This is something that has been on my mind quite a bit in the last year or so. Too many brothers who I look up to and admire say one thing, but actually do the opposite. I have found that among the so called conscious community, we seem to be the most sexist and oppressive when it comes to our women. Many of us in the so called conscious community are closet misogynists but refuse to 'come out.' I also will refrain from defining "consciousness" because that term encompasses folks who are in so many belief systems and cultures that it would take an entire entry to specify. I do expect a large amount of backlash for this. Well, I make no apologies. I speak truth and dare anyone to prove me wrong. I am against the blame game but in this case, I have to make an exception because for some of us this is an issue of survival.
I enjoy building with my sister. She makes me look at things differently even when I am just listening to her speak, she causes the gears in my brain to turn. What's wonderful is that my sister challenges me. It's something that I applied to my friendships. All of her friends can agree with me on that. She is demanding but in a loving way. She asks the right questions and expects the truth. Anywhoos, one evening as I hung out with my sister and my wife, the topic somehow steered into the state of our relationships.
My sister pointed out that quite a few of my so called conscious brothers are failing so much when it comes to just even interacting with our sisters.My response of course was "well, I come from the school that every brother ain't a brother...""Well name me a few conscious brothers who are in functioning and committed relationships with sisters, " she answered. Now I know quite a few functioning and committed relationships. However, most of them are not with people I considered "conscious" or Pan Africanist in any way. I still love and appreciate them the same and don't treat them differently but when it comes to matters of black consciousness or Pan Africanism, I don't give them a call. So to be honest, I was speechless for a few minutes. I thought of only two. Two brothers who I know and love deeply who are in functioning and committed relationships. It is important that I emphasize the word "functioning" because I know quite a few people in dysfunctional relationships. So please keep that in mind. It's a shame that I even have to use that term. However, quite a few of the people I know are not in relationships that are healthy and some are in fact, dangerous. These are from the ones I know who consider themselves conscious.
We often speak of respecting our "Black queens." While this is well intentioned, it really misses the mark. When we say "queens," a good number of us mean "barefoot and pregnant" or we mean a white male patriarchal perception of that idea of womanhood (check "Fascinating Womanhood"). We want our "queens" to submit in more ways than one. While I dislike referring to myself as a "king," I think we need to be clear about how we throw those terms around. Inferring the term "queen," we further perpetuate the myth of the Black Superwoman (a blog post for yet another day). If a woman we encounter does that fit that standard, we deem her less than and consider her a "ho." When we think or say "queen," we even expect a dress code.This myth of the superwoman denies their humanity and does not allow them the freedom to choose. Women can be poets, playwrights, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, martial artists, etc. When calling them queens we are not allowing them that freedom to choose. It is just slavery by another name.
What bothers me the most however, is how I encounter many so called conscious brothers who masquerade as warriors but are really pimps. They read all the books, attend all the lectures, and know quite a few words in Metu Neter. Yet they seldom apply that information. Of course, there are charlatans in all cultures. However, many will kick the polygamy game or deflect blame onto the sisters. Many of us are also still caught up in the "it's none of our business" approach to our community and turn a blind eye to the abuse. We hold fast to the Christian ethos of being non judgemental despite our anti Christian rhetoric.
We speak of the importance of one of the principles of Ma'at,reciprocity, but continually fail to apply this even when we date. We want to take from our women but never want to give back. When a sister brings up a point, question, or rebuttal, we immediately dubbed them the dreaded "f" word (feminist) and call them all things eurocentric. If the sister is not singing our song of patriarchy and male privilege, they are quickly shunned. There is a reason why women find a good number of us Pan Africanist types full of nonsense and just as bad as those found on corners.The solutions are simple. We need to hold one another to the standards we are kicking. If I say I am ACTIVELY conscious, I implore those who are on my side to hold me accountable. Reciprocity dictates that I do the same for them. If there are snakes in our temple, we need to flush them out. We need to shun these charlatans and exile them. We know how to do it, we do it to the sisters all the time. We need to give our sisters breathing room. Heck, we need to give them air time on the mic at those lectures. We also need lend a hand in child rearing and household chores. It's about balance right? We must never justify spousal abuse. I often hear too many of joke about it or attempt to justify it.
In the end, it is all about uplifting our community. That is what we need to remember. We are on the same team. It won't work without one another.
Dan Tres Omi
For your photography needs visit http://ctmphotoandvideo.com/