Conversations about relationships are about as regular as books in a library. So if talk is aplenty, why is nobody listening?

On and on we go about the ills that shape our lives, but those stubborn trees still block our view of the forest.

Ask a politically conscious black male about the biggest problems facing society, he’ll bemoan bipartisan rancor in Congress. Ask a black man who has a Ph.D, you’ll hear lack of education. Ask the angry black man, he’ll scream racism. Ask the poor black man, he’ll claim poverty. Ask the rich one and he’ll talk about the degenerates in the hood with their pants down to their quads and cite their gun-toting ways. Ask the lazy one and he’ll tell you that there are lions out in the street.

None of these responses includes any mention of an X-chromosome. Very few men will admit that gender issues are a prevalent problem because we don’t feel that it matters. Women are tangential to the pursuit of success; to us, they’re an afterthought:

“You can lose money chasing women, but you can never lose women chasing money.”

When a musician rhyme about women in their records, sex, cash or entertainment accompanies. Very few songs are about listening to a woman’s concerns, emphasizing their value to the world or fostering interdependent relationships, which at face value, is understandable. There’s much more to worry about than crooning about tending to a woman’s needs. 99 problems. Right?

Not exactly. Just because one doesn’t acknowledge a problem doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Truth be told, most men actually have 100 problems. Sir, when will the time come that you deal with the fact that almost every relationship you’ve had with a woman has been crappy? Even worse, when will you stop denying that a deep-seeded gender issue even exists?

An interesting thing about dissent among demographic lines is that they tend to follow a familiar thread.

What are white conservatives’ biggest complaints about black people?

Too emotional (always playing the race card). Hypersexual (black women). Lack of discipline (shootings, financial spending, liquor). Innately incapable. Victims of circumstance. Sub-human.

What are heterosexual men’s biggest gripes against homosexuals?

Too emotional. Lustful. Weak-minded. Innately screwed. Spiritually immoral. Sub-human.

What are black men’s biggest complaints against black women?

Too emotional. Innately incapable of rational thought. Hypersexual (some cases). Lesser species. Did I mention too emotional?

There’s something to be said for the incessant sexism within the black race, but truth be told, sexism exists across the racial spectrum. One could argue that sexism is an older problem, hence more intractable than racism, classism, ageism and any other ism out there. But of course, if you asked men and women which issue was more polarizing, there would be an overwhelming split between the sexes.

Gender and sex are thought to be synonymous, but there are marked differences in the terms. Sex is a biological concept that a human is born into. Gender is culturally ascribed; more descriptive of the roles each sex play in their respective environment. Status wise, women have always been the mules of the human experience. Hence, the “lesser” gender.

In 1980, the United Nations released a report that distillates this inequality:

Women, who comprise half the world’s population, do two thirds of the world’s work, earn one tenth of the world’s income and own one hundredth of the world’s property.

This year, women in this country are outnumbering men in the workforce for the first time ever. They make up most of our workers in the service industry – teachers, nurses, human resources – in a country that gets most of its bread from the service industry. Blue-collar jobs have shifted, leaving many uneducated but otherwise skilled men bereft of employment.

And this is just on a general level. In the black community? Been there, done that, even bought the T-shirt.

When a person is feeling down, who generally catches the brunt of their wrath? The people closest to them. Like a group of caged animals that will eventually shift their anger to each other as they see no freedom in sight, black men and women have been mired in a feud that is simple in concept, but complex in solutions. After a while, the animals in the cage forget who is the enemy.

This is the biggest tragedy of the diaspora’s assimilation into Western culture. Besides borrowing some of the same ideological capital that white men have used on black women years past, black men seem to go about their relationships with women blithely unaware of a culture that seeks to continue this trend.

Black women, on the other hand, are equally as oblivious in escaping European standards in their disregard of black men. Only seeking the best of the stock, many black women take umbrage when they see many leading black men choosing women outside of their race. But it’s shouldn’t be surprising, considering that we’re all watching the same television, imbibing the same pop culture. Why wouldn’t women of other races take note?

African-American women has to become aware that their own judgment in a black man’s behavior, looks, status is shaped by mass media as much as any American. Black women, for their part, has taken heed of their white sisters and become more prodigious in the work place. They are no longer as dependent for financial support, so understandably, they won’t tolerate the same perceived nonsense from their men that they would have in, say, 1940.

As a result of this and the natural power struggle that a capitalist nation tends to breed, human relationships tend to take a back seat.

With each other – black men and women – out to elevate their status, unrest predominates. Call it intelligent design started in the cotton fields or just plain post-modern stubbornness, it seems as if blatrimony these days is as natural as ketchup soup.

A new recipe may be necessary.

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