Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Sunday Spirit: I'm Sorry Black America; I'm Not Convinced That We Love ...


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via ENVISION THIS! by Yolo on 5/9/10

We say we love our mothers so much in the black community. We sing praises to the single mothers who have "tirelessly" and "selflessly" dedicated their lives to the well being of their children. We sing, pray and shout time and time again about the martyrdom of black mothers.

Phrases such as "She gave up everything for us" or " She never had anything for herself, just to make sure we had" are posted all over face book and twitter. These posts celebrate black women who gave up their lives, their well being, their spirit, their joy and their happiness to serve as martyrs for the black community.

A community that has still not addressed the high degrees of rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and street harassment that black mothers encounter everyday.
In fact; According to the Washington Violence against women Network, African American women constitute 8% of the U.S. population, but account for 20% of the intimate partner homicide victims.

This is also A community that has still not addressed the pervasive ways in which the sons of our black mothers often exploit, manipulate and abuse our mothers.

A community that still says, when a black mother is abused that it is "their business."

A community that has still chosen to endorse a doctrine of black women are "too strong" berating black women for their resilience even as they are enshrined for it.

So,I'm sorry black America. I cannot participate in this illusion.

Cause I am not thoroughly convinced that we love our mothers.

Let me share more.

1)If we loved black women we'd challenge "The Strong Black Woman" Concept:

In one of the Men's Education Classes I taught at Men Stopping Violence, I asked a young brotha about his relationship to the mother of his kids and their children. He aptly told me "He hadn't talked to them in months, but that he knew she was a strong black woman and that she could handle it all."
This infuriated me. How many black heterosexual men have done this? Believed this? How many of our mothers have been abandoned by the fathers of their children because he knew she could handle it because she was after all, a strong black woman?

The myth of the strong black woman has denied black women their wholeness even as it has empowered many women to achieve success. However, looking at the undesirable effects of this doctrine, we can see the cost of being the "backbone of the family" ( which often ends up meaning, sacrificing yourself instead of balancing your own health and needs with others) is depression, dis-ease, and despair. We must all learn to balance our own needs with others and the strong black woman myth has not helped black women understand this. We have not supported and do not support the well being of black women, single mothers or otherwise, when we continually promote self sacrifice instead of supporting self actualization.

2) If we loved Black Mothers we'd end Black Homophobia:

Because all mothers are not heterosexual. Lesbian, bisexual and Trans African American women have been raising black children as well. When the church advocates that gay people are "sinful" or "evil" it is not showing love for black mothers. It is not showing love for the many trans, lesbian and gender queer individuals who have taken it upon themselves to raise the Trans, Gay and Lesbian children that many heterosexual black communities have abandoned. As far as I'm concerned, Addressing Homophobia is a Mothers Day Act.

2) If We Loved Black Mothers we would stop preaching to heterosexual women that they don't have worth unless they have a man.
I think this heading says it all.

3)If We Loved Black Mothers Wed Stop Supporting Them in Being Martyrs:

Black women need to take care of themselves. We need to help take care of black women as well. Black women are not "the mules of the world" ; beings placed here for our use, casual praise and continual abuse. We need to support black mothers taking care of themselves year round-whether those needs are dietary, psychological, spiritual or otherwise. We need to encourage black women to follow their own dreams and celebrate their own worth not just as mothers; but as autonomous human beings.

If we really love our mothers like we say we do; then I believe it's time we start showing it in practice and not just in theory. I suggest we get really serious about creating a more loving reality for our mothers by challenging these realities in policy; theory and in action.

So one day African American Mothers; and further more, ALL mothers everywhere; can truly have a Happy, Happy Mothers day.



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