Black Women Going Their Own Way: A 21st Century Tale of Two Birds

To my daughter, Naima. Through your wisdom, courage and beauty, you continue to inspire me daily. Love Dad.


As Black writers we’re often tasked with exploring the most difficult questions pertaining to the future of our race. When done well, our explorations of racial phenomena should achieve one of two things: (1) Serve as a call-to-action for the current generation; or (2) Serve as a warning to a future one. The best writers in our tradition have always managed to accomplish both, while simultaneously leaving an indelible mark on our collective consciousness. In an effort to carry forward such a rich tradition, I’ve often looked to their writings before attempting to broach certain topics of discussion.

The Link between Black Women’s Empowerment & white supremacy

Egyptian Plover on the Left. Flies into the mouth of an alligator to clean bacteria from it’s teeth; The European Cuckoo on the right, perched high atop a tree, scouting a birds nest to lay her own eggs.

Origins of the Gender Conflict in Black America (Pre-BWE)

“The more I watched how boys and girls behaved, the more I read and the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that this behavior could be traced directly back to the plantation.” (Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur)

“There was a misunderstanding between the black man and the black woman, a misunderstanding as old as slavery…” (Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman by Michele Wallace)

If there is any one singular indictment that I can point to regarding the leaders of the BWE movement, it would be their complete and utter disregard for the historical events that have shaped our present condition. I believe it was Dr. Carter G. Woodson who once stated, “the conditions of today have been determined by what has taken place in the past.” When it comes to the current state of affairs between Black women and Black men, our assessment of the past should be the determining factor behind any recommendations proposed to the group. If our recommendations are lacking, or in the case of BWE, woefully inadequate, it is in large part due to our failing to take a sober account of the epochs that have preceded us. A lack of historical memory will retard the upward mobility of any race of people, but a false historical memory is even more damning.

“Lack of historical memory will retard the upward mobility of any race of people, but a false historical memory is even more damning.”

The ahistorical trap

  • Day time television and Film during the late 90's/ early 00's
  • And finally the Internet and Social Media in the late 00's/ early 10’s

Social Media, and the 21st Century battlefield: “The Hate that Hate Produced”

“… it would seem that there is a crisis of immense and serious proportions in the Black male/Black female relationship in the final decades of the 20th century.. During the past decade, this apparent problem has been siminared, dialogued, discussed, debated, probed and shouted about from every conceivable angle. Innumerable remedies have been proposed. No matter from what angle this issue is approached, the problems don’t disappear. Instead, they seem to multiply, and the alienation between the Black male and the Black female just increases. If Black male/Black female alienation is not resolved, is there hope for a meaningful future for the Black race?”

— Dr. Frances Cress Welsing

The present-day conflict on social media has taken the, long-standing, internecine war of the genders to new heights. It doesn’t take much to see that the online arena will be the final frontier in the battle of the sexes — and any astute observer will assure you that after the dust settles, white supremacy will be the final outcome.

Hollywood Elite & the Reproduction of Whiteness

“In our further discussion of the means in Negro population policy we might start out from the desire of the politically dominant white population to get rid of the Negroes. This is a goal difficult to reach by approved means… A high death rate is an unhumanitarian and undemocratic way to restrict the Negroe population and, in addition, expensive to society… The only possible way of decreasing Negro population is by means of controlling fertility.

In sum, if America does not turn fascist, the numerically and politically dominant white population will be driven by its national ethos to abstain from taking any practical measures to realize its desire to decrease the Negro population. Instead, it will be compelled to extend to he Negroes the population measures taken primarily to build up the white population.”

— American dilemma: the Negro problem and modern democracy; Gunnar Myrdal

An American Dilemma. Having white washed its history books of the wholesale slaughter of Native Americans, the liberal white supremacists of this nation could not bring themselves to sanction the mass-killing of another non-white group on American soil. Historically, European nations have achieved the removal of unwanted populations through the systemic genocide and enslavement of racialized males.

“Have we in America a distinct mission as a race — a distinct sphere of action and an opportunity for race development, or is self-obliteration the highest end to which Negro blood dare aspire?” — W.E.B Du Bois (Conservation of Races, 1897)

“We would always if possible marry lighter-hued people so as to have children who are not identified with the Negro race, and thus solve one racial problem in america by committing racial suicide. More or less clearly this possibility has been in he minds of Negroes in the past although not assented to by all.” — W.E.B Du Bois (Whither now and why, 1960)

Unfortunately, the race towards whiteness has gone unabated, passing the baton from generation to generation, as we approach the final lap.



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