The Conversation by Hill Harper
Communication between Black Men and Black Women
Harper has concentrated on the state of relationships between black men and black women throughout his book. He has particularly focused on the aspect of communication between black men and black women. He cites the problem of poor communication between these people and the anticipation of conflict that black couples have. He argues that there is a poor form of communication between black men and women and this has portrayed black men and women as poor partners in marriage (Harper, 41). Be it in friendship, marriage or relationship, Harper points out that there is a problem in communication amongst the blacks.
Harper argues that the black community who are in relationships or marriages operate from a point of distrust and low expectations of each other. The lack of healthy and productive communication is the issue that Harper seeks to discuss in his book. As the name of the book suggests, Harper engages in a conversation with various black men and women. He also connects with the theme of the book through his own experience. Harper seeks to lecture the audience on the state of the black relationships and black love from the viewpoint of a person who has had his fair share of experience and mistakes as a black man (Harper, 178). It is vital to note that he is not a representative of the black community, but gives an honest account of the status of the black love. Harper challenges the black community to let go of the old habits and usher in the new interest of love. Harper argues that a healthy relationship is a challenge to the black people to make them better partners in relationships and marriages (Harper, 125). Additionally, Harper warns the black community on falling in love with a man for what he earns. He also warns the men not to fall in love because of the beauty. He argues that these are temporary things, which are bound to change with time. When these aspects change, the relationship which was based on them fizzles away.
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It is evident from the book that Harper gives a fair share of comments from both genders. The book does not only let women point out fingers to men for failed relationships, but also allows men to have their say. Harper has given a whole chapter of his book to his friends, to comment on the status of the black love. This has indicated that both males and females have a desire to build on each other, rather than bringing each other down (Harper, 72). There is the desire to shun dishonesty and little expectations from each other. It is evident from the interviews that Harper conducts that both men and women in the black community are to blame for the sad affair of the state of black love. Both black men and women cited lack of appreciation from the opposite sex as the greatest hindrance to sweet black love. Both genders also cited friendship as a vital ingredient for a strong relationship. In addition, the black men and women interviewed by Harper referred to their grandparents relationships as an example, which would make their relationships strong and effective (Harper, 144).
Whereas both black men and women seem to agree on the above points, Harper points out that both sexes seemed to differ when it comes to their expectations in a relationship. After a series of interviews, Harper concluded that black men have an extreme desire to feel needed by the women they love. On the other hand, Harper argues that black women have the immense desire to be regarded and taken seriously by men (Harper, 55). Whereas many critics have argued that such demands are unearned, Harper is quick to defend them by giving examples of successful black relationships. He argues that these are the norms and that this is the way black relationships are supposed to be. It is evident from the book that the status of the black relationship is a matter of stereotype.
However, as Harper points out, a few normal black men and women can emancipate themselves from such stereotypes and have a strong and healthy black relationship. Harper says in his book, "We can chart a completely new course simply by choosing to speak to and about each other in new ways. Lets commit to dragging [stereotypical comments] into the trash and pressing PERMANENT DELETE. Lets eliminate the poison and residual negativity that such comments yield. . . Lets commit to publicly checking, or stopping, someone from engaging in that kind of speech." (Harper, 40).
In the entire book, Harper focuses on the commitment and trust that is necessary to built each other rather than tear each other down. The themes of trust, commitment and effective communication are recurrent in the entire book. As generic as they may sound, these factors are critical in a black relationship. When these factors are observed by the black people, it is evident that they can be able to stick to the vows they made to each other (Harper, 214). The book by Harper is predicated on the belief that the black community can chart a new way forward in regard to their relationships. He presents a challenge to the black men and women to resist the temptation of caving in to the stereotype about the black peoples relationships and their partners (Harper, 90).
It is crystal clear that this book is a thought provoking reading. It is a must read for every black man and black woman who seeks to have a strong and healthy relationship. I personally liked the book; not only because of the topic, but also because of the nature that the facts are presented. The book presents personal accounts and views from the black community. Therefore, the information contained in the book is a true reflection of the black love. I also liked the book since it is an eye opener. It presents a way forward and advice to the black community on how to improve on their communication, commitment and trust (Harper, 99). Black men and black women should seek to build each other rather than tear each other down through communication.
Although the book did not entirely change my thoughts and attitudes towards the black community, it has opened up a new chapter in my thoughts on the status of the black love. It is now clear that there is a force behind the numerous conflicts and divorce cases amongst the black couples. It has reinforced my thoughts that the black community suffer from stereotype and lack of appreciation for each other.
This is one book, which has caught my attention throughout the entire 270 pages. The topic and themes are thought provoking and captivating. I, therefore, recommend it not only to the black men and women, but also to other races. It is evident that the book is an eye opener and would be of great value to every person in marriage or in a relationship. It is also critical for people in friendship to read the book in order to improve on the communications and commitments as friends.