The Real Truth About Jump Offs

In Uncategorized on September 22, 2009 at 4:06 pm

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak. ~ Audre Lorde

I loved him. And somehow at that moment in time, I believed he loved me. My parting words to him were, “Thank you for making me feel like a jump-off. Goodbye”. I texted those words because I couldn’t utter them. The highest part of me simply would not allow them to be spoken as that term was for “other women” not ME.  I was wrong.  Language has no reservations.  He had stolen my heart, my body, my trust, my Queendom, all for his desire to sever the parts of me that he lusted from the parts of me that he had no time to consider.  And there were tears and there was pain and although the tragedy of my broken heart is not ingenious or epic, it is authentic and deserves to be told, village to village, in the tradition of our Griots- even if it does allow people to perceive me as being naïve, weak, or someone’s thing thrown away.

Last night, in light of a new blogpost at, a male friend asked me to define a jump off. I explained that in my opinion, a jump off is someone that is ready to allow sex to, well for lack of better words, “jump off” urgently, in the moment, and without a need for pomp and circumstance. And as I defined it I wondered where our Black womanhood had gone.  I literally could not believe that I had subconsciously etched in my memory this definition that defiled me and my sisters so terribly.  Also in that moment I realized the power of what we take into our bodies as media (music, print, the internet, etc.) and why it is called programming.  I know and love many Black women. I see them as beautiful, courageous, loving, loyal and royal…but also broken, conquered, tired, damaged and apparently jump offs. 

Having studied etymology I fully understand the implications and gravity of language.  In the least, the term jump off is non consensual- whether consciously or unconsciously. It is also anti-woman, as it originated as a term to label, cast, and define a certain woman as not being worth realness, tenderness, or care.  The problem is that this box is not composed of any particular type of woman, but instead any and all of us.  In the end we have to be honest enough with ourselves in that no matter how much we wish to re-define words- we cannot separate them from their origins.  A man will never be a jump off as the origin of the term makes this impossible.  He can, however, continue to be labeled as a big Black buck, and a philanderer- which is somehow just as tragic.

So, essentially, what we have created with the use of this term is a new dogma where women who want to be wifey (*sigh* this word requires an entirely different blog entry), somehow become jump offs. Even if our mouths accept the term, I am convinced our souls do not.  What we perceive as a usurpation of power, is actually a ploy to be less dishonored and humiliated. The power comes from not only NOT accepting the term, but also calling out any person who treats us as it is defined.  Terms become ideals and ideals become ways of life.

In short, and as my beautiful, hopeful friend Joi Spears always says, “Thoughts become things”.  I am a Black woman of beauty and wonder- let your thoughts reflect this and your words project this, otherwise…move around.

Oh here is the article the sparked today’s musings:

  1. well, That is a thorough beatdown. sensitive, measured…and devoid of hurtness.

    I feel this. and I endorse every word.

    *stands and applauds*

  2. “Thoughts become things”

    One of my mentors said this to me for the first time almost a year ago. Upon internalizing it, I realized how true it was/is. I also realized years ago that words can be used as weapons.

    I’ve always hated the terms jump off, bust down, etc. They always brought to mind furtive glances, illicit trysts, wet asses and bad feelings. Too often women sacrifice themselves all in the name of love (or a little validation). All too often men play the part of false idols and/or malevolent gods who require these burnt offerings. This bespeaks of our inherent pathological dysfunctions and our lack of love/knowledge of self. Well, it was true for me at one point. I’ve been the burnt offering and subsequent scorned woman…now I’m a changing woman hell bent on seeing this cursed condition eradicated so my seeds can help usher in something new.

    No wifeys, boos or pieces. I’m talkin’ a nation of men and women loving themselves and each other enough our bodies are temples and our beings divine. Ain’t nothin’ jumpin’ off but the slave mind.

    I hope that made sense, lol.

    Peace queen, this was an excellent read and mos def in need of being written.

  3. I thank you for sharing your story – however heartbreaking – with your readers, as an example of the pain black men and women cause each other, from time to time. And evidence of the scars, as well as questions of the solutions to our collective dilemma.

    My question – not necessarily directed towards your situation, but in general – is, where is the responsibility; on either side of the equation? Yes, men must, and heretofore have not, take(n) responsibility for the shabby, inelegant, and uncaring way we’ve (collectively) treated the black woman. But, women must bear an equal amount of blame, as you (collectively) have the ultimate decision as to whom the physical and emotional being is shared.

    Far more often than not, the character or reputation of the offending man is known. He is described fully as the rat bastard he is, yet many times, the woman chooses to disregard the warning, the signs, whatever you want to call them, and proceed with whatever the relationship becomes.

    I’m not on some “it’s-all-on-the-woman” kick, nor do I ascribe more blame to one sex than the other. I simply ask the question of why the jump-off phenomenon not only persists, but seems to increase in acceptance, daily.

    And it can’t be attributed solely to “low self-esteem,” “slave mentality” or similar reasonings. Can it?

    Well-written, well-thought out and poignant.

  4. You know I’m starting to evaluate these simple words that so many people are bothered by. What do we want them to represent if we are to ignore them? Better yet, what energy do we draw to ourselves in order to feel below the standards of greatness we should put ourselves? Jump off is an annoying word, only because like it or hate it, it’s overused, over-scrutinized, and has too much attention paid to it.

  5. glad to see this…i wrote about this at the shack ( and planned on doing a follow up entry linking to others’ thoughts on the essence piece…

    it may have been removed from the site, but this is part of a a long overdue conversation…


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