2008-05-05

Shahrazad Ali-The Black Man's Guide To Understanding Black Women


In the post, Black Women Have Dropped The Ball, the woman in the video explained how black women have failed the black community, this has me thinking about Shahrazad Ali. She wrote a very controversial book back in the late 1980s, called "The Black Man's Guide To Understanding Black Women". She did the talk show circuit and there is tons of video on her from this time. In her defense a few years later she came out with "The Black Woman's Guide To Understanding The Black Man".


I am going to go tabloid style and show an old interview of Shahrazad Ali on Sally Jesse Raphael:



This gives you the most controversial views of this woman:

  • Black women have smaller brains than black men and cannot compare to the conscious black man's brain

  • If a black woman ignored the black man's authority, the black man needs to take control and slap her in the mouth

  • Black woman have secrets to keep black men control

  • Black women in society are above reproach and we have been insulated and no one would dare attack us.

  • Black women buys hot clothes and shoplift

  • Black women bully black men

  • Black women relate to black men like white women relate to white men and we cannot do this because black men are different


You can watch the rest of this interview here, here, and here. There is also discussion on interracial marriage in this interview as well. Don't be surprised to learn she is against interracial relationships.

Here is a more legitimate discussion, but still heated:



You can watch the rest of it here, here, and here.

For the most part, I believe her books were rejected by black women due to the controversial nature and somewhat sexist nature of her books. A lot of black men did embrace her book, although many as you can see in at least one of the interviews did not agree with the message in it's entirety.

My question is this: When will there ever be a book or a discussion in which we say black men have dropped the ball? Why is there a tendency in the black community to protect the black man, but expect the black woman to handle it all and get blasted and blamed for all things wrong in the black community? That is how I feel the black community currently treats black women, and not just black men do this, but black women do this to each other .

I definitely understand black men have had a hard time during slavery, segregation, lynchings, etc., but hasn't the black woman endured these things as well? I understand with the advent of Affirmative Action it is viewed that black women get treatment over black men in positions because to hire a black woman is a "double minority". The facts to me don't present this view. Personally I think black women get hired at higher rates than black men because for the most part black women, have sought to advance their educations in higher numbers than black men. More education means more opportunities for the most part, and black women are more likely to get a college degree or advanced training beyond high school. So why are black women, who are perceived to be more successful than black men the scapegoat for the black community in general? I know one big thing people tend to mention is the feminist movement as it relates to black women. The feminist movement for the most part in my opinion did more to benefit white women than it did black women. The reason I say this is because black women in this country were never in the situation of being happy homemaker or expected to stay pretty, black women have always worked outside the home. We didn't have to fight to make money, we had to take jobs, along with black men because of the inequality black people faced on a daily basis, including in the workforce. We fought for equality in the workplace, but never did we ever have to fight to get a job.

I think the "strong black woman" stereotype, although to some extent rooted in truth is our biggest downfall, and causes us to be a scapegoat in the black community (Shahrazad Ali believes this as well, but with completely different reasoning). It is no secret that black women are more likely to be single mothers than other races of women. I believe that black men who have fathered children and chosen not to be actively involved in their lives has fallen for this stereotype. They know the kids will be cared for if they are involved or not because the "strong black woman" handles it all. In terms of even IR relationships this can be the case, many white men have said their attraction to black women has been their strength, but I also know of white men who have said they date black women because they feel they have less expectations than white women. To an extent this is true because I think in most households, the black man and black women had more of the whole concept of 50/50, both worked outside the home, whereas the traditional "American" (i.e. white family), it was expected the man work outside the home, the woman worked inside the home, cleaning and taking care of kids. Black women as a whole or on average are never raised to look for a man to take care of us, we are told to fend for ourselves. I think this causes us to beat ourselves down, as we know or feel there is no one there for us, but ourselves, and this can be overwhelming and a bit depressing in my opinion. I think this causes SOME black women to be OK with the concept of man sharing and feel that black men are good for nothing, and are failures, as it appears the black community is the only one in which this message is wholeheartedly embraced, and if you compare and contrast and look at things on a whole instead of on an individual level this can be truly disheartening.

I do believe that black women are the backbone of the black community, but the community is made up of men and women and we have to look at BOTH men and women, and also acknowledge the strengths and failures that black men have bought the community, if we are going to address the failures of black women and how they pertain to the black community. It is a 50/50 deal, black women don't make babies by themselves, they don't exist without black men.