Uncategorized

ISNA & #blacklivesDONTmatter

As a Muslim woman of Afrikan descent I have had my fair amount of frustrations being raised within a predominately Arab Muslim community. Like many other Black Muslims, I have to deal with many instances of subtle prejudices to sheer racism from first and second generation Muslims who hail from Asian and Arab backgrounds. This is my response to a recent press release that was distributed by Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in the wake of the Baltimore uprising. ISNA needs a point of reference, from a fresh minded Black Muslim woman, which I am here to offer. This press release only touched the tip of the iceberg in reference to the problems that exist within the Black and immigrant Muslim community in America. This letter is directed to ISNA and President Mr. Azhar Azeez.

On April 28th, ISNA issued a biased and politically infused press release that condemned protesters and “rioters” in Baltimore for resorting to violence after the death of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody on April 19th. The umbrella organization, which claims to “foster the development of the Muslim community”, was heavily “disturbed by the escalation of violence in Baltimore”. Previously, ISNA had yet to mention anything about the incident in Baltimore or the consequential result of policing practices in marginalized Black neighborhoods. As a person who aims to acknowledge the truth, I don’t believe one Black person was consulted during the formulation of this misinformed press release. I firmly believe that if a diverse spectrum of Muslims was consulted before the distribution of this release there would not have been such an enormous backlash. Since then, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) issued a stance and an independent online petition has been circulating attempting to hold ISNA accountable for their actions of negating Black life. ISNA, you lacked sensitivity and tactfulness with this deliverance. Whoever wrote the press release and assisted in editing it not only needs cultural sensitivity training but a dose on the reality of what Black folks have been enduring in America for centuries.

Maybe you aren’t aware but Black folks in America are under siege on a daily basis and being a Black Muslim adds another interesting element to the plot. Not only do I have to constantly assert and explain my Blackness to the outside world but I am finding myself in similar situations within the wider Muslim community. Black Americans live in a society where we are mentally and physically under attack and our religiously based institutions are supposed to serve as safe havens. People turn to faith and religious spaces for a sense of belonging, solace and understanding. These spaces are supposed to serve as safe havens for Muslims but in reality they are far from that. Black Muslim Americans must function in communities where we are consistently having to educate and redirect non-Black Muslims from biased and prejudice notions against Black people. It’s exhausting and draining having to educate you. Simply put, the Muslim community is absurdly prejudice but employ Islam and the concept of brotherhood as a guise for personal and institutional advancement. Behind closed doors, many Muslims and Islamic organizations promote the same ideas and attitudes concerning Black people that the general American population fosters. When those same institutions grasp onto biases and political interests then they have virtually lost their purpose. ISNA purports to represent Muslims from a wide array of cultures and ethnicities. From that, one-third of those represented identify as Black. With that being said, the recent statements produced by ISNA prove further than there is very little concern, for Black lives, which of course include Black Muslim lives which in turn is my life as a Black Muslim woman.

For many years, the immigrant Muslim community has tried its best to disconnect itself from the struggle of Black people. When you look at me as a Black person you do not see your own struggle as a person of color in a country that has neither of our interests in mind. You emigrate to this country in the hopes of assimilating into the White masses. You seek white approval and at the same time look at your brothers and sisters in the struggle with noses turned up. There has been an intentional negation of the Black fight for freedom and instead of learning and building with us you run away and condemn our actions. ISNA, unfortunately you are no exception and rather than attempting to learn from our Black brothers and sisters on the quest for justice you have burned the bridges of solidarity. Promoting sermons concerning racial justice and the mentioning of the Prophets companion Bilal will not suffice with me any longer. On that note, Bilal (peace and blessings be upon him) has to be the most exploited companion of the Prophet. I am not going to be complacent as my life and those of my fellow Black brethren get lost between your hypocritical words of equality.

In conclusion, distributing this press release and then attempting to apologize or as you stated “clarify”, not only brought to light ISNA’s main motivation of seeking political approval from the white majority, but in fact how many institutions view the Black community in general. ISNA, and Mr. Azeem, you do not understand the community who you claim to serve and you do not get a pass on this ridiculous and callous press release. You had time to clean yourself up but opted not to properly apologize. ISNA has been around for decades and should know how to master the art of racial affairs. Your organizations are not located in Black communities, you do not attempt to come to our neighborhoods and quite often we are not welcomed into your mosques and institutions. Black bodies are only of benefit to the immigrant Muslim community if there is monetary gain involved, such as fried food shacks, liquor stores, gas stations or increasing the attendance to your annual convention. In those instances, I am sure Black lives matter to you since we are financially contributing to your sense of comfort. Perhaps that is why you were so “disturbed by the escalation of violence” because we were in fact burning down your businesses in the hood that have exploited the Black community for years.

We are not profit, or a personal tool you can use to advance yourself. Black folks are people and many of us happen to have Islam deeply rooted in our families.

If you didn’t listen before, today is the day you learn.

Your sister in Islam and the struggle,

Ihssan Tahir

Please email ISNA’s Communication Director Edgar Hopida at ehopida@isna.net 317.679.6350 or 317.839.1820 to hold them accountable for their callous and racist remarks regarding Black folks and the Baltimore Uprising. 

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Deep Roots

I rolled over in bed and quickly realized that was a huge mistake.

The whole side of my body morphed into fine goosebumps and I was awoken to the crisp Chicago night and freshly pressed bed sheets. Streaks of moonlight creeped through my blinds and splashed parts of my bed. It was eerie but serene at the same time. I pulled the covers closer to my body and gazed out the window. The warmth was rushing back towards my body as I bent my legs towards my chest to trap it in. I saw a silhouette of the tree standing in the front yard. During the day it stood in solitude and most of the time barely noticeable but tonight it looked intimidating, fearless and beautiful. The daytime suffocated her true self. She needed to release. The tree was simply stealing the night in order to display her true brilliance.

We all steal in one way or another. I thought to myself.

I took in a deep breath of the chilled night air and reflected on the desires of the human spirit. My chest rose as thoughts stirred in my mind. I needed the tree to share the night with me. So I stole a bit of it for myself.

I did so unapologetically and without shame.

_

Life feels full, but nonetheless very enjoyable. At 28, I feel like I am reaching a point of self-realization. I am growing into myself and feel more confident with the woman I am becoming. I have had opportunities to be independent, extensively travel and pretty much “do me”. It always amazes me the turns that your life can take. I always tend to think that I control the major and minor occurrences in my life. Now, don’t get a sista wrong… I firmly believe that Allah has ultimate control but I think we play a huge part in how our lives turn out as well. In my early 20’s I would have never thought that I’d be unmarried and globe trotting.

For real…

We all walk different paths that may converge with that of our family and friends and sometimes they never converge at all. People get married in clusters then they start getting pregnant in clusters too. Think of it like this, in every group of friends there is that one person who kinda does their own thing. The one who is going against the grain of expectation and normativity.

Society dictates what you’re supposed to have, when you’re supposed to have it and how you’re supposed to get it. Are people just cookie cutters of one another? Should people be labeled or pointed out when they don’t fit into what society expects of them? As women we get stuck with this big time. Once you reach a certain age (normally after 30) certain “things” are expected of you. It’s almost as though many of us have an expiration date that is shadowed in the fear of not fulfilling those societal demands. Once we get into our late 20’s we’re in a rush to get our lives “together”.

Life is not set up like that. There is no “set” age or time to get married, have children or even to be settled in a career. I’m sure those things work as motivators for many people but I refuse to live my life in the cloud of societal demands.

That’s mad stressful!

I think about my life and where I see myself in the future inshAllah. I certainly want to get married and have a family, but quite frankly I am enjoying my life. I’m living in the now and attempt every day to be conscious of the present. The past is long gone and the future awaits me, God willing.

Right now is what counts and it is the only thing I can control at this given point in time.

There is a time for everything in your life. I recognize the chances of me finding someone as mobile as myself is pretty rare. I will have to adapt certain aspects of my life and the older I get I understand that people become less flexible. So don’t misunderstand a sista because I know that time is precious and it must not be wasted.

One must strike a balance of living for oneself as well as understanding the realities of life. This balance can be hard to achieve and it is something I work on quite often.

Right before bed and in the early hours of the morning have always been a time of reflection and thought.

Many researchers have said that trees are some of the few plants that can show physical manifestations to outside stressors. Air quality, soil conditions and limited space can inhibit their growth. Just like the human spirit trees need space to fully flourish and reach their highest potential. If not they remain stagnant and eventually die. One must be rooted in the knowledge of self in order to grow.

Remember, there is no growth without firm and planted roots.

I take my time to grow and breath so that when love comes my way I am ready for it to plant itself deeply within my heart. Until then, I steal pieces of the night and patiently wait for the daylight to bring its lessons on life.

Standard
mosque, personal, segregation, stories

And then she sang…

The sun was still beating down.

It was early evening in Senegal and my plane had just landed. I looked out at the vast landscape. It was bursting with colors of the Earth, every hue of green and brown imaginable to the eye. The sand swirled in the wind as my heart fluttered in my chest. I took in a deep breath of relief as the wheels of the plane jolted the sand encrusted African pavement. I was back in the Motherland.

No one could tell me nothin’.

I am a mixture of a lot of things and damn proud. A true daughter of the diaspora. My lineage is rooted in Africa, from the East all the way to the West. My round face, small nose and almond shaped eyes scream East Africa, the birth place of my beautiful father. My bright outfits and chunky bracelets make sure folks are well aware that I am a sista from Chicago and always down with the revolution. All of these identities are carefully wrapped into a hijab, that mind you, are always well coordinated with my over sized earrings.

My passport is almost full and my heart repeatedly bursts with joy every time I set foot back on the Continent. I have travelled across Africa. From Mali to Ethiopia then back to Ghana and Sudan. Each one of these countries has unique cultural traditions that set them apart from one another. All of these differences I appreciate. From my experiences traditional cultures offer something the West does not. There is a collectiveness, a tightness between the people even though many of these countries have suffered from issues related to colonialism and imperialism. Ties such as family and lineage are an integral part of African society. I wish that every Black person could have the experience of traveling back home, yes I said home. My experiences of traveling back to Africa continue to be a mind opener and with each visit I continue to grow and learn something new.

One thing that continues to surprise me about many Muslim countries in Africa is how relationships between men and women are carried out. Growing up in Chicago my experiences and perceptions of Islam were heavily shaped by being in predominantly Arab communities, who were a tad bit on the conservative side in regards to their practice of Islam. For most of my school life, I attended an Islamic school that was gender segregated. Nearly everything was hyper-sexualized and male/female interactions always seemed out of place and unnatural. Teachers would hawk the hallways and personally call you out if your behavior was deemed inappropriate. Within that cultural context many times I felt that my presence as a young woman was either viewed as a problem or in some cases a temptress. Now as an adult, I understand the community elders had sincere intentions with separating the boys and the girls. Though unfortunately, this practice became problematic when many of us went on to college having a difficult time interacting with our counterparts.

A sista must make it clear…

I believe there are certain instances where men and women should be separated but for the most part I don’t see the need. In a majority of African cultures both men and women function together, side by side without any issues. I think the Arab world could take note of this because gender relations seems to be an ongoing issue in many Arab communities. Along with that women in many parts of Africa are an integral part of society and their status is recognized.

So this brings me to what inspired this post…

Recently in Senegal, I attended a Friday prayer where a woman busted out in nasheed (religious/spiritual song) in the middle of the mosque. Her infant lay in her lap with an oversized scarf draped over him. She batted the persistent flies that kept landing on him. I was shocked that no one stopped or scolded her for singing. My eyes were fixated on her. As her voice echoed throughout the mosque I waited for someone to scorn her. Her melodic voice was strong but had feminine undertones. Her eyes were closed as her body swayed to the movement of her voice. She was wrapped into the moment, almost as though she was in the comfort of her own home. I looked around, expecting some old looking dude to start yelling and to my surprise no one said anything. She sang while folks kept going about their business. All she got were a couple curious glances and a group of giggling girls in the back corner. It was very refreshing for me to witness this moment as she claimed her space and looked so natural doing so. I was determined to meet this woman. So for the next several days I attended the mosque at the same time. I knew language would be a hindrance but I had to meet her. Later, I found out that she came from a family of Nigerian (Hausa) women that were all religious singers. She travelled to Senegal for the month of Ramadan. She had been singing since she was six years old, a tradition solely passed down to the women in her family. With a shy smile she told me it was reserved for them.

DSC_0609
I’ve left a little piece of my experience for you.

Enjoy.

Standard
Uncategorized

These Three Words

The airport was packed with people. 

I think it was July 4th weekend because I remember people were in shorts and it was mad hot outside. A group of children sat in the seats near me. It looked like they were sharing a bag of potato chips. The oldest looking boy was hogging the bag. I figured they were going on vacation because they looked far too excited to be returning home. I sat in the corner on the floor waiting for my flight to board. My book bag was sprawled out in front of me. I took my flip flops off to get more comfortable. Since I was a child I’ve always hated shoes. My mother always joked and said I inherited that from my African father, who himself preferred bare feet even in the coldest of months.

I was on the phone with a man that I would marry in the months to follow. I was in my own world. He was, in fact, slowly and surely becoming my world. Ironically enough, I don’t even remember what city I was traveling in at the time when he first said it to me. 

The mind is an interesting facet. It is a chest full of ideas, dreams, fears and sporadic thoughts. Some people say you remember what you choose while others say you remember the things that spark a deep emotional response within you. I believe the latter. 

I remember the sincerity in his voice. I remember the way my heart exploded when he uttered those three words. I remember he was hesitant and guarded but all the while confident. 

Then he said it.

I did not respond.

I soaked it in, marinated in his words then mentally saved a little for a rainy day. 

Until that moment I had never felt the power of these three words. They were heavy. Heavy in a good way.

His vulnerabilities started to surface and he began to apologize for his brazenness. 

He was nervously mumbling his words.

Perhaps my silence made him question himself.

I immediately stopped him. 

He was ready to give and my heart was willing to accept. I was young, inexperienced and eager to be loved by a man. When a woman is ready for this chapter in her life no one can stop her, not even her own parents.

As Muslims we walk a very fine line that can be confusing at times. We attempt to navigate a world while being culturally and religiously appropriate, all the while living in a society that doesn’t put much value on either. At times, this can lead to one not being entirely true to themselves. True to their emotions. Some deem it unislamic to confess your love openly, especially as a woman. But how can you be true with others when you aren’t true to yourself? 

Does sincerity not start from within?

Now I am certainly not encouraging folks to profess their undying love to just anyone. I am just reminding you, as well as myself, to be more open with the feelings that Allah has placed within us all. I wish we lived in a world where there was no fear involved with being honest about your feelings. It would make life a hell of a lot easier. Emotions are the core of the human experience and when I deny them I am directly denying myself.

I’ve always said the purest love is that which is young, untainted and immature. Before hard life lessons bite you in the ass. When you haven’t been hurt you allow your heart to guide you. After pain the intellect supersedes the heart. Rationale triumphs emotion in order to avoid pain. For some it’s a coping mechanism. That’s just the way it is. I don’t understand why. Everything in life doesn’t have an explanation so we must stop expecting one for every misfortune that befalls us. 

I never questioned his love. Even though the marriage ended in divorce I believe he loved the best way he could. The only way he knew how to. We all love differently. As children we learn how to love from our parents, siblings and society. You carry those learned habits into your adult life. Some of those habits are good and others are bad.

Just as quickly as people fall in love they fall out of love. I hope to experience the sweetness that comes along with this process. We all experience love so differently and no two experiences are ever he same. Staying in love is never a guarantee and understanding that will allow you to avoid the pitfalls that come a long with the pain.

Plainly put, sometimes shit happens and for some people it is worse than others.

You have to pick yourself up, brush that dust off and keep on keepin’ on. 

It may not be ok today. There is no guarantee that it will be ok tomorrow either.

That one day, when you least expect it, you will realize that the hurt made you stronger.

You were always ok. Life just tricked you into thinking you were not.

It has always been in you.

Promise.

Standard
Uncategorized

To the Father who tried

He came here full of hope.

It was 1981 and he was a twenty four year old graduate student sent from his home country of Sudan. He was told to make his country proud so he packed his belongings along with his dreams for a better life.

The ultimate dream of any person living in a poor country. He was starting a new life in America.

A land of endless opportunity and a place where anyone could make it.

My mom said women were always taken aback because he was exceptionally handsome. His nubian almond shaped eyes, strong jawline, and chocolate skin made women, from all ethnicities, gravitate towards him. His solid frame had him shy of 6’5. I always thanked Allah that I inherited his eyes and not his height.

He didn’t know it though. He didn’t realize how good looking he truly was because back in Africa he resembled any other tall and lanky East African guy walking around Khartoum.
________

It was mid July and I was sitting in a motel in southern Los Angeles.

My window was open and I could hear the wind rustling through the palm trees. As strays of California sunlight crept through the blinds I could see the dust matter floating in all directions.

I reached into my oversized purse and pulled out a manila envelope. I looked at his photos and cried. The photos were faded and looked like they had been sitting in someones basement for the last twenty years. Actually the motel room looked like it belonged in one of these portraits. The sunlight bounced off the photo so I shifted it in my hands trying to look past the water marks. His eyes were bright and familiar. They were mine. For a moment I was looking at myself.

I needed this.

I needed to grieve properly.

I needed to mourn him and what could have been.

It’s always interesting to me how memory and the mind works. You always want to force yourself to remember the best moments. It’s a sense of nostalgia and usually not based on actual reality of the situation. Sometimes we mourn what we wanted our lives to be like rather than what they actually were. It’s a coping mechanism we all use at one point and I was certainly using it then. It was a mix of emotions. I was mad as hell, horribly guilt ridden but most of all I was hurting.

I knew very well what life would have been like with a schizophrenic father.

There was no point in romanticizing anymore.

________

“That’s the place.” She said. Her index finger was pointed in the direction of a supermarket and her eyes were dazed. I looked at it and thought about the importance of places and how relative they usually are. It just looked like a shabby spot to me but it held some sort of importance to my mother.

This was where she had met my father many, many years ago. She was twenty-three and a new convert to Islam. “He spotted me in the fruit section,” she said laughing. He was pretending to grocery shop. He waited until my mother was in the check out line and strategically got behind her and started conversation. It ended with him getting her number and a marriage six months later.

________

He asked me if I wanted to see the body.

He was a middle-aged man of Arab descent wearing a button up creme colored shirt tucked into his dress pants. He had thick rimmed circular glasses on that made his eyes look three times bigger than they actually were. He was hurriedly walking to his office and shuffling papers at the same time. Being the funeral director at the local mosque I could tell he was trying to offer sympathy, but being in a business of this nature for long periods of time can make one cold. It’s routine. Unchanging. Constant. Just like the postman delivering letters to people every single day, people will always need their mail and people will always be dying.

I thought about it for a moment.

Being an emergency room nurse I see dead bodies quite often. Women, men, the old and the young. Growing up I always saw images of my father. He looked firm and resilient. I had built up this imaginary man in my head of what I expected him to be like. Having never seen him in the flesh I didn’t want my first and last encounter to be with him laying in a casket.

“No.” I said quietly and looking down at the floor.
________

We’re not sure exactly want happened. One day he just started acting different.

My mom said he started becoming very paranoid and anxious. He always thought people were after him and wanting to harm his family. Now as an adult, I realize what an awful fear that must have been. Though not based on present reality its the reality of the individual and to him it was real as day.

It became too much and he began becoming aggressive. My mom feared for herself but she mainly feared for her four-month old daughter.

So she left.
________

Over the years my father would try to contact me. His schizophrenia and constant paranoia meant that he never stayed in one place for too long.

Letters were always sent back and numbers were always disconnected.

He died full of sadness and guilt. A man who tried but couldn’t deliver.

Several years ago I was able locate an uncle of mine who was living in California. He was there taking care of my father who was currently institutionalized. I was put back in contact with my grandmother and a slew of uncles, aunts and cousins, second cousins, third cousins (its Africa, you know how it goes.)

They welcomed me back with African styled love…

Just like I was returning back home from a long journey…

My grandmother hugged me and this time she was the one who cried.

Her tears flowed for a son who tried his best and a child who had made her way back home.

________

On Fathers Day we recognize the men who have consistently been around. Our role models. Our support. Our heroes.

Today I recognize the many men who fell victim to the difficulties in life. The men who have weeping hearts from never witnessing their child’s first step or the first day of school. The men who sincerely tried and prayed that they would never repeat the actions of their own fathers but somehow identically mimicked the loins that bore them.

The men who are painfully reminded about the type of men they had the potential to become.

The type of fathers they wanted to be.

Today I recognize you.

Mahmoud Tahir Haj Adam circa 1973

Mahmoud Tahir Haj Adam circa 1973

Standard
Uncategorized

Ice Cube & Jummah

Recently I was having one of those days.

You know the ones when you’re really feelin’ yourself.

Outfit was on point, weather was nice and I had a fly cheetah print hijab on. Not only that but it was Friday so I was in a really good mood.

There was nothing more I could ask for. My red car glistened in the sun as I drove down Stony Island Avenue. In my Ice Cube voice “It was a good day.”

I was thankful and blessed.

You couldn’t tell a sista nothin’…

I was on the south side of Chicago and I decided to go to jummah nearby. I rolled into a mosque I was somewhat familiar with and soaked in the sermon. After jummah, I gave the greeting to the familiar faces I saw put my shoes on and made my way out.

I was walking back to my car. I crossed the street and headed towards the open parking lot. First thing I noticed was that my car was blocked in by two vehicles. It looked like it would be a game of Tetris trying to get out of that lot. I thanked Allah under my breath for having a small car. I was strategically parked at the end all the way in the corner.

I pulled my keys out of my purse as the gravel crunched under my shoes. As I opened my door I heard someone say “Asaalamu alaikum sister.”

I looked over and realized there was a brother sitting in the car next to where I was parked. Like myself he was patiently waiting in the post-jummah traffic jam. He poked his head out of the window and smiled.

I returned the greeting and kindly smiled back before closing my door.

It was mad hot outside. I got in my car, started the engine and rolled down the windows.

“I like your car.” He said. I couldn’t tell if he was looking at my car or at me because of his huge sunglasses. One thing though, I could tell he was slightly nervous by the almost unnoticeable quiver in his voice.

“Thanks, its a good car. Very reliable” I said shyly.

I could hear the reggae playing in his car. He turned the music down.

“I’ve never seen you here before. So you come to this mosque often?” He asked.

I knew where this was going but I thought let me not shut the brotha down right away. He had the guts to initiate conversation and he did so after jummah for that matter! Plus, it would be kinda awkward ignoring him as I was stuck in the lot. A sista couldn’t run even if she wanted to.

Plus you already know the deal…

Muslim men say Muslim women (specifically hijabis) are hard to talk to. Muslim women say Muslim men never attempt to initiate conversation.

“Naw, not really. I was just in the area and decided to stop by. The khutbahs (sermon) always seems to be relevant here.” I said.

I looked in my rear view mirror to see if there was any progress. The cars were still empty. I guess folks were trying to get their Friday blessings in and putting extra sunnah prayers in.

I could see him in my peripheral. His body language indicated he wanted to say more. During the eleven minute hiatus he told me about his family and profession.

As folks headed back to their cars and the sound of engines echoed in the parking lot he said this, “Sister, I’m really just looking for a wife. I know its forward of me but I have to start somewhere. No better place to meet a sister than at the masjid after jummah, right?” This came out of his mouth with such sincerity.

The brother had a point.

After much thought I realized I wasn’t mad at him. He was simply doing what he needed to do in order to find a partner. He made his intentions perfectly clear.

No disrespect involved.

I know y’all ain’t gonna admit it but we’ve all scoped the scene out after jummah, Eid prayer and at lectures.

Stop frontin’…

You see, the way some men approach women makes us feel violated at times. Most women have felt like that at some point or another.

I didn’t feel violated or grossed out after our conversation ended. My dignity and self-respect was still intact.

Then I thought about how a couple of years ago I would have totally written this brotha off. I probably would have flipped my cheetah hijab, said “astagfirullah” under my breath, given him an eye roll (maybe with a neck roll for added emphasis) and zoomed off in my mini red car. Getting older, wiser (hopefully!), and experienced has honestly allowed me to see the “human” in people.

Many Muslims like to view themselves as the ideal Muslim (at least in public) but no one realizes that this is something we all aspire to become. We all want to reach a level of religious perfection and utter obedience.

But what does being a “good” Muslim really mean? Why do we deny ourselves the right to emotionally express our human needs and then equate that with religiosity?

It just doesn’t make sense to me. Acknowledge your basic needs as the human that Allah created you to be.

It’s not a weakness and at that moment I realized that,

I could not fault him.

I could not ridicule him.

I could only empathize with him.

Standard
Uncategorized

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

As y’all know I am all for women being independent and free thinkers.

But…

There are certain things that you just DON’T say to your man.

You can still be a sistaqueen and reign that throne but a smart woman knows how to treat her man right.

Likewise a smart man knows how to treat his woman right.

Recently, I witnessed a woman talking to her man in the most disrespectful manner. I cringed as I heard her put him down. I knew she would regret it later and more importantly I knew he would not bring the topic up later.

His bruised ego would surface in other ways.

Most men will not admit when you have hurt their feelings. It’s seen as being “unmanly” or weak.

They are men and they have something called pride. At times, some have more than others.

Now this should never happen but my first thought was if she’s talking to him like this in public then how are they talking behind closed doors? When you show respect for your partner you are in turn showing respect for yourself. After all, this is a relationship that requires the involvement of two equally dedicated individuals. Treat it like that.

Shaunti Feldman, author of The Male Factor broke it down like this:

1. Respect his judgment

2. Respect his abilities

3. Respect in communication

4. Respect in public

I love getting relationship advice from the OG’s (aka aunties who have been married 20+ years) and one lady told me that for a relationship to be successful women need to feel loved and men need to feel respected.

This woman was the truth! I’ve often thought about this crucial piece of advice she gave me and she was right.

One thing I see over and over again is women throwing up the fact that they make more money than their husbands.

Now if a brotha is holding it down…

Paying the bills and doing what he needs in order to take care of you then why are you throwing it in his face?

That is one of the most emasculating things you can do to a man and a smart woman will not degrade her partner in this manner.

Sure, when you are in the heat of the moment your judgement fails quite quickly but you have to remember words can create deep wounds that can take time heal.

Lastly, I can’t finish this post without paying homage to the sistaqueen who made respect soulful and cool.

Standard