On Black Women Empowerment Blogs

black-women-empowerment

Black Women Empowerment (BWE) blogs are a niche of blogs which center on discussion and  improvement of the lives of black women in the United States, and the world.

Black Women Empowerment blogs are a diverse group — some focus mainly on practical advice designed to enhance the lives of black women, others on current issues which affect black women, and many more on dating and marriage with a spotlight on interracial relations. Some combine all of these subjects. BWE blogs address and cater to the particular needs of a group which isn’t often acknowledged in more mainstream arenas.

Since their inception Black Female Empowerment blogs have created waves in the blogosphere. BWE blogs, their owners, and their writings draw strong reactions and criticism. Some hail the writings of BWE blogs as groundbreaking and essential, but BWE blogs have also been denounced as everything from hateful and bitter to pathetic and misguided. Blogs have been created to oppose and ridicule their messages.

BWE bloggers and participants have responded to these accusations on occasion, but here I’ll explore in-depth some of the most common criticisms of Black Women Empowerment blogs, the reasoning behind them, and the accuracy of these assessments.

1. “Black Women Empowerment blogs are full of bitter and angry women”

One of the main purposes of BWE blogs is to alert black women to pressing issues in their communities and raise awareness. As such, articles and comments tend to be written in a straightforward, direct style. Words are not moderated for sensitivity — BWE blogs are clear about confronting issues and those who have been identified as sources of these issues.

The blunt manner of many Black Female Empowerment Blogs is read by some as anger and animosity. But this is a perception caused by the reader and their background and not necessarily reflective of the writer or even the writing — another reader may view the same writing as positive and calm. A writer may view their message as urgent and style their words to demonstrate this urgency, even though they may be relaxed while writing. A willingness to tackle difficult ongoing situations with confidence can be seen as optimism that change is possible, instead of begrudging.

2. “Black Women Empowerment blogs worship non-black men and interracial relationships”

Single and dating black American women have historically focused their dating efforts on black men to the exclusion of other groups of men. For various reasons, BWE blogs centered on dating and marriage advocate black women broadening their dating pool to include non-black men. They believe that by expanding to include all groups of marriage-oriented men a woman has better chances of finding the love and partnership she desires and enhancing her life.

black-female-empowermentThis message in its various forms is taken by some to men that BWE blogs view non-black men and particularly white men, as a cure to what ails black women — the black women’s savior. But while some BWE blogs do focus on non-black men much more than black men as partners –black women do not need to be told they have the option of dating black men– their message has always been for women to  choose a partner based on his character and values and not his ethnic background.

In following this focus on character several BWE bloggers have criticized the actions of non-black men who they view as not enhancing, but diminishing the lives of black women and women in general. They do not discourage a black woman’s choice of a black partner as long as her choices better her life.

3. “Black Women Empowerment bloggers hate black men”

As most black women’s lives include black men, BWE bloggers have published articles which centered on black men and their relationship to black men. BWE bloggers’ believe that black women must first concern themselves with their own lives and happiness. They believe that the tendency of some black women to put the needs of black men above their own has greatly diminished their lives and welfare. In many ways, they illustrate that this loyalty of black women to black men has not been reciprocated in equal measure.

But do Black Women Empowerment bloggers actually hate black men? Do feminists hate men? What Black Women Empowerment bloggers seem to hate, or highly dislike, is the neglect and ill-treatment of black women and girls. BWE blogs exist to address this issue and those who encourage it.

Thus what BWE bloggers hate are the actions and mindset of some black men, not the black men themselves. Commentary may be blunt, but it focuses on those behaviors and attitudes –and only those– which are harmful to black women. After all, what BWE blogs are concerned with is the well-being of black women.

What is your view of Black Women Empowerment blogs and their messages? Do you read or participate at any Black Women Empowerment blogs?

See also:

  • A Selection of Black Women Empowerment Blogs
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88 thoughts on “On Black Women Empowerment Blogs

  1. Thanks for this piece.

    Sorry to be OT, but it really helped me reflect on the work. because i am too close to it, it is hard sometimes to maintain an overview of what we do especially in terms of how other ‘agendas’ respond to BWE. -H

  2. Why hello Halima, what a pleasant surprise. 🙂

    You’re welcome and I’m glad the article was helpful. You’re not off-topic at all.

  3. I’ve read some of these blogs and NEVER got the feeling they were anti-black men or pro-white men, angry or whatever negative adjective you can think of. What I ALWAYS got was they were there for BLACK WOMEN EMPOWERMENT, which I interpreted as WANTING THE BEST FOR SAID WOMEN BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Can’t fault that. In fact, would support it all the way to the bank. What’s offputting is the lack of moderation re comments. It’s exhausting when some male is allowed to comment and distract or side tract the conversation, because his ego can’t survive the truth and the blog owner allows this. Very exhausting. I’ve given up reading many of them.

  4. foosrock,

    “I’ve read some of these blogs and NEVER got the feeling they were anti-black men or pro-white men, angry or whatever negative adjective you can think of.”

    That’s exactly it — how you perceive the writings largely depends on your own perception; the unique mix of your experiences, identity, and biases. Many people do see BWE blogs as those things, but many other people don’t see them that way at all. These people tend to have vastly different backgrounds and mindsets that influence how they perceive the writings.

    “What I ALWAYS got was they were there for BLACK WOMEN EMPOWERMENT, which I interpreted as WANTING THE BEST FOR SAID WOMEN BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.”

    Emphasis on “by any means necessary”. 🙂

    “What’s offputting is the lack of moderation re comments.”

    Hmmm, I’d always thought most BWE blogs were heavily moderated (and with good reason). Many approve each comment before it appears. I can only think of one or two that aren’t heavily moderated.

  5. Now they are moderated, but when I first came across the I/R ones (was looking for I/R romances. This was right after my divorce about 11yrs ago), this was not the case and it got too tiring for me. I’ve since avoided all, except BBW and that’s where I cyber met you, Nkosazana and others who are not necessarily empowerment blogs….

  6. foosrock,

    Well, I’m fairly new to the BWE blogs (first came upon them ~2-3 years ago), so I might have missed the unmoderated stage.

  7. I had no idea this type of blog had a name. I guess I know quite a few, but I never saw them as angry, or anti black men, or white people, or whoever… And I frequent(ed) some blogs that certain people see that way. I don’t know, I guess a) I don’t appreciate politeness and niceness as much as being true to yourself and your beliefs. Or b) I don’t see myself as part of any groups BWE blogs talk about (not even “white women” group), so I don’t take personally whatever is said there.

    I think BWE blogs are a good thing. Black women can gather and discuss issues that are important for them, without having to worry about other people’s wishes, demands, etc, for a change. This allows black women to raise their own voices: to be heard and to be subjects with full autonomy on the issues they care about. It is a good thing, a great thing.

    And what does “angry” even mean? Aren’t there some legitimate things to be angry about anyway? Isn’t a good thing to share your experience with a group of people who have similar experiences? And even if you get emotional in the process, isn’t that a good thing?

  8. On these blogs sistahs are f-r-e-e to voice their frustrations in their pure form, and sometimes that does come across as harsh. I figure that getting the feelings out is part of the process and that no one should stress on it.

    I think the swirl aspect of some BWE blogs seems heightened because one of black women’s frustrations is in the area of relationships and after TOO many Friday nights at home watching TV and eating Lean Cuisine, sistahs are receptive to hearing about “Something New” …

  9. Hi Mira,

    “I had no idea this type of blog had a name.”

    Some people don’t. They just know there are certain groups of blogs which seem to discuss mostly topics related to black women, and are linked to each other. But indeed they have a name.

    “I guess a) I don’t appreciate politeness and niceness as much as being true to yourself and your beliefs”

    I value both (formality and politeness just for their sake irk me though), but I value sincerity and passion way more. And BWE bloggers have those in abundance.

    “I think BWE blogs are a good thing. Black women can gather and discuss issues that are important for them, without having to worry about other people’s wishes, demands, etc, for a change. This allows black women to raise their own voices: to be heard and to be subjects with full autonomy on the issues they care about. It is a good thing, a great thing.”

    Beautifully stated. How do you get these things so quickly? 🙂

    And you don’t know (or maybe you do…) how rare of an occurrence that actually is: black women discussing issues that are important to them without worrying about other people.

    ‘And what does “angry” even mean? Aren’t there some legitimate things to be angry about anyway?

    Yes. However, it seems that calling you angry is a way for people to discredit your argument. Since you obviously can’t be reasoning well if you’re angry.

    Personally, I pay close attention to what people say when they’re angry or hurt. They’re usually truer and definitely more sincere than what they say when they’re calmer. Some great statements have been made in anger.

  10. Pretty much co-signing what everyone else said.

    I think it’s interesting to see how women (in general) are quick to be labeled as angry for being very vocal and strident about a particular issue. Or if they are truly angry, there’s an implication that such anger is unwarranted or “over the top,” so to speak.

    But if one looks at the subject matter of the BWE blogs, I’d say the women writing and commenting have every right to be bothered, and even angry, about the state of affairs for many black women today. Even if one has not personally been hurt, she probably knows at least ONE other black woman who has been hurt by some of the unique (and not in a good way) gender dynamics in the black community.

    There are plenty of BWE blogs out there, and if one is not your cup of tea, another one can be. I’m glad they’ve led the charge in discussing some ugly truths that no one really wanted to touch…

  11. Sherry,

    ‘I think the swirl aspect of some BWE blogs seems heightened because one of black women’s frustrations is in the area of relationships and after TOO many Friday nights at home watching TV and eating Lean Cuisine, sistahs are receptive to hearing about “Something New” …’

    Ha. I’ve never thought that was the reason, though. Most black women I know are not dateless, even if the relative quality of their partners isn’t high. I thought interracial dating was more emphasized at BWE blogs because (a) it isn’t commonly discussed outside of these arenas as an option, (b) isn’t very common so black women don’t even think about it as an option, and (c) more importantly, it is discouraged in many circles.

  12. Bunny,

    “…if one looks at the subject matter of the BWE blogs, I’d say the women writing and commenting have every right to be bothered, and even angry, about the state of affairs for many black women today. “

    I’d agree with that.

    It’s just that some people seem to not realize these issues exist, ignore them, or think they’re not as bad as they’re being portrayed. Or some combination of those.

    “There are plenty of BWE blogs out there, and if one is not your cup of tea, another one can be.”

    Right. And even within one blog, you’ll agree with some portions and not with others. I disagree with ideas on several of the blogs I frequent. But I wouldn’t cross them out based on that because I know they have other things to offer and other ideas I can get in tune with.

    “I’m glad they’ve led the charge in discussing some ugly truths that no one really wanted to touch…”

    QFP (Quoted For Posterity 🙂 ).

  13. I like BWE blogs. I guess I can say I have more in common with a American in some aspects than a Gambian for example. 350 years of colonization and rape does things I guess.

    People need to shape up and especially women need to see that they deserve better and the internet is a excellent tool, the media in general is very black man focused as it is in America I think. Catering to the needs of the men.

    And any sane person can see that black women have a lot to be angry about and have not been given a fair share in the world since we kinda have worked for the black men and the scraps that we have been thrown has been side effects.

    I think black men are generally very annoyed that some black women are starting to think for themselves and no longer can dismiss those as “uppity”. Evident in the ‘anti-BWE’ blogs.

    I’d love to see a South African BWE blog, just discussing black women’s issues.

  14. Nkosazana,

    ‘I think black men are generally very annoyed that some black women are starting to think for themselves and no longer can dismiss those as “uppity”.’

    But they can dismiss them as “self-hating”, “deluded”, “bitter”, etc. And do. I was just surprised at how defensive some people can be about even the most neutral of statements.

    “I’d love to see a South African BWE blog, just discussing black women’s issues.”

    You’re always welcome to start one. You can even make it a group effort if you know other SA women who are interested in the topic and you don’t want to do it alone.

  15. Ha. Me start a major blog?

    I’m having a hard enough time coming up with my crappy little posts and keeping my few readers interested. I’m not media savvy enough and I’m not good enough to juggle the time Chris does with her children.

    I guess It could be a group effort. But the only one I could think about who could join me is a coloured woman and I guess that would make the whole thing invalid lol.

  16. Nkosazana,

    If you could set out a number of topics beforehand that you want to write about, it would be a lot easier. And you don’t have to publish frequently; plenty of the BWE blogs don’t.

    But just tossing the idea out there. If you don’t feel like you’re up to it, then don’t worry.

  17. Yes Miss Alee, the swirl is something that many black women don’t think about, and don’t feel comfortable talking about even if they are thinking about it. But I think that some feel like the ONLY reason for BWE blogs is swirling!
    And on the topic of no dates, perhaps that is only this writer’s problem (although I swear I heard a black comedienne using that same line) …

  18. Alee we are still trying to track down who named us ‘BWE’, if it is anyone of you please step forward lol!

    Many of us started off talking about bw dating beyond just black men and to be precise, availing themselves of the option to date white men. We very quickly discovered that the issues bw had on the dating front were a little more complex and tied into the whole issue of bws devaluation in the black community, the intense female gender oppression and male bias to be found within said community, and in general how bw are positioned to be ‘batteries’ for the express purpose of ‘powering’ the black community.

    With this dawning realization many BWE bloggers decided (maybe not entirely consciously) on a more holistic approach, one incorporating the uplifting and empowering of bw in general, knowing that bw making life optimizing choices would likely flow from a state of empowerment.

    I guess most of this was figured out as we went along.

  19. Well since you wondered where I’ve been, Alee, I guess I’ll comment. 🙂

    The long and short of it is that BWE blogs aren’t the space for me, because I don’t need the advice/support/insight that they’re offering. Just like some people here have talked about growing beyond the “race blogs” space, I feel the same way about BWE, except that by the time I figured out what they were I was already past it. The vast majority of Black women I’m close with are kind of in the same boat, so it might be a regional/personality/compatibility thing, but I’m cool with that.

    Now don’t expect me to comment again until next Friday afternoon. 😉

  20. i really enjoy the writing on them…..especially the “intellectual” posts by like Khadija (sojourner’s passport), Faith (acts of faith blog), Gina (what about our daughters) and Halima. I’ve never been ride or die for random black people/men nor indoctrinated in save alla our people type talk, but I enjoy the discussions and insight. And I really enjoy seeing people have their minds/eyes opened to what’s going on around them and how life is passing them by, watching them gain insight/a clue.

  21. Alee we are still trying to track down who named us ‘BWE’, if it is anyone of you please step forward lol!

    Could it have been Evia?. I know she’s the first I ever read because I was looking around the net for I/R romance books and an author’s site linked to
    her….

    I wonder though, how many people they’re reaching?. As, I suspect that the young girls/women who are truly in dire of need of help are not being reached .
    What also SHOCKS me deeply, aber DEEPLY is the black male responses. They’re generally so vile. So much hate and anger from them. It scares me.

  22. BWE blogs are very important to black women and girls. They represent a kind a oasis in the middle of the desert for black women wishing to get away from the negative traits of the black community. Black women empowerment blogs tend to have the interest for women and girls at heart. They upset the status quo within the black community (only black men are important) and that is why the black community particularly black men are quite critical of the message.
    I love the blogs because they have changed my life so dramatically.

    I love the fact that I am free to embrace being a woman and not just a black woman. I am free to look after my own interests without fear of hurting the feelings of random black men. I am free to be me regardless of my skin color. I don’t have to fit into the special mold of blackness as prescribed by the black community, I don’t have to be subject to “black think.” I also don’t have to be ashamed of dating a person of another race just because I am a black woman. The blogs that helped me along the way are black women interracial circle, The Sojourner’s Passport, Evia’s interracial blog and Acts of Faith in Love and Life.

    I just want to express my profound gratitude to the women that host the blogs. You guys do great work. I hope you are richly rewarded in this life and the next.

  23. SS, would you mind expounding on what sort of life you had before you discovered such blogs?.
    Allow me to express a bit my own story:
    I got married rather young. Met my (ex)hubby at almost 18yrs, finished college in the US, but soon after was married and whisked off to Switzerland. I didn’t have all the negative impact of growing up in a “black think thought”, be it on my island(which I left with 12yrs) or the US(where I grew up), but I do remember some negative comments about (especially) white men/black women, our natural hair, skin shade, rape etc. Because I spent so many years here in Europe where I was divested of this negative stance, I came to see myself as female first and foremost, race be darn, meaning: living here(in Switzerland) taught me that my gender IS my “negative” and NOT my race!.
    Suffice to say, this opened up a wealth of adjustment that I was so keen on accepting and happy that I did, as it made it so much EASIER to live a more open, communicative and prosperous life with the opposite gender, in accepting my role as female(first), to bond with others who share my gender, but not my race, to learn from them, to become this awesome person I really think I am today. Who can way in on matters of race from a neutral (raceless female) point of view. I DON’T OWE MEN SQUAT, BUT, I OWE WOMEN EVERYTHING!.

    When I came across Evia’s blog, I was shocked that black (American) women weren’t as “strong” as they purport to be, what with sailing in a sinking ship. In the comments section there was much anger and fustration at wanting to move on, but also towards the lack of support they got from their black male counterparts. Personally, I find, it’s taking so long for too many of us to see the apples from the trees, too many continue the negative traits that keep us from being worthy partners or global players and I have no hope, unless the GOD that they continuously worship have some major, soonish plan to their advantage……

    I fucking love women. So much that sometimes I wish I was gay, cause I think we’re awesomeness personified. What HURTS is that we don’t see that thinking, defending/coddling a bunch of males because we share the same colour will NOT help elevate us. Look around, it’s proven!.

    PS: I’ve only donated to one cause on the BWE blogs and this was about the Dunbar village issue. If they’re anymore such issues, I’m willing to put my little funds to the cause. I’ve lived a really fruitful and wonderful life so far, want to help other women to do the same…..

    Thanks Alee for this article. You have no clue how shocked I am that US black women/girls are suffering to this extent. To tell the truth, I expected this level of ignorance/vileness more in a 3rd World country!.

  24. Well Jasmin. I saw Zek hanging out at Mr “sellout black women” place so I guess y’all agree with him lol.

    But just tossing the idea out there. If you don’t feel like you’re up to it, then don’t worry.

    Hah I know. Thing is if I were to start that, people would look down upon that I don’t live in SA maybe not take it seriously, SAs can be very sensitive about people moving abroad for some reason. “jumping ship and abandoning the country”

  25. Sherry,

    It’s easy to get sidetracked into talking about men/relationships — I have to remind myself to get back on target sometimes. 🙂

    Halima,

    I wonder with foosrock if it wad Ecuador that coined the term Black Women Empowerment? I think it was either her or you that coined the infamous “DBR” (Damaged Beyond Repair).

  26. Jasmin, I was just poking to see if you were alive or not. 🙂

    I understand about already knowing and understanding many of the issues discussed on BWE blogs. Since I didn’t grow up in a traditional “black community” I never had the mindset the BWE blogs work against, so in a way I’m the same. But like Vonnie, I still found the articles enlightening and interesting.

    Vonnie, I like the longer and more intellectual pieces too.

  27. SS,

    I’m happy that the BWE blogs have been so useful to you. If even one woman’s life is changed for the better, that’s wonderful. If you want to share anything else, feel free.

    foosrock,

    It is astounding the way people react so negatively to BWE blogs. I guess I can understand a bit with the black men disliking the articles including them; no one likes their (or their group’s) flaws picked at.

    But some get very angry and hostile about topics which don’t concern them, like black women’s interracial relationships…It’s very peculiar (especially when you think about how they complain that black women are overly concerned with their IR relationships). They don’t realize they give support to the ideas espoused by BWE bloggers when they react that way. And the non-black women who oppose BWE just make it clear that people like for others to remain ignorant as long as they feel they can benefit.

    You’re welcome for the article and thanks to women like you and Nkosazana for caring and showing your support despite being on another continent and not having to directly deal with these issues.

    —-

    Nkosazana, zek’s on what blog? (Don’t say the name of the person or blog here, that was more of a rhetorical question. 🙂 )

  28. Well Jasmin. I saw Zek hanging out at Mr “sellout black women” place so I guess y’all agree with him lol.

    What.The.Fuck!. Even I know who this “sellout black women” person is. Have seen him mention on Christelyn’s blog and have heard about it back in the day from Evia. Hope Zek is countering this person’s think thought and not “hanging out” as you put it, Nkosazana. Otherwise, I’ll be really wondering what the heck Jasmin sees in him, unless he writes and recite poetry, is really an undercover blonde, and has a massive tool(although: OUCH!) he knows to use and she’s dick whipped. Which I’m prone to somewhat forgive……..:-)

  29. Nkosazana,

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. *shrug*

    Alee,

    I doubt he’ll comment; we’re both too busy to track comments at the moment.

  30. lol. Well, I just scanned the post since I don’t really care to read that website (I clicked on his blog from another blog). A lot of discussing of “selling out” and bashing BWE going on though.

    If loving a person of another race are selling out is Maya Angelou a “sell out black woman” then? from what I’ve read about her she has been selling out for quite some time lol.

    Nkosazana for caring and showing your support despite being on another continent

    lol. I’m blushing! I just have to much time on my hands tbh. People always say having babies is such a hassle and I’m sure it is for young women but it’s like whatever when you got yourself settle. Funny thing is. I’m probably going back to work a month or so and then back to parental leave again lol another 16 month. All I do is eat ice cream, shop, take care of my family and be with my friends. Oh and surf BWE sites lol. It’s not that hard to be a stay at home wife. It’s a finite space you need to clean stop complaining lol.

  31. Nkosazana,

    I’ve heard some very convoluted logic re: who is and who is not a “sellout”. Anyway, I ignore such comments because I notice that they tend to be directed toward women only, and really who cares if some random person considers them a “sellout”?

    Lol @ eating ice cream, shopping, and surfing BWE sites… That’s the life. 🙂

  32. I often find BWE blogs confusing as I’ve never had many (any?) of the issues that they describe, nor have I observed these issues to be unique to black women. The oft heard black=bad refrain that appears on many of the sites seems rather defeatist to me.

  33. foosrock!,

    I think part of the problem is the fact there’s no true female unity that can cross racial boundaries. For example, white women don’t see women of other races as “one of their own”. It’s difficult to expect black (American) women to embrace the female unity if they are constantly reminded that they aren’t women first.

    Now, I guess black women themselves often don’t want to pursue unity, because they don’t see women of other races (especially white) as “one of their own”, but it does seem to be reality of the situation in the US.

    I have no idea what’s the situation in other parts of the world (Europe, for example). I do think situation might be a bit different (but not as much as some Europeans claim), but I am not sure.

  34. I think if the blogs on a whole are perceived negatively then no amount of rationalizing the true intentions changes anything…because part of the blog’s purpose should be to reach the men in the communities black women are often a part of, and if the way the message is being delivered is not having the intended effect, the onus is on the sender to change the delivery style.

    There are plenty of people in the world who are direct without coming off bitter, angry, pathetic, etc. Maybe instead of playing the “hating” card these BWE blogs getting bad press should actually listen to the reading population and find a way to make the point without losing too many people (even though, of course, you can’t please everyone). Now if the blog is SUPPOSE to have a certain tone then by all means this doesn’t apply. I feel black women can’t be empowered without reaching the audiences that are part of their power being taken away. It’s like women who get advice on man problems from…women, likely with man issues themselves. Or the ones who get advice on a troubled marriage from someone who never even received a proposal much less.

    I personally also think black women can find more lasting empowerment in their internal status and qualities as well as taking control of things they have control over…instead of basing the power and lack of on the being black part. Many are quick, for example, to complain about the lack of good quality men…but when you examine what they want, they don’t bring even half that to the table. Champagne taste on a french fry pocket. Woman wants the guy with the great physical appeal and stable job and regular church attendance but she’s fat and not even trying to break a sweat much less lose anything, may have her stable job but it’s dead-end…and only sees church when she’s having man trouble. Come on already. I have a friend who complains about the lack of decent men to date…but she stays going after dudes who are obviously sexually active, when she herself is waiting til marriage. What does she expect such a guy to do when he meets her, just change up his whole lifestyle because of her choices? As a matter of fact, she did. But just like no man should be trying to change her to suit their lives, she shouldn’t do it to them either. She’s a rare one, so she should expect a similar guy to also be as rare. And if she doesn’t care about his abstinence, she needs to ask herself how the two needs (to have sex and to wait until marriage to have sex) are going to resolve themselves in one relationship. A lot of black women out there would have more power if they focused on the more important things in life and developing themselves internally and physically and less time and money spent on things that only help to take away their power as a woman and as a black woman. Many spend HOURS each week on hair and nails and beauty supplies but can’t find money or time to join and use a gym. Come on already.

    On the flip side, a lot of what the blogs discuss are actual issues and women can’t strengthen a community without the development of the other building blocks of a community…family is the basic building block of a society and that is where black people have to start working, one family at a time, to really change anything. And that involves some hard truths about men, women, and children. Women can’t do it alone (I’m not talking about live an adult life, I mean fix the major issues that cause the need to reinforce empowerment in the black communities) and should never expect to…because they didn’t cause the issues solo.

  35. Speak my name three times and I’ll appear! ; )

    I heard someone has been saying I’ve been “hanging out” at some dude’s blog? Could ya’ll please provide a name? Content? More information? I’m not sure I’m following the gossip. The only such blog I’ve commented on that could fit that description may be this random blog I found in my site stats that had a link of my second most-recent post. There were lots of positive things people had said about it and I left a comment thanking them, as well as attempting to contribute to the discussion when they were talking about BWE blogs (mostly so I didn’t feel completely like a d-bag doing shameless self-promotion).

    That said, I do recall the discussion being kinda negative. Hence my singular comment. But I can’t find the link back to it anymore… bleh.

  36. Gina McCauley of What About Our Daughters doesn’t consider herself a BWE blogger.

    I think the BWE blogs are great. I bought Khadija’s book and loved it.
    I don’t consider myself a BWE blogger but I do support what they are trying to achieve.

  37. Mira,
    I’d venture to say that white women are ways more unified in the fight against sexism than black women are. Ways ways ways more. I’d even venture to submit that they would fight for other women more so than black women. Black, especially black American women are still too caught up in race and saving black men to pay any attention to black girls/women. Hence why this movement of BWE is so desperately needed. In all black communities around the world, they have the highest out of wedlock babies (even in traditional African cultures now, I’m reading/hearing!), highest infection of HIV/AIDS and other STDs, violence against young girls and women that’s never documented as it’s become the norm, because of the “she’s too fast” syndrome. The negatives go on. We’re in need of help and I’m especially pleased that it’s black women who’re leading and have initiated this movement. I mean, I can’t blame other race of women, especially white women for not coming to the rescue. The potentiality of being branded a racist because you see things differently or argued too forcefully etc is quite a deterent from helping blacks in American. I know I’ve been branded an outsider because I live across the big pond.

    Zet,
    You’re forgiven.

  38. foosrock!,

    I’d say that one of the problems with feminism (and womanism for that matter) is that they’re quite western-centered. Most of the activists are western women and they fight for their rights, and often forget about the problems of other women.

    So no, wouldn’t say that white women are unified. White American/western women, maybe. But white doesn’t equal American/western, and no, there’s no unity across the globe.

    That is not a good thing.

    But until it’s changed, I do think BWE blogs are needed, because there are issues that concern black women and these issues need to be talked about. Obviously, many won’t like it, especially those who, too, see themselves as belonging to the oppressed group and won’t accept they might be privileged here (namely, black men, who sometimes seem to think black women are there to support them in their fight against racism but never challenge their sexism, and white women, who sometimes seem to think black women are there to support them in their fight against sexism but never challenge their racism).

    BWE are a logical result of this process and they should be encouraged. Now, not all BWE blogs are equally helpful, I guess, and there are certainly some that are counter-productive (that do not empower black women but make further divides), but BWE in general are a positive thing. It’s sad, though, that they are needed, because it’s a sign there’s something definitely wrong going on in society.

  39. Very well written and put, Mira. Although I can’t agree that white or western womanist/feminist forget about other womens rights. There’s been, eg, a movement to help fight the sex tourist “trade” in Asia especially Thailand, but it got no huge exposure because the western men who mostly profit from this, loudly shut down any groups, especially online, by calling the women “jealous, ugly, fat, white bitches”. Same thing that many black men and their sidekicks are trying to do with BWE blogs.

    It’s sad, though, that they are needed, because it’s a sign there’s something definitely wrong going on in society.

    Yes, in their communities.

  40. Using words like angry or hatefilled or bitter when it refers to women can be very loaded words to discredit women. So I don’t use those words to describe the few bwe blogs I have read.

    I think since these blogs are supposedly about passing along information, it’s only logical to look at those websites based on the accuracy of the information that is given

    It is in this area that many bwe blogs fail or at least are very questionable as to the accuracy of the information they give.
    First, I think the very basic narrative that black women aren’t being treated well is extremely accurate. I think the narrative that black women’s experiences and voices are ignored is also very accurate. The basic idea that black women who want to should date any man of any ethnic background is also a good idea.

    Most of the rest of the accuracy of the ideas of bwe blogs at least the ones I have read is basically nonsense after those initial insights.

    I’ll give one example. For instance, many bwe bloggers tell black women they’ll have to di-vest themselves from the black community, which I get symbolically means don’t allow the pathologies that many see in the black community to drag a black woman down. Black women should accomplish this di-vestment by getting away emotionally, and physically from the black community and black people, but in practice di-vesting from the black community means di-vesting from their friends and family since for the vast majority of people the “community” that they deal with directly are their friends and family.
    So di-vesting from some imaginary “black community” made up of faceless strangers who are out to drag a black woman down isn’t actually possible. Meaning a person can’t di-vest themselves from strangers.
    Not only that these bwe blogs dont even recognize the segregated nature of housing that many black women would move out of bad neighborhoods, if they could afford the housing else where. These bwe bloggers dont seem to be advocating for more affordable housing to be put in a variety of neighborhoods thus giving black women who generally make less money, the opportunity to move.
    So to me from an accuracy perspective, the whole di-vesting idea is bad and false information. Yet all of the bwe blogs, I read give that advice.

    I’ll stop here. There are many other examples of ideas that bwe blogs promote that is inaccurate information.

  41. schnecke,

    You’ve never heard of the issues BWE blogs discuss? Colorism? Misogyny? The issues aren’t unique to black women/people, but the combination and form they take are.

    Black equals bad refrain? Where do you hear that? Do you have examples?… Just clarifying.

    Hi Jamila 🙂

    I’d heard that but I wasn’t sure of its accuracy. I’ll remove her link tomorrow.

    Zek, thanks for clearing that up!

  42. Eloquence,

    You said,

    “I think if the blogs on a whole are perceived negatively then no amount of rationalizing the true intentions changes anything…”

    I wouldn’t say the blogs are on the whole perceived negatively. Many people like them and find them very useful. Others do not. Just like you see in the comments section here — mixed reviews. But it’s the criticisms I’m addressing here.

    “part of the blog’s purpose should be to reach the men in the communities black women are often a part of”

    No… no they should not. 🙂

    Black Women Empowerment blogs do not want to reach men; that’s not their purpose. It’s to empower and educate women, not men.

    In fact, I believe their position is that the men can not be reached (as shown by decades of “let’s work it out” discussions, movements, etc), and black women should take care of themselves. If I’m wrong, anyone can correct me on that.

    ‘Maybe instead of playing the “hating” card these BWE blogs getting bad press should actually listen to the reading population and find a way to make the point without losing too many people’

    Wait, wait — no one is playing the “hating” card. I wrote this article of my own volition. No BWE blogger complained about their critics or urged me to write this.

    “I personally also think black women can find more lasting empowerment in their internal status and qualities as well as taking control of things they have control over…instead of basing the power and lack of on the being black part.

    Who does that?

    “Many are quick, for example, to complain about the lack of good quality men…but when you examine what they want, they don’t bring even half that to the table.”

    BWE bloggers discuss extensively how black women could better themselves inside and out to improve their lives as a whole. Actually, that is the main topic of discussion.

    You should click on one of the blogs listed in the “See also” section, especially Sojourner’s Passport. You might agree with some of the ideas.

  43. @foosrock and Mira,

    I can only speak for the U.S., but according to surveys around 40 percent of white women identify as feminists (IIRC), and many don’t agree with the idea of feminism in general. This is certainly a larger percentage than that of black women, but it’s not most.

    refineryoperator,

    “Most of the rest of the accuracy of the ideas of bwe blogs at least the ones I have read is basically nonsense after those initial insights.”

    If you’re so inclined, I’d be interested in knowing what other ideas you disagree with. 🙂

    ‘For instance, many bwe bloggers tell black women they’ll have to di-vest themselves from the black community… in practice di-vesting from the black community means di-vesting from their friends and family since for the vast majority of people the “community” that they deal with directly are their friends and family.’

    Is there something particularly wrong or unfeasible about not dealing with friends and family that have proven toxic?

    “…di-vesting from some imaginary “black community” made up of faceless strangers who are out to drag a black woman down isn’t actually possible. Meaning a person can’t di-vest themselves from strangers.”

    Actually, yes, they can. They can move or simply not deal with these people if they ever come across them. They’d just have to be able to identify these toxic people/communities.

    “These bwe bloggers dont seem to be advocating for more affordable housing to be put in a variety of neighborhoods thus giving black women who generally make less money, the opportunity to move.”

    Khadijah of The Sojourner’s Passport addressed this issue, IIRC. She mentioned that there is plenty of cheaper, safer housing if one is inclined to look for it. You can probably find more info about this on her website. Let me know if you do.

  44. By issues I was thinking more along the lines of “microissues” such as having an all-black social circle, living in communities marked by underachievement and dysfunction, etc. Those are things that I don’t identify with despite being a black female in the US, though it seems to be a reality for many others.

    The black equals bad thing is more of an underlying sentiment that I’ve noticed in comment sections than an explicit declaration in a post. It seems that the black female archetype that is often presented is very negative. How can we improve the image of black women when so many parrot the most insidious stereotypes as truth?

  45. @Alee
    I am so glad I found this post. I love the points you make. I’ve found that the arguments made against BWE blogs are really just a smoke screen. I know real-life people who hate these types of blogs, and no matter what they may say their reasons are, how they live their day to day lives speaks volumes.

    Based on the people I know, the real reason the people who hate BWE blogs feel that they are anti-Black men is because they’re not set up to support or improve the lives of Black males. There are many black Americans who believe that anything a Black woman does should in some way benefit a Black man. There are many Black people (mostly men) who despise Oprah Winfrey because she is a Black woman who credits education with her success, and has achieved a level of wealth and popularity that no Black man ever has. They believe this makes Black men look bad, because they are born at an advantage (America is a patriarchal society) and, yet, are among the least likely to seek higher education or take FREE education seriously.

    Even if your average AA-woman works hard at school and becomes successful in whatever career she chooses she is told she needs to “help a brotha out”, even while they criticize her for doing something constructive with her life in the first place. That mentality is taken to task on these types of blogs, so the people who support that mentality hate BWE blogs (and often Black women themselves) and assume they are hated in return.

  46. “The black equals bad thing is more of an underlying sentiment that I’ve noticed in comment sections than an explicit declaration in a post. It seems that the black female archetype that is often presented is very negative. How can we improve the image of black women when so many parrot the most insidious stereotypes as truth?”
    ~schnecke

    I would LOVE to have the names of those particular blogs, so I can see for myself. The only time I see what you describe is when hateful BM and WW leave comments. Especially that psychotic “_____” person (who’s overly fond of calling BW “sell-outs”), or “_____” (who use to pretend to support IR dating/marriage) and “_____” (who may be “____”). The WW are always anonymous.

    The obsession these people demonstrate with what Black women choose to do in their own personal and professional lives, when they are certain that no Black man will profit from it, is enormous and hostile!

  47. schnecke,

    “By issues I was thinking more along the lines of “microissues” such as having an all-black social circle, living in communities marked by underachievement and dysfunction, etc. Those are things that I don’t identify with despite being a black female in the US, though it seems to be a reality for many others. “

    Right, it is a reality for others. I don’t personally identify with those issues either, but I can sure see them around me.

    Black women in general tend to keep to their own all-black social circles, even moreso than black men. You can observe this in schools, at workplaces, at parties, etc. I’ve had more than one black woman/person look at me with relief and/or come to talk to me when they notice me at a place where there are no other or few other black people. They simply don’t feel very comfortable socializing with other people.

    Hi Andrea, welcome.

    “I am so glad I found this post.”

    I’m glad you found it too. I don’t know how you did, but I’m glad. 🙂

    “I’ve found that the arguments made against BWE blogs are really just a smoke screen…Based on the people I know, the real reason the people who hate BWE blogs feel that they are anti-Black men is because they’re not set up to support or improve the lives of Black males. There are many black Americans who believe that anything a Black woman does should in some way benefit a Black man.”

    There does seem to be that mentality (in the U.S.) where black women and black people in general feel that black women should always stick by and help out black men. It’s very, very strong, so much so that when black women say something that is contrary to that mindset, they always feel the need to make disclaimers or apologies. As if to say, “I still support my brothas!” (if they don’t say that outright).

    It’s admirable that black women are so helpful and loyal, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of their own happiness.

    schnecke says:

    “The black equals bad thing is more of an underlying sentiment that I’ve noticed in comment sections than an explicit declaration in a post. It seems that the black female archetype that is often presented is very negative. How can we improve the image of black women when so many parrot the most insidious stereotypes as truth?”

    Andrea says:

    “I would LOVE to have the names of those particular blogs, so I can see for myself.”

    I think I understand what schnecke is referring to. Some of the BWE bloggers and the commenters have a sort of “tough love” stance where they point out all the ways that black women could improve. It might seem like they are perpetuating stereotypes (and one could certainly read it that way), but I don’t believe that’s their goal. They just lean more to the side of negative reinforcement, to “whip” people into shape, rather than patting them on the back.

    P.S. Andrea, no names other than BWE bloggers here — those names you mentioned have been edited out to protect the innocent! 🙂

  48. Initially, I was into the BWE blogs when I was introduced to them late last year; however, I’ve been deviating away from them recently for various reasons. For me, I feel disconnected because much of the subject matter (than I can take the time to sit and read) seems like it would be common sense…a natural way of life. Also, the age group of the BWE “leaders” are often older, so there is going to be that natural gap (It would be great to have a younger generation of BWE bloggers though). I find some of the subject matter to be ineffectual to me (i.e. diverging from the black community…since when was the black community homogeneous and sound enough to clump the totality of mind, body, and spirit together). Also, I originally postulated the BWE blogs were a medium to support a BWE movement within the community; to represent a place of documented words that describe what was happening beyond the computer screen. I was elated to know of such a “movement,” but nothing happened, and my elation turned into boredom. A vision with no action is nil. It probably was my mistake to expect something more.

  49. Hi Eliss,

    “much of the subject matter…seems like it would be common sense…a natural way of life.”

    It could be. But it seems more like a woman is either taught these things explicitly or learns it through her environment. Some women simply didn’t get the message, so they have to learn it later on.

    “Also, the age group of the BWE “leaders” are often older, so there is going to be that natural gap (It would be great to have a younger generation of BWE bloggers though).’

    BWE bloggers do tend to be older. But not old enough, IMO, that younger women can’t relate to them.

    But I think there is going to be a younger generation of BWE bloggers, if there isn’t already — I come across BWE-ish blogs run by 20-somethings and even teens every now and then. It’s just going to take more dedication and time, and most haven’t really shown that as of yet, from what I can see.

    And BWLivingWell, whenever she gets her WordPress site up (*ahem* 🙂 ) could be one to watch for, leading by example for traditional and non-traditional black American women.

    “I originally postulated the BWE blogs were a medium to support a BWE movement within the community; to represent a place of documented words that describe what was happening beyond the computer screen. I was elated to know of such a “movement,” but nothing happened”

    Hmmm… a few self-described BWE bloggers have books or are coming out with books soon: Khadijah of The Sojourner’s Passport, Christelyn of BB&W. And several people have taken their ideas offline in the form of events, discussion, etc. I think there is some sort of movement offline, but it’s not officially called BWE.

    But you’re right and there has been ongoing discussion on the BWE blogs to take the movement more offline.

  50. “P.S. Andrea, no names other than BWE bloggers here — those names you mentioned have been edited out to protect the innocent!”
    ~Alee

    That is probably best. They would no doubt begin harassing this blog as well.

    “I was elated to know of such a “movement,” but nothing happened, and my elation turned into boredom. A vision with no action is nil.”
    ~Integrated Memoirs

    I hate to sound paranoid, but the people who benefit from the status quo will fight tooth and nail to maintain it. But if the “BWE movement” is approached with stealth there is little that can be done to stop it.

  51. I’m familiar with BWLiving Well; she follows me on tumblr, and although I don’t agree with everything she says, I enjoy her page. It’s eclectic and is able to hold my attention (something that is hard to do, lol). I also wonder, if this “BWE Movement” will include the younger generations (i.e. adolescents, teens). The assemblage of black women should also place focus on them; for, they’re our future (not to sound cliche), and it’s up to them to carry on the agenda of the “movement.” Also, the methodology of a successful movement includes the involvement of young people, and this is evident as early as the revolt of King Lugalanda (or earlier) on up to the Civil Rights Movement.

  52. Before I go back and read the comments and post a real comment:

    Good Lord Alee & Nkosazana! *blushes from embarrassment*
    I am busy as hail over here w/ work & summer courses. Cut me some slack 🙂

    “She did interview me a month ago. I guess she’s busy.”
    aha I finished editing that awhile ago. I haven’t sent it to you since I’m not sure when I’m going to publish yours and the other ones I did. I’ll get it to you soon 🙂

  53. (sorry about any typos)

    1. My first, but brief, experience with BWE blogs started with Dr Lisa’s site (Black Women Blow the Trumpet). The experience reminds me of when one of my brothers would sneak into my bathroom while I was in the shower and chuck cold water from a cup on me (all you only child folks are very lucky). It was a shock to my system.

    I never grew up around black people (white schools & neighborhoods, minority friends I had were either Korean or Mexican), but after reading a couple of her posts, I realized I had internalized some of the dysfunction that a black woman who actually lives in a dysfunctional black community would have. I think that was due to me trying to connect more to the black collective. The very few black people I did know, were weirded out by my African roots and name and I guess I wanted to blend in more with African-American culture, than with my own Nigerian culture. I ended up picking up some of the ghetto/low values of the rap/hip-hop culture rather the positive culture that AA’s (used to be/) are know for.

    2. My blog should not be considered a BWE blog. I would just like to share some of the valuable lessons I have learned and pass them along to black women that need it. I can tell those people have come to my blog thanks to Google Analytics. I have looked up some the cities/areas that people visit my blog from and these are probably not places that I would choose to live in 😦

    3. Alee said:
    It’s just going to take more dedication and time, and most haven’t really shown that as of yet, from what I can see.

    So true. if i’m serious about paying it forward, I do need to do a better job of setting aside time to write. It’s so much easier to post images and call it a day.

    4. Integrated memoirs said:
    I’m familiar with BWLiving Well; she follows me on tumblr, and although I don’t agree with everything she says, I enjoy her page. It’s eclectic and is able to hold my attention (something that is hard to do, lol).

    Thanks! I appreciate that. I enjoy reading your posts as well 🙂 I really need to get back into the swing of things, but the trolls can be…overwhelming. There are questions I never posted because of how vile they were. I had no idea I would be getting that kind of response. But i also got several positive notes of encouragement. What was sad was that some didn’t want me to publish their positive notes because they didn’t want the trolls visiting them 😦

    I don’t visit the BWE as much now, because at some point, bw need to put into practice what they have learned. You can only read so much without taking action, aka living well.

    I appreciate blogs like Faith and Khadija’s because they keep commenters on track and on topic and do not allow let them to just vent. A lot of black women will just vent and have no plans to improve their life. I really can’t stand that kind of “woe is me”, “who’s gunna help us”, “bottom of the barrel”, defeatest attitude. I guess it’s because my parents never tolerated it from us kids so I won’t with anyone else 🙂

  54. Andrea,

    “That is probably best. They would no doubt begin harassing this blog as well.”

    Yes, that as well.

    Eliss,

    I agree that there are benefits to getting younger black women involved. But I would think they need to be “shown the ropes” so to speak. They may have great ideas, but they could always benefit from those who have been involved with BWE for a longer amount of time.

  55. BWLivingWell,

    “I am busy as hail over here w/ work & summer courses. Cut me some slack.”

    Okay. But not for too long. 😉

    “I had internalized some of the dysfunction that a black woman who actually lives in a dysfunctional black community would have.”

    This can happen. I think some of the problems have a further reach than the “black community” and can affect all black Americans, no matter where they are located in the U.S.

    “My blog should not be considered a BWE blog. I would just like to share some of the valuable lessons I have learned and pass them along to black women that need it.”

    I didn’t want to refer to it as one, since I wasn’t sure if you consider yourself one. But your blog seems to fall under many of the goals/purposes of BWE blogs.

    “A lot of black women will just vent and have no plans to improve their life. I really can’t stand that kind of “woe is me” ‘

    A blog that encourages this sort of attitude should not be considered a BWE blog. That mindset is pretty much the opposite of what BWE is trying to inspire.

  56. BWLivingWell, I just wanted to say that I love your work!

    That’s all, carry on!

  57. @BWLiving Well: Trust me…I’m all aware of the trolls coming by, LOL! I have to press the “trash” button on their comments often. You’re doing a great job with the blog, and I’d love to see what you have in the future. Also, you statement, ” I don’t visit the BWE as much now, because at some point, bw need to put into practice what they have learned. You can only read so much without taking action, aka living well,” is one that I concur with.

    @Alee: I see what you’re saying, but I’d have to disagree. If a young person has a great idea and a good method and wishes to instill some change into the BWE program, why not support it? Often, I think that’s one reason why many young people are made to feel less than because people make it seem as though they’re naive and need to “wait their turn.” I’m all for supporting young people to get out there, make change, and be their own leaders. Besides, attitude reflects leadership, and not everyone’s attitude is conducive to be a good leader, and I’d say there is much room (and need) for a younger voice.

  58. Thank you Bunny77!!!

    Women like you and Foosrock! are the voices I always make a point to listen to. The plethora of advice you leave in the comment sections on all of these blogs for the twenty-somethings are GREATLY appreciated 🙂

  59. BWLivingWell: See, more reason for you to get that site up — you already have fans! 😉

    Eliss,

    I agree with the younger voices adding their ideas, but they would still need to be shown what BWE is all about, what’s already been done, etc. Many of them weren’t around in the 80’s and earlier periods when events took place which directly affect attitudes that are prominent amongst black women today. So they’d need to know those things before taking the reins.

    I’m younger as well and I support younger voices, but when there’s groundwork already laid, you’d at least have to know about it in order to understand what you’d be able to add.

  60. @Andrea
    Alee pretty much nailed it above. In addition to that, there seems to be an underlying sentiment that black people are “bad” and that black (American) culture is all violence and degradation. I won’t deny that there are negative aspects to it, but it is more than a little dishonest to imply that that’s all there is.

    Of course, that’s only how I see it. There are probably a thousand ways to read the same thing.

    @Alee
    “Black women in general tend to keep to their own all-black social circles, even moreso than black men. You can observe this in schools, at workplaces, at parties, etc.”

    I’ve noticed it as well, though mostly with older black women. Hopefully, that means things are changing with my generation. Though, I wonder how much socioeconomic status plays into all of this? It seems that poorer people of all races tend self-segregate more often and thus, are more comfortable around “their own”.

  61. schnecke,

    “In addition to that, there seems to be an underlying sentiment that black people are “bad” and that black (American) culture is all violence and degradation. I won’t deny that there are negative aspects to it, but it is more than a little dishonest to imply that that’s all there is.”

    Now this I don’t see. I know that some of the BWE blogs mention that what people believe is black American culture is largely dysfunctional. But they also mention that this isn’t truly black American culture, but more of a hip-hop/hood culture that not all black Americans partake in and isn’t reflective of earlier periods (though it is becoming more dominant).

    “I wonder how much socioeconomic status plays into all of this? It seems that poorer people of all races tend self-segregate more”

    I believe it does have to do with socioeconomic status, but the past and present racial tensions between blacks and whites have also contributed to it.

  62. @schnecke
    “In addition to that, there seems to be an underlying sentiment that black people are “bad” and that black (American) culture is all violence and degradation. I won’t deny that there are negative aspects to it, but it is more than a little dishonest to imply that that’s all there is.”

    I can’t speak to this, because I have never been to BWE blog where that was the case, and I have no idea which blogs you are referring to. But people tend to interpret the words of others based on previous life experiences as much as the words themselves. Our individual interpretations of the same blog may simply be different.

  63. Schnecke needs to give specific evidence to support his accusations. What you think they saying or implying with their message is not what is actually going on.

    Is there a nice way to say “Put up or Shut up”?? 🙂

  64. Danke vielmals, BWLivingWell!. Even though I come across to some as being dismissive about what’s going on with black American women, that is so very far from the truth. It’s just, I’m not a fan of continuously regurgiating the same painful experiences without finding solutions. I’m deigning though to comment less as, I seem to come across as negatively to some and frankly that hurts, but I also respect that the non-personal internet, along with over sensitivity and my forthrightedness can be misconstrued. I just can’t be arsed to leave a caveat or smiley to lessen the impact of my thoughts/experience and advice.

    I very much appreciate your kudos and Alee and others for giving me(us) a forum to voice my(our) opinions based on my(our) experiences thus far. Thanks again.

  65. Jasmin:

    “The long and short of it is that BWE blogs aren’t the space for me, because I don’t need the advice/support/insight that they’re offering.”

    I have a similar stance. I’m not a fan of most of those blogs, and I don’t agree with how most of them go about promoting their ideas. It comes across to me as force-feeding ideas. It’s their way or no way at all. They tend to come from a mindset that black women have never interacted with non-black people before and as if non-black people are foreign to them. That’s not the case with me.

    However, just because they’re not for me it doesn’t mean they’re not for others. For those like me who don’t get those blogs, I’m sure there are 10 other readers out there who do.

  66. BWLivingWell, I’m pretty sure schnecke is female. 🙂

    I’d like to have some specific examples as well, but if it’s an undercurrent she’s detecting that might not be possible.

    foosrock,

    You are tough on black American women. But I get your style and I know you probably care more than the people that come across less harshly.

    changingmoods,

    I never got the sense they believed black women have never interacted with non-black people. But the various BWE blogs probably vary in that stance depending on the blogger and her experiences.

    Although I have to say, as I said above, that black women in general I have noticed tend to keep to their own groups. Not all of them, but probably a greater percentage than other types of people.

  67. This is a great subject I hate I got here so late. I have a blog but I wouldn’t call it BWE, I don’t like labels they confine me. My blog is so all over the place, I’d probably be bounced out of the club. I don’t know I dislike the idea of rules, I’m more of whatever works for you. What works for me is definitely not going to work for everyone.

    I read a few blogs that I guess they are BWE I didn’t discover this till about 2 years or so ago and thought to myself ‘well I’ve been doing this all along it’s got a name’ I just thought it was called self-interest. Sometimes I’m a rebel without a cause, sometimes a rebel w/o a clue. I can’t take myself too seriously. But useful stuff from BWE I use, the rest of it I just throw out. I don’t have to subscribe to everything to subscribe to some things.

    I’m too blunt and direct sometimes, it’s just my nature. I think that turns some folks off but I’m not really about fans for my site, if I help one person I figure I’ve done a good enough job. Also I just want to memoralize myself at this moment, I figure in ten years I’ll be different and it would be great to go back to see how I’ve grown. I also don’t do the new to the idea of self-interest, there are blogs that do that but I just can’t not my style. I also try to make it rule when I do write what would be seen as BWE blog (sounds weird) that I don’t talk about bm, at all, ever, they get enough press good and bad. I figure I could uplift bw and never mention bm.

    I love the younger ladies blogs all across the board, if it’s positivity about young bw I’m sending my teenage nieces to read it. They won’t listen to me, I’m old so it gives them a young bw to relate to and I think that’s awesome. So Intergrated memoirs, BWLivingWell, and Onieka have my love and support.

  68. Eugenia,

    Better late than never!

    I’m also essentially a “write whatever you like” kind of person. But I like the idea of a group of blogs geared towards the same subject and helping each other out.

    Right, some bloggers are just about self-interest/enhancement, and not necessarily BWE. But all of these bloggers contribute in some way, and that’s good.

    I love those three bloggers too. *waves at Eliss, BWLW, and Oneika, wherever they are*

  69. I say there’s room for different points of view of bw. It’s great, since we are a diverse bunch it’s great that different ppl may be able to get what they need. I’m just interested in bw gaining more self-interest and however that comes about I’m all for it!

  70. Sorry to be posting this so late,
    but I am having a crisis lately as it
    relates to the BWE blogs, and it hurts
    my heart because I have several younger
    female relative who are on the cusp
    of adolecense who I was hoping to
    steer to these blogs as a way for them
    to cope with the ever-increasing and
    ever-more ugly anti-Black female racio
    misogyny that is getting louder and m
    more commonplace all the time, but now
    I am not so sure. The tone on them
    seems to be changing, and for the worse
    they now sometimes seem as anti-Black
    female as mainstream Black blogs. Here
    are specifically some of my worries,
    as I saw some of that talk here in the
    comments, and it reminded me WHY I am
    having this crisis lately:

    First of all, WHY is it only okay for
    Black women to vent if they have set
    plans for changing/combating what is
    making them vent in the first place? I
    have NEVER heard anyone tell that to
    Black men, White women, nor any other
    oppressed group (An aside, I do not
    consider White women to be an oppressed
    group, but they sure do, and too many
    others indulge them in that thinking,
    including disgustingly some so-called
    “BWE” individuals who at the same time
    are calling Black women who have NOT
    been taught how to act in their own
    self-interests all kinds of “Stupid”,
    “Clueless” and other nice things) so
    why the different rules for Black
    women? I agree that Black women should
    have plans for improving their lives, but
    venting is a part of human nature, and
    it should NOT be denied to Black women,
    especially since those who the BWE
    claim to be fighting against have been
    doing just that or so long and continue
    to do it. I have heard these “Tough
    love” excuses, before, and franlkly
    and with all due respect, I do not
    buy them. I think these individuals who
    do such simply cannot stand to hear
    the venting because it tells the TRUTH
    about how Black men abuse Black women
    and girls, and these indivduals doing
    the shouting down are STILL all about
    Black men, tough they try to hide it,
    but they betray themselves, constantly
    mentioning their brothers every five
    minutes or their fathers, or other
    Black men. You can fool others, but
    you cannot fool yourself.

    Second of all, these individuals who
    do what I speak of have to understand
    that too many Black women for too long
    have NOT been taught to act in their
    own self-interest and that to do so is
    taboo and betraying the Black race. That
    is a POWERFUL tool to use over a group,
    particularly if it is used over them
    from when they are very young girls.
    Calling them “Stupid” “Clueless” and
    saying that they “Want to be” treated
    this way will not solve that, and is
    simply cruel and wrong to boot. Black
    women have to be de-programmed from
    that toxic mess, and that is something
    that will take time, not to mention the
    fact that MILLIONS of Black girls all
    around the world are STILL being indoc
    trinated with that toxic mess today.

    I also think that alot of these individuals
    who I speak of are in denial when it
    comes to the status of Black women and
    girls in Africa and the West Indies. I
    am sorry, but Black males in those
    countries are just as anti-Black female
    as their African- American counterparts
    like it or not. The only difference is
    that those countries are majority Black
    so the raciomisogny plays out a little
    differently, but you can see some of
    the SAME anti-Black female garbage from
    males of these groups once they come to
    the West, ie Europe, Canada, and of
    course the US.

    Finally Alee, I am going ot have to disagree with
    you when you say the folks practicing
    this “Tough love” act care more about
    Black women than those who are more
    tender/understanding. Is there any
    group who need understanding and
    sympathy than Black women? I do not
    think so! And again, I repeat it
    sounds like what the BWE bloggers
    call “Sista soldiering” (Ie, agitating
    on behalf of Black men at the expense
    of their own and other Black women’s
    well-being/needs) but just in a shiny
    new package.

    I want the best for Black women & girls
    and when THAT is the main focus on
    BWE blogs, then we are on the same
    page, and I have no issue with them,
    and they are truly a blessing, but
    lately to many of them seem to have
    gotten away from that beautiful and
    SORELY NEEDED theme.

  71. Hi Elle,

    “The tone on them seems to be changing, and for the worse they now sometimes seem as anti-Black female as mainstream Black blogs.”

    Is that so? Well, I haven’t been visiting them as often as I used to, so I’ll have to see about that.

    “First of all, WHY is it only okay for Black women to vent if they have set plans for changing/combating what is making them vent in the first place?”

    I think they feel like venting isn’t doing any good, and there’s been enough venting already. Now it’s time for action. At the same time, make no mistake about it, there is definitely venting on many BWE blogs.

    “these indivduals doing the shouting down are STILL all about Black men, tough they try to hide it…”

    Really? They fooled me on that one…

    “Second of all, these individuals who do what I speak of have to understand that too many Black women for too long have NOT been taught to act in their own self-interest and that to do so is taboo and betraying the Black race.”

    They do understand that quite well: it’s something they mention often. That’s sort of why BWE blogs were created in the first place — to reverse that sort of mentality.

    ‘Calling them “Stupid” “Clueless” and saying that they “Want to be” treated this way will not solve that, and is simply cruel and wrong to boot.’

    Maybe so. But it is exasperating to watch a person work against their own interest. However, they are not talking about all black women, or black women in general. Just a certain type. I wouldn’t take it personally if it didn’t apply to me.

    “Finally Alee, I am going ot have to disagree with you when you say the folks practicing this “Tough love” act care more about Black women than those who are more tender/understanding.”

    Did I say that? I don’t think I added that last portion…

    I do believe that they have a tough love approach that is love. I don’t think they hate or despise the women they talk about at all, they’re just frustrated. But we can agree to disagree on that.

  72. @Elle
    I was very surprised by your comment. I’ m glad I subscribed to the comments for this post. What approach do you think the blogs you speak of (I’ve never read one that was as you described above) should take?

  73. I stumbled across the BWE blogs a couple of years ago and found them incredibly eye-opening in so many ways. I am Canadian, of East African origin, and there are growing traces of dysfunction in my community, with young people adopting the worst of hip hop toxic culture, filling up jails and dropping out of school. My culture is very patriarchal in nature but I’m seeing a significant portion of men abdicating and abandoning their families once they come to the West but still expecting women to give them their undeserved due as “leaders”. Not all of them, but a growing percentage, and that, combined with the failures of the younger generations, is setting us up for a disaster down the line. The BWE blogs have been very revealing in terms of identifying and calling out the issues for what they are, one of them being the collective failure of black men worldwide to lead and take care of their communities.

    On a personal basis, a lot of what they talk about doesn’t apply to me because I was never raised in all black-constructs. But I do see it in acquaintances (not friends) of mine, both in Canada and the US.

    I like the expansion of interests that a lot of black female bloggers are covering, including yours Alee. One of the most interesting ones, that I did found actually personally applicable, was the black femininity blog. The blogger (Icon) had piercing and fantastic insights into perception and self-presentation and I do wish she would update her blog a little more often.

  74. Sophia,

    “I like the expansion of interests that a lot of black female bloggers are covering, including yours Alee.”

    Thanks. I try to cover a range of topics, with some BWE topics included.

    “One of the most interesting ones, that I did found actually personally applicable, was the black femininity blog. The blogger (Icon) had piercing and fantastic insights into perception and self-presentation and I do wish she would update her blog a little more often.”

    I think I know which one you’re talking about; I like it too… It is sad when a blogger you enjoy stops writing or only writes occasionally.

  75. I’ve been reading some of these BWE for awhile and I’ve come to the conclusion they’re not for me.

    On the issue of dating inter-racially

    Single and dating black American women have historically focused their dating efforts on black men to the exclusion of other groups of men. For various reasons, BWE blogs centered on dating and marriage advocate black women broadening their dating pool to include non-black men.

    While I agree with them that black women should expand their dating options, I don’t really see how that makes one empowered, that’s just me though. Besides I’ve been dating inter-racially for the past 7 years now, my reasons for doing so have more to do with the fact that it’s the 21st century and I feel there’s no reason to limit myself to just black men. Besides, I think more black women are beginning to open themselves up to dating more inter-racially these days anyways, at least where I live, there’s a decent amount of black women/white men, black women/Hispanic men relationships.

  76. RenKiss,

    “While I agree with them that black women should expand their dating options, I don’t really see how that makes one empowered, that’s just me though.”

    Hmmm, well a lot of women who decide they will only date black men also have a mindset which is tied to the black community and black men in general; they see themselves as martyrs or servants to them. So if you break one link, the rest will follow. That’s just one way of thinking about it.

    “I’ve been dating inter-racially for the past 7 years now, my reasons for doing so have more to do with the fact that it’s the 21st century and I feel there’s no reason to limit myself to just black men.”

    I date interracially because I’m straight. And non-black men are men and thus attractive to me as well. 🙂

    “I think more black women are beginning to open themselves up to dating more inter-racially these days anyways”

    Yes, well it took a lot of pushing to get it to that point. Many are opening up because they feel they have no other choice… And there’s still a long way to go, some areas have noticeable amounts while others the pairing is practically non-existent.

  77. “Yes, well it took a lot of pushing to get it to that point. Many are opening up because they feel they have no other choice… And there’s still a long way to go, some areas have noticeable amounts while others the pairing is practically non-existent.”
    ~Alee

    This and everything you said above is so true. I go out with my boyfriend at night and still see single BW in groups instead of on dates. During the day, I see older non-Black couples and inter-“racial” couples walking down the street together, enjoying each others company, but the older BW are usually alone. It’s sad, to me. If BWE/BW IRR blogs are not right for RenKiss, because she’s already where they are trying to get other BW to go, that’s better than fine, it’s fantastic!

    It’s odd, but the BW who hide behind the words “I’m a strong Black woman so I don’t need anyone” are usually the weakest of all women. They don’t want to admit to having needs, because they don’t believe that those needs will be or can be met by BM. Yet they fear seeking or accepting love from a like minded man who shares their beliefs and values, if he’s not a BM. Very sad. How strong are you when you fear other people’s disapproval more than you value your own life and happiness? Not very, in my opinion.

    It bothers me that some BW will only date a man who actually is a good man if they are convinced that they have no choice. I think they are stupid. And I hate that some people will assume that I am only with my current bf because I can’t find a “good BM” and will even disrespect my relationship by trying to set me up with some random BM. This happened again just last week, and I am still pissed about it.

    I have mostly dated Inter-“racially” since I started dating at 16. The reason: I’m very attracted to attractive men. And the most attractive men I’ve come across — both inside and out — have been White. If that offends someone, too bad! Black women need to stop trying to live their lives for people who don’t give a hairy rat’s *ss about them, and only want them to be available for use and abuse by the “Black Community”. For this reason, I think BWE/BW-IRR blogs are great, even if I don’t care for the “you don’t have a choice but to date out” message on some well-meaning blogs, and how it has negatively affected women like me, who have always dated whomever we damned well pleased.

  78. This and everything you said above is so true. I go out with my boyfriend at night and still see single BW in groups instead of on dates. During the day, I see older non-Black couples and inter-”racial” couples walking down the street together, enjoying each others company, but the older BW are usually alone. It’s sad, to me. If BWE/BW IRR blogs are not right for RenKiss, because she’s already where they are trying to get other BW to go, that’s better than fine, it’s fantastic!

    You pointed out that you often see a lot of older black women alone, now I’m wondering if this could be a generational thing? I have noticed those black women who date out are around my age (late 20’s) and their early 30’s.

    It bothers me that some BW will only date a man who actually is a good man if they are convinced that they have no choice. I think they are stupid. And I hate that some people will assume that I am only with my current bf because I can’t find a “good BM” and will even disrespect my relationship by trying to set me up with some random BM. This happened again just last week, and I am still pissed about it.

    I understand what you’re saying here, I find the whole “I date out because I couldn’t find a good black man” problematic because IMO it sets black men up as the ideal and everyone else is second best.

  79. “You pointed out that you often see a lot of older black women alone, now I’m wondering if this could be a generational thing? I have noticed those black women who date out are around my age (late 20′s) and their early 30′s.”
    ~RenKiss

    I know the guilt tripping of BW goes way back, but I have female relatives over 50 who have been married to WM for decades. My mother, after her first marriage ended (before she met and married my father), seriously dated and considered marrying a WM. And this was a LONG time ago.

    I have spotted older couple — BW and WM — shopping together at Walmart, Kohl’s and other local stores. Also, most of the time, when I see a young BW she’s with her friends, not a man. I would love to see more BW in HAPPY relationships of any kind.

    “I understand what you’re saying here, I find the whole “I date out because I couldn’t find a good black man” problematic because IMO it sets black men up as the ideal and everyone else is second best.”
    ~RenKiss

    Exactly! And that is not even almost the case, for BW who see men as men and are not willing to grade anyone on a curve. Lol. It also creates the impression that you would welcome strangers interfering in your romantic life, which is also not the case. I often suspect that these helpful folks are interested in my guy themselves, both the men and the women. Lol.

  80. We live a country that still considers the mere discussion of race to be taboo. Couple that with the narrow focus on gender AND race, well of course this causes strong reactions. The reality is that those who do not belong to a minority group or a subculture of any type do not understand those of us who do. This ignorance is where the negative feedback stems from. I say, it’s not even worth much thought, response or even the time it took me to post this.

    Moving on!

  81. Hi ella,

    Great comment; I agree with your basic point. I just like to explore the whats, hows, and whys of social phenomena.

  82. I fully agree with this post. BWE is about improving the lives of Black women in the West and worldwide and stop accepting subpar romantic partners. I used to be a Black Nationalist and wanted to ”fight” strongly against White supremacy but I found out that the African American collective only wanted Black women to protect African American men from ”da evil White man” so that he could get himself a White or non Black woman. Plus Black men have treated me so badly in the past too so I didn’t see the point in ”crusading” for such a group of people who don’t care about me. In other words, we are just mules for Black American men to use and discard once they get what they want. Recently I left Black Nationalism and a friend told me about Black Women Empowerment. I started reading Muslim Bushido and Evia’s blog and the ideas really rescinded with me.

    I really like the message of BWE. Black women need to date a man who can treat her with respect REGARDLESS of his race, culture and ethnicity. We can’t afford to limit ourselves to Black men any longer because many of them don’t want to date Black women and the pool for eligible African American men continues to dwindle at the moment. There are men of other races and cultures out there who can provide and treat a woman with respect.

    Also BWE teaches that Black women must support groups that reciprocate and try to improve our image in the media. Sadly many African American women support causes and groups that don’t reciprocate and benefit them. And our image in the media is terrible. We need to support causes and groups that BENEFIT us and try to improve our image in the media.

    I am a young Black woman and although I am not an BWE blogger, I appreciate BWE’s mission to improving Black women’s lives.

  83. Why would we still keep saying that black women prefer to date black men. I think there is a lot of liberation in thinking process of new generation. At least to what I have seen.

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