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21 more things = 42

The last post was the 21 things I KNOW at 42. At the end I said I'd consider writing 21 more things to make it 42 in total & then ...

Monday

Another Day In the Life of A Brown Girl?


WARNING: I don't do this to you often, but from time to time, something touches me so deeply that I don't bother to keep length in mind. This is...LONG!! Grab a cold beverage & kick ya feet up. & if you have feedback, feelings, thoughts of any kind, PLEASE DO SHARE!!

Two weekends ago my friend Starr & I were having a rather deep textversation. Reading all the convo entailed makes me wonder WHY we bothered typing all of this. It dawned on me that part of the beauty of it is that often in a real conversation people are busy making their own points that they aren’t listening. There were no voices talking over each other to distract, no familiar nuances to draw assumptions from—nothing but the words.

Starr was putting me on to a new trend where apparently white [racist] men lure black women via placed ads for what seems like escort & sex services from what I gleaned (though may have misunderstood) & then get these women in very vulnerable positions where they are humiliated, disrespected, & it’s all filmed. Then, it’s put on websites. Star wants to figure out how to protect these women. The act is, without a doubt, despicable. My mind immediately raced to what causes a woman to even be in a position to be trolling for such offers & how hard it is to protect ANY woman in that situation. In my opinion, she’s already crossed the threshold of danger in order to meet some kind of need. The beginning of the conversation, for some reason, didn’t transfer along with the rest, but I’m sharing what remains with you for the sake of information & challenging your opinions on this thing that I just got schooled on.

Starr: Or they walk up to women in the street and off cash for "work". They bring them back to their crib, interview them about their lives on camera. Then rape them. Humiliate them (everything from putting their feces on the women's heads to making women drink their own vomit after they've gagged from penis being forced down their throats). All on camera.

Me: 2 things come to mind:

Starr: And then they put it on a website where other racist men can watch brown and black women being humiliated. They call them names, kick them out and give them 100dollars or so for their time. #hurtingoverthis

Me: 1-women who are sex workers are at risk for/of a bazillion addictions/fetishes & fetishists/psychosis/diseases/attitudes/etc. The list never ends. 2-because of this, they are at risk for the unknown period. & hard to protect from ANYTHING.

Starr: But they're not sex workers.

Me: It's sickening.

Starr: They prefer women who just need money. Young and old. They go for the common round the way girls.

Me: So people post adds bout needing $$?

Starr: Yes. They lure them in with money.

Me: The way you described it is desperate women essentially responding to doin anything for $.

Starr: Then they talk about meeting up. Well they are desperate.

Me: Which is my overall point.

Starr: But I can't classify them as sex workers.

Me: What hurts most for me is the necessity of women needing to engage in any of this for survival. So...a woman who doesn't standardly sell sex. But not formal prostitution? I don't feel any less for a prostitute than a desperate woman. They're the same woman.

Starr: I don't agree.

Me: They're not both desperate?

Starr: I know prostitutes who enjoy their work, this is what they want to do. These girls feel they have no choice left. It’s different.

Me: For education? $$? Acceptance-social or familial?

Starr: They leave battered.

Me: How do u think prostitutes get started? To think you like that is a desperate place your life/mental has gone.

Starr: Not at all, Ndygo.

Me: How not? & there are etc's. Survival. Feed kids. Lack of skills. Sexually abused. On & on. Creates desperation. Rent due. Groceries. Tuition. Drug habits.

Starr: Man…

Me: Misplaced need for validation. Fill in the blanks w/anything that leads to desperation, disenfranchisement, etc.

Insert a LONG PAUSE

Starr: I'm done. No more.

Me: I was sitting quietly waiting to learn something. But OK.

Starr: No u will.

Me: OK

Starr: I think why this particular movement is so offensive is that it gets women before they have become a part of the sexual system. These guys are doing it purposely to break the black community. I hear u focusing on the women...but the context for which this is going down is not about sex at all. When u watch one of the videos, it is abundantly clear that this is a method (perhaps wllie lynch esque) to systematically break us down, one by one. I can't pull all the blame on the women.
Yes they need to be educated, made aware of what's going down, but they also need opportunities, proper learning places and support groups. Right to all of that. But the men, the dogs behind this, need to be slaughtered. I also find it troublesome when people assume that women have been molested or defiled in some way prior and that's the only reason they get caught up in this. A lot of the women begged to leave once they realized what the deal was. They were threatened (on camera) and forced to stay. I'm not even sure all of them knew sex was part of the equation at first honestly.

Me: I don't blame the women nor do I make any of those assumptions. I just listed any # of things can make a woman feel desperate & linking them to any woman--prostitute or otherwise. Those conditions & unnamed ones are the root for what even makes us vulnerable to this kind of solicitation, allowing the ideas/sickness of these men to even be "successful."

Insert another pause.

Starr: Sorry phone died. Wasn’t finished. To me these girls and women are different from those who choose to give sex willingly. While some may share similar issues socially, psychologically, economical ---or none of the above--- It doesn't mean they can't be saved. That's like saying the dude on the corner can't be saved because his family has a history of going in and out of prison. I don't believe or agree with that.
Responding to u now... I think when u talk about the root of a problem, u have to include the systematic/institution-based problems as well. Not just the disturbing qualities of a person's psyche.

Me: It's actually not. I'm saying they're more similar than dissimilar. Said nothing of them deserving it. Sounds like because they're more "regular" they deserve more respect. ?? I'm saying it doesn't matter which end of the spectrum the woman is on, when she responds to things out of a sense of need/desperation/survival it's difficult to protect her from any number of dangers, including this 1.

Starr: If I am feeling desperate and at my end, if I have a system of support (community or otherwise), access to good education, etc I won't choose or find myself in those situations either.

Me: The institution is what damages the person's psyche. You must've missed that. It's embedded.

Starr: And I am saying to you, that some women who are prostitutes love it. None of the women love this. (I think that's what makes prostitution sticky)

Me: Think they do. & why? Because something is WRONG, whether they identify or not. But the prostitutes aren't the focus.

Starr: My mom was raped last year.

Me: You told me. ((Raises hand)) HELLO! Me too. I'm not blaming any woman in our discussion.

Starr: It sounds like it. And yes I remember.

Me: How? I needed clarification on your distinction because I see no need for any.
A woman, no matter the professsion--full time, part time or 1 time--shouldn't be subjected to this. But when you are in a situation where it comes w/dangers built in it's hard to protect from ANY!

Starr: I agree.

Me: That was my only point. Ever.

Starr: But u dont see how walking onto the strip is different from being bamboozled into it?

Me: I'm asking if it matters?

Starr: Not saying they all shouldn't be saved...but its different.

Me: I ain’t talking bout saving. Speaking to how you get there.

Starr: I'm talking about saving, and how to break the cycle.

Me: HOW does that woman get to feeling the need to respond to such solicitation?
What she assumes is basic, before she's caught unawares. WHY does she need what he seems to be offering?

Starr: I get that.

Me: That's where your cycle is.

Starr: I’m not sure.

Me: OK. Then where?

Starr: Maybe I need time to sort out what I’m trying to articulate.

Me: OK

Thank you for your patience & your commitment as you read through that. Do know that it was just as time consuming for me to get this conversation from phone to page. The conversation is clearly on pause until Starr can get her thoughts together. For now, however, I’m curious about your thoughts on this topic. Keep in mind, the topic itself is disgusting enough for me NOT to do any extra research & try to find the kind of sites Starr told me about. I KNOW full well that I canNOT view any such material. Feel free to look it up or just speak from the heart/mind based on what you’ve read here. If there were ever a time I wanted you to come from behind your lurking curtain, it’s now. Weigh in. Please.

Watch me move.

12 comments:

  1. That is truly sick. But as I've learned recently, violence against women is a warfare tactic. I read not too long ago about the women in the Sudan who were raped so violently that they were unable to hold their bowels and urine. The militia would pull over vans of women and children trying to escape and would pick those that they wanted to abuse out of the group. Those chosen were forced to go because they were told that they others would be killed. The article spoke about a doctor who went to this region and sheltered and cared for these women (many of whom ended up pregnant). Anyone who does this is a spineless bastard who deserved to be castrated. Times ar inherently becoming more desperate. Social services are drying up. The most educated among us could find ourselves in a position of deep need. That says nothing of those who were barely clutching the edges before the bottom fell out. We cannot rely on the govt. to save us anymore. We have got to do it ourselves. The bad part is that it is going to get worse. Think Jim Crow South. When whites found themselves poor and in shambles, they turned their anger on us. Sorry for rambling. I can't take it. I gotta go hug my babies.

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  2. While this shouldn't be about taking sides, I have to be clear that I share your sentiments and significantly fewer of Starr's. She lost me at saving. Saving is tricky is because in order to be saved one's got to want to be saved and many of the women who "need" saving don't think they need it, even if they are totally screwed up and could benefit from it. That said, swooping in and saving after the fact while useful doesn't necessarily guarantee that the woman won't go back into said vulnerable position or mindset. Ideally the goal is to get them before they get to the point where they need saving. If parents/communities can mold socially responsible, emotionally secure women who know their worth the likelihood of them getting lured in by vultures such as these men that Starr describes is significantly lessened.

    As for the prostitutes who love their profession, they may have grown fond of it, but my question is did they at the beginning? And furthermore, had their emotional circumstances been different before prostitution would they have stuck with or started with prostitution as a profession? If the answer to both those questions is no then (and I believe that is the answer more often than not), that they currently love their profession is of little consequence in the grand scheme.

    Starr's point about this kind of exploitation of black women being about race is important and needs to be examined. It seems to be a more organized way of how white male privilege plays out a la Dominique Strauss Kahn. I maintain however, that as quick as these vultures are to exploit the more vulnerable of the black female population we as black people living and participating in black communities must be even quicker about cultivating emotional fortitude in our women (and men) so that no emotional condition, no matter how destitute can cause them to walk eyes wide open into a situation like this.

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  3. While in Venezuela the conversation was had addressing the face of poverty WORLDWIDE. You know what it is? The black woman with children. We have the strongest hustle, the sturdiest backbones, the most resilient spirits. We ingest injustice & shit new tomorrows. How any of us do it, & I certainly don't count among the needy, is amazing. What we have to do is begin to be honest about what all of us, no matter what "club" we seem to be a part of have on our shoulders. My trials are not yours but best believe they aren't easy. For me. They could turn me out & I could find myself trying to drink away the pain while sliding down a pole.

    The point? We are more available for exploitation because it's genetic that we're gon' make it by book, by hook, or by crook. & it is IMPERATIVE that somehow we get out here & make a difference in SOME woman's life. Whether it's a little girl or taking some downtrodden woman to a cookout for fun but really to feed her starving self. However you do it, DO IT!! We can't guarantee they'll follow our lead, want our help, see the value in it at all. But we can't be quiet. We can't be stagnant. & there are NO BLIND EYES!

    Make sure Fall knows the word as a season not a condition. Nah'mean?

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  4. I feel ya hun. And I take that mandate seriously.

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  5. Negarra--thank you for pointing out that it is NOT about taking sides. i'm not interested in anyone feeling like i'm more right than Starr or that she's more right than i am. i AM interested in US hearing these stories, feeling the disgust in the pit of our stomachs, feeling the fear for our daughters, biological & collective & understanding the DIRE NEED for us to stand up & grab 'em on the front end. like you said, after falling into ANY kind of desperation--consciously or subconsciously--saving ANYONE requires there definitive participation. if i catch you unawares, instilling self-worth, boosting your self-esteem, challenging you on sketchy behaviors, etc, then i have more of a chance of ensuring the message is ingrained in your psyche & potentially make a difference.

    WE HAVE GOT TO do a better job of bringing our girls close to our bosoms. & WE MUST REQUIRE that our men reach out to young brothers, biological & communal, so that we're balancing the scales.

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  6. I have much to say about this and most of it is in line with Negarra and Ms. Sunshine. I don't type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts on this. But, I do have a question - Isn't it interesting that the photo used here looks like a young Michelle Obama (to me)?

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  7. A -

    I'm severIy disgusted by this. I won't be perusing the web for these sites because I can't stomach that type of brutality. First and foremost we must do better for our young women. There's something broken within these women forcing them to act out in desperation. Once they make that move it is almost impossible to protect them from the horrors on the other side of the door. That of course doesn't mean we don't try. However saving them doesn't start once they've made the decision to barter their body for money it starts well before that point. It starts when they are little girls grooming them and loving them and teaching them to be the women our mothers, and grandmothers, and nanas and big mommas taught us to be. We have a responsibility to pass that legacy onto little girls so they become women who do not act out of desperation.

    I have more to say but I can't articulate it coherently...

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  8. Anonymous--I know this topic is difficult, but we all have something to offer to this discussion. I would LOVE it if you, after having some processing time, could come back & share.

    CC--I'm witchu. We're in agreement.

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  9. This post had me hot to the point where I can't really find effective segues between the various topics that I want to touch on, so I'm just going to post what I was thinking as I thought it and let it ride.

    So... why the hyper-extrapolation that the existence of something like this indicates a systemic attempt to bring down the black woman? If we reversed the races, we wouldn't be having this discussion. This is reprehensible for any number of reasons, but this is bad white men doing terrible things to black women. This isn't The White Man trying to destroy The Black Woman.

    I think it's illogical to posit that all of the women who are in the business of selling sex are in it because there's something wrong with them, regardless of their life roots. That isn't to belittle the effect that any number of factors can have in leading down that path; I just don't think it's fair to assume that all prostitutes are in the game because they're damaged. I have a reflexive dislike of any universal pronouncement.

    I think Starr got caught out trying to articulate half-formed ideas because of how passionate the subject material made her. It's perfectly understandable, but she seems to have pinned herself in some positions that are arguably more troublesome than the subject matter at hand.

    As far as the actual porn goes, I can't claim to be surprised at its existence, even if I didn't know about it on any particular level. The internet has made it so that any fetish can be satisfied if you know where to look. I feel terrible for the women that are caught out in traps like this, but I think it's just as fucked up if it's a white woman, an Asian woman, etc. Then again, my parents are immigrants and I went to a predominantly white high school. I don't have that typical "Black in America" viewpoint. I know the reality of how white people perceive us and how we perceive white people. I also know what I've seen from black people regarding other black people who aren't seven generations deep in this country.

    I can't even claim to have been going anywhere with this one. It lit some kind of a fire under me, so I'm just going to put these words out in the world and let them garner whatever response they're going to garner.

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  10. Thanks for your contribution, O.

    1st, this is NOT a Starr vs Sunshyne convo. she & i, as sista friends engage in a lot of "hot" topics. 1 of us is always challenging the other to think more, dig deeper, grow. it's the beauty of our relationship. i'm not expecting ANYONE to roll on her for what seems to be a difference of opinion. we're on the same team. we BOTH think this is despicable.

    your point about this being an atrocity no matter the racial background of the woman is right. HOWEVER, as a Brownin myself & understanding the historic plight of black women NOT to remain poster girls for hyper sexuality makes this hit home for me. i'm not interested in knowing that anything like this is happening to anyone. the plight of the black woman, worldwide, is to be sexually used & abused. unjust isn't even a strong enough word for this.

    i'm not going to belabor the point. just know that i appreciate the reminder that sick shit happens in the world to ALL women.

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  11. Orga, if we lived in a world where issues related to minorities weren't consistently exaggerated I might agree that it is indeed a hyper extrapolation to presume that this is a part of a systematic attempt by the white man (read whites in America) to destroy black women. Also if we lived in a world where whites - morally defunkt or not - acknowledged how their privilege adversely affects the lives of minority populations in the US ESPECIALLY blacks (and took it a step further and attempted to act differently) then I'd be more inclined to separate the wheat from the chaff. But because most whites don't take such actions, regardless of how fair and liberal they may be, because they don't have to because nothing and no one requires them to, the reality is that this issue is still, unfortunately very much white against black.

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  12. Sometimes I wish that as a black man, we could rally up and do something about this. Unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. This is a tragic situation with these women. The only thing that I keep thinking are "where are the men in their lives"? I'm not talking about boyfriends or husbands, but what about the cousins, brothers, uncles and fathers? I don't know what I would do if something like this happened to someone in my family, but the man in me would feel even worse to know that there was someone in my family who felt as though they needed this to happen because they had nothing else going on financially. There's a whole slew of thoughts going through my head on this one, but the one the remains clear is that we as black men (collectively) have to do a better job of protecting and loving our women. imo

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