Thursday, September 12, 2013

Identity Crisis

Unknown left the following comment on my "Around The Way" dude post.

"...because unless you grew up privileged, most of us were raised by "around the way" men."

It made me think about some more things I wanted to share.

On Pittsburgh vs. Chicago
As a point of clarification, I didn't [when I could help it] date around the way dudes in Chicago either.

On Privilege
Also, you could say I spent the first nine years of my childhood poor. My mom was definitely on public assistance at some point. We definitely had a family of six people in a two-bedroom apartment at some point. One the one hand my mom was a single mother, then a widow, then remarried. On the other hand from 3-9 (before my [step]dad died) and 13-17, I lived in a two-parent household.

My thoughts are based not just on my experiences, but also on my ability to apply critical thinking to what I know to be true. 

I'd say the last 8 years of my childhood were middle class. One could call it privileged. I don't know that having the basics equals privileged, but I see why someone would think that, all things considered. We were "rich" enough for FAFSA to say I don't qualify for ANY financial aid, but "poor" enough that after that first tuition bill, my mom also told me I was on my own. My brothers' private education was her priority at that time [rightly so] and I'd have to take out high-interest loans [that I'm still paying, Lord, help me!] to cover myself.

On "around the way" men raising "most of us"
My biological father didn't raise me. My [step] dad was in my life for six years, then he died. My stepfather and my mom got married when I was 13. I was pretty "raised" by that point. My mom was the only constant in my childhood, so when I think of who raised me a man (around the way or otherwise) doesn't come to mind.

And if I think of the man with the most influence on my childhood it was my dad who died. He wasn't an around the way dude. He was a tech guy at AT&T in the 80s. We lived in a two-bedroom apartment, but we had a home computer [and all the gadgets] before it was popular to have such things. We went places. He challenged our thinking. Challenged our views of the world.

For the sake of argument, let's say I WAS raised by an around-the-way dude (which I wasn't) I think I'd apply my critical thinking skills to today's challenges to know that that's not what I want for my future or for my children. (For example, just because my mom was a teen mom, it doesn't mean I'm going to advocate teen pregnancy in 2013. I made it DESPITE that, not because of it.) When thinking of a partner, I need someone who's going to challenge me, challenge perceptions, challenge his place in life if the cards weren't dealt to him in a way that's desirable. (I need a republican... I kid. I kid. Sort of.)

So I guess what I want to make clear that didn't come through in the original post is that my definition of around the way dude has less to do with where he lives and more to do how his mind operates. The basic, go-nowhere, do-nothing, survive, not thrive mentality is what I don't gel with and will not tolerate. Not in Pittsburgh, not in Chicago and definitely not in my heart and lifespace.


Unknown said...

I didn't mean to offend. It's just my experience that college-educated, professional women want college-educated, professional men, and there's nothing wrong with that, but when it comes to black men, the odds are not in your favor. And just because a man isn't college-educated and "professional" by today's standards, does not mean he has little to offer in terms of value. It's rare that an entire city of men will fit a specific profile. Maybe you should give some of these guys a chance. You can be in a relationship with someone for years and not who they are, so to determine that you know the essence of a person after a few dates...

If there are blazing red flags, that's different. I dunno, it just seems like you've predetermined that you don't want to deal with them.

T said...

Unknown, hey girl [I think you're a girl], I'm not offended. One of the biggest fears I have is being misunderstood. So I wrote this post to clarify what I meant by around the way dude (because it seemed like you misunderstood me).

Even with an entire post, you still pulled out that I want to date a college educated man who fits a profile. But I didn't say anything like that.

I said I'm not down with guys who are closeminded, haven't been anywhere, don't want to go anywhere and bring more luggage with them than a Tumi outlet store. That has nothing to do with education level.

I guess I don't understand how you can make up what you think to be true about me (what I want) when I haven't stated it. This happens to me all the time. People make inferences based on what I said to mean anything other than WHAT I SAID.

I don't think that's fair to me, but at the same time, I just really want to make sure you understand what I'm saying before you disagree with it.

I definitely give all kinds of guys chances, which is how I even have these stories to tell.

When you say stuff like "when it comes to black men the odds are not in your favor" you've jumped to two conclusions. 1. I only date college educated men (not true) and 2. I only date black men (again, not true).

So my responses is not to say, you offended me and let me say something about it. It's truly to let you know where I'm coming from because your comments on this topic in particular make it seem like you don't understand me.

We can disagree, but we should make sure we're even arguing the same point.

Thanks for commenting! I appreciate your perspective.