Stages of Modern Black Communication - Avoidance & Defensiveness

Avoid and defend

Avoidance isn't exactly the same thing as denial.  To be in denial is to simply not acknowledge something unpleasant.  To be avoidant is to directly acknowledge something unpleasant...and then immediately move to avoid it.

One thing I've noticed during the "Stages" series is avoidance from some commenters. To them, it's always "their" fault.  "They" all chase white women, "they" all do it deliberately, "they" all hate themselves, and "they" all take us for granted.  Or..."they" are all bitter, "they" are all jealous, "they" all hate themselves, and "they" are all desperately waiting for us.

The black men/women/people I know/from my region aren't like this; it's those black men/women/people from over there.

Sound familiar?

When I go off on white Americans, it's mostly because they don't want to acknowledge or confront their own dysfunction.  They usually prefer to focus on, exaggerate, and then broadcast everyone else's dysfunction.  Naturally, this tends to alienate pretty much everyone else in the world.

Look how well that's worked our for them.

Which reminds me: while avoiding, some commenters were also defending.  Some of them were even defending things they had no business defending, either because it was irrelevant to the topic at hand or because their action/statement/"preference" was indefensible.  To an extent it was amusing because people were avoiding talking about the topic while defending the behaviors and/choices which directly affected the topic.

Methinks they doth protest too much

Why so much avoidance?  What put people on the defense?

Remember, my topic was discussing child-rearing tips to stave off autophobia in kids of color.  One of the initial responses was 1) to completely ignore the parent-child factor and change the topic, or 2) make it seem like building self-esteem and strengthening identity were the choice and responsibility of the child - they are not.  They are ours; as adults of color we owe them to our children.  We bring them into this world, so we must teach them how to survive, and self-love and a strong identity are very important for survival.

Which, in a way, brings us back to denial.

Recap: denial occurs when the mind tries to protect the body from a potentially upsetting truth.  So let's say you're a couple of color, or the colorful half of a POC/white couple.  After years of "doing everything right", you finally have the job you always wanted.  You got it in the city you wanted, and were able to move into the neighborhood you wanted.  You even got the house you wanted.  You drive the car you always wanted, and you have the life you've always wanted.

The last thing you want to hear - at this point - is that your wonderful new life is messing up your kids, and that you have to move.

For POC wondering what keeps seemingly well-meaning, good-natured white people from really doing anything about racism, it's this.  The unwillingness to sacrifice and give things up, namely your things which you've always wanted and felt you deserved.

The temptation to tell your kids to "suck it up" becomes very strong here.  The lure of things and the logic of want can be quite overwhelming, and anything - or anyone - who disrupts your comfort and your material peace of mind instantly becomes unforgivably irritating.  It doesn't matter how much you love them and care about what happens to them; all you want is for them then is to shut up and let you enjoy the things you want.

This is just one example of course.  There are countless other scenarios where the same problem applies - the white mother with kids of color who doesn't want to move to a mixed neighborhood or trade in her racist white boyfriend for a non-racist one, because the racist one makes more money and buys her really nice stuff.  Or the black mother whose tireless work and consummate professionalism have earned her a job in one of the whitest cities on earth, where a part of her knows right away her children will not be happy and not function healthily...but she's finally got the money and independence she's always wanted.

Or the black father with black kids by an ex he's traded in for a blonde one, and wants to "start his life anew"...even though he's just going to end up making more black kids.

Rewrite the scenario however you feel, and we'll still come back to the same problem.  The stereotypical, short-sighted selfishness of white America has, to some degree, infected POC in America.  "I want" has replaced "we need", and whenever anyone tries to remind us of what "we' need, if it contradicts what "I want" then that person immediately becomes the enemy.

Man...we have some problems, y'all.


  1. Great post! When people are ready to write off their own (potential) children because they don't want to budge even.a.little in their blame and defensiveness then you know a pathology is at work.

    Really made me think about my own tendencies to avoid the pain of this topic. One of the reasons I was so sure I didn't want to have kids was because I didn't want all of the responsibility of raising a black or mixed child. That weighed heavily because of my own difficulties due to race during my childhood. For me the answer seemed to be "just don't have kids". I especially didn't want to have a son who would reject women who looked like his mother, which is what I believed my brother did by marrying a light-skinned Latina. But you know, honestly he didn't (or I don't have any good reason to say he did). He just loves her and I think I was projecting my own racial insecurities onto his relationship and avoiding my own issues. This is the first time I have ever said that out loud, whew like a weight off my shoulder.

  2. And these problems abound and become more entrenched and tangled with each successive generation. No one wants to face this.

    This is why I think a lot of people shouldn't become parents. If people actually took the time to sit down and think about what they should give up and will give up one the crumbsnatcher is born, then they would never become parents. But that ain't about to happen because most people are selfish, and not necessarily when it comes to their children.

    This post highlights one of the lines some parents aren't willing to acknowledge, much less cross. These parents probably don't want to discuss the possible ramifications of having kids with each other; if this subject comes up, then one may begin to question the strength of the relationship.

    People want the illusion; they want the fairy-tale. They're desperate to have it and they don't want anything messing that up, not even the whims of a child. The child is likely there to round out the fairy-tale.

    I'm not a mother and don't want to be one. I am selfish and I'm not trying to give up anything for the sake of a kid. Obviously, there are aspects to the overall question that I can't answer. I can only speculate. The responses to this post will be interesting, to say the least.

  3. One of the first things I was taught when I started working for the government was to never, ever, ever under any circumstance tell a child that their parents loved them, because more often than not, their parents don't.

    It's a cold, hard truth: children are an inconvenience. They are only "rewarding" to those who truly deserve them. Those who deserve them have to be selfless, and humble, and disciplined. Once your children are born, what you want is irrelevant; what they need is tantamount. Deal with it.

    I'm not a mother and don't want to be one. I am selfish and I'm not trying to give up anything for the sake of a kid.

    Not wanting kids and then choosing not have them isn't selfish. We need to kill that myth with a quickness. If you know parenthood isn't for you, and you don't have any kids, then you're being responsible, not selfish.

    I especially didn't want to have a son who would reject women who looked like his mother.

    Raise 'em abroad.

  4. I didn't know or want to say anything before concerning the other posts and some of the comments, especially since I didn't know what I truly wanted to express, but this post is so on point. This is especially true of those so called "preferences". Thank you! :D


  5. Thanks, X. It's awfully quiet on this post, and I don't know if it's 'cause folks have been distracted by new shit, or if they're too exhausted from duking it out on the other ones.

  6. Alot of humans beings are selfish whether they have children or not. Rather than face it they would rather force their child or children to stay in these circumstances to fuel their fantasy. I see some ppl who are parents, but any time they talk about getting on their grind its not for their child sake, but for their own. They will say "I just have to do this for me, I just have to find who I am, I just have to (insert whatever u can think of) for me" as though their decisions will not affect their offspring. But like you said once you have a child or children its no longer about you, but them.


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