We need to be arm and arm with black women in courage and action when it comes to destroying the machine that destroys us.
The recent death of Sandra Bland will be yet another opportunity for the United States to look in the mirror and decide exactly what we are as a society. Do we allow there to be prevailing systems of injustice embedded in the daily fabric of our lives? Are we really just a nation of diluted ideas and empty rhetoric, or are we committed to having the most advanced society that we can have? Yet, in the many questions that we as a nation must confront, one of the most important questions to be asked is actually within the community of the afflicted. Black America must ask itself what is the comprehensive agenda? What can be done by black people to mitigate the impact of systematic injustice and social inequality?
Oft we lament the passing of the collective consciousness of the Civil Rights movement. The prevailing imagery of methodological organization and tireless commitment belies the fragmented state of affairs we currently endure. This new world of rampant consumerism and political correctness shifts the goalposts of progress every second. When there was more overt means of discrimination by limiting access to public facilities, it was easier to rally behind a cause. When the rift between black bourgeois and impoverished and working class blacks wasn’t so large, then interest convergence was easier.
After all, since there’s no big boogeyman like Jim Crow to fight now and we’ve made significant gains, where should we start in terms of progress today? Should there be an emphasis on education reform or prison reform? Does the answer lie in economic control or redefining the hegemony that drives imagery of black people? And once we agree on a starting place, exactly HOW do we go about attaining the goal. The reality is that there’s no seminal starting point as there are many holes in the bucket that need to be plugged. The ‘New Black’ as touted by celebrities feels like the familiar old black for most of the community.
But, rather than throw our hands up in despair, we must resolve to start somewhere. One thing that can be universally agreed upon is that the status quo cannot continue to exist. And in the midst of the Bland case, we are reminded that black women suffer greatly in this country internally and externally. They are similarly dehumanized in a manner similar to black men, like the comments regarding Serena williams’ body when her physique has been criticized and seen as unladylike. They are subject to systematic oppression, being expelled from school more than their counterparts or falling victim to police brutality in a similar fashion as black men. There are countless numbers of black women who fall victim to any manner of atrocities and these are steadily becoming victimless crimes as black women have been rendered all but invisible.
Black women have long lamented the feeling that they lack support from the men of their community through their folklore and overt call to action. While it’s hard to get an accurate gauge of black men’s effort in helping due to media imagery, one thing is for certain: black men can do more, both for ourselves and our women, and in turn our children and community. As Tupac indicated in ‘Keep your head up’, ‘…it’s time we heal our women, be real to our women’.
It is true that every little bit helps. We definitely need more men seeking to be mentors and filling those roles…fighting in all nooks and crannies to help seal a cracked foundation. But we have to get out of our comfort zones. We need more foot soldiers than youth coaches. We have to take on the support roles of these organizations, like working in the kitchen or manning the phone lines, much like we expect women to do. What’s most important, however, is we fill whatever role we can in furthering the rights of our women since that will ultimately lead to more opportunities for us and less animus in our community between man and women.
#Blacklivesmatter should always be a macro effort and not heaped upon the backs of black women to shoulder the load for the black community. Black men have to realize that our upward mobility as a group and community is a contact sport, meaning we have to be willing to get dirty and make things happen. We cannot be too comfortable in what we have attained. We need to be arm and arm with black women in courage and action when it comes to destroying the machine that destroys us.
Photo: AP File