As a Black Women Empowerment (BWE) messenger who is uncompromising in the message I am very grateful for some of the historical contributions from those that came before us, who tried to warn us about the conditions and state of black womanhood.
We have paid it forward and thanks to prolific and profound writing and sharing our experiences via the internet some of the messaging has begun to make waves. While I’m not certain if it has permeated, there has been enough pushback and attempts at diluting the message, many have certainly taken notice.
Due largely to that bounced check of If you take care of me first I’ll have your back later between black men and women – where they’ve failed to protect and cherish black women and black children – we’re currently in a heap of mess right now. Since it is only going to get worse [maybe not for the Internet-reading audience but the masses] the time for reflection and deflection is done!
Other women can call themselves whatever they want and claim solidarity or try to shift the definition or distract from the seriousness of things but the bottom line remains the same. Some black women will always be more interested in holding on to a failed ideology and being mad at or threatened by those other black women who set different parameters and want to follow new models and thought processing. Black women are sitting ducks for the DBRs and will be savaged in ways we attribute to 3rd world countries right here in the U.S. of A.
GET OUT, AWAY & SAVE YOURSELF.
I’ve been scouring the Internet trying to find written records from women who spoke about the present external obstacles as well as deteriorating conditions for black women at the hands of black men that survived. For I am certain many more women said something even way back in the 1860’s and 1870’s at the beginning of our African-American ancestors’ “freedom” from chattel slavery.
We might consider Harriet Tubman’s and Sojourner Truth’s lives and public declarations [I always thought it was cool that she renamed herself that at the age of 46] as part of that evidence we can review. Tubman remarked how she could’ve saved more people had they accepted they were enslaved while Truth boldly asked why she wasn’t considered a woman along with white women clamoring against the limitations of patriarchy.
I know the matriarchs of the blues: Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters and others discussed relationship struggles and other day-to-day living on their own terms, which was a freedom in and of itself.
I’m sure I’ve missed some women.
Then during the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale-Hurston coined quite a few terms with her evocative writing style that we still use to this day. All skin folk ain’t kin folk and Black women are the mules of the world being the two that come to mind the quickest.
I’m sure I’ve missed some women.
Then later on we had the post-Civil Rights boon of black women artisans and social critics like bell hooks, Pearl Cleage, Audre Lorde, Shirley Chisholm, Abbey Lincoln and others. See Lincoln’s scene from the film The Girl Can’t Help It. She asked Who Will Revere the Black Woman in 1966.
As time progresses, I’ve learned that this description of my mothers, sisters, and partners in crime is used as the basis and excuse for the further shoving, by the Black man, of his own head into the sand of oblivion. Hence, the black mother, housewife, and all-round girl Thursday is called upon to suffer both physically and emotionally every humiliation a woman can suffer and still function.
Lincoln died last summer at the age of 80. She made a lot of sacrifices for the black community and certain gave it her all to “save” it. Are people grateful? Do they even know who she was and what she did? Where’s the celebration of her life and accomplishments from the NAACP, Urban League, et al? I mentioned the contributions of Della Reese in an earlier post for quietly living well on her own terms and because she spoke of trying to advise the younger entertainers about life and their careers who’ve refused it! Stupid is as stupid does!
C. Delores Tucker tried to warn us about the impending onslaught of depravity to come with those who supported the filth and misogyny promoted by rap music. You may also recall how Skippy Gates defended 2Live Crew by claiming their depravity was the inherent nature of black males.
I’m certain I’ve missed some women.
Like the renewed interest in Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Was Enuf, Cleage’s collection of essays Mad At Miles is currently being performed. Here’s the thorny issue – while it’s great women are talking to other women and telling it like it t.i. is, there has been no progress. Rehashing wounds and pulling off scabs means the focus remains on the injury [and wholly dysfunctional and inadequate black males] – not the healing!
I’m certain I’ve missed some women.
So, this is where the current online activism comes into play. Just the mere discussion of things many of our predecessors spoke about was met with fierce opposition. Accusations of hating black men, keeping them down and other nonsensical arguments were presented as truths. We have a new “theory of difference”.
While acknowledging that the differences between women are wide and varied, most of Lorde’s works are concerned with two subsets that concerned her primarily — race and sexuality. She observes that black women’s experiences are different from those of white women, and that, because the experience of the white woman is considered normative, the black woman’s experiences are marginalised; similarly, the experiences of the lesbian (and, in particular, the black lesbian) are considered aberrational, not in keeping with the true heart of the feminist movement. Although they are not considered normative, Lorde argues that these experiences are nevertheless valid and feminine.
Where the BWE message continues this is in presenting all facets for black women living optimal lives. While we do have to acknowledge the conditions, the inherent dangers, evaluate the impact of black self-hatred and examine white racism, we must also consider the ways we support our demise and impose devastating limitations that hamper us.
We have to offer solutions and let go of the 10K boulder of “pain porn” we’re carrying around and are enthralled by when we allow the dysfunction to permeate our very existence and identity. We have to resolve things for ourselves as individual women. We have to move on, not as black women [of various ethnicities, thoughts, desires, considerations] but as women of the world with all the freedom modern society and the sacrifices of previous generations have bought us. We as women must remove the community activist/savior label and don our crowns and our capes to fly above the haters – even when that “hate” from being beat down springs internally. The cape is to fly away not ride another rescue wave. We have to go the distance, take responsibility for our choices while we’re breathing fresh air maybe for the first time, complete the program and separate ourselves. Some of us are waiting for the return of the Messiah, but a Messiah has already been here and told you that you are free.
You just haven’t been listening.
As the matriarchs move on to their glory – and deservedly so we need to realize we don’t have anyone else to fill their voids. We have the trailblazers who are age 65 and up leaving this mortal coil. While the negotiation and compromise was a huge mistake, there wasn’t total silence. We weren’t always willing to listen and let other fools speak louder when we knew better. The mass confusion that has resulted has been difficult to dislodge but it isn’t impossible for those who want to. We need to keep sounding the alarm for as long as we can – but not to our detriment for living well. Luckily, these are modern times and we can leave written archives.It’s ultimately each woman’s responsibility to care for herself.
I’m certain some women will be missed. Will it be too late?
For Your Reading Pleasure: