothers. It now means that women who say "no" don't have to accept the acts of others who don't respect that and force them to have sex--even from spouses. It means that now, women and men must pay equally, the legal price for emotional and physical abuse. It's true that Black women have always been in the struggle along with Black men. True that Black women have always worked side by side with Black men. True, if the Black race is to continue, Black men and Black women need each other. But now Black women can enter relationships with Black men for the best reasons and not just because she needs him to supply her for certain basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing and such.

    That's my take on the question. Peace :spinstar:
     
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