Black Women Going Their Own Way: A 21st Century Tale of Two Birds
An African-Centered Critique of Black Women’s Empowerment, Online Gender Wars, and the Hollywood Elite, Pro-Miscegenation Campaign
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.
One such matter is the relationship between Black women and Black men, and the contempt we’ve been socialized to have for one another. While this is a topic that has been discussed extensively over the past 50 years, the discussions have largely been framed in a manner that divorces the conflict from the global system of racial caste (i.e. Structural Racism). Said differently, the hostility between Black women and Black men is fundamentally rooted in systemic racism, however, this reality is often ignored in the dialogue.
According to the late Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, “white supremacy… is the fundamental cause of the failed relationships between Black males and Black females, and our failure to analyze this dynamic,deeply, is a tragedy.” Using the following analysis, I’ll attempt to demonstrate to the reader the ways in which the gender divide is maintained in our community, by exploring the following: 1.) The Link between Black Women’s Empowerment & white supremacy; 2.) The Origins of the Gender Conflict in Black America; and 3.) The role of the Hollywood (liberal) elite, and their campaign to reproduce whiteness through miscegenation.
The Link between Black Women’s Empowerment & white supremacy
If you haven’t done so already, please take a moment to read the above twitter response from the popular Natural Hair Care blogger, KimmayTube. I’ve included it here as an entry point to discuss the growing trend in Black Women’s Empowerment (BWE), advocating for the dissolution of Black Women and Black Men as a pathway to freedom for Black women (#DivestorDie).
While this is a nonsensical approach to dealing with issues created by structural racism, there is a growing stream of young, and impressionable Black women being brought into this movement everyday. By no means will this writing serve as a stop-gap measure to triage the bleeding of African women from the African-American collective. However, I do feel it necessary to provide an analysis of the BWE movement, in a way that links it to the longer arc of European vehicles used to the manage the Black population.
Why is this important?
According to Dr. Nah Dove, Africana Womanist, lecturer, and Black Studies Scholar, “all discourse on relationships between men and women must be examined through the prism of white racial supremacy. If one fails to see that this is the dominant thrust of Western culture, then there will be no understanding of the cultural underpinnings of relationships between black men and black women.” Said differently, white supremacy as a system is multifaceted in its approach. Through the use of force (legislative, physical, and other) it imposes a myriad of systems on captive populations to organize society in a manner where the weak are subjected to the whims of the strong. Ultimately, these systems converge to ensure that white racial domination is maintained, and the captive population is either eliminated, or absorbed over a period of time.
If we examine Black gender dynamics through this lens, we are more apt to understand how the dysfunction between Black men and Black women is not a mere glitch in the matrix, it is a critical component of the design. This understanding is clearly missing in the solutions proposed by the architects of the BWE movement, and it is most certainly a fatal flaw in their analysis.
The misuse of data in the BWE analysis
It should be noted that I’ve previously written about the causes behind the Black gender gap, as well as the strategic intent behind its existence. I too have arrived at my conclusions after careful consideration, thoughtfulness, and strategy based on data. However, there is a stark difference between the types of data used in my analysis, and the data used by KimmayTube.
For instance, KimmayTube relies strictly on quantitative data produced by articles, and sociological journals that highlight the disparities between Black women, and their white counterparts. Even though these disparities can be directly attributed to structural racism, KimmayTube has never produced a critical analysis of white supremacy, and its effects on the lives & well being of Black women.
To the contrary, she skirts the issue of structural racism, and provides very little historical contextualization behind the statistical data used to reinforce her position — Black women should marry-out as a means of upward mobility and survival.
In contrast, my arguments are often supported by historical comparisons, quantitative data, and the writings of Black thinkers who have dedicated their lives to studying this problem. My approach recognizes that both black men and black women are being crushed by the same structures, and it would be foolhardy of us to blame each other for the wounds inflicted by this system. I try not to write in a way that is antagonistic to black women, because I understand that our closeness is essential to our survival as a people. Therefore, when I write about the relationship between Black women and Black men, it is always from a perspective that seeks to strengthen/heal, not disrupt, our bond. This position is completely antithetical to the stated aims and objectives of the BWE movement, as detailed below by prominent spokeswoman, Eve Sharon Moore(Note — BAW is short for Black American Women):
SOLUTIONS: (1) More BAW must marry out/choose quality significant others from out-groups as well as (2) form, support, and join Intentional Communities (IC) and/or organizations that place a high priority on combining various resources and supporting the key interests of BAW and similar others who support us, and (3) separate mentally, and if possible physically from other blacks who won’t support these solutions. I’ve been stressing these solutions from my earliest blogs back in 2006. At the very least, BAW should see the vast majority of other blacks as of NO Value or Minimal Value and NEVER support them because they’re not doing anything tangible to uplift BAW. Cut them loose. But don’t broadcast this. Just DO it. Stop telling everybody what you’re going to do. Just DO it. Don’t waste time and energy arguing with others. Wish them well and let them go their own way.
A tale of two birds
It is for this reason that I chose to frame my critique as a tale of two birds; The Egyptian Plover, and European Cuckoo to be exact.
The function these two birds play in nature is very different. The plover functions as a healer, and flies into the mouth of an alligator (dangerous terrain) to remove bacteria from it’s teeth. The cuckoo, on the other hand, is a predator, and preys on unsuspecting birds who’ve built their own nest. When the expecting mother leaves her nest unattended, the cuckoo swoops in, and lays her own egg. When the cuckoo’s hatchling emerges from the egg, it tosses the eggs of the unsuspecting mother from the nest. The mother will nurse the baby cuckoo until it’s ready to leave the nest, unaware that the life of her own progeny was ended before it started. In this way, the actions of the cuckoo closely mirror the aims and objectives of the Black Women’s Empowerment Movement. These women prey on unsuspecting sisters, and enlist them as unconscious agents in the reproduction of white supremacy.
Note — This is not at all uncommon within the BWE movement. The following quote is from the website of Prominent spokeswoman and author, Eve Sharon Moore:
Since I’m viewed as a BWE pioneer and since my writings focused on black women marrying outside their ethnic and racial group (interculturally and interracially) as one way of using all options to broaden or elevate their lives, many people confused BWE with the increase in black women dating and marrying interracially and some began to portray the BWE movement as a way of proselytizing for Black women to marry white men. Most of the confusion was deliberate, done to detract from the crucial need for black women’s empowerment by entangling it with the hot-button issue of race.
It’s important to understand that discussions of race/racism within the BWE movement are avoided at all cost. In fact, denial of race/racism is a common theme by the Black parties in interracial pairings:
If we are to ever bring an end to this unending gender war, we’ll need a lot more plovers (healers) to combat the congress of cuckoo’s (predators), seeking to infiltrate the minds of our daughters.
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
Over the past 50 years, there’s been a small contingent of writers in academia who’ve set themselves to the task of revising the historical relationship between Black men and Black women. This project was largely a response to accusations of the erasure, of Black women, by Black men, during the Civil Rights Movement — but it marked a paradigmatic shift in Black gender relations that completed shifted the tide. It’s important that we start with this project, because it set in motion an intra-community divide that didn’t exist prior to the 70’s; based on firsthand accounts of women from the period.
According to Dr. Valethia Watkins, “black women en masse have historically rejected the notion that they share interests in common with white women, which supersede the cultural unity, common interests, and interdependence they share with Black men.” The exception to this rule came in the early 70’s, when the aforementioned group of writers began the construction of a new narrative that pitted the black male against the black female in our collective fight for liberation.
With the gender line drawn, Black men were depicted as misogynistic rapists, and tools of white supremacy (i.e. oppressors); while Black women were cast as willing victims, and the unappreciated workhorses of the race.
This loose band of writers laid the foundation for what would become the modern day Black Feminist movement. By the end of the 70’s, they were officially recognized as the authorities on all discourse regarding Black gender dynamics. While still a very small segment within our collective, this group received significant institutional support, and amplification for their doctrine of racial suicide.
What unfolded over the next three decades was an unrelenting war, between black men, and black women, which was fought on a wide range of mediums:
- Books and Film during the late 80's/early 90's
- 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
For the most part, Black men remained on the defensive for the first two decades. The following video shows one of the rare occasions Black men were given a platform to counter the racist caricatures being repackaged, and deployed by the Black feminist movement.
What was far more common, especially during the last decade of the 20th century, was an endless parade of Black women being broadcast on national television expressing their disdain for Black men.
The “White men are nicer, and take better care of me” argument, displayed in the video above, is a talking point that still has conversational currency in today’s online exchange.
The scales always even out
As the old adage goes, chickens always come home to roost, and in the first decade of the new millennium, they came home with a vengeance. Black men who came of age in the previous two decades, would finally have a chance to repay the offense, and the debt would not go unpaid. In the early days of YouTube, there quickly arose a small group of Black MenCels, amassing a huge following, based on their shared hate for Black women.
There’s a strange irony to their emergence, in that, Michele Wallace paints a similar picture as the initial cause of the conflict between Black women, and Black men during the Civil Rights Movement. The following excerpt is from her book, Black Macho. In this particular excerpt, she’s explaining how Black men responded to Black women when they were finally given the opportunity to assert their manhood during the 60's. Michele is arguing that Black men of the period felt as though they were maligned by their women, who had worked in tandem with white men to “cripple”, “work against”, “betray”, “laugh at”, and “scorn” them.
“There was a misunderstanding between the black man and the black woman, a misunderstanding as old as slavery; the I.O.U was finally being called in. Apart from some occasional drunken ranting on a street corner, the black man had held his silence admirably for centuries. The Moynihan Report, as preposterous a document as it was, combined with the heady atmosphere of the times to loosen the Black man’s tongue… This report did not create hostility. It merely helped to bring the hostility to the surface.”
Released in 1979, Black Macho became one of the foundational text of Black feminism. If we take Wallace’s work to be true, the response from Black men in the early 2000’s, may very well have marked the start of the 2nd wave of gender conflict in the Black Community.
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.
Through the use of clever hashtags like #NotYourMule, #DivestorDie, and #BurnTheCape the Black FemCel community has enlisted a new crop unsuspecting young women into their suicidal war.
What’s most unseemly about their methods of recruitment is that the young girls being recruited have often experienced real trauma. This emotional pain is manipulated to convince potential recruits that Black men have rejected, abandoned,and betrayed them. Much like their MenCel counterparts, feelings of betrayal seems to be the activating agent that sends them to the front-lines of the gender war. With embers of hate set ablaze in their hearts, the new recruits are deployed to the timeline to release their harvest of rage.
Everyday on twitter, there are new accounts appearing, that are solely dedicated to spreading FemCel propaganda.
These agents of chaos are taking great pleasure in driving the wedge, deeper, between Black women and Black men.
In a week where the Black community was absolutely distraught over the killing of 19-year old, Oluwatoyin Salau, the timeline was flooded with videos, depicting extreme acts of violence against Black women. While most people would think it impossible to find a silver lining in such pain, there was one segment of twitter that was overcome with jubilation.
The BWE community was celebrating the weeks events, because their ministry of divestment had finally reached a critical mass. The messaging being sent out to young black women was clear: Black Men are not a part of your community; Black men are your oppressor; and Black men must be brought to their knees, for their crimes against Black women.
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.
“The Spaniards, invincible in their shining armor, paralyzed with terror the people still dwelling in the age of bronze and polished stone. With ridiculous ease mere handfuls of whites overthrew empires and forded it like gods over servile and adoring multitudes… Having slaughtered the Indian males or brigaded them in slave-gangs, the Conquistadors took the Indian women to themselves. The humblest man-at-arms had several female attendants, while the leaders became veritable pashas with great harems of concubines.”
— T. Lothrop Stoddard; The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy
After rebranding themselves as the paragons of civility, and humanitarianism, the white liberal elite set themselves to the task of developing new methods to “cleanse” its population. By the beginning of the 19th century, a consensus was reached among the liberal elite, as to the agreed upon best practices for Negro removal.
This newly adopted strategy still relied heavily on reducing, or imprisoning the population of Black men, but the bleeding of the population would be completed over a much longer period of time.
Ordinary white Americans thus rejected any form of black-white mixing. By the early nineteenth century, then supporters of selective mixed marriages belonged to a small class of men with an intimate knowledge of Enlightenment thinking. For example, the marquise de Chastellux observed of Jeffersonian Virginia that the “best expedient [to eradicating blackness]would be to export a large number of [black] males… and to encourage the marriage of white men with [black] females.” In this process, white men became the active sexual and cultural agents, engendering racial transformation and betrothing social status, while black women passively gave birth to progressively lighter-colored babies.
— Gregory D. Smithers; Science, Sexuality, and Race in the US and Australia, 1780s-1890s
This new approach to ethnic cleansing represented the best enlightenment thinking of the time, and the scientific method was used to prove it efficacy.
Note: The following image below is a mathematical equation that was developed by Thomas Jefferson, to prove that “Negro Blood” could be removed within three generations of assortative mating.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the educated elite in American society began to form organizations to promote the benefits the white race could attain, by absorbing Negro blood into their DNA.
A large and flourishing society soon sprang up under the appropriate title of the “Modern Order of Miscegenationists.” The first society being formed in Boston, others sprang up rapidly throughout the State of Massachusetts, and from there the contagion spread throughout all New England…
Here in the North, we have a finer sense of the beautiful. Dark blood, in the estimation of the Northmen, instead of tainting, purifies. A man whose veins are coursed by a certain amount of dark blood, and whose skin is correspondingly dark is believed to be a superior being.
Many of our best orators have been advocating this mixture for some time. Wendel Phillips can’t see why a negro is not the equal of a white man, and, in many instances, why he has not proved himself superior. When coalescesion takes place he believes that the excellent properties of Sambo’s component parts are intensified and the sluggish material of the white man purified and renovated.
This idea has been fully embraced by the leading thinkers of today’s BWE movement, who have cheerfully accepted their role in birthing the ‘new super race.’
The following two excerpts show just how common tragic arrangements were during the Antebellum period, among free blacks, and white women and men of power:
A racial analysis of the free Negroes involved in these interracial alliances reveals yet other nuances of the Anglo Alabama psyche. Both male and female whites involved in open relationships were considerably more prone to select mulatto mates than black ones. No instance has been found in which a white female established an open relationship with a black male, and only 13 percent of the white males who lived openly with a Negro female or acknowledge father a child by one had chose a black female as his concubine. Such statistics indicate that subtle caste differences did exist in Anglo Alabama and that the well-known racial philosophy of Latin America, which regarded mulattoes as more socially acceptable than pure blacks, did have some counterpart in Anglo America.
…the rich or well-to-do white men belonging to the churches in Buckinham County, Virginia, indulged in polygamy. They raised one family by a white women, and another by a colored…
One day the foreman of the factory, a polygamous deacon of the local white Baptist Church, called the workmen together at noon for a short memorial service in honor of Parson Taylor, for almost half a century the pastor of the large white Baptist church in that section. The foreman made some remarks on the life of the distinguished minister, and then all sang “Shall We Meet Beyond the River?” But “to save his life” the author [Carter G. Woodson] could not restrain himself from wondering all that time whether the foreman’s white wife or colored paramour would greet him on the other side, and what a conflict there would be if they happened to get into an old-fashioned hair-pulling.
— Carter G. Woodson, Miseducation of the Negro
By the early 20th century, a tacit agreement between whites, and mixed-race/upper-class “Blacks” was in place: “a final solution of the problem of the Negro in America” would be achieved by “a fusion of the upper class Negroes with the lower class whites.”
This abandonment of the Black masses, by mixed-race Blacks, is something that scholars like W.E.B Du Bois was vocally critical of throughout his lifetime:
“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.
The role of the modern Hollywood elite
The racist white American film industry, has long functioned as the propaganda arm of the State, shaping the consciousness of its citizenry to accept and maintain white rule. The tastes, and acceptable behaviors of modern society are dictated by this industry.
In no case was this more evident, than their remaking of the image of dark skin Black men, following the 1975 film, Mandingo.
Before this film, dark skin Black men were subjected to many of the colorists sentiments, that dark skin Black women still face to this day.
Assata Shakur tells the story of turning down a childhood friend for being “too dark and ugly.”
After the film, the appeal of dark skin Black men, was virtually transformed over night. Light-skin men were out, and Denzel and Wesley Snipes were in.
A very similar treatment is currently underway, as it pertains to shifting the attitudes of the population around “interracial” dating. You can’t turn on your TV without seeing a commercial, a sitcom, or movie that is promoting these relationships. What makes the attack even more grotesque, is that it’s accompanied by an army of tweets calling for the death of Black men, or castigating heterosexual Black women who choose to date Black men.
The propaganda we’re seeing today, is very purposeful. In the past, the limiting factor in promoting these relationships was the racism of broader society. In today’s society, it is very clear that the white population in America will become a numerical minority, by the year 2050. As a result, the gender war we’re seeing playing out in Black America, is a necessary evil for the reproduction of white America.
The enlisting of Black women for the production of a surplus population is a practice that can be traced back to slavery, but unlike our ancestors, the american propaganda machine, not the whip, has coerced our women into “voluntary” service.