Calm down. Hear me out.
Right now forgiveness is one of the most common themes found in two of Black Television’s most popular shows, HBO’s Insecure and STARZ’s Power. Between the slut-shaming that Issa Rae’s character, Issa, and Naturi Naughton’s character, Tasha, have faced and the amount of fist pumps Jay Ellis’ character, Lawrence, and Omari Hardwick’s character, James St. Patrick (Ghost), have received–all for the same offense–there is one thing that has proven itself to be very clear since Sunday’s episodes aired… black people are struggling with the biggest problem we face with forgiveness. Double standards.
Let me be clear, in no way am I condoning infidelity as it is the one offense that all the previously mentioned characters are being judged for, but let’s face the facts… 99% of us have all been a part of infidelity in some way or the other. So, let’s talk about some of the double standards of infidelity. I’m also not neglecting to recognize that there are double standards of infidelity between men and women of all races, but for me personally, I’m coming from the Black perspective as I’ve experienced it. Let’s get into it!
Men cheat for sex; Women cheat emotionally.
One of the main points people try to make in any case of infidelity is that when a man cheats it is physical, but when a woman cheats it’s emotional. Clearly, this was not the case for Hardwick’s character, but one could argue that Ellis’ character was motivated to get into his new situationship in orer to get back at ‘Issa’ for cheating. For the women, Naughton’s character is definitely emotionally invested in her new love interest, but Issa’s character is definitely “just trying to fuck.” Point being there are number of different reasons why people cheat and with the dating game as complex and ruined as us Millennials have managed to arrange it now, it should be even more difficult to pinpoint why someone might embark on an affair or cheat emptily. It might have been easy to generalize ‘back then’ because our parents and the age group of the characters in Power relationshipped far more better than “we” and age group of the characters of Insecure do now.
An unfaithful man is a ‘player,’ but a cheating woman is a ‘hoe’.
I literally almost deactivated my damn Facebook after hearing one of my FB friends defend ‘Ghost’ while he slut-shamed ‘Tasha’. His argument was that Hardwick’s character had only cheated with one individual that he “used to love” and ‘Tasha’ had slept with two “niggas” who whispered sweet nothings in her ear before “she dropped her panties” which made her a, and I quote, “basic thot.” I mean even the language he used switched when he started talking about ‘Tasha’. Y’all. I wish you could see my face. He proceeded to defend Hardwick’s character calling him an “adulterer” and everything but a “lying ass cheating nigga,” as I felt would have equivalated to the things he continued to call Naughton’s character. Bottom line? Men cannot see past a woman who has sex with any man that is not them. We become property in a way and are expected to be the ones to forgive even though we will never be forgiven for the same mistake a man makes.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
If that one doesn’t suffice, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.” I mean, there are a bunch of things out there that tell you nobody is perfect. As I mentioned previously, there are many people who chose to slut shame both ‘Tasha’ and ‘Issa’ because they chose to have sex with men other than the ones they were previously in a relationship with. The character’s of Insecure do physically break up with each other and are actually single, but ‘Lawrence’ is praised for moving on and not getting back with “Issa’s cheating ass,” as I’ve seen it referenced more than once, while they celebrate the fact that ‘Lawrence’ will not forgive ‘Issa’ for her one mistake. The characters on Power are a bit different because they are still legally married, but ‘Ghost’ left his family for his mistress last season and is only back with ‘Tasha’ for the cameras. ‘Ghost’ is hardly ever ridiculed for leaving ‘Tasha’ and his family the way he did, but the minute ‘Tasha’ started trying to move on for herself and her needs she became a “hoe” in the eyes of many.
They don’t deserve forgiveness, but you do.
I think many of us (although we’re not willing to say it aloud) can think of a time that we didn’t forgive someone for something and then we ended up asking for forgiveness for that very same thing at a different time. I am not sure why our minds are geared that way, but I do think it has a lot to do with the fact that we forget that people make mistakes. Humans error. It’s what we do. It’s a huge double standard that you shouldn’t have to forgive someone for a mistake they made, but when you do it you deserve to be forgiven.
If they loved me, they wouldn’t have done it in the first place.
Don’t justify the actions of others on their intent for you. It’s weird, I agree, but I learned that just because an ex-boyfriend cheated on me didn’t mean there was something wrong with me. He was just a dumb ass. Okay, I’ll admit I just threw that last part in there to boost myself up a beat, but that way of thinking is definitely one that should be adopted. Don’t think that the person who cheats did it because of you. Hopefully you weren’t on their mind at all because if you were, I’m sure they would have thought twice about it. It takes for you to put your grown-up attitude to work, but it’s the best medicine for forgiveness.
Harboring hate or burying the hatchet with the handle sticking out leads to a life of uncertainty and built-up pain. It spills over into new relationships you try to create and ultimately gets in the way of good things in your life. Let that shit go! Forgive from within–whether you’re forgiving yourself for something you did long ago or forgiving someone else… just let. that. shit. go!
Here’s to moving on!