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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectAnother Negative Perception
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=5901&mesg_id=5954
5954, Another Negative Perception
Posted by Nettrice, Sat Mar-01-03 09:27 AM
I often have to deal with male colleagues who play on my so-called nurturing sensibilities. Many men (and women) are conditioned that women are the nurturers and men are the protectors. My supervisor sees himself as a protector but he does poorly in that role. In fact, her is more like a hustler. His smooth words and opportunistic view keeps him stuck in his role but he lacks the skills or know-how to put things into action. He macks his staff, reaping the benefits of their efforts for himself or to push his agenda. He says he does this to protect his people. The fact that he is a Black man disappoints me but he is no different from the other mostly white male politicians and community leaders I work with.

I got savvy after just one year. He was so smooth but I saw through the facade and decided I better start hustling my damn self to protect myself and keep from being exploited. His message to me was "take care of me and I will provide for or protect you". I got something similar from my own father many years ago. It's possible that these men, both Black but from different places, were conditioned with the same messages (see above), as many woman are.

As far as my career and life, it's been a lifelong process to live on my own terms. When I was a girl, I had to learn that it was not my job to take care of my father, a grown man, or his children and affairs. I was just a kid, not a surrogate wife. Fortunately, it's easier now. My supervisor and male colleagues are not my sons or my "boys". We are all equal whether they choose to see it that way or not.

Years later I showed my father some of my paintings and he came up with a get rich scheme on the spot. His idea was for me to make the art and he would sell it. We would both get 50% of the profits. However, I was the one laboring, making the art. He wanted my help to find the right contacts so it really wasn't 50/50. The same thing happens now. I was sucked in by this "take care of me, I'll protect you" mentality because underneath it all I wanted to feel loved and worthy...in his/their eyes. I had to let that go. Now, I labor and sell my own work.