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Letters: Ntozake Shange and other black women should thank black men

MUCH can be said in response to Jenice Armstrong's recent column "Ntozake Shange Today: The Fight Goes On," and I'm sure she'll hear her fair share.

MUCH can be said in response to Jenice Armstrong's recent column

"Ntozake Shange Today: The Fight Goes On,"

and I'm sure she'll hear her fair share.

But suffice it to say that, amid all her complaints about the plight of black women today, Shange said nothing about all the advances black females have made over black males in a comparatively short time.

And, despite the empowerment of black women, there is still birth control, adoption and abstinence. Many of these women are having kids because they want them, but don't want a husband. (His money, oh, yeah!)

Yes, black men dominated the civil-rights movement back in the day, and look at what they accomplished. And who benefited most? Black women! Sorry, Ntozake, many of the abuses black women experience today are of their own doing, stemming from bad choices.

Take just one example, from years ago: crack babies. Was that the brothers' fault, too? Did they blow the cocaine up their noses? No, the women came begging for it. I know - I was out there.

If black women aren't going to take some degree of responsibility for their lives, then why would anyone want someone like that as a mate? Many of their kids are failing because they weren't prepared to be parents in the first place. And while it's become a cliché to complain about the absence of eligible black males, who wants to hook up with someone weighing 250 pounds, wearing a red wig, ashamed of her blackness? Both parties are at fault. Stop this one-sided bitchin'.

No one loves sisters more than I do. But they've been selfishly played into this four-decades-long denigration of black males. They've held more all-female conferences, developed more all-black female magazines and created more female social programs in the last 30 years than ever.

Homelessness was a national issue when it had the face of a black woman with kids, but when it took on a homeless black male face, the issue vanished. The only actual attacks against black women over the last 40 years have been the political smear about welfare queens and the campaign to install Norplant in our women so they'd stop having babies out of wedlock. And black men joined in the protests against it.

OK, there's criticism that we dominated the social movements of the '60s. Well, since then, with the obvious empowerment of countless black women, what movements have they started in our behalf? The complaint movement? The "Where are all the black men with Ph.D.s and $100K salary" movements?

Thank God black men stood up in the '60s, because it seems that if it had been left to the sisters, it would have just been about them.

Write a column advising my sisters to lose weight, discard the jeans and tank tops revealing unsightly stretch marks, get rid of those masculine mannerisms and retrieve their femininity, lose the street ways, stop making Koreans rich by buying all those wigs and extensions.

Define your own African womanhood. We don't need poor imitations of white women.

Len Trower, Philadelphia