Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse That Had a Devastating Impact On My Life

Definitely one of the best essays on the limits feminism, et al. Moreover, it's one of the best essays on the wholeness and near infallibility of "sankofa-ing" the African indigenous way that I’ve encountered. It absolutely destroys the idea that there is some sort of grand feminist or womanist living tradition that has existed independently of the African indigenous living tradition that ought to be "sankofa-ed", that women don't need instruction on how to be women because womanhood is innate, that somehow the African indigenous tradition doesn't include instructions for women.

There was a time (even though I didn't realize it) when my disgust with the Eurocentrism that had seeped into institutions such as marriage, religious worship, fraternities (I still don't get how the Alphas can claim to be so well-versed and oriented in the Ancient Egyptian tradition yet symbolize their collective with Greek letters), sororities, secret societies (Prince Hall Masons, etc) and rights of passage ceremonies caused me to dismiss the very idea of institutions as being able to contribute anything to the creation and/or maintenance of family, community and hence, humanity. And damn right, I rebelled.

This essay resonates with me mainly because it's a kindred-like articulation of the direction I've been heading in as I've realized more and more that it's a mistake to view the idea of systematic organization as oppressive simply because so many of the organized institutions I've been (and am) exposed to are often corrupted manifestations of healthy and necessary counterparts that are informed by the African indigenous tradition. And so my goal ought to be to ensure my institutions are informed, just as this essay suggests that women cannot be whole (thus, relationships, families, communities, etc cannot be whole) until they too are informed by the African indigenous tradition.

My Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse
by Bryan Whilhite {Los Angeles, CA: USA}
Guest Contributor, The Liberator Magazine

My Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse: The previous post in this journal about being ostracized leads me to list, in public, the three sexist assumptions that had a devastating impact on my life. Women consciously suffering under the yoke of oppression often assume that sexism only benefits males. The purpose of me writing this Blog post is to disagree with this assumption. Because any disagreement is unpleasant to “sweet” people, be warned about the “bitterness” in this Blog post. And now, for something completely different, my three sexist assumptions of the apocalypse:

The assumption that “all women” are in touch with their feelings and are articulate about them…

This stupid assumption was inherited from my father’s generation. My sex life really got going well after the sexual revolution. This fact alone should make my father’s information in this area useless. One of the runner-up prizes women get from the sexual revolution is the right to be “equal” with a beer-belly, overweight, slovenly, inarticulate, chauvinist pig. This supposed “bitter” insult leads to the more tactful question: When a women says she wants to be equal to “a man” then what “man” are they trying to be equal to? Is a sister that looks like The Queen of Sheba trying to be equal to Gomer Pyle—right down to the sports-bar baseball cap?

My innocent guess was that women would seek parity with great men who fight for justice. I am fucking, dead serious about this. What is actually happening is that some women resemble small, inarticulate, materialistic (white) men who live in fear. When my hormones were running wild and the mastery of “dick control” was the least of my lofty tantric concerns, the optical illusion of a person that looks like a woman actually being one of these small men escaped me. It is now clear to me why some men can cultivate such a deep relationship with misogyny—these dudes are jealous of how these small women-men can switch back and forth between these two artificial, patriarchal roles. It’s just like how George Bush can one minute claim to be a democratically elected president—and the next cotton-picking minute, act like a whimsical bitch emperor.

Ed Dunn touches upon one aspect of this duplicity in “Yeah, Brothas are Real Intimidated by Fine, Black Women… Whatever…”—to me, here in the rasx() context, what Ed is getting at is that one minute some small woman with a big ass (clearly on display) can passively expect to be dominated by the greeting of a “real man” but then the next moment feel that she is being assaulted by another greeting of another “real man”—and then the next minute accuse yet another man of cowardice for not assaulting her. It is the “challenge” of a “real man” to guess or sniff when the time is right to pounce. Not a week goes by when I am certain that a woman is deliberately placing herself in my line sight so that I can take the risk and pounce on a total stranger. Based on the pre-Columbian, pre-Imperial reports I have read, this female expectation is simply not African in particular or indigenous in general. In fact, the whole concept of “cold calling” strange-but-good-looking women on the street, in first-class airline seats or in corporate elevators is a foreign, urban, modern, angst-ridden concept. What this means to me is that the woman is participating (mostly non-consciously) in a system of patriarchal dominance (in a fit of confused love-hate with patriarchy)—and this is why so many sexual rumors fly about Condi Rice sleeping in the pool house at the Bush estate.

An indignant woman determined to represent the “real world” will jump raw and say some shit like, “Well if you can’t hang little man then you can’t hang!” My mature reaction to this “attack” on my masculinity is to respectfully measure who actually can “hang” with this fine woman. The results of my measurements produce few dudes that I can sincerely respect—or, simply, no dudes at all. To me, most of the ‘lucky’ women in this “mindset” end up sounding like Alexyss K. Tylor.

The assumption that women are born with a social organizing principle…

To assume that women are innately able to organize and participate in social groups is one of the most profound insults I have ever perpetrated against my ancestors. I am dead serious about this. Here in the rasx() context, this assumption of mine is patently racist because in order for me to hold this assumption I have to ignore the learned social-scientific achievements of thousands of African societies for thousands of years. Only a racist can be so willingly ignorant. Africans of the Old Kingdom, succeeded monumentally to carefully and consciously design and refine what we would call—trapped in English—“matriarchal” societies, with layers upon layers of social-bonding redundancy. In fact, the success was so great that ignorant asses like me can just assume that women—even women born in the worst of American slavery—were just insect-like in their ability to organize socially.

For you other Negro asses out there who just happen to be reading this, you should have no motherfucking problem recognizing that the Civil Right Movement is founded upon the social organizing principles of women of African descent. Yes, you want to credit some Negro preacher man in a suit and you want to credit some Quakerly Jewish lawyer but nothing would have happened without organized Black women.

Wangari Maathai is the New Millennium, Nobel-Prize-Winning shining example of this ability for Black women to make it happen. My clearly evident “angry tone” here is not contrived out of white-liberal-style, Pollyanna condescension. The oppression of Black women makes my life a living hell because I am convinced that no organized, wisdom-based group of African women would treat a brother like me like shit—and until Black women get their collective heads on straight, shit it will be for me!

You can be “sweet,” but over here in my “bitter,” little “fantasy world” of Black power, my 20-to-30-something younger self should have been getting slick, direct-marketing postcards in my mailbox from various Black women groups petitioning to interview me for the sake of their daughters. I’m dead fucking serious about this—just inquire about how a young W.E.B. Dubois’ dating life was like and this Black history lesson won’t sound like science fiction to you! This is beyond that Jack and Jill, tea-dance, Liberian-missionary bullshit! I should have been contacted in an organized manner by groups of Black women representing other (younger) Black women since I graduated college. All it would have taken was just a little bit of Black-owned data mining to understand just how many obstacles my person had to overcome and any wise elder sister would know and immediately respect the family line that produced me. Note that it is not about me: it’s about the family that produced me—and there are at least hundreds of other Black families here in North America that deserve such basic African respect.

But there is just one little problem: too many women don’t give a fuck about other women—even the women in their own family—even their own daughters! Beginning with my mother and her mother, this was a most startling, heart-wrenching revelation to me so please excuse the profane English language… (assuming you can actually make English profane)…

The assumption that women are born with an internal organizing principle…

The African primacy sees that the human body is made out of organized systems. Any Bantu (man) with down-home sense can see how the bones of the skeleton are organized—and the priests would see the circulatory system, the respiratory system—maybe even the lymphatic system. It follows that there ‘should’ be a system of the unseen part of man (because all major African societies agree that there is an unseen part of man)—man, made male and female. The unseen system of anthropomorphic abstractions that make up what, say, white Egyptologists call “gods” work together in a family governed by an organizing principle. Since this abstract family of the unseen is designed to be instantiated and incarnated in actual people, it follows that actual people should be governed by a conscious organizing principle. Trapped in English, one might call this a “moral” code.

Remember when your mother got indignant at the department store and demanded to speak to the manager? Well, my person makes this same request of adult people I am trying to care about—can I speak to your manager? Usually my answer has been something ranging from, “The manager is not available right now but if you’d like to make an appointment…” to, “You don’t have the right to speak to my manager.” Often these obscuration tactics reveal a ruse because the person fronting does not really have access to their management—which is a very “convoluted” (but articulate) way of saying too many people have no self control—deeper still: they have no model of self control. An African of the Old Kingdom School can literally draw you a picture of self control and let you see his understanding—from the root to the fruit, baby… And, of course, a smart-ass response would be, “A’ight then: take your ass back to this ‘Old Kingdom’ and go live there with them dead mufukkas…” It’s very hard to rebut such a smart-ass (but self-destructive) remark when the woman telling me this looks like a taller, thicker version of N’Bushe Wright… It’s the Queen of Sheba eating a toxic pastrami sandwich in a baseball cap, keeping it “real” again…

In the post-modern empire we “live” in today, a too-popular organizing principle is called “whatever”—whatever the fuck ‘they’ tell you tamed shrews is what’s “real” at the moment. You can hear this “whatever” principle invoked in the casual conversation of self-assumed “normal” people. For too many years I thought a smart woman was just hiding behind this “whatever” shit. I just could not agree that the option to be a slob just like any “regular” guy was available to an adult Black woman. I assumed that my role was to ‘break through’ this thin veneer and get to the “real woman” hiding behind this dorm-room mess. I thought she was just trying to “fit in” to survive the throes of patriarchy and, with me, she could ‘drop her guard’ and begin to instinctively make a home for her with my “protection.” Hah!

Number one: women don’t “instinctively” make a home for themselves. Home making takes formal training—home training. The esoteric meaning of “home training” really did not get across to me until it was too late for my children. Ask any woman, wearing the all-American baseball cap, what “home making” means and you are likely to get something related to slavishly serving others—instead of serving themselves. Never respect an adult person more than they respect themselves. This is why some bitches, male and female, actively prefer to be treated like bitches—because they know they ain’t shit. And they can easily spot a white-liberal Pollyanna fool (like I have been) when they decide you are treating them “too well” (treating a person “too well” is not always acting like someone’s slave—it is also assuming that you are relating to an equal that deserves to be just as responsible accountable as you are). And because I refuse to systematically and deliberately disrespect people—especially Black women—being ostracized and quintessentially alone represents healthy respect for my humanity. Anyway, this home-making-instinct shit goes back to the same profoundly racist insult I made earlier about the African social science of group dynamics.

Number two: most modern women—especially Black women—even Black women in the Black Panthers—rarely even fantasize that a Black man could protect them. In fact, they would rather use imperial purchasing power to buy a sense of protection and do “it” for themselves (—“whatever” it is)—and this is why so many sexual rumors fly about Condi Rice sleeping in the pool house at the Bush estate. (source)

Originally Posted 10/19/2007