Monday, January 27, 2014

Late to the Party - Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 2

Part II, Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice"
We live in a world that does not encourage women in general and black women in particular to assert their autonomy.

In the realm of living as a black woman, there comes a point where you're simply not supposed to ask for more than what the nearest white person thinks is enough for you to have. And if you expect and have the nerve to ask for more, reach for more, work harder for more- then you're seen as greedy and snatching at something that you really haven't earned. Yes, even if it's something you've worked for.

There are many examples of this happening to black women professionally.

Let's start with the paragon of black professional women, Oprah Winfrey.
"It was 1980. I was getting paid twenty-two thousand dollars and the guy who I was co-anchoring with was getting paid fifty [thousand]. So I went in to my boss and I said, 'He's getting paid a lot more money than I'm getting paid.' And you know what my boss said?

"'Why should you make that much money?' In 1980! He said,'Why should you make that much money?'

"He said, 'Do...He has kids. Do you have kids?'And I said, 'No.'

"'Do you have a house?' (laughing) "And I said, 'No.' And he said, 'So, so tell me why you need the same amount of money?'

"And I said, 'Well, because we're doing the same job.' "He says, 'I don't think so.' And so I thought, 'Hm. I'll show you.'"

Let's also consider the recent events regarding Dr. Danielle Lee noted scientist and blogger of the Urban Scientist at Scientific American.
When A Black Female Scientist Gets Called An 'Urban Whore'
Laura Rankin, TPM

If you haven't heard of Lee already, here's the backstory: She was recently asked by an editor named "Ofek" of the scientific site Biology-Online if she would be interested in blogging for them. When she asked for further details, including how much they paid their guest bloggers, the editor responded that the opportunity could provide traffic and exposure, but no payment. Lee politely declined the offer from Ofek, who penned a horrifying response: "Because we don't pay for blog entries? Are you an urban scientist or an urban whore?"

By calling Lee an "urban whore," the Biology-Online editor was essentially chastising her for not taking what she could get. The editor couldn't possibly understand how this black woman wouldn't jump at the chance to work for free, given that women of color are so rarely featured in publications, scientific or otherwise. This offensive slur reinforces the notion that women of color should be thrilled with the meager scraps they are thrown, and that they should smile and nod while doing so.
Do you see a pattern here? We get to a point in our public and professional lives where someone decides we've simply gone to far. Gotten above ourselves, beyond our station. Gotten too uppity or bougie. We've outplayed the draft status that black skin should have limited us to and we simply shine to brightly.

We must be taught a lesson. We must be taken down a peg or two.

We cannot be allowed to think too much of ourselves because we may become unmanageable.

Give us equal resources and who knows what we could do?

How much more does these false expectations come to play in what we're expected to accept at our most personal core and in our intimate relationships?

Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 1
Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part 3

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Late to the Party - Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice"

I spend a lot of time online. For all that, it's just impossible to be aware of everything that's popular online at any given time. So I'm going to start a new segment here at DebLite called "Late to the Party."

For my first entry under the "Late to the Party" segment, we're going to go all way back go 2011, to an episode of Divorce Court where it seems the wife divorced her husband because he is, and I quote, "too nice."

The wife explains why she is seeking a divorce. He's a good man, the relationship was going pretty well up to a point and then, she began to feel that her husband was "too nice."

Th e courtroom titters, the judge looks at the wife askance and repeatedly berates her, eventually calling her "trifling and self-centered." Judge Toler accuses the wife of not knowing what she wants and of throwing away a "good man" on a whim. Unsaid are the words, "good black man"  but you best be damned sure that's what we all heard.

Throwing away a "good black man" is a crime that is punishable by extreme derision, head wagging and judging the mental status of the black woman in question.

Everything the Judge says underlines this. I've heard these shows are scripted. I pray this one was, but I don't think so because of a moment where the soon to be ex-wife looks so incredulous, I just don't think it was acting. Also because she held her piece where I would have gone off and she just lets it go.

She has the look of a woman who is done. I know that look. It's that point Chrisette Michelle sings about in her song, "Blame It on Me"

Blame it on me, Say it's my fault
Say I'm a liar, a cheater, say anything that you want
As long as it's over...

 It seems there are several ways we can view this:

The Judge is right: The woman is trifling, self-centered and throwing away a good man for a reason she can't really explain.

The Husband and a lot of people are right: The woman is an ungrateful bitch who doesn't understand the good thing she has and is just plain evil to toss this "good man" aside.

The Wife is right: The husband is too nice, or at any rate, he's not her cup of tea anymore. She's not crazy. She's not trifling, self-centered, ungrateful or evil.

She just wants something more, or more to the point, something different, than this man can give her.

I'm inclined to believe #3. Mainly because I spent 15 years with a "nice guy." And when I broke up our relationship it hurt him, me, our families, our friends, hell even our dog. But it had to be done.

I believe the wife.  My next post will explain why.

Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part II
Divorcing a Man Because He's "Too Nice" Part III