Since I was a little a brown girl, I have always secretly wanted to save the world. Yes, the whole big world. To say the least, I was utterly enthralled with movies like Indian Jones and the last Crusade to the point of obscene dissidence to the 80s generational black-uplift narrative of being a lawyer like Clair Huxtable. Oh no, I wanted to be an archeologist like Indian Jones. Can you see it? Me, chocolate face black girl, dawning the traditional beige musky hat of the archaeologist to uncover some man-made or supernatural plot to destroy the world. I tell you, this desire to save the damaged and brokenness of humanity is something I came into the world with. I see it as part of my soul assignment to help people know who they are and to uncover their soul names. But, somehow all of this—saving the world . . . helping people discover their inner names—got misconfigured by growing up in a violent home.
So, in the traditional way in which black people begin their stories, “What had happened was . . .”
I attended this event where one of my best male friends was hosting. Upon arriving my best male friend comes and says, pejoratively and with great amusement, “Your friend is over there,” hinting to a black woman who every time I see her she gives me what I can the “stank eye.” And, if you are a heterosexual black woman you are quite familiar with either giving the “stank eye” or receiving the “stank eye.” Long story short, my best friend decides to play what I call, “The Great Black Male Conciliator.” He decides to prompt the “stank eye” woman to reconcile with me. I should state at this point in the story, I am somewhat hazy on why every time I see this woman she gives me the “stank eye.” Anyways, she comes over and tries to be nice to me and, of course, it comes across as completely disingenuous.
So, after leaving the event, it came to me why this woman continues to give me the “stank eye.” And, it has everything to do with my best friend. The “stank eye” woman romantically likes my best friend and perceives me as competition. Because she only gives me the “stank eye” when I am with him. So, I call him up and tell him this. And, of course, he denies it and says in the way black men say, “We are just friends. We worked together to get Barack Obama elected. We spent a lot of time together doing that, but we are just friends. I know for a fact she does not like me in that way.” And, all I could say was, “
Bullshit,you are completely impervious [let me use a smaller word, ignorant] of the privilege patriarchy gives you as a heterosexual man.”
Which brings us to the current discussion, “Are black men ignorant to how they engage their many female friends?”
On the last Friday of Women’s Her-story Month, I want to honor black women who are what I call “border-crossers.” Border crossing is centered in the margins and “what moves people” . . . the fluid transmissions and the mergers. It comes out of womanism and black feminism. It comes out the frustration with borders and boundaries. It comes out of the need to build sustained and people-centered movements.