Sunday, April 27, 2014
Forgiveness and the Black Diaspora...
"...agony is the price that you pay in the end; domination consumes you and calls you a friend, it's a twisted foe..."
--the heavy metal band Pantera, from their album 'Far beyond driven'
On March 22, 1994, Pantera released their seventh studio album 'Far beyond driven' pictured to the left.
I kid you not when I say I played this album every day for several months after I bought it.
Do you remember hearing your favorite musical artist for the first time? I liken it to a person's first crush or the first time they're love struck after being with a man or woman for the first few weeks.
In my eyes, this band was the most perfect blend of guitar, bass, drums and vocals I'd ever heard in my life; and their lyrics resonated with me on a very visceral level.
But there was a problem...
After about a year of obsessing over this band and their album, I found out they were a bunch of white bigots. And, I found out the majority of their fans were largely comprised of white supremacists.
And it was painful...but I had to give up listening to their music.
Now recently, a woman...and I'm guessing she's a Black woman, read my Blog post titled, 'The cult of the curly-haired, light skinned, bi-ethnic looking Black girl', and gave props to Lupita Nyongo for being a dark-skinned Black woman who was named one of the '50 most beautiful women' on 'People magazine's' cover, pictured to the left.
Now, I agree Lupita's fine; but I commented that the reason they, meaning the white elite, did this, was to emphasize the point that in order for Black men or women to win oscars or be lauded for their work or physical appearance, they have to do something self-debasing like play a slave, butler, crooked cop or maid (reference Halle Berry in 'Monster's Ball' or Denzel Washington in 'Training Day'; also, Denzel was on People magazine's cover as the 'Sexiest man alive' in 1996).
The woman responded back saying she disagrees with my assessment because Lupita is a role model for darker-skinned Black women globally.
I then commented back the reason I disagreed with her;
but then I said, okay, the nature of debate is to disagree, so I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
Another woman, who I'm guessing is Black as well, commented that darker-skinned Black women shouldn't let 'damaged' Black men make them feel bad about themselves; and I thought she was talking about me and my Blog post.
I was perplexed at why she would get that message from my post when I wrote it to tell darker-skinned sistas to value themselves; then this woman commented back saying she agreed with my assessment of why Lupita was being lauded on the People magazine cover and she was just commenting on how the majority of Black men make her and Black women feel about being darker-skinned.
This actually made me rethink the main tenet of my Blog.
Anyone who's read this Blog for a minute knows the main question it poses is: how do we heal the rift between the Black man and woman?
But after this encounter I realized, before we get to this answer, there's a step I may have overlooked. And that is, before we can heal the Black Diaspora's rift, there are certain things we (Black people) have to be willing to give up.
Firstly, we have to give up looking for white people, i.e. the white elite to validate us and our existence.
Even when we genuinely want to feel better or more empowered about being a Black man or woman, we instantly respond favorably to being praised by white supremacists.
I remember there was a forum of 'conscious' Black men and women I saw on YouTube who said even though they despised Quentin Tarantino, they saw 'Django Unchained' several times.
I just shook my head.
But understand, we can only do this once we recondition ourselves at the subconscious level to remove the white supremacist dictator in our minds. This is the only way we'll ever truly love ourselves for being Black...the only way. This is work people, the subconscious mind rules over every cerebral process, and it's NOT user-friendly.
It's gonna' take several years of meditative 'reps' to recondition ourselves out of this self-hatred.
Secondly, and most importantly, we have to give up looking at Black people with enmity so we can see things not only from a Black man or woman's perspective, but from the perspective of what's best for the Black Diaspora as a whole.
This is the only way we can arrive at a place of finally loving and forgiving ourselves and each other.
The Black woman who commented about 'damaged' Black men making darker-skinned Black women feel lesser valued can only come to a place of healing once she knows how Black men also feel this way about Black women who say they don't or won't date a darker-skinned Black man.
Remember, we BOTH SUFFER FROM THE SAME SELF-HATING SICKNESS!
We've ALL been conditioned to dislike ourselves regardless of gender; now, I know that as a Black man it's hard for me to see things from the perspective of a Black woman, conversely, it's hard for a Black woman to see things from the perspective of a Black man...but this is what we MUST DO TO HEAL THE RIFT BETWEEN THE BLACK MAN AND WOMAN.
WE MUST THINK ABOUT THE BLACK DIASPORA AS A WHOLE...FIRST!
And it's not easy to think this way, or to give up our collective self-hatred; 'cause quiet as it's kept...white supremacy is seductive.
The perks of subscribing to the american or white supremacist status quo are lovely; 'cause there's not much thinking involved...you just do and beLIEve what white people want you to.
The only down side is, you'll hate yourself for the rest of your life, consciously or sub-consciously for being Black.
But most of us are not only content to do this, but the overwhelming majority of us don't even recognize this as a problem, especially at the subconscious level.
And I'm including myself in this. 'Cause years after I learned about the metal band Pantera's views on my people, I still loved their music.
And, it was HARD TO GIVE UP. But I had to.
Just like the first woman who commented on my Blog post about Lupita's being a role model; it's difficult, but I have to look at this from her perspective. Maybe this sista never saw a darker-skinned sista on the cover of any magazine. And she was using this cover to empower herself.
I have to remember physical beauty means something different for women than it does for men; that doesn't mean that I don't want her to see my perspective on the matter, but I need to realize how this might be the first empowering tool that gets her on a path where she won't need to value herself through the eyes of white supremacists.
And it might take her some time to get there...just like it took time for me to get over and give up Pantera's music.
So, when you have a critique of your people as a Black man or woman, remember to temper your thoughts with a loving forgiveness, so you don't turn that anger inward and continue to hate yourself for being Black.
This is crucial!
And I'm not saying you have to hold the hand of every Black person you meet and sing 'kum-bye-ya'; but you should look at the whole of the Black Diaspora the way you'd like to see yourself...with a bit of compassion.