|The long-suffering Miss Celie.|
Recent commentary surrounding Black women has focused on various issues. I even wrote a short piece about how Black women seemed under attack in the media as of late. All told, 2010 may have been the year of the Black women as it concerns America's social awareness but every blogger, commentator, social scientist, hater and enthusiast seemed to allow one theme of analysis to go unchecked: that of the long-suffering Black woman.
|Jill Scott featured in Essence.|
"While we exert efforts to raise our sons and daughters to appreciate themselves and respect others, most of us end up doing this important work alone, with no fathers or like representatives, limited financial support (often court-enforced) and, on top of everything else, an empty bed. It's frustrating and it hurts!"
While I'm sure her intentions were earnest and the sentiment authentic, the constant narrative of the long-suffering, perpetually victimized Black women is borderline pathological. Is this really how Black women view themselves? Is this what women's liberation have wrought? When I encounter perspectives like that shared by Scott, I find myself confounded by the picture that they paint of Black womanhood. The visage of these women who love their men to death (the man's and often their own) is indeed offputting.
If these women who Jill Scott enshrines in perfect altruism and martyrdom do exist - Given the psychological mindfuck of American history, I am not ruling out their existence - then their reality and its maladjustment to healthy human behavior (i.e. the need for self actualization as described by Maslow) is worth investigation. Although, there is another explanation for this popular narrative, one just as pathological but less sympathetic.
|Harriet Tubman: anything but long-suffering|
In the end, it would be foolish to discount the commitment of Black women to the community. It would be disrespectful to not acknowledge their struggle but to romanticize and use it as a tool for anything besides progress, is the real sin.