Pride Magazine: Looking into a Mirror Across the Pond

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

I always chuckle to myself when I hear someone say that other countries don’t have the same problems with race in the way we do in the US. I guess we aren’t reading the same media.

On my most recent perusal through the periodicals section of the bookstore,* I happened to come across a new imported magazine called Pride. The tagline reads “Celebrating the woman of colour.” I grabbed the magazine, excited at the potential. Is this finally the magazine that realizes that a black girl may have a latina or Asian or Arabic friend? Am I going to be treated to multicultural women perspectives?

Alas, no. Pride is geared toward black women in the UK. However, my disappointment was short lived as Pride is a treasure trove of perspectives on being black and British – which sound remarkably similar to being black and American.

In the Sista Circle section of the November 2007 issue, author Vanessa Walters chronicles the problems involved in dating a “wasteman:”

When Darwin developed his theory of evolution, he clearly forgot about the Wasteman – the man who hunts women and gathers children but doesn’t provide; the man not in the history books because he has no official name, just several aliases – one for every manor. Like Samuel L Jackson in The Long Kiss Goodnight, he’s Frank and Ernest: in New York he’s Frank and in Chicago he’s Ernest.

My ex was a classic wasteman. I used to carry a box of eggs in the glove compartment of my car; each time I passed his gleaming black BMW (we lived close by) – Kapow! Splat! Boom! Just on of those days that a girl goes through, when she’s angry inside and gonna take it out on you. What on earth did he do to deserve that? Oh, only lie, cheat, slap me in the face, try to bully me into taking out a 10,000 GBP loan for him – you know, the usual.

Whoa, we’re quoting Monica? Well, since we’re dredging up the ghosts of nineties music past, I would like to inform you that your wasteman is a garden variety scrub. Also known as a busta.

Moving on to the Man’s Point of View, Dotun Adebayo continues to stoke the flames of the black gender wars** in “How to Love a Black Man Without Being Shagged Out, Part 1:” ***

Black men are hard work, and when you decide to go soul to soul with a brotha, you’ve only got yourself to blame if you’re not prepared for the stress (and I don’t just mean of the double bed’s springs.) Because black men ain’t built for comfort. We’re rough riders/ Built to last. It’s in our DNA. We’re the survivors in this age of racist misphilosophy. How do you expect us to have gone through all we’ve been through and still be able to hold down a nice, easy, smooth, worry-free relationship?

[...]

So the number one rule in making love to a black man without being shagged out is to have a strong back. Otherwise you’ll snap under the pressure and then you’ll start playa-hatin’ on all brothas just because your man gave you agony and you didn’t have the backbone to hold it down.

Adebayo then asserts that all men have another woman they go to when their regular girl gets to be too much to deal with. (Yes, he did.) He continues his piece by explaining to women why they need to take advice from the woman on the side:

Now I know you ladies will be cussing me for suggesting that you need to learn lessons from the “other woman” about how to make love to your man without getting tired and disillusioned, but hear me out. How else could a woman who knows that she is little more than a curvy lovebox and whose name is scandalized on the streets as a slag or whore still be strong enough to ask your man to do anything he wants just as long as he is prepared to make sweet love to her every now and then? You’ve got everything – the man, the wedding ring, the kids, the beautiful home, the ways and means – while she has nothing but hopes and dreams. Yet she never tires of it. She is never shagged out. So how can you be sitting there telling me that you don’t know how anybody can love a black man without being exhausted from trying when the other woman you man is making love to is coping?

Yes. He. Did. I could spend all day on this article, but the next page holds a conversation called Couchtalk. Carole Campbell asks “Why do we hate seeing success from our own?” It is the British take on the oft-repeated black mantra that “we don’t support our own:”

The problem is that members of our community just do not like to support those of us who reach up and strive for success. This fact was further highlighted this week when I went to an Indian event with a couple of old friends from university. Again, there were a couple of technical hitches, and one poor model actually tripped over and fell off the stage, but everybody leaving the event could only speak about the good parts of the show. They were like a family visiting their uncle’s event: they only focused on the good and were proud of what was achieved.

That is our problem. While we speak of black pride, we do not exhibit much of it when it comes to others trying to excel.

Campbell then trots out a very familiar analogy – a friend’s father decides to “break the Asian monopoly of hair-product shops in Shepherd’s Bush.” Hmm…now where have we seen this discussion before?

I hit a little snag here though:

Prof Milton Brown from Howard University argues that, generally speaking, Afro-Americans support one another, while in the UK that does not happen.

For real? Hmm…sounds like I still hear the same speeches everytime I am around a group of black people discussing economics. Maybe it’s just me.

The rest of the issue covers a lot of the same ground as Essence does – diva style, celebrities, inspirational black women from the community, Karrine Steffans(!)****, Chaka and Solange, dating sins, and fashion.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable read.

Now, back to the bookstore! I need to see if they received December’s issue…if for nothing else than to finish Adebayo’s guide to life.

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* I know, I know, I have a problem. They’re tryna make me go to rehab, but I said no, no, no!

** In the last piece, the woman speaking referred to a very specific group of men. The author in this piece says ALL women need to recognize. Hence why he gets charged with fanning the flames of the black gender wars.

*** I completely misinterpreted that statment thanks to my Austin Powers infused grasp of British slang. Shagged in this case does not mean sex. It means tired. Refund your plane tickets, ladies.

**** No, they did not put her under the “inspirational” category.