Archive for September, 2016

Trigger Analysis

It’s seems that the term “trigger” is more and more in the public lexicon. Moreso as a joke (Ex: *sees something remotely disagreeable*, “Oh, I’ve been triggered!”. Ex2: “Trigger warning: happy people”) and collective irritation. Back in 2015, the Atlantic had an article called “How Trigger Warnings are Hurting Mental Health on Campus” and that set off a spark that basically let people show their best ableism.

For those that care not to read or are already familiar with the concept of “butthurt babyboomers*“, it basically is a writer whinging about how having trigger warnings, such as “Ahead: Rape, Violence” in classes makes young, millennial college students emotionally feeble and ill-equipped to handle the real world…despite the fact anyone could argue that anyone who needs a “rape” trigger warning before being old enough to go to college already got a crash course in how the real world is cold and evil. It probably would have been a better article if it were about the fact that there’s a lot of really bad things in society that traumatizes people at an early age and how it can cause a ripple effect in their life, like rape. I guess the writers would have thought “Ehhhh, let Ta-Nehisi Cotes handle it, he always writes about dumb and weepy sh*t.”

I’m not going to break down the article because that’s not prompted this column. It’s the fact that a lot of people still seem to not get that mental health is pretty important…unless a mass shooting happens, then everyone wants to talk about how they want to keep crazy people away from teh gunz. This is inaccurate because the average mass shooter is White, male, 15-28, Christian or culturally Christian-leaning, dealing with humiliation/anger (not mental illness) and very, very lucid about the world and themselves – basically, not crazy, just very hateful and inspired to be violent.

I’ve written a number of columns/posts here about mental illness, triggers and stuff like that. Probably to the point that folks are wondering “Does she even talk spells and magick anymore? It’s all about being Black and mentally ill.” A) Now you know why this blog is from a Black Pagan Perspective. B) Of course I do! It’s just dealing with systemic ills can really take a lot of my time C) I’m not Silver Ravenwolf, geez.

Triggers, as they’re commonly known, are not for all disorders. Some disorders do not need triggers to go into action, like depression and schizophrenia. Rather, it’s anxiety disorders (Ex: OCD) and trauma disorders (Ex: PTSD) that tend to get use out of trigger warnings because they tell people “Eh, you probably don’t wanna see this if you’re not interested in having an impromptu episode” and the person affected can move on about their day. Technically, society already has a lot of trigger warnings: Video games have ratings, movies have ratings (remember how not-smart parents took their kids to see Deadpool, and discovered within the first half hour how it earned the R-rating?), even television shows have ratings – I remember when those weren’t a thing until the 90s because parents started complaining – everything has ratings that serve as warnings of “if this bothers you or your kids, don’t watch”. Music has “Explicit” warnings on them. Even news programs and documentaries have “May contain graphic/disturbing images, viewer discretion is advised” before they start with the disturbing stuff.

Funny those didn’t prompt articles from The Atlantic about how we live in a bubble-wrap society.

Let’s be quick about this, how about we take a proverbial person who is likely traumatized and benefits from trigger warnings everyone else thinks they need to stop being a pansy about: A US soldier that got back from two tours in the sandbox, now gets tetchy when someone plays Call of Duty or Modern Warfare because, unlike the gamer ragging about triggers, they actually served a call of duty in modern warfare. Twice.

Nah, too easy. And it’s September!

Our proverbial person will be a 9/11 survivor. For the lolz, everyone, because this is just an example. (If you lived through 9/11 as a NYC’er, get an ice cream and speed scroll until the text color changes back to normal. Or click here to the rest of the column. I’m not interested in triggering people to explain to the stupid why their “triggered” jokes suck.)

Our person, “Suv” is their name, is a regular person, a joe-on-the-go type that enjoys Broadways and boxing matches on tv. A regular American, works a job, goes home, eats and goes to sleep. Suv is just a regular New Yorker living in the boroughs. Working as a package carrier, he tries to stay afloat as he nearly gets mowed down by at least five taxis a day trying to race a package from one end of Manhattan to another. It’s a crap job but it is what it is, puts food on the table and keeps the roommate from planning his death for insurance money when the rent is due.

Everyday basically is the same but instead this time is different. Late to work, stuck in traffic on his beat-up Cannondale, already can hear the sussing he’s going to get from his manager. Casually looking up, he sees the NYC skyline is always what it is – with exception to now the North Tower of the twin towers now has a plane parked firmly in it from a booming second ago. Suv thinks it’s a mistake and gets to the sidewalk to avoid drivers now confused and panicked. The twin towers aren’t far, basically a few blocks up and near the deli joint he likes to pit stop at for free snacks from the owner, an old high school buddy.

Keeping watch of the skyline as time passes, there’s chatter abound from the radios and screens around. Frankly, while there are stories getting tossed about here and there, no one really knows what is going on. But by a little after 9 AM, it was pretty certain the “it was an accident” theory was not it: second tower was hit and Suv totally saw it. Looked like a B-rated movie, the wall buckling like phony cardboard when the plane hit it. Couldn’t be fake but Suv couldn’t help feeling it was. Officers were already trying to corral the crowd, saying help is on the way, firefighters have already been called, gawking isn’t solving anything, so on and so forth.

Now, the day was pretty chaotic, Suv got scared, didn’t know what to do but go forward because all he figured was he needed to get some place safe and his buddy was up the way a little. Nobody really stopped him pedaling towards the towers until a cop nearly ripped him off his bike, barking at him to go turn back and go home. Not really sure what to do because the streets were glutted with onlookers, cars and commotion, he just stayed and watched. The officer that was fussing at him was more busy fussing at others and listening to his radio transmitter so Suv didn’t have to worry.

After watching people jumping, towers burning and more noises up and down the street in an absolute daze, eventually he saw the South Tower fall. Feeling like it was just a bad disaster movie, Suv kept watching until a random tourist yanked the back of his shirt and told him to start moving, “Drop your bike and run.” Suv glanced at his bike and thought that the person was crazy because bikes are faster than people and this splotchy blue Cannondale may be part rust bucket but it’s his bread and butter. Instead, he tries to bike away but wobbles as he couldn’t get in a stride among the panicked crowd rushing into him and past him. There were shoes and briefcases on the ground, he eventually had to get off and run aside his bike. Everything was loud but the growing thunder was louder and looking over his shoulder as he hurried along, he saw why.

Never was Suv in a dust storm before, he didn’t know they were so fast. They always looked so slow and far away on tv. While he thought he was making some headway escaping the growing plume behind him, another enveloped from the side in a rush of grey. Quickly pulling up his collar to hide his nose and seeing nothing while feeling everything, Suv felt for a wall, any wall with a corner. Finding one, he sat behind the corner with his eyes closed and half his face tucked well under his shirt. He tightly crouched against the wall behind his bike, covered face tucked into his legs, dust getting everywhere.

Eventually dust subsides, Suv is found by a gray-covered officer who saw him huddled behind a newspaper stand and wondered if he was one of the dead. Trying to regain sight, Suv makes his way back home.


Throughout the years, Suv basically lives a normal life. 9/11 was a bad day but it didn’t happen to just him, he figured. If anything, besides a national memory, he thinks it doesn’t affect him much. He doesn’t really dwell on the day much and still lives the average NYC life of trying to deliver packages around the city. Granted, as he tells it, planes and tall buildings make him a bit “weird” – but it’s nothing serious. He’s not like those people who survived the Titanic and became spooked by seeing ice in their drinks. He just don’t like hearing or seeing planes and he’s always had a fear of heights, it’s just a tad worse now. Blue skies make him a bit antsy, always glancing at them but no one’s ever really picked up on that.

When he went to see his sister in Oklahoma City, he took a train, thinking it would be nice to trip through America even though it took hours longer than a plane, which is what his sister suggested. Besides, Suv never took a train before, so what if his sister didn’t like waiting a bit longer? It’s his money and a new experience. 

Oklahoma City was a fun experience. He laughed, he hanged with his sister, made fun of her boyfriend’s Midwest accent at every opportunity, ate food, bought an “I’m OK” shirt and went home.

During the train ride, some teenager beside him was asleep with his iPod going and the earbuds were awful. They might as well be re-classed as “muffled speakers” because Suv could hear everything. Including the new B.O.B. song, “Airplanes”. That didn’t sit too well with Suv. In a flash, he started to feel panicked and worried. He couldn’t really get much of a grip on himself but the song kept bringing him back to nine years ago, where he stood on the sidewalk and faced the dust, the jumpers and the tragedy. He simply couldn’t breathe. Hearing the lyric of “if airplanes were shooting stars” simply got to him and he was curling up, waiting for the dust to come.

Nobody really paid attention to him except for an attendant, wondering why a passenger was having a panic attack. Figuring that perhaps he’s just not good with trains and hoping that’s all he was, the attendant came over with a bottle of water and reaches over the sleeping teen to get Suv’s attention. She did, but his petrified look made her jump a little. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, can I offer a water? Do you need to go to the restroom? It’s in the next car.”

Suv thought it was the officer that tapped his shoulder but instead it was an attendant, which made him feel embarrassed. He probably looked so wild a second ago. Trying to figure out his breathing pattern, he takes the water and tries to make light conversation to beat back the awkwardness as there was a different song playing now, “Is there an air marshal on board?”

This confuses the train attendant. She corrects, “This is a train, that’s for airplanes. However, you’re safe on a train, nothing ever happens here. If you need to go to the restroom, it’s in the next car.” Suv is a bit embarrassed but somewhat relieved.

Despite this one moment, Suv thought he was mostly unaffected by 9/11. If anything, he just chalked up what happened on the train as a “weird” moment and tried to focus on getting back home. Thing is, Suv has these “moments” pretty frequently, according to his roommate.

The roomie always played the buffer by noting when Suv was getting into his “weird” state and just would whisper to people, “He was at the Twin Towers.” People would be more accommodating without Suv knowing why and all was hunky dory. When Suv would come home and complain about people being douches because he didn’t like delivering to airports or tall buildings, the roomie knew it was because he wasn’t around to brief anyone. He was okay with doing it but, just like one kid pointed out to the roomie as Suv was pacing a Duane Reade once: “9/11 was nearly a decade ago, why isn’t he over it?” The roomie wasn’t interested in playing The Therapist forever, just like the last roommate didn’t. Nor the one Suv originally came home to, coughing and choking from the debris. Suv’s a cool dude but he lives in NYC, planes and skyscrapers are pretty much New York City. As time goes on, less and less people are getting accommodating about Suv’s “weirdness”, especially younger people, even in New York. Seems like everyone is moving on but Suv.

Eventually, Suv moves to Chicago. NYC is getting pricy and Chicago seems like a slower city, his roomie mentioned and he agreed. It annoys the roomie that Suv has to go by train or bus or driving but no planes. At all. The roomie even suggests that he takes a plane and Suv gets there however he wants to but Suv wasn’t hearing any of it. Every time the roomie asked, “What are you afraid of? Nobody’s gonna hijack the plane!”, that pretty much derailed every conversation into a big argument that then derailed into the roomie dealing with Suv’s freakout sessions. Once, Suv even had a meltdown about the fact they were living on the seventh floor in the middle of an argument. A week or two of conversation and arguments, it was agreed they would drive to Chicago, all their stuff in tow.   

Chicago was nice. Cold but nice. The new place was a second floor apartment. Both roomie and Suv could land jobs so no one had to survive on peanut butter cookies like they did for the first two weeks after all the gas money, on top of rest of their moving expenses, drained their pockets. Suv was adjusting way better, he wasn’t checking the sky as much, there weren’t as many planes and not so much skyscrapers.

Once it wasn’t so cold, Suv and roomie walked around Chicago and headed to the downtown area. Suv was feeling a bit alert because of the masses of people milling about him as his roomie walked aside him, attempting to throw bits of hot dog buns at the pigeons, but for the most part, Suv was fine. He always felt a bit alert when outside and not on his bike so this was his normal. They walked past the building originally named the Sears Tower and saw a tour ad stating “Visit the Observation Deck of the Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world at 108 stories! Come inside for details!” Suv went into full blown panic, even the roomie was surprised. All Suv could feel was terror and he couldn’t breathe again.      

It wasn’t smart and Suv knew it but he looked up. And in his head, he just saw a plane plow into the building. The roomie, knowing the drill, tried to tell the security guard by the door, “He saw 9/11 up close and personal, he ain’t gonna hurt anybody, just freaking out. Can we go inside?” This made Suv respond worse because there was no way he was going into a building that’s going to eventually collapse and kill everybody. “We have to get NYPD,” is all Suv said, attracting a crowd and their camera phones. The roomie, not at all an extrovert, was about to have a meltdown himself from all the attention. Suv spotted a hot dog cart, expecting the impending dust cloud, and hides behind it, covering his nose. He wasn’t in Chicago, it was New York City again.

Alright – that was longer than even I anticipated and I’m the writer. I tried to make it as brief as possible so I could make my point.

So, Suv here, has a trauma disorder, he has PTSD. His triggers, if you couldn’t tell, were airplanes and tall buildings. They were beyond phobias like Suv was playing them up to be. Here’s what makes what he has PTSD:

He dissociated: His brain dissociated from the tragedy that was around him and made him think he was watching (not “in”, “watching“) a bad disaster movie. Meaning, his brain pretty much attempted to block out the fright of the situation and make it seem unreal. Technically, this is a derealization episode Suv had. Despite that, it’s like his brain plays the bad movie over and over again years later and, this time, he’s part of it.

He’s hyper-vigilant: Watches the skies a lot, especially if they’re blue skies (because the sky was practically crystal clear on 9/11). He may not know it but this is pretty much a “trauma-time” because he’s actually looking for planes, fearful of seeing another attack, despite the fact that it’s been years. Says he has a phobia of heights, thus why planes and skyscrapers bother him but frankly, it’s because he had seen a plane plow into a tower with his own eyes. Twice. He also saw people jump to their death from the towers.

He’s anxious: Sees a plane or skyscraper? Reminded of planes and skyscrapers? He doesn’t handle it well. It makes him “anxious”, as he likes to call it. His roommate would describe it better as “terrified”. So would the onlookers in Chicago seeing his breakdown by the Sears Towers, if not “tetchy”.

Has flashbacks: Gets triggered, he’ll think it’s 9/11 all over again. (This is why it’s important to be mindful of triggers) He doesn’t have to see a plane plow into a building, his brain will play it out for him instead, which is hyper-realization as his mind superimposes the attacks on tall buildings. Basically, he’s reliving the event. Why, he even started to relive the event from a song that had nothing to do with terrorism, 9/11 or anything, it was a reference to planes as a simile.

Became event-evasive: Suv had a sudden preference for ground transportation (cars, buses, trains) instead of air flight, even if flying was the easier/cheaper option.

When faced with his triggers (planes, tall buildings), Suv couldn’t separate modern day from 9/11, even a decade later. Granted, I could have gone deeper and brought up terrible sleeping troubles, being hyper-associated with the number 9/11 to the point Suv wouldn’t want to call 911 for help or things like that but all those experiences are from trauma. Just like any person with trauma, it’s difficult to manage with triggers, even worse when you don’t really know what’s going on because you didn’t know it was PTSD.

Granted, here comes the question: “What? Are we supposed to magically know that this guy is a 9/11 Survivor and never talk about planes or buildings ever? Wouldn’t it be easier for this dude to move to some meadow and deal with it that way?”

No. It would be up to Suv on whether or not he should disclose that he saw 9/11 and that those are his triggers. However, it would be easier if people didn’t openly and continually discount the simple fact that folks have them. (Remember, he didn’t want to see himself as just like those who survived the Titanic and couldn’t have ice cubes in their drinks as a result because it reminded them of the iceberg). In a way, he was trying to tell people he had triggers but didn’t call them that, he just said planes and tall buildings made him a bit “weird” because he didn’t want to come off as hyper-sensitive or crazy. If anything, he was downplaying his reaction, which is what people with trauma tend to do because of the stigma.

It’s not easy to tell who has what trauma. Suv could even mistakenly set off another survivor with a loud ringtone if that other survivor had a trigger about sirens and loud noises. People with trauma don’t like to wear what their buttons are on their sleeve.

Also, running away isn’t always an option for the traumatized. And sometimes the traumatized don’t want to run away because it’s almost like saying “I’m affected”, which people don’t like to think of themselves after a trauma.

If anything, it’s pretty obvious that Suv is going to have to get help for his trauma because it does indeed affect him a lot but it’s not uncommon for people to go years without getting help. Sometimes, intense reactions are delayed, it can take years for something to blip up as intensely like what Suv experienced on the train, several years later after the attacks. Either way, it’s better to be mindful and not be a terrible person about the fact that someone has triggers.

Out of all this, note that the roomie does not have a trauma. Yes, he was eventually distressed from the crowd gathering due to Suv’s episode but “being the center of attention” is not a trigger or trauma. It’s normal to be anxious when the center of attention, especially if you’re not accustomed to it. Suv had a trigger to his traumatic episodes, something that reminded him of his traumatic experience. That’s why they’re called “triggers”. Just like how peanuts can trigger an allergic episode, certain things can trigger a trauma episode. However, no one jokes about the fact that people can be allergic to things like shellfish or wheat, nor do people joke about how epipens are very expensive and how they’re so unnecessary because it’s just getting in the way of evolution sorting itself out. Or if someone does joke about that, they’re seen as a terrible person because folks can’t help the fact they have allergies others should be mindful about.

As always, I explain to people the best way to deal with the fact that some people have triggers is to think of it like allergies. You can’t look at someone and say, “Yep, I know they’re definitely allergic to cotton. Totes.” Or feed someone fish and automatically know that their throat is about to close up in a few minutes. Or that they have asthma. Or anything, really. It’s why people, including myself, wear medical bracelets. It’s why people check the labels at the back of products. Folks who are impacted with their issues try to sort out their lives to make it easier on themselves (note Suv had rather take ground transportation and avoid tall buildings instead of simply just not leaving his home). That’s people taking care of themselves and their disabilities, not wallowing about totally helpless.

However, imagine folks did make fun of having food allergies and trolled about over the epipen. That means there wouldn’t be really any open discussion about the jack-up in price, how people can have cheaper alternatives, so on and so forth. No one is really shamed for talking about Claritin because they have seasonal allergies. No one mimics people having hives or sneezing attacks because it’s funny. If anything, it would be seen as odd, like the person simply didn’t understand the human experience or concept of allergies. Granted people do try to offer snake oil methods for allergies but for the most part, no one would tell people, “don’t take your Benadryl, that’s what’s making you sick” or “you need to grow up and overcome your allergy. I had the same allergy as a kid and now I don’t!” and those who do sound downright mental or overwhelmingly stupid. Just apply that to triggers.

If someone has a trigger, don’t shun them or make fun of the fact that people have triggers. It makes people talk less about their traumas, and even incredibly less in how to handle them. Imagine people never getting help for their allergies because someone thought the fact they had any was idiotic. That would be a lot of miserable and/or dead people. Instead of trying to have a sonic ear for those who have traumatic experiences, try not to rag on the fact that there are people who do actually have them. Yeah, anyone can make fun of Suv for the fact that planes and skyscrapers bother him because it seems so ridiculous on its face. Or the fact that a simple pop song can send him into a tizzy. However, it’s not so funny how he got his trauma yet the same person who would probably make fun of Suv would possibly be reading this post right now and say “OMGZ, Black Witch is sooooooo disrespectful to people who went thru 9/11! Never forget!”

To sum it up, triggers are not light, non-happy reactions that only weak people have because they’re weak. They’re a psychological response and earmark to a greater trauma previously experienced. It’s best to treat them as such.

*If babyboomer and butthurt about this phrase, take a bit of your own medicine: stop being sensitive. And croak already.

On Oct 29 will be a Black Witch convention called Dawtas of the Moon in Baltimore City, Maryland. I’ll be taking part in teaching a workshop called “Witchcraft and Research”.

Here are the details:

Where: Wisdom Books Reception Hall, Gwynn Oak area in Baltimore, MD
When: Oct 29, 2016
Tickets are purchased through Eventbrite
Adult: $75 (+$2.87 fee)
Young Woman (8-18 years, must have adult accompaniment): $15 (+$1.37 fee)
Young Children (7 and under): Free!

I’ll be doing a workshop there called “Witchcraft and Research”. It’s about how to best do research for your metaphysical practices, learn how to identify shoddy information and how to decipher the two.

I did a Facebook Live chat a little earlier this week and got some great question in regards to people visiting the Baltimore area. This is my hometown so thankfully I can answer this basic FAQ for those traveling from out of state. This also gives me a chance to correct info said on the FB Live chat.

Where is the Location? Is there parking?
5116 Liberty Heights Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217.

At first in the Live vid I said there was ample parking. However I forgot that this parking will be mainly in nearby lot at Family Dollar that is down the street. There is curbside parking however.

What is the best route to get to the Wisdom Book Center from BWI?
Via I-695 N
Via I-195 W

Public Transportation:
An all-day pass is $3.80. Baltimore’s public transport is crappy, especially the bus. Light rail is great, however but it has terrible stenches.

If you still plan to use public transportation:
Get on at the BWI light rail stop and get off at Cultural Center (a 40 min ride) and get an Uber, Lyft or Zipcar. (Easiest option)

The longer way is going to be almost two hours. I actually thought this place would be close to Mondawmin but not really. Given the crime in the area, I would highly recommend getting a taxi service such as Uber or Lyft instead of walking about.

Where to eat?
There will be food options at the venue but outside is going to be scarce. It’s pretty much a food desert in this area, unfortunately. This is doubly so if you have food restrictions such as Veganism/Vegetarianism. Bring snacks unless you want to survive on chicken boxes.

The better selection food in Baltimore is moreso downtown than anything. If you are Vegan or Vegetarian, I recommend looking through Happy Cow (this was suggested by my vegan friends) and seeing the vast selection available.

For eateries, I recommend these places:
Broadway Diner (on Eastern Ave, open 24 hours, decent priced foods)
Italianos (On Washington Blvd, open 20 hours, decent priced foods)
Jong Kak (Korean eatery/Korean BBQ, on Maryland Ave, closes around 10 PM, moderately priced food)

What is the weather like in Baltimore?
Baltimore is a little brisk at this time of year but we’re not cold. Bring a light jacket. We’ve had warm falls before so a light long sleeve is probably all you’ll need. Ballpark temperatures to be around 60s-early 70s degrees.

Will there be a Meet and Greet?
I don’t know if there will be a M&G for presenters and attendees but I possibly will have a M&G early in the day or on Friday.

HOWEVEEYAH! I will have to haul butt at the end of the day because I’m driving to Chicago to be there on Oct 30th. (For Chicago readers who can’t attend the con, just find me at the Lupe Fiasco show. I’ll probably be milling around Fiasco like I always do.)







Firstly, sorry I was away for a while, I had EEOC and police/Internal Affairs stuff to attend to.

Now onward with the post!

Throughout Black culture, there is the idea of “Black Love”, which is very pure in concept: Two Black people in a gentle, calm and strong relationship that features a strong Black man that takes the helm of everything, is the protector and provider of the home, and a strong and intensely supportive Black woman who is always behind him, taking care of all home business: rearing the children, keeping the home non-chaotic and making sure that any drama is quickly vanquished.

This belief is very common in pro-Black circles as an aspiration of what to attain, it’s also common in general mainstream Black culture as an ideal relationship for Black men and women. The idea bores from the belief that “no one else likes us or cares about us so we may as well support each other”, a rejection of universal anti-Blackness. This is a great idea but it’s exactly that: not reality. It’s also warped and modified primarily as a purport for Black masculinity since it is rarely, if ever, non-hetero in its depictions and does not really allow women to have much agency. That and it’s basically the 1950’s American nuclear family ideal painted black and a little ankh hung somewhere for decoration.

On its face, the concept of “Black love” is a very beautiful one. It’s smiling Black couples on the cover of countless Black magazines, usually the woman holding a baby or the couple talking about children. They’re financially well off, they have a home, a car and a world of their own. They could make a White person on the street gag in absolute horror and switch from Sanders and Hillary to Trump in a heartbeat just by walking down the street, hand-in-hand and joyful. They’re an active and passive defiance of many dehumanizing anti-Black stereotypes and offensive to any and many who believe those stereotypes.

But in practice, it’s a very complicated and very hard to exemplify concept that is filled with more problems than beauty. And it’s no hidden secret, countless books have been penned on this subject, especially from the womanist and Black queer perspective.

“True” Black Love does not leave much room for Black women to be individualistic people. It shows stark similarities to 19th century Victorian beliefs of a woman’s place to be an “angel in the house”: The cultural idea to not pursue “masculine” things like heavy careers and individuality because it’s her job to make a “man feel like a man” – as if the man is absolutely incapable of normal human feelings and developing mental and emotional securities by themselves due to (entirely fictitious and scientifically bogus) biological beliefs. If the man left or cheated on the woman, the accusations usually hover around how she wasn’t emotionally supportive or simply caused too much trouble with her own life happenings and therefore, it made perfect sense the dude is going to run off to the next chick that can take care of him like a mother (that gives blowjobs).

The woman desiring a career can be seen as a threat to the “Black Love” relationship – unless it can directly or indirectly benefit the man somehow via paying his bills, giving him supplemental income, basically supporting him instead of a 50/50 relationship. This happens a lot in Black relationships – not in every, of course, but enough to be a well-known concept all on its own. The goal of the woman in “Black Love” is supposed to be that of “Support Black man, have kids, basically be a Black June Cleaver”. If the man cheats, she’s supposed to welcome him back as the angel in the house and get mad only at the woman (or “women”) he cheated on her with for pulling him from pious, Abrahamic monogamy down the deep road of lust. If the man is not there for her emotionally, she is supposed to be okay with that because he’s a man and thus has more important matters to attend to than how his partner feels because it will support the whole somehow – even if it doesn’t help or support her personally, emotionally or mentally. Because women issues never matter and Black women are supposed to be made of spun steel, not capable of vulnerabilities. A “Real” Black woman in a “True” Black Love relationship is supposed to hold her man down: keep his secrets, put up with his many, many, many flaws and be grateful that she has a Black man to have and to hold. She’s the evolved version of the “Ride or Die” chick. And she is depressed, unloved and insecure – but told to always be a giver and never a taker because the Black man already has enough strife due to systemic oppression.

“True” Black Love somehow holds no room for non-hetero relationships. Actually, the opposite. Lesbian “True” Black Love relationships seems mythical and gay “True” Black Love seems to be a mockery on the concept altogether because of the conjunct of homophobic and misogynist beliefs. Monogamy is seen as a must in “True” Black Love, there’s is no room for polyamory, (unless cheating and only if the guy does it because he’s “just being a man”). It appears to be also a must that the expression of “True” Black Love can only be between a man and a woman because it is a copy of the White American nuclear family of the 1950s…which actually makes sense given that the concept was newly crafted in the Pro-Black movements of the ’60s and 70s. There doesn’t even seem to be room for bi-people. Either you’re straight as a rod or you’re not Black.

Long story short, it seems the rigid idea of “Black Love” is more of a myth than an actual experience. Does it mean that Black Love doesn’t exist? No. Not at all. There are plenty of successful Black relationships all over the world that doesn’t dissolve into dysfunction and tragedy. Plenty of Black couples who never cheat on each other, plenty of Black couples who equally work together as a duo and not as a lopsided partnership, plenty of Black couples of various gender pairings that are making it work. Because they’re a couple. And that’s what couples do to make a relationship work. They’re not perfect – like the people in the relationships – but they’re making it work…because it’s worthwhile.

Relationships should be worthwhile and healthy. It is unhealthy to be a Black person in a relationship with another Black person and sticking it through because you don’t want to show society yet another failed Black family/relationship. While the effort is truly valiant, it’s ultimately worthless because instead it’s just the person with the ideal getting hurt. It’s basically like continually hitting your head against a brick wall in front of a passing crowd because you want to prove that bone is actually quite strong with sufficient calcium. Some will note, most won’t and you’re still going to have the random dink in the crowd going, “I dunno, I’m gonna believe that Facebook post about how I can get all my nutrients from the sun.” In the end, you’re just going to have a gnarly headache and not much to show for it. The ideal of “True” Black Love is no reason to be with someone who cheats, is emotionally vacant or otherwise disrespectful because, frankly, that’s not love at all. That’s being conditioned to accept abuse as normalcy hidden under the super thin veneer of “Pro-Blackness”. It’s not love at all if someone doesn’t respect you as a person or keeps coming up with excuses, temper tantrums or trying to control you as part of a relationship.

There’s a justifiable reason why there is pressure to want to have a Black Love relationship but it’s all pointless if you’re with someone that doesn’t suit you. I’ve seen this more with Black women than I have seen this with Black men. Countless times I’ve read and been told of cheatings, beatings and emotional abjectivity. And pretty much all of them stayed because “He’s just being a man” or “I have to support my king” or “I don’t want another Black relationship to fail”. Basically, they all were brought up in the ideals of “True” Black Love and pretty much suffered for it. When the dude would get called out, of course, here came the “I’m sorry”, “I need to be a better man” and other lukewarm fibs just to keep the woman around. That’s unacceptable and unjustifiable, completely.

It should take more than “they have the same skintone as me” as a reason to stay. Yes, actual Black love is very important because there’s enough anti-Blackness to drown a ship, but using a hyper-idealistic version suits no one better at all. Instead of aspiring for “true” Black love, just aspire for a very healthy relationship between two Black people. There is no reason to use a relationship to express a point or idea, just enjoy the other person’s presence the best you can. When two Black folks who love each other genuinely and are best friends with each other, that should be the “True” Black Love ideal.

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