Failure does not have to be a numbing indictment against future success if it is used to your advantage, but for black women there’s a lot in the equation. And the stakes in this failure-to-success ratio couldn’t be greater. Worldwide, there is the fundamental assumption that when something happens on a grand scale that there is something else behind it. For instance, the saying that behind every great man is a woman. This takes into account that very little occurs without the help or agency of something else. Sometimes, the suggestion is good. Sometimes not.
This is rather embarrassing, but in some quarters, there is the generalized consensus that the black woman is the driving, albeit passive, force in the destruction of America by the black male. And for the record, the proponents of this notion are basically the same ones who blame Islam for the actions of the few Muslims who commit acts of terrorism.
This band of hard-core racists seem more than willing to indict the mothers of criminal sons for aiding and abetting in their errant behavior. How far away are we from that possibility? Already, the government tosses out black mothers from public housing whenever a son or daughter is involved in criminal activity such a drugs. They call this a form of parental accountability whereby parents must assume some responsibility for the actions of their children. With some luck, their plans won’t gain any momentum.
How can black women improve their universal image when they are so closely and intimately associated with the negative image of black men? This has to be addressed because it is all conducive to your healing. You must take a hard look at a lot of things that you have been too afraid to view. Your well-being demands as much.
Let’s discuss a thing called “core mentality” in some detail and see how it affects black women. Essentially, a core mentality is a herd mentality but with a different twist. The core mentality is basically unconscious, but the idea, although never voiced publicly, is as strongly held as any idea that drives a lynch mob out for blood. What makes all of this possible is hatred.
Once more, this point must be driven home. In order to heal, you must be real! Black women must stop pretending they don’t know what is going on. It might be true that you are the last ones to find out, but the code has been cracked and the genie is out of the bottle, so you must take off your rose-colored glasses and call it as it is. There is no better way. Sure, coming face-to-face with something unpleasant is hard, but it is necessary, and people have always been better off when the blinders are off and they see clearly.
Obviously, the first hurdle to cross is to admit that racism still exists in this country. Once you focus on that item, you must examine the countless ways in which it has affected you as black women. Black men, long ago, dealt with this issue and though no one paid any attention, they learned how to organize their lives around institutional racism which is as American as apple pie. Now, it’s your time. Now, it’s your turn to face this demon.
For centuries, this is the one issue that black women have failed to confront. It simply has not found its way on your list of priorities so you have ignored it except to acknowledge that it has dogged black men. You have acted as if your femininity is a shield against this evil. You think racism is complicated, that it is a man’s thing like football, or if you are somehow touched by it, you cheerfully paint a smiley face on it, and meekly call it prejudice. He’s prejudiced against me, you say. As if that is normal. In any event, you know instinctively what it is, but you’d rather suppress and repress the knowledge that you are actually aware of what is going on.
Black men have come to terms with the fact that they are hated, and this realization forces them to deal with it, but black women somehow want to believe they are too cute to be hated, so when it does happen to one of you, you make it do what it do. You mentally perform plastic surgery on racism until it looks like something more acceptable. You must be real. Racism has its hooks in you also. This point cannot be made too strongly, and as an indication of how deeply you have been violated by racism, I feel somewhat certain that racism has baited you into your relationship with disease and illness.
Drawing upon recent data concerning domestic abuse in urban America, black women get the picture that overt racism against black men is often the cause of their “acting out” against black women, but they are slow to grasp direct racism. What do you think it is when a black woman has to live with the workplace pressure of having to prove herself on a day to day basis? Racism. Or what about the sista who feels guilty over the fact that she is on welfare?
Stress-related racism affects the vast majority of black women no matter what their social status, and it is this stress that accounts for many of the prevalent diseases that afflict you.
From now on, whenever you begin to feel sick, take a second or two to attempt to ascertain if the oncoming bout of “not being yourself” is stress-related. This brief exercise in learning how stress affects your health, and then examining yourself for symptoms will put you firmly in control of your well-being. It will, no doubt, increase your confidence in your ability to stay well. Remember that you won’t have to worry so much about healing yourself when you recognize you have the power to stay healthy!