Friday, July 24, 2009

If the Only Victims Are Male & The Only Oppressors White, Where Does That Leave Black Women?

I know this post is sure to kick up the Black Male Protection Reflex in many people. So my advice is to take a Valium and go sit in the corner. The reason why all of this accountability talk is so threatening is because no one has been held accountable. Generations are simply repeating what their elders did - or worse going backwards. Although there were significant social gains reaped in the '60's it has all but been completely squandered

Of course there's another component to this argument that is also rarely discussed. We are of course referring to HETERO black males in these narratives. The same DBR behaviors exhibited by some men and used against black women will also be expressed toward others based on their orientation or gender identity. Also the women clinging to their church totems, who may be never-married single mothers and are in misery sometimes focus too much on what some "phantom" gay person is doing because it provides a (temporary) release for them. Many of these blacks who are opposed to gay marriage for "religious" reasons don't even get married themselves! Not with a 30% marriage rate amongst blacks, an 80% OOW birth rate, a 70% unmarried status for black women and an HIV rate that's the number #1 killer of black women 25-34. 

Every week since the aftermath of my conversation with DBR Middle Class educated black males who reveled in bashing Serena Williams and bristled at my critiques I realize more and more men belong on the other side of that line. How are we supposed to distinguish who's safe and who's wearing a mask in disguise? Is it based on musical tastes or income to debt ratio or religious practice? Surprisingly it doesn't take much to get them to reveal themselves but clearly they feel they can move without impunity. We can use that to our advantage on one hand but what of those that still consider themselves "decent"? No one ever admits to engaging in damaged beyond recognition behaviors! Others silently support them because they still get to benefit from it indirectly. Those who push a limited view of blackness (i.e. anti-intellectualism or gross materialism) also continue to be a disservice. We can't let ourselves get tripped up in the process.

When we discuss divesting and leaving this mentality behind what will it be replaced with? We need to be thinking about that. Of course leaving the unsafe physical areas and modifying certain situations immediately is key here. We see there is no mass push at defending black girls and women. Any mention of this is met with complete silence. The latest reinforcement of this indoctrination is in the typical reaction from many blacks in defending the actions of Henry Louis Gates against the police. Even the President supported him. 

Although I agree there's a history of aggression and misuse of law enforcement, I don't think Gates was without some responsibility for adding fuel to the fire. Now that the person who initially called the police has been revealed to have not been a neighbor at all and to have grossly exaggerated (ok she lied) about the "suspicious activity" the rush to throw this on the altar of great white oppression kicked into high alert. 

The problem I have is the lack of racial or ethnic pride on the part of Gates to excuse this instigator completely and only focus on the white male officer's actions. So he defers to a white woman, Lucia Whalen discussing how he understood her concern and he's send her flowers while complaining about ill treatment for being a "black male in America" by the white cop. He also ignored the black cop on the scene because that didn't fit into his narrative of "victim". I somehow doubt he would have been so concilliatory had Lucia been  a black woman.  

The "black community" indoctrination of dysfunction is so insidious, so pervasive I want to wash my hands of many people completely just to keep some order. Perhaps this is because I'm still working on my life outside the Matrix (of Abnormal Values) but I can't help but feel a little out of sorts from time to time. Actually I'm not exactly thrilled carrying around this knowledge. Membership has its responsibilities. Realizing you're one of the sane in an insane asylum of confusion and distorted thinking makes me want to go live on an island by myself. This is where finding a small group of like-minded individuals is absolutely necessary. It's a lifeline that we'll need. 

In the meantime black girls are still being attacked and are defenseless against the onslaught of criminal activity and apathy. Thanks to the glorification of that lifestyle blacks don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to complaining about police malfeasance but they don't get that. I've been reading a lot of other blogs whose readership is either predominantly white or law enforcement oriented and it's been a real eye-opener. The general consensus is that President Obama should not have criticized the police and that Gates exaggerated his unpleasant encounter. Oh - and these white people do not care to hear any complaining about racism because there's a black man in the White House. 

So the majority of blacks are shooting themselves in the foot by not addressing these internal pathologies and consequences. The symbolic payoff comes attached with many strings. Sadly I don't think the correct analysis is coming. What is somewhat surprising to me is the intelligentsia and elite classes seem to be just as clueless. Aren't they supposed to be "better, harder, faster, stronger" and know more than the rest of us "peons"? When I was willing to discuss DBR behavior in black men I got a lot of grief. When I sought to bring it full circle by addressing the choices some black women are making I got grief. I can't win for trying. If people have their heads stuck in the sand, what type of generational, mental, financial or quality of life growth can reasonably be expected?

The misogyny and homophobia prevalent in the black community has me on pause. It's not that other groups don't have similar issues but they also have safeguards in place to ensure their growth and/or continued domination. Blacks collectively have nothing in place but discussing the evils of white racism as it pertains to black males. If people are not fighting discrimination across the board then blacks will not progress any more than where things stand now. To suggest moving away from the knee-jerk responses followed by no strategic choices is looked at as a form of heresy. It's met with complete resistance. If it's not those engaged in DBR behavior, then it's those who are in denial it exists, that it's as wide-spread as it is or those focused on protecting the guilty. They are no use to me - or you once you leave. If you ever do.....

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15 comments:

Khadija said...

Faith,

Yet another outstanding essay. {round of applause}

Your post's title asked,"If the Only Victims Are Male & The Only Oppressors White, Where Does That Leave Black Women?"-

It leaves us right where we are. S-O-L. With our concerns and threats to our very lives ignored by the so-called Black community.

You said, "I've been reading a lot of other blogs whose readership is either predominantly white or law enforcement oriented and it's been a real eye-opener. The general consensus is that President Obama should not have criticized the police and that Gates exaggerated his unpleasant encounter.

Oh - and these white people do not care to hear any complaining about racism because there's a black man in the White House."
-

Yep. As I've stated before, this "racism is officially over because there's a Black president" meme is part of the price tag of having the Obama-ssiah in the White House. One of MANY, somewhat-hidden price tags that AAs have ignored while enjoying our Obama-ssiah-induced-delirium.

You said, "So the majority of blacks are shooting themselves in the foot by not addressing these internal pathologies. Sadly I don't think the analysis is coming."-

Yes, there's going to be various forms of blowback for our Pavlovian, knee-jerk whining about this incident. Blowback that we haven't bothered to consider, much less calculate.

For just one example, the Obama-ssiah has chosen to expend a bit of his "non-threatening Black male" currency with Whites over the Skip Gates Affair. The President (who has to maintain favor with Whites) is NOT going to readily do this again...if EVER again. His statement about the Skip Gates Affair is the only bone he's going to throw to AAs for a LONG time. It might be the ONLY bone he throws us throughout his term.

Since Pres. Obama has only budgeted about 1, maybe 2, "bones" specifically for AA concerns, did we really want to spend one of these bones/crumbs of Presidential attention on Skip Gates? It's one thing if we had decided that the Skip Gates Affair was worthy of using up our 1 scrap of attention/input from the first Black President. But, we didn't make that calculation. Even worse, we're not even aware that this sort of calculation is being made by the Obama-ssiah!

We're too silly to comprehend that Pres. Obama's statements about Skip Gates means that when the next 'Katrina'-type thing happens disproportionately to AAs, then he will feel that he CAN'T afford to respond to our concerns
.

In terms of the next 'Katrina' to hit AAs, Pres. Obama is going to respond with the same empty platitudes that Bush used. He will do this because he already spent that "I'm going to anger White folks" chip on the Skip Gates Affair.

You said, "The problem I have is the lack of racial or ethnic pride on the part of Gates to excuse this instigator completely and only focus on the white male officer's actions. So he defers to a white woman, Lucia Whalen discussing how he understood her concern and he's send her flowers while complaining about ill treatment for being a "black male in America" by the white cop.

He also ignored the black cop on the scene because that didn't fit into his narrative of "victim". I somehow doubt he would have been so concilliatory had Lucia been a black woman
.

Exactly. This aspect of the situation only heightens the folly of our non-thinking choice of using up the few Presidential "chips/scraps/bones" allotted to AAs on Prof. Gates' personal issue. {sigh}

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Tracy said...

Great post!

Here is your Friday laugh for today!

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/07/24/gates/

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Khadija: Thank you. Part of me is still reeling and I realize I'm going to need distance and time to get my bearings, but life goes on. There was some Boston-based blog where a reader linked to me praising the discussion about protecting black girls but some of the commenters were expressing some problematic opinions about Gates/Obama etc.

I think more blacks need to get off the "liberal" blogs and read the real temperature of how other people feel. Whites are the majority population in this country and Obama is going to cater to them first - and always. You bring up an interesting point about Obama's support of Gates being a wasted gesture for the black masses and them not realizing it. That really pisses me off quite frankly.

Gates is in a protected class and is male. He gets no additional sympathy from me - not in light of the very real life shattering crimes and atrocities visited upon black girls and women every day. I don't like it one bit!!

Tracy: Thanks!

BLUEBUTTERFLY said...

I'm angry with this issue, not because of Gates; Gates is well able financially and politically to defend himself.

I'm angry because it's been a decade since Orenthal Simpson, and we still don't get the reality of the damage we are causing our kids. If Orenthal had killed "Black Suzie", he'd be walking free; probably never would have been arrested.

All of this matters because, black men didn't get into this whole by themselves. The media has a huge part to play in pushing what they believe the black male should be: Some doped-up, jeweled-tooth, rapper wanna be. BET, once led by a black man, did nothing to change facts or perception. Most of the men with power and influence do nothing to change the facts or perception. Oprah would do 100 shows on how to train your dog before you see a show on what is happening to our boys and girls.

I'm angry and tired of the mess, and I don't even have kids.

Who is going to wake up and call out the tragic circumstances our kids are living in? Churches? Politicians? You? Me?

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Bluebutterfly: Media, smedia! People who have values and fortitude turn off the influence of media if that's the case. Nobody's forcing them to be a thug, loser, drug dealer or any other negative image they may see. There was a time you couldn't find any black people on tv. That's an excuse and a poor one at that. We do I our part by blogging and by living our lives outside the Matrix. The masses will already be assigned a permanent underclass/disadvantaged status. They don't want to hear any critique or make the necessary changes. For the sanity of the living we will at some point soon move on from this.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Khadija: There are times I don't agree with the extent you propose things but then stuff keeps happening and I reevaluate them.

Obama has deployed the bow and scrape to tide the pending backlash against him by some whites. He wouldn't be able to be a "Messiah" if black people weren't so easily lead by the nose.

He called Crowley and said he could've "calibrated those words differently". Some black ppl are still foolish enough to believe Obama is trying to do a head fake against whites when he's done one against them. Every day a little more of my previously held beliefs are stripped away.

Yanking off a scab really really hurts you know.

How did we even survive being enslaved, Jim Crow and all of this crap to fall apart so completely so quickly?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/24/obama-addresses-gates-rem_n_244518.html

Sassy J said...

Khadijah, your comparative regarding Obama's one or two bones for AA made sense--thanks! I didn't think of that.

I'm just tired of this issue, really. As a commentor said on a previous post, I shrugged my shoulder then, and now.

I'm stil trying to process the little Nigerian girl.

Faith- about late last year, I took a month long break from news, blogs, tv, talk radio and shows because it got to the point that the issues of the world were killing my spirit. I was like May in "The Secret Life of Bees". Even now, I have to limit to how much information I take in. Take care of yourself!

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Sassy J: Thanks for your concern. I am taking care of myself. I just keep having whatever visions of sugarplums dancing in my head trashed and burned. I like to consider myself a critical thinker and informed. I can only find my way by listening to those who are clearly enamored of the President and offer zero criticism (and the dead "black community" lie) and comparing it to those who have unwarranted criticism to come to a median.

Regardless this is serious and black people are the ones going to pay the price. Black girls and women the most when it all hits the fan. The refusal of so many to consider they're wrong is frustrating, but I can't be bothered. It's just that it's so prevalent. All of the dysfunction. All of the disordered thinking. Anyway it's just something I have to work through. I'd much rather be here and feel this rather than walking around clueless. Oblivious people can't prepare. I want to be forewarned and forearmed. So ultimately I'm grateful for the revelation so I can save myself.

rainebeaux said...

Faith, I've only discovered this newfound knowledge two weeks ago and I'm already miserable.

I got over "Gatesgate" in five minutes, but I cringe thinking about the black women and girls who've been thrown to the wolves then thrown under the bus...*sigh*

I guess it's better to be weighed down with this knowledge than to perish (in the hood, no less, and violently to boot) from the lack thereof.

Khadija said...

Faith,

You said, "Every day a little more of my previously held beliefs are stripped away.

Yanking off a scab really really hurts you know."
-

Yes...I know. {sigh} I went through the process myself. It was disorienting and painful to have previously cherished beliefs fall to the ground.

In many ways, I would compare it to the waning of childhood when I stopped believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny. I was disappointed and the world was suddenly less magical and special; but I was better off for it. Letting those childish pleasures go was the price of admission to other pleasures.

You said, "How did we even survive being enslaved, Jim Crow and all of this crap to fall apart so completely so quickly?"-

These questions of "Why are AAs so easily deceived now?" and How did things for AAs fall apart so quickly and completely?" have been on my mind quite a lot lately. I think that a large part of the answer is the fact that most AAs don't have any clear values anymore. And that the few of us who do have values aren't integrating our values into our everyday lives. We only pull our values out for "special occassions." I'll talk about this when I resume posting in August.
_______________________

Sassy J,

You're welcome!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Rainbeaux: I think it's all part of the 5 stages of grief or what we may come to call - Life Outside the Matrix of African-American Dysfunction. It is a process and I'm reminding myself of that.

Khadija: I'm going to be thinking about values as well. "Success" became the God that was worshipped.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Faith:

The problem I have is the lack of racial or ethnic pride on the part of Gates to excuse this instigator completely and only focus on the white male officer's actions. So he defers to a white woman, Lucia Whalen discussing how he understood her concern and he's send her flowers while complaining about ill treatment for being a "black male in America" by the white cop. He also ignored the black cop on the scene because that didn't fit into his narrative of "victim". I somehow doubt he would have been so concilliatory had Lucia been a black woman.

Khadija:

The Obama-ssiah has chosen to expend a bit of his "non-threatening Black male" currency with Whites over the Skip Gates Affair. The President (who has to maintain favor with Whites) is NOT going to readily do this again...if EVER again. His statement about the Skip Gates Affair is the only bone he's going to throw to AAs for a LONG time. It might be the ONLY bone he throws us throughout his term.

These questions of "Why are AAs so easily deceived now?" and How did things for AAs fall apart so quickly and completely?" have been on my mind quite a lot lately. I think that a large part of the answer is the fact that most AAs don't have any clear values anymore. And that the few of us who do have values aren't integrating our values into our everyday lives. We only pull our values out for "special occassions." I'll talk about this when I resume posting in August.

My reply:

When I think of these aspects of the Gates story, all I can think of are the ideas and thoughts of a genuine and healthy black nationalism as some envisioned it in its heyday.

Black nationalism eschewing integration and grounding itself in racial pride, self-respect, but without sexism.

There were black nationalist types who did not believe integrating colleges and universities, and schools of any type, for that matter, was the right strategy, because it was going to result in blacks assimilating (and using your words, Khadija, becoming refugees).

That is why I really enjoy your commentary about the importance of black women making sure that if they date interracially, they do so as sojourner's, not refugees.

Aren't both men, Gates and Obama, examples of this refugee status?

Obama's dad, at the Univ. of Hawaii, benefiting from whites' efforts to bring into American colleges, promising "third world" black men (and women) who can be co-opted and made loyal to the West. Obama marries a white woman who raises Obama in her white familial context. His ties to blackness came later and his roots in politics all lie in cultivating blackness as an adult. He was not raised in it.

Gates graduated from Yale sometime around 1972; he was born in 1950 and lived through the civil rights movement. He met the white woman who would become his wife around that time, at a McGovern campaign. They married sometime in the late 1970s. Their daughters are grown. So is it any surprise that Gates has taken the position he has regarding Whalen?

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Oops, not a McGovern campaign. The following interview is very informative:

http://www.booknotes.org/Transcript/?ProgramID=1220

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Pioneer Valley Woman: Thank you for adding to this conversation. I really do appreciate your (and others) contributions to the dialog here. It isn't simply an affirmation but the inclusion of links and detailed commentary that make this such a full and enriching conversation. I think that's missing from the more popular political blogs.

I didn't talk about Gates' white wife for a reason. It would've derailed the argument for many who'd focus on the "you're being overly critical of a black man" or the "you're just mad because he married a Becky".

This does tie into the decision of many African-American black men to mate with white women as refugees from blackness. Which is another topic blacks do not want to analyze.

As we AA black women leave behind these constructs we cannot make the same mistake.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Faith:

Pioneer Valley Woman: Thank you for adding to this conversation. I really do appreciate your (and others) contributions to the dialog here. It isn't simply an affirmation but the inclusion of links and detailed commentary that make this such a full and enriching conversation. I think that's missing from the more popular political blogs.

I didn't talk about Gates' white wife for a reason. It would've derailed the argument for many who'd focus on the "you're being overly critical of a black man" or the "you're just mad because he married a Becky".

My reply:

You're welcome. I certainly understand the approach of not talking about his familial situation. On some other blogs, like Field Negro's, as an example, some are pissed that Gates did not criticize the woman who called the police. They are critical too, of his excusing her and sending her flowers. My comment is meant to take us in the direction of assessing the impact his familial situation might have had upon his behavior and perceived lack of "racial pride."