Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Shifting Chapter 8: Forging a Delicate Balance

[Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America]

In chapter 8 of Shifting, Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden investigate struggles that seem to disproportionately affect black couples. The women in many black relationships are forced into additional shifting because they shoulder the burden of what it means for their boyfriends and husbands to be black men.

The authors contend that while marriage generally improves the emotional well being of both parties involved, this observation is less true for women and truer for white couples. The authors indicate, “Black married women experience more life stress than their male counterparts, and, notably, Black women are less satisfied with their marriages than White women” (209).

What observations or findings from the chapter stood out most to you? Why? Please provide a page number.

28 comments:

JaLeah M . said...

Actually, the very first quote of the chapter on pg 205 stood out to me. It made me take sort of a pause because I disagree with the 2nd half of it. I believe me as a young lady growing into an adult I hardly ever downplay my independence and I could never see my self downplaying my role or accomplishments in the sake of black men thinking I'm better then them. Me personally, I'm more proud of every great thing I do and would be against suppressing. -JaLeah M.

Asher said...

"I'm overly sensitive to their plight but don't feel that they're sensitive to mine". I can see where this can be a problem. There is no doubt that Black voices are always seemed to be silenced, whether it's in the media, classroom, or at home. But, I feel like it's even harder for women. I feel like, whenever a black woman talks about unfairness or injustice, people try to silence her, more than they do with a black man. It has a lot to do with sexism, but even more to do with the way that some people few black women as, uneducated, "ghetto", sexual, loud, and many more, unfavorable qualities. And surprisingly, it is even Black men, who try to degrade black women, instead of building them up. It's a problem that needs to evaluated and explained to young black men.

-Asher Denkyirah

Alexandra Donaldson said...

I agree with JaLeah that the very first quote stood out the most to me. I think it stood out because it's true for most black women. We are so afraid to assert outselves in our relationships because we don't want to appear like we are trying to be the head of the household. I think that problem will always be present because of the lack of communication.

Alexandra D.

Jazmyn Maggitt said...

Pauline's quote about "her major difficulty as a black woman is 'carrying the weight of the world on my shoulder and not feeling as thought I can depend on men to help me out'"(211). This honestly makes me really sad, like most of the chapter. Being in relationship and getting married shouldn't put more stress on you than being single. The whole point is to have someone there to help through all of your life struggles, but most of these women don't feel like they can count on their partner to do that. I don't really understand why either, I think most of these issue could be solved with a simple conversation but no one is willing to do the talking.
-Jazmyn M.

Jamesha M. said...

Rachel’s story honestly stood out to me the most. It happens all the time where women will stay in a relationship longer than they should because of the excuses they make up for their men. Rachel stayed too long in her relationship and I couldn’t believe that she actually still catered to William on his birthday after he completely forgot about hers’ and brushed her off when she confronted him(211-212).

I just find it crazy that women will forgive their men or let them have an abundance of leeway just because they have at least one redeemable quality i.e. a good job or the ability to take care of their children. It's frustrating and yet it happens to the best.

Maya Searcy said...

I the whole chapter has an impact in me, but I also really liked the first qoute. I actually have never seen this in my family it doesn't matter if you are a woman or man if you think your right or if you wanna talk you say it. I think the chapter was intresing though. I haven't really been around a lot of black people so I can't say it's not true. Though in my family downplaying indpendence and accomplishments just isn't a thing.

devinrules97 said...

The part that stood out to me most was on page 210 and 211. It talks about how Black men are subject to discrimination and prejudice from White males. These problems are transmitted to the wives and girlfriends of these men. The women have to put aside their problems and feeling in order to help their men. Because of this some women, like Rachel, stay in relationships longer than they should be, and are very underappreciated. Although the struggle that Black men go through is unfair, I think that it is wrong that women have to carry the relationship themselves, and are not given the proper credit.
-Devin S.







Niagra Bee said...

The major message that black women have to endure much more stress. My mom seems to personally carry the stress of her entire family, heavily due to the lack of effort of the men in the family. Females are built to endure a lot of stress, but black women have to go through even more just because of their skin.

-Que'rra

Sydney J said...

The observation that stood out to me the most was on page 211, "She may become the recipient of anger that he could not express outside the home, the target of rage that he had to contain to function in his workaday life." I just think it's unfortunate that black women are expected to just accept that kind of treatment. I
Sydney J.

Aja J said...

I think that what Gina said on page 214 stood out most to me. “Some of our Black brothers feel that our role is to cook and clean and walk behind our men. A lot of us are outspoken.” In a way, I think that this is kind of an older way of thinking. I believe gender roles have changed and women should be able to do and say what they want. Women can have the same jobs as men and get the job done just as good. I think that today, women have more a platform than they did many years ago to be successful outside of the home.

Kytela Medearis said...

Just like Jamesha, Rachel's story stood out to me the most (211). I've seen many cases where women would rather make up excuses for their significant other rather than get out of a one sided relationship. They don't see themselves as to being equal with their male counterpart because of the fact society tells them that they aren't equal. It's very frustrating to me that some women feel this way. No man is worth feeling inferior.
-Kytela Medearis

YaQkeha Witherspoon said...

Rachel's story, page 211-213, stood out to me the most cause it was the most relatable to me. As young women finding ourselves, we don't always know our worth or the way that we should be treated. So, we often settle and make excuses for the things that the men in our life don't do. Always finding a reason to overlook their wrongdoings, and feel lik we are some how responsible for it. And that one good quality they have, often makes us stay far longer than we should, because we feel like another man won't do the things that the one we have do. But, that's not true. You have to know your worth, and what you deserve to be treated like.

Kellsey H said...

Rachel's story on page 214 grasped my attention the most. She stated that "some of our black brothers feel that our role is to cook and clean and walk behind our men. A lot of us our outspoken." It is just so upsetting to me that some women feel as though men are in some way "superior" to them. They feel as though the men are in control and the women are supposed to behave in a manner that does not disrupt the man's perception of how things are supposed to be. It does not have to be that way, though. Women and men are equal. Women can have the same jobs as men, and men can have the same jobs as women. Society is the issue. Society has created a definition of a man and a definition of a woman that most individuals are subconsciously conforming to.

Anonymous said...

The portion of the chapter that stood out to me was on page 210 and 211. The portion of text that explains how Black women act as a buffet inbetween the pressures of society and the man she loves. Black often cushion the blows of the world around us who stereotype and degrade us. We have to, as the chapter says on page 211, "...absorb and deflect the stings of racism (for our Black men)." While being beaten and broken down by White America on our own as being both Black and a woman, we have to be sensitive and sympathetic to our men. While we heal ourselves from the scars of our past and present we shift into being submissive to our husbands and boyfriends. Oftentimes, we become"...the recipient of anger but he cannot express outside the home, the target of anger that he had to contain to function in his workaday life." But instead of both parties in the relationship supporting each other, the woman instinctively becomes "super woman". She is "... expected to understand the weight of his burden, to adapt accordingly, perhaps by tolerating his joblessness, his emotional unavailability, or his absencefrom the home and see commiserates with friends over a bottle." The woman starts to give more than she's getting from the relationship. This can lead to divorce and broken children. This stood out most to me because my parents divorced because of my mother taking on more than she could bear. I myself find that in my relationship I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt often. I believe more Black women should read this book to become educated and to have something and someone to relate to. This chapter caused me to reflect on my life (romantic relationship wise) as well as other women older than me. Black men need to recognize that we as a Black people are all struggling and being judged by society. We need to come together as a whole and uplift each other.
McKayla W.

Naomi Thompson said...

The part of the chapter that stood out to me most would have been "many feel pressed to excel educationally and careerwise, raise children single-handedly, and overfunction for their male partners, but there are often countervailing pressures to submit and yield to Black men and to make sure that they never eclipse a boyfriend or spouse" (pg. 213). This relates to me personally because I often find myself falling into this loop. When I get into relationships, I always feel that I have to downplay my talents in my academics because I don't want the guy to feel uncomfortable. I also am nervous about my future, but only slightly, because I will be making six figures as a Pharmacist, but my husband might not make as much. It doesn't bother me, but I would feel guilty if he felt bad about it. In my current relationship of two years, everything is perfect. I never have felt like I've had to downplay anything and instead I receive praises from him and his family constantly. However, I do feel this issue is a very legitimate one.

Breanna B. said...

I really love what YaQkeha said. I know have watched several close friends do this very thing. Women have been socialized to believe they aren't truly a woman without a man by their side. It's an absolute shame to see young women place themselves in an inferior position to man.

Anonymous said...

This chapter frustrates me so much. Black women should realize their skill sets and not let their relationship partners shnuff out their excellence or brilliance. No one should feel like they need to hide their achievements and be unable to discuss something that their partners discuss freely. On p.214, I love how Camille, Thelma, and Shana strongly combat other's perceptions of how they should act around her partners.
Taylor M.

Ashley Murray said...

Rachael was the most relatable so she stood out to me. I believe in most cases girls have all seen a woman in a relationship that is by far healthy but yet they stay. On page 214 when she stated us as women were to "cook and clean" it was unsettling. Our role is so much bigger. Previously on page 209 when it stated black women experience marriages that are not as fulfilling was a shock. What do little black girls have to look forward to? Because we're black if we marry in our race we won't have a Prince Charming? I believe this is false because I've witnessed beautiful black love.
Ashley Murray

Shelby Washington said...

What stood out the most to me is indeed the very first quote on page 205. It is preposterous to even think of shifting into a role that is not natural. To downplay my accomplishments, problems, etc in order to make a man feel good about himself is a terrible way to live. However, I don't think that it is just black women shifting for black men. Or even white women shifting for white men, but I do think it is a WOMAN SHIFTING FOR A MAN. We, as women, want our men to feel secure and like they are the kings of our castles. Our methods are wrong when we belittle self for gain of another. It is not worth it, nor fair to do so.

Tameah Foley said...

The finding that stood out to me the most was the percentage of single women with children that are living under the poverty line. I can relate to this because my mother is a single parent, however, she always focuses on her children's needs rather than looking for a man to help her with her struggles. She has chosen to be a superwoman to her kids rather than demeaning herself to get/keep a man.

Dakarai P. said...

Naomi's story (205-207) stood out the most to me in this chapter. Its heartbreaking to hear about a strong, independent woman overworking herself to the point of mental and physical illness to accommodate a man who won't even participate in taking care of the household or children.No woman, white, black or any race, should work herself to that point for someone unwilling to put just as much effort into a relationship.

Peyton D. said...

The quote that stood out to me the most was Pauline's quote about "her major difficulty as a black woman is 'carrying the weight of the world on my shoulder and not feeling as thought I can depend on men to help me out" on page 211. I think that many women feel this way and I personally do. Even though I have always pictured myself getting married and having a family, I can never imagine the future with anyone else there. My mom has been a single mother so that was always my normal.

Deborrah Blackburn said...

The part of the chapter that stood out to me the most is the questions that women ask themselves when they enter a relationship.(208) This impacted me because I never understood why women felt like they should make themselves look weaker so that their man can feel better. A relationship should be about building each other up instead of one person standing in the spotlight while the other stands behind them all the time. This is the thing that really frustrated me about this chapter. It's fine to let your man be in the spotlight but that doesn't mean that you have to stay in the background all the time.
Deborrah B.

Lindsey McCall said...

"She may become the recipient of anger that he could not express outside the home, the target of rage that he had to contain to function in his workaday life." (211) This stood out to me because I never thought about the fact that the rage and anger our black men feel is due to what they deal with on a daily basis.

sierra lucas said...

The first quote was what really got me to think about things because my mother always taught me to speak my mind and never keep quite for nobody because my opinion was valuable just like everybody else. Now that I am older however she tells me things like sometimes in a relationship you just need to let them man be right and keep quite. So I have seen this done but I never really thought about it till I read it in the book. Sierra L.

Fiona H. said...

Rachel's story stood out to me the most (211-213) because it reminded me of an old article I read from the huffington post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/akirah-robinson/an-open-letter-to-any-woman-who-thinks-she-stayed-in-a-bad-relationship-for-too-long_b_6647292.html). I think its very common for woman to stay in a relationship too long and there are a million excuses to why they do it. I do not agree with it; however, I don't shame them, though, because I don't think its mine, or anyone else's, place to comment on a situation they've never been through personally.

Fiona H.

Shardai J-H. said...

Page 209, " Because of high rates of homicide, suicide, and imprisonment among AA men, the ratio of Black heterosexual women to men is skewed..." In the African American community is is almost always accepted to being a single mother. After that child has grown the mother is praised for parenting on her own. When marriage is almost an unrealistic expectation between a Black woman and man, it forces these women to be independent or marry outside of their race; which is sometimes shunned in the Black community. Maybe, this is why mother's force the idea of independence upon their daughters and being a strong, woman-loving man to their sons.

Ashley Murray said...

On page 209 to say that white women are more satisfied with marriage is untrue. White people divorce as well. he ratio of African American men are skewed due to the rigged judicial systems and the rising number of black men being incarcerated. but to say black women are less happy is discouraging for black girls my age.