Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gender Roles

Over the past several decades women have gone through a major transisiton in this country. We have gained the right to vote, work and earn equal wages (even though sometimes we get paid less) and we have sexual harassement rules and firmer laws helping to keep us safe.

In the African American community there has been a major shift. Black Mars and Venus have collided. Gender roles have been effected and lines have been blurred to the point where our relationships do not work. Coupled with our struggle to find a voice in this country, the black male/female relationship has definitly suffered over the past decades.

And now... economic troubles. Couples of all races are suffering as they face foreclosure, joblessness, and the fall of the middle class. What can we do to establish healthier relationships? Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind.

1. When you begin dating, establish your roles out loud. Women are great assumers. We have expectations beyond belief, but a man will never hear about it. If you're entering a serious relationship, talk about who will be responsible for what, as your lives merge this will become utterly important.

2. Establish good financial communication. Hiding money, hiding, spending, and not being able to go to eachother in your time of need will not help the relationship.

3. Be honest. Don't bite off more than you can chew when it comes to money. If you are planning a life together, open up about your credit status, your debt etc, no surprises need to happen when you try to go for a loan.

4. Be supportive. If one loses a job, its a big deal, especially now with unemployment rates being as high as they are, competition is vicious. A man doesn't need the added nagging at home. Instead, show interest in the job hunt, help as much as possible, and be encouraging. It's hard to succeed when the one you love is tearing you down.

5. Don't be afraid to seek help. If things are snowballing out of control, get help. Theres nothing wrong with counseling. Self sufficient African American women who never need help really doesnt exist, she just chooses not to ask for help.

6. Listen to your gut. You know that inner voice? 99% of the time it's right, more than right. Listen to that voice and get yourself out of situations that will jeoperdize you, even if it means ending a relationship. Sometimes we can prevent the horrible stuff that happens to us.