Monday, April 2, 2012

A Response To A Former Reader's Question About BWE And Mass Movements

A former blog reader recently asked me the following question. Since it's an important question that I've seen come up in more than a few discussions, I decided to post my response here.

QUESTION: Why aren’t BWE bloggers interested in creating a mass movement with thousands of women marching in the streets?

Speaking for myself only (other BWE bloggers’ mileage may and probably does vary):

My Reason #1-Because in 21st century America, those sorts of activities tend to reflect extreme powerlessness. They also tend to keep AA women powerless in the long run. At this point in time, it’s become a trickbag that diverts AA women from strategies that would make a lasting difference in their lives.

AA women put on their marching shoes, and then come back to the same inadequate life circumstances they had before they went to the march. They come back from the march as unsupported and unprotected as they were before. Marching becomes a substitute for finding and making personal connections to people who will actually support and protect their interests. Marching becomes a substitute for discarding the self-limiting beliefs and practices that keep AA women tethered to unsupportive people and places.

In this era, real and enduring progress―the type of progress that changes an individual’s or group’s life circumstances―tends to be quiet. And operates by stealth. Behind the scenes. Without fanfare. Usually as the cumulative result of many individual choices.

I think some of the most important questions that modern-day AA women need to ponder are:

How is it that AAs are still stuck in the weak position of having to do protest marches while other nonwhites in the US are increasingly able to wield White privilege?

How did these people go from being supposedly stuck in oppression alongside us to being positioned over us? How did THAT happen?

Any AA woman who's doesn’t want to be permanently stuck in reenacting 1950s Selma, Alabama protest marches needs to take a close look at how large numbers of other women individually got themselves (and their children) in a position to access large portions of White privilege. I’ve watched many AA women get angry with the Common Sense blogger Evia because she did some podcasts about how her husband’s White privilege benefits her. That’s a silly reaction. A silly reaction that other women of color (including many non-AA Black women) don’t share. They’re too busy acting in their own best interests.

Let’s look at a few examples from current events, starting with the slaying of Trayvon Martin. How did it come to be that Latinos…a group of people that our African-American(AA) misleaders have told AAs are our so-called allies… in a “Rainbow Coalition”…became considered “White enough” to wield White privilege?

What long-term process made it possible for the very mestizo-looking George Zimmerman to be treated with White-privilege-based deference by local law enforcement?

Mr. Zimmerman is not the only example of how other so-called “people of color” have positioned themselves to access White privilege. He’s just the latest example (and one that happens to not even be a police officer). Going back at least to the 1980s, there have been cases of “White” Latino police officers shooting unarmed Blacks.

The calm aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre is another example of how AAs’ so-called “people of color,” so-called “allies” have positioned themselves to access White privilege.

In the aftermath of that massacre, I was amazed (and pleasantly surprised) to see that there wasn’t a pogrom of sorts against Asian students on American campuses. This didn’t happen because Asians have become considered “White enough” to wield White privilege. One aspect of White privilege is that dysfunctional, destructive Whites are looked upon as aberrant individuals. Not people who are representative of their entire group.

The Korean male Virginia Tech mass murderer was considered to be ONE deranged individual. His atrocity was not held against all Asians in general or all Asian college students in the US. Other Asians in the US didn’t suffer any consequences because of what he did. That’s a big difference from what most likely would’ve happened if an immigrant Muslim student or AA student had killed over 30 people on a White campus. How did Asians become “White enough” in America that one of them could commit an atrocity of this magnitude without creating a backlash against the rest of them?

Here’s how Asians and Latinos became “White enough” to wield large pieces of White privilege: While AAs have remained frozen in time reenacting Deep South protest marches from almost FIFTY years ago, Asians and Latinos have spent those same fifty years making personal inroads and connections to White America. A large chunk of these inroads were created through the cumulative effect of Latina and Asian women’s marriages to White men. The so-called “White” Mr. Zimmerman (who has been able to wield White privilege) is the product of a Latina woman’s marriage to a WM.

For reasons that I've discusssed at length in other posts, I don't expect White Americans to start viewing AAs as "White enough" in the same way many of them apparently perceive Asians and Latinos. Nevertheless, AA women don't have to remain permanently frozen in 1950s Selma, Alabama. There are ways for AA women to use the "female card" in order to access some of the benefits of White privilege. More AA women can do what other women of color (including non-AA Black women) have done to access these benefits.

Latinos, Asians and other non-AAs rode the coattails of the AA civil rights movement and AA civil rights martyrs. After AAs knocked down the barriers, these other people rushed into White work and other settings that had previously been closed to many of them. But unlike so many AA women, once these other nonwhites got through the door, they took the time to effectively mingle with Whites. That’s a large part of why fifty years later, the AA masses are still on the outside looking in―and having protest marches―while other nonwhites have MOVED ON into enjoying the privileges of the majority-White mainstream.

Any AA woman who wants to live well will have to make personal inroads and connections to the outer, mainstream world. And get back in touch with the normal, human practice of forming families. Families bound together by marriage. Stable immediate and extended family ties are the best and most enduring support network for women and children.

Why is marriage important? A few years ago, another blogger made an extremely insightful comment about this. In response to a guest post at What About Our Daughters, the regular blog host said the following:

I'm supporting Single Mothers TOO... by giving them permission to feel ENTITLED to a co-parent. We aren't doing single mothers any favors by reinforcing the idea that it is normal or acceptable to be forced to raise a child on our own. Black women are NOT superwomen.

I feel like I am in Episode of Star Wars where Senator Palpatine has convinced everyone that he has their best interests at hears and is "looking out for them" when in fact he's manipulating them for their own purposes.

All medicine doesn't taste good and a whole lot of things that "go down easy" are horrible for your health.

Sure it feels GREAT to have a slick PR campaign called "Raising Him Alone", but you're gonna end up with a cavity.

When we've gotten a OOW birthrate of 98% where exactly will these "families" making up the village be?

MARRIAGE is the tie that binds families together. Many of you are relying on families being held together by a marriage that occurred 3 generations ago. What about 3 generations from now?

This all feels great NOW, but look down the road three generations later. You're depleting the "village." There are going to be entire SWATHS of society where there won't be an adult male in sight because everybody's Raising Him Alone.

If the village was a forest and families were trees, what are y'all going to do when you get through chopping all the trees in HALF? You're wearing the HELL out of "the Village." If the Village were a spotted owl, environmental activists would be chaining themselves to trees right about now. The beloved "Village" is about to become an endangered species. The "village" doesn't crop up by osmosis.

I support single mothers. I support single mothers by telling them to REJECT this propaganda that Black women aren't entitled to HELP- from the father's of their children, not some "village" she had to cobble together.

Everybody wants to talk about the village, but nobody wants to maintain the Village. Nobody wants to pay property taxes in the Village. Nobody wants to do strategic planning for the Village. Everybody LOVES the village, but don't want any ordinances in the Village. They don't want any zoning in "the Village." The don't want the Village to have a homeowners association that enforces "The Village"'s rules and regulations. They don't want police to patrol the Village or enforce the laws of the village or throw those who commit violence against the Village in jail.

You take for granted that "the Village" will always be intact. When in fact MY GENERATION is living in the Village our Great Grand Parents and Grand Parents built and we're unwilling to make any investments in the infrastructure of the village.

One day, this all important "Village" will collapse on itself and the people who will pay the HEAVIEST price will be the people who rely on the "Village" the most.

Yeah, it take a "village" unfortunately there won't be a village in about three generations, why? because three generations of Black children won't know how to build a freaking Village. We have a Village because somebody fought to create maintain and preserve it. They were so good at constructing the village that despite our best efforts to burn it to the ground, the Village has some ever dwindling huts intact. They really knew how to build things back in the day. They built their village with STONE. We're building our modern village with particle board.

Ironically, I don't need "the village" (I have a tribe called a FAMILY) yet I appear to be the most concerned about it.

The blog host was absolutely correct in the common sense observation that marriage is the tie that binds families together; and why it matters. I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

My Reason #2-Not every problem or issue can be solved with protest marches or protest organizations. What’s the saying? When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Furthermore, I believe AAs have a tendency to turn various activities into cargo cults. Voting is one example of this. Protest marches and protest organizations are other examples.

AAs have made the idea of voting an object of unreasonably excessive reverence. Many of us are as deluded as the Iraqis proudly holding up their purple fingers after voting under an occupation-imposed puppet government. Their purple-stained fingers did not magically convert occupied Iraq into a functioning democracy. Iraq still is not a functioning democracy. Millions of people around the planet have voted while still living under the heels of brutal tyrants.

Much more than simply voting is required in order to have a functioning democracy. A functioning democracy needs to have a combination of practices in place. These practices are often referred to as "the rule of law."

Some concepts associated with "the rule of law" include: The principle that governmental authority is exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws. The principle that these laws are adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedural steps. The idea that everyone is equal before the law. The idea that nobody is above the law. The idea that people who have been arrested have the right to be told what crimes they are accused of, and to request that their custody be reviewed by independent, judicial authority.

Keep in mind that none of this guarantees that the laws will be just. This only guarantees that there will be a PROCESS other than following the whims of a tyrant, or following mob rule. Having a process is extremely important. Having a real process in place makes it possible for people to work toward having just laws.

In a similar way, AAs have made the idea of protesting an object of excessive reverence. Since most of us don’t bother to study our own history, we don’t understand the unromantic ingredients that helped make the civil rights movement successful. Most of us have no idea about the huge role the Cold War played in the movement’s success.

To put it plainly, Uncle Sam was locked in a serious competition with his European cousin Soviet Ivan. By the 1950s, both of them were competing for influence among the newly-independent nations of the third world. Uncle Sam was deeply afraid that large portions of the planet might join an alliance with Soviet Ivan. Every time photos and news film leaked out of Uncle Sam mistreating his disenfranchised AA citizens, Soviet Ivan would publicize this to people in third world countries. Soviet Ivan would say, “Look at how racist Uncle Sam is! Look at how badly he treats his own Black citizens! That’s how Uncle Sam will treat you if you join his alliance.”

And so, Uncle Sam felt some external pressure to make concessions to the civil right movement because failure to do so was seriously undermining his foreign policy goals. During the Cold War, Uncle Sam had pragmatic reasons to care about how foreigners felt about him. Uncle Sam only cared because he had a serious, equally armed enemy who was courting these foreigners.

The Soviet Union collapsed just over twenty years ago. There’s no Cold War. Uncle Sam has no reason to care about how he or his actions look to anybody. The protest marches that worked in the earlier context of the Cold War generally aren’t effective anymore.

My Reason #3-In the AA “programmed slave” context, securing abundant life has to be an individual, self-directed process for most AA women. For the reasons that I mentioned in another recent post, mass cooperation among large numbers of AA women is simply not possible. It’s certainly not sustainable.

Please understand that the vast majority of African-Americans (AAs) are incapable of giving reciprocal support to any Black person or Black-led movement that supports them. It’s very similar to Black consumer dynamics. The vast majority of Black consumers are incapable of responding appropriately to any Black-owned business.

Here’s why: Because most AAs have deeply embedded slave programming on top of the everyday collection of human frailties shared by all humans. Most AAs have been successfully programmed to sabotage anything that could possibly enhance or save their lives. Most AAs will take any and everything and twist it around into something destructive. AAs take new ideas and superimpose their same old, dysfunctional thought patterns onto the new idea. In the end, the new idea become merely a new slogan that’s used to justify the same old dysfunctional behavior.

This is why AAs have turned every past solution into a new catastrophe. There are almost endless examples of this. We collectively did the “bait and switch” with many past solutions. We took desegregation and turned it into a pretext for engaging in a permanent, undeclared boycott against all Black-owned businesses (with the partial and dwindling exception of barbershops and hair salons).

We took the language of multiculturalism and turned it into a pretext for maintaining our racial self-hatred and internal colorism.

Even among healthy people, creating a protest movement or organization automatically creates unnecessary hierarchy. Which creates unnecessary conflict because various individuals will compete for various offices within the movement/organization. Factions will form around each candidate for each office. Various individuals with differing visions will fight over the charter or rules for the organization. Factions will form around each proposed rule. These conflicts are multiplied by a factor of 50 if there’s money involved (fundraising, salaried positions, expense accounts, etc.).

Among AAs, the only structure that avoids most of this type of conflict is the permanent “one person show” such as Rev. Jackson’s or Rev. Sharpton’s organizations. But that’s exchanging one set of organizational problems for another (everything dependent on one “big boss”).

The massive amount of energy AA women participants would need to invest in struggling to keep any AA protest movement moving in a productive direction would be better spent in feathering their own individual nests. As I noted during the final post at Sojourner’s Passport blog, each individual AA woman’s personal victory creates powerful ripple effects that spread success outward.

As I said at the beginning, these are just my thoughts in response to the reader’s question. Other BWE bloggers’ mileage may (and probably does) vary.

And with that, I'm going back to enjoying my online silence and retirement from blogging! LOL!