Monday, November 26, 2012

Some White Men's Thoughts on Privilege

I'll be writing a little bit about race today so skip it if you are not in the mood today. Well a straight, White male blogger made a post to explain privilege to other straight, White males and that entry blew up with comments! The article is called "Straight White male: The lowest difficulty setting there is" by John Scalzi. Well isn't this timely given my previous post called "What to do about privilege". The post was written about on another blog by a White male that you can read HERE.

I made a comment on the second blog that I will post below because, as you may know, I don't see the benefit of pointing out privilege to people unless it's supposed to change their behaviour in some way. If the point is to make them vote for, support, and accept social programs and affirmative action, or donate to organizations then it makes sense. But sometimes when I read about privilege it's as though the only intended benefit is to have knowledge of it and be grateful for your life akin to the "clean your plate because starving kids in Africa would be glad to have it" kind of thing (that many Africans find insulting). I think that the readers sense that there is a hidden agenda that will involve them giving to people they don't know and they resent that and think it is unfair (just stating what they have stated so don't shoot the messenger). They feel that they were born into the privilege so they don't owe anyone anything, they have their own struggles, there are Black people who live better than them, and it would be unfair to make them feel guilty just because they are White (and they call that reverse racism...not a fan of that term). This is why they freak out when anyone talks about privilege. As Scalzi mentioned, he knows White people freak out when they hear the word privilege so he used a video game metaphor instead. I would suggest that Black people find another term too because as soon as you call someone privileged or racist they shut don't and are so offended they won't hear the rest of what you want to say.

It may turn into an interesting discussion, but interesting is all it will be since the knowledge isn't linked to action and no matter what anyone says, I'm not going to believe that I'm disadvantaged and a charity case just because I'm Black. I am not a victim who needs to be saved or pitied! I'm hoping that no White men come to this blog and use it to prove, "see a Black person agrees with us" because this is a post meant for Black women. If that happens then I'll just hide the post. I do think SOME White people have things better than SOME Black people, but I think that it's not always the case and agree that a model referring to class (socioeconomic status) would be more acceptable to most people. I can readily admit that I have things better than those who are poor but I refuse to admit that ALL White people have it better than me because I'm Black. How would one explain that I've done so well while many of my elementary, high school, and undergrad White classmates did not? Did I work that much harder, was I smarter, more likable, more organized, more motivated, better connected? Was it because my parents went to university, stressed the importance of education and success, and expected me to achieve? Doesn't it mean that all those things trump race in terms of success so why not focus on the importance of those things instead of race? Seriously, reading about all the disadvantages Black people face is like thinking you are smart and then taking an IQ test and being told, "wow, you have a really low IQ, I'm surprised you can even function among the rest of us". People like me think that we are fine and equal until someone comes along and insists we are not.

Maybe I should not have said anything because many Black people do see themselves as being disadvantaged and think that White people owe them. I'm not going to bother trying to convince anyone of anything though. They can feel that way if they want. It's strange that a lot of conservative Black people have the same opinion about privilege but you know how unpopular they are. I vote liberal though and Canada is a pretty liberal country even with a current conservative government. The government pays for most of health care and half of tuition so we like our social programs. I do actually support social programs because some people, no matter what race, need help. I also support affirmative action so that workplaces are more diverse and to counteract the effect of racist hiring. I have no problem with quota systems or mandated inclusion of minorities in the media either. I strongly approve of the goal of increasing diversity but not by convincing everyone that being Black is a learning disability, mental illness, or pathology (some people are actually trying to do this with something called Willie Lynch Syndrome and Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome).

Anyways, here is my comment from the other blog,
Nice post. This is my opinion, it's not everyone's, I don't want to argue, it is not a condemnation of the post writer (at all). I don't blame him for writing it because so many people are pushing White people to think this way. I wrote about this on my blog a while ago from the point of view where I don't understand the importance of pointing out privilege to people. Maybe it's a U.S. thing or something done when people feel they have been wronged or given fewer opportunities. I don't feel that way but I also live in Canada and have Caribbean parents. 
1) As usual, in the original Scalzi article, he doesn't specify what to do with that knowledge and others like myself have a problem with that. I no longer value knowing many things for the sake of knowing unless I can do something with that information since there are more important things I need to learn. I'm more practical and just want to know what is useful.
It's like if you told me I had a gene that makes everything easier for me than for everyone else would that even change my behaviour? No, I would go on my merry way so I really didn't need to know. Unless straight, White males are expected to act differently after recognizing their privilege then it's useless information.  I think people usually say "examine your privilege" when they want something whether it is a handup, handout, or to be excused for their bad behaviour. Usually these posts end with the call to "do something" to even the playing field (i.e., handout or handup). That's what gets people leery, that they are being pressured to give to others just because they were born White males. They think that is unfair.
 2) I don't like it when Black people constantly point out that being Black is difficult so I definitely don't want White people doing the same thing. Why? Since this is based on race, it makes ALL Black people sound like disadvantaged, burdened, suffering, victims who need to be saved by those with privilege i.e., White men. So many Black people complain that they don't need to be saved (e.g., remember how annoyed people were with Dangerous Minds and Finding Forrester?) and can do it themselves with hard work. I don't want anyone to think that I am burdened or suffering when there are others, of whatever race, living on the street, dying or diseases or in other ways suffering way more than me. I am not a charity case or disabled just because I'm Black. I don't want people to automatically pity me and think I'm incapable of doing what non-Black people can. In the past people thought Black people could not do things due to genetics but talented and hardworking people proved them wrong! Don't tell me people are trying to do the same thing by saying we can't do things because of racism or simply growing up Black!
 3) Hearing everyone say that life is harder for me because I'm Black makes me feel hopeless and I shouldn't even bother trying to have a good life. It makes me fear that all my work is for nothing because I will only get so far. I will of course keep going but I think this thinking keeps many Black people from trying at all. If you tell me that the White, drug addicted, prostitute has life easier than me and people will regard her more highly than me because I'm Black why even bother? It goes against the reality of how I've seen people treated. So as other commenters on the Sclazi article mentioned, I think class and wealth has a major role in who is privileged. I am not a disadvantaged victim because I'm Black. 
 I want to be treated like everyone else not like I'm beneath them in terms of capabilities. That would be condescending and racist right? 
 I forgot, if the purpose is so that White men vote for, support, and accept social programs and Affirmative Action then it makes sense and it is useful to point out their privilege. Otherwise I don't see the point. This agenda should not be hidden though.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

EBWs Need People Skills

This post was inspired by an article on The Feminine Black Woman called "Black Girls Please be Nice". The post mentions that being nice is part of having "people skills", but what are people skills? As I have mentioned in recent posts, I'm going to concern myself more with improving myself, getting along with others, and having great relationships rather than complaining about the behaviours, privileges, or possessions of others. I'm going to try to be the most attractive, friendly, kind, feminine, and pleasant woman I can be and try to get/keep as many privileges or benefits from that as possible. Of course being attractive, friendly, kind, feminine, and pleasant will make me feel great anyway but person with these qualities will also get along well with others and be liked and this is a great benefit.

I see nothing wrong with learning how to be liked, how get along with others, and how to be pleasant. Many of these things are taught to children to help them function in the social world. Many of these things are taught to socially anxious or awkward people who have trouble making friends or people with behaviour problems that get them into trouble. These are also things taught to employees and business professionals who's ability to be liked by coworkers and clients is essential for their success. Some people are just naturally likable, popular, and friendly but for whatever reason, others are not and they struggle to be liked. One thing less well liked people can do is learn from well liked people and research about well liked people with the goal of increasing personal qualities and behaviours that contribute to being liked and reducing qualities and behaviours that contribute to being disliked.

I'll use a sprinter as an example. If a young woman wants to become a champion, Gold medal sprinter then she has to learn how to be one! She has to seek training from a coach, learn how much she has to practice, proper technique, form, nutrition, and motivation and then enact everything she has learned. A champion sprinter is not just self-trained with absolutely no knowledge of what other champion or competing sprinters are doing. They also have coaches with years of sprinting knowledge that they pass onto them. This is the way I feel about learning how to be the best friend, coworker, employee, girlfriend, wife, student, woman, and has to learn what it takes, observe the best, and practice until what is learned becomes habit. Being a great person takes skills...people skills!

"People Skills (or Social skills) are most often thought of as a set of skills that allow us to communicate, relate and socialise with others. People skills include both verbal and nonverbal forms of communication. They often are the way others determine our status, consider us as potential friends or mates, and consider us for employment or promotions in the workplace. The opposite of good People skills is social ineptitude, which is an inability to use the defined set of social skills that would make one integrate and get on well with others (source)." There is a short post about people skills on Wikipedia but it does mention that teachings about people skills have been around for centuries and even the Bible can be considered to be an instructional manual for people skills. It also mentions the best-selling self-help book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" that I read a long time ago (see, people really want to learn this stuff and will pay for it!). Just reading the descriptions of the chapters alone sounds like exactly what an EBW needs to be successful. I probably already know a lot of these things, but like many of us, I may have forgotten some advice or I may not be using it as often as I could. So now I need a people skills tutorial refresher course!

I think there is a simple thing that one can remember when trying to get along with others: if you arouse negative feelings in others they will not like you but if you arouse positive feelings they will like you. Simple! Things that arouse negative feelings include bragging, complaining, criticizing, insulting, ignoring, pressuring, offending, burdening, taking for granted, not having good manners, being obnoxious, being embarrassing, being rude, being strange or odd, being difficult, being disruptive, being bossy, being unkempt or unattractive (sorry but true), looking unpleasant and many other things. All one has to do is think about behaviours that one finds unpleasant and try to not do those things. Things that arouse positive feelings in people include paying sincere compliments, flattery, listening to them, making them feel important, trusting them, being accepting and non-judgemental, being friendly, being kind and nice, helping, paying attention to them, inviting and including them, talking to them, saying hi, smiling, using pleasant words, speaking in a pleasant manner, being happy, being positive and optimistic, being fun, being lighthearted, being sincere, caring, being attractive (sorry but true), being popular, being admirable and other things. All one has to do is think about the qualities of people one like and admires to come up with such a list and try to show these qualities whenever possible. 

I think that what BW have to realize is that these negative and positive feelings are natural and often automatic and unconscious to people. This isn't just something that happens to judgemental, racist, sexist, shallow people, it happens automatically to EVERYONE. The feelings can happen in an instant so as soon as someone sees you or you do something the damage (or good effect) is done and your explaining the reasons for your behaviour (e.g., bad day, history of oppression, victim of society etc.) will not un-ring that bell. Life will be much harder for you if people have negative feelings as soon as they see you or as soon as you open your mouth. So if you look unpleasant (e.g., unattractive, mean, hard, unhappy, angry, unkempt, strange--nonverbal communication) and sound unpleasant (harsh, loud, obnoxious, cursing, rude--verbal communication) then you will quickly arouse negative feelings and be disliked. Some people will not bother to get to know you if you arouse negative feelings. If you expect them to look past your negative exterior and behaviour to see the "real you" then you have an enormous sense of entitlement and expect special treatment that probably won't happen. When I hear women say, "If a man really wants me and is a real man then he won't let my 'mean mugging' and harshness deter him" I just shake my head. Why do these women think that they are so attractive that a stranger (who knows nothing of their personality) will overlook the obvious indicators they are unpleasant and still try to be with them? If associating with you is unavoidable then maybe, after getting to know you, you may be liked. In that case you may be told later, "I didn't like you at all when I first met you but now I think you're okay". You don't want to be that person.

Tika Sumpter is saying "I take pride in
my appearance, I'm friendly, happy,
confident,  and I embrace my femininity"

Michelle Obama looking gorgeous!!!
Her nonverbal message is "I'm classy,
upscale, well mannered, modest,
and out of your league boys!"

I think that an issue that some BW have is that they are frequently arousing negative feelings in people and I am not talking about racists. People have a negative reaction to women who are loud, aggressive, rude, obnoxious, confrontational, argumentative, and complaining but some BW embrace these behaviours and expect others to not react. They complain that men are able to do similar things and not be judged as harshly...well I'm sorry but the automatic reaction to men and women exhibiting the same behaviours is different! Your explanation and reasoning after the fact will not un-ring that bell. Many people also experience negative/neutral feelings when they see women who are unnattractive, obese, unkempt, dressed badly, or looking strange. Sorry but that's true and no amount of shaming, explaining why this is unfair, complaining about beauty standards or anything else will change that negative/neutral reaction. I think that a neutral reaction is often likely, for instance, overweight women may be ignored but no negative feelings are experienced when meeting. So if you want to arouse positive feelings instead you need to make sure you are not exhibiting these characteristics.

IT ISN'T FAIR!!!!!! I know, but it's reality and I don't live in fairy tale land or in a future where this isn't the reality, this is the present reality and we need to adapt to it. There is no morality or right and wrong involved with automatic and unconscious reactions. I think that some public service campaigns may be helpful in changing some of the automatic reactions but this takes great effort, time, and exposure to these messages. For instance, all the articles about how unrealistic models and advertising is has had an effect on me so that I am not really affected by seeing thin models, but that took YEARS and avoidance of fashion magazines for YEARS. People are also having less of a negative reaction to dark skin, natural hair, and higher levels or rudeness and vulgarity but that took years of media, immigration, and fashion trends. I think it would be wiser to adapt to the current reality instead of waiting for society to change so that your negative traits become attractive (if that ever happens at all). Attractiveness for instance can be improved and being pleasant physically is a form of non-verbal communication! But of course this is all my opinion, you don't have to change or do anything you don't want to do or adapt to the current's your choice :) So I'm going to post some links to information about people skills so that we can all learn or get a needed tutorial/refresher. 

Related Articles:
How good are your people skills?: Excellent tutorial!!! MUST READ! Although this refers to the workplace it applies to any time you have to cooperate with others who have different goals and motivations. So this is applicable to romantic relationships and getting along with acquaintances too.
People skills (Great read!!!)
Eight essential people skills, good quote, "Remember that an attitude leads to an emotion, which in turn leads to an action. Shape the attitudes and you have a more reliable way of predicting actions."
10 people skills every government employee should have
What are interpersonal skills? (Good, has links to related lessons)
7 signs you have terrible people skills (I have to work on office politics, networking, and promoting myself)

How do I improve my people skills at work?
Developing people skills video: What I found interesting about this video is that the speaker discusses a time when he wanted to improve his skills to become a better manager but did not think it was possible. But after doing some research he found tips about how to become his best version of a manager and that it required practice. Improving yourself does not mean becoming or pretending to be someone you are not, it is becoming the best version of yourself. Once he improved himself he chose to teach others how to do the same. There is a HUGE field of people who do this...they are called motivational speakers. They teach people how to improve themselves and get what they want instead of blaming others and waiting for them to change or save you.

Emotional intelligence video: You know the more I see videos like this the more confident I am about my self-improvement goals and my values. People who are opposed to self-improvement are so different from me and educators like the man in this video. Critics of self-improvement really don't know what they are talking about and it's best for upwardly mobile people to ignore them.

Emotional intelligence vs. behavioural control Part IPart2 (very interesting!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What to do About Privilege?

Not sure why I wrote this, it's just been on my mind because people are confusing and I don't understand what they want sometimes. Whenever someone (online) points out that so-and-so has privilege that they must recognize it sort of puzzles me. It's not that I don't understand they have privileges, it's just what's the purpose of pointing it out to them? What are you expecting them to do? I think they want other people to understand that they have things better than others by virtue of things they have no control over (e.g., race, gender, ability, class, physical attractiveness) or something they achieved that is difficult for many people (e.g., privileges associated with getting an education, a good job, living in a safe place with opportunities, physical attractiveness again, etc.). But once they recognize their privilege then what? After they understand and can list all of their privileges how does that make things any better for you or the state of inequality? Suppose someone does recognize their privilege, how should they let others know they understand it and why is that even helpful to anyone? For instance, I have seen numerous articles written by White people about their take on a racial situation where they acknowledge they may not understand because they are White. But then the non-White readers still totally destroy the person for not understanding, for supposedly being part of the problem, or for being White. I mean what sort of disclaimer would ever work? Unless the person says something that most Black people will agree with then that person's disclaimer will never work.

The same thing happens when discussing, class, poverty, crime, beauty standards, fat acceptance, natural hair, and anything where people are not equal. I think that complainers want others to either somehow give up their privilege to them. Or they want others to feel very guilty, as though they have wrongfully taken the privilege away from the complainers! For example, if someone has the privilege of going to university, wants to marry someone with the same privilege, and wants to send their kids to university too what is wrong with that? Why are they made to feel guilty about the opportunity they have been given? I mean if you win a free car would you refuse to drive it because other people didn't win cars? If you have good health are you going to try to catch diseases because other people were not so lucky? If you live in a safe neighbourhood are you going to hang out in dangerous neighbourhoods so that you can risk your life too? It doesn't make sense to me to do any of those things. That would be throwing away the good thing that you have and wasting your opportunity that others would be grateful for. Maybe you didn't work for your privileges but maybe your parents and ancestors sacrificed a lot for you to have them. It is disrespectful to them for you to not accept their gifts.

Isn't giving up privileges like throwing away money, safety, health, positive relationships, and positive experiences? Is someone a bad person if they don't want to give those things up? If you got a promotion would you give that up to another coworker because they had a hard life? Would you turn down a scholarship that you need because you haven't suffered as much as someone else? Would you refuse to marry the love of your life because other people didn't have the chance to marry? This also reminds me of dating and the way some women are stating their standards including only wanting a man who is educated and who has a certain type of job or social class. Some men will get so upset and insisting that their standards are too high because of A, B, and C bad circumstances that happened or they were born into. They want to be given the same chance as men who meet the women's standards and ignore all of the privileges they would be giving up. What I feel for them is pity and I will not date someone out of pity.

Sometimes it sounds as if people are saying "since you have more privileges than me you are not allowed to complain as much as I do. You also have to put up with my unpleasant behaviour without complaint". Seriously, when you hear the reaction of people to certain things in the news it sounds like they feel that, because of inequality, crimes committed by Black people, poor people, people without fathers, people who have been abused, people from dangerous neighborhoods etc. should be excused and get a free pass while others are punished for the same behaviours. I think what they mean is don't blame the person but blame their circumstances. But if the circumstances of a whole bunch of people are horrible and that causes them to be unpleasant then how can that be ignored? They make life unpleasant for anyone who comes in contact with them. I know that Black people are often punished more harshly for the same crime but people act like there should be no punishment at all or something way too lenient given the crime. A dangerous person is a dangerous person and I want them to be prevented from harming others no matter what caused them to be that way in the first place.

At other times it sounds like, "since you have so much privilege you need to do something to help me get the same privileges even it that would mean losing something yourself". Why should anyone feel compelled to give up the good things they have? Is it even possible to give up one's privilege? They would either have to share more, sacrifice time and resources, or sometimes risk a lot in order to help others. These sacrifices are usually only done for family and close friends (or through work or volunteering) because everyone's resources and time is limited. But if that is what less fortunate people are asking for then they should come out and admit that! Admit that they want you to feel guilty or sad for them, that they want you to fight for their cause and tell their story, and that they want you to comfort them. If you want people to fight for you then stop with the guilt trips that make people want to avoid you! If you just want comfort then be nice because no one wants to comfort a jerk! Be honest because that's the only way people will know how to react to you and give you what you need.

I've noticed these mixed messages in posts about colourism where the poster and commenters are asking for more appreciation of women with darker skin tones or certain facial features, typically someone who looks like India Arie. But let's be honest, if that happens then women who don't look like India Arie (including many BW) will have fewer chances to see women who look like them. This would be fine if there were many examples of BW in the media, but BW are already underrepresented. I think that some BW are just more acceptable to the mainstream (i.e., most White people and most other racial minorities in Western countries). I think BM are fine with the BW in the media today (not hearing complaints). It is mainly dark skinned women who are complaining and sometimes being downright hateful towards lighter skinned women. Other people may be willing to help their cause but they should not be surprised if lighter skinned women end up pitying or even disliking them. They should also not be surprised when people who did not think dark skin was a drawback have now learned that it is because dark skinned women worked so hard to convince them this was a fact.

Lastly, there are certain privileges that come from being a woman but they are being slowly eroded at the request of some feminists. I think it is actually a privilege to be the ones who are not expected to fight, get hurt, and do the heavy and dirty work. We are the ones who are protected by men when they are expected to protect themselves. It is a privilege to have doors opened for us, to go first, to have dates paid for and I really appreciate those things. I don't feel entitled to them but I do like them. We also get to wear feminine clothes and makeup or dress like men with little disapproval but men who dress like women face much harsher criticism. Men have many privileges too but this post isn't about them. I think feminists want us to give up these privileges so that everyone treats men and women exactly the same. Some of them even want men and women to look the same (androgynous). The extremists wouldn't mind if we ignored biological sex all together and just partnered with any human being. Some are big proponents of casual sex and open relationships, and some think marriage is antiquated and should be forgotten, yet others are fighting hard for same-sex marriage? Personally, I don't want to give up any of my feminine privileges.

Feeling Pity

When it is pointed out that other people are suffering and have things harder than I do I can't help but feel pity. Pity is defined as:

1. Sympathy and sorrow aroused by the misfortune or suffering of another.
2. A matter of regret: It's a pity she can't attend the reception.

Synonyms: compassion, commiseration, sympathy, condolence, empathy
These nouns signify kindly concern aroused by the misfortune, affliction, or suffering of another. Pity often implies a feeling of sorrow that inclines one to help or to show mercy: felt pity for the outcast.

I'm wondering how someone who is complaining about their horrible life could be surprised that someone pities them? As you can see from the definition, when someone tells a story of their misfortune and suffering then people feel pity, concern, or even that they need to help the person. THIS IS THE NATURAL REACTION and (even though people will deny it) this was the reason for the sob story in the first place. The story teller wanted people to feel bad or guilty, to be extra nice, or even offer to help to them. I do not think this is a bad thing whatsoever. But what I think is unfair is making people feel bad for pitying others. Hey I won't feel sorry for you if you stop telling me things that make me feel sorry for you! Furthermore, when the story tellers get offended by the pity and call it "paternalistic" or "patronizing" it's really weird because I think these people don't even know what they want! They are doing something (i.e., telling a sad story of misfortune) and expecting people to not have the natural reaction to that story (i.e., feel pity)??? These same people complain when others don't pay attention to their stories, dismiss them, or refuse to help but this is what people do when they don't have pity or compassion for you. People can either care or not care!

The story of what went on at the Before and Afro blog is a great real life example of this. In the latest installment the blogger describes how a man with an afro inspired her to sponsor a child in the Philippines. But lo and behold, in the comments section someone criticized the blogger for being paternalistic and sponsoring the child just so the blogger would feel good about herself! She was also criticized for trying to get attention and approval by writing on her blog...newsflash many people blog, talk, and socialize because they enjoy the attention and that is healthy and normal! You really can't win with these people who I believe are actually perpetual complainers. Just read through her other blog posts and see how she was pulled every which way and how everything she did was pulled apart. While some are telling her she should devote her blog to discussing racism and how to stop it others are saying it is paternalistic and not her place to do so. While some are telling her ways that she can appreciate Black people others are rejecting every attempt she has made to do so. I'm surprised she hasn't said, "forget all of you people you people are CRAZY!!!" I think that in order to get people to fight for your privileges then you have to be nice to them because they are doing you a favor that could actually reduce the amount of privilege they have. They are sacrificing something for you that might not even create the intended effects. I don't expect people to give up their privileges unless it's to someone close to them. I don't expect a person to give anything up to someone who is hostile or blames the person for all of the blamer's problems. I think they will only do it if you are nice so they like you, they feel sorry for you, they think it will make life better for everyone in the long run, or they think it is morally or ethically the right thing to do.

So I honestly want to know, 1) When you complain to people that they need to recognize their privilege what exactly do you want them to say or do? 2) Why do you need them to recognize their privilege and how does that benefit you?

Related Articles:
Do you recognize your privilege? Actually being a first generation Canadian I have a lot of the privileges on this list meant for White people. In regards to the items that do apply to me (e.g., working in places with few visible minorities) I still survive and I'm not sure what effect more BP would have on me. I won't necessarily get along with them or like them and what if they were actually stereotypical and bad coworkers? Plus, the blogger just asks people to recognize their privileges but I'm again left with the question, once these things are recognized then what?
Is privilege offensive? Equally vague. Seems like they expect people to police others for saying or doing things deemed "oppressive". That's risky for someone who is supposed to be oppressed to go around policing the members of the oppressive group and not expect any negative repercussions. I'm just trying to live and I don't feel like being the speech police. I'm busy trying to get along and not get into arguments.
Recognizing class privilege. Basically in this article it seems that the writer just wants people to see and admit that they have privileges that helped them to become successful and it was not just their hard work. Just like the other articles there is this hint that the purpose of this recognition is so that they can understand why things are harder for others. Ok, so now I what? I think what they don't want to say is that they want us to be more lenient and give more chances to people with less privileges.

That's fine if you are talking about work or school opportunities (i.e., affirmative action) but this stuff doesn't apply when it comes to personal lives. If due to someone's lack of privilege they can't support themselves, they are mean, they do drugs, or they have nothing in common with me then I won't be their friend/date them. They would be unpleasant to be around and could bring me down. I'll be friends with someone if we get along and they don't bring me down and most often I've found it's people who have had similar lives to mine.  So once again, since I'm not planning on being an activist, how does recognizing my privilege help anyone? I'll be nice to people who are less fortunate but that's all. I guess they don't want to be blamed entirely for their circumstances...that's fine but I don't think anyone can totally be absolved of responsibility either. Either way, this is all about talk, not hurting people's feelings, and being sensitive about what you say. It's a lot of fuss about saying things the right way when I think there are more important things to focus on.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Being Quiet does not Equal Being Weak

I think that some women are deathly afraid of being perceived as weak. This is probably because something bad happened to them in the past that they were not able to prevent. They blame themselves (sometimes unconsciously) for what happened and think that the incident could have been prevented had they been stronger or even more like a man. They see men being loud, aggressive, and hard and think that this will protect them from further victimization. These women reject anything feminine which is often anything soft, delicate, or fragile. They refuse to behave in ways that are not dominant and see being quiet, non-argumentative, and very polite as signs of weakness that could lead them to be victimized. These women feel that putting on a rough exterior will protect them so it is a defense mechanism but if they need it then they should keep it.

But what about women who have not been victimized? Is there a reason for them to put on a rough exterior? Why do they equate softness, being quiet, and non-argumentative with being weak? I can think of so many times when someone was talking way too much, offending people, and really putting their foot in their mouth...this is not an admirable thing. I think that it is more wise to listen to people and try to understand them because then you are in a position to decide if they would be a compatible friend or partner or if you should ever listen to their advice. People who talk a lot reveal themselves while the quiet ones remain a mystery. When you talk too much you reveal too much about yourself, sometimes too quickly so people may be turned off.  When I first meet people I don't share any strong opinions or show much of a reaction to the opinions they share because I am trying to figure out whether we are compatible. I am gathering information before I form an opinion of them and it's very hard to learn if I am too busy talking.

This post once again was inspired by an article on Clutch called, "Damned If We Do: On Black Women Standing Up For Ourselves". First of all, standing up for yourself is NOT the same as getting into debates with people because it amuses you. If you are familiar with teachings about how to make friends and be liked then you know that people like you more if you listen to them instead of constantly talking, especially about yourself. The quiet person who asks questions and shows interest in others may end up being liked more than the person who constantly debates and challenges others, boasts, or talks too much about herself. That person will appear argumentative, imposing, and self-absorbed to others and may end up being disliked. It's interesting that the author mentions times when BW were criticized harshly for being argumentative or less than cheerful but instead of learning from those lessons she voices the usual "well if men do it then it should be acceptable when women do it" defense. Well men who are argumentative, always trying to change people's opinions, and constantly bragging or talking about themselves are just as annoying! I was reading somewhere thought that men may respond well to and like other men who brag and can beat them in arguments (maybe an alpha- beta-male thing) but they don't like it in women. That's just the way it is.

But that doesn't mean that the men's way is the better way! Is it really beneficial to women to share all of their opinions with others? Have we not learned that this can lead to harsh criticism and negative consequences? Share your most controversial opinions with people who you trust who you already sense may agree with you, or at least accepting of your differences. In many cases if you disagree it is best to not argue especially when that person means nothing to you or has some power over you because you could lose a lot over an unnecessary argument. I would like to know the reasons behind the author's comment, "I  love to pick apart other people’s points, state my case, and vigorously argue my point of view, hopefully winning someone over to my side." Why? Well I guess she doesn't have to justify what she enjoys but what she enjoys may be annoying to others. People like this like to change other people, think they are right about most things, and like to put others in their place by showing them they are wrong. They are not easy people to get along with.  A comment on the post really stood out for me. A commenter stated that she was 99% of the time agreeable, well mannered, and polite but when she argued one rare time she was criticized harshly for it by her husband. Someone else commented, "It just goes to show you being a pushover and a “yes sir, whatever you want sir” type of woman does not gain you respect or admiration." Do you see how being polite and quiet is equated with being a pushover and someone not worthy of respect or admiration? I know these were just two comments but a lot of people think this way.

When I think of wise people, I just can't imagine them arguing about almost anything. They feel secure in their opinions so they don't need to prove they are right to anyone. They don't feel the need to listen to other people's arguments either. If you are secure in your views or if you don't care about what someone else wants to argue about then there is no motivation to get into a debate. I used to like debating a bit too until I noticed how much men hated it and got angry. I didn't think it was worth it because we were debating unimportant things (e.g., whether cats make better pets than dogs, whether air shows should be banned because they are dangerous...seriously) and they became angry at me. I also noticed that when I said controversial things they reacted negatively too and I would have been better off not saying anything. You don't have to say every single thing that comes to your mind or everything that you believe! In today's society we seem to want to be an open book but that is more risky than being quiet, modest, and reserved. So actually, I think that if BW want to protect themselves they should reveal less about themselves and their opinions because there will be less things to attack them for. Voicing opinions about important things should be the goal instead of debating for fun or to feel like a winner (maybe join a debating club for that). This also fits with my new stance on not complaining all the time or venting because they are often useless behaviours that have little benefit.

My point here is to just think about the consequences before you express your opinion and ask yourself if you will actually benefit from sharing. Ask yourself if you will benefit from getting into a debate about the issue. Arguing about important decisions with your partner may be necessary but arguing over politics on your first date is not. There were so many comments on the post basically saying "I was taught to never back down", "I speak my mind and no one will silence me", "Men can speak their minds and are respected so I should be able to do that too" and I think this type of thinking is not in one's best interest (whether someone is female or male). Men have to watch what they say too and can get into fist fights over harmless-seeming debates. Yes women are probably judged more harshly and are rewarded for being more quiet but I think being quiet has it's advantages! Also, if you are in an important discussion with a man and he resorts to calling you names or insulting you then realize that he has just lost the argument because he has nothing relevant to say and has resorted to ad hominem attacks. You have hurt his pride because he lost the argument so he is now trying to hurt you. You probably won't end up getting what you wanted anyway because now he is angry so the argument probably wasn't worth it. Women should be listened to and respected but no one respects argumentative people who try to impose their views on others for no reason. This is just my opinion (lol) because, maybe due to my blogging experiences, I don't enjoy debating my opinions or preferences with anyone and I am turned off by those who try to argue with me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Is all this Venting Helpful?

This is another controversial sort of post. I think my tolerance for negativity and complaining is at an all-time low and I'm going to seriously work on reducing my negativity and complaining online and offline. If it's not helpful then why continue to do it? I just don't want to hear complaints about anything because it brings me down and after doing some research I understand why. Complaining to uninvolved people and venting apparently brings down your mood and isn't really helpful at all. I think this will all help me to be a more positive person and not a fake activist who constantly complains but doesn't work to change anything.

This post was inspired by articles called 6 Ways to Release Resentment and Nobody Wants me so why even Bother? These posts made me wonder; 1) Is all this online venting about racism helpful to the individuals who do it? 2) Is venting about racism harmful to the ones who read it? 3) Does this venting actually contribute to the targets of this venting (i.e., White people) treating us even less like equals? It also makes me finally consider the statement many White people have uttered, 4) "There would be less racism if Black people didn't bring it up all the time".

I think I'm just going to state my opinion about each question and link to articles that support my point (if any exist). I think that AA culture and the civil rights movement is really one of the worlds most prominent examples of peaceful and determined activism. Participants of that movement like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton went on to continue fighting for civil rights by calling attention to racist incidents, making sure the incidents were highly publicized, trying to shame the perpetrators, and teaching a lesson about the history of racism against Black people (always referring back to slavery and Jim Crow) and how prevalent it is. Furthermore, ever since AA people have been allowed to publish they have written about racism and injustices including in academic settings. The purpose was to bring "awareness" to this racism and it's harmful effects with the hopes that the awareness will lead racists to stop what they are doing or lead the people in power to stop the racists. No one can deny that this has been helpful and has greatly improved the day to day lives of many AA people.

(1) But is the venting and the endless discussion or race, racism, and racist incidents online helpful in the same way? Question 1) Is all this online venting about racism helpful to the individuals who do it? It's probably helpful or else they wouldn't do it. I think that, understandably, a lot of Black people have resentment towards White people but they feel powerless to change things so they vent online. They get their frustrations out instead of letting them fester. That way they can get on with their lives, including interacting with White people, without taking their frustration out on actual people. It doesn't change their situation though so it is just a needed coping mechanism. Prior to the internet venting could only be done with friends and family and the rest of the world had no access to these heated conversations. The Internet allows people to vent to anonymously to strangers so that there are no consequences in their everyday lives and venting to friends and family isn't required. The article above actually encourages venting for this purpose (maybe not online). UPDATE: Based on the articles posted below there is no scientific benefit to venting and it actually prolongs anger! All this venting about racism online may be making the bloggers and readers angrier by prolonging and spreading those feelings!

(2) Today, due to the Internet people can overhear these discussions over, and over, and over again. 2) Is venting about racism harmful to the ones who read it? I think it probably is harmful if one reads this kind of writing frequently and over a long time period, similar to vicarious traumatization (see article below). It can be more harmful to people with low self-esteem or if the writing makes many generalizations (i.e., all Black people are victims and hated by everyone) - negative view of self, negative view of the world, or implies that the situation is hopeless and the situation will never change - negative view of future. Some of you may already know that negative views of oneself, their future, and the world are three thought patterns of people who are depressed. So basically, take a Black person with low self-esteem or under stress, have them read post after post of other BP venting about how hard it is and will ALWAYS be for ALL BP and how hated ALL BP are ALL OVER the world and I would not be surprised if a BP feels sad and hopeless afterwards. Reading similar posts daily, for an extended period of time could potentially make a person quite depressed. Based on the post above, that is exactly what happened to the letter writer.

My suggestion? RARELY ever read venting articles. Sometimes people find them helpful if they want to vent about the same issues (vicarious venting) but if you do not have the same issue then DON'T READ IT. Venting sessions never bring up the spirits of those who do not have the same gripe. They only suggest to them something they could be angry about (often ventors imply that others should be angry or else they are naive, part of the problem, not protecting themselves etc.). The venting is primarily meant to help the writer and sometimes the writer feels they are doing a public service by "informing others" of this major problem that everyone "needs to address and think about". But don't you have your own issues to deal with? Don't take on someone else's idiosyncratic worries. It is my belief that all the constant venting and reading about racism online can make BP more fearful and depressed about racism than they need to be. There is no reason why someone, who hasn't personally experienced a single racist incident in years, is constantly worried about racism, and can cite 100 racist incidents that happened to other people that year.

As I have already mentioned, some ventors may feel that they are doing their duty to warn other people so that they can somehow protect themselves from racist people. I don't know but is there a way to protect yourself from racist people?  I mean besides avoiding places where people act extremely and violently racist, you can't escape systematic racism, most often you can't tell who is racist until they do something (unless you decide to avoid all White people and their impact to be safe and I don't even think that's possible), and I think most racist incidents are unexpected. So I don't think the warnings could be helpful at all. Some may state that their venting is a "call for action" but most of the time it's for a boycott of some White person who said something unwise (e.g., John Mayer, that guy from Seinfeld etc.) and in some cases getting social disapproval is warranted to maybe stop people from making similar public statements. But if that person is racist, they will still be racist even after the boycott. It doesn't fight or stop racism, it just discourages people from saying racist things...a small victory that spares us from their negative statements.
(3) Does this venting actually contribute to the targets of this venting (i.e., White people) treating us even less like equals? Sometimes it does but sometimes it doesn't. I can accept the possibility that reading this information online can alert some WP about things that irritate BP so they may decide to stop saying and doing those things. BUT the only people willing to do that are those who actually care about getting along with BP and don't want to harm BP for whatever reason, in other words, the ventors are preaching to the converted.  These people will actually tip toe around BP so that they do not offend them, they will stand up and try to protect BP, and they will reprimand other WP for racist behaviour. Some BP will call them allies but others will say they are patronizing by treating BP like powerless people who cannot protect themselves and are easily hurt. If BP keep saying they are powerless and they are victims them WP will treat them as such. This is not treating someone like an equal therefore WP are basically damned if they do and damned if they don't when it comes to trying to help BP. Seriously, read a racism post and see how sympathetic WP are treated, it's amazing how many insults are hurled at them.

A racist person wouldn't care and would revel in the ventors suffering (e.g., trolls will pick on the ventor). They just see the venting as more reason to dislike BP. Then there are those WP who are on the fence about BP. They are the ones who get annoyed because, in their opinion, BP overreact to their words and behaviour, are too sensitive, have things better than them in some ways, or have done something bad to them in the past that was excused or ignored by others. These people get tired of the constant complaining because they feel that they have equally valid complaints. They are the ones who complain about reverse racism and the need to White scholarships etc. These people say they are egalitarians and they want everyone to be treated the same. But they ignore any systematic racism and believe that everyone has the same chance to succeed. These people will only become more irritated when they read venting about racism.   So, basically venting and complaining about racism online only raises positive concern from WP who already want to get along with BP ( and makes them think we are powerless and fragile), and it just makes racists and those on the fence feel more resentment and those are the people who it would be most beneficial to change.

(4) Would "there would be less racism if Black people didn't bring it up all the time"? When it comes to systematic racism the answer is NO. That would continue happening even if people didn't notice or talk about it. It exists because most people don't notice it because they are part of the system and did not intend to be racist. Would individual WP act less racist if BP didn't talk about it all the time? Maybe. Racism is a touchy subject and it is definitely a negative topic. If you know anything about classical conditioning then you know that when something that arouses negative feelings (e.g., racism) is paired with a neutral stimulus (e.g., Black people), then the presence of the neutral stimulus (e.g., Black people) will eventually arouse negative feelings. This is what happens when crime, arguments, sexism, loudness, foul language, begging, complaining, rudeness, aggressiveness, entitlement, selfishness, self-centeredness, or any other negative trait becomes stereotypically associated with certain races. All of these things are negative so if you are constantly talking about these things then people may actually develop negative feeling towards you. They fear that when you come around they will have to deal with the unpleasantness of conversations about something unpleasant. They will want to tune you out or avoid you because you have become a source of unpleasantness for them. I brought up some of these issues in my post Are Black People Too Sensitive and I'm not Too Concerned About Racism Anymore in regards to have constantly complaining pushes people away.

This may result in WP not wanting to associate with BP, hire them, read about their concerns, date them or have much contact because BP are frequently talking about negative things, complaining, or getting offended. So WP will discriminate more. This is the same thing that people feel about activists (e.g., environmentalists, women's rights, victim's rights, poverty, animal abuse etc.) because they are always talking about fighting horrible things and raising awareness of these horrible things. There is only so much people can tolerate before they start seeking out people who are talking about more pleasant things. Some people can take it but many can not especially when they don't want to get involved. This is the reason why people advise against talking about controversial things or politics when you first meet someone, because these things can bring up unpleasant feelings. Have you ever changed the channel when those sponsor a child or Humane Society commercials come on? Have you avoided the news when you were feeling stressed? It's because these things are unpleasant. Yes they raise awareness about problems and are meant to help the problem but they also bring on negative feelings that people want to avoid. My concern is that BP are becoming like that to WP. Reading our blogs can be like watching World Vision commercials over and over and over again. That's not fun.

I also have to say that I believe 100%, without a doubt, that BP will perceive that there is less racism if they stop seeking out or reading about racism. Then they will only be able to judge it's prevalence based on their own experience so it will be much less. A week doesn't go by when I don't read or hear the n-word, mammy, or about BW being insulted on Black blogs I read that are written by BW! It is not from reading the blogs of racists but those of BW seeking to "raise awareness" about how racist other people are and how so and so doesn't like BW. The letter writer above basically states this has contributed to her not wanting to date anyone. I also read a lot of racist things from BM when I have to scroll through their BW bashing video titles. A lot of racism may very well exist if we don't talk about it, but you won't be hurt by racist statements you don't read/hear about 24/7/365. Hearing about something negative all the time may make you think that you are more at risk than you really are. Nothing racist has happened to me this year but for some reason I am exposed to information about racism almost every day by reading Black blogs! I should write less about it, at least I don't bother reporting on every racist incident that happens in the media. I'm going to write less a out it. I've had and done enough :)

So my final thoughts on this are:
  •  Avoid reading venting posts as much as possible because they will bring down your mood.
  • Vent when you must but not too often because it wears people out and paints you as a negative person they may want to avoid. There is also no proof that venting helps and it may actually prolong your negative feelings.
  • Think about the effect of your complaining has on others because it may be pushing them away. Think about the negative effect it has on you (i.e., makes you into an angry and negative person).
  • Don't expect that venting about racism does much to influence anyone who isn't already on your side. It doesn't really stop racism in most cases. 
Related Articles:
*The upside of anger (anger is not the same as venting)
*Does venting help or just make it worse? (venting is useful it it allows you to stop thinking about it and move on. I don't think that's what happens when people vent about racism because they keep writing about it over and over. Research doesn't seem to support the benefit of venting!)
*Antidotes to bad moods and negative emotions (focusing on things that bring on positive emotions is more helpful than venting. Kittens always defeat my negative emotions lol!)
*Better to simmer than to vent: "According to the lead author of the study, psychologist Brad Bushman, Ph.D., our society advocates the "catharsis theory," which says aggressive behavior is an effective way to reduce anger and aggressive feelings. There is virtually no scientific evidence to support the theory, he points out..."The catharsis theory is worse than useless," Bushman says. "A theory is useless if it doesn't work. It is worse than useless if it produces harmful effects. Expressing anger produces harmful effects -- it increases aggression." WOW!!!
*Is venting good for you?, "It actually feeds the already present negative emotions as opposed to releasing them. And worse yet, we will damage those that are subjected to our outbursts. Most people do not find it pleasant to listen to angry tirades and it can do all kinds of damage to children and adults as well."...For example, talking to a therapist about our issues both past and present with the goal of improving ourselves is much different than talking or complaining, over and over again about your boss, your spouse, the traffic or the weather. Much of our talking or thinking about life’s problems is actually complaining and self-pity and just an overall lack of acceptance of life as it is, which is why I do not think it’s accurate to refer to such problems as our problems. Much of what we think is our problem isn’t a problem at all. The problem is our inability to accept life on life’s terms."
*Venting anger: a good habit to break, "The value of venting is a myth. The theory on which the idea of venting anger is based has been repeatedly disproven since the 1950s...If the act of venting becomes repeated, it risks becoming a habit – a bad habit. It is, after all, “practicing how to behave aggressively,” says Bushman."
*Vicarious trauma, (MUST READ) "Vicarious trauma is the process of change that happens because you care about other people who have been hurt, and feel committed or responsible to help them. Over time this process can lead to changes in your psychological, physical, and spiritual well-being...It is what happens to you over time as you witness cruelty and loss and hear distressing stories, day after day, and year after year."

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'm Not Too Concerned About Racism Anymore

I'm not too concerned about racism anymore. Are you shocked? How can a Black woman not be concerned about racism? Don't I know that racism still exists and that racial equality hasn't happened yet? Don't I know about all the statistics saying that Black people are treated worse than White people? Don't I care that White people are placed on a pedestal, viewed as the norm, and portrayed as superior? Honestly, no, not any more. But why?

Well because right now I'm more focused on getting my foot in the door to opportunities, staying there, and accumulating the power and resources I need to have the best life possible. If other Black people focused on this then their lives would improve, and the more Black people who have improved lives, the more we can say things have gotten better for Black people. I am not interested in finding out about, getting enraged by, starting a petition, or endlessly complaining about inequalities or racist statements/actions by individual people or groups. I just don't think that these actions do anything to help BP anymore. They just cause friction so that the people in power tip toe around us or try to stay away from us which is detrimental if we are trying to move into their spaces and get help from them. In the past focusing on racism was important because it prevented BP from being able to live at all because they were killed, abused, barred from establishments (e.g., education, jobs, stores etc.), and even from having relationships. But now those things are protected by laws and the majority of people recognize when our rights are being abused or when something is racist. It is now unacceptable for people in power to say racist things and they can actually lose their power when they do! That is progress!

So now BP are in a situation where the law is on their side, they can expect to be treated fairly, many people are taught to accept us and they actually do, and if someone acts racist then the majority will punish them in some way (e.g., lawsuits, forced apology, being fired, cultural sensitivity classes, boycotts, petitions etc.). So now I focus on getting along with people now that they have (and are often pressured) to let me into their spaces and accept me. Now that many of us have "gotten in" we have to be on our best behaviour to stay "in" because the people in power can kick us right back out. They can stifle our progress, sabotage us, ignore us, exclude us, be extra critical of us, or fire us if we don't get along with others. One way to not get along with others is to be a complainer. Let me give you an example, I was working on a project with a man and I felt that he was making me do all the work while he made the big decisions. I thought that I should be able to make the big decisions since I was doing most of the work. I sent him an angry email about it. He was the boss's favorite and he sent the boss the email! He was also more experienced than I was so ruining my relationship with him meant that I lost many work opportunities and the chance to learn from him. Because I was so focused on him using me I didn't see that I would be able to learn/use him for many things in the future. If I had calmed myself down and thought more about the consequences then things would have gone better for me. The man lost nothing from the confrontation but I lost a lot! I complained about someone in power and he used his power and influence to make my life harder and prevent me from getting what I wanted. If I had just finished the project and tried to get opportunities from the man after then I would have been much better off.

I think that the most difficult complainer for people to deal with is a racism (or sexism) complainer. My experience above only strained my relationship with my one coworker, but racism complaints strain your relationship with EVERYONE who is of the race you are complaining about and may make things difficult for many other BP who were not even involved. People who had no problem with you may avoid or dislike you after they hear your complaint about racism. They may avoid you (and other BP) because now that they know how sensitive you are and they don't want to tip toe around you. Or, if they thought you accepted them, they may be shocked and insulted by what you said during your racism complaint (e.g., accusations of reverse racism, overreacting, not being understanding, being difficult, insulting someone by calling them racist etc.). People who once thought you were easy to get along with may suddenly think that's not true and you are not who they thought you were. They are now looking at you like an outsider, unlike them, who they do not understand. People sometimes dislike those who are different who they do not understand. With a complaint about racism you can go from being part of the team, and "one of us" in a multicultural group to not being a team player and "one of them" who refuses to get along.

Am I saying this is fair? NO! Am I saying this is right? NO! But I am a realist and just explaining something that happens. Most of us have experienced this for instance after the O.J. Simpson trial, Rodney King, the Obama election, or any other racially charged incident. These can cause friction between Black and non-Black people who are not even involved. This is what happens on a smaller scale when Black people complain about racism. NOW HOLD ON, I am not saying that racism should be excused!!! I'm saying pick your battles, don't make a big deal about minor or ambiguous things that are not blatant racism, and THINK about the possible consequences. Remember, something a BP sees as racist may not be seen that way by most non-Black and anti-racist people because they are not as sensitive as you are (this does not make them bad people either). Accusing someone of racism nowadays is a HUGE insult that instantly makes people defensive and you do not know how they will defend themselves. Just remember to save your complaints for when it really matters because each complaint causes friction and people will only tolerate the friction for so long and for a certain number of times before they push back against it. Just like my story above, when they push back against complainers you may suffer way worse consequences than they do especially when they have more power.

Remember, when you complain you may not achieve the result you expected. You may be harshly punished for your complaint and be much worse off than if you had kept your mouth shut. When you go against the people holding the power and resources there is a risk they will take those vital things away. Here are some consequences we must think about before we open our mouths to complain:

  • Complaining about Black actresses being too light-skinned may cause movie producers to prefer casting non-Black actresses because there are fewer complaints. This will lead to fewer roles for BW and further complaints about the lack of such roles. The same goes for complaints about who Black actresses are romantically linked to in films/television. Complaints about interracial relationships will lead to the BW being replaced by WW. This will lead to BW not getting opportunities to show that they are relationship material and just as desirable as WW. It is WAY more important to see as many BW in positive media roles as possible rather than complaining about the way they look or who they are paired with. The goal should be to have a BW be eligible for any role without it being seen as controversial. All the media cares about is ratings/money earnings and they will ALWAYS make more money catering to the White majority than they will to the Black minority. We are lucky any of them ever try to appease us at all because they really don't have to, so be grateful for that.
  • Complaining about men not preferring dark-skinned women may cause them to dislike these women even more for insulting them by implying they are self-hating, racists, sell-outs etc. They may attribute negative traits to the complainers (e.g., low self-esteem, self-hate, being argumentative, being angry) that make it even less likely for them to date dark-skinned women. By acting like angry women needing affection from men who state they are not attracted to you it really makes you look bad. It makes you look desperate for affection from someone who doesn't like you, I'm sorry but it's true. You are displaying the very traits they cite as reasons why they prefer lighter women. NEVER beg someone to like you, you are too good for that. If someone says you are beautiful and they are interested in you ACCEPT IT and if he is a good man who meets your standards maybe you should give him a chance. How can you complain about men not liking your skin and then act suspicious and negatively when they do??? 
  • Complaining about fashion designers/companies not employing Black models may cause them to ignore BP as a sales demographic or continue ignoring them. They will just target their marketing and products to non-Black people. BP often complain about the models and advertisements of designers/companies they never even buy from and these companies know it. They have no financial motive to employ Black models. This is once again begging people to like you when you should be focusing on the ones who already do! Instead you should buy from companies who actually use Black models and cater to BP while ignoring the rest. Focus on who is focusing on you and reward them for that. 
  • Complaining when non-Black people are interested in afro-textured hair may cause them to no longer be interested and no longer like it. This may stop them from wanting to date women with natural hair or from finding them attractive. They may even ridicule BW for making such a big deal about hair (e.g., calling them superficial, shallow, too focused on race, or even racist). They may continue to encourage and laud straight hair instead of appreciating and accepting natural hair, the exact opposite of what natural haired BW want. 
  • Complaining when a celebrity (Black or non-Black) says something insensitive or racist. Let the media deal with it instead of discussing it with non-Black people. Discussing racism is negative and they may dislike you or be wary of you after the conversation when they did not have those feelings before. They don't pay much attention to race issues but you decided to bring it to their attention. Many non-Black people say they rarely think about race and I believe this is true. It doesn't affect them much or it makes them uncomfortable. By bringing up media incidents you have made them uncomfortable and they may avoid you to prevent feeling uncomfortable in the future. 
In the cases of actresses, models, advertising, and celebrities these people have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with you or the people you know. So why in the world would you let these incidents interfere with your relationships with people you know? Why would you let these incidents turn you into an "Angry Black Woman" who is avoided and disliked by the people you associate with? STOP IT because it is not helping you one bit! Let these actresses, models, and celebrities deal with their own careers and focus on your own because they surely are not concerned about you. When it comes to men, women, and non-Black people rejecting your beauty...well you can't force them to like you by begging or insulting them. You are wasting your time and energy on these people. Instead focus your attention and appreciation on those who find your skin and hair to be beautiful and BELIEVE THEM when they say it is. If you were actually repulsive they would not be complimenting you. Remember these compliments for the sake of your mental health. 

The way I see it, there are many jerks and mean people out there. Racists are just one form of jerky/mean people. You may encounter people who are rude, sexual harassers, sexual abusers, violent, bullies, con artists, unhygienic, selfish, cheating, back-stabbing, unreliable, lying, and endless other unpleasant people  in life. I try to avoid these people but I don't focus my free time on reading about these people, complaining about them, or worrying about them. I'll be concerned about these jerks when they do something to me personally. I believe in the saying "worrying about something is like paying insurance on a car you don't own" and the insurance you are paying makes you difficult to like or get along with. This is the same way I view racists and what they do. Every complaint about racism is a complaint about someone being mean, not liking you, or refusing to get along with you. I just try to succeed and get what I need out of life instead of on how these people are trying to stop me and ruin my day. I refuse to let the existence of jerky/mean people cause me to sabotage my personal relationships, appearance, and dating prospects by causing me to appear angry, unapproachable, suspicious, unfriendly, uncooperative, unreasonable, undateable, unattractive, insecure, desperate, or otherwise affected by their negative presence. If I do that then they win and I lose the things I want and need! Keep your eye on the prize!!!

P.S. I tried online activism before. I wanted to focus on gathering online self-help resources for BP because that was feasible and people could have used it to learn and help themselves. Instead BM members wanted to focus on the big bad prison industrial complex locking up Black boys who are simply victims of the White man's system. Or they were concerned about stopping BM from getting executed, BM being tasered, or BM reacting violently to racism (e.g., Jena 6). It was all about some White people doing something to some BM who had no personal responsibility and were victims of society and an unfair justice system. It was racism all day every day, fighting the man, and no personal responsibility and I don't think it achieved anything. Plus it was all about the U.S. and not even relevant internationally. 

Related Articles:
The survival guide for dealing with chronic complainers: Great quote, "
Despite how difficult their constant complaints are for those around them, chronic complainers do not usually see themselves as negative people. Rather they perceive themselves as forever being on the losing end of things, as drawing the short straw on a daily basis. Therefore they see the world as being negative and themselves as merely responding appropriately to the annoying, aggravating or unfortunate circumstances of their lives...
Even those chronic complainers who do recognize their prodigious complaining output truly believe their unlucky lot in life more than justifies their expressing their dissatisfactions to those around them because after all, it is they who have been saddled with terrible misfortune and more problems than most."
5 tips for dealing with chronic complainers
How to handle chronic complainers: Here is what you can say to stop a chronic complainer, "It is very simple but also very effective. Listen to the complainer Then, with deep sympathy in your voice, say “You know, that sounds terrible. I don’t know how you deal with all of these problems.” The answer will often be "Well..., it’s not that bad!” This approach works because it gives the complainer what he’s really after: Empathy. Not cheering up, not solutions, not egging-on. Just understanding of what is, for him, a difficult situation."
Is it time to stop moaning about the moaners?
Listening to complainers is bad for your brain: WOW!!!
Chronic complainers, a workplace blight
9 ways to defend yourself against complainers