Bash Mister’s Head Open…

Did you finish it!?

I know you know it.

“…and think about Heaven later!”

Amen!

Everyday it seems, there is a moment that highlights for me the strength and resilience of Black women who stand in their Blackness and their womanhood. Today was no different. Today’s manifestation gave me greater insight on two groups I don’t belong to… black women (as distinctly opposed to Black women) and coy White women. As women, we couldn’t be more different.

So Black women don’t have the luxury of privilege and protection that White women do or the luxury of patriarchal privilege that White men do. We have to stand up, put our hands on our hips, and let our backbones slip with some stank on it… particularly professionally and socially. We are at the height of a pandemic where simple things like using safety measures to protect oneself are discouraged by our world leader, when the pandemic is having its most major affect in racially diverse and heavily populated areas. We have to be real clear on where we stand. Black people are continually brutalized and murdered by wayward police officers, so we have to be real clear on where we stand. Our incumbent President can’t open his mouth to declare white supremacy a human rights violation, so we have to be real clear on where we stand. We also have to be clear on who we stand in fellowship with, allow in our circle and blindly support.

For clarity, black women belong to the Black racial group but they often see their racial culture as secondary to the other cultures they belong to… women, evangelical Christian, wealthy, whatever. So instead of experiencing their race and sex and class and culture intersectionally, they backseat their Blackness. So they find themselves often in some sort of struggle when they have to defend and stand up in their Blackness with their evangelical, wealthy, White cohorts. People they usually have more affinity to than folks who look like them.

Data shows… White evangelicals overwhelmingly voted for Trump, at 76%. 55% of White women voted against their own interests to vote for Trump with 61% of White men. 54% of those who make over $100K did as well. (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/03/us/elections/exit-polls-president.html). So if these are your folks, you need to know these facts. If you are a black woman, you have to get real clear about where your faith and your tolerance collide. Personally I see no issue. God commands us to love, so as God’s soldier you mandated and indoctrinated with the purpose of calling out hate, whether it is rooted in race, gender, sexual orientation, class, whatever. You should have no problem condemning hate and every instance of it… socially, professionally, even politically. That’s the cause you take up as an evangelical. But again numbers don’t lie… so look your White evangelical friends and colleagues and customers in the face… be real clear or not, the choice is yours. But when they spit back racist, sexist, homophobic, classist vitriol… and you’ve been silent…

“… in yo face/open yo mouth, give you a taste.” -Missy Elliot

It is most likely that 76% of your White Christian friends see you as “a good black” and are okay with the rest of us jungle heathens going back to hellhole countries despite having a much larger ancestral claim to America, as we know it, than they do. If you are okay with that… sobeit. You black, it’s all good. But if you are Black, this is your friendship mantra, and you aren’t afraid to go tell it on the mountain…

“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” -James Baldwin

Be clear, I have friends and acquaintances of many a hue. However I’m very clear about how differently we are allowed to see life. Some shit I can’t ignore or blindly accept. Other shit I just cannot do. Unless I’m surrounded by folks who look like me who make decisions, chances are I’m going to be seen as a problem professionally. I’m smart, assertive, outspoken, and equally skilled and talented. I’ve had to learn how to fight for me. I don’t have the luxury of whining and looking for barriers of protection. But white women…

Do.

On more than one occasion I have witnessed a White woman’s response to mistreatment or unfairness. It’s like watching her sink in quicksand, hand just outstretched, no fight, no struggle, just this assurance she’d be saved. Often she was. But now I know why it took so long to let women become soldiers… cuz they (White women because Black women been fighting) are gonna scream, drop their weapon, and go hide behind their captain. It’s the same way they vote for their husband’s instead of their own… phantom protection. Be clear sis… he likely dislikes you more than he dislikes Tyrone. Racism is rooted in American society, Sexism is rooted in the American family.

So while coy white women , cuz White women like Black women are not a monolith, are trying to show integrity to people who will lie to them and sabotage them, mainly White men… they willingly shrink instead of bossing up to fight. And for a Black woman who is used to being second guessed, called to prove her worth, sabotaged because I’m so fucking dope and they know it… that captain save me, lily livered, weakassery has no place in my life and it just sounds like desperation and quitting had a baby named Sarah. Stop it. Put on those big girl panties he hates so much and grab a choppa. Blow up his spot by calling out his sexism and highlighting his each and every wrong. Don’t shrink, grow up and strap on your Nancy Sinatra boots. Walk all over his ass!

“For most of history, anonymous was a woman.”-Virginia Woolf

As a woman free from her chains, it’s partially my job to show other women their own… so they can recognize them as chains and break free. This isn’t a condemnation, it’s a truth telling. So share this with your black women and coy White women friends…

Defeminization

I love men… they get on my nerves, but I love them. Like many men are just in awe of the female spirit, form, and beauty… I love male energy. Hair on the face, muscles in the arms, verified members of the #strongbacksociety, and a lil bravado… a star is born! That masculinity, cloaked in strength and pride, is very easy to break with any feminine reference. If you have ever told a man he was acting like a girl, or worse called him a bitch, you’ve seen the cracks forming as he goes from 0-100 in defense of his manhood and rejection of any semblance of being similar to the softness of a woman he wants so much.

I was talking to a girlfriend and she noted that the break of the male ego, often termed emasculation, had no female counterpart. That no matter what was said to women, it wasn’t looked at as some attack on her womanhood. As if only fractured manhood was problematic.

It got me to thinking…

In that same conversation we discussed chivalry and the general belief that it stems from some patriarchal bullshit regarding a woman being ultimately weak and emotional. Based in feudalism and times when only white women were put on pedestals to keep their feet free from sharks in the life waters beneath… too soft and stupid to defend themselves… it doesn’t lend itself to every woman.

And it dawned on me: the same way the threat against white male supremacy is often juxtaposed against the men they seek to claim are not real patriarchs (black men, poor white men, and the male allies of women), the threat of emasculation is often only socially claimed by men against the very women they seek to claim are less than women… feminists and women of color.

There is a reason why women of color and feminists tend to reject chivalric code… it was generally never meant for us! And our independence, strong sense of self, and rise against the patriarchy is a threat to their manhood. It is only upon our subjugation that their manhood is built.

Defeminization is historic.

It’s the reason slave women were relegated to objects of work. Even when white men desired slave women sexually, they claimed it as simply adding to the slave population. It’s the reason Black women’s bodies were put on display. It’s the reason why white abolitionists such as Susan B Anthony, Sarah Grimké, and Lucretia Mott were never married. Other famous abolitionists women Angelina Grimké, Elizabeth Candy Stanton, and Harriet Beecher Stowe were married to fellow abolitionists and preachers. White businessmen who profited from slavery would never have married them. These women weren’t seen as delicate and feminine, as Sojourner Truth, stated:

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? 

More modern day feminists like Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Angela Davis, and even Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama were criticized for their looks, compared aesthetically to animals, and despite how attractive they may have been to many, likened to men to somehow twist their powerful and on point messages to male bashing.

Yet it doesn’t end with feminists.

No group of women has been as defeminized than Black women, to the point where many of us don’t feel deserving of the care and protection that a man is biblically called upon to show us. Through the systematic emasculation of our men, we have become the workers of our communities: the teachers, the doctors, the parents, the providers. It becomes difficult to nurture ourselves and allow ourselves to be nurtured. While our men were tilling fields day in and out, we worked, with a baby latched on one hip and one breast, pulling off cotton with one hand and snapping beans into a basket near our feet with the other. When our men were being laid off of industrial jobs, we got jobs and came home with broken nails and corns. While they were filling up prisons, we took care of whole houses ourselves. As they are being gunned down, we mourn them one day and return to a life of toil the next. There’s a whole argument about Black women getting Father’s Day cards… it’s real!

Most of us don’t recognize chivalry, we aren’t totally familiar with it, and we don’t want it encroaching on our independence. Many women reject a man’s coat over the puddle because she isn’t and has no desire to be treated like a dainty porcelain figurine. Hell, we don’t even have that shit as tchotchkes in our house. We work hard at being dope AF… and there is nothing weak about that. But weakness as femininity is a fallacy. Being a woman, is not just one thing, it is as diverse as we are. Tall, short, Amazonian or petite, straight or queer, thin or plus, creative, nerdy, intellectual, goth, bohemian, witty, blond, blond or brunette, girly or androgynous, modern or traditional. All of it beautiful and phenomenal!

Those of us on the short end of defeminization must remember that all men are not white supremacists. All men don’t seek to control women. Some men appreciate our strength and independence, and most men recognize our beauty and power. Despite women of color being seen as too strong, too loud, and too everything and feminists being seen as hairy, braless, men haters, there is someone who wants to give us the space and place to be just who we are, a woman. That isn’t a bad thing!

I have come to accept and appreciate it, because after all…

To my sista … allow him to treat you with all of the tenderness that he can muster, love and honor you as his check mate, the Queen, and to protect you like a lion, the King.