Black Women : Style vs. Substance

Discussion in 'Black Women - Mothers - Sisters - Daughters' started by NNQueen, Apr 7, 2003.

  1. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Without question, Black people have style. We can put outfits together, dance steps together and words together to create a unique "fashion" statement that is emulated throughout the world. These qualities seem to come easily to us and we learn them very quickly by observing, listening and practicing the various techniques. But what about our substance?

    What I mean by substance are the qualities about us that go far deeper than what we wear, how we talk and how we dance. Other races of people are described for things they do as well, i.e., how to make money, good at math, good business sense, good at technology, etc.

    In your words, what do you think are the sum and substance of African Americans and how do we apply it?
     
  2. A007

    A007 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    GOOD QUESTION

    IMHO... we are the sum of our experiences and the substance of our past. The problem is we have be separated from both. We have a work ethic and strength equalled by no other race on this planet, as proven by our perserverence and accomplishments during and through slavery. Yet...we have started to believe (and subsequently conform to) the lazy stigma given to us by the white man because he was angry that we didn't want to work ourselves to death for free anymore.

    We (and a small amount of english desendants) are the only cultures that are completely cultured by America. We don't have any roots (that we know of).
    Sure we are from Africa and Jamaica, but very few of us have any of those cultural traditions left. So.....we are left as a people builiding our own "american" culture from beliefs set by whites and not explored (or challenged) by us. Thus, we are leFt swinging in the wind trying to find ourselves through materialism and/or religion (both established by the white man) and we seem to continullly come up short because we have no sense of unity, community, self-love, or free thinking.

    So...to answer youR question... We are the sum and substance of slavery (because that is our legacy) and even though we carve our own paths through style, we are left empty because we won't free ourselves by thinking for ourselves and becoming a COMMUNITY OF UNSELFISH, ENLIGHTENED, AA'S, FOR THE PURPOSE OF CREATING OUR OWN SUBSTANCE
     
  3. ZeroGravity

    ZeroGravity Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Interesting Question ...

    Wouldn't creativity be considered substance?

    Queen, you stated in the beginning:
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    "We can put outfits together, dance steps together and words together to create a unique "fashion" statement that is emulated throughout the world. These qualities seem to come easily to us and we learn them very quickly by observing..."
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    Why wouldn't these qualities be of substance?

    I believe we posses qualities about us that go far deeper than what we wear, how we talk and how we dance. We are definitely not monolithic by any stretch of the imagination...perhaps the sum of us is our diversity and our substance is that which makes up that diversity.
     
  4. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Interesting responses...3 different perspectives!

    Dre', you stated that AA's are the sum and substance of slavery. You think that because we were separated from our experiences and past (I assume you mean our African experiences and past), we are left to struggle and build our own culture in America from beliefs set by whites. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you think that the solution to our problem is by developing a sense of unity, community, self-love, and free thinking.

    Dre', for the four elements you propose as a solution, do you see any that are more critical than the others and how would you rank order them in terms of importance? To counter the influence of the "white" culture, what do you see as the common element that would draw AA's closer together?

    Keme you approach this from an economic standpoint. True, we have a tremendous amount of purchasing power and we are quick to spend each dollar we earn. But do you think this is a new phenomenon? I don't know that much about the slave-trade history but the little I do know is that some African chiefs traded his people for trinkets and shiny baubles and rum brought to them by European traders. If we could do that then, why would we want to buy products from an American Black when we can continue to trade (now dollars) with the same European manufacturers for things we value more?

    Z(Mr. Positive)G :) ...yes, creativity can be considered substance. It's certainly what we are known to have and as I stated before, what is emulated worldwide. True, there is substance in how diverse we are as a people. And substance doesn't always have to be measured by its monetary value or even it's potential for such. But I ask you, without some measure of wealth potential, where has our unique substance (creative diversity) gotten us as a people? In conversations you've had with Black friends/family etc., do you think that on average, we are satisfied with our own creative potential and it's impact on our community as a whole? Particularly compared to people like Jews, Asians and middle to upper class Latinos? Surely our rewards were not meant to be received only in Heaven...or are they?

    What do you all think? And, why is it that I tend to be the only woman having these conversations with you guys? :D
     
  5. A007

    A007 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Queen--

    I would have to say free thinking would be most important. From that we will become wise and understand that our self-esteem and unity will provide a nourturing, thriving, strong comminity.

    The common element is how we are treated and sociallized in this country simply because of the color of our skin.
     
  6. ZeroGravity

    ZeroGravity Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    LOL!! ...

    compared to jews, asians, and upper-class latinos I think we rank right along with them on all levels.

    Queen, you asked "...without some measure of wealth potential, where has our unique substance (creative diversity) gotten us as a people?" --- It's gotten us to where we are now, and it will get us to where we would want to be. I say this to say...it appears to me that we (AAs) seem to think that we make no contributions to society at all. The same creative diversity that shapes the fashion world; the same creative diversity that shapes the arts and performing segments of society is the same creative diversity that lends itself to inventions, innovations and methodologies used throughout the world by everyone sharing this great planet. For some reason beyond my comprehension, we just don't accentuate the positive and that to me is the disservice we do to our communities.

    In your second question you asked "...In conversations you've had with Black friends/family etc., do you think that on average, we are satisfied with our own creative potential and it's impact on our community as a whole? Particularly compared to people like Jews, Asians and middle to upper class Latinos?" --- I personally think we hold our own against any ethnic group. I don't see where any group has the market cornered on any one thing. The false perceptions we project on ourselves lends itself to us believing that their ice is colder than ours.

    There's an active thread on "self hate" in one of the discussion categories...If we see no substance of quality in our existence and contributions to society...I think that's the ultimate form of self-hate, because imho, we have substance in abundance.
     
  7. A007

    A007 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    ZG---

    With respect I would like to say that if you think we stack up to Jews and Asians in regard to managing finances, taking care of our own, and having some measure of power through finances and education, you have not looked at the numbers.

    We make almost as much money as Asians yet they are far more in control of their own destinies , in that they seek to have independant education(separate from the school system), own businesses, employ their own, and manage theri wealth well.

    We are FAR from being as wealthy as Jews. They control 75 percent of hollywood, and 60 of the music industry. We make them money with every rap and r &b CD. The only reason they have that control is they were a UNIT when they sought to take the industries over. We have yet to be a unit with a singular purpose (even in the civil rights movement).
     
  8. ZeroGravity

    ZeroGravity Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I understand what you're saying Dre ...

    correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm reading from your reply that your measuring stick for quality "substance" is financially based. Queen question was preferenced with "...without some measure of wealth potential...", which I took to mean outside of wealth...perhaps I misunderstood the question.

    I'm also hearing you say that every ethnic group is a UNIT except AAs...that we have to be a unit with a "singular" purpose in order for us achieve anything of worth or purpose. We are not monolithic and never will be...neither are any other ethnic groups you care to mention. Not all asians or jews or latinos or whites think alike, so why must all AAs think along one singular mindset?

    I don't get into comparing cultures here in America, because each ethnic group arrived on these shores differently...as far as what AAs are doing or not doing...I once heard someone say that the financial struggles of AAs in this country can be put into an analogy of a monopoly game. Imagine playing a game of monopoly and you're the only player with no money. Every move you make you end up owing someone and owning nuthin'. That's how we started out here.
     
  9. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Okay, I see where you all are coming from but I don't have time to respond cause they are working a sista hard today. *lol* But I'll be back and ZG, do you wear glasses? "Cause if you do, I want the same kind of lenses you look at the world through. I like the way you think, but it does cause me to question why so many threads posted here appear to me to be incongruent with your extremely positive perspective. Don't change!
     
  10. A007

    A007 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    ZG---

    You know what??? I think we both misunderstood. Queen...if i'm correct...was asking where has our substance got us (since we don't have any wealth potential). Then...I misunderstood your reponse because you were saying that we can measure up with any race when it comes to 'substance' meaning our creativity, style, and contributions to the world. Well...I believe you are correct. We to contribute a lot to the world in terms or creativity (jazz, rock and roll, blues, black art, spoken word, rap, r & B, and other things). My point is...with all of this greatness...why are we not farther along in our power to control our community( crime, drugs, poverty, poor health, lack of spirtuality, lack of knowledge)?

    I agree with you in terms of us not having to all think alike. But...I submit we do not have to all think alike for us to all work towards unity and the betterment of our communities. In fact, we need for people think differently in order for us to be diverse and take on different roles .

    What cha think?
     
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