The Real Side Chicks of Charlotte: Glorifying a Status Indicative of Brokenness
I have already addressed The Real Side Chicks of Charlotte via a YouTube Video, but it was worth addressing in writing as well. I hope what was not addressed in the video will be addressed here.
Those who know me, understand that I am not a fan of reality television. The primary reason is that reality TV is based on sensationalism, and sensationalism is normally birthed from the genesis of dysfunction and drama. We live in a society that literally feeds on dysfunction, and rarely is this type of behavior ever questioned. The truth is that only dysfunction can feed off of dysfunction, much in the same way that negative energy breeds negativity. The Real Side Chicks of Charlotte is a show that glorifies being an unwelcome extension of a committed relationship — under the guise of bringing an old issue to the forefront.
While I agree that married black men having women, or even complete families on the side is nothing new, the idea that placing the dysfunction that erupts from this type of behavior on television will result in some type of positive healing is ludicrous.
Not until we confront issues like this at the source will we ever experience any true healing and liberation. For far too long, we have swept issues emerging in the Black family and the Black home under the rug. We have pretended that Childhood Sexual Abuse is an act perpetuated by White men, despite the fact that over 60 percent of Black women report being victims of incest, molested or raped before the age of 18. We pretend that domestic abuse and intimate partner homicide is not plaguing our community. We pretend that the 1.5 million men who are missing from our community are not missed, and have left no void of any significance. Yes, we are the people that will be fine — if you let us tell it.
The problem is that the numbers don’t bear out our ill-conceived optimism. In addition to the 60 percent of women who report being sexually abused as a child, we have an unknown number who haven’t reported it. Additionally, the fact that males are less likely to report sexual assault is scary when we are already looking at numbers that suggest one is every six young black males will be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18.
We have not come to grips with the high rate of domestic violence and intimate partner homicide in our community, and the list goes on.
The willingness to both, be the woman and the side, and tolerate the woman on the side, is a result of a mental psychosis that is directly connected to traumatic experiences during slavery, and the mental conditioning that this type of experience created. We must remember that in this world, the law of cause and effect is always in play, and that every result has a corresponding cause. So, when we look at women who are willing to violate the sacred trust between a husband and his wife, we must understand that this behavior is the result of generation after generation in which Black men were used as sires to breed with the strongest female slaves in order to produce a strong, useful and profitable offspring.
Unfortunately, the White plantation owners and their White overseers came to learn that when you allow a Black male slave to bond with his progeny or the female slave he procreated with, he would fight to defend them, even to the point of death. This lead to a practice of stud swapping and trading, which meant that the average male slave live on as many as 7 or more plantations over the course of his life, visiting some plantations multiple times, but never staying long enough to create connections with his offspring or the woman he produced them with.
Over time, the Black male lost his capacity to easily bond with his progeny. He lacked the capacity to commit to a woman in a relationship that demanded that he honor her with loyalty throughout life. Not only has he had this behavior passed down through the principles of learned behavior presented in Bandura’s social learning theory, but he also genetically inherited the proclivity for the behavior through the process of epigenetics.
Without proper and consistent modeling of what acceptable manhood looks like, the average Black male will naturally gravitate toward deviant behavior, even in the home.
Escapism also plays a role as the Black man attempts to escape the constant emasculation he experiences from all sides — looking for some way to satisfy his natural yearning to be powerful and in control. Society does not readily provide this for him, and often times, having come from a single-parent household, where the mother was the head, he naturally defers to the woman in his home. That leaves him to seek this feeling of being potent and needed elsewhere.
Because we reside in a culture in which selfishness is the status quo, he does not consider the consequences of his actions with any gravity. He may even believe that he is the victim, and that what he is doing is right.
None of this is to justify this behavior, but it is meant to paint a picture of the social and mental realities of the parties involved. The woman who allows it believes that she has no choice, because her mother and grandmother did it, and if she wants to hold on to her man then she has to do it do. Reaching this place cognitive harmony, with something so disharmonious, can only be achieved from a place of diminished, low or vacant self-esteem. Some Black females never developed self-esteem and young girls, so this short trip to the dark side of nothing was reach relatively quick, without much interruption.
Other Black females were slowly robbed on esteem and dignity by men who exploited their love — men who were, themselves, broken. This is a classic case of synergistic dysfunction on all sides.
Just imagine the level of psychosis one must experience where it is considered within reason to knowingly take actions that will harm an innocent party. Imagine the malevolence that these women have experienced in order to say that they don’t desire to be in a real committed relationship. Many have reduced this experience to that of getting their bills paid. No one is considering the intertwining of souls that takes place with this type of behavior. There is no consideration given to the spiritual fracturing that is inevitable — neither is any thought invested in the idea that emotional disruption and social dysfunction will be the end result.
While using the term “side chick” may serve to culturize and normalize this type of behavior, this is not a part of black culture; it is a psychopathological behavior that is the legacy of traumatic injury due to slavery. Until we address these pathologies head on, we will continue to live at a high level of dysfunction. ~ Rick Wallace, Ph.D., Psy.D.