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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shawn Responds to comments on his Why 70 Percent of Black Women are Single Blog.

I’ve gotten a lot of responses from people from the Why 70 Percent of Black Women are single Blog. While many have praised that piece, some Black women are offended by it.

I don’t care.

Now some think I’m being one-sided.

That’s true. The piece was written to be one-sided. But I was not bashing Black women. I was presenting the views of countless Black men.

And I had to write that particular article that way. It was tough love.

When I volunteered to work at the STRIVE job readiness program twelve years ago, I got a chance to talk to the hardest of hard cases. Ex-offenders, high school dropouts, addicts in recovery, and the homeless. People considered unemployable.

But many of those brothers and sisters were good people. They were just too busy wallowing in self-pity to see that in themselves.

We only had three weeks to get these dysfunctional brothers and sisters job ready. And there was no time for kindness. Those brothers and sisters needed to be shown that their attitudes and approaches to life were failures and keeping them stranded in poverty.

Today’s American Black woman is just as dysfunctional about her relationships with Black men as those ex-offenders, high school dropouts, addicts in recovery, and the homeless I worked with.

Many Black men consider these Black Women considered unmarriageable. Worse, they consider them intolerable. Their approaches to life are failures and keeping them single.

At STRIVE we confronted those program participants considered to be unemployable with the reasons why their attitudes and approaches to life were failures. It was blunt, it was raw and no-nonsense.

But it worked. In three weeks most of those people got their shit together. Many went on to find jobs. A few went on to careers. And close to eighty percent of them kept those jobs for more than two years. And quite a few moved on to the middle class.

The way I see it, today’s American Black woman needs to be confronted about her dysfunctional behavior and her dysfunctional approach to life.

She needs to be shown why her bad attitude and bad behavior are preventing her from connecting with Black men and having healthy relationships with brothers.

Is this approach one sided? Yeah, it is.

But it’s all a part of tough love. Tough love is Raw, it’s hard, it’s direct. The people who practice it are coming at you hard because they know that the people they care about need to see the painful truth about the dangerous direction they’re going in.

They understand that while it may hurt that person to be confronted with that raw honest truth about themselves in the short-term, as they heal they’ll grow to be better people in the long term.

Now I wrote that piece to have an impact on Black women. To confront those dysfunctional Sistas about their dysfunctional approach to relationships with Black men.

I’m not going to sugarcoat things and patronize sistas by patting them on the head and catering to their false victim status. Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry Steve Harvey and countless others have tried that approach for close to 30 years.

That approach may sell books, movies and lots of DVDs. It may put money in the pockets of a few hustlers.

But it doesn’t help my people grow to be better people.

The goal of that blog was to get Black women to start taking a look at themselves. To take a look at their failed approaches to relationships and how they treat Black men when they’re involved with them. When two thirds of men avoid pursuing relationships with the women in their community, there’s clearly a problem in that community.

What I presented in that piece are the issues Black Men have with Black women. How we see the women in our community.

At STRIVE we had no choice but to confront our program participants but with how other people saw them. That was the only way they could make the changes towards becoming better people. The kinds of people who were employable and could retain full-time employment that would give them economic independence.

It’s these little things that are preventing sistas from connecting with brothas. It’s these behaviors that are preventing Black women from having healthy relationships with Black men. These barriers are preventing many Black women from coming together and having the kinds of relationships they want with Black men.

If I come hard at the sistas, it’s because I care. Not because I’m bitter. I love Black women enough to tell them to truth about what's making their relationships fail. And i do this because I want to foster healing between Black men and Black women, not continue to maintain this 40-year-enmity between us.

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