Jungle Fever - Part I

02 Mar 2006

Sisters you know yourselves. Come on be honest and just admit it. Do not lie to yourselves either. Let’s be truthful here, because you sure were when you snorted under your breath with anger the last time you saw that happen. You did not understand why it affected you that deeply but you can remember the rage which filled your chest like a troubling, heavy burden which tortures you constantly. It was a powerful rage that you felt was justified, right?

Oh, so you’re pretending you don’t know what I am referring to? No? You just don’t remember? Fine. I’ll refresh your mind.

You were at the movies with your girlfriends that night giggling, white set of teeth flashing, with mirth. Your striking eyes were deluged with watery, salty tears and popcorn was flooding in your paper bag. There was a cold coke in your soft, perfumed hand when you heard a feminine voice hush you rudely from the shadowy background somewhere at the rear of the hall. Suddenly the laughter evaporated from your lungs as soon as it appeared and your forehead creased into a frown. Eyebrows knitted with sheer annoyance, you all turned around to see who it was. Upon seeing her and her man’s chocolate brown arm protectively and lovingly wrapped round her white shoulders, your annoyance turned to rage. The focus of the movie was lost and all of a sudden, your conversation revolved around that couple in the seats behind you, as the man twisted in his seat to kiss her on the cheek. I need not mention that the conversation was not at all positive.

What about this scene? You were at the mall, shopping for that cute, new outfit you saw on TV and as you browsed through the various glamorous stores, you set your eyes on some of the prices then you braced yourself and winced, fleeing to the next store. You cursed the fact that you were single too. Subsequently, your concentration centered elsewhere and you crashed into a beautiful blonde white girl, her arms over-filled with new shopping bags. She was laughing; the corners of her blue eyes wrinkled with joy and from behind her emerged one of the finest, tallest, broadest most successful black as tar brothers you’ve ever seen. He raised his hand and in consideration took some of the shopping bags from her and carried them for her. For a second, your heart stopped. Then pain, something like a small heart attack echoed through you as you took all of his handsome self in. And then your heart filled with that green headed beast jealousy, over the fact that she was the selected one.

What about that time you were with your man speeding through the Toronto highways, relaxed as you listened to some eclectic slow jams? Your eyes half-closed; you sank into the cushiony, soft depths of your seat, the wind wafting through your hair as your coffee-coloured man maneuvered from lane to lane with expertise. Then out of the blue this expensive-looking black car whizzed past but not fast enough for you not to get a quick glimpse of its occupants. It was a black brother, and along side him, his woman raked a white hand through her long, silky hair. Your semi-drowsy state was rudely shattered into a million fragments like an atomic bomb and jumping in your seat you began to protest bitterly at the injustice of this world to your man. Raising an eyebrow, he listens patiently as you complained resentfully but he did not comment and that engendered an even greater feeling of smoldering, increased ire in you.

In all cases the female was white.

Yes sisters I know that the contemplation of it makes some of your blood boil and your nerves burst with ferocity. You seethe with jealousy at seeing brothers walking the streets with white girls. You nitpick, carp and take her apart when you talk about it with other sisters who agree with you. You have a list of arguments written down to endorse your cause. Oh yes, you say that there are not enough black men out there for black sisters, why are the white girls taking them from us? You speculated on what she had that you did not have. You narrowed and simplified it down to a social status thing. But you contradict yourself when you say that he is dating any kind of white woman despite the social status. You grumble and whine about how brothers do not appreciate black sisters and despise anybody who dares to oppose, contest or probe your legitimate, claim. You object detrimentally, disgruntled, about all them brothers who are successful and chose white sisters as their partners. Oh yes, you see it as such a waste in those hushed talks you have at those social gatherings. I have listened and always played Devil’s advocate and defended some of those brothers. There are two sides to every story; and I suppose that’s why you do not bring up the topic with me any more.

Well sisters, maybe it is time you think of how you have turned those brothers away. How much loving have you been giving them? How have you been treating the brothers in your life? Have you been listening to them? Have you been affectionate with them? You want the successful brothers but what have you done with your life? Are you successful yourself? Are you going to help him advance further and accomplish more? How far have you gone with your education? Do you think that he wants to be pulled back after toiling and sweating to progress that far? Oh so you are highly qualified and educated? What about those talks of being an independent woman…does having a brother in your life validate your reason for living?

Those talks about not being appreciated, look in the mirror sister, maybe the question is: do you recognize your value? Love cultivates love and if you do not love yourself, then how can you give love to another human being? How can another human being feel safe enough to place their hearts in your hands? Start by accepting who you really are: A beautiful, black woman. Do not camouflage yourself with all that unnatural, unrecognizable stuff. See, a lot of brothers think that you are not being real that way. And they cannot identify with you.

You seem not to have noticed that there are more black men with black women than with any with any other race. Besides, not all sisters are interested in black men. It’s all a matter of choice. You may choose to be with black men, why can’t they have that same privilege; to choose a woman of their preference? Why do you want a man who does not want you? Why do you have time for him when he does not have time for you? Sister, maybe it’s time you begin to look for love; for that person who really cares for you rather than concentrating on his ancestry. Perhaps you should open your heart, improve on your shortcomings, learn to love yourself more, and discover yourself in the process of searching for the right person. Is it not time that black women receive the love that they are looking for? Since we are all made in God’s image why shun some because of their race? Who are we to begrudge others because of their choice? Girlfriends, it is about time that we give love and look for love from men that are not engaged in other relationships. It begins with loving ourselves.

Brothers you are not off the hook. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I shall cover you next week.

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