Sunday, August 02, 2009

What is the required spirit for these times?



When Sojourner Truth spoke about working the fields as hard as any man, about ploughing planting and gathering into barns, when you read about her showing her powerful muscles to her audience, you just know that strong (physically) black women had to be the rule not the exception in her days. There were no two ways about it, she was a creation and necessity of her times.

But are we still in the age of the strong black woman? Do people even realize that a different type is required for a different epoch?

These two questions above actually underscore what should be general understanding (an understanding that I dont sense many black folk have) that, you first of all observe that there has been an era change and then the tools, skills and attitudes, even approach needs to change to keep pace.

In bible times, blessings were reserved for those who had the ability to observe the changing times. We see repeated in the scriptures, the theme of seasons, times, watching, observing, etc with some of the most revered of society being the prophets and seers.

It was so important to keep in touch with the times and know what the season was in the broad sense of the word.

Yesterday was 'Emancipation Day' (celerated by certain countries of the world), and I went along to a 'black' function. I was struck by how stuck in a bygone era some factions of the black political movement are. A lot of the stuff being proposed bordered on irrelevant, things that were effective 50 years ago. A kind of turning totally inwards tends to produce this 'out of touch-ness' among many black folks.

Anyway, back to my point;
For those who have been attentive and can observe, we are in new times, times which require a new type of black woman with a new type of spirit girding her, enabling her to do what needs to be done in her situation.

I believe that the spirit required for black women now, is the spirit of courage.

Courage is required to admit hard things, heartbreaking things, things that quake the spirit and knock the knees. Courage to mourn and cry yet get on with the task at hand, the task of forging a new path and indeed starting over.

Yes there are things one would rather ignore or try to wish away, things you would prefer they be different than they are, and courage is required to realize that a reevaluation of principles, a change of plans and surrendering of closely held concepts and idea has to take place, in some cases, until you are 180 right around.

Courage is in its own way strength but it's essence is quite different from that underlying 'strong woman' which is about being able to take anything and put up with anything.

Black women need courage to admit they have been dupped and used by those they trusted and burnt bridges for, they need courage to admit that they can no longer remain in denial or keep pretending or keep holding out and hoping things will sort themselves out on their own, so they can continue along the path that was decided years ago. They need courage to admit that there has to be a change of framework, plans, actions, courage to relearn and retrain themselves in new ways of being and relating to the world, courage to forge new networks, family links and comfort zones. They need courage to take on the spirit of humilty required to re-establish contact with the rest of society and courage to get on with it now, and while they still can!

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18 comments:

April said...

FABULOUS POST.

Especially as a woman of a certain age, I read this and KNOW it to be true. It's all I can do not to give it ALL up now: searching for a mate, weight control (it isn't; I just happen to still be attractive enough for for folks to do the "not you" when I speak of being fat), doing my face and hair (not really; but, you get my point). I never desired children. Now, when I almost certainly cannot have them without birth defects? I mourn that I did not. I NOW would like to see what a bit of me would look like in the next generation. My parents are gone; I am alone and would've liked a lil' girl of our/their blood line to carry it on.

I also grew up when Black men were supposed to be our target population. So, today? Know that I am emotionally attached to a population that loathes me. I didn't get out when I had the leverage and power of my youth and healthy eggs.

Younger women are finding answers. I don't know what we older ones are to do, especially if we haven't aged like Angela Bassett, Tina Turner, or Vanessa Williams.

Why NOT overeat and stare off into the abyss with the only men I can get on a regular basis: Ben and Jerry? :o)

CW said...

Indeed!

Admittedly, I've stepped onto the washed out bridge...

Stepped onto the leaky boat...

Driven the car with bad brakes...

Got lost in 'The Foggy Forest'

But...When one finally sees they are lost that is the time to quickly change course...Take the life preserver!

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Courage means standing up for yourself against the entire dead black community model and being okay with that. It means opening your mind and changing your perspective. In almost every conversation I have with a majority of women in my family lately I hear the tapes of indoctrination spinning in their minds and how it has lowered the qualities of their lives in ways they don't even realize. Of course this is the same indoctrination amongst a majority of those residing there (physically & mentally). So I know I have changed because I would not have noticed the difference. It also takes courage to realize that majority will remain entrenched and we can't waste our few drops of water trying to relieve other people's thirst because we need them to preserve ourselves.

sistrunkqueen said...

I don't go to black functions anymore. I work at a predominatley black college. That is more than enough for me. What a great post Halima! I was glad to see the Free Your Mind seminar. I hope it was successful in LA. Black women need to get out of the matrix. I hope it is not too late with the recession and inflation. We just need to re-invent ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Good post, but here's the thing. I find that in the past 10 years or so, the non-Black community has been so interested in pleasing and uplifting Black men that it seems to have taken a page out of the Black community's book and become quite hostile to Black women. How do we deal with that?

foreverloyal said...

Anon @6:29, I haven't seen that. Non-blacks, generally, interested in "pleasing and uplifting" black men? Funny.

There has been a carelessness about disrespecting black women (generally. I don't have that problem much personally, but I have no problems letting people know I do not have to put up with their bs). That will lessen to a great degree when more black women impose sanctions for careless disrespect.

lisa99 said...

To Anon,

I don't see this phenomenon that you're talking about.

cool_splash1 said...

Good post, but here's the thing. I find that in the past 10 years or so, the non-Black community has been so interested in pleasing and uplifting Black men that it seems to have taken a page out of the Black community's book and become quite hostile to Black women. How do we deal with that?

I haven't really been seeing that. What I have been seeing is ww and other non-bw defending bm, but not most. WM and other men somewhat, but men are harsh on other men so I don't see much of that just like women can be harsh on other women.

GoldenAh said...

@anonymous 6:29 AM
>>...seems to have taken a page out of the Black community's book and become quite hostile to Black women


Are there any examples you care to cite for us?

Halima said...

I actually agree that the whole supporting black men over black women approach has rubbed off on mainstream.

Most liberals will not grant bw the space to articulate the issues of abuse and misuse from bm. Liberals do not acknowledge that bm are capable of oppressing bw, because in their narrowed framework of viewing these issues, they hold that any such accusations are a result of the racist mischaracterization of bm. thus they enable the continued misuse and abuse of bw because they refuse the coming to light of bw issues!

I remember when the CNN article about the IR blogs came out an few years back, one liberal writer proceeded to po po Evia's whole commentary about colorism and skin shade racism. this man refused to acknowlgedge that bm where armed and shooting at bw. thus bw are left voiceless and without recourse when their complaints are shut out!

Halima said...

April let me just say to you that you should never give up hope but instead redouble your efforts. Dont count yourself out of relationships, children etc till it is confirmed to be the case.

Let me also add that as humans we all will go through the seasons of life. We can live such fulfilled lives at every season, so yes you might no longer be in the spring and summer season that yields roses, but you can very much get the lilies and orchids of your nest season.

The season of child bearing might have passed, but there is so much more you can have from life.

Promise yourself that out of the ashes (the deception and pain of waking up to the truth), you will buld something magnificient and then go for it!

foreverloyal said...

"pleasing and uplifting", I believe, are the wrong terms.

Lip-service coddling and excuse-making, yeah there's that.

When WE stop being the main perpetrators of that, it will decrease drastically.

Taylor-Sara said...

Halima, excellent as usual! Your blog is on fire! And I want to add one more thing, I think we need the courage to admit that bm coming back would be the worst thing that could happen for many bw! We need the courage to LET GO, and move on... You are soooo right.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know where to stick it but a new blog on Miss Phantom's sci-fi writing.

http://thealliancesaga.blogspot.com/

S said...

"When WE stop being the main perpetrators of that, it will decrease drastically."

very true.
As soon as BW stop putting BM on pedestals and generally uplifting them and making them out to be some type of gods THEN and only then will the white liberal media stop embracing them and treating them like they are children...Honestly, it makes me cringe to watch when whites, espcecially white men, treat black men like they are naive, dumb,children "who don't know better".
Bm seem unaware of this which makes the whole thing even more uncomfortable, cringe worthy and EMBARRASSING to watch.
How anyone can find the majority of BM "manly" and "dominant" is beyond me.

Btw, did anyone watch Oprah's show on domestic violence when robin givens was on via skype? I thought it was SO interesting and i could tell oprah knows what's going on. If you watch that episode you probably know what i am talking about.
When robin givens was speaking, she was very keen on letting people know without touching on the BW/BM subject that MEN are responsible for OTHER men and women need to back off and she also stated that women need to leave dbr men and i loved how oprah was kind of cheering her on and adding stuff....like when robin givens mentioned p.diddy and usher, oprah kind of asked why she mentioned them and everytime robin was speaking she was adding her two cents and asking more questions , wanting robin to elaborate, it seems like she was pushing robin to say things SHE would never and probably COULD never say on her show.

I liked that side of oprah because i have never seen it before. The rhianna/chris brown incident she said how no men (black men) spoke out against chris...
All in all, i really believe Oprah has the best interest in BW and wouldn't be surprised if she surfed the internet reading BW empowering blogs herself...it's not impossible and i liked how she started a school in africa for GIRLS specifically.

I really wish she would be more vocal and not so afraid of losing her audience.
If she, robin givens, condoleeza rice, heck even the first lady, michelle obama, spoke out and talked about issues concerning BW wihtout trying to sugar coat it to please BM then i think we would progress faster.
We need people like Oprah to speak up and i'm sure oprah has recieved plenty of letters saying how she should have a show about BW's struggles within the B.C.
I know she wants too..she IS a BW afterall and even though she has trillions or whatever billions she has in her bank, she is STILL a BW and she HAS to know the danger BW are facing.
Robin given's seems to have gotten a clue...i don't know if you saw the pictures behind her while she was skyping on the oprah show but those kids were definitely NOT a product of a BM, they looked biracial to me....is she with a WM now? and oprah ofcourse commented on "how beautiful your children are"...hint, hint.

She definitely knows what's going on!

Anonymous said...

Cool splash, I agree with you about WW and non-BW defending BM, but I disagree with you that it is not most. On the contrary, it seems that a HUGE proportion of non-White females (Meaning mainly Hispanic, East Indian, and Midddle Eastern) have become the BM's biggest supporters. White females have been that of course for ages already.

As for men, sorry I do not agree their either. I see an attitude amongst White, Hispanic, and Asian males that the BM is the ultimate "Go-to" guy, the epitome of the cool, lady-killing action hero, etc. If you look at the male fan bases of your Will Smiths, Jay-Z's, Kobe Bryants, etc you will see they include huge numbers of non-Black males amongst them.

Anonymous said...

I actually agree that the whole supporting black men over black women approach has rubbed off on mainstream.

Most liberals will not grant bw the space to articulate the issues of abuse and misuse from bm. Liberals do not acknowledge that bm are capable of oppressing bw, because in their narrowed framework of viewing these issues, they hold that any such accusations are a result of the racist mischaracterization of bm. thus they enable the continued misuse and abuse of bw because they refuse the coming to light of bw issues!

I remember when the CNN article about the IR blogs came out an few years back, one liberal writer proceeded to po po Evia's whole commentary about colorism and skin shade racism. this man refused to acknowlgedge that bm where armed and shooting at bw. thus bw are left voiceless and without recourse when their complaints are shut out!

11:05 PM



THANK YOU Halima. It is so true and obvious everything you said in this post!

ak said...

I admire Sojourner Truth for being a dark skinned black woman who knew her own worth even during the post-slavery times she lived within. She didn't see any large and negative differences between herself and the white woman 'being helped down' in AIN'T I A WOMAN? .

Sojourner Truth didn't see why she couldn't be treated with respect, dignity, gentility, or be placed on a pedestal herself.