Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sloganeering and Slacktivism: The No Wedding, No Womb Campaign

The multimedia campaign, “No Wedding, No Womb” debuted on my brother’s birthday (Hey Paul!) and while I was in D.C. feeling bad that I had not properly prepared to send my brother a card to make sure it arrived on his actual birthday (My bad, Paul!), a girlfriend asked me if I had heard of the “Movement” and if I knew one of the bloggers participating. I knew nothing of the campaign but I admit the title, alone, made me chuckle.

I started seeing murmurings and the uproar about “No Wedding, No Womb" (NWNW) on Twitter and still did not understand because I did not make the time to do so. I was still reeling from having attended Ron Walter’s funeral, as well as participating as a poet in the Furious Flower Poetry Center’s Tribute to Lucille Clifton, after responding to an invitation from Nikki Giovanni and Dr. Joanne Gabbin.

I really cannot speak for Lucille Clifton but I imagine she would get a chuckle out of “No Wedding, No Womb”, even as she would deride the male or female too irresponsible to properly care for and/or raise his/her own children.

Thus, it was perfect timing for me to see a tweet come across my timeline advertising the discussion of “No Wedding, No Womb” on Michael Eric Dyson’s radio program. The radio interview included Christelyn Karazin, the organizer, and Jamilah Lemieux, who blogs and tweets as "SisterToldja". The exchange was quite telling and I’m glad I waited to hear the information directly from the source because it became clear that Christelyn was confused and generally lacking in self-awareness regarding her own campaign and the motivations therein.

There is a disturbing undercurrent of “No Wedding, No Womb” and Karazin's narrative that self-consciously promotes (and then denies) interracial marriage as a solution to the problem of fatherlessness in the Black community. And, yet, consistently, I have found that Black women who champion interracial marriage (and, let’s face it, it’s largely with White men) turn a near complete and total blind eye to the many White men who leave White women with children out-of-wedlock, who leave their White wives struggling and suffering with children; and who otherwise use or abuse any woman of any ethnicity, from trying to take her money unjustly in a divorce (ask Whoopi Goldberg about that) to conveniently “discovering” their homosexuality post-marriage and family (ask Jim McGreevy’s ex-wife about that) to cheating on them after decades of support and the birth of five children with women from another continent (ask Mark Sanford’s ex-wife about that) and to great extremes such as killing them to prevent paying child support or revealing an ongoing affair (unfortunately, we cannot ask Laci Peterson about that, now can we?). Indeed, the romanticizing of relationships with White men is unrealistic, categorically racist and out-of-control.

Yep. I had four boys and a loving white wife and I still bounced! Hey Sistas!
Whether anyone will admit it or not, “No Wedding, No Womb” implicitly smacks of a consistent theme I have discovered in the Black blogosphere, in particular, which is essentially, “Black men ain’t sh*t”. And, you know, that really does not help anybody.

As she shared in her interview with Dr. Dyson, Christelyn mistakenly believes that her own motives and engagement in an interracial marriage should be excluded from analysis or consideration when discussing, evaluating or critiquing “No Wedding, No Womb”. No way. This campaign is one borne of an intensely personal situation (which she revealed), in that she was a middle-class African American woman in college who, through her own volition chose to:

1. Engage in sex
 2. Engage in unprotected sex
3. Engage in a full-term pregnancy --- all of which she did with an African American male who, for reasons unbeknownst to us, chose to engage in unprotected sex and then failed to live up to his responsibilities as a result of making those choices.

Christelyn admits that she was so ashamed of being a single, pregnant woman that she purchased a fake wedding ring and wore it to fend off negativity and criticism from strangers. Of course, that type of effrontery does not work on one’s own friends and family, so at some point, she had to face their judgments alone.

“No Wedding, No Womb” seems to be a full projection of what Christelyn must have feared and, later, endured from her friends and family who had much higher expectations and judgment than Christelyn had of herself at some point in time. Sadly, I can relate, Sistergirl, so I do not stand in judgment of your personal turmoil at that time.

I think I understand where you’re coming from. It appears as though the underlying message to “No Wedding, No Womb” is “Value yourself more to protect yourself at all times and enter into a committed relationship with someone who is committed to you and your eventual offspring”. I get that. I dig that. I support that.

Sadly, a public media campaign entitled, “No Wedding, No Womb” does not do that.

Even Christelyn may admit that she has spent more time than she thought necessary trying to defend and explain “No Wedding, No Womb”, when that is not the sign of a successful campaign. The message should be clear. It should be pointed and it should be understandable and easy to defend. Instead, Christelyn (and some of her supporters) are all over the place with vague, contradictory and sometimes offensive retorts and explanations.

Hey, Baby, pass the hot sauce, please? I'm glad I don't have to explain why...
"No Wedding, No Womb" is not new; and yet I have repeatedly heard Christelyn say that no one is addressing this issue, "no one cares about the kids". Not only is this idea not new, it’s so old, it’s cliché. Even "Black Marriage Day", founded by Nisa Islam Muhammad, is in its eighth year of successful operation with actual solutions, community-building and hands-on results. And, as you can read here, even the federal government has an "African American Healthy Marriage Initiative" while yet another wayward campaign entitled "Marry Your Baby Daddy Day" continues as well. At least "Black Marriage Day" is clear, concise, is not policing sexuality, is inclusive of and empowering for men and does not target the female body.

One cannot help but notice that in all of the aforementioned campaigns, Christelyn's interracial marriage does not apply. Hmmm. Even more, perhaps what inspired “No Wedding, No Womb” was Beyonce’s mega hit, “Single Ladies”, (an anthem which focuses upon a woman's narrative) in which she sings to her jilted ex-lover trying to block on the dance floor:  
If you liked it, then you should’ve put on a ring on it! 
That, coupled with a video based on Bob Fosse’s choreography, heavily showcasing Beyonce’’s gyrations in her now infamous onesie (otherwise known as a leotard in the dance world) as well as her Michael and Janet Jackson-esque flaunting of a single-handed glove and the aggressively strategic point to the absence of a ring on the ring-finger seems to have been the ticket for Christelyn. Perhaps...


Beyonce’ is a perfect example of the Madonna / Whore dichotomous trap in which women have been wrestling, largely stemming from a Westernized construction of Christianity that seeks to overcome human urges while also chastising (and in some cases, flogging) the self for its seeming inability to control them. Hence, the Victorian era focus upon women being chaste, obedient, submissive and domestic, after a period of wanton displays of sexuality and promiscuity. More often than not, the attempt to control a woman’s sexuality is most often aligned with and maintained by efforts at colonization and nationalism. It has very little to do with morality and much more to do with conquering nations and preventing babies mixed with the blood of “the enemy” (however so defined, given the historic period). Indeed, that's why Victoria had a "secret".


"No Wedding, No Womb" also belies a collective “mothering” and “fathering” tradition in many communities but the African (American) community, in particular, that does not rely on biological parentage. I even saw one blogger laugh at the concept of "It takes an entire village to raise one child", claiming the African American community had abandoned the idea. She apparently had no idea that's why we're still here.

But it’s not my job to try to sort out the campaign. I believe in women valuing their bodies. Indeed, I believe women are goddesses; but “No Wedding, No Womb” is a race game, a shame game and a publicity stunt that should be understood within its proper context.

Many other bloggers on the site make perfect sense, are clear, direct and substantive. But they did not come up with the campaign so it's the equivalent of serving a gourmet dish on a garbage can.

There is no direct action to "No Wedding, No Womb." There is no contextual call for justice or any real attempt at providing solutions beyond a grandiose wagging of a blog & song finger. And this is why Christelyn and far too many of her supporters have have spent more time defending and blocking people online than actually finding peace in this process.

Stay tuned for Part II.

Special shout to the Twitter family going in on the hashtag: #NWNW

39 comments:

RiPPa said...

This was an excellent read. I've seen the hashtags, and even went as far as reading SistaToldja's blog on the subject (I so totally agree with her views BTW.). But I honestly didn't get the depth of the campaign up until I read your above post.

Isn't it funny that this is where we're at today having advanced from Margaret Sanger's Eugenicist agenda?

Used to be that black women having babies wasn't welcomed, and the black church was co-opted so as to push this agenda. Now, as 2042 and the "total extinction of whiteness" approaches. A black woman is encouraging black women is encouraging other bvlack women to be receptacles for white sperm in a weird and twisted Sigourney Weaver "Alien" movie sort of way?

Moon said...

Your post was gentle, coherent and well-presented, giving accurate voice to those of us who firmly are at odds with what NWNW is attempting to suggest in this veiled language that implies that black women are responsible for everything and are ultimately to blame when their children don't live up to their own potential. Decades of slavery, Jim Crow, inequitable job pay, discrimination, unequal schooling and right-wing beauracracy be damned. Also, to hell with all of the current "movements" that are actually working to holistically build up black families by working communally instead of placing full burden on black women.

I love Rippa's comment BTW! LOL to the last line-- totally agree.

Dr. Goddess said...

Thank you so much, Rippa! I was late on the issue for the reasons mentioned in my blog and I hadn't gotten to Toldja's post just yet but the radio interview truly did it for me. I was so appalled and I thought Toldja did a great job on the radio, too! Plus, the idea that we don't have enough values or morality or whatever is nothing but a neocon game some Black folks (and sadly the Black church) has fallen for far too often, under the veil of Christianity. No.

Dr. Goddess said...

Thank you so much for commenting, Moon. You know, we DID rush to get married, rush to reclaim our names and rush to reclaim our families and increase our literacy after slavery. And our families were heavily intact in 1960. What is missing is an analysis of what, exactly, happened after that point. We are either unaware (and many are) or others have a sense and they are too scared to fight.

Cap'n Crunch said...

Great post. I knew something was up because every time anyone challenges her or her supporters, they'd say read the 100+ articles (some of which were "borrowed" without permission) to understand the mission of the "movement". How is it you'd thought of t-shirts, slogans, songs, and a logo but no mission statement? All this "movement" has done is created more division between us.

nitadee said...

Your title says it all! As soon as I figured out what #NWNW meant I thought, "Well that's catchy, but ruh-roh!" I could see t-shirts and such, but was dismayed by the blanket generalizations the acronym implied.

I am also immensely appreciative of this post. Late or not, your assessment has provided me with sufficient clarity about this "movement." It's the perfect piece to share with a few of my friends who are just as miffed and appalled and bemused as I was.

Lastly, the "interracial marriage as a solution to the problem" highlight reel was tremendous.

Thank you!

DryerBuzz said...

I don't believe anyone has clearly defined the topic or addressed the real need for a movement to break a cycle in the black family - where we see ourselves as a cohesive group. What each has done is appeal (with their opinion) to their demographic or their niche based on how they normally get involved with hot topics. How many of us have taken the topic from the screen to the family room? I see the topic as a family tree with branches going all directions. What we don't want to do is leave someone out on a limb unable to make the best decision.

RainaHavock said...

Excellent Post! I didn't know what NWNW was till I saw it on Twitter so I was a little effy about it now reading your post you spell out all the concerns I had to at T. Thank you for this. You got a new follower :)

Dr. Goddess said...

Thank you, Cap n Crunch, that's EXACTLY what has been happening with some of the bulldog defenders but honestly, should you have to read through 100 posts to get clarity about a movement? Either way, it's ineffective and just odd.

Yes, Nitadee, to have a full collection of merchandise before you even have any substance to your "movement" is ridiculous. There is no movement. You have to WORK and it's pretty unglamorous, often. Far be it from me to criticize somebody's hard work but when you're building on the BACKS of other Black women to then turn around and shame & harm them, No, Ma'am!

Exactly, DryerBuzz and it's certainly not our job, it's the organizer's job but since this is based on personal shame, the clarity isn't there. It's okay, there are other things for us to do to help those actually WORKING on these issues.

Thank you so much, Raina! I"m glad you found this post of value and... high five!

moyamba said...

Very logical, coherent and compassionate. Appreciate it deeply.

Cardenie said...

First, it is a logical fallacy to point out Christelyn's past out of wedlock pregnancy with a black man and current interracial marriage as proof that her NWNW movement is a "race game, shame game and publicity stunt". Her personal life certainly drives whatever motives she may have, but has absolutely no bearing on whether her arguments or point of view is valid or not.

Second, from the beginning of time, humans have constructed some kind of formalized, stable unit in order to raise children without chaos. There is nothing "westernized" about this concept. No one is trying police anyone's sexuality. What is "westernized", is thinking you have one up on on nature because you have birth control and condoms. These things are not 100 percent protective and lots of sex still makes babies. So both men and women of all "races" need to act accordingly and be responsible when the man-made items fail.

Deborrah Cooper said...

What I just read is what is known as an "ad hominem attack"... a series of nonsubstantive rantings against the woman that launched the NWNW project who has chosen to create a family with a man of another race. That is always an option, but it is NOT the reason No Wedding No Womb was started and no reason to attack the entire project because you don't like her White husband.

The focus of NWNW is on Black children being born out of wedlock and the poverty, lack of opportunities, cessation of female accomplishment, and the burden to Black society of so many fatherless children being born into our community. What is the good of breeding wrecklessly with chumps that don't want to take responsibility for their offspring? What sense does it make for young women to offer up their bodies and fertility to men that place no value on her other than a "jump off cum dumpster" (which is what I've heard numerous Black men refer to females as)? Why would you criticize a moment that attempts to do nothing but empower young women and show then that there are options for their life that they may not have considered!

Instead of railing on about Beyonce, her glove, dancing, videos and being critical that ONE woman involved in this very positive movement found love with a non-Black man - why not focus on the numbers of Black teens having babies with men over the age of 20? Why not discuss the victimization and sly approval of statutory rape in the Black community? Why not focus on the high rates of poverty of single Moms and their children? Why not focus on the opportunities that young, uneducated women are denied by having children before they are established educationally and financially?

Why not write about the benefits of having a father (like I did) so that Black girls growing up without a Daddy might understand what they missed out on and what their out of wedlock children might also miss out on? Why not focus on the realities that breeding indiscriminately is a negative for both mother and child and community?

Bringing up other recognitions means nothing if no one besides YOU has ever heard of them! And even if only one member of the marriage is Black, they are entitled to appreciate and participate in Black ANYTHING Day. Don't be so racist.

No Wedding No Womb will be around for decades... I'll do all I can to make sure of it.

Deborrah Cooper said...
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Deborrah Cooper said...
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Deborrah Cooper said...
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cherryl252washere said...

i don't get why everyone is insisting this is a "movement". NWNW is a protest. nothing more, nothing less, and it was meant to spark conversation around the subject.

which it certainly has, hasn't it?

however, because of the conversation, a component of the protest is moving towards undertaking initiatives to further interact with young African-Americans about safer sex and making wiser choices when it comes to choosing a life (and parenting) partner.

these things are all in planning, as the protest was only two weeks ago and as you likely know creating such initiatives and programs takes time...and are often started by conversations, just like NWNW...

and nisa muhammad is a NWNW writer, so apparently she too believes there is still more and greater work to be done, and she is fully behind NWNW.

also i have also seen other people use the "beyonce/single lades" reference to dis NWNW--at the beginning of the protest, so that i find to be a recycled thought, as are several of the thoughts stringed together in this piece, like how this idea has already been done, Christelyn has no say in black affairs cause she married white, etc, etc.

i find it to be a weak critique of a well-intended protest that has a message that needs to be heard, over and over again, for the many reasons Deborrah commented on.

i know too many women whose lives have been all but ruined because of unwise sexual decisions--mostly black women. and i want that to stop.

although many writers like you come down on NWNW, the fact is, we are getting a lot of good info out there that apparently, many women still don't know, and i can only guess it's because we seem to have a problem discussing sex and sexuality in the black community.

sometimes, it seems like when a topic is most critical to people, women especially, and black women especially, people try to shut the topic down before they even hear or understand the point of the discussion.

this may not have been the most savvy campaign in your eyes, but pardon us--we are not PH.Ds (well some of us are) and may not have all the know how you have, but we are a group of volunteers who aren't getting paid, doing this out of love.

i cannot say how proud i am of this, because i wish to God i had had access to some of this information as a teen, as my mother, like many black mothers i know, never talked to their children about sex, and it's sad and too many of our children are in physical, emotional and financial straits because of it.

cherryl252washere said...
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cherryl252washere said...

oops. please disregard my double post.

fyi, your comment page returns an error page when "publish your comments is pressed" which may explain why deborrah might not have initially thought her comment was published either, and may explain her triple post.

Tracy said...

NWNW - is not about White People. It's not about White Men. It's not about Black Men. It's not about what your Mama, Granmama or other black women did and did just fine doing ("My mama n-nem jammed nails thru their thumbs and did JUST FINE - let's all do it!!").

NWNW is about the future of Black Women. It's about showing Black Women how to have the best possible lives by making the best possible choices for them AND their children.

It's about personal responsibility - screw all you want to, screw who you want to - but protect yourself and your future. And don't screw anyone that doesn't see it the same way.

It's about knowing and acting on your true power as a woman - y'know all that power that we summon up to conquer all that WE KNOWINGLY PUT UPON OURSELVES - and using it to create fuller, more creative, less stressful, more productive, happier lives.

Basically, NWNW is saying "Fuck everyone else and their agendas for my life - It's All About Me! What I want, what I need - and if I decide to follow Planned Parenthoods agenda (which btw has kept me unwanted childfree, safe, and healthy for 20 years at little or no cost - can you get that with Obamacare?) or marry someone outside of my race to get it - so be it.

I take great umbrage at the people that are using Christelyn's IR marriage as a way to erase her concerns regarding the welfare of black girls and women. She is still a black woman - a black woman that took action when the norm in the black community is to sit like frogs in a pot of slowly boiling water. NWNW is a movement, a protest( again, those are action words..) against a system which will ultimately be the destruction of black women. Destruction at the hands of her own community....

De White Folks are Doing It defense, the Black Woman can be Mama and Daddy defense - straw men, burning straw men, put up to derail from the truth....that our fatherless children are in a sinkhole; that black girls fare much better in a two-parent household; that finanically, marriage is a better option. And finally, that the way that Black Folks "have always done it" - isn't gonna cut it anymore.

NWNW is about moving Black Women - the ones that have the sense to heed it's message - onward and upward.

Lorraine said...

Wow what a diatribe! The ph.d. behind your name should reveal scholarship and class, but you show us sistah hatred and venom. You are not worthy of the godess title dear.

See, by trying to avert the attention from where it should be, on young girls whose lives are often ruined by a bad choice they made, to one that is against interracial marriage. Forget that nowhere in NWNW is there any kind of mention to go to wm for the answers. I see nowhere anything close to saying marry a white man girls. Nope, not there doc. So your antics did not work this time. Sorry. But even you admit the noble effort bbehind the message founder Christelyn Karazin is trying to convey.

She wants people to wake up and stop accepting oow birth especially among teens and young unwed black women as the norm. It is not normal and those who have experienced the trials and tribulations of baby mamaism should be shouting: "Don't do it!" Think about how this child will suffer because your dad is not here and I can't do it by myself." Think about the stats that will have a young woman repeating the cycle and the possibility that a young man will most likely end up in a gang or jail.

Those are realisms that the black community is plagued with in case you haven't noticed. It is undeniable that you want to excuse the pun, "white wash" that factoid.

And by naming a few wm who have left their wives, does nothing for your argument. More sisters in DC have AIDS and HIV from down low BROTHAs than that almost entire small African nations. Yeah, there are some white down lows, but they didn't infect 1/3 of the women who have it in DC.

And if brothers stayed with their baby mamas and did the honorable thing (if compatible) then we wouldn't have a need for NWNW. Sure white men leave some of their baby mamas. Maury Povich is proof of that, but by far, the 70plus percent affect us, our young women and our young girls. And for the hundreds of 10 year old little black girls who end up pregnant and little mothers, it is most likely an older BLACK MAN who raped her.

These are verifible cases if you care to use your ph.d. and find them out for yourself.

One other thing, Christelyn has said that marriage is not the answer for everyone. All she is saying is that marriage is the ideal situation for her. And it should be for others, bu that is not an order to force marriage on teenagers. Come on and use some of that common sense that granted you to become a, ph.d.

mxedmilitant said...

Wow I absolutely LOVE how Christelyn always seems to sic her hoards onto anyone who makes an intelligent critique against her twisted little movement. The last comment about Dr. Goddess' ph.D/Goddess title being unwarranted was completely unnecessary and showed the ignorance of the poster. I apologize for her ignorance.

For the NWNW zombies who jumped on Dr. Goddess, let me say this: Why is it that every time someone says something intelligent against your little movement/protest/attempt at mind control/whatever you want to call it, that you jump on them and personally attack them; however, Christelyn is always above reproach or personal critique? Her Interracial marriage may not be a point of contention for any of you; however, the fact is, when you attach the NWNW hashtag to rhetoric that tries to promote interracial dating/marriage. You can't deny that it was attached to the 8 Reasons to Date/Marry a White Man article from Madame Noir. You also can't deny that every time any of you make an incendiary comment to attack single mothers, Black fathers, and/or whoever else this movement is targeted against, Christelyn doesn't dare sit there and denounce the negativity of your words. She says she's done being PC. Well if she can't take the heat she should get out the kitchen.

The fact is, most black women don't want to hear rhetoric about the black community from someone who they feel has already given up on it by turning to a White husband & encouraging others to do the same. The fact is, most of the followers of this movement have made generalized racist stereotypes about members of their own race in order to get a pat on the head from the organizer. That's not showing you care about the Black community. It shows an Uncle Ruckus mentality to be the first to bash your community & point fingers instead of reaching a hand...Oh thats right, you made it out "the hood" so everyone should be able to help themselves. Well if that's the case, shut the hell up and keep your comments to yourself. If you don't want to help the situation then sorry, you don't count.

The fact is, there are worse problems the Black community has to deal with rather than Out of Wedlock births. AIDS percentages. The number of Black men in prison. Infant mortality rates. Unemployment. Lack of educational resources. & now, of course, the NWNW movement who is oh so eager to sterilize all of the "young black hoodrats on section 8".

Most of you are hypocrites, hiding behind statistics that aren't even fully accurate & wanting to force down our throats that the Black community has a problem, when in fact YOU are the ones who are ADDING problems to our community with no viable solutions. Raise the broken home rate in order to lower the OOW birthrate--because marriage is the cureall? Pfft no. And sure she SAYS marriage is not a cureall but then she turns around and insinuates the only way to hold a black man accountable is to make him marry you? PFFT C'Mon Son.

You've had your 15 mins, NWNW...you have been acknowledged & rejected. Nice Try. NEXT.

mixedmilitant said...
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mixedmilitant said...

Dr. Goddess sorry for the double post I had the same issue with the error code. But it's a google thing not with your page.

Zabeth said...

@mixedmilitant

1.) Where is your proof that the "8 Reasons to Date/Marry a White Man" article from Madame Noire was attached to NWNW? They weren't even written by the same person.

2.) OOW births are directly related to the rise in HIV/AIDS infections in the AA community as they are both CAUSED BY UNPROTECTED SEX!

SMH

Aabaakawad said...

Yeah, some of the NWNW supporters are also IR supporters, but “8 Reasons to Date a White Man” is actually HATED amongst supporters of NWNW as insulting and embarrassing. No one important supports that article over there, but a few tweeted it when it first came out based on title, only to regret it.

moyamba said...

For anyone interested in real science (not the emotionalism of nwnw), please check out this site:

http://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2009/02/the-math-on-black-out-of-wedlock-births/6738/

mixedmilitant said...

@Zabeth:

1.) It doesn't MATTER that there are 2 different authors. When the post was advertised on twitter, the #NWNW hashtag was attached to it & the fact of the matter is, many of the followers of the NWNW movement/protest/whatever ascribe to the same type of thinking of that of the author in that article. IR dating/marriage is not a deadly sin; What I'm saying is a LOT of Black women saw THAT correlation (whether it was intentional or not) & have attached that rhetoric to the movement. If that's not the case it needs to be clarified; however, with all of the "Black Men Ain't Shit" speak that many of the more vocal NWNW followers preach, it's not going to be.

2.) NWNW needs to pick its battles then. All that the followers keep talkin about is the birthrate. The fact is NOONE is dying from having a baby out of wedlock. But many of our brothers & sisters are dying of AIDS every year & ppl have completely overlooked that & that makes that more important. But this movement isn't really about stopping rampant unprotected sex because if that were the case, you WOULD be talking about the issues that are actually important, rather than the birthrate.

The fact IS, most of the followers keep talking about how they couldn't find a good black man & they are tired of waiting & therefore because THEY couldn't find a black man, black men ain't shit THEREFORE black women need to stop having unprotected sex with them unless they marry them since that's the only way you can hold a black man accountable. Otherwise, you're buying into their hype & you're a mindcontrolled hoodrat popping out babies at an Octomom-like rate & you're overtaking MY neighborhood that I moved to, in order to get away from hoodrats like you.

THAT's what most of your followers & have been saying & THAT's what makes this movement a farse to most of us who can see thru the bullshit.

Jaz said...

@moyamba

THANK YOU FOR POSTING THAT because I posted that SAME link on my blog. I found it too & I appreciate the fact that someone is putting some reality out there.

Dr. Goddess said...

Greetings everyone, I have to apologize to anyone who posted after my last response. I guess I need to click the "email follow up comments" button. LOL.

I realize that some of you have decided to make ignorant comments and, not to worry, you shall be handled.

What I also love, however, is when someone with a critical mind comes along, sees through the nonsense and issues such a proper response that I don't NEED to respond and should only if I want to. Thank you, MixedMilitant, you hit the nail on the head. I have seen NWNW supporters tell other Black women to go to hell, as well as try to tease or laugh at them for being single parents. I have also seen Christelyn second, promote and otherwise passive-aggressively insult other women who don't agree with her by posting articles that disparage our children and, yes, those that disparage Black men and promote interracial relationships. Further, neither she nor other NWNW proponents say anything at all to those NWNW "supporters" who routinely define Black men as being "Damaged Beyond Repair" or to those who advocate "Divesting" from the Black Community.

So, it all smacks of personal shame and shaming, elitism, classism, hopelessness, the absence of love for the Black community and a wholesale misunderstanding of our history as well as our continuing struggle.

This is why persons such as Deborah, Cheryl, Lorraine, Tracy, etc., "just don't get it". Bless them, though. Maybe it'll happen one day...or not.

For the record, I think Black women deserve the best. Indeed, my name does not include "Goddess" for nothing. Further, neither you, Lorraine, nor any of the white supremacists you seem to hang out with can take away my education, so ain't life grand?

The reality is that many of us have been working on supporting the Black Family and support organizations that put in REAL WORK. That's why this PR stunt called a campaign or a movement is seen precisely for the shallow slacktivism that it is.

Write your book, Christelyn, make your money and please leave other women's wombs alone.

Have a great day!

AYCE MEDIA TV said...

First and foremost, my comment here is coming from a place of a BROTHER addressing brothers and sisters about a FAMILY issue that should never have been aired in such a “Dirty Laundry” manor by people on BOTH sides.

My personal solution to the issues raised on either side of this “conversation/movement” is that I’ve been developing and executing education and personal growth programs for youth and young adults for over 10 years, now expanding from California to other major metro cities nationwide. Designed to get to the SOURCES of all these issues and address/develop it early in kids’ lives.

That being said, I’m extremely disappointed in people on both sides of this conversation/movement or whatever fits your semantic taste as there’s been a lot of juvenile convo and ridiculous baseless arguments. Lots of proof that people can be so-called “educated” and still be ignorant or just plain dumb. You can use a million $1.50 words (per the recession) and still be an ig-nant nee-gro whose words are not worth 2 pesos.

Total disclosure, I was a “contributor” to NWNW and aided in having the theme song produced. Song served a purpose and was not meant to be a top 40 dance sensation. That’s all I’ll say about that.

What I won’t do is air every private convo I’ve had with Christelyn as it’s not necessary, I will however give appropriate pieces that fit here in context.

Upon meeting Christelyn via her request for a singer on twitter, the aim was to assist in getting the song done as I agreed with what she said NWNW was about at the time, a CONVERSATION/DIALOGUE about the issues of OOW children and the high number of single parent households in the Black community. No person with half a brain can deny there is a problem that’s affecting other areas in society that at least PARTLY has to do with kids not having proper love and guidance. I agree with the “WEDDED double entendre” as there should be more of a commitment by both parents than is the case now. She and I do not and never have agreed on a number of things and that’s okay, NWNW is HER way of dealing with the issues and I support her right to do that.

Bible thumping and grand-standing on BOTH sides has been counterproductive. Quite frankly, the “First Church of Twitter” and “Pentecostal Bloggers” make me sick as really, that’s a bigger problem in the black community than OOW kids and crack…IGNORANCE AND ELITISM.

Dr. Ellis, I respect your having matriculated and earned your doctorate, however I’m not a “believer” and what I do believe is that your words and approach have been counterproductive. I know your Oompa Loompas and jock-riders will gasp and have a witty “sista-girl” response, but the REAL truth is that you began your entire response to NWNW with cynicism and negativity. “Sloganeering, Slacktivism” and the beginning of your piece are all using as much of a “pompous” attitude as the one you and some of your “followers” accuse Christelyn of having. I liken it to the (young lady – out of respect) who wrote the “Section 8, baby mama next door” madness, as she defeated her whole purpose (whatever THAT was) just by leading with negativity.

AYCE MEDIA TV said...

I for one have been paying attention from an OBJECTIVE POV to what Christelyn, supporters of and those opposed to NWNW have said and done, and that’s what had me distance myself from BOTH sides. Christelyn has ADMITTED she needs help and has ADMITTED she’s not a LEADER per se, just the “Organizer” of the cause. While I don’t agree with that concept, as I’ve told her, it’s her right to start a conversation that perhaps another REAL LEADER can pick up and give real life and direction to. All the “opinions” of people on twitter about her, who she married and dissecting her cause are as the saying goes, “just like ______s, everybody’s got one and they all STINK”. You don’t like her cause, keep it movin! People can do their own work to make change and let her do her thing.

All this “I’m so witty and can quote Mya Angelou and Al Green” garbage is for the birds and all the “Amen Corner” folks really do need to get a life outside of twitter. Unfortunately you don’t need any qualifications to have a twitter account and a blog and talk out of your…

Bottom line, I didn’t want to get in the whole twitter/blog cross-fire but at this point it can be a gift or a curse. It’s a gift if we use it as a TOOL and not as a WEAPON. A tool for communication and growth, or a weapon of mass community destruction…you choose. I’m not gonna debate here or anywhere else, but from this point I welcome any intelligent attempts to repair and build both Black community and world community.

P.S. Saying NWNW is pushing “WHITE people’s standards” or anything close to that is ignorant. Truth be told, when you go to “college” and get “degrees” you’re doing the same exact thing – most often while becoming a SLAVE to white-man’s DEBT when you get out. Just the concept of “degrees” relates to Free-Masonry, which no BLACK person can ever reach the upper levels or “degrees” of. And no, Grand Puba of a “Prince Hall” sect doesn’t count…so we should be careful throwing around the whole “White people’s standard” argument.

Dr. Goddess said...

Now that I've rested up a bit, I can respond to the comments you all made.

Apparently, I missed the "oh you fancy, huh?" reply software so this post and my labeling by name will have to do for now, if you don't mind (and even if you do).

Hence:

CARDENIE:
No one ever said that Christelyn's past out of wedlock pregnancy with a black man and current interracial marriage is the proof that NWNW is "a race game, shame game and publicity stunt". Do all of you NWNW supporters skip words and ideas I've clearly stated in my post---or just you?

Again: Christelyn *champions* interracial relationships. She is now running a campaign that TARGETS Black women and shames them for choosing poor, Black men who (supposedly) won't marry them before getting them pregnant (just like her ex). You may not see a problem with that logical fallacy and race game---but I do.

The nuclear family IS a Westernized concept being shoved upon African people, who have their own ideas about family constructs. Yes, human beings have always formed units for the betterment of themselves and their communities (including the children), so that should be the focus, not a "Western marriage" and the imposition of a nuclear family.

DEBORRAH:
What you just made up is a description of an "ad hominem attack". You're not allowed to just make up things and then assign them to someone. What is it with the more rabid NWNW supporters amongst you? I just don't get it…

Nowhere in my post is there any type of attack (I mean, NONE) on Christelyn's white husband or Christelyn for having a white husband. I refer you to my comments to Cardenie.

Yes, I know what the focus of NWNW and the focus is one that is:
1. ahistorical
2. factually unsubstantiated
3. culturally biased
4. classist
5. escapist
6. based on revenge (against Black men who have ticked you all off)
7. barely based on any concern "for the children"

I criticize this stunt because it is NOT a movement, rather, one focused on obtaining as many media opportunities, book deals and sponsorships Christelyn would like to amass, as opposed to doing any real work in the community. That's why. And it disgusts me, especially since there are so many organizations doing real work that never get the assistance they need.

Beyonce is important to consider here, so I would not dismiss her (and I have not).

The numbers of Black teens having babies with men is called statutory rape. I focus on THAT and have BEEN focused on that for years. Poverty rates, PERIOD, are a problem and educational opportunities are also at issue. See, what some of you have amassed in your minds is that you and only you, because you joined a media campaign, are the only ones saying or doing anything in the community or about it. That's complete and total hogwash and it tells me just how involved you actually are within ANY Black community. It speaks volumes, in fact.

You are extremely ignorant if you think that Black girls who didn't grow up with fathers don't know what they have missed out on; and further, I'm sure you raised a few good points in your article but how does telling someone what they missed out on benefit the cause? All you're doing is shaming them and their mothers. That is not the way to get a point across and it's yet ANOTHER reason why I reject the NWNW----overall ineffectiveness and wayward thinking.

Everything else you said is simply a straw woman you made up, so there is no response.

As for your commitment to NWNW, I have a different prediction and it involves crickets.

Dr. Goddess said...

CHERYL:
The reason why some people think NWNW is a "Movement" is because that's what Christelyn has been promoting and pushing. Don't blame us for reading…

If NWNW was just a "protest" meant to spark conversation, "nothing more, nothing less" then we can call this a success and wrap it up, right? But no…

What happened is, Christelyn wasn't prepared for the criticism she would receive around the poor foundation that NWNW was built upon---PR, book deals and sponsorship money. So, as the criticism came pouring in, Christelyn has spent most of her time putting out fires and letting everyone know this is a "hot topic" to attract more media and further secure the book deal and sponsorships.

I'm not against anyone getting a "come up", especially not a woman and especially not a mother. But it's wrong to:

1. misrepresent what you're doing to initial bloggers

2. build your media empire on the backs of shaming Black women and dogging Black men

3. claim to want to start a conversation and then NEVER answer questions, block people left and right on Twitter (I'm talking over 30 people here, some of whom were NWNW supporters that just wanted clarity!!!) and then whine about being misrepresented, throwing up a straw woman about race.

4. post other peoples' blogs without permission so you can generate buzz or claim it's already been generated.

5. Delete tweets, posts and comments that challenge any aspect of what you're doing.

6. And then lie, obfuscate and otherwise dismiss anyone who has noted any and all of the above behaviors.

Yes, I know all about initiatives and programs taking time. My question is, if you are all so concerned, why not just assist real programs that have ALREADY taken the time to do this work? It's so disrespectful to reinvent the wheel, especially on an issue such as this. And if there is no program IN YOUR AREA, then it's disrespectful to tell the nation that no such program, initiative or message exists in THE COUNTRY and, thus, you had to do it.

Yeah, I missed the Nisa Muhammad piece but I stand by what I said in terms of the packaging of "Black Marriage Day" versus what has happened with "No Wedding, No Womb" and the stupidity of the slogan.

Cheryl, you think the "protest" was well-intended, I do not. Therein lies the difference.

I agree with you about making unwise decisions but that occurs on so many levels and in so many different ways. We DO have a problem discussing sex and sexuality within the Black community, no question about that. So, if some women have been enlightened by just the "buzz" around NWNW, then great! I agree with you about education and I'd rather the focus be on education and not wrapped in a shame slogan and campaign. That's the problem.

My having a Ph.D. is irrelevant to my opposition to this media stunt, rather, it's been my experiences as an activist that have me disgusted. But that's you all's bag and trip, not mine.

Dr. Goddess said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Goddess said...

TRACY:
I'm really not an advocate of screw who you want and screw all you want to. I just have a totally different paradigm (and dream) for Black women (and all women, really). I asked Christelyn if this was about safe sex and she blocked me (as you can see in my post) so, whatever.

As for the whole interracial marriage thing, please see above. I've made myself clear.

Correction: The norm in the Black community is NOT to sit like frogs in a pot of slowly boiling water. Where the heck do y'all live? I mean, seriously, have you been to a Black church lately? Or a youth group? or an afterschool program? How out of touch are Christelyn and the rest of this rabid bunch of defenders from the Black *community* that you somehow think nobody is doing anything? I mean, it's insane, really… I just have to say it's such a total misrepresentation of the Black community, it's ridiculous.

And this is coming from someone who has a number of qualms with the Black community but preaching about no sex before marriage and not bringing babies home? Oh, that's a message you can get anywhere, all day, everyday in the Black community! Y'all need to stop plain'…

By the way, Black girls fare much better in a healthy VILLAGE of persons, with their parents, extended parents, community.

Everything else you said about "white folks are doing it", etc, is something you have never read in my post, so I can't even address it. Y'all have GOT to stop making stuff up and responding to it as though someone said it.

Dr. Goddess said...

LORRAINE:
There is no hatred or venom in my post, especially not to "us sistah" so you need to follow the advice I gave Tracy above.

A part of the implied conclusion of NWNW is to marry out of the Black community if you're a Black woman that wants to have kids, there is no question about that. If you can't see that… well…

I really wish you all were as passionate about education as you were in policing women's wombs. A girl can dream, right?

I named a few white men who have left their wives because too many of the NWNW's major supporters and spokespersons are women who have *outwardly expressed* sheer hatred for Black men, call them "Damaged Beyond Repair", tell Black women to "Divest" from the Black community and other such nonsense. Oh and don't forget creating a website, writing a book and championing interracial relationships. I certainly can't exclude that, even though it is certainly Christelyn's right to do. How on Earth do you expect to be successful bashing Black men as you try to build up the Black family and the Black community? I mean, seriously… think on that for a moment…

I know all about the AIDS/HIV epidemic. Soooo, if you all truly cared more about "the children", why isn't your focus on saving children from AIDS/HIV? Why isn't your focus on saving Black women infected with AIDS/HIV? I mean, they have the children, right?

Think about the shenanigans of NWNW and think about the real world, please. The REAL world, not the BLOG world, at least a part of which lives in an escapist fantasy world.

As for rape, I wholeheartedly agree with you and those are issues that I choose to address (and well), btw. I also choose to work with persons and organizations ALREADY doing the work. See how that works? I saw no need to start a NEW campaign about it and act as though nobody in the Black community EVER addresses it or is doing anything about it because that would be entirely disrespectful to the persons whom I know ARE doing the work.

As for the continued hate on my Ph.D. and snide remarks… all I can do is laugh.

Dr. Goddess said...

MIXEDMILITANT asked:
"Why is it that every time someone says something intelligent against your little movement/protest/attempt at mind control/whatever you want to call it, that you jump on them and personally attack them; however, Christelyn is always above reproach or personal critique?"

That's an excellent point and it's behavior I've witnessed as well. I'm just glad someone else sees it.

Further, you said:
"Her Interracial marriage may not be a point of contention for any of you; however, the fact is, when you attach the NWNW hashtag to rhetoric that tries to promote interracial dating/marriage."

Oh but it's not just the hashtag. NWNW is embedded within Christelyn's project, "Beyond Black & White", a website and campaign/possible book that *champions* interracial relationships. The fact that people are suggesting that BBW & NWNW should not be associated with one another is entirely ludicrous and an attempt at obfuscating what we can all now see to be true:

MixedMilitant wrote:
"The fact is, most black women don't want to hear rhetoric about the black community from someone who they feel has already given up on it by turning to a White husband & encouraging others to do the same."

BINGO.

"The fact is, most of the followers of this movement have made generalized racist stereotypes about members of their own race in order to get a pat on the head from the organizer."

BINGO. Further, some of the more prominent NWNW espouse constant hatred of Black men and the Black community---before, during (and surely after) they've been pushing NWNW. And, of course, Christelyn doesn't mind because, in many ways, she seems to feel the same way. If it were me, I would NEVER allow anyone to misrepresent my cause but such is the case because they're NOT misrepresenting her feelings or her outlook.

Dr. Goddess said...

"That's not showing you care about the Black community. It shows an Uncle Ruckus mentality to be the first to bash your community & point fingers instead of reaching a hand...Oh thats right, you made it out "the hood" so everyone should be able to help themselves."

BINGO. And it's classist, elitist and racist---just like I said in my post---all wrapped up in a PR game. Whelp, I'm not buying it.

MixedMilitant wrote:
The fact is, there are worse problems the Black community has to deal with rather than Out of Wedlock births. AIDS percentages. The number of Black men in prison. Infant mortality rates. Unemployment. Lack of educational resources. & now, of course, the NWNW movement who is oh so eager to sterilize all of the "young black hoodrats on section 8".

TEACH!!!! I really can't say it much better than MixedMilitant did, so go on with your bad self!

"Most of you are hypocrites, hiding behind statistics that aren't even fully accurate & wanting to force down our throats that the Black community has a problem, when in fact YOU are the ones who are ADDING problems to our community with no viable solutions."

BINGO. This is really important because the statistics are skewed and don't account for the many ways in which Black men and women have navigated the world IN SPITE OF lack of resources and racism. Further, when Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote his article, the FIRST thing an NWNW supporter did was attack him for not being married to his child's mother. The fact that Ta-Henisi is coparenting his child meant nothing to them. So, you are totally right about the hypocritical statements and behavior.

"Raise the broken home rate in order to lower the OOW birthrate--because marriage is the cureall? Pfft no. And sure she SAYS marriage is not a cureall but then she turns around and insinuates the only way to hold a black man accountable is to make him marry you? PFFT C'Mon Son."

BINGO. And their answer to the PRESENT 50% "Divorce rate" is that at least they were married at first. That's how you further know this has more to do with the politics of respectability and avoiding communal shame, more than anything else---and it's sad.

"You've had your 15 mins, NWNW...you have been acknowledged & rejected. Nice Try. NEXT."

LMAO!!! So true. They just don't want to accept that. But we HAVE acknowledged NWNW, we've paid attention and we find it wanting. The Black delegation would like to trade NWNW for Bristol Palin, please. At least that way we can see the hypocrisy in a more obvious package.

Dr. Goddess said...

AYCE:
Your comments are hilarious but I understand where you're coming from, to a certain extent, only because if *I* were one of the initial bloggers duped under NWNW, I would be mad as heck, too.

As per your disclaimer that you are one of the original NWNW bloggers, you cannot claim an objective point of view, so please rethink that idea.

And again, the focus on my degree is understandable (with a name like Dr. Goddess) but surely you also understand that (with a name like Dr. Goddess), there is an obvious blurring of the lines and a point of engagement that belies this being a dissertation or solely a scholastic enterprise. Please understand that and interact with me accordingly. This is my blog, not a classroom, although both myself and others with whom I interact here always learning something.

You have not seen my entire response to NWNW because my FIRST response was to do what I always do… sit back, listen, observe, try to understand and, if I can, get information from the source.

Now, AFTER I read some of the posts and listened to the radio program, it became more than obvious what was going on here and my reaction was negative and filled with cynicism because that is the effect the shenanigans of NWNW provided. It is not I who led with negativity, Maurice, it was NWNW. Please don't liken me or any of my work to the woman who wrote the Section 8 post, thanks.

I'm not surprised you've distanced yourself. SO MANY of the original bloggers have and I totally understand why. Further, if you need THAT much help, then perhaps this is not an initiative you should have undertaken before you had any real buy-in from persons who could actually help, yes?

Let's be real here. Who has enough organizing skills to collect 100 bloggers to do a media campaign but doesn't have enough to actually be a real leader or initiate something real, in the real world. Maurice, this is a media campaign. Open your eyes…

You can't tell me to "keep it movin'" if I don't like her cause. If it's going to affect me and mine (and it's TARGETED towards ME, as a Black woman), I'm not going NOWHERE (yes, I said nowhere as opposed to "anywhere"). Just like the Tea Party. If you want to hate on somebody, do it in private. You bring it into my living room or bedroom, then we have a problem. Eff that.

I don't see why you have a problem with Maya Angelou or Al Green, by the way. At the end of the day, NWNW is funny and you must allow us our wit to deal with this nonsense. Laughter is the best medicine and NWNW is no cure.

I agree with you that Twitter & Blogs are TOOLS that we can use and I suggest you, I, we use it for precisely that purpose, not to launch media campaigns for self-promotion, calling it a Movement…Mm-kay?

Now, if you say you welcome intelligent attempts to repair and build the Black community and the world community, then support those who are doing real work in both. And if you're feeling jiggy, buy my CDs and DVDs and support my work just because it's positive, engaging and fun.

By the way, I never even remotely uttered the phrase "white people's standards" so the fact that you would put it in quotes is just… I mean, come on, man… Come on…

You should know, however, that the first institutions for higher learning and the attainment of degrees occurred in Africa and the first university in Europe was created by Africans. Further, the obsession of the French with all things Egypt and "enlightened' is what inspired the ideas around masonry, masonic teachings and the idea of degrees. Those did not come from the Masons, my brother, they came from African people and the Masons chose what aspects they wanted to copy/mimic.

Thanks for your time.

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