All Articles Tagged "respect"
Once upon a time during a hot and humid day in New York, I was riding the “2” train from the Bronx to Manhattan to visit my cousin. Per usual, I was riding the train with my headphones on, rocking to some rap music and occasionally mumbling lyrics in perfect unison with the artist, as if I wrote the song. Every so often the train would signal it was about to come to a complete stop, where people would rush to get on and off the train. During those times I hardly, if ever, bothered to look up from my music-induced euphoria.
Somewhere along the train ride, a woman had gotten on the train and stood within my vicinity. At this point, the train was packed. If you’re not familiar with the crowds of New York trains, it’s similar to a popular hole-in-the-wall club that waived the entrance fee for both men and women. I said that to say, it’s basically wall to wall full of people with very little room to move or breathe. In any event, the woman looked very uncomfortable so I pulled one side of my headphones off and asked her if she’d like to sit down. Her eyes opened in surprised, then a slow smile crawled over her face. “You’re not from NY are you?” she asked. I told her I wasn’t. She laughed and right before she thanked me she said, “Yeah…I can tell.”
While perusing Madame Noire, I came across an article about a pregnant woman discussing her commuting problems on New York’s subway system. The author of the article stated she was alarmed at the amount of men who weren’t willing to give up a seat for her. As for why she doesn’t ask the men to give up their seat for her? “I dare not ask a man to offer me his seat for fear of getting cussed out. I’ve actually seen a pregnant woman ask a man for his seat and his reaction was actually one of “surprise”…and then anger.” The author wasn’t sure if it was a matter of chivalry being dead or if men simply didn’t treat women any differently than they treated men. While she wasn’t asking for special treatment just because she was a woman, she was puzzled as to how women were more willing to give up their seat than men when they saw her on the train.
Before I get into this, I’d like to take a minute to discuss chivalry. I often see this word getting thrown around by both women and men with reckless abandon. Chivalry, as it stands, was something only done by knights as part of the code of defending women and children who couldn’t protect themselves. It wasn’t a widespread code of conduct done by men everywhere. The definition and use of chivalry held steady in that notion until some time in the 1900s, where it was then used as a code of conduct for upper class men toward upper class women. Taking into account the status of women throughout much of history (and still today if you ask most people), chivalry was enacted to protect women because men of those (and this) time period believed women were weaker and incapable of defending themselves. In my opinion, women should be appalled at the idea of chivalry, as it’s mostly rooted in sexism and very negative opinions of a woman’s capability to take care of herself.
With that said, as a man raised with more than a semblance of common decency, the culture of New York (and other northern states) are a complete mystery to me. Nevermind chivalry or any of that nonsense, there’s such a thing as common courtesy. A pregnant woman gets on a train. As a man, unless you’re handicapped/fighting an illness, you get up to offer that woman a seat. In my mind, given the way I was raised, that’s just the right thing to do. I don’t like people who feel entitled to anything, pregnant or not. While I’m all for common courtesy and doing things for women to help in whatever small way I can, a woman making me feel as if I have to do it just because she’s a woman, is a no-no. Reading the article, I most certainly didn’t get that vibe from what was written. I’m usually not one for piling on men and manhood, as definitions differ from person to person, but damn. It’s a pregnant woman. I don’t think giving up a seat for her is asking for much.
To sum up my feelings on the matter, I find it weird that men in New York (or anywhere, really) wouldn’t be willing to give up their seat for a pregnant woman. As a man, in my opinion, it’s just the right thing to do. In my mind, it’s not even something to debate. It’s just a common courtesy that should be extended.
When Black Voices said the latest work from Sabrina Thompson would make you want to grab a Kleenex, I doubted it. But by the end of the video, I needed more than one.
In her new Social Series titled, “Marriage Is…,” Thompson, a photographer among other things, has caputured images of marriages who have been able to more than 8 years. According to the U.S. Census, the average length of a marriage is 8.8 years. While we may not be able to fully discount those statistics, Thompson wanted to focus on those who fought to beat those odds.
Sabrina Thompson started close to home, looking at her parents as an inspiration who have been married for 40 years. Her goal is to show the younger generation that this type of commitment can happen.
Backed by Robin Thicke’s “Sweetest Love,” the couples’ marriages range from 10 years to 70 years. The latter also serves as the final still in the video and by then, you’re probably fighting to see through the tears.
It is quite moving to see what sacrifice, love and respect looks like through these images. Anyone with half a brain knows that making a life together isn’t easy and we’re sure these couples have worked hard at it everyday, so for that, we salute them!
We urge you to share this video with all of your family and friends.
I don’t know at exactly what age I got the message that, as a black girl, my destiny was to grow up and become a “Strong Black Woman.” My guess is probably around 4.
By that time I had come to know strong black women as survivors. They struggled. They endured. And they didn’t show weakness. They were the women in my family, and while I was proud of them, being a strong black woman didn’t necessarily come easy or get as much respect as I would have thought.
Outside of our culture, I observed that strong black women were perceived as aggressive, inflexible, contentious—hardly the type of women that needed to be protected. Intra-culturally, they shouldered too much responsibility, their emotional needs went unrecognized, unexpressed, and they were often left alone to fend for themselves when they needed help the most. I concluded that being a strong black woman wasn’t what I wanted to be. I resolved to avoid the circumstances that I believed made black women have no choice but to be strong. There would be no making uncommitted men the center of my world; no entering motherhood for the main purpose of getting a commitment or to fill a void; and I would not continually take more than my fair share of responsibility in any endeavor. I wanted to develop an identity apart from the SBW standard, one built upon authenticity and self-actualization.
As an adult, I would often reflect on why I was so adamant as a young girl to not be perceived as a strong black woman. What was I really scared of? Strength is an admirable quality. Why did I not want to make this my story? What did my instincts detect about the precariousness of this female archetype?
The answer came one day as I was on a train casually listening in on a couple’s argument. The girlfriend was furious at her boyfriend because he boarded the train before her. She expected him to usher her on first. Initially, I thought this woman was acting ridiculous, even behaving something like a spoiled brat, but when they exited at their stop, he was sure to escort her off like she had asked. Being assertive about demanding respect without having to be emasculating or ugly taught both this woman’s partner, and myself, a lesson. I marveled at her expectation to be protected. This feeling of protection was something I had always felt was lacking in my relationships and something I desperately wanted to experience. However, I never expressed this need because I was afraid of appearing weak or possibly too overbearing—a true hallmark of a strong black woman–make that a strong woman in general.
Luckily for me, I have since come to recognize vulnerability as strength and, as a result, have experienced greater depth in all my relationships. Being a strong black woman, though it might not always be appreciated by others, is something I definitely have a new appreciation and renewed respect for.
From Single Black Male
I come today speaking on a common issue that men deal with: the women whom men want to “know their place.” These are the women who don’t want to play that part or don’t know that a guy placed them in that role. I know this is a touchy and brash sort of topic. I’m very much ready to explain all that I am about to say. In the non Platonic world, men have two types of women in mind: women they don’t mind dating and women who they only want to have sex with. The truth is that in the latter case that’s all they want to be to that woman. Like many dating/sexual scenarios, it’s just never that simple. There are always confounding variables that can make things a little more confusing. Deception runs rampant between men and women. We try to be as verbally pleasing as possible, cushioning each other’s emotions for our own peace of mind. I don’t necessarily think this is the right way to go but many of us have been guilty of it.
It pays to be clear on the kind of relationship you have with someone. The main reason why guys get upset with women who end up wanting more than what they want is because that woman isn’t fully aware of his intentions. I had a friend in college who was aware of a girl I was dealing with. He knew that to me it really wasn’t anything serious. Here and there this girl wanted to really kick it on campus and I just wasn’t with it. I didn’t want to give off the vibe that I was interested in more than what we were already doing. I wasn’t mean about it. That’s just not what I wanted to do.
I’m not in the business of leading women on. I never have been and I never will be. He affectionately named this girl “stay here” insinuating that all I needed her to do was simply stay where she was and only come around when called upon. Now this was hilarious to me but in reality it’s pretty cold right? As harsh as it sounded, his nickname illustrated my feelings completely. It became clear to me that maybe I wasn’t clear on what this arrangement was.
Read more at SingleBlackMale.org
Most of us grew up in a household where “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am” was the norm when responding to an adult. We were taught to say please and thank you, refrain from interrupting conversations, and hold the door for people. It only took so many glares and spankings if we ever forgot these life lessons — and these signs of respect never left most of us as we became adults.
Unfortunately there are certain celebs who think they are immune to such niceties and respectable behavior and have racked up quite the reputation for rudeness. If only they followed Aretha’s advice and gave a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T…
Don’t let the beautiful face fool ya! Notorious for her lateness, supermodel Naomi Campbell is also known for hitting her helpers — from assistants to therapists. Many people in her path suffer the wrath of her mean streak and nothing seems to keep her outrageous behavior in check – not even five-o. She was detained for assaulting two police officers as well.
Jada Pinkett Smith is taking another shot at addressing the persistent rumors that she and hubby Will Smith have an open marriage. The actress took to her Facebook page this past weekend to comment on the public’s preoccupation with the goings-on in her bedroom because, you know, we have to know. First and foremost, wrote Jada, is “trust and love.” That would include agreeing that one doesn’t “own” the other.
“Do we believe that ownership is the reason someone should ‘behave?’” she asked “Do we believe that all the expectations, conditions, and underlying threats of “you better act right or else” keep one honest and true?”
Jada added that she trusts Will, and he the same. “Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to do so,” she wrote. “This does NOT mean we have an open relationship…this means we have a GROWN one.”
So we get the whole bit about Will and Jada’s marriage being none of our business, (because, really, it isn’t) but her open letter has us thinking about the expectations we so often bring into relationships. How many of us can really say that we allow our significant other to be who they really want to be?
Read more at Essence.com
Ain’t Nobody Trippin’ But You: How My Thirst For Respect Was Allowing Me To Get Angry Over Small Things (And How I Calmed Down)
I come from a long line of angry folks. They’re civilized folks with good jobs, good sense, and a lot of love to share, but they can be angry nonetheless. From my mom, to one of my sisters, as well as both my brothers and my uncle, I’ve watched them go from 0 to 60 in a minute when they felt it necessary, and some of that anger rubbed off on me. We’re what you would call “sensitive.” And living in New York has made it worse I must say. When men literally let a door slam in my face as they walk through it, bad a** kids throw small rocks at strangers (me, of course) when you’re minding your business walking down the street, and you get some of the worst customer service on the planet, you might have a reason to be a little testy. And honestly, I just assumed everyone around me felt and acted the same way. But that was until I punched a lady in the head last week.
It was an accident of course. During my morning commute, minding my business on the train, I was doing the absolute most to keep my bare hands from touching the very dirty pole next to me, so I proceeded to wrap my arm around the pole instead while I waited for my stop. After changing a song on my phone and in the process of once again wrapping my arm around the pole, I accidentally punched the head of the woman sitting down in the seat next to where I was standing. And it was kind of hard. This woman, white and probably in her mid-20s, slowly pulled her head up in shock, and began to rub the spot that I had just gone all Street Fighter on on accident. I turned and started apologizing: “Oh my gosh, I’m so so sorry. I’m really sorry, that was a total accident.” Expecting her to pop off or at least give me the death face, she just looked confused for a second, rubbed her head some more, nodded as if to say, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,” and put her head back down.
That was it.
And I was surprised. I’ve seen New Yorkers of all backgrounds and colors act a complete fool over less, so I was expecting her to act up. But she didn’t because she had better things to do–like finish up her early morning nap before reaching her stop. But for some reason, her response, or lack thereof, had a big impact on me.
As I went to work, I thought about how I know I would have reacted had I been that woman and someone punched me in my head, even if on accident. I might let out a “S**T!” or “What in the hell!???” so that the person knew the extent of their mistake. I’m both sensitive and dramatic. But she was able to shrug it off like I kicked her bag on accident or bumped into her. And if I had hit any other person, I’m sure I would have received a scathing response. I’ve bumped into an older black woman on the train and apologized, only to find her looking at me like she was ready to slap box because her headphones kept her from hearing me. I couldn’t help but share the story with my coworker, and when I asked her why I, and so many others might react less than peacefully compared to this mystery woman, she pointed out one thing that really stuck out with me: “I don’t know, I think we, especially as black people, see these type of things as a sign of disrespect, and many of us do a lot to make sure we’re getting our respect.” Bingo.
I don’t know about you, but I can see my angry faces over the past year (almost two) of living in New York, and I know that respect had a lot to do with the extent of my “rage.” Like the time an older Hispanic man literally sat on me when he couldn’t sit down before the train pulled off, yet he failed to say sorry or anything else to me for that matter. While I only yelled out “OH MY GOD” when his a** fell on me and crushed my purse, in my head after the fact, angry that I received no apology, I was thinking, “DO YOU NOT SEE ME!??? AM I JUST INVISIBLE IN THIS PIECE???” Or the time a white girl standing in front of me whipped her hair in my face and had no clue. Or when a man stole the seat I was about to sit in, and fuming, I thought to myself: “OH SO YOU GONNA ACT LIKE YOU DIDN’T SEE ME ABOUT TO SIT DOWN!? AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A MAN…” In most cases, if someone apologizes for whatever small thing they’ve done to me, I’ll heat up very fast, but hold my tongue and calm myself down, reply with an “It’s cool.”. But when they don’t, I’m ready to spit fire. A lot of my anger comes from people acting as though I don’t exist or they can treat me like whatever, and I can tell by the faces of those who screech down subway cars “YOU CAN’T SAY EXCUSE ME???” that their anger comes from a similar place. That and a little bit of crazy. But we’ve all got to do better.
To be honest, even before that incident, I was trying to get my anger together. I would let the actions of other people, even the simple comments, get under my skin and literally have an impact on at least half of my day. As my choir director would say, that’s giving more power to man than you do to God. So for some time now, I’ve found myself ignoring a lot of people, channeling my anger into my workouts, and learning to step back and evaluate what I’m getting ready to fuss about, instead of stepping out of my body and acting a fool. I’m still working with my anger issues, as its not something that goes away quickly, but this method has been working. If you have anger issues (not the type that you need to go to anger management for though, that’s a bit more serious) and find your self spazzing out to ensure people are treating you with respect, I would encourage you to do the same in order to calm down. Step back and ask yourself if what you’re peeved about is truly worth letting your day start off or end on a negative note and worth pulling away from your happiness. Chances are, it’s not, and it’s not worth it at all.
A while ago I attended a party with a few friends and co-workers. While everyone was dancing, eating and drinking, I sat down next to one of my friends and we began to chat about the atmosphere. As we chatted and gazed around the room, we noticed something a little odd. We noticed that a mutual associate of ours was wrapped in a very intimate embrace with her main male squeeze…nothing too peculiar about that, but what was odd was that while we observed her intimately embracing her main squeeze, we also saw the man she was dating on the side standing next to them, watching them as they embraced; and not only that, during the embrace, she gazed into the male “Misteress’” eyes and he smiled at her. When this moment ended, they all stood there talking and laughing as if they were all best friends.
Now this may not seem strange to some, but it was to my friend and I who were observing this scene, because both men seemed aware that she was being intimately involved with both of them. Again, this may not seem too out of the ordinary for some, but ladies what I want to know is, is it okay for a woman to have her main squeeze and her side dish get along, especially when they both know about her relationship with them both?
Some may say yes, as long as both men know where they stand, and they aren’t disrespectful to each other, which is a very valid point; but how respectful is it knowing that the woman they are involved with is intimately involved with someone else? And you know who he is! Personally, I think this is disrespectful to both men, and the woman. Why? Because both men deserve to be with one woman who will engage in a healthy, monogamous relationship with them, and give them all of the attention they need (if that’s what they want). It also shows disrespectful actions from the woman. How? Because as a woman, she should have more respect for her man and herself, and should respect the relationship she is involved in. Now I know many of you may be thinking, but men do this all the time and no one seems to have a problem with it! While this may be true, what we fail to realize is that some mistresses do struggle with being the other woman; but they keep their struggle inside.
Relationships are hard to maintain with two people involved, and when there is a third or even fourth party involved, things can really get crazy because of the emotional attachments that can occur. It is my personal belief that it is not cool for a woman to have her main squeeze and her side dish get a long, or even know each other at all, because as I stated previously, it’s disrespectful to the men involved and the relationship(s). Even if the men involved are okay with knowing each other and knowing their position, you never know what they are saying about the woman behind her back to each other, and other men. The art of discretion is a gift that is a part of a woman’s natural being. Practicing discretion as a woman is a must, especially when it comes to our intimate affairs and our relationships. If you have a main squeeze and a side dish, or you’re just seeing multiple guys at one time, keep them separate for your own self-respect, and for the sake of the self-respect of the men involved. Even if they don’t care, you should because showing and giving a man the respect they deserve in any type of relationship will make you a better woman and them a better man.
Ladies do you think it’s cool for a woman to have their main squeeze and their side dish know each other?
Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.
As its been said a million times before and remains true, music is a universal language. Before you know it, a song can take you on an emotional roller coaster, feeling things you didn’t know you felt. The stories told in songs can have you agreeing…and throwing a side eye. Some of our favorite songs have some of the most trifling situations: cheating, fighting over men, falling in love with someone else, babies, etc. Check out the list and don’t forget to tell us your fave song that has a trifling meaning!
Issa Rae isn’t the only awkward black girl in existence. For years I’ve found myself in awkward situations and my latest socially awkward mishap came as a result of not knowing the proper protocol of addressing people correctly. Specifically, women who were a bit older than me.
Whenever I meet older women, in a professional setting and outside of work, I usually embark on a silent debate of whether or not to give them a pre-fix of Ms. If a woman appears 10 years older than me but less than 20, is it considered social suicide to put Ms. before her name? At what point is it acceptable to address her by her first name if she doesn’t ask me to, and am I unknowingly offending people by giving them an undeserving matronly title?
I know that even when you’re trying to be polite, calling someone “Ms.” can get a playful, but negative reaction (“OH NO! Please don’t call me that!”). And since some women have the tendency to be catty, it’s not unreasonable to assume that some folks are intentionally doling out titles that no one wants. I know I can’t help questioning the reasoning of any woman a few years younger than me that calls me “Ms.” anything. A five year age difference is hardly enough of a difference to warrant Ms. in front of my name, but are there any real hard and fast rules to know what age range determines when someone should or should not be addressed as such?
I just learned a colleague’s real age after several years of knowing her. I always assumed she was only a few years older than me, but it turns out that she’s old enough to be my mother’s age, and she just has extremely good genes. I’ve been calling her by her first name because I didn’t know she was so much older than me and now I’m wondering if calling her simply by her first name was disrespectful. She never corrected me and she never told me what she’d prefer I call her when we initially met, but now, knowing the vast age difference, I’m in an awkward position. Or maybe I’m overreacting?
I can avoid using her name altogether in many different situations by utilizing different monikers like “homegirl” or “sista.” Or I could listen intently as introductions are given and try to decipher if I heard her add Ms. before her name. Or, I could even ask her what she prefers to be called, but then again, being awkward as I initially stated, it hasn’t been my first thought. But what would you do? And how do you determine who you want to call “Ms.” and who you address by their first name? And how do you feel if and when someone pulls those two letters out on you?Ashley Brumeh is the creator of www.everythingelo.com a blog dedicated to Christ, culture, and everything in between.