1.02.2011

The "Culture" Excuse

I am always skeptical about this - but this is just me. I grew up in a strict African household and I noticed my father often used culture as an excuse to stop me from doing things he simply didn't want me to do (or to keep from doing things he simply didn't want to have to do). Thankfully, I got to grow up around other African families, so I noticed many inconsistencies early on. (LOL - funny story: when I turned about sixteen or so, my father didn't want me to pierce anything or get a tattoo and he was all uncomfortable, talking that, "Now...I know that in our culture, historically speaking anyway..." BS - but I digress)

My point? I'm just wary of the "culture excuse". Everyone has a "culture". If a person doesn't want to settle down with someone, they should simply be upfront and not hide behind someone else's racism - that's, like, beyond insulting.

...I just don't see how enabling/perpetuating an incorrect belief "honors" anyone.

~ from a comment I made on our Old Haunt

Tinu just reminded me of something: Blasians, never accept the "Culture Excuse" from your significant other.  Talk about a red flag; that's a sign to end things yesterday.  Keep in mind, the Culture Excuse isn't actually about "culture," as you can see above.  As Tinu said, it can be used to cover deeper, more complex aspects of the relationship.  In other words, it's merely the exoticized version of an old tactic.

Black women are more likely to be on the receiving end of the Culture Excuse, so it's crucial for us to always remember a few things:
  • Racism is meant to be fought - alwaysThat's how you get rid of it.  People of color cannot criticize white people who don't correct racist behavior in their families, while still "honoring" the racism in their own families, especially when it's directed against other people of color.  As TenchiJK would say, many of us share haan; experiencing slavery and colonialism wasn't exclusive to "some" people.  The ancestral bitterness of having lands and cultures ravaged isn't exclusive to one continent.  Colorism and intra-POC racism are huge, self-destructive, counterproductive problems we have to deal with, and no man is worth submitting to it.
  • If a man is so terrified of his parents that he won't even bring you home to them, it's time to break up for reasons I don't think I need to elaborate.
  • For those of us who are more, ahem, mature: if the man in question is not financially and residentially autonomous by the time he reaches...ahem...our age, and he's afraid to bring you home because his parents will "cut him off"...do I even need to finish that sentence?
  • An ambush is grounds for breaking up.  For those of us who are slightly older than our more youthful counterparts, the days of shocking our parents and rebelling are over.  Before you start trading visits with the parental units, everyone needs to be on the same page and know what to expect.  So...if he drops you in the middle of a hornet's nest and silently watches you get stung all over, it's time to say goodbye - at once.
  • Black women, never forget the plight of your ancestresses.  Never forget the African women who were captured and sold East to fill harems, nor those who were sold west to plow fields and warm the beds of their enslavers.  You are no man's dirty secret.  Have some self-respect.  Do not be pacified with a "secret relationship"; you're not 007 and there's nothing exciting about being with someone who's willing to move mountains just to keep you a secret.
  • Beware the Memory Lane.  "Memory Laning" is a powerful manipulative tactic employed in numerous scenarios by friends, relatives, and significant others.  It's where the user brings up all the good times and invokes your favorite memories of them to keep you from going anywhere.  They imply that what was good before can be good again if you just stop complaining and keep to your place.  This goes in line with being someone's dirty secret.
  • There is often a debate about who takes top priority, one's parents or their mate.  The keyword in that sentence is "mate"; if this is someone you've already decided to spend your life with, have kids with, share property and finances with, then both of your parents really need to shut the hell up (unless the relationship is abusive).  Your mate will be taking care of you and raising your children and grandchildren long after both your parents are dead.  Which reminds me:
  • Comedian Chris Rock jokes that life isn't short; it's long - especially when you make the wrong decision.  Your freedom, your self-worth, and your ability to assert yourself aren't free.  They don't even come cheap.  In fact, they're very expensive.  For some people, they're so expensive they may think no significant other is worth it.  Black women, never settle for a man who doesn't think you're worth it.
If I've left off any, feel free to add more.

12 comments:

  1. Great (and very funny post). My parents tried to pull "the culture card" when my brother started lighting incense in him room and wanted to grown dreads. LOL. Thanks for the shout out.

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  2. I think you pretty much covered it. Basically, any man who's going to be such a pussy where you as a potential mate is concerned needs to be parked on the curb. I'd prefer if they told me upfront that they're uncertain about being with someone outside of their race. Save me from wasting my time.

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  3. I'd prefer if they told me upfront that they're uncertain about being with someone outside of their race. Save me from wasting my time.

    The problem is, they're not going to, so we have to have fun conversations like these.

    Human beings are creatures known for our uncanny ability to adapt (when we want to, anyway). Sometimes we have to adapt to our environment, other times we have to adapt to ourselves.

    Say someone possesses traits like cowardice, selfishness, or narcissism (sometimes all three at once). These are repellant traits; they have a tendency to drive people away. In the dating world, they're seen as extremely unattractive. So people who have them have to attempt to find imaginative ways to keep people around. Thus manipulation becomes their main tactic for survival.

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  4. Ugh...and people wonder why I've yet to jump into the dating world. So far, I've been using studying/career building as an excuse but that won't work come June this year. *sigh*

    I just don't have patience for being strung along, Ankh. T_T I didn't 10 years ago, and I have less inclination to do so now. Guess I'll just have to pray/send out firm vibes that limp-dick, spineless mofos need not apply.

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  5. I just don't have patience for being strung along, Ankh. T_T I didn't 10 years ago, and I have less inclination to do so now. Guess I'll just have to pray/send out firm vibes that limp-dick, spineless mofos need not apply.

    Right there with you. I'm using the "waiting to move back to a city where's a lot of MoC" excuse. Appalachians are nice and all, but they don't turn me on.

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  6. I just don't have patience for being strung along...I didn't 10 years ago, and I have less inclination to do so now. Guess I'll just have to pray/send out firm vibes that limp-dick, spineless mofos need not apply.

    Amen, leoprincess. Amen double time. There is a reason why I'm single. The older I get, the less tolerant of bullshit I am.

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  7. The older I get, the less tolerant of bullshit I am.

    I've noticed this too. I wouldn't say I'm cynical or jaded, but I am more impatient. And very grossed out when a man acts like a little kid.

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  8. I'd like to add that the culture excuse is worse when it's coming from *your* side -

    That's the excuse my dad tried to use with my partner and I, but I called BS, because that's what it was.

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  9. @ A Simple Thing

    Please clarify. Your dad tried to use the Culture Excuse?

    Keep in mind that this post refers to when members of the couple's themselves try to use it, not their parents...but you've piqued my curiosity nonetheless.

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  10. Black women, never settle for a man who doesn't think you're worth it.

    This was instilled in me from birth. In this, there is never room for compromise. Culture excuse, my @ss.

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  11. Oops! Sorry, yep, my dad tried to use the Culture Excuse.
    It was actually soul crushing, because I love my dad - but I wasn't impressed with what was coming out of his mouth.

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  12. And I know this is late, but I found this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WcWnF9oQbA&feature=player_embedded
    And that basically summed up what my dad said ¬_¬

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