Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Women: Would you shun men to save African America?

Let's say that a group of African American women got together and decided that the only way to stop the downward spiral of a disproportionate number of African American men; would be to organize a boycott of African American men who engaged in undesirable behavior.

The following behaviors would be qualifiers;

- Any arrests or convictions for any crime, including serious misdemeanors
- Failing to be involved in the lives of their children, including failure to give financial support
- Dropping out of school prior to graduating from high school and failing to make an effort to either; go to college or receive training that would lead to gainful employment, ex., Carpentry.
- Using any illegal or controlled substance
- Violence of any kind

What would a boycott mean?

It would mean no social interaction with men who engaged in the aforementioned behaviors. No dating them, no befriending them even in a platonic relationship. It would mean shunning women who broke with the group and engaged with these men.

It would also mean the older women encouraging young women such as teen-aged girls to follow suit.

My thought is that if men's chances of having relations with women were almost nil if they engaged in these behaviors that they would cease to do so.

I have a vague memory of a group of women doing such a thing in some ancient civilization. I can't remember any details other than it apparently worked. If anyone remembers reading about these women please let me know.

Obviously all African American women would not need to participate. Single woman would mostly be involved. Although Married women could provide support.

Everyone talks about the problems of large numbers of Black men this is an ancient solution.



Questions

Woman

Would you be willing to participate in the boycott?
Do you think that enough African American women could be convinced to do so?
Do you think that such a boycott would work to force men to avoid living a destructive lifestyle?


Men

Do you think this would work?
Why or why not?




Photo Attribution: S. Duarte

24 comments:

Mango Mama said...

I'm not sure if this will work MDC. I think most of the brothers would simply cross the color line, because the one's you've identified as the problem, have already demonstrated they don't care and aren't prepared to do the hard work.

Interesting concept though!

nick said...

I'd love it to work, it sounds like a great initiative against a serious problem. But I fear most women would be reluctant to boycott men because (a) it's such a drastic step and they're brought up to negotiate rather than opt out (b) they depend on men for so many things and might have a lot to lose (c) they might be afraid of violent retaliation. But maybe I'm being too pessimistic here. After all, withdrawing sexual favours as a bargaining tool has worked many times in many countries. I'm really interested in what women think about this.

Sage said...

Wow...a boycott?!

No, I would not participate or support one. I think we should support our African American brothers and sisters vs. shunning them.

There are so many that are simply misguided and need positive influences in their lives.

I would prefer to put this boycotting energy to mentoring programs in prisons, schools, churches, etc.

I am so thankful and blessed to have had childhood (and adult) mentors...they have held me accountable for actions and have provided me with the Godly-direction I needed.

Randi523 said...

I would prefer to put this boycotting energy to mentoring programs in prisons, schools, churches, etc.

No offense, but there are already some in place, but our race/society is still jacked up. Mentoring works only when there is a willing mentee (I know personally: I've tried to reach back to my HBCU alma mater a few times to mentor to the Chemistry students there-no response!Almost hurt my feelings...)

MDC: I've started my own personal boycott with the stipulations you listed years ago :-) I do believe in supporting our Black brothers and sisters, but it becomes ridiculous when we support the ones doing wrong.

Sage said...

No offense taken Randi523. Mentoring programs were mere examples...all in all, I tend to look for positive tactics to jolt/foster positive change.

In my experience, that's what works best. Boycotting doesn't address the issues in our communities at all.

For instance, I oversee that state's after-school initiative, which funds after-school program in low-income areas throughout the state of New Jersey.

Our programs expose youth to positive influences (educational, cultural, etc.) and has tremendously helped our brothers and sisters in our communities. We support them, not their poor behavior and redirect them.

At the end of the day its very rewarding to see adjudicated youth and adults turn their lives around and begin succeeding in their communities.

Ehav Ever said...

What you may be talking about sounds like the ancient Greek play, Lysistrata which tells the story of women who stopped a war by witholding sex from their husbands until they agreed to lay down their arms.

The play was written by Aristophanes. Led by the title character, Lysistrata, the story's female characters barricade the public funds building and withhold sex from their husbands to end the Peloponnesian War and secure peace. In doing so, Lysistrata engages the support of women from Sparta, Boeotia, and Corinth. All of the other women are first aghast at Lysistrata's suggestion to withhold sex. Finally, they agree to swearing an oath of allegiance by drinking wine from a shield. This is ironic and therefore comical, because Greek men believed women had no self-restraint, a lack displayed in their alleged fondness for wine as well as for sex.

A present-day Lysistrata played out in the town of Pereira, Colombia, in September 2006 when a group of gangsters' wives and girlfriends declared a sex strike to force their partners to participate in a disarmament program.

There is also the Roman woman's protest of the Oppian Law in 195 B.C.E. You can find information on that Here.

You may be able to find more information at Women In World History

Randi523 said...

"At the end of the day its very rewarding to see adjudicated youth and adults turn their lives around and begin succeeding in their communities."

Sage, I think we both agree on that. I think the reason MDC posed this ? is partly out of frustration. What else can we do? When people just stick to the "I'm keepin it real" mentality and think things outside of hip hop and dancing are wack or "White" (my own sisters think that about me b/c I choose to be open-minded and learn about and explore out of the norm for Blacks things).
My ex-boyfriend was a History major. He thinks that our race will "come to", just like Whites did after the 1920s-during that time period, there were Whites that did the whole "bling thing" (a la The Great Gatsby). We just have to hope and wonder when it will happen for us...

Symphony said...

The biggest obstacle is the first step--and thats women.

We as women talk about being the leaders, strong, taking care of family, raising kids alone, but we don't take a stand in our personal lives.

And how we disrespect ourselves as individuals manifests to how the public (men, media, etc.) sees us as a whole.

I had a friend who once said when she was younger: "I dont want to sit around like y'all watching movies and playing cards instead of having a man."

At the time she was dating a dude who was cheating on her and beating on her. The boycott is ultimstely nothing more than self-love.

THE Addict..... said...

randi523 said it all in her first response. if the participating groups actually stuck to the rules, i feel like (as sad as it is), it would work. but therein lies the problem, the women NOT sneaking around and the men not finding loopholes. if i were single, i SURE WOULD participate. before i got married, i imposed a similar "strike" on myself cuz i was sick and tired of being sick and tired. with the way the black family is looking right now....desperate times call for desperate measures. so i'm not mad at this one bit.

t.renee said...

This boycott strikes me as being wantonly punitive. The current African American Male's recipe for destruction has many ingredients - one of those ingredients are the mothers/aunts/grandmothers that raised (or in some cases did NOT raise) them. As an African American woman, I would propose a more inclusive boycott; one that encompasses African American women and holds us to the same/rules standards. I think expanding the scope of the proposed "boycott" will result in what our community really needs - a symbiotic relationship (with accountability) that focuses on recovering the basic morals/values/behaviors that are the cornerstone of our community.

Professor Tracey said...

MDC - Awesome question. I'm not sure that a boycott would work, but many of the things you suggest should be happening already - boycott or not boycott.

Black women should be engaging in relationships that are healthly and productive instead of convincing themselves that certain brothers will improve or change their ways.

The question for me is if the shoe was on the other foot with a significant portion of black women rejecting education, engaging in lawless and violent behaviors, dumping responsibility of their children, etc...

Would black men be continuing to SUPPORT us? Would they be talking about mentoring programs and the like or would they be talking about writing us off?

Tami said...

MDC,

I think avoiding the type of men you describe, whether they are black, white, Asian, etc., is what women with self regard do, because those women want better and know that they deserve better. I'm married now, but in my single days it would never have occurred to me to date a deadbeat dad, a dropout, a cheater or a drug addict.

We need to encourage young women to have standards for themselves and for the people they associate with romantically and platonically. One natural side effect of women having higher self esteem would be men having higher standards to reach.

A more loving way to approach this might be, instead of focusing on punishing black men, focus on teaching black women to value themselves and to expect and demand the best.

P.S. Ehav, you rock! I love that you know this stuff.

browngirl said...

addict and randi523 are right. there has to be consistency at large. but to play devil's advocate-- is that sending a message that black women are perfect. it could backfire and, like mango mama said, they may seek companionship from women of other ethnicities. if i were single, i'd definitely do my part to get the point across that our black men need to get it together...

e said...

what an interesting concept. sorry to say that i do not think it would work and would alienate a really large segment of the black male population. i know MANY men who are college graudates, successful in business who still smoke, so i don't know. also in general I find it very difficult to unite black people around anything. but you're right, it does take drastic measures...

clnmike said...

LOL, this is a good one!

I always said that if women just played high post with men we would get are act right, but now I am pretty certain that would not be the final answer.

But it is a start.

I know I have curved my behavior because of some "do right" women.

But I will refer to this quote

"No one will win the Battle of the Sexes. There is to much fraternizing with the enemy" Hennry Kissinger, St. Louis Dispatch

Thats kind of like what would happen here.

You got to get them while they are young.

Tami said...

Browngirl, I don't think black women seeking good men of other races is a bad thing. To me, the most important thing is for black women to choose GOOD men, not necessarily black ones. That said, there are plenty of good black men around. I count my husband, father and brother among them.

Also, I don't think higher standards will result in masses of black women switching their sexual orientation. It just doesn't work that way.

I say this with all due respect. Just keeping the conversation interesting. (lol)

Mes Deux Cents said...

Mango Mama,

They might cross the color line, but will other women want them after Black women have shunned them?




Nick,

Yes it has worked before (sex is a powerful weapon) so there is hope that it might work again. You're right though, there could be those complications.


Sage,

I understand your reluctance. I would ask; how long have mentoring programs existed and are things getting better?

I think we are getting beyond crisis in some parts of the country.


Randi,

I know EXACTLY how you may have felt when you tried to help that student. Just recently I tried to help someone who actually came to me. When I told them what they needed to do, they didn't do it.


Ehav,

Thanks! I was racking my mind while writing this post trying to remember.



Randi,

Yes frustration!




Symphony,

"The boycott is ultimately nothing more than self-love"

That's it exactly. Something has to be done.

I would be afraid to find out how many Black men and women have been killed by Black men in 2007. I bet its way more than the number of troops lost in Iraq. That is a shame.

(You comment posted twice, that's why you see that deletion)



The Addict,


I think that women would have to pressure other women not to break with the boycott. I know it would be difficult but what's the alternative?



T.Renee,

Well I think that the women would be subjected to the boycott as well as the men. The point would be to encourage. So it's not punitive.

Thousands of Black men dying on the streets of the U.S. is as punitive as it gets.



Professor Tracey,

You're right, those things should be occurring. But they aren't in many cases. So a team effort might help to get people to adhere to standards.



Tami,

As I said to T.Renee, what’s more punishment; being boycotted by women that care for you are being shot down in the street?

Things are getting drastic out there. In the city next to me they are going to break the homicide record. Most of the people killed have been Black men who were killed by Black men.



Browngirl,


I think it would send a message that we care so much that we are willing to sacrifice our personal lives to help them.


Eva,

Isn’t a large population of African American men already alienated?

I understand your point; I'm just trying not to continue to see Black men losing their lives for nothing.


ClnMike,

"I know I have curved my behavior because of some "do right" women."

That's my point.




-----------------------------------

I hope everyone understands that I'm just sick of always hearing how badly Black men are doing. I'm just looking for viable solutions. I think that a lot of the so-called Black leaders have a lot invested in the continued failure of Black people. They make their money on our misery.

So I think new voices are needed. This might not be the answer but I love that we all can talk between ourselves about this.


THANK YOU!

Homeland Colors said...

I think that the boycott is absolutely brilliant and I hope that it catches on. I don't even think that the standards are that high. Sisters have to have higher standards for the men that they date. Trifflin and absentee fathers don't just drop babies of on womens doorsteps, women choose them. If women have better standards it'll be good for them, their children, and the men who change their behavior to conform to them.

DMB said...

I think the action is definitely neccessary and useful--think about how many painful statistics future black families could avoid if such actions were taken. (lower rates of domestic violence, illegitimate children, etc.)

But I don't this catching on simply because there are too many women of all ages who are so starved for love that they will accept attention from anyone--regardless of his character.

Liz said...

I agree with Tami in that these should be standards for all women but I remember when I was younger that folks thought it was so weird that I wouldn't even consider dating someone with an arrest record or kids. My thing was that I didn't have a record or kids so why should the man?

In college it killed me to see women sharing one guy. I'd rather be alone than do that but not everyone felt the same and it enabled the cheating behavior.

I hear you on the frustration though. And if you want to really depress yourself, go to laweekly.com and read the article in the news section about LA gangs.

Mes Deux Cents said...

HC,

That's true, women of a society set the standards and men usually follow.



DMB,

I think those women you mention are the ones who would benefit the most. But you're right it would be difficult to get them on board.




Liz,

There is a slow genocide going on in LA with the gang situation. It's been going on for decades.

That's why I couldn't understand when so-called Black leaders where trying to save Stanley "Tookie" Williams.

WBMT said...

Sharazhad Ali, activist from the 90's said something along these lines years ago, but her hypothesis was basically "if every black woman came together, and said I will not date a man who spends the day on his mother's couch"...basically men would change their ways quickly. It was misconstrued by the media, and she was smeared, but I wanted beleive that she was trying to tell black women that you have so much power,and can transform the community, if you just choose to use it..

Mes Deux Cents said...

WBMT,

Thanks for the info. I'll have to look up Ms Ali. Sometimes people have the right message but the time isn't right.

Ehav Ever said...

To me it sounds like this is less of a protest and more of a lifestyle that should be followed to begin with. The only way I see something like this working is for two other things to take place along side it. (list time. Yeah!)

1) If there was a similar protest being done by African American men.

2) If there was an exerted effort to get like minded African Americans singles hitched. Whether that be with other African Americans or whoever (as long as they share the same moral outlook) get the singles married and making families.

If those two things were somehow institutionalized then you could possibly offset the negative people with a tide of positive families.

The problem, as I see it, is that there are women who support the guys you are protesting. Those women are similar to the guys you are protesting, and maybe those women need to protested by positive men.

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron