Not always sure how to articulate my feelings regarding topics that can either tickle an eureka response, or become the reason for yet another sixty-six blocks to the Owl’s Asylum Twitter account. Considering that particular hesitance and the dire need to qualify each statement in this modern age’s art of political correctness, the task of writing about Afkan (Afrikan-Amerikkkan) male and female (can I write ‘female’ there and not be written off before execution?) relationships can be daunting. As a disclaimer, I can only write from my perspective. My perspective should be defined as my experiences, my observations, my analysis, and my opinion. The key word there in case you missed the oh so awkward use of repetition is ‘my’. Carrying on…
Relationships of complete organic design can be filled with surplus tensions that cause the bond to become brittle. Western psychology and Freud’s specific thoughts on incest aside, even mother and son relationships can be tumultuous. This is not to compare that naturally configured coupling to the romantic sort, yet it is to say, it takes work at some point to keep people operating together. People meet with one set of concerns and desires, and later on evolve or devolve with new considerations and motivations. Relationships take work.
If I might beg your pardon for one important digression.
I was born in St. Louis, Mo, after being conceived in East St. Louis, Il according to the legend (yes, you can smile along as I go). I spent a sizable portion of my life in that culture. I now live in the Mid-Atlantic region, and I have noticed several interesting differences with regard to Afkan male culture with respect to women.
Wait…some differences are more stark than others, so let me make sure I’m clear. I am writing about heterosexual relationships, and I don’t really see a need to comprise a clause that apologizes to the Lesbian Gay and Transexual or Transgendered community, but hey, I know we all get a little sensitive (pronounce: ‘shen-sha-tive’) when we aren’t mentioned.
Yes, the make-up of the Afkan homosexual communities are starkly different from St. Louis to the DMV. Stark contrast. Maybe not exactly night and day, but definitely somewhere around dawn and dusk. As a guy that once literally lived in the Coffee Cartel, a cafe on St. Louis’ Central West End that caters to the homosexual population to the point of flying a rainbow flag outside the establishment, I can firmly say that although St. Louis does have a strong homosexual presence, it isn’t anything like what I’ve witnessed in the DMV. The comparison is similar to comparing the gang cultures of L.A. to that of St. Louis. I’ll touch back on this later, I’m sure.
Growing up in St. Louis, I can recall several occurrences when my male associates told me to get home to my woman. In fact, the to my woman was completely understood in the phrase, “man, you need to get home.” Relationships are a big thing in my home town. The discussion I heard there from Afkan women, ranging from my family members to close associates, was something akin to,”I’m going to find a man”, or “…when I find my man.” I never heard a woman of any physical stature state that they were giving up on men. I never heard a woman discussing not dealing with Afkan men in favor of dealing with a woman until the later 2000s (decade, not century, obviously…). On that note, I’ve never met a man that stated,”I’m tired of dealing with women, I’m about to go get a man…”, whether serious or joking — heterosexual men tend to be fully socialized into a heterosexual posture no matter how dynamic the sexual continuum might be presented…eh, more on that at a later date. Now, before I compose an email addressed to the St. Louis Board of Tourism asking for a job in marketing, I must make clear that my bias is not that of a homesick native waxing nostalgia. Far from it.
I don’t miss St. Louis, I miss my mother.
The whole point of this is not for the men reading this to visit their local Enterprise to rent high end automobiles for an excursion to the Show Me State. It is to say that in the DMV, in this mid-atlantic region, Afkan women exercise certain options almost as a default. At the same time, the men in St. Louis are different. From the Afkan men that I’ve been privy to observe and converse with, or just ear hustle off of, there is decidedly positive respect for the long-term relationship.
Now, before all the women on the eastern shore begin importing brothers with gold teeth and arch tattoos, I have to write this. The propensity for having commitments raises the amounts of cheating. Where some brothers from this area have a tendency to lie to women for sex (true conversation), some brothers that I know, family included, have a tendency to form households with women while maintaining extracurricular activities with other women outside that home.
It is difficult here to write from an anecdotal voice due to all the contradictions that writing about a dynamic of contradictions — namely “life” — can conjure up. Should I be considering male privilege here? Should I be considering socioeconomics here? Should I be considering white male power ordinances here? Should I be considering media impacts here? Of course, I should.
Concurrent with that thought, I don’t want to be overly objective, dry, and googling statistics to hurl at imagined criticisms I have yet to face. Especially since I trust my eyes and ears much more than I trust well trained numbers. There is a major cultural difference between those warring the conservative White energies bouncing off the arch and those Go-Go dancing to the frequencies being transmitted by the Washington Memorial. The Bi-state (St. Louis/East St. Louis and the outlying proximities) region does not have the Afkan professional class that the DMV (outlying metro-DC convering three state territories) has in trumps. This does create a social context whereby you can have a Prince George’s County in Maryland which is primarily suburban Akfan professionals and working class individuals with minimal urban influences. St. Louis’ north county and unincorporated districts can’t boast of the same level of unhampered socioeconomic development.
With money comes changes. Well, if I might be so allowed a Hegelisms here, or whoever he stole the idea from, with any substantial adjustment of any quantity comes a change in quality. Professional class Afkan men tend to be quite picky. And that, in my thinking, is more social than just economic. I personally know Afkan men that have attracted more money than most professional Afkan men will make in their entire lives that only have relationships with Afkan women compared to Afkan professionals that barely date Afkan women at all, let alone exclusively. I really don’t want to continue my glorification of the lumpen-proletariat in my writings, but I must type this, the sort of brothers I know from St. Louis, well, the East side mainly, but still, that can walk into a consumer district and honestly say, “this mall can’t break me” are engaged, married to, or involved long-term with Afkan women. Most brothers that I know from that environment aren’t just working to ‘score’ with these Afkan women in some immature game of “How Many Women Can I Have Sex With Before My Penis Falls Off”; these sort of brothers work to keep a woman, what they call, “locking her down.” Sure, the imagery of “locking” someone down is a bit oppressive; but I never hear anyone complaining when men call women their “ball and chain.” The point is that many brothers with money don’t mind being involved with Afkan women, so I do question the social implications.
With the rigors involved with surmounting the barriers of entry into White professional USA, professional brothers are forced to accept certain socialized beliefs and practices. Certain women are going to get overlooked in order for the brother to feel comfortable with his social environment and prescribed status. People are judged harshly by the mate they choose, and given the sedentary nature of corporate or professional life, the committed relationship it Self is often considered an unworthy expense. Where the lumpen-proletariat typically represents a much more pastoral lifestyle that fosters a respect for male and female coupling among the males. Once again, this is not to glamorize one class over the other, just stating observations.
Of course, I’m prepared already for the laughably inevitable event of being attacked for calling the professional class out for their obvious and well-noted elitist posture, while everyone will overlook the glaring contradictions inhabiting the last two paragraphs. I can’t explain exactly why I sense that the St. Louis lumpen-proletariat is more favorable to Afkan women and committed bonding. Baltimore and DC are known world wide for their lumpen class Afkan communities, but the brothers in this region simply don’t have the same degree of respect for relationships. The brothers that I’ve observed the most here are from urban centers or at least are employed for ridiculously unfair wages.
One of the brothers that I’ve worked with readily admits to lying to women for sex. Not that lying to women for sexual favors is totally unheard of in any geographic location, but most of the brothers I dealt with in St. Louis at least publicly vocalized disdain for pretending to have more money for sex. The term used nationally is, “fronting”, in Florida, they also say “flodging”. In this area, it appears to be fairly acceptable behavior. I have never seen so many brothers working for minimum wage driving around in Cadillac trucks and BMWs. There is another brother that I work with that is homeless at the time of this writing. His cynicism reflects the same attitude that many of the brothers I’ve dealt with, namely, that Afkan women in this area are not willing to breathe in the same air as a brother bringing home less that fifty thousand dollars a year. The notion is that Afkan women only want relationships to pay bills and that men are forced to lie to them for sex. Since being here, I’ve come to this strange realization that many men are living simply to indulge them Selves in as many sexual encounters as possible. I heard one brother that owns a company bragging about how he rents an apartment down in Brazil just to spend money on “…all them damn Jennifer Lopez looking bitches.”
Of salient value, to me anyway, is the fact that two of the brothers from the last paragraph are in their late 20s and neither has children. 2 brothers willing to work, with no children in their late 20s in St. Louis would create an ecological imbalance. Jokes. But I am disappointed that in an area with a substantially economically empowered community, the rates of reproduction and value of relationships is not higher. That isn’t to disparage homosexual, male or female, couples that are successfully raising children together, but I am heterosexual and we all feel more pleased when witnessing others practicing our personal life choices and aspirations.
I may return to this topic at a later date. I will definitely have gathered more empirical data and insights at that time. I hope this is not so polarizing as to alienate or infuriate anyone. As stated, these are my observations. I really don’t need to be looking over my shoulder out this way any more than I already am.