In Search of My Soul Sister
After a lifetime of fears, doubts, ambivalence and general paranoia (my essential mental state) about the feminine gender, I recently concluded, based on six decades of interaction, that the black woman was, after all is said and done, my friend, and that she has never wanted to be anything other than my friend, helper, lover and mate, really, for eternity, if I could have ever been shackled to her that long. Yes, after thinking about my most wonderful Mother, an even more gracious and loving Grandmother (Oh, Grandma’s hands!), and after reflecting on my six sisters who probably more than anyone else helped form my ambivalence and maybe paranoia too, since I was so traumatized by their constant chatter and feminine intrigues that I would find it a simple matter upon adolescence and adulthood to ignore any words from the feminine gender, especially simple advice or wisdom, which cost me greatly on the road to success, including several failed marriages and a kind of psychic distance from my three lovable daughters.
If truth be told and certainly it is time to tell the truth at this stage in my life, I must admit that all the women in my life have been absolutely wonderful, not one ever treated me wrongly or without tenderness and unconditional love, yet my response was to dog them to no end, or rather until the end when they departed broken hearted and disgusted.
This new recognition on my part was made even plainer when my actor/singer J.B. Saunders presented me with a wonderful song “Don’t Bite The Hands That Feed You.”
J.B., also a dogger of women, perhaps even worse than myself since he had a career of pimping, had also had a revelation that it was time to reconcile with the feminine gender, or least stop the abuse, whether physical, mental or emotional. Perhaps old dogs actually do learn new tricks! J.B.’s lyrics said that our woman was indeed our friend and supporter, not someone to be dogged at every turn, for in the end we become the victim, or as another song told us “the hunter gets captured by the game.”
Of course, one truth about love is that love is a game of victims, for by its nature, love makes the beloved victim of the lover, for love is that state wherein we willingly accept to be victimized for we submit and declare to all who need to know and to some who don’t need to know that we are helplessly under the power of the beloved.
Moving from the personal to the political, we now clearly recognize that love for the Black woman had to move from the romantic to the critical in deciding who or what she represented on this stage of life. How is she connected to us and we to her—a question we had to answer about men as well, with the same if not more degree of political acumen because few men allow another man to do to us what we allow women to do, after all, women have the unique skill to get anything from us with a smile, a glance of the eye, a stride. During my brief academic career, my female students knew they could get almost any grade from me, especially if they came at me right, or simply talked right, it wasn’t always about sexual favors. And two of my students convinced me to marry them, so much for the wisdom of the professor.
But in the politics of love, we matured to the point of understanding a black face, even of the feminine gender, was not sufficient to gain our allegiance and respect. We came to recognize that politics was not about color, contrary to what we “believed” during the 60s, especially with the call for black power. Forty years later, however belatedly and detrimentally, we came to see blackness was about consciousness not color and had much to do about class as well, since class very often determines consciousness, although not always, after all, we know of several instances in our history when “house Negroes” plotted slave revolts, but generally speaking, the house Negro is not to be trusted, since he/she is more determined to preserve the house than the master.
We are reminded of that scene in the film Amistad where the Africans are being marched into town for mutiny. One African sees a Negro carriage driver and remarks, “He is our brother.” An African replies, “No, he is a white man.”
And so it is the class nature of things that must be examined with respect to loving or not loving Dr. Condi Rice—to be or not to be our sister—that is the question! Having transcended our gender fears, having made every determination to reach out in sincerity to embrace our sister in struggle, who endured with us all the horror and terror of the centuries, we must sadly reject her and everything for which she stands, for we find her political consciousness an abomination, a betrayal of our racial heritage of resistance in the face of suffering, in short genocide. Clearly, she came from us, but is no longer us, she has graduated from victim to victimizer—while some, perhaps her “classmates” on the right will call this progress and a point of pride for the “race.” Well, I remember Elijah Muhammad describing UN Undersecretary Ralph Bunche as “A Negro we don’t need,” and this most surely applies to Condi, who graduated from oppressed to oppressor. She stands at the pinnacle of imperialism, the most powerful woman in the world, yes, even more powerful than the Queen of England, for Condi literally has the world in her hands. In assuming to Secretary of State, we are humbled at her meteoric rise from the slave pit of Alabama to steering the ship of state.
Her brother Colin Powell whom she replaces for the simple reason that he was found disagreeable to the imperial throne, perhaps even in his conservatism too uppity with thoughts slightly to the left of Pharaoh, had to be replaced by Condi who shares a more amicable relationship with boss man sah, to the tragic extent that Senator Barbara Boxer voted against confirmation, saying “…Your loyalty to the mission you were given…overwhelmed your respect for the truth.”
In the darkest days of my gender fears, I never forgot the teachings of my mother’s Christian Science religion with it’s emphasis on the centrality of truth in all matters.Indeed what has gotten me in trouble with women even more than physical and mental abuse is being truthful, especially in regard to my sexual improprieties.
Condi Rice stands condemned before the world for being a liar and murderer, a person completely and utterly devoid of truth, thus her elevation to Secretary of State must be a great embarrassment to our ancestors, and her reply to Senator Boxer that her credibility and integrity was being impugned is without merit. Boxer pointed out how she contradicted the president and herself with respect to weapons of mass destruction as the cause for war against Iraq. Contrary to Dr. Rice, Saddam was not a threat to his neighbors in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, Jordan and Syria. He was contained and therefore not a threat to the “American people,” who, as Nelson Mandela pointed out, are the greatest threat to world peace. There was nothing to fear from Saddam but fear itself, quite similar to my gender fears I harbored for decades when I imagined female friends, mates, lovers were somehow my enemies, and were, in my tortured mind, out to get me, when in reality, I was out to get them.
Condi’s advice to President Bush has, at this point, caused the death of 1,366 Americans,10,372 wounded, also over 100,000 Iraqi dead. As Boxer noted, this is no light matter but a deception of the most despicable kind that has brought America’s credibility in the world to a new low, yet, like the President, Dr. Rice is totally unapologetic and stoic in maintaining her stance that contravenes reality.
I cannot in the name of our shared Africanity go there with her, for she long ago crossed the line of propriety. She cannot have my respect and sympathy in her dutiful defense of Pharaoh and his meanderings throughout the world in the name of global capitalism. Imagine, in the midst of the Iraqi quagmire, they are now contemplating an invasion of Iran. This American arrogance has no end except The End.
As between Senator Barbara Boxer and Condi Rice, if I had to choose my soul sister, I would rise above color in favor of consciousness, thus claim Senator Boxer as my sister.
This is no time in history to be starry-eyed idealists and continue with romantic notions about blackness. Sadly, we live in a world where what appears to be black is white and what appears white is black. Get over it and march forward into the new millennium. I shall never forget how we banned interracial couples from attending our black nationalist parties in the 60s. Amina Baraka loves to tell the story of when she and her husband were at the Black House cultural/political center in San Francisco in 1967. Amina observed my lady friend Ethna Wyatt (Hurriyah Asar) tell a white woman she couldn’t come in. The lady replied she was part Indian. Hurriyah replied, “Well, the Indian can come in but the white got to go.”
At another party with revolutionary black nationalists, a brother tried repeatedly to convince us his white woman was in fact black in consciousness, therefore should be admitted. We rejected his pronouncement, but in consciousness his woman was black and should have been admitted, especially since there were sisters at the party who harbored thoughts, if only subconsciously, similar to Condi Rice’s. As a matter of fact, I was recently told of one sister who was at this particular party who is now such a right wing fanatic that her in-laws banned her from their house, even changed their telephone number to avoid her right wing ranting.
I am not promoting interracial relationships, rather, in the tradition of my Mother, I am promoting truth and honesty which is the least we should expect from human beings with consciousness, no matter their color. But we understand that class has a way of stretching truth beyond reality, where it becomes an exercise in arrogance and sick pride, the stuff of classic tragedy. I am not into hating human beings, especially my distant sister Condi Rice, whom we must allow history and God to judge—may they have mercy on her soul.
At least Colin Powell was man enough to apologize to the world for his United Nations pseudo lecture justifying the war. Shall we await the day when Condi will admit her sins? Let us hope she is not made to do so before the World Court for crimes against humanity.
White ain’t white
Beware the day
Beware the night.
--From Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, Marvin X, BBP, 2005. Reprinted in Mythology of Pussy and Dick, toward Healthy Psychosocial Sexuality, Marvin X,BBP, 2010, $49.95.
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