MR. BAD ADVICE
Steve Harvey is among a number of African-American entertainment/media personalities who makes it a cause to provide a different picture of life for African-Americans, contrasting the images cobbled together from media outlets. But like Tyler Perry I think that their desire to show another way of life for African-Americans, other than the one seen in music videos and reality television, is outstripped by their modest talents.
His book, “Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady”, has been made into a romantic comedy featuring likeable enough actors that may make the movie interesting to where I don’t find myself regretting the decision. Having read and dismissed the book as nothing more than poor logic and heretical speechifying masked as information to the African-American male psyche, I wonder what kind of conversation the films premise will stir up. The target audience, desperate women, is NOT the group who needs the advice!
If I were to publicly posit that African-American men are guilty of not filling the basic demands of manhood, I could imagine the haranguing I would set myself up for. Like most social movements, the shrill extremists aren’t afforded the kind of latitude allowed for the apologists, or for those who take the myths that many live by and stretch them beyond credulity. The definition of manhood has been one that has been declared to be ‘acting white’ in African-American culture. For young men, to treat a woman with respect is not what they aspire to. Instead, the perpetuation of all the negative characteristics are highlighted, aspired to, and replicated instead. Meanwhile, trying to counter ‘the conspiracy against black boys’ (a worthwhile read but takes a very open mind to digest) is difficult because most of those who conspire against African-American manhood are the men themselves!
Look, if brothers REALLY had honor for their women, for their Mothers, their sisters, their partners and Mother’s of their children, why would they allow the exploitation and debasement of their women under ANY pretense? I think of many of the problems of African-American men as self-inflicted. And while I am jumping past a LOT of history here, the masculine ideal has been zero-sum for almost all of time (cause it has been undergoing an overhaul in the last 150-200 years) and like Nexus, when it comes to being a man, you are either with it or you aren’t.
AND WHEN IT IS ALL SAID AND DONE…
I think that one of the reasons that the more analytical but still flawed relationship books and advice has been met with scorn by African-American culture is that there is a part of the collective that doesn’t think that it applies to ‘us’. Not just because of bias but some scenes, such as being a people who live under the shadows of having its social strength understood as being with its women and its men being victims of the dominant culture, it is a bizzaro set-up akin to the cat chasing the dog! Any-who..! Enough of the ‘straw brother’ and now…
…LADIES (AND GENTLEMEN) BACK TO ME!
Not only is there ‘something’ that is a part of me that makes me attractive to women, so much so that my Chicago sister would jokingly refer to me as ‘that brown-eyed handsome man’, after the cat in the Chuck Berry song, it is something that I embrace. Sure, there is the contradiction with me being a loner and being as social as I am, but it is just ‘something about a brother’ I guess. At this point in my life I have long since stopped questioning whether or not it is because of the environment between men and women, or, if there is just ‘something about a brother’. Whatever it is, whether I am on a ‘scouting expedition’ or the next Miss What’s Happenin’ decides to step to me, I can’t help but think that it speaks volume about what is on the inside (not saying what is on the outside doesn’t hurt my cause!) that makes me attractive to women.
For the last solid decade, my love life has been spent wallowing around with people who were, for one reason or the other, unable to make a relationship a priority. And by ‘priority’ it isn't that a relationship with me is more important than the other relationships and responsibilities in their lives, but that our relationship is as equally important as those other relationships, as well as having a responsibility for the balance in our relationship.
I think that it is unfair that I come into a relationship open to change and making the modifications with the expectations that we are each other’s foundation. My methods may appear unorthodox, but everything I do is founded in hard work, applied faith, and an unflagging belief in that wherever it is I am going that I will get there.
I GET TWO LOVES IN MY LIFE… AND I’M NOT QUITE A STALLION… I’M A GOOD GUY FOR A GAL… AND I’M MENTALLY SLIPPIN’
Even if I were a crappy brother to be 'in' something with, it can never be said of me that I don’t make a person a priority when they enter my life. I think that part of my unexpected fortune with women is due in no small part to the energy that I put into pursuing my life.
It is a big disappointment how estranged Nebraska and I have become, especially since for most of the last 4 years, the possibility of a loveship with her was extra motivation for me to get here. Without her being a part of my everyday life, I still am as upbeat as ever and feel that if we were at least as close as we were when we weren't local, we could at least be valued resources in each other’s lives. But again, a brother like Mark is still doing his thing ANYWAY without us being close… but still, it would be nice..!
There is no doubt that I am that cat in this song… and I do feel as carefree (which is not to say that I am careless!) as I have at anytime in the last four years. Anywho, I want someone who is willing enough to cross the universe to find the kind of love that exists… but it is far easier to find someone who believes in voodoo and myths than it is to find someone willing to live in the now and live the love life that they could be living.