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Balancing Act: Knowing a Woman's Place

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I'm definitely a modern-day gal. I love to speak my mind, handle my own money and I take great pride in my wit. Each day I'm thankful for the foremothers who were insightful and purpose-driven enough to conquer grounds that are not even on the radar for many of today's women (think everything from our ability to work in any field to wearing denim).

I appreciate our grandmothers' crusade to offer us opportunities they could only journal about. These women struggled, prayed and endured so we could have something they lacked: options.

Today we are inundated with stories about Black women "choosing" to be Ms. Independent, you know, having her own sans a man. Or, even worse, the women who have men, but simply don't know how to treat him. Sadly, because Black women are mean and evil, ambitious and cold-hearted, and rude and emasculating, many Black men are forced to endure torturous, invalidating relationships with women who do not know their place — well, at least that's the story I keep hearing.

For example, on a recent episode of "The Mo'Nique Show," the host and two of her guests went in on many African-American women for not "submitting" to their spouses. Three words came to mind: next topic please.

I am tired of hearing one-sided assaults on the plight of Black relationships, which stereotypically vilify the easy target: Black women. Yes, it's a no-brainer — and more politically correct — to go after the seemingly less vulnerable. For example, telling an overweight person to eat less is cruel, but chiding a thin person for abstaining from dessert is funny. In this case, Black women, generally speaking, are the fat cats.

Despite being part of a generation who lost our dads, uncles and brothers, we handled business in many ways. We focused on school. We held down the homes. We raised the kids. In sum, we did the work of both the men and women. Some of our men were too traumatized and broken to do the same. The result: We're hunting for mates in a pool of emotionally maimed men.

I, like many of you out there, want a husband. I'd prefer him to be Black (also God-fearing, devastatingly handsome, unabashedly doting and paid... but I digress). Most important, I want him to lead. I can't wait to submit. I'm eager to hear a plan other than my own (though, I must admit, they tend to be rather tight). I love the bounce of bass in my ear and the feel of peach fuzz on my neck in the mornings. But I have to wait. I must wait until I find a man who is humble, selfless, self-assured and emotionally healthy enough to do so. Will he make mistakes? Of course. Still, his focus and priorities should assure that they are rarely based on his personal wants, but his desires for our family unit.

So right about now you may be asking: what's her gripe? It's simple: Our community's conversation about submission needs to be two-fold. We can't just tell women to submit. We must demand that more of our men our accountable, respectful, selfless leaders worthy of our trust.

Today I'm balancing knowing my place as woman, the ideals versus the reality. I would love to kick back and crown my next boo as king of my, better yet his, castle. But the reality is he may not be ready. We will likely both have to work together to move to a place where submission isn't mission impossible, as we both come from a generation plagued with trauma. Until we demand more from both parties we will continue to see power struggles, frustration and chaos.

I give major kudos to sisters, such as Mo'Nique, who've found great men (there are many) willing and able to claim their place as heads of the households. Still, I think it's dangerous to suggest we be led by just any man. After all, he can't know where he's taking you until he figures out where he's going.
Filed Under: Balancing Act
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