Welcome to My Black Female Childhood
From the moment a child is born they are attached to their first teacher – their mother. The female infant never stops studying and learning from her mother. As a child, you will mimic everything, right or wrong, and the first mental recordings, which cannot be erased, will become references to survival. I am currently reading Shahrazad Ali’s book “The Blackman’s Guide to Understanding the Blackwoman”. Chapter-by-chapter I am revealing my truths about the Blackwoman that I am. This is my Black Female Childhood.
Absent Father – Black Female Childhood
My father never played a major role in my Black Female Childhood. We talked on the phone, I was sixteen and I have met him. Once. I was twenty-one. Although he was absent my mother never spoke ill of him towards me. I never grew up thinking my father wasn’t shit, left us and didn’t give a damn or how much she couldn’t stand him. Thank God. Now, don’t get me wrong – I have, indeed, heard those phrases growing up in my Black Female Childhood. Other Black female family members, acquaintances, and the media would share those views about the Blackmen in their lives.
Many Blackwomen are set up to believe that the Black man is a bother, liar, and a dirty cheat. I have seen Black women withhold information they think is necessary, listen or obey only when they choose and/or have automatic backup plans if it doesn’t work out. These are my first impressions and first-hand accounts of the Blackman who is rarely, if ever, present to defend himself and his kind.
No Strong Male Presence – Black Female Childhood
My brother was born when I was four and I knew then that his father wasn’t my father. I don’t recall if my mother ever explicitly explained that to me of if I just knew, ya know? They never worked out – my mother and my brother’s father, so a man in the house or “of the house” was never a concept that I was hip to. Everything went through, by, pass and around my mother. Eventually, my mother would marry in my teenage years and I will never forget this particular lesson of authority in Black male/female relationships.
My mother had asked me to clean before she left for errands. Shortly after, my step-father would return home from work and relieve me of my chores. I went outside and he took on the responsibility himself. Well, he didn’t finish fast enough because, you see, my mother had returned home. I was outside. He was in the shower. The house was not clean. Shit.
I couldn’t figure out why it didn’t matter what he said. It was what my mother said. Certainly, I had new questions to deal with in my Black Female Childhood: Can I dismiss any and everything he has to say from now on? The man who I know as my grandfather is not my biological grandfather; am I no longer obligated to listen to him either? Why am I – the child, being punished if the adult in the situation is claiming responsibility?
Black Fairy-tale’s Lied to Me
My only sense of authority is a woman and the very i-d-e-a of a man telling me what to do in my personal life is foreign and damn near laughable. I learned early that my mother – a woman, had the last say and made the last decisions. The Blackman’s word is under scrutiny, questionable and carefully taken into consideration.
I have never seen a Black male/female relationship “acted out” in my Black Female Childhood let alone my entire life. My grandparents lived out-of-state and my mother essentially a single-parent with “no family” nearby. Relationships were grown folks business, therefore, all I knew came from television, music, books, and magazines. I was barely 10 years old in the year 2000 and my lessons on Black love and family came from ‘Girlfriends’, ‘The Parker’s’, ‘My Wife & Kids’ and reruns of ‘Moesha’, ‘Living Single’, ‘Martin’, and ‘The Cosby Show’. The Black woman’s Holy Grail of movies on love consisted of ‘Love Jones’, ‘The Wood’, and ‘Love & Basketball’. I could forever replay and study them down to the T.
By the time I was 12-years-old, I had seen every “classic” Black movie involving love, relationships, and marriage. Movies told the truth and I believed them! I recall watching ‘Set It Off’ with Queen Latifah on television and cried my-little-baby-eyes out because I thought that I just saw the most gruesome crime L-I-V-E, right then and there! I was far too young to separate fiction from reality.
Separate the Lies from Truth
I carried these emotions and ideas into adulthood as they governed the way I was going to live my life. My 90’s-baby Black Female Childhood power couple heroes were Martin and Gina, Mya and Darnell, Nina and Darius! “Baby-Making Music” was well into my childhood memories. From getting Usher’s “My Way” for Christmas to your momma banging TP-2. The movies and music almost seem to entice, mislead and misguide the Black woman.
I still have unresolved issues with that man – my father. I don’t know if I will ever get the opportunity, again, to talk to him face-to-face. The right “words” to use haven’t found me. I can’t start a conversation when I don’t even know what I’m going to say. Everything that he wasn’t present to teach I learned through trial and error. Everything I know about the Black man I learned from the ‘The Brothers’. That would carry me into the next chapter of my life – those teenage years.