Thursday, February 02, 2006

What Would Coretta Do?


Coretta Scott King was a woman wooed by a man, who became one of the most important in Black American history. Who would have known back when they both attended college in Boston that the couple would become the royal family of Black America. Are women like Coretta Scott King, selfless, diligent and dedicated to change, still around? Was Coretta Scott King the last of a dying breed?

This passage was in USA Today’s tribute to King’s life:

In January 1965, the FBI sent Coretta Scott King a tape containing her husband making bawdy jokes and the sounds of people having sex, according to Bearing the Cross.

King, in talking about why she did not confront her husband when she heard the FBI's tape, said, "If I ever had any suspicions ... I never would have even mentioned them to Martin," according to Bearing the Cross. "I just wouldn't have burdened him with anything so trivial. ... All that other business just didn't have a place in the very high-level relationship we
enjoyed."


Now imagine in 2006. You are a woman who has been married to a good man: active in the community and the church, a breadwinner and great with your four kids. However, he has a wondering eye. Most of your girlfriends will tell you to leave his sorry ass. You family might gather to beat his ass. Whatever the case, people would not encourage you to stay with him, ignoring his “flaw.” The rising rate of divorce in America supports that fact.

When Bill Clinton admitted to having an affair with Monica Lewinski, Hillary’s motto was “Stand By Your Man” and many women didn’t understand. Many people assumed she stayed with Bill for political clout. But maybe it was because those vows of “for better or worse” meant something more.

In Hip Hop, the notion of having a “ride or die chick” is usually denounced to a girl to hold/transport weed, not complain about affairs and hold down the house, the kids without much lip. On the flipside, those conditions are met by women who are encouraged to be hostile with any man who violated the hood agreement.

I’m not saying it is okay for a man to cheat. I’m not saying that cheating should be a deal breaker in any relationship. I do think that any marriage can last, in spite of any situation. However, how many Martin Luther Kings are there with Coretta holding them down? After MLK’s death, the world saw how devoted Coretta was to continuing social and racial change. So it is obvious her contribution to the King legacy. What if Coretta would have left her husband and his cheating ways? Would the Civil Rights Movement be different?

When Coretta is quoted saying that her and her husband had a “high-level relationship,” to me that means, sans bullshit. But it also may have meant a socially acceptable one. One where the woman pretends not to rock the boat due to the public nature of the couple. Maybe Coretta was unhappy at times. Maybe her cheek turned in the public eye, but behind closed doors she was the quintessential desperate housewife.

How many women do you think share the attitude of Coretta Scott King? How many men are worthy of such forgiveness?

As we mourn her life, I think women can learn a lot about marriage and commitment from Coretta Scott King. We can learn about all the textbook stuff too, but maybe we should examine the daily strength it must have taken to love a man who was gone often, shunned money and ultimately put his life on the line. All that, and he was a cheater.

Song For Today: The Fact Is (I Need You) by Jill Scott. We as Black people need to reexamine what strength really is.

8 Comments:

At 10:50 AM, Blogger GC (God's Child) said...

I suppose Coretta Scott King had a greater purpose in mind too, when she stayed with her husband and didn't even confront him with the tapes. Maybe he had already told her what she would hear.

//BUT//

How many men turn the other cheek if their wives have an "indiscretion"? Where are the "ride or die" men? The ones who can see that you've been there for them through thick and thin and who'll forgive this mistake and not let it stick in their craw?

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger The Urban Author said...

Aye, man, come on Commenteers... Chicks is always downin' niggas for one reason or another. This blog wasn't even to uplift this man in any way, it was to uplift the woman... Why do you have to put a negative point about men up? Just go with the good and for once, uplift the woman without downing the man.

 
At 11:36 AM, Blogger DM said...

Thinking about the King's marriage makes me think that a lot of people need to step up their idea of what it is all about. Without each other, neither would have been as effective.

From my understanding, men have absolutely no tolerance when it comes to infidelity from women. So the ride or die men thing is relativeley non-existent.

 
At 11:38 AM, Blogger DM said...

@the urban author. This wasn't downing any man...this was just a discussion about her role. She could be right, she could be wrong. I just think it's interesting. Plus, I don't think any woman would have the strength the say anything like that about her man in 2006.

The last sentence was supposed to be sarcastic...

 
At 12:40 PM, Anonymous belladawn said...

why r so men so sensitive when it comes 2 defining the strength of the women's role n a relationship.. i dont think this article downs men in anyway, i think its more about commitment issues n black america right now.

 
At 1:21 PM, Blogger GC (God's Child) said...

@ urban author--not sure if you referred to my comment somehow but I said it because I just couldn't help thinking about it. I, for one, don't think there's anything wrong with a woman deciding to stick by a man who cheats and repents. But with an attitude like that, I still have to protect myself. Who would do that for me? Not like I plan on cheating but suppose I made a mistake? So what do you think? How many men do you think would be able to swallow that pill? Have you heard that song--Fantasia and somebody else talkin' 'bout a hypothetical situation?

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger BBB_0202020 said...

I don't think that this was downing men at all. To me it was a tribute to how dedicated Mrs. King was in spite of the people "FBI", trying to pull them apart. I hope that if I ever get married I'll be in it for the long haul, my parents have been married for 29 years and it was not all smooth roads and they seem to be happy. I hope that I will be able to be committed to my man through all the crap that could arise and not contribute to the divorce statistics.

 
At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Jackie "Freedom" said...

My thoughts are all over the place with this...

The reality is that Mrs. Coretta Scott King heard a recording from the "FBI". From people she knew hated her and her husband. They didn't give her this tape because they were concerned about her well being. They did it to destroy her and her husband, hoping it would destroy the movement. How reliable would this source be under these circumstances?

On another note, nobody should be given a badge of honor for "tolerating" disrespect of any kind. You make a "choice" to stay or to leave. That's all it is, a choice, there is no right or wrong choice.

If she thought her husband was cheating on her, I'm sure she spent nights crying behind closed doors.

If anyone finds out that they are being cheated on, man or woman, it hurts the same way.

Also, I want to add...cheaters come in male and female forms. Nowadays, it's not just men that are cheating....

 

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