Saturday, January 31, 2009
There should be No confusion about this!
An interracial portrait
Once again I have reason to touch on the issue of ‘black uplift’, as a result of the questions I keep getting (or should I say the preaching that I get). A recent occurrence (which I will not get into) seems to have agitated the ‘black people should unify’ preachers again.
Many black women respond to such clarion calls to unify and uplift and what have you, by once again girding their loins and getting all into ‘black unity’ mode. But before you jump into the ‘super woman’ suit as usual, I want you to take some time to consider this fundamental fact.
You cannot carry out singlehandedly a project which has been designed for two people. You cannot as a single individual or single gender carry out effectively the duties and responsibilities meant for two genders. Haven’t black women been trying to do this all the while and aren’t the results clear as day as to how we have fared. Its time to change strategy, remember that insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!
I will say here that I do not believe that black women set out to do things alone, however this is essentially what has happened and what they have ended up doing and this is clear from even cursory observation. The sentiment that best describes black woman's mind frame I believe is 'Lets do what we can in the meantime, as black men get warmed up/wake up to their responsibilities etc etc'. So black women did what they have been doing because of the hope and faith that black men would 'come online' soon. But no one put a time limit on this 'helping out the situation in the meantime' protocol. This means that what started out as a temporary measure has become an entrenched procedure. Now that it has however become clear what the end result of this approach is, black women have to decided once and for all if ‘black nation building’ is a partnership project that needs to be carried out with equal efforts of black men and black women and efforts applied at the same time.
They then have to decide, if black men are really in the partnership with them.
So in summary black women have to
1) Decide if this black nation building project is supposed to be a partnership between black men and black women. Then
2) Decide if black men are onboard and currently with them in black nation building/uplift/advancement or whatever you might call it.
The first question is a breeze I believe. The average black woman knows that the answer is yes, black nation building is a task for two; black men and black women.
The second question however seems to be kind of a tricky one for black women (yet it really isn’t tricky at all as I will explain).
So on one end black women are thinking, ‘If we just keep things running, black men will ‘come online’ soon’. but in addition, black women are encouraged to not make the idea of acertaining if black men are with them a simple issue of 'observe and conclude', but they are invited to do all sorts of complicated ‘logic routines’ on this one, routines that disallows straight forward conclussions.
For one, they are expected to 'multiply by 1000' the few men they see doing things in the community and believe (and cling in faith) that there has to be many more of such ‘good and useful’ black men somewhere… They are supposed to note a ‘good’, father, brother or uncle and see this as clear evidence that there are many more out there. As for whether these men form a critical number needed for the work of buidling (for instance the number needed to provide enough husbands for for black women to enable this building up of the black family), many black women refuse to grapple with that issue, but simply say 'believe' and 'have faith’ and insist that this is the appropriate attitude for the black woman!
As I have said, many black women are told that the straight forward way of determining if a person is with you or not (i.e are black men physically present in the home, in school, in community building forums and initiatives etc), isn’t the way to judge this situation. They are told things like, ‘they are just about to come into view or crest the hill’ (ie be patient and don’t give up on the mem prematurely). Some say, ‘Black men are with us, just temporarily diverted or held up in traffic' or 'they need a little, 'jump start', but we can get them back easily enough if we do A B or C’. Others say, 'Well black men dont come to these kinds of forums and discussions, but they are still doing their bit'. One woman said to me on a discussion panel that as soon as black women get their ‘stuff’ together, black men will follow suit. I must say I do get a lot of these messages of ‘Black men will be hey okay, as soon as black women shape up in their own role (ie black women's not shaping up is what is holding up black men's own participation)', and I get them particularly from older black women who stand in the role of advisers to younger black women sadly.
Yet I am saying this to those who are confused over this issue, don’t be!
How do you determine a person is going North?
Simply by noting if they are walking in the direction of North.
If someone is facing south and walking southwards and yet is telling you they are going north, you’d be a fool to believe them.
So in between the stories of how millions of black male 'community builders' are simply hidden from view, or are but a second away, and all the injunctions for black women to think in convoluted ways about the participation of black men to black nation building, comes the truth. The truth is simply, believe your experince, believe what you are seeing and what your eyes communicate to your brain about the situation.
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Posted by Halima at 6:22 pm