Tuesday, October 2, 2012


May 17, 2010


recently someone described an incident to me in which he--the storyteller--was in a particular environment where he was in charge of making sure that a group of women made it safely inside a facility for an event that was taking place. as he stood on post securing the area, he happened to be watching the women as they entered and smiled at them kindly.

a woman standing nearby observed his actions (the watching and smiling), approached him, and asked:

"are you securing the women or watching the women?"

to which he replied:


a look of confusion appeared on the woman's face, and the one doing the securing stated:

"while i am securing the women, i am also simply admiring the beauty that is the black woman. it's natural for man to admire woman just as many other aspects of life are natural."

with that, the woman looked at him in disgust and walked off.

later on when the two happened to be in each other's presence again, the previous encounter came up. the woman who'd given the sour expression expressed concern for the brother's comments regarding "some things just being natural" in relation to men and women. she let him know that she thought his remarks had been inappropriate. to this he asked for clarification only to find that she'd misunderstood the point he was making. in his mind--though he'd not said it--he was merely meaning that it's as natural as a man to be attracted to a woman as it is to eat, sleep, breathe, go to the restroom, etc. this brought a smile and look of relief to the sister's face, and she explained she thought he was primarily referring to sex--which she'd taken offence to for herself and the other women.


misunderstanding and misperceptions bother me at times. for the most part, i'm pretty nonchalant or unconcerned when it comes to how i may be taken or perceived--especially when it comes to personal attributes and materialistic matters. however, i do feel that there's a great danger in misunderstanding or misperceiving someone when it comes to situations where the misunderstanding has the potential to change the dynamics of how we relate to one another as humans. and not just how we relate to one another on the physical level (ex: mean mugging or rolling eyes at someone when we come across them), but also on a spiritual, mental, and emotional level as well (ex: thinking negative thoughts or wishing harm on a person when we see them).

unfortunately, i've found it to be the case on multiple occasions that the person who is doing the misunderstanding is doing so not necessarily because the other person is causing them to. instead, their limited way of thinking and their personal biases/prejudices/preexisting ideas about a person or concept keeps them from seeing beyond internalized negativity.

fortunately, clarification on the part of the misunderstood one can usually change that perception. in the story that i opened with, it turned out to be the case that the woman had encountered men in her life experience who appeared to be righteous and good-hearted but turned out to be the type who view women as objects that are here to fulfill man's sexual desires. consequently, she'd internalized this perception of men on some level, and it was with this perception that she related to the brother when she heard his comments. her expression soured and she was likely ready to write him off as being "just like those others." yet, when he was given the opportunity to clarify, she understood, her heart softened, and all was well.

what i find to be most tragic is when a person is not allowed to clarify or when they do and the other person is so set in their views and perceptions (that they hold to be so very valid and matter of fact) that they still don't get it or even want to. expecially when the person being misunderstood has the best of intentions. this is very intriguing to me.


i've always felt nina simone on this one. although they're referring to a love interest and a romantic relationship and are somewhat off subject of what i'm saying,i feel the lyrics.


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