I am so exhausted by statements like, “I’m just being honest”, “I’m keeping it real” and “you know I keep it 100” because 90% of the time it is an excuse to say some really dumb ish out of your mouth and then abandon all personal accountability for the nonsense.
Recently, I was in a conversation with a sistah and her fiancé. They are moderately upscale, professional, college educated, upper-middle class savvy socialites and overall, a cool pair to hang out with. While sipping on cocktails at an über-chic bar, the topic of self-care and taking care of your mate came up. She was looking for a spa to get a massage and he so lovingly chimed in “I tried to give her a massage but she said that it sucked.” I gasped and my jaw dropped, then we all laughed – but I was seriously astonished that she would tell him that. Here she had a man, who is easy on the eyes, fun hearted, the sole and generous household financier (including her not working, countless vacations and unlimited spa visits), willing to give her a massage when the spa is not in operation. When she saw my reaction, she defended her statement with typical black girl sass, affirming that he can’t properly work out the kinks and that his hands feel like “sandpaper.” He’s no wimpy guy, and although you could clearly see his embarrassment with her statements he has a lot of class and didn’t want engage in a debate with her.
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Sadly, that is only one of many times that I’ve heard some really dim-witted statements usually intended to verbally assault, ridicule, denigrate and humiliate another person all in the name of “keeping it real.” In the context of relationships, there are much kinder ways to handle your partner without telling a mistruth. In the above mentioned scenario, when it was suggested that she could ease the blow and spare her fiancé his humility by simply saying “…baby, I appreciate how you try to rub out my kinks but these knots need a professional” she replied with a nonchalant, “I’m just being honest” – and continued on assertively in defense of her position. Do we have to be so harsh with our mates to be honest? It could have been better received if delivered in a more lovingly fashion.
I sometimes think that African American women get a bad rap for being abrasive, hyper-antagonistic and attitudinal, habitually on the war path, and belligerent. Heck, I’m an African American woman and I don’t like being pre-judged by that low-level set of qualities. However, I do believe that there are improvements that we can make on a whole that can possibly soften our edge and level out the playing field. It is far beyond time that we get past the notion of telling it like it is; including the finger snapping, eyes rolling, lips smacking, head twirling, hand-in-your-face delivery. Telling someone the truth, especially someone who you claim to love doesn’t mean you have to give raw heartless truth.
“I’m just being honest”, “I’m keeping it real” and “you know I keep it 100” are copouts for throwing hate (personal none-the-less), shade and negativity unto others in disguise. If you really want to be honest then I recommend that you handle others with the same respect, honor and compassion that you want to be handled with.