Friday, June 12, 2015

That Was Then, This Is Now - The Importance of Context and Nuances, Part 2

Links To Earlier Related Posts

If you're too lazy to read the earlier posts that I'm going to link to (and quote from), then please stop reading HERE. There are too many nuances and historical contexts with these African-American (AA) Black identity issues for soundbites. ALL of the relevant AA history needs to be considered.

Here are the earlier posts:

Pay Attention to Nuances When Black People Say They “Don’t Understand What Black Means”

A Meme That I Agree With

I've seen this meme by For BW Only referenced on several Facebook pages I read.

Even though I agree with this meme, keep in mind that I don't like Africans or other foreign-origin Blacks inserting themselves into conversations about AA identity issues. Their presence is often unhelpful because (due to our different cultural histories) we're often talking about different things even when we use the same words (such as "Black"). As I said in an earlier post,A Pragmatic Cost/Benefit Analysis For African-Americans Considering Trying To “Pass” As Anything Other Than Black:
On a practical level, you automatically create a lot of confusion when you allow foreign Blacks to enter conversations among African-American Blacks about African-American identity issues. Our different histories mean that we’re talking about different things even when we use the same words such as “Black.” Because they’re from all- or majority-Black countries, many foreign Blacks (Africans in particular) never had any sustained, everyday experience with racial competition. Their universe revolves around family, clan, and ethnic group/tribal interactions and rivalries. They’re not alone in this. One interesting thing I’ve learned from Korean friends and acquaintances is how clan-based Korean culture is. There’s still a certain amount of competition and friction between Korean clans whose ancestors lived under different historical Korean kingdoms.
All of the above means that when many foreign Blacks talk about dropping the Black label, they’re not throwing away anything that ever had any real substance or weight in their people’s history. Because even when they drop “Black,” they’re still holding onto what really matters to them—their specific ethnic identities as Hausas, Yorubas, and so on.
Unlike most non-AA Blacks, most AAs conflate racial identity and ethnic identity. Many African-Americans say “Black” when they’re actually referring to what they (often mistakenly) believe to be African-American culture and shared historical experience. In general, the "typical" AA has a very weak or non-existent sense of ethnic identity and a vague (and mostly unwanted) racial identity. 

There are historical reasons for that: First, racial and ethnic pride was literally beaten out of our ancestors on the slave plantations. And second, our AA misleadership class has always emphasized chasing after coalitions with everybody and anybody else. AAs have never been happy to be by ourselves. Most of our historical and current misleaders have reflected our desire to latch onto other people's identities.
It’s normal human nature to take care of folks in this order: self, family, clan, ethnic group. With many people in many countries, “nation” isn’t even on that list. For other people, “race” also is not on that list; their concern only extends as far as their own ethnic group. With most people, outsiders are almost never on the “take care of them” list.
Most African-Americans have the “take care of them” list backwards compared to every other group of people. We put outsiders first and put ourselves last. African-American women put themselves dead last on the “must be taken care of” list. Our misleaders have programmed most African-Americans to look to create over-arching coalitions with anybody and everybody else . . . in the absence of taking care of self, family, clan, and finally, ethnic group.

Our misleaders have also programmed us to fixate on being “fairer than fair” to anybody and everybody except ourselves. This is why so many African-Americans will come to Black blogs to fight with other Black people to champion the interests of NON-Blacks (such as the “don’t you dare call me Black” so-called biracials, other so-called “people of color,” and so on). (Note that these other “people of color” generally only use that term to describe themselves when they want something from African-Americans. Many other “people of color,” such as many Latinos and Arabs, are heavily invested in self-identifying as “White” in every other context.) All the above confused thinking is upside-down and backwards. And it doesn’t work.
This Kumbaya brainwashing is a large part of why there are large numbers of AA Black women Mammy Mules* and negro male coons on websites like For Harriet's Facebook page defending the WW scam artist referenced in the above meme.

[*I think there's another reason in addition to the Kumbaya brainwashing that causes Mammy Mules' and Sista Soldiers' shrill demands to include modern-day biracial women as "Black." These women can't face the fact that the vast majority of AA negro males hate Black racial features on women, and desire the Whitest, least-racially Black women they can get their hands on.

When you set a boundary that doesn't include biracial women, the illusion is broken and you have to acknowledge that AA Black men worship Whiteness in women. That reality is just too painful for these type of AA Black women to bear, and so they shriek about "divisiveness."]

Since AAs Generally Can't "Do" Nuance, Here's A Binary You Need To Use To Protect YOUR Interests Regarding Part-AA Biracials

That was then—in a very different historical era—when most ½ Black-½ Nonblack persons suffered more or less just like the rest of AAs in America. 

That was then, this is now. Now is different from then. Right now, ½ Black-½ Nonblack persons are an extremely privileged caste relative to AA Blacks. Particularly when it comes to biracial women. Somehow, AABW can't seem to notice that our inclusion of already-privileged people only serves to entrench the privilege they already have over us. Modern day biracial women are able to access portions of White privilege and "Whiter Than Black" privilege. Fully Black AA women don't have any of that privilege. Why in the world are we worrying about these modern-day biracial women when we are in the greatest peril (and suffering the most)?

Right now AA Black women need to set some new boundaries to avoid being totally erased by biracial women.

Are you clear about the need for some new rules? Good, here's a rule of thumb that will help you protect YOUR interests:

½ AA Black-½ Nonblack person who self-identified as Black AND was born prior to Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) should be categorized as AA Black.

½ AA Black-½ Nonblack person who was born during or AFTER Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) is biracial and therefore Nonblack.

In thinking about all of this, I tried to balance the need to: (1) protect our historical AA "tribe" from being stripped of many of our loyal, faithful historical heroes and heroines. And (2) the need to protect modern-day AABW and girls from being replaced by biracial women. The Brown vs. Board of Education ruling is a point in time when the available possibilities during their future adult lifetimes started changing drastically for the ½ Black babies born during and after that ruling.

I'm very leery of people who want to strip the AA ethnic group of any and every historical person who might be perceived as an accomplished person. Y'all need to watch for that. There are folks out there who hate AAs so much that they don't want us to be credited with anything or anybody who's productive. These bigots are in a hurry to find a way to describe any accomplished AA Black person as anything other than AA and/or Black. And in your fervor to call yourself discarding the “one drop rule,” you're helping these bigots do exactly that—subtract illustrious historical persons from our Black AA tribe.

I notice that there’s an ongoing, persistent effort to change the historical narrative and either destroy, erase or distort AA history.

Lest we forget: The historical reason why so many of our early leaders and accomplished ancestors were more immediately “mixed” than is typical for us is because those were the first AAs who were positioned to have access to education. Either as the slavemaster's direct offspring or as (already) “free persons of color.” In that moment in history, out of all of us, those were the types of Black folks who first gained access to education. 

The productive, loyal tribe members Black folks that many of y'all new school individuals are in a hurry to call “biracial” and not Black—like the slavemaster's son Booker T. Washington—used their resources to help lift up other, NON-mixed AAs. Back to nuances, I disagree with a lot of things Booker T. Washington advocated. Nevertheless, he created a college that is still educating AA Blacks today. Not everybody’s going to get into Harvard, like W.E.B. DuBois. Washington built something that is still serving AAs’ needs today. As a Black AA business owner, I’ve seen for myself just how very hard it is to create a functioning institution. Especially one that uplifts AAs. 

Ladies, please learn to examine the costs/benefits angle with everything. In today’s era, there’s a need for AA Black women to protect ourselves from being replaced by biracial and other types of nonblack women. At the same time, it does NOT serve our interests to subtract any of our tribe's esteemed, loyal historical members by referring to them as “biracial.”*

[*About President Obama: African-Americans (AAs) are those Black folks in the U.S. who are descended from the African captives who were held in slavery in the United States. Anybody who's not part of this shared bloodline is not part of us. Pres. Obama married into the AA bloodlines. His children are AA. But his bloodline (continental African and WW) has ZERO connection to AAs. He's not descended from the African captives who were held in slavery in the United States. He's not AA. 

President Obama is not one of us. Which is what made White voters feel comfortable about voting for him. There are nuances to all of this. I often let all of this slide in casual conversation among mixed company about Pres. Obama because I feel that overall, for the purposes of casual conversations among mixed company, it operates as a “credit” to my tribe (even though he's not really one of us). 

I'm also not annoyed with Min. Farrakhan calling himself AA (even though he's of West Indian bloodlines) because he's married into my tribe (IIRC); and he's been loyal to my tribe. And most of all, he was willing to follow and SERVE under the leadership of an AA man (Elijah Muhammad). He humbled himself to serve under AA leadership. Instead of coming among AAs to preside over us, like others. Which is our own fault as AAs because we generally don't set boundaries with people.] 

White folks have nuance and context down pat. When somebody who is ½ White & ½ Other is a “credit,” they're quick to claim racial and tribal connection to that person. Folks like Keanu Reeves are identified as White by many (most) other White folks. When somebody who is ½ White & ½ Other is a turd (like the ½ White & ½ Asian creep Elliot Rodger who committed a mass shooting), they're quick to distance that miscreant from the rest of their race and tribe. HERE'S a post from an Asian-American activist site about the nuances involved in that. 

Nuances, ladies—nuances.