Soundtrack: Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway “Where Is The Love”
On January 4, 2015, Rakhem Seku published a post at http://www.jujumamablog.com entitled “The Toll of Racism on Black Relationships”. This edition of Complete Constructive Change is a response to that writing from Rakhem. I was so inspired by his words that I promised myself I would devote an episode of my radio show to shining light on what he wrote. This was a few weeks before my show debuted. He starts his post by saying:
“This post was inspired by a member of our Progressive Love community. He made various points about how White Supremacy (WS) or White Supremacy Racism (WSR) affects black men’s ability to have successful relationships with black women. I wanted to address his point (and I have already in our Facebook group), but also make sure I was thorough enough so that all points are considered as well as the metaphysical and the feminine perspectives. And actually, I prefer the term Institutionalized Racism (IR) over WS or WSR because IR represents a mode of thinking being a part of the culture without people’s awareness of it, which is true for 98% of Americans. Only a small percentage of people are actually conscious of and capable of implementing a global, systematic campaigned aimed at dividing mass populations of people in the name of WS. Everyone else is simply subject to this mode of thinking without much awareness.”
I will attempt to add something of substance to what Rakhem lays out in his writing. There are a few things he brings up that I think are worth looking deeper into.
Chancellor Williams, in his book The Destruction of Black Civilization, said these words:
“ONE OF THE MOST TROUBLESOME FACTS IN THE STUDY OF history over very long periods of times, such as several centuries, is that a truth may slowly emerge, period after period, until it clearly forms itself into a truth impregnable, a fact nowhere explicitly stated as such in the mass of data covered. As one continues to move on down through the centuries, countless events and situations may continue to make supporting additions to what has already been established as an unassailable fact. Yet that truth may be so repugnant, so utterly void of any rational or intelligent reason for its existence that hardly any historian would wish to state it in his work.
Yet I did just that when I wrote that the whites are the implacable foe, the traditional and everlasting enemy of the Blacks. The compelling reason for publicly putting this declaration in its historical context is clear: The necessary re-education of Blacks and a possible solution of racial crises can begin, strangely enough, only when Blacks fully realize this central fact in their lives: The white man is their Bitter Enemy. For this is not the ranting of wild-eyed militancy, but the calm and unmistakable verdict of several thousand years of documented history.”
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, in her works The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism as well as The Isis Papers: The Keys To The Colors, developed a theory behind the ultimate root of racism/white supremacy. Her position was and is that white people are a product of genetic mutation from the original black people of the earth. White people, some on a conscious level but most on an unconscious level, see their minority status in the world (11 people of color to every 1 white person) from a position of fear. They are afraid of the genetic annihilation they could experience if they mixed freely with the people of the world because of their recessive genes. So they operate in the world from a spirit of aggression and domineering rooted in their fear of what could happen if they allow others to get the upper hand on them.
Rakhem Seku beautifully points out the correlation between the Kemetic myth of Ausar and Auset, and the history and present condition of African people in the United States. I would like to mention another ancient story involving Egypt that has some metaphysical relevance for my people. In the Bible, the book of Exodus, Chapter 1, Pharaoh states this about the Children of Israel:
‘Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of war, they will also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land.’…Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other was named Puah; and he said, ‘When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.'”
This Biblical story has several parallels with the actual history of the American Africans. The Establishment is deathly afraid of us rising up to do unto them what they have done to us for centuries. So they take extra precautions to make sure that we don’t get too close to any of our indigenous cousins in the world who might also have a legitimate beef with them. And they favor our women over our men as a way to reduce the potential threat of Black manhood.
Speaking of Black manhood, here is a picture of the Roman God Mithra slaying a bull. This image was used in temples all over the Roman Empire where the secret fraternal cult of Mithra had their gatherings. The black bull was used frequently in the ancient world to symbolize the Black God. This was true for the people of Kemet and Babylon and Canaan and many others. The bull was honored as a representation of the Creator because of its strength and virility. Notice the scorpion with Mithra going to attack the genitalia of the bull.
I also want to bring attention to two images of the Kemetic god, Min, who was always represented with the supremely erect penis. Min’s penis, like the bull, represented his potency, his creative power, his ability to produce new life. When Europeans began to explore Egypt in depth, these images of Min brought something up in them that compelled them to vandalize the carvings of Min. The picture on the right is one of just many that you can find in Egypt where obvious attempts have been made to remove or obscure the erect penis of Min by the Europeans.
All of this relates to the toll that racism has on black relationships. All of this is a completely logical and understandable response to the historical position of white people in the world. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us that the way in which a thing is created determines its nature and function. I don’t have space here to go deep into the origin of white people. See Frances Cress Welsing’s work along with that of Paul Guthrie and Michael Bradley for details of how the harsh climate and extreme violence of early European life contributed to the cultural habits of Caucasian people.
This fear of Black manhood has consequences for black men as well as black women. Rakhem addresses that topic by saying:
“…black women are not directly attacked and seen as a threat in the same way black men are under the system of IR. A woman is metaphorized as water and is therefore able to adjust, change, and flow with her environment. She can become invisible (i.e. vapor) at times and take the form of what the environment demands she become to survive.
However, her indirect impact from IR is greater than the indirect impact black men would experience and that’s where the equation balances. The things that affect a man won’t necessarily have the same effect on a woman and vice versa. For example, a woman’s son being killed will affect her much deeper than his father because of her emotional connection to a child she carried in her womb for nine months. Her witnessing her husband beat down, tortured, or failing affects her deeply. This fact cannot be underestimated and to not recognize it equates to not understanding and recognizing the feminine.
Lastly, you can’t just be a woman in the midst of IR because a woman in her feminine is a goddess and powerful and therefore seen as a threat. We all too often see women adjust their behavior, look, belief system, or inner desires to fit the limits and demands of IR. It’s precisely the behavior that many men complain about of women that are a direct result of IR. What you may be judging as a woman being a woman may be further from the truth. The truth is both the IR power structure and black men are fearful of any black women fully expressing her womanhood because it would mean the end of the current paradigm as we know it and not many are ready for that kind of change, including black men. At the end of the day, she is feared by all.”
Now let’s look at how this played out in the past 50 years. Right now, there are more Black children being raised by a single parent than there were during slavery. Let me say that again. There are more Black children being raised by a single parent right now than there were during slavery. Slavery was the time when we were routinely traded from plantation to plantation as property, and families were often intentionally broken up so the children wouldn’t get too much of a connection with their African roots. But despite that history, there are more of our children being raised by a single parent now than there were under that system. How did that happen?
Let’s run through some history real quick. World War II ended in 1945. That war ended up being very good for the United States economically. The decade after World War II, the 1950’s, is often described as one of the most prosperous economic times in American history. With victory under their belts and money in their pockets, Americans in the 1950s could optimistically pursue the American dream. Of course, racism prevented black people and black war veterans from benefiting equally from this new American abundance. But we still got some fringe benefits.
Many American Africans (this is my preferred term for Black America) got new industrial jobs and/or moved to new cities and experienced financial gains that they had never thought possible before. This ability to provide a home for your family had a humongous impact on the psyche of many of our men at that time.
The spoils of war had a part to play in the rise of the Civil Rights Movement in the mid 1950’s. Households that were no longer worrying about where their next meal would come from were able to free up some space in their minds to consider their lack of social justice and equality. Our communities were able to support freedom fighters who traveled around the country organizing us to fight for voting rights and the various issues of the day. The Establishment took notice of this.
The 1970’s saw several significant things happen to us at the same time. One thing is that many of the heroes of Black masculinity were killed or imprisoned. Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Fred Hampton, Geronimo Pratt, Mutulu Shakur, the list goes on. There were less heroes for the children growing up in the 70’s and 80’s than there had been for the generation before them.
Also at that time heroin swept through the American African communities. Many Vietnam War veterans came home hooked on heroin and more opium started coming into the U.S. from Thailand and Burma and Vietnam.
Simultaneously, jobs started leaving the inner cities. The industrial jobs that had sustained so many Black households for the previous 30 years started to disappear and head overseas. Less ability to earn money, less heroes to look up to, more access to drugs, bad combination for men in our community in the 70’s.
Also in the 1970’s we started to see women entering the workforce in record numbers due to the successes of the women’s liberation movement. Laws were changed that made it possible for women to compete (somewhat) equally for jobs with men. But the unintended consequence of this was that there are less jobs available due to outsourcing and offshoring, more people competing for jobs; supply and demand made it possible for salaries to decrease throughout the country. This impacted inner city communities disproportionately because they had been the location for most of the jobs that were sent overseas.
At the same time, many families who were impacted by these changes had to go on welfare in order to get by. One of the peculiarities of welfare is that it focused on supporting mothers and it was mandated that if a man was present in the house then the mother was ineligible for government assistance. So there was incentive for families to keep the father out of the house in order to receive the government aid they so desperately needed. That phenomenon combined with everything mentioned before led to a lot of 1970’s households not having a man present.
The early 1980’s saw the rise of the War on Drugs. In previous installments of Complete Constructive Change we’ve dealt with how the War on Drugs was and is really a war against Black men. The War on Drugs and the criminal justice system surrounding it is the New Jim Crow, as Michelle Alexander puts it. This led to record numbers of Black men being in prison, which has continued until this day.
Rakhem Seku raises this point:
“I agree with the point of a man working for another man feminizing him, but ONLY when that work is not his passion. I’ve witnessed both sides where men slowly lose testosterone over time messing with a job to just pay the bills. It’s sad to watch. That has less to do with IR and more to do with a man being willing to be in his WARRIOR archetype and make his OWN way in the world. The same thing happens to boys going to public school – it sucks the life force right out of them. Again, women are better able to adjust to both of these scenarios, but it affects them as well. Women often have to get deep into their masculine energy to get up and go to these jobs every single day. What’s the result? A loss in magnetism and ability to attract the partners and life they desire. An inability to tap into their orgasmic potential and feel the heights of pleasure. Increased stress levels and the accompanying illnesses.”
Speaking of boys in public school, consider this:
“While the nation’s graduation rate, including that of black and Latino males, has continued to grow, the gap between black males and their white peers has widened, according to a new report released Wednesday by the Schott Foundation for Public Education.
The report, “Black Lives Matter: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males,” is the fifth such study the foundation has released on the state of black males in public education.
Since the last report in 2012, the gap between the four-year graduation rate for black males and white males widened from 19 points in the 2009-10 school year to 21 points in the 2012-13 year. For Latinos, the gap shrunk to 15 points from 20 during that same period, according to the report.
The national graduation rate for black males was 59 percent, 65 percent for Latinos, and 80 percent for white males for the 2012-13 school year, according to the report. Particularly striking was Detroit where only 20 percent of black males graduated on time in the 2011-12.”
Less industrial jobs available means that a higher level of education is needed to compete in the job market. Only half of Black boys graduate from high school, let alone getting a college degree. That is problematic. 67% of American African children in 2013 lived in a single parent household. 67%. All middle class and working class people are aware that many arguments in relationships have something to do with money. How are we supposed to make money if we don’t finish high school?
Women making the money. Women buckling under the stress of having to be the masculine and the feminine. Men feeling emasculated by their lack of ability to make shit happen. Men going to prison when they try the only way they can think of to create some money. None of this is by accident. All of this is directly related to Mithra and Min and the Cress Theory. This is war. This is the society and culture that we live in declaring war on us and us being too unconscious to see it for what it is.
Rakhem concludes his post by giving his bottom line:
I’m hoping that all people can take an empowered perspective on race and racism. The truth is, a change in thinking is required to end it and heal all peoples. It’s the same change in thinking for everyone believe it or not. We must understand that a Progressive Way of Thinking is the Answer We all Seek:
—We individually and collectively create our lives
—The purpose of relating and interacting with one another is growth
—There are no victims in life
—There are no villains in life
—There is no need to or no way to drop out of any situation in life
—There is no need to or no way to cop out of any situation in life
—There is no need to feel shame for who you are or to you judge your past actions
—There is no need to blame others for who they are or to judge their actions
I completely agree with all of these points. This is a composite of “the highest wisdom of our Ancestors”, as Rakhem puts it. The white aggression toward African people and African manhood doesn’t make them villains, it doesn’t make them bad. It just makes them people who are acting in their own self interest. Their self interest requires them to constantly seek the upper hand, according to their way of processing the world.
What does our sense of self preservation prompt us to do in response? A living being that doesn’t have any impulse to protect itself (e.g. immune system) will surely die. As a community we seem to be functioning like a person with an autoimmune disease or a cancer. We are attacking ourselves. Rakhem Seku says:
“IR takes away role models, reduces opportunity to have self esteem, and paints a picture of black men as being lesser than other men on the planet. At the least these factors can make it tough for a black male to become a man. At the most it can completely break him such that he embraces his negative masculine nature (i.e. the Dark Side) or his feminine at the expense of his masculine.”
The 5th leading cause of death for American African males is homicide. 4.6% of all of our males who die, die from homicide. In 2013, that added up to 2, 491 total Black murder victims, 93% of whom were killed by another Black person. These deaths are a result of men embracing their negative masculine nature. This is related to the social media phenomenon of
On the deepest of levels, we really don’t like each other, and we don’t like ourselves. We are suffering from self hatred, 150 years removed from the end of physical slavery. We have internalized western society’s hatred of Blackness. That is at the root of our difficulties in relating to one another. Correcting that is the only thing that can restore our relationships and our families and our communities. It is not anyone else’s responsibility to fix this for us; only we can do this for us.
Only a very foolish army would think that they can win a war by firing at each other. Yet that is the strategy that we are deploying in the war that we are engaged in everyday. It is time for us to close ranks, move closer together, and support one another; as a matter of necessity. With everything that we are up against living in the belly of the beast, behind enemy lines, in the world capital of the system designed to keep us in check, we don’t have a second to lose with battling one another.
This is why I promote Tantra so adamantly in my community. Our survival depends on us learning how to love one another and heal one another from ALL of the unhealthy crap we have internalized over the years. We have to give white people back their ideology, and especially their anti-Black hatred. It’s not doing us any good.
The more that we can heal each other in our romantic relationships, the more we’ll be able to handle interpersonal conflicts without resorting to violence, the more we’ll be able to find ways to create wealth together, the more we’ll be inspired to take ownership over making our communities decent places to live. That starts with us not feeling like we’re under siege and walking around carrying undue levels of stress. Having healing relationships with one another can get us on that road.
Having a few less “real-world” problems will make it more feasible for us to wrap our minds around the final words of Rakhem’s post:
“We must understand the highest wisdom from our ancestors:
—OMNIPRESENCE: We are one with all things; although, we appear to be separate and disconnected
—OMNIPOTENCE: We have the power to achieve our purpose, passion, and vision in life. Always. Without Exception.
—OMNISCIENCE: No thing has a quality in an of itself and everything can and will be known to us.”
Many of us just ain’t ready for that level of positive thinking. But our actual survival in this world depends on us getting ready.