Thursday, May 07, 2009

Are you being recruited to the cult of the 'Blues'

In the last post, I spoke about black women who believe their lot in life is to 'sing the blues', and how they actually gravitate to this situation or seek it out, or even self-sabotage if it looks like their current course might just take them away from the life of the blues.

There are another group of women who actively scout out and recruit on behalf of the cult of hardship and suffering. If they see that you look a bit 'unburdened' by life and that you seem not to be weighed down by the things 'real' black women must be weighed down by, they come over to you to first discover why and how you missed out on assuming 'the natural burden that all black women need to be carrying,' then by words, actions and 'advice', they try to move you into the life they feel that is required of all black women and that is one of carrying burdens and singing the blues.

Most of these women who recruit others do indeed look dour and burdened and have the air of a 'world of care' about them. You can see in their eyes that they question your perkiness and cheerfulness (not the feigned fabulosness some of us like to put on). Indeed there is a begrudging there of your different 'air'. You look to them like a strange specimen of the black woman; a new 'ignoble' breed that refuses the natural heaviness and weariness that should characterise a black woman's life. If you exude a different energy, a different air of a black woman who is not 'work horsing' on behalf of others or aggitating on behalf of race (with the attendant scowl and expression of one ready to kick off), then you become a concern because you are on the wrong track of black womanhood and need to be brough back to how you should be!

If you are in a group or team with these women etc they will try to nudge you towards the 'nobility' of and conditions of hardship mostly by making you feel that you are inauthentic unless you take on a burden or a fear that black women should have e.g. fear of not snagging a black man or the travials that come with the efforts to secure a black brotha (that is of course if they look at you and feel you do not belong to that select category of black woman who should escape that sorrows of black womanhood).

No suprises that I see too many examples of black women's wings and spirits being clipped in church. It is there that the notion of suffering black womanhood is more salient than anywhere else. I mean what else but suffering and hardship is the portion of the black woman, it permeates almost everything we do in the church from the testimonies we give to the thankless drudge work and non recognition and lack of support and even criminal elevation of mediocre men in ministry above women who have twice the aptitude. I wager that if the church preached and communicated a new message of 'no need for suffering' to black women, the first place that black women would begin to peel away from is the church itself! In the church, suffering is deemed as ennobling, sharing in christs characteristics etc. No wonder the ration of five women to one man continues to be shrugged off as a none issue. The truth is that suffering is supposed to be a mark of Godliness for black women and many black women run with this view and even police others into this suffering lifestyle!

The Black Church is indeed one place where women who are acquinated with hardship and sorrows do their bit to snuff out the optimism they sense and see particularly in the young women who have the lighheartedness of youth about them. Soon these young girls begin to take on the spirit of heaviness and the look of one who recognises that they have less claim to happiness and freedom.

One way of recruiting to the cult of the blues is by not talking about solutions but speaking as if the only thing that is to be done, is to 'pass through', 'endure' and keep ones dignity and integrity through the trials, as if going through harship is non negotiable. When there is a discussion about a difficult situation and it does not introduce a solution or a way out, then indeed it is essentially a call to continue in the pain, madness, lack and the mess.

A lot of suffering black women go through would fall away if black women are told, 'Actually, you dont have to endure or put up with this.' So when women withhold conversation of 'solutions', this is tantamount to endorsing a life of hardship.

So watch out, it could be that you are being recruited to the life of the blues.

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I love this post!

Anonymous said...

For those who enjoyed this post, please read the book "Hooked on Unhappiness" by Carol Cannon. It talks about suffering and self sacrifice as a requirement in many churches.

This book had opened my eyes to the reasons for my many decades of unhappiness and dissatisfation, which were caused by my oppressive/church upbringing.

Anonymous said...

It's indocrination to slavery for Black females, period. And while it may be Black women who are doing the indoctrination now, it is NOT Black women who STARTED this disgusting mess. No that distinction goes to someone else, and I think we all know who HE is, and I AIN'T talking about the White man!