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3.03.2009

Black Women and Confrontation



So historically, black females don't get along. That stereotype is surely not helped any by this video...

Anyone else see the debut of Harlem Heights? I told a friend of mine "for what it's worth, I give BET credit for showing a side of black people that historically hasn't been shown, even on the same network. And we all know that no reality tv show works without drama. But still, I had to say, I guess watching young black people do well isn't enough." I don't really even say that begrudgingly. It is what it is and it isn't enough. But I'll save my commentary of our sociey on that point for another day.

I was struck with the way that the two girls with "beef" were portrayed as handling it. For those who didn't see it, apparently once upon a time, when Brooke first moved to NYC she and Ashlie were friends. Then something (what, depends on which you ask) happened and they quit speaking. Brooke says it's because she had a falling out with a mutual friend, Ashlie says it's because Brooke changed after she started dating Kanye West.

Ashlie decides she should reach out to Brooke and invites her to her b-day party. There's all the usual murmuring between Brooke and Ashlie and their respective friend groups. Eventually Brooke decides she should go to the party but only if her girls go with.

At the party, Brooke shows up, greets everyone (remember, they were friends and ran in the same circle) and sits with her friends off to the side. Eventually she goes over, alone, to speak to Ashlie. There's some mumbling about whether or not this is the place to hash out their issues. Nothing is resolved, there's just a lot of fake niceness and awkwardness.

Then they both retreat to their respective corners, each patting themselves on the back for being the bigger person.

I commend these two women for not resorting to a whole lot of backstabbing or screaming or attitude. I commend them both for at least trying to resolve the issues maturely. I also respect that when things like this happen, the first thing we ALL do is run to our other friends for support so I don't begrudge them that. In fact I don't begrudge them at all. I think what is sitting with me is that there was a whole lot of talking and no communicating.

Brooke tried to express that she felt like if Ashlie were serious about dealing with their issues, she would've picked a far more private venue. Ashlie tried to express that she felt like extending an invitation was burying the hatchet and showing her willingness to go forward. There was no compromise, no acknowledgement of the other's feelings. It was... well... typical. It was what we see too often as the "mature" way to handle conflict.

Conflict is horrible. Confrontation is tricky. Both things are necessary parts of living in a world with other people and then going the extra step of trying to have and maintain relationships with them. It's not easy, it's awkward and hard but if you're going to do something so awkward and difficult, at LEAST be productive. Hear the other person, try to be clear when you speak. Acknowledge that you two may still walk away disagreeing but if you heard the other one, then you made some progress.

Too often, we think either we need to scream and beat on each other or we have to be super passive and super fake in order to maintain "maturity."

Next weeks clips have Brooke and Ashlie having coffee, so let's see if they actually get anywhere.

3 comments:

ShantaeMarlinda said...

It's always funny when an issue is approached but never resolved. It's mainly because both parties are so busy "trying" to appear as the bigger person than actually being one. You can talk all you want to -- present, suggest and demand -- but if nobody's listening then nothing is fixed. Options and advice is thrown out there but nobody is willing to consider either.

I've concluded that it's because those particular people are more about the presentation than the problem. Let's just appear to want to fix the issue. No fuss, no muss and we both end up the good guy for being the "bigger person." Yeah right.

A.Smith said...

Shantae- You said in 2 paragraphs what took me 80 to say. They spend so much time trying to look like the bigger person instead of anyone actually being the bigger person...

One Man’s Opinion said...

I remember when this song came out and I remember liking it very much, but now that I think about it, it is horrible. When i first joined the police department I remember being at our detox center (hold over for the drunks) and there were these three bloody young ladies in there. They had gotten into a knock down, drag out fight, just two of them thought the third believed herself to be all that. The one girl's two front teeth had been knocked completely out and she was still talking shit. How horrible is that?

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