Sunday, December 14, 2008

Table Talk for Activists, Part 1: Support Principles, NOT Individuals

This essay is contained in my new book. I'm delighted to announce that The Sojourner's Passport site has launched! You can visit it at http://www.sojournerspassport.com/.

Everyone, I can't thank you enough for your ongoing encouragement and support; I truly appreciate it. Your support is what made this possible. And here's a special shout-out to my web designers at Educo Web Design. They're nice people to deal with, and they do outstanding work!

Peace and blessings,
Khadija Nassif
_____________________________________

We now have several generations of African-Americans who have never "come up" through, or experienced for themselves, the discipline of an actual social movement. Most of us have only seen social activism from the perspective of an outsider watching a television soundbite from some "big man" spokesperson/leader. Most of us have never seen the "nuts and bolts" of social activism. Nor have most of us made any real effort to study what happened with our predecessors in any great detail. I can see the negative effects of these deficits in some of the cyber-activism that I've witnessed over the past year or so.

One negative effect is that we are often reinventing wheels. Another effect is that we are being deceived and duped by the same anti-justice strategies that were in operation during the 1950s and 1960s.

Yet another effect is the general failure to think these matters through to the detriment of whatever efforts we are pursuing. I am NOT any sort of expert on activism. However, I was blessed to have participated in the anti-apartheid struggle when I was in college. Looking at what's going on now, I realize just how precious that experience was. For all of the above reasons, I feel the need to share what little experience I have. I feel the need for us to talk about some things related to activism.

To that end, let's have an ongoing series of "table talks" about the nuts and bolts of activism. Starting with Strategy #1: Support Principles, NOT Individuals.

Modern African-Americans are not the same type of people as our ancestors. We can see that just in comparing how resourceful our ancestors were versus how helpless we've learned to be. This fact has implications for activism. Aspiring activists need to recognize that modern Black victims of atrocities are NOT the same as past atrocity victims.

Modern Black victims of an atrocity will often behave in ways that are NOT helpful, and are actually contrary, to the cause of justice. The modern Black atrocity victim is often not looking for justice to be served. Instead, they are looking to be rewarded for their silence, or they are looking to hide within their silence. Either way, their actions make it that much harder for justice to be served. For examples of this, consider R. Kelly's many, many victims. Including the victim that was the subject of his recent criminal trial.

This means that activists need to make some decisions up front. What is more important in this particular situation? Catering to the victim's desire to get paid for their silence? Catering to the victim's desire to hide within silence? Or is there a greater collective interest that takes priority?

With the R. Kelly situation, I believe that there is a greater collective interest in getting a sexual predator off the streets. No matter what his past victims want. It is more important to me to prevent any more Black girls from being victimized in the future. As far as I'm concerned, his past victims do NOT get to decide that it's okay for the rest of our young Black girls to remain in danger because he's on the loose.

This has to be a case by case analysis. With each situation, we must weigh whether or not what any particular victim wants is endangering the rest of us. And ask ourselves are we willing to run that risk in order to accommodate the victim's wishes.

The bottom line is that many modern Black atrocity victims have wishes that are contrary to justice, and contrary to our collective interests. They will often do things that "burn" the people who supported them. This is why we must support principles, and not individuals.

41 comments:

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Greetings comrade!

{raised black glove}

Khadija, this is table talk series is so timely and so valuable for all of us!

I can see many missteps that have occurred in cyber activism. There are many who are well-meaning and who do not think through their decisions.

1 - They are eager to accept anyone who "claims" to be an ally. They have no vetting process in place for allies.

The vetting process comes before the engagement process! How many cyber activists have not understood THAT basic rule?

2 - Sometimes, I notice that cyber activists approach protests with an emotional investment.

Many unwise decisions result from being led by emotions.

I mentioned in a blog post in April about the high price of silence that I told a man in my church who chose to remain silent about the gay-bashing in our church that "your silence impacts MORE than just you!"

How many mothers whose daughters have been raped gave immunity to the rapist to continue raping other girls by their REFUSAL to speak out? They didn't want to face any retaliation.

Their desire to avoid retaliation took precedence over the fact that their silence impacts ALL OTHERS who would face this type of crime?

3 - I have seen cyber activists jump into a situation with a reactive approach! They don't see that even when we are reacting, we MUST put a proactive strategy in place.

I see people jump in unprepared and trying to "wing it". If you can't cook, then get out of the kitchen until the training class is announced! When it's time to cook, we need the COOKS in the kitchen!

I am so happy to see this conversation unfold here.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

Khadija said...

Greetings, Lisa!

Thank you so much for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

Where, oh where, to begin?

First of all, there is NO screening process for allies. Folks are often too blinded by emotional assumptions to even want to scrutinize the people who show up at their doorstep.

We're so invested in symbolic progress that we assume that every Black face in a high place is an ally. You DO remember the discussion at another blog where folks just assumed that Michelle Obama is an ally in support of Black women's collective interests. And got very agitated at the idea of anybody seriously questioning this assumption. {sigh}

We've all seen how desperate Black women are to rally around Condoleeza Rice. The same Condi who went to see "Spamalot" and went shopping for expensive shoes while Black bodies floated down the streets of New Orleans during Katrina. I could go on with other examples, but I won't.

Then there's the matter of friendly-seeming and sympathetic-sounding White folks who show up. We get so caught up in the Kumbaya-My-Lord feeling that we refuse to screen these people. So, we immediately take them into our confidence even though they have done NOTHING to show and prove that they actually want to be our allies.

[Not to mention that wanting to be an ally is just one step. The aspiring ally also needs to have something to offer that is of sufficient value to us! Unfortunately, we don't screen for this angle, either.]

Malcolm X talked about the difference between the fox & the wolf. The openly hostile opponents are "wolves" who are easier to deal with because they let you know what their agenda is up front.

By contrast, I see that most of us (nowadays) are easily conned by the sweet-talking opponents who are "foxes." As long as they CLAIM to support justice, we welcome these folks into our confidence---no questions asked.

We immediately embrace them even though they are NOT doing anything in support of justice. Even though they are focused on questioning & weakening our resolve to continue to seek justice. Even though they seek to divert us from our goals by wasting our time with "dialogue" where they insist that we explain our grievances & our injuries to them.

You know, because they're sooo "confused," and "just want to understand," and are "hurting," and are "seeking community." Every moment we waste engaging in this sort of diversionary "dialogue" is another moment NOT spent actively doing anything concrete in support of our goals.

It doesn't occur to some of us to tell these folks, "I'll have to get back to you AFTER this issue is resolved. Then I'll have time to talk about all of that." That is, those of us who are willing to invest our time in explaining things to these people.

I've observed that enforced consequences & accountability are the best teachers for most people. People are quick to get up to speed on their own, when there's sufficient motivation to do so!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

ActsofFaithBlog said...

Thanks for this post and the series. It is needed. I can see where I could have made some tactical errors but am surrounded by battle-ready and strategic leaders. I appreciate the sharing of information and the example.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija:

With the R. Kelly situation, I believe that there is a greater collective interest in getting a sexual predator off the streets. No matter what his past victims want. It is more important to me to prevent any more Black girls from being victimized in the future. As far as I'm concerned, his past victims do NOT get to decide that it's okay for the rest of our young Black girls to remain in danger because he's on the loose.

My reply:

Outside of the issue of retaliation Rev. Lisa mentioned, perhaps the victims know the real deal about what is happening within the so-called community: people who should be their allies won't support them.

These are other black women and black men who will blame them, claim they were responsible and only want to "bring the brother down."

Those of us who are onlookers, who should be supporting the victims, can get sidetracked by mindsets that are so tied into protecting systems of oppression and oppressors, that many just can't see what is going on. They don't know who the real victims are.

It is one thing to vet allies, both inside the group and those outside, but many can't even get to an effective level of vetting, because they can't even think critically.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Faith!

You're welcome! Thank YOU for being willing to listen to, and join, this little table talk. There are too many of us who are so arrogant that we are not willing to consult with each other. This is yet another problem.

I always look for trusted others that I can bounce ideas off of, and get feedback from "off stage." From what I've seen over the past few years, I can tell that this is uncommon. Unfortunately, as Lisa observed, there are a lot of folks "winging it" without seriously thinking some things through.
_______________________

Greetings, Pioneer Valley Woman!

Well, activists need to recognize that these people you described who can't think critically are part of the problem. Activists need to recognize that these people are opponents to be fought in that situation.

There's a difference between an educational effort & a justice-enforcement effort. Too often, aspiring activists don't recognize the difference and try to use strategies that are appropriate for one sort of campaign in the midst of the other campaign. Which usually leads to failure.

Justice-enforcement campaigns always involve a certain degree of conflict. Trying to change "hearts & minds" is usually a slower process; unlike justice-enforcement which typically involves an urgent, pressing need that should be solved as quickly as possible. An education campaign is also a separate process from justice-enforcement.

A successful overall strategy will combine these separate elements. But not at the same time. Not during the same interaction. Having overlapping elements is NOT the same thing as using a technique in a setting for which it is inappropriate.

Back to the R. Kelly example:

The 1st priority with this situation should have been justice-enforcement/public safety. NOT trying to change the hearts & minds of pedophile-supporters. Activists should have realized that seeking justice & public safety would automatically create a conflict with those who want to support celebrity pedophiles (for whatever reasons).

These sort of conflicting interests call for drawing bright lines in the sand. It calls for the "polarization" that Saul Alinsky described in his book Rules for Radicals. This means presenting the issue WITHOUT "shades of gray."

Polarization is an important, and appropriate tool in conflict situations. As Alinsky noted, people act "decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side and all the devils on the other."

For the sake of getting R. Kelly off the streets, activists should have increased & highlighted the inherent polarization between those who want pedophiles off the street and those who want to coddle pedophiles (for whatever reasons).

That is how the issue should have been framed. And that is how the line should have been drawn: You're either on the side of supporting pedophiles running loose, or you're on the side that supports public safety/justice.

When the issue is framed this way, it's quite obvious that anybody who wants to help pedophiles run loose is part of the problem. And that such persons are part of the opposition. They should be treated as the opposition for the purposes of the public safety/justice-enforcement campaign! These people also need to be held accountable for what they choose to support---if only by the discomfort of being described as a "pedophile supporter."

There's time for educational efforts with these pedophile-supporters AFTER the pedophile who is the subject of the campaign is off the streets. Not before.

Our failure to draw clear lines in the sand leads to us embracing people who are actually opposed to our campaign. It also leads to us wasting time trying to educate these people, when we should be focused on enforcing justice as our first priority. There's time to educate folks AFTER the perp has been dealt with.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

mekare said...

Well, thank you for keeping on me on track.


This is a big problem that I have experienced with civil rights movements, women's rights movements and movements in black America. The focus is totally on the individuals and not the values (ex: Malcolm X, Bema, H Clinton)

It becomes hard to follow movements that focus on the individuals especially when they have a terribly stained past and at times horrific behavior (ex: Eldridge Clever.) The people who are the stars of these movements are not in line with its principles. I guess that is whom you know who is a phony.

In regards to R Kelly, I feel sorry for the victims, I am mad that that they didn't speak up, I am mad that there were women who chanted free R.Kelly. I'm also upset that this tape was shown in court and was so public. The whole situation was a mess.

But after everything is said and done - how do you decide what the proper action to take. It is good that you built an argument based on solid principles because it can't be touched. Justice is a solid principle and that has to be served despite the obstacles and behavior of the victims.

I swear that other people of West African descent do not have this issue of wide spread sexual abuse, predatory behavior, sexual exploitation and grown men waiting at bus stops for young girls. I know it is not acceptable to sexually exploit a little girl. They have principles and values.

If blacks in America would be ok truly followed some Biblical principles some West African principles. For example, the book of Jude warns that a time will come where people say that grace of God and the guft of Jesus allows them to live immoral life. R Kelly sexually used a young girl and then says only God can judge me like he has an excuse!!!!!! The conversation would be over right there.

There has to be a foundation.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Mekare!

Starting arguments that exploit pre-existing social divisions (for example, Southern vs. Northern African-Americans, or any other potential "fault line") within social movements was a common tactic that the FBI used to disrupt civil rights organizations.

This was yet another way of keeping activists distracted & diverted from work that would actually move the struggle forward.

Although you tossing in some condescending & insulting statements into your comment mirrors the above-described anti-movement trick, I'll take the bait this one time.

I'll take the bait & get off track (this time) because AAs are too willing to allow other Blacks to disrespect us in the name of false "unity." We take too much trash off of other people. Doing this constitutes self-oppression. We need to start standing up for ourselves; and STOP letting other people "slide" with insulting us to our faces.

When you say that AAs need to follow some West African principles, I think of the mass rapes and amputations that took place in the West African country of Sierra Leone.

When continental Africans try to lecture me about what they think AAs "need," I start to think about Rwanda and the Congo.

Whatever is wrong with us, AAs have not plumbed the depths of the mass depravity that can be found in some of these African societies gone berserk. We're on our way, but we haven't quite got there yet.

When I see the condition of the free & independent countries that so many Africans ran from, it is quite apparent that collectively continental Africans are not fit to be our teachers.

Africans can be our colleagues in the struggle, partners, and allies. But this is NOT a master-pupil relationship. __________________________

Now that we have symmetry because I have exchanged one insult for another, I'm through with this negative portion of our discussion. I will not publish any further comments from anybody that seek to continue this ethnic-based negative dialogue. Let's get back to the topic of the post.
_____________________________

Mekare, if you wish to continue the dialogue as pertains to other matters (things related to the subject matter of the post), please know that you are completely welcome to do so. I welcome your input.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Sister Seeking said...

@ Reverend Lisa

Do you know what I love about your commentary? You always manage to remind us that the real activism begins within or else we can not succeed externally if we are not solid.

You said: 2 - Sometimes, I notice that cyber activists approach protests with an emotional investment. Many unwise decisions result from being led by emotions.

This is exactly my hang up here. I need to learn how to use my anger or really frustration in a constructive way that will actually yield some positive results. I learned the hard way that flying off the handle IRL or on IN is ineffective, and you really look like a fool! Lol


To that end, let's have an ongoing series of "table talks" about the nuts and bolts of activism. Starting with Strategy #1: Support Principles, NOT Individuals. Khadija

As I reflect on this new essay sister a couple of things just occurred to me:

1. It appears to me that there is a “clash of principles” between the victims and some activists going on.

2. It appears to some degree that “some” victims share the same values or beliefs about pain, suffering, injustice, fear, evil, and darkness as their perpetrator to a degree.

3. It appears that our community is divided on what principles are--what code are the based on? How do those principles play out in real life versus theory?

4. Should one defend or support a victim who doesn’t share their values?

For example: my assumption is that black men and women who defended R. Kelly did so because they value the outdated, and now null in void contract between black men and women versus folks like you and others who are focused justice being inforced across the board no matter who it is. Justice for all people not just for some people. If I’m understanding this correctly, we are in seriously deep trouble.


This has to be a case by case analysis. With each situation, we must weigh whether or not what any particular victim wants is endangering the rest of us. And ask ourselves are we willing to run that risk in order to accommodate the victim's wishes.-Khadija

Hmmm… do you think that movements should recruit people who experienced in victim logy or some other psychological science to assists the other activists in making this determination? I’m thinking about what Rev. Lisa said about being emotional. I have no education or long term experience in activism so I know I’d need to hear a professionals assessment or opinion.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Sister Seeking/Miriam!

You've brought to the forefront a point that I didn't say out loud in the main essay. Sometimes the victims are a part of the problem. Sometimes the victims are additional obstacles working against justice in their own case!

It's not wise to support victims on a personal basis because some of them are indefensible. Usually, activists find out what's wrong with a particular victim halfway through the struggle.

And then, since the whole struggle revolved around that individual, it all falls apart when the individual is discovered to be personally unworthy of support. [For example, the Jena 6 defendants---which I thought was a deeply flawed effort from the beginning which is why I didn't support it]

You asked, "Should one defend or support a victim who doesn't share their values?"

My answer: We should support principles, NOT individuals! Even when that particular individual is a victim.

Here's why:

If the victim chooses to get on the right side of the principle, then our efforts to support the principle (for example, justice) will also automatically lend support to that particular victim.

If the victim chooses to get on the wrong side of a principle (for example, seeking a personal payoff instead of justice), then that victim is on their own. We still need justice.

For example, in the R. Kelly situation we STILL need to have public safety & pedophiles taken off the streets. Regardless of what his numerous victims want.

Victims have free will. They have the opportunity & responsibility to make righteous choices just like everybody else. If they choose to be on the side of injustice (for whatever reason), they have forfeited the benefits of our efforts. That was their choice.

In my opinion, we don't need experts in "victimology." All we need to know is right vs. wrong. And then support what is right.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Another thought about Jena 6-type situations that activists need to consider:

In terms of the long run, is it better to rescue petty criminals from a particular (possibly) unjust prosecution? Or is it a more effective strategy to punish the local prosecutor who is engaged in prosecutorial misconduct?

I'm beginning to think that it's a better idea to punish the racist/corrupt prosecutor in these situations. Here's why:

How many times does it occur that activists "rescue" a petty criminal from one unjust prosecution and then he gets himself involved in another (possibly legitimate) criminal charge?

Do we then rescue the petty criminal a 2nd time? A 3rd time? What happens to our ethical "capital" when we rescue petty criminals from unjust prosecutions? How legitimate does our struggle appear to be at this point? Or, do we begin to look like a support network for criminals?

Even if we manage to rescue the petty criminal from the original prosecution, the racist/corrupt prosecutor is STILL in place collecting a paycheck. It reminds me of how it's the local municipal governments that pay out police brutality settlements---NO money comes out of the cops' pockets.

I think it would have a more lasting effect if a prosecutor lost his license or paid a similar heavy price---like the prosecutor in the Duke rape case. [Of course, this reflects these rich White boys' parents' ability to retaliate against anyone who displeases them.]

Just some additional thoughts to ponder while we're discussing this.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JS said...

I also want to chime in about R Kelly and the widespread sexual abuse in the black community.

I truly believe that people do not know how devastating this is on an individual. They can never get their innocence back. How cruel could someone be to viciously steal something as personal as your sexuality away from you? Young bodies as young as five (or younger in especially depraved situations) no longer virgins but sexually active before puberty. Think about that. Some people have lost their virginity at the ripe kindergarten age of five. The worst and unfortunately the most common situations are prolonged sexual abuse committed by the people you should trust the most: family. Too often adult sexual assault victims receive more justice than their underage counterparts. We think that the young child or adolescent will “forget” their abuse.

Rampant sexual abuse has already spread like wildfire across the black community. Too many young black girls are losing their innocence before they are 18 years old. It mutates their femininity by changing the inherent nature of women, which is to protect and nurture into deformed femininity that harms and neglects. This is not to say that every abused woman turns out this way, but we know that this is not the recipe for producing productive and healthy adults for any community.

I think we need to enact a day of mourning (along with prosecutions of predators) for both male and female victims of childhood/adolescent sexual abuse in our community. Perhaps this will put a human face to this tragedy.

Please excuse me if I have gotten too off course with the discussion at hand.

Khadija said...

Greetings, JS!

I don't think you've gotten off course from the topic at all. What you're expressing is the very reason why we struggle. To resist evil. To prevent unnecessary human suffering.

I'm more cynical than you are, though. I don't think that the so-called Black community is unaware of the harm that is caused by sexual abuse. I think that most of us simply DON'T CARE. We especially don't care about whatever happens to Black girls. Period.

Certain depraved behaviors don't take root among decent people. I believe that there is widespread evil among us. Evil that needs to be fought.

Because I'm cynical about this, I don't feel that days of mourning are effective---this presumes that the audience actually has a moral/ethical compass. I believe that most AAs don't have any such moral compass anymore. Therefore, there is NO conscience to be touched by such gestures.

There is only the fear of consequences at this point. Consequences that we have collectively failed to enforce thus far.

But I'm not saying this to discourage anybody from organizing such a day of mourning. Like I said, I'm not an expert. I'm just somebody who's hosting this particular conversation. I'm just one voice among many voices. Everybody's opinions & thoughts matter here.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Hello everyone!

Khadija, I am thinking that we need to identify the mindset of an activist before we can truly help people to understand what comes next.

As you know, I often focus on what lurks in the mind of black women at my blog.

It is so important for us to examine why we believe what we believe and understand where that reinforcement of our thinking is coming from.

I believe that when the correct mentality is fostered, then correct decisions will follow.

An effective activist needs to understand how to separate persons from principles.

An effective activist needs to understand how to identify AND implement a vetting process for determining allies.

An effective activist needs to have proactive strategies IN PLACE to circumvent the most common tactics used by opponents:
- decoy tactics
- false ally tactics
- the open attack
- the sneak attack
- the group ambush attack
- the false insider information tactic
- demands for cross examination
- demands for negotiation
- back door tactics

I can name more of the tactics. Just as in the game of chess, I know which strategies I can unleash BEFORE I face my opponent.

I don't wait until I face my opponent to try and come up with options. That's the mark of an activist who is unprepared.

An effective activist knows that confrontation is a tool, not a weapon.

How many times have I been online reading about this protest or that protest and I notice that some novice activist provides an unlocked door to their home? They allow the opponent to just walk right on in and start hurling insults...in in their own house! They actually stand by and allow opponents to step up and to take the stage!

An effective activist knows NOT to negotiate with the opponent. When the demand is given, it is given. There is NO debate.

When do you ever see a judge hand down a sentence and then turn to everyone in court and say "okay now let's discuss this"! It never happens.

An effective activist does not waste time explaining themselves, correcting themselves or justifying themselves to opponents.

How many times do I read conversations online where novice activists are attempting to reason with those who are launching the tactics I named above?

There is one women blogger from Princeton who claimed to be so outraged and upset over the incident! She also revealed she was friends with the wrongdoers. She claimed to be visiting all of the black blogs to "foster healing and community". PURE B.S.! She refused to name the wrongdoers because she was PROTECTING them! Period and end of story.

Any person who is protecting the wrongdoers...in any form or fashion is on the side of the opponent.

The ultimatum should have been given to her: "Either name the wrongdoers or do not return to this forum."

We let ANY disrespectful and condescendng opponent OR ingratiating opponent have access to our forum without issuing any requirement at all. This does not demonstrate wisdom...at all.

There is a time for a protest and a time for a town hall meeting.

An effective activist will draw a line in the sand and not compromise. You have mentioned this and I wholeheartedly agree.

Apologies for the lengthy comment but I hope I've said something here that was useful.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

shocol said...

Regarding the R Kelley case, and in general cases of abuse against black women and girls, I find that I'm out of step with a lot of black folks.

What I've noticed falls into two camps. One, those who are interested in justice. Two, those who are interested in excusing the black male at ALL COSTS.

Notice exactly what people like this are debating. It is not the innocence or guilt of the perpetrator. Look and listen, they won't say that they believe the perpetrator is NOT GUILTY, HE'S INNOCENT, HE DIDN'T DO IT.

What happens instead is they tear down the alleged victim with shoulda', woulda', coulda' and subject them to ethical/moral purity tests without consideration as to whether a crime actually occurred. Rarely do black females seem to pass. It is a sickness.

I've no experience as an activist, but one thing I've noticed is that we tend to follow the social justice route. Black Americans pump so much money into this economy. What about the financial justice route? We need to learn how to follow the money trail. JMO, but I believe it can be just as effective as the social justice route.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Some further thoughts on why some black women can't see themselves as victims: they have been trained not to see themselves as such.

How?

1. Some black women have been told that black men are the true victims of white racism; black women don't experience racism as much. Remember the old shibboleths: black women in college, black men in jail.

2. Some black women have been told that they are not victims of sexism. If anything, they are told that their gender benefits them, which leads back to number 1.

And yet, there is some awareness that black women have historically experienced discrimination from whites, but it is not framed in terms of sexism linked to racism, and there is no discussion of sexism among black men. What this means is that there is no discussion of how black women might experience sexism in the black community.

3. Because some black women have been told 1 and 2, they feel survivor's guilt, ie., as black women, ie., that they are bystanders while black men are victimized. Perhaps they come to believe that they benefit from black men's victimization, ie., more black men in jail, means that they get to fill the slots in colleges and professional school.

This last point leads them open to being victimized, because they can't be critical of black men who might be victimizers, whom they have been lead to believe are the true victims, whose behavior should be "understood" or "excused" or ignored.

They come to believe that doing something will only feed into the racism of the white community that they have been told is bent upon destroying black men.

Sister Seeking said...

@ Rev. Lisa

YES! YES! Your comment was MORE THAN useful for me. Thank you for taking the time, and energy to break it down in the manner you did. I’ve learned in life that if you don’t know something it’s just better to say: “I don’t know” instead of “wing it” as you implied in your earlier commentary. I’ve also learned that no question is necessarily a “stupid” question.

When I was a staunch observant Muslim, I participated in several movements within the immigrant North American Muslim community. I’m sitting her shaking my head as I’m reading your last comments because I can NOW see, and UNDERSTAND why their movements failed so quickly--and why people became distrustful, disrespectful, and even became belligerent toward one another.

I’m also reflecting on the situation at A Singular Voice with Abdur Rahman Muhammad. All those tactics that you mentioned were used against him--in addition to threats of physical violence against his family as well as being accused of infidelity with other Muslim women. Many Muslims misunderstood my devotion to the cause as being devoted to HIM--I stated several times I didn’t really care what he does because, its not about HIM its about the message--it was the message that motivated me to hold on, and sit there because through counseling, and through investigation I’d already come to similar conclusions.

@Khadija

Khadija, I NOW get it: support principles not people. My fear was that what brother Muhammad was trying to warn the masses of concerned folks but especially AA’s was going to fall on death ears or not garner any meaningful support ( my definition of that is put your money where your mouth is) is because many of his opponents were trying to reframe or rather redirect the struggle as ARM’s personal baggage versus an actual problem that has manifested itself in the AA Muslim community at large. I half to be honest and say that I believed they succeeded to a degree in the minds of other BAM bloggers especially the academics, and professionals who kept insisting the issue was HIM.

If they understood this rule of activism how can anyone in their RIGHT MIND object to:

* You do not half to assimilate into ANY immigrant culture to be accepted by Allah

* Domestic violence, child abuse and neglect are immoral acts and you pervert the Qur’an by insisting the Qur’an gives you permission to abuse women and children.

* Stealing is harram--including stealing fundraising funds.

* Social justice, voting, and being civically involved is not harram.

* Taking pride in ones self --Ones WHOLE self is not harram or displeasing to Allah.

* Focusing on the social, political, financial, and relational issues of your own people is not separatist or harram. You DO NOT half to finance, or politically support international policies because some Imam from some country says its Islamic to do so.

I know others were reacting to a whole lot of other issues arising from that blog experience but at the end of the day their insistence on redirecting the issue to him as a person versus focusing on the above principles is what stuck in my mind. This why I would always say the “wheat is separated from chafe.”

I’m looking forward to learning more, and hearing others personal experiences.
Thank you and Rev. Lisa for just taking the time to do this.

Sister Seeking said...

Even if we manage to rescue the petty criminal from the original prosecution, the racist/corrupt prosecutor is STILL in place collecting a paycheck. It reminds me of how it's the local municipal governments that pay out police brutality settlements---NO money comes out of the cops' pockets.


I think it would have a more lasting effect if a prosecutor lost his license or paid a similar heavy price---like the prosecutor in the Duke rape case. [Of course, this reflects these rich White boys' parents' ability to retaliate against anyone who displeases them.]

__________________________________________________________

Khadija few thoughts here:

1) Going back to Reverend Lisa’s point about paying attention to what’s going on internally and how its being reinforced externally, I’m going to muster up some courage and admit this:

I DID participate in the local protests, and rallied in D.C. I never thought about this at all. I never heard any of the folks in command positions speak about this at all. Their PRIORITY was to “free” these boys first, and than work on what you just stated above secondly. I could be very well be mistaken but I can’t recall any black civil rights groups attempting to pursue both matters simultaneously. You’re an attorney, I’m not sure if that can even be done. Allahialim.

This is just a theory and may I be doing some BIG time personalizing or projecting whatever. Based off my discussion IRL and OL many of us were

*Angry
*Frustrated
*Shocked
*Enraged
*Vengeful

What I’ve learned in my YEARS of therapy for other issues is that you should NOT make major decisions ( legal decisions are major decisions in my book) when your mind is in such a fragmented or angry state. I’ve learned that anger can be healthy if you DIRECT it; air it; and strive to replace it gradually. Many protesters showed up harboring these emotions based off of what had or was going on with their own encounters of racism NOT a Principle or value. I’ll have the guts, and admit that I did this. Again, I’m not saying those feelings are wrong, or that one shouldn’t or cant ever feel this way: we are human. But I now see its ineffective to act off of them. JMO by the way.
2) I also feel the need to admit that as crazy as this about to sound I, and many others “reacted” the way we did because we were (((afraid))) that not only would they be killed in jail but precisely the point you made about the prosecutors being removed! Lol I know it sounds crazy! Lol


One thing is for sure, I know before I dive head first into supporting anything else I’m going to really take a step back, and examine the issue within the context of what I learn during these table talks.

Wow…

Khadija said...

Hello there, Lisa!

{deep martial arts bow in salute}

You've put a LOT of nutritious food for thought on the table in your last comment. THANK YOU! I need to take some time to reflect on it before I respond.
______________________

To Everyone:

Let's take a moment to pause & reflect on Lisa's last comment. There are so many points in it that we need to review. I'm going to meditate on her comment and get back to it later today.
________________________

Greetings, Shocol!

From my perspective, "financial" or "social justice" are all tools. The point is JUSTICE, using any & all tools to get it.
_________________________

Hello there, Pioneer Valley Woman!

For the purposes of this table talk, I really don't care why it is that these women you described are confused. They are opponents who are supporting injustice. Therefore, they are opponents/obstacles to be fought.

This is another point that activists need to understand about justice-enforcement struggles. Justice-enforcement struggles automatically involve conflict. Conflict that will require one to get confrontational with opponents. As Lisa has said in another comment, justice-enforcement is NOT a town hall meeting with opponents!

This gets back to drawing bright lines in the sand. People are either FOR or AGAINST the principle involved. Their reasons for being AGAINST the principle really don't matter. People who are AGAINST the principle involved are opponents to be fought.

This means that in a justice-enforcement struggle (such as the R. Kelly situation), I'm not interested in educating these confused women. I'm not trying to counsel them. I don't care what the source of their confusion is. I'm focused on knocking them out of the way; so that they are no longer blocking the implementation of justice!
_________________________

Hello there, Sister Seeking/Miriam!

Yes, when we focus on the principle involved instead of individuals, it makes everything MUCH clearer!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Sister Seeking/Miriam!

Before I wander off to work, I just wanted to tell you that I've made similar emotion-based decisions to joing anti-prosecution protests in the past. You're not alone! LOL! Don't feel bad.

{raised fist salute} I deeply admire your courage to speak so candidly about this!

In terms of the protests you described, part of the problem is that we have incompetent (mis)leaders who are poor strategists. That's one reason why more of us need to learn these sorts of skills for ourselves.

I'll have more to say in response to your latest comment later today.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

mekare said...

Hey Khadija,

I meant no harm. My thinking was that if black Americans had more of a foundation then the sexual explotation of black women would dissapear.

My goal was not show Africans as superiors but as maybe a group that we could learn from. Where I went wrong was that I did not know enough to present such an argument and I'm sorry.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija,

This means that in a justice-enforcement struggle (such as the R. Kelly situation), I'm not interested in educating these confused women. I'm not trying to counsel them. I don't care what the source of their confusion is. I'm focused on knocking them out of the way; so that they are no longer blocking the implementation of justice!

My reply:

Nothing wrong with wanting to knock them out of the way, and nothing wrong with focusing upon educating them afterwards (if it comes to it), but in terms of teaching others, ie., young women whom we can influence before it even gets to them, one thing some can do, is to make sure that they don't develop the mindsets that the others have to start off with.

Khadija said...

*Now that I've had time to reflect on Lisa's & Sister Seeking/Miriam's comments*

Lisa,

You said:

"How many times do I read conversations online where novice activists are attempting to reason with those who are launching the tactics I named above?"

"We let ANY disrespectful and condescending opponent OR ingratiating opponent have access to our forum without issuing any requirement at all. This does not demonstrate wisdom...at all."


Lisa, I think you've already identified the core problem that's causing these errors in judgment: Some people are attempting to participate in activism without the necessary mindset.

Some people don't understand that calling for justice-enforcement puts them in direct conflict with those persons who want to allow a particular wrongdoer to avoid accountability (for whatever reasons).

So they try to call for justice without being prepared for the conflict that will result from the call. This often produces a weak, confused, and mealy-mouthed call for justice. Sometimes, weak & mealy-mouthed statements are WORSE than silence. Weak, confused calls strengthen those who oppose the call.

Some people don't understand that injustice has its own champions and cheering section. So they call for justice without anticipating that opponents will show up at their doorstep.

This means that they don't have a plan for handling the opponents that do show up at their doorstep. This is a critical disadvantage in general. It's particularly deadly when the opponents have a strategy for their visit to the activist's doorstep.

This often leads to being dominated and/or duped by the opponents on one's doorstep.

In the blog context, this can lead to (out of confusion) allowing opponents to use one's blog forum as an arm of THEIR public relations strategy.

There's an ancient Chinese military maxim: "Fight with a borrowed sword." It means to use an enemy's resources against the enemy as much as possible. When activists allow opponents to seize the microphone at their forum, they are allowing the opponent to fight them with their own resources!

Activism is NOT journalism. It is totally inappropriate for an activist to give opponents "equal time" at their forum.

Activism is ADVOCACY. Not town hall meetings to solicit the opponents' point of view.
___________________

Sister Seeking/Miriam,

I believe that your description of what's motivating many "Free So & So" protesters is accurate: People are operating off of emotion. And using the protest as a substitute for taking revenge against those agents of racism that have screwed them over.

I don't really blame the followers for this. I mostly blame the (mis)leadership class. Emotion is the basis upon which our misleaders mobilize us.

Yes, it is possible to strike back politically, job-wise, and professional license-wise against a prosecutor. It CAN be done. We just haven't done it. We've been totally focused on rescuing petty criminals.

I truly believe that we must STOP rescuing petty criminals. It weakens our moral authority with each new scummy person that we rally around. These modern folks that we rally around are NOT the Scottboro boys. They are NOT Rosa Parks. Often...they are scum.

You mentioned that protesters were afraid that those particular petty criminals might be killed in jail. Did it occur to anyone that (for all anyone knows) these guys could be the sort of people who were raping other inmates while they were in jail?

Looking at their subsequent personal histories after the media attention died down, it looks like at least some of these individuals have a proclivity for violence.

Maybe they needed to be locked up. I don't know. All I DO know is that we need to stop blindly supporting individuals. And start supporting principles.
_________________________

Mekare,

Apology accepted. No harm, no foul. I'm on alert about this because there are some foreign Black folks who like to visit AA blogs as bad-faith voyeurs, not as allies.

These sort of people insult us & laugh at us under the guise of discussing issues within the AA collective. A lot of them like to hang out at Black female interracial sites to "crack on" AA men. I am not deceived about their true motives.

These type of non-AA women visit BF IRR blogs to talk long & hard about the failings of AA men without ever talking about the decifits of the men from their own societies. Deficits such as, "How do African mothers raise what looks like an entire country filled with rapists, such as in the Congo?"

Instead of 'fessing up to the gender relations problems in their OWN societies, some of these people come to AA blogs to dissect AA issues as if we're some sort of bugs under a microscope. Also, as if they are qualified to prescribe a "cure" for us.

How can they have answers for us when they don't have any answers for their OWN societies?

I'm not saying that all (or even most) non-AA blog discussion participants are bad-faith voyeurs at AA blogs. Many non-AA Black folks ARE true & sincere allies to us. However, there ARE many bad-faith voyeurs out there.

That sort of behavior is NOT going on here. Not on my watch.
_________________________

Pioneer Valley Woman,

Understood. *Smile*

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

@ Mekare

You said:
"I swear that other people of West African descent do not have this issue of wide spread sexual abuse, predatory behavior, sexual exploitation and grown men waiting at bus stops for young girls. I know it is not acceptable to sexually exploit a little girl. They have principles and values."

Let me focus on one part of your observation...
"They have principles and values."


Perhaps you aren't familiar with the savagery that is widespread by the practice of genital mutilation in Africa...

Perhaps you aren't aware of the prevalence of child brides in Africa...

Perhaps you aren't aware of the prevalence of African fathers accepting MONEY for presenting their daughters to men that their daughters don't know...

Perhaps you aren't aware of the rampant rape of babies that occurs in Africa because of the belief that raping a baby cures AIDS....

Perhaps you aren't aware of the savagery of the numerous wars in Africa where women and children are routinely gang raped by soldiers...there are some horrific statistics that in some sections of Africa nearly 80% of the women have been raped...

Perhaps you aren't aware that in many African cultures, when a woman has been raped, her father tosses her out and disowns her in order to restore his "honor" to the rest of his community...

Perhaps you aren't aware of the prevalence of polygamy in Africa where men decide that male superiority makes it okay for them to take numerous women but the women are ostracized and vilified for having more than one "husband"...

Perhaps you aren't aware of the outrageous numbers of illiterate African woman and girls who are taught that they don't need or deserve formal education...

I have encountered many men from West Africa who are ignorant enough and sexist enough to think that a woman's worth is tied to her marital status...

And who somehow are deluded enough to "imagine" that there aren't a slew of black American women who would never consider dating them and who deem them culturally "inferior" to American men based on their unabashed and narrow-minded positions about the role of women as breeders and homemakers...

I have spoken with many Africans who seem to be sooo deeply observant of pathologies in the black community when they arrive here but seem to have extensive amnesia about the savagery of the African people towards other African people and the level of subjugation of African people by other African people...not to mention the level of complicity that many African nations have with white supremacist nations to receive payoffs to exploit their own countrymen...

My knowledge of Africa is not based on the white media's depiction...I have visited ten countries in Africa and most Africans I met while in African have never even left their own region of the country.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Greetings Khadija,

I did not intend to veer off topic by adding a response to Merake but I merely wanted to provide a "teaching comment" to complement the one that you provided so that when black women encounter these types of outrageous statements that they understand how to articulate fact-based responses.

You have demonstrated it and I am merely co-signing by adding to that teaching.

Apologies for moving off center and I will move back to the topic now.

(smiles)

Lisa

Khadija said...

Hello there, Lisa!

Well...what you articulated is the reason why your comment got through. It wasn't about pursuing an argument, the same way my comment after Mekare's apology wasn't about pursuing an argument.

I gave the explanation for my vigilance about certain behaviors because the dignity of AA people is under heavy assault. From all sorts of angles. And from all sorts of people. Sometimes from other Black people. Including attacks from some foreign Blacks. Including attacks from some other AAs.

Some of these attacks are out in the open. Some of these attacks are covert, and mixed in with other statements. Some of these attacks on AAs' dignity are slipped in under the guise of celebrating indigenous African cultures. Like the Trojan horse. Some of us aren't aware of this.

We have to lift the scales from our eyes.

There are a lot of AAs who romanticize Africa & African cultures. We need to get over that and look at things with our eyes wide open. It's dangerous to be on Fantasy Island. No matter which particular fantasy is the subject matter. A good start for de-romanticizing Africa is for people to consider the facts that you pointed out.
_________________

To Everyone:

The dynamics we're talking about don't just apply to the R. Kelly situation, or the Princeton situation. They apply across the board.

We need to screen everybody who claims to be our friend or ally before we take them into our confidence while we work for our individual & collective advancement. We need to have some criteria in mind before we let people "hug up" on us. Just because people are grinning in our faces doesn't automatically make them allies. This includes other Black folks. This includes other AAs.

I (almost) hate to quote Rev. Hot Comb, but he was correct when he said that: (1) "skin folk aren't always kin folk," and (2) "sometimes a hugging is a mugging!" LOL!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Aphrodite said...

Hello All,


I have been lurking. I am not an activist, but I find this information so interesting and helpful. I know that the discussion is aimed towards one goal, but I have found some useful information on a personal level.



1. "eager to accept anyone who "claims" to be an ally."


I have done this before.



2. "Many unwise decisions result from being led by emotions."


I have done this. If people give me a sob story or make me feel as if we have some kind of shared past hardship or made me feel good or been able to get under my skin.



3. "jump into a situation with a reactive approach! They don't see that even when we are reacting, we MUST put a proactive strategy in place."


Done this in my personal life as well.



4. sympathetic-sounding folks who show up. So, we immediately take them into our confidence even though they have done NOTHING to show and prove that they actually want to be our allies."


Check, done that too. Been conned by a few foxes. When people seem empathic or sympathetic it is possible for me to relax my guard. The assumption being that they are sincere without any proof.







I really like the idea of justice enforcement. I am loving the idea of harsh swift consequences.




" To resist evil. To prevent unnecessary human suffering."



I support this wholeheartedly. I was talking with a survivor friend of mine about a year or so ago and we decided that some people have simply embraced evil. They made a conscious choice to be evil. We were discussing how there are so many people who you think are decent, that are willing to make excuses for the vilest perpetrators saying maybe they were abused etc.





RE: R Kelly


I was sickened at some of the responses to his case. I can remember ranting to a BM friend of mine over the verdict and some of the responses to it. He told me, "But you haven't even seen the tape."and admitted that he watched it several times. I told him why would I want to look at kiddie porn? I ended that relationship right then and there. His answer sickened me so badly.



@PioneerValleyWoman

RE Victims


I can remember in some discussions I have witnessed between BW and BM some BM have accused BW of "playing the victim" whenever they bring up issues about violence, sexual and otherwise.


Similar to what Shocol said BW are always to blame even when the results are death.




@Rev Lisa


"An effective activist needs to have proactive strategies IN PLACE to circumvent the most common tactics used by opponents:
- decoy tactics
- false ally tactics
- the open attack
- the sneak attack
- the group ambush attack
- the false insider information tactic
- demands for cross examination
- demands for negotiation
- back door tactics

I can name more of the tactics. Just as in the game of chess, I know which strategies I can unleash BEFORE I face my opponent.

I don't wait until I face my opponent to try and come up with options. That's the mark of an activist who is unprepared.

An effective activist knows that confrontation is a tool, not a weapon."




This is a brilliant list.


I am wondering how I can take this and apply it to my life because I am feeling this could be useful in my career and personal life.


I think though I am a sucker because I am terrified of confrontation and conflict. Although I realize now that it is necessary, but I am always afraid of escalation.


Never heard it called a tool before.


Tanks for all the sharing of info.

Khadija said...

Greetings, Aphrodite!

A lot of what we're discussing applies to many areas of life (personal, career, etc.). These interpersonal maneuvers are the underpinnings of many different types of fundamentally human interactions.

As activists, we only fight when we must. It's preferable to "win" without having to fight. It's preferable to have enough deterrence in place that people refrain from attacking us in the first place.

In my opinion, in terms of personal life stuff, "fighting" (= conflict & confrontation) is usually the worst option. It's usually best to simply get away (& stay away) from that person. And find better people to surround oneself with.

Also, having to "fight" in one's personal life is usually an indication that one has allowed a negative situation to take root. These are typically interactions/relationships that should have been terminated LONG before the point where a full-blown confrontation became necessary.

Work is slightly different, because one is forced to interact with people not of one's choosing. There are maneuvers for work scenarios, but that's a different conversation. LOL!

Don't feel bad. We've all had yucky experiences. I mentioned in the True Fellowship discussions that I've been burned by undercover user-types of people. It just forced me to get better at screening folks.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

blackwomenblowthetrumpet.blogspot.com said...

Greetings Aphrodite!

Many black women are taught to be non-confrontational.

I have met so many black women who are afraid of confrontation but they are almost always women who are from violent family situations or violent living environments. They have watched an argument turn into a stabbing or an argument turn into someone burning down someone's house.

They fear confrontation because they have seen too much confrontation that blew out of proportion and out of control. They tend to be the ones who avoid confrontation at all costs and they think they will be safe.

In fact, those who are afraid of confrontation are usually targeted more often by exploiters.

Exploiters seem to "choose" those who will not confront them...similiarly to the pedophiles who were interviewed on Oprah who mentioned how they "choose" which children to molest and which children are too "risky" to attempt to approach. They said that they look for the timid kid, the lonely kid and the emotionally-needy kid.

Adult exploiters tend to have these patterns as well.

As for confrontation being a tool and not a weapon...

A weapon is used for attack or for protection.

A tool is used to leverage influence or to reinforce an estabished position/power base.

I have seen confrontation used as a weapon and I've seen it used as an attack...and I find that the long-term outcomes seem to be much better when it's used as a tool.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
Lisa

PioneerValleyWoman said...

I wanted to join Rev. Lisa and Khadija's teaching moments and include some other arguments used to influence African Americans and prevent them from engaging in serious critique

Rev. Lisa:

...who deem them culturally "inferior" to American men based on their unabashed and narrow-minded positions about the role of women as breeders and homemakers...

I have spoken with many Africans who seem to be sooo deeply observant of pathologies in the black community when they arrive here but seem to have extensive amnesia about the savagery of the African people towards other African people and the level of subjugation of African people by other African people...not to mention the level of complicity that many African nations have with white supremacist nations to receive payoffs to exploit their own countrymen...

Khadija:

There are a lot of AAs who romanticize Africa & African cultures. We need to get over that and look at things with our eyes wide open. It's dangerous to be on Fantasy Island. No matter which particular fantasy is the subject matter. A good start for de-romanticizing Africa is for people to consider the facts that you pointed out.

My reply:

And another argument is that things were all better prior to slavery and colonization, and that traditional African culture was more protective...But as Rev. Lisa asks, that is a debatable question.

As for the contamination argument, it is as though the Africans have been helpless victims without moral agency, almost as though that has excused them/justified their behavior then and now...

Miriam said...

Hi all,

Khadija, please correct me if I got it wrong but:

I was just wondering if one reason its important to focus on the principle and not the actual victim is because things always happen to expose racist or otherwise unjust behavior.

So, the unfortunate circumstance that happens and that places a victim at the hand of racist or unjust people is really an opportunity for those who are truthfully seeking justice to "catch them in the act" of improper behavior.

If we focus on the victim too much we are not really fulfilling the purpose of pure justice. We are more attempting to satisfy our indignation. In such a case, we are not much different than the unjust person or system- in that we are reacting to the presence, character and quality of the victim.

If we catch the unjust person or system and expose their ill behavior or their abuse of a principle, that is more inline with true justice.

Khadija said...

Hello there, Pioneer Valley Woman!

Thank you for adding to the teaching moment! Quite frankly, almost everytime I've heard a BM claim that something was part of our "ancestral" African heritage, it's been some mess like polygamy & wife beating.

It seems to me that Black men's romanticized "good old days" in Africa weren't good at all for Black women. Things don't sound so good for African women right now. In fact, things sound horrible. Which is something that I have heard very, very few Africans 'fess up to while AAs are openly discussing AA problems at some of these blogs.

"Ancestral" does not equal legitimate. Or healthy. Or anything that we would want to emulate. For example, I reject the idea of us taking up genital mutilation. Isn't that an "ancestral" practice in many African countries?

I've always felt that one of the very few positives that came out of AAs' historical experiences is that we are just about the only people who are truly free to reinvent ourselves. Most ethnic groups are literally chained to their "ancestral" traditions until "death do they part." Chained to traditions that do not serve them well, or serve them at all.

By contrast, we are free to create new traditions that actually serve our interests.
_________________________

Greetings, Miriam!

What you're asking about is a matter of opinion. I don't see it so much as "exposing" injustice. That would imply that injustice or oppression are secrets that nobody knows about. I don't think injustice is a secret.

People know about the unjust things that are going on. They are simply comfortable & complacent in ignoring these events. Activism makes it no longer comfortable or cozy for people to ignore such things. Successful activism creates discomfort and a price tag that is paid unless & until justice is restored.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JS said...

I want to point out that not all people who attribute an abuser’s predatorial behavior to past abuse are trying to exonerate them of their responsibility. Some people are predators because they were victimized by someone as minors. However, even if this is true the person must be punished. I compare this situation to an abused dog that has severely injured several people. We wouldn’t conclude that we shouldn’t call animal control since the poor dog suffered abuse. Nor would we rationalize that the dog should be sent to an animal foster care home or blame the victims for intimidating the dog or walking were they shouldn’t have been.

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Khadija:

It seems to me that Black men's romanticized "good old days" in Africa weren't good at all for Black women. Things don't sound so good for African women right now. In fact, things sound horrible. Which is something that I have heard very, very few Africans 'fess up to while AAs are openly discussing AA problems at some of these blogs.

"Ancestral" does not equal legitimate. Or healthy. Or anything that we would want to emulate.

My reply:

I'm quite glad to participate in these teaching moments!

And yet, think of how many African American women have been bamboozled into accepting these foreign practices as legitimate, because they accepted uncritically someone else's world view and thus they ingested an inferiority complex, that they were not sufficiently "African," that they were contaminated by "American ways," or in the context of some of the most recent conversations here, that they are not sufficiently "Muslim", for that very reason of "contamination".

Khadija said...

Hello there, Pioneer Valley Woman!

I often think of the expression "cutting off your nose to spite your face."

Often, non-Western peoples are so insecure within their own selves that they do (what only appears to be) the polar opposite of slavishly imitating European/Western culture: wholesale rejection of anything that came from Europe; and uncritical celebration of anything "ancestral."

This behavior only appears to be the opposite of being a White-worshipping slave. BOTH polar opposites have Whites & their ancestral ways as the non-Western person's point of reference. Either "for" or "against." This reflects an unhealthy obsession either "for" or "against" White culture.

I believe that what the Japanese have historically done is healthier. For centuries, they have had NO problem with taking what is useful from the West while remaining Japanese. They have adopted Western things that worked for them; and discarded them when they no longer worked for them.

The Japanese seem to have done this for centuries without any undue cultural trauma. Maybe more of us should examine why that is.

There's a fascinating book about how the Japanese originally imported and then banned firearms during the time of the samurai. If I remember correctly, it's called something like "Giving Up the Gun." Guns were useful on one level. But the samurai overlords ultimately found them to be destabilizing in terms of their social structure.

Firearms made any untrained peasant the military equal of the samurai class. And that just wouldn't "do"! LOL! So, the guns had to go for several centuries until the 1800s.

Later on, during the Meiji Restoration (in 1867), the newly-restored emperor started sending droves of Japanese students to the West to study Western methods. As a result, the Japanese quickly got up to speed in terms of industrialization and modernizing their military. This is why they defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese war in 1905.

There were certain intellectual achievements that came out of the European Age of Enlightenment that I think are very good things! I believe that AAs are partially-Westernized people. We've become Western in many ways over the centuries of being here; but not completely Western in our thinking.

That is, up until the age of assimilation starting in the 1960s. We've learned how to adopt extremely dysfunctional White practices like being serial killers, murdering one's parents, and a refusal to discipline our children. Things that we simply never did before as a people.

Nevertheless, I have no problem with taking what is useful from the West.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

CW said...

Great discussion...This is why a jurisdiction can prosecute a variety of crimes without the victims participation...For instance:

-Concern for other members of the community
i.e.,women/elderly/juveniles...This is what some victims (as well as the predator/victim family members)fail to understand during the period soon after the crime has been committed...Emotions are high and all over the place so the decison not to prosecute is mostly based on these factors...
Predators more than likely have attacked before and typically will strike again...Therefore it is not just the current victim affected...Overall, it comes down to PUBLIC SAFETY...Most definitely we can sympathize and empathize with the victim...On the other hand, the community and it's officials must act to reduce the risk....

Khadija said...

Greetings, CW!

Like you said, "it comes down to PUBLIC SAFETY." As much as we empathize with the victims, we can't let them endanger the rest of us.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JS said...

I hope I'm not getting off topic, but on a very popular natural hair care board a thread topic was discussing if legalized prostitution was a positive or negative thing. Most of the women were in support of it because they said it would provide protection for sex workers. One even said she saw noting wrong with being a prostitute. Can you believe that these black women thought that legalizing sex work would not expose black women to more sexual abuse in their neighborhoods or society period?! I seriously doubt that Tameka would be provided the same protection as Tara.

Khadija said...

Hello there, JS!

You said:

"I hope I'm not getting off topic, but on a very popular natural hair care board a thread topic was discussing if legalized prostitution was a positive or negative thing. Most of the women were in support of it because they said it would provide protection for sex workers. One even said she saw noting wrong with being a prostitute."

Lord have mercy.

I believe that there are several [off base, off kilter, simply "off"] things going on in that discussion:

1-A lack of common sense. Of course "Tameka" wouldn't have the same working conditions as a White "Tara." The working conditions are never the same for BW. No matter what field is involved.

2-Ideology over principles. I suspect that these women [actually, fools] are so focused on sounding "sex-positive," and like they are "allies to those who have been marginalized" that they've thrown ethics out the window. As well as common sense. Prostitution is inherently degrading. Period.

They've never noticed the correlation between prostitution, porn work & childhood sexual abuse? They've never noticed the correlation between prostitution & drug addiction?

[I'm assuming they're talking about female prostitutes, and not men who hustle gay men.]

Not to mention the practical questions. Such as where exactly do they think these legalized brothels would be located? I know where they would be---in the same areas where suburban White folks already go to buy their drugs. In the same areas where drug rehabs, homeless shelters, social service branch offices, halfway houses, places where they give out free government cheese, and just about anything else negative is located.In Black residential areas. Whites wouldn't allow that mess into their neighborhoods.

Would these women like to have these legalized brothels filled with oh-so-protected "sex workers" in their neighborhoods? Where their children have to walk past on their way to school?

Uh huh. Right.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JS said...

Another little spiel about what I just posted. The women were even making jokes about a p!ssy tax!! They reasoned that what was the difference between a promiscuous person or people who had a one-night stand and prostitutes. One young women even confessed that she slept with a guy for money because at that the time she was a struggling college student. Of course, they only mentioned the positives of legalized prostitution stating the STDs were lower and violence against women decreased in countries were it is legal. However, the United States is not Denmark. Everyone kept using the tired old excuse that it’s the world’s oldest institution and the demand for tight young p!ssy ain’t going anywhere. Another poster said that what it would be good for women who don’t want to work a 40 hr week or who don’t have a lot of education. Someone mentioned that the average age for female’s entry into prostitution is 13 in the USA. They were concerned that legalized prostitution could put them at increased risk. Everyone scoffed at that “paranoid fear” and said legalized prostitution would end underage prostitution since only adults could be sex workers.

Maybe I am too much of a Puritan but I felt like I was in the twilight zone. Threads like this have been on that site before and most of the women were all gung ho for legalized prostitution. It is because of this and an overall lack of “sista support” that I rarely log onto that site anymore. I started to post a dissenting opinion but after they started making jokes about p!ssy taxes I reasoned just forget about it. Please note that almost all members on the site are black women. Perhaps I should not have been born during this time because I have always felt out of touch with most people my age and today’s moral climate. I feel like an orphan.

Khadija said...

Hello there, JS!

{slowly shaking my head in disgust}

Many (more) of our people are going to die in the wilderness. Many are simply not fit (or really want) to live in the promised land (due to their distorted values).

I would suggest that you turn your attention toward those forums & gatherings of people whose values are consistent with surviving & thriving.

And leave the lunatics to their own devices. Nutcase forums & nutcase people drain your spirit. [This is the reason why I avoid almost all Muslim sites. The sheer hatred & madness would turn your hair grey overnight.]

Furthermore, there are too many other, and much more worthwhile, things to do with your time & energy.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

JS said...

Thanks for your response Khadija.

Believe me I have purged a lot of negative material I read off the Internet from my consumption. I realize that even though this media can be used for positive purposes, it has given many loonies a platform to voice their ideology. Even some "ordinary" people we interact with everyday can be one of them.