Black People : Time to face facts that mansharing hurts sistas: Point & Counter-Point

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by panafrica, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    There was a article written in last week's Chicago Sun-Times which stated that Black men are more likely than men of other races to cheat on their women. The term used for this occurance is called "Mansharing", and the author suggest that Black men do so without regard to the Black women. The over used number of black men in prison, and infected with HIV is also used to further illustrate that Black men are destroying the community. Here is a link to the article:

    http://www.suntimes.com/output/mitchell/cst-nws-mitch18.html
     
  2. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    To Ms. Chapman, Ms. Mitchell, and others:


    It is indeed true that the messenger is often blamed when a popular, but immoral trend is exposed. Although, I find that the biggest opposition arises against a story when it is inaccurate and biased. I have often heard the terms man sharing, polygamy, and adultery/cheating, used interchangeably when in truth they are not. Polygamy is a marriage between a man, and two or more women. It is a voluntary relationship, done openly without deceit (and in many cultures is legal & respected). Man sharing would imply the same, although without the benefit of marriage. I feel it is necessary to clarify exactly what polygamy is, because while both Mary Mitchell and Audrey Chapmen describe that Black men are widely engaging in polygamous relationships, in reality they are not. What these ladies are examining is adultery.

    Adultery occurs when a man (or woman) engages in a relationship with another person, without their spouses consent. A relationship of this type is often done secretly with deceit. As a result of this deceit, the victim of adultery(the innocent wife or husband) often suffers psychological pain. This psychological pain includes, but is not limited to: Anger, depression, the inability to trust, the desire for revenge, etc. A lesser form of adultery is cheating. Cheating occurs in a implied relationship between two single people (if you are not married, then you are single); when one unknowingly steps outside the relationship, to date another person. While cheating in an implied relationship often brings psychological pain similar to that experienced with adultery. In truth only an engagement and marriage implies monogamy. Therefore while there is some connection, "cheating" can not be compared with the severity of adultery. Although I must say that cheating in a relationship is an good reason not to enter into a marriage, because it often forewarns of the possibility of adultery.

    It appears that the majority of cases which Audrey Chapmen studies (and Mary Mitchell summarizes)are relationships where a man cheated on his girlfriend. This would be the case of the 32 year old, college educated woman who was suicidal after finding out her boyfriend had two other women. This relationship certainly was not polygamous, nor was it mansharing. This was not an open relationship involving 4 different people, because this 32 year old, college educated woman was deceived. This deception does not exist in polygamy. So again Ms. Mitchell is not summarizing and characterizing polygamous relationships, she is describing adulterous and unfaithful relationships. Now that it is perfectly clear that this article is about adultery and cheating. To suggest that Black men engage in this type of behavior in greater numbers than their male counterparts of other races is absolutely ridiculous!

    I will not go so far as to send Mr. Jim Ritter a nasty e-mail. But I challenge his report, and the research it was based on. Statistics can be, and are often manipulated to justify the views of the people who are conducting the study. I suspect that this is the case in a study that indicates such a large disparity in the percentage of Black men who date multiple women, compared to White & Latino men who do the same. Anyone that truly believes this, has not lived or worked with Whites & Latinos. I can say that Black men are often more arrogant and open when dating several women. It is the arrogance that "some" Black men display while flaunting their many women, which creates the perception that they cheat more than other men. It is also the willingness of Black men to talk about their behavior, that no doubt increased the percentages of this study. However, I have witnessed too many tearful stories of unfaithful boyfriends/husbands from my White & Latino female classmates, colleagues, and friends; to believe that Black men cheat more than any other men. I have also heard too many boastful tales from White & Latino males about their many conquest to believe this. We all know that former President Bill Clinton did not view having oral sex performed on him by another woman, as committing adultery against his wife. I can take this example (and many others) to suggest that White men are less honest about their extra-marital exploits. Just as the willingness of Black men to talk about their extra-maritial affairs creates the perception that they are extremely unfaithful. The unwillingness of White & Latino men to talk about their extra-marital affairs, creates the perception that they are more faithful than they really are.

    As Mary Mitchell states, "the message doesn't change". Unfortunately she is right. Black men, and Black people in general continue to be stereotyped in the media by those without journalistic integrity. Infidelity is a societal problem, which has existed since the beginnings of mankind. It exists in all lands, in every country, and in all people. Societal problems can not be fixed with biased observation. In other words, prejudicial reporting helps no one, and solves nothing. This particular problem favors no race, nor gender. So let's not disguise race baiting, gender bashing, and superficial examinations, as in-depth reporting.



    P.S. I hope this doesn't count as shooting the messenger.
     
  3. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    When is it going to stop?

    Irresponsible reporting, to say the least. These journalist need to understand the difference in the terms that they use to describe their research and it is extremely disturbing that people (are these Black journalists?) continue trying to force Black men into and define them in eurocentric categories and constructs. It's anal and just plain dumb!!! This article rings another alarm in the Black community. We need to stop and really give serious thought to how we define ourselves, our relationships and what we expect to gain from them. I believe our conversation about that needs to change or else we will always face this type of investigation and reporting. This is not objective reporting. This is evidence that the social system in America has some of us fooled and doesn't work for us and we need to stop thinking like the system expects us to and establish our own parameters and live within them and not theirs. Every time you turn around, we are being told that something is wrong with the Black man and the Black family as though we're aliens. Well, we are sort of...as long as we continue to be bamboozled by this racist, backward thinking system.

    Excellent letter, panafrica, and great topic.

    Peace! :spinstar:
     
  4. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thank You NN:

    Unfortunately the original article was written by a black woman. It is a shame that we attack each other in the white media (and expose our problems & differences for all the world to see). I can think of few other communities that do this. I felt this article was extremely irresponsible, and it frequently substituted stereotype for fact. Obviously the response to this article was written by me, and I sent it directly to the author. Although I know she will never acknowledge my response. More than likely she will dismiss me as some lunatic. However, I will continue to fight against ignorance and stereotypical images spread against Black people (whether they are written by white hands or brown hands).
     
  5. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Soul doctor this shouldn't turn into a back and forth between you and I. I'm noticing that you seem to be positioning yourself in different threads to make an issue out of everything I write and turn it into some personal issue. Because I express my opinion doesn't mean that I'm "venting my anger" as you describe it and because you and I don't see eye-to-eye on many issues isn't reason for you to take things personal and create a hostile environment.

    Now, it appears that you have a problem and are unhappy here. If that is the case, then there are certainly options available to you that can keep these discussions civil. Being disruptive and making personal accusations is not one.

    Thank you for your cooperation in advance.
     
  6. Nightlance

    Nightlance Member MEMBER

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    Supply vs. Demand

    :angel1: After carefully reading the article, I was taken aback by the considerable number of societal ills that were attributed to this idea of “man sharing”. Chapman writes of her primary motives for examining the occurrences of man sharing within the African American community that “the appalling statistics regarding black female-headed households, poverty, fatherless children and the skyrocketing HIV infection rates among black women lead me to believe the negative effects of this lifestyle have diminished the quality of life for a lot of black women.” As I see it, “man sharing” is only a symptom of a much deeper societal problem – the loss of eligible black men to unemployment, imprisonment, drug-addiction, murder, disease, and poor education. Surly, any examination of the root causes will reveal that there are multiple factors contributing to this urban social behavior.

    In addition, any valid statistical model would have to at least take into account the age, income, and education levels of their respondents within these African American communities. By closely examining these subgroups, you will be better able to identify statistical trends that maybe unique to one subgroup. For instance, young adult African American males with no college education may account for the disproportionate percentages reported in her study. However, young adult African American males, who are college educated, may exhibit altogether different dating behavior patterns. Also, one's religious beliefs - assuming they have any - could be a major factor in shaping one's sexual mores. Thus, any educated social scientist would be very careful about drawing casual inferences from the data collected from this limited sample.

    In any case, we know from statistical data that the supply of eligible black men as defined by most black women – single, educated, employed, and no criminal record- is dwindling to historic lows across the United States. Assuming that demand for these eligible black men is the same, if not increasing, then we can immediately see that competition for them is on the rise. And, it is this sometimes-vicious level of competition that might cause a woman in a relationship to be more tolerant of her partner’s infidelity. Chapman hints at this when she writes, “Many women who participate in obviously shared situations do so with great internal conflicts. They hang in there because they fear being without a man, yet they devote much of their psychic energy to trying to change him and somehow force him to make a commitment to monogamy.”

    :yo: Finally, any substantive examination of this social phenomenon would have to take into account the internal peer pressure being exerted upon African American males by our own Hip-Hop generation, and its glorification of the Pimp/Player role within our urban communities. In fact, the Pimp/Player role, a character who is a notorious hustler that has bested the system, has both gained a great deal of attention and notoriety by various black male artists, and been purposely commercialized in an attempt to sell everything from CD’s to videos. In short, the Pimp/Player gains more status among his Pimp/Player peers by openly exhibiting his male prowess with attractive women. Thus, the more women that he has under his control, “on his tip”, then the greater his status among his peers. :bomb:
     
  7. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    As I see it, this article is based on questionable data and illogical conclusions drawn from this data. The cliched view of the shortage of available Black men is in and of itself the result of faulty logic. The problem with using the numbers of Black men who are in prison; addicted to drugs; poorly educated; infected with HIV; and have multiple children out of wedlock, is that it assumes that there are not a significant number of Black women who have the same. The prison population for Black females is also significant, and increasing. There are a number of black women who are unfortunately addicted to drugs, and infected with HIV. In addition, while Black men infect Black women with HIV. Black women also infect Black men with HIV. In reality all of these stats go both ways. As my sister NN Queen has stated before, when you compare both sides, the shortage is not as extreme as it is rumored to be

    I think that we as a people buy into doom & gloom too much. If any thing the numbers of Black folk infected with HIV is a reflection of our unwillingness to use condoms (which no single person has any excuse not to use). While there are more college educated Black women than men, only roughly 15% of African Americans are college educated (I'd also like to point out that there are more white women than men in college). Since the overwhelming majority of Black people are not college educated, using this as a criteria to find a mate is seriously limiting oneself. I also don't believe that examining the education levels of the participants of this study would influence the results, because a person's attitudes towards relationships is a result of their upbringing (not how many degrees they have). We place too much emphasis on college degrees (like they are a pot of gold), and I say this as a college educated black male.

    The biggest flaw of this article was the implication that White & Latino men cheat less in relationships than Black men. We do not know this is true, and we have no reason to believe this for fact. White women started the feminist movement, and by large are not any happier (or unsatisfied) in relationships than Black women are. The bottom line is that the grass is not greener on the other side.
     
  8. Sekhemu

    Sekhemu Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    With respect to the authors of the article. If you can't buy a negro, you can certainly rent one. This is the fuel that Neo-cons and others are gladly using to further demonize black males.
    Black men are no more inherently promiscous than any other race of men. NNQueen is right, alluding to the notion that we as a people must find our own solutions to restoring our families, this should not be based on European mores or norms
     
  9. NNQueen

    NNQueen going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    "Man-sharing" . . . symptomatic of a societal problem? In our current society that is designed to support only monogamous relationships and one that pigeon holes African Americans, is it any wonder that it has become another topic of what's wrong within our community?

    In today's American society, the a great many hetero Black women want a man to call their own. In this society, they don't want to share him with other women. They want their men to commit to them and them alone as long as the relationship lasts. The competition among these women is inevitable from the beginning because more girls are born than boys. There are social reasons given for reducing the eligible numbers of Black men even more, creating what is now being reported as a crisis for AA women. But, tell me, given the state of Black males historically in this society, is this anything new or different? If not, then why all of a sudden has this become a crisis for Black women? If it is new, then what is the difference?

    The stories we read sending out alarms of "man-sharing is a problem" and "Black male shortage", leaves us questioning what's going on and why. It also generates panic and a sense of desperation among us. If we only look for answers within our community by blaming each other for the situation, what may not have been a real problem, will surely become one.

    Can we stop for a moment and look deeper into this topic? We must question everything we read even when it's written by us. There are many sides to this dilemma don't you think? I think it's critical that we look at cause and effect from a broader perspective, and be mindful not to exclude any discussion of institutional racism and its potential role in the problems we face.

    Whatever part we play in our plight, must be a part of this discussion and I don't want to overlook that. People who only live on the edge and never seek a deeper meaning to their lives may behave in ways that is selfish and superficial. If they never pay attention to the impact that their behavior will have on others or if they don't care, it will contribute to these types of reports and studies. But in comparison to other people, it has a different reflection on us and you have to wonder why.

    At some point we need to look at other potential causes and not just the symptoms. For example, African Americans suffer from disparate treatment in the penal/judicial system, our population growth is controlled with substances that cause addictive behaviors, laboratory-made germs and viruses, involuntary sterilization, high-fat foods, illegal drugs, and the list goes on, and now we're told that there is a shortage of Black men and Black women are left with the short end of the stick. Why is this? Could it be plain ole racism at the root?

    So reporters like Chapman, et al, are merely reporting alleged symptoms and overlooking the disease or root cause. How can a cure be discovered if we don't look at the entire condition? So, where do we begin, with the symptoms or the disease? Nightlance believes that man-sharing is symptomatic of a larger social issue. I agree--as it is practiced in America. But I don't believe that "man-sharing" in the form of polygamy per se is inherently wrong or a social problem if it was practiced in a society that was driven by a culture that was more conducive to and supportive of Black people. To me, the problem stems from a culture that may be unnatural to us and one that continuously oppresses the natural in us. Why can't we have a culture that allows us to explore several relationship options and offers us choices?

    Ok, I've said enough and have to run to Sister Chat!! Thanks panafrica, I think you've just given me a topic for tonite! :)

    Peace :heart:
     
  10. Sun Ship

    Sun Ship Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That sister don't know, what she don't know.

    I agree, this article was a crude and insensitive approach to very serious subject. This reminds me of another feeble article, several years ago, attempting to address, “men with multiple female partners”, titled “The Other Wife” in Essence magazine. It also was a horrible and idiotic piece.

    Audrey Chapman, the author of Man Sharing, supposedly retracted some of her ideas, after suffering emotional duress, because of the amount of criticism and backlash she incurred, but I would prefer to qualify this info further, before I present it, as fact.

    I appreciate Brother panafrica bringing this article to our attention. I do agree that a serious analysis of this phenomenon should be more concise and detailed, taking all social variances into consideration. But, in reference to Nightlance’s overall comments, the occurrence of Black men living up to a Pimp/player image is just as pervasive in the corporate, professional and collegiate world as it is, in the Hip-Hop, “Baller”, or blue-collar community. Also, I’ve seen a lot of well-educated and afro-centric sisters play into the other side of this “Player” game, this is not just about, “low-income hoochie-mama’s” and their Boo’.

    Brother panafrica, I think it was a smart move to send the sister a copy of your post, for I don’t think this sister really knows what polygamy is. I really don’t think she has a clue.

    But I am concerned about the comparative analysis of polygamy, adultery and cheating. I’m not exactly at odds with these moral differentiations, but I think African American’s need to use, different philosophical constructs and social mores. The words adultery and cheating are still associated with condemnation and pious religiosity. For, if we are to accept these definitions for what is deemed as unethical behavior, then we have to include, fornication, lust, divorce and illegitimacy. My point is that, I had once read, there are cultures that don’t use any of these constructs and are either not plagued with these problems or the dysfunctional outcomes of their actions. I’m not challenging the correctness of polygamy, as compared to the deceptive and dangerous behavior of frivolous philandering. But we are constantly judging our morality, more than correcting our problems, as we’re using very narrow and limiting, social norms.

    A good example of what I’m saying is that many people who are morally against adultery are rarely for the sexual strictures that are construed to prevent fornication and lust. Now remember, they’re both condemned by the same religious codes, as the other so-called societal ills mentioned above and were viewed with the same social disdain and righteous indignation.

    We may need to discipline and free ourselves on a whole new set of rules, for I have constantly emphasized that I believe their (Western civilization) psychological, philosophical and spiritual constructs are flawed. We have been put into a position where they keep us constantly imbalanced and never centered. We are always choosing between their rights and wrongs. When we should be embracing “moral neutrality”, because their moral constructs are so corrupt and linear.

    Just look at what the Catholic Church is going through.

    But with all that said, I think what’s even worst than the article itself or the misuse of it by “neo-conservatives” is the fact that many Black women will read this article at “face value” and agree with it’s summations.

    Peace,

    Sun Ship
     
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