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February 2013

Black Male “Relationship Counselors” On Twitter Have Taken A Turn For The Worst

In the past, I wrote about why Black people are sucked in by what I now call Black Hetero-Patriarchal Coupling Industrial Complex (this “advice” culture targeted at Black women functions to support White supremacy [by reinstalling notions that Black women are the most flawed of all women and need to be dominated the most], capitalism [involving the purchase “help” products in the millions, building the influence of Black men who do not truly love or respect Black women] and patriarchy [obvious]), and I wrote about it in relation to Steve Harvey’s work.

However, at much lower (in terms of money, power and platform) but still reasonably dangerous level, there are Black men advocating their same versions, or at times, even more dangerous versions of this “advice” meant to marginalize, control and even destroy Black women. While some of this “advice” comes from a place of them seeking “empowerment” for themselves at the expense of a Black woman’s agency—bad enough, some of it seems to come from a place of genuine ignorance, irresponsibility and…even hatred.

Yesterday on Twitter, one of these men (who has almost 30K people following these messages) actually advocated women NOT carrying condoms and relying on men to have them. In 2013. (He isn’t the only one of his ilk to do this either, just the most recent.) His justification is that women who have them must only think about sex (a ridiculous logical fallacy), are too “available” (what?) and are “devaluing” their worth, are disgusting (seriously?) and only the person with a penis should have condoms.

Beyond the patriarchy, misogyny and heteronormativity of this ignorance—no one’s worth as a human being is lowered from sexual activity and anyone involved in sexual behavior has the right to protect themselves and be concerned with their health—the sheer level of irresponsibility in this “advice,” especially regarding Black sexual health, is truly mind-boggling. Because of his “advice” style and audience, it is clear that this is specifically targeted at Black women. This “advice” is incredibly ignorant, irresponsible and wrong. To me, it is an act of hatred—an act of war.

The risks to health and life, the emotional duress (including increased likelihood of domestic violence and murder when one of these soon to be mentioned situations occur) and the financial burden of unplanned pregnancies, STIs and HIV/AIDS are supposed to be made by Black women so that a Black man can “feel like a man?” Is their self-esteem contingent upon our destruction and death? This feels like hatred.

According to me, and a few of the people I talk to on Twitter, these seem to be the requirements for these “relationship counselors”:

Requirements To Be A Black Relationship Counselor On Twitter

  • Be a Black heterosexual man
  • Have a pulse
  • Have a smartphone/laptop or computer
  • Have Internet access
  • Have a Twitter account
  • Smug avi wearing a suit is optional

There is no real bar of entry for this hobby or profession and the results have moved beyond general ignorance, Christianity-oriented manipulation and manipulation of science to promote sexism and misogyny, and patriarchal thoughts. It has moved past specific anti-Black woman misogyny, or misogynoir. It has now into moved an area where these men, whether purposely or inadvertently through ignorance are advocating our genocide as Black women. And, some Black women do not have the personal agency to reject this nonsense so instead, their internalized racism and sexism, in an appeal to be desirable to Black men who think this way, could eventually mean their illness or death. Some Black women have internalized the LIE that whatever we desire in partners is unreasonable to the point that they think "being a lady" which now means having zero sexual agency or empowerment, is more important than their freedom, their health and their life. Women cannot and should not count on men to have condoms and should make decisions on birth control and STI protection without men domineering those choices.

I can no longer solely look at this irritating and disrespectful trend of “advice culture” as Black men trying to reclaim some sort of patriarchal power in a world where Black women are earning equal or more than them at times, earning 32% more college degrees and often are happily choosing relationship statuses outside of the heteronormative, patriarchal template. I now see this for what it is—a handful of Black men so desperate for power and influence that it matters more than our lives and thousands of Black women (following non-famous ones) and millions of Black women (following famous ones) deciding that hoping to be an object of a Black man’s desire is worth internalizing racism and sexism, accepting misogyny, fighting for a patriarchal and domineering relationship not worth their time and now…risking their lives.

This should be listed with other forms of abuse. This isn’t solely a “free speech” (as that doesn’t even apply but I know people will bring this up since no one has actually read the First Amendment) or a "well they don’t have to listen" type of thing. We LIVE in a patriarchal society, one where Black women are consistently devalued intraracially and interracially, and one where women, in general, are reared to feel inadequate if they aren’t in a relationship, no matter how abusive, and heed the advice of men, no matter how detrimental. While some will lazily say "it’s just a book" or "it’s just tweets" I know that this “advice culture” is not “just” words and can impact Black women—and Black people (since by proxy, them saying women aren’t “ladies” when they have personal agency corresponds to them describing fellow Black men basically as sexual brutes in the way of the White supremacist construction of their identities—internalized White supremacist thought here) just as badly as other forms of media can.

Thankfully, there ARE Black men (and many Black women) speaking out against this, on the very same platform, Twitter, where this lives. Even so, my concern is that the “typical” sexism and misogyny of these “advice” tweets (bad enough) have escalated into something worse and something that no Black woman should trust and no Black man should advocate.

Related Posts: Black Masculinity, Dating, and Twitter, Patriarchal Thinking Is Hypocritical Thinking

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    I agree with everything said in this article! I am not that active on Twitter anymore, so if something problematic is...
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