Along with the rest of the world, the African man and woman have been placed in adversarial roles instead of the complimentary ones that existed in ancient times. Evidence of this can be seen in the various articles and videos that have gone viral all over the Internet the past four weeks. It all began on September 27th with an article on madamnoire.com by LaShaun Williams titled, “8 Reasons to date a White Man.” There was then a response to LaShaun’s article by Boyce Watkins titled “8 Reasons you might consider dating a White Woman.” The November issue of Essence also features an article by Demetria L. Lucas titled “Us VS Them” which also addresses interracial dating and the friction between black men and women.
Following the articles were several cartoon satires of black male and female relationships. There was Black Marriage Negotiations, Black Marriage Negotiations (Women’s Perspective), Black Marriage Negotiations Pt II (With a white woman in the mix), The Miseducation of the Black Man: What do women want?, Dating the Modern Mid-Twenties Black Man and Black Dating in a Hip Hop Society. This has got so out of control that last week I practically saw a new video every day!!! There’s probably someone putting the finishing touches on another one right now.
Sadly, this gender war reached a new high on October 20th when AOL Black Voices’ entertainment reporter Jawn Murray tweeted the following, “All those militant-nappy headed Angry Black Women who didn’t think Tyler Perry was worthy of doing For Colored Girls can kick rocks.” When black women responded in uproar he followed up with, “So a few militant-nappy-headed angry black women are mad I used nappy headed earlier. Do me a favor = get a LIFE & get a PERM! How’s that?” With so much venom being spewed back and forth between both sides, it can be said that the animosity and friction is reaching critical mass.
When I first read “8 Reasons to date a White Man” I thought the author lacked a full knowledge of her history and suffered from serious hate for black men. She indicated that physical beauty is the best thing that today’s black man has going for him. As a result she gives her eight reasons to date white men, and they go as followed:
1. Gay white men are more open about their sexuality compared to all the down low black men
2. White men are not looking for someone to take care of them
3. White men attend and graduate college
4. White men at least attempt to marry before making babies
5. White men don’t glamorize ignorance
6. White men make better decisions when it comes to managing money
7. White men have the ability to look beyond your past and have no problem turning a hoe into a house wife
8. White men don’t take everything as a challenge to their masculinity.
Now, everyone is free to date whomever they please, and I understand that we all have no control over who we like or love, but to choose to date outside of your race for such stereotypical reasons is quite disturbing. It is not necessary for me to refute each and every single one of LaShaun’s assertions here because they have already been bludgeoned into the ground by individuals such as Boyce Watkins, Lydia Cotton and Tariq Nasheed. However, I will say that LaShaun is being unrealistically critical of black men without considering the circumstances that contributed to the present situation.
There is an ancient Kemetic proverb that states, “Judge by cause, not by effect.” Focusing on causes provides solutions that can permanently eliminate problems that plague us in the present. If African people were not uprooted from their homeland and had their African character ripped out of them, would black men be in their present state? This question along with others should be the focus of LaShaun’s investigation instead of spewing negative racial stereotypes about black men.
Her assertions are just as offensive as the premise of the Broadway musical Aida, which tells a love story between a “white” Kemite and a black Nubian. The hidden message of LaShaun’s article parallels this play in that it conveys the idea that there aren’t any black men good enough for black women so a white man must come to their rescue. We’ve seen this theme played out in literature and in films countless times and it is damaging to the psyche of all who buy into it. For this reason and numerous others, such messages stigmatizing black men and women need to stop.
Unfortunately they aren’t, because following LaShaun’s article came numerous black relationship cartoons appearing all over YouTube. However, the difference in the messages of these videos is that they mostly demonized the characters of black women with few shots also taken at black men. They painted black women as demanding, unrealistic, overbearing, hostile, gold-digging individuals who make extremely bad decisions when it comes to their partners. While the cartoons are hilarious to watch, they can serve as thought provoking educational tools to foster positive dialogue between the sexes in the black community. Sadly, I feel they do more harm than good because the subject matter of many of these videos opens painful old wounds for many viewers and are just too offensive on many other levels.
To add more fuel to the gender war bonfire, Entertainment reporter, Jawn Murray escalated the attack on black women with his Don Imus like comments about black women. As a black man I am ashamed of this journalist. How can black people improve their social, economic and political standing in the world if the males in the group are degrading the females? Such actions are becoming so prevalent in the black community that women from other races are placed on much higher pedestals than black women. This was the main focus of Demetria Lucas’ article in the November issue of Essence. Boyce Watkins fed into this circumstance in his response to LaShaun’s article. Such disrespect for black women by black men opens up the gates for other ethnic groups to do the same. This friction among black men and women perpetuates the social engineering of “The Willy Lynch Letter” to which enslaved Africans were subjected for hundreds of years. If black men don’t defend and value black women, then who will?
This present circumstance is a far cry from the way the ancient Kemites viewed the relationship between men and women. For them, males and females were divine compliments that could not exist without one another. They recognized that all things in creation had both male and feminine aspects which provided the balance that governed the universe. As a result, it was important for man and woman, who were the microcosmic reflection of the macrocosm (the creator) to work together in harmony. This understanding is something that is easily recognizable in studying the social order of ancient Kemet. The roles served by men and women in the society and within the family were interchangeable and at times the same. This order fascinated visitors to ancient Kemet such as the Greek historian Herodotus. In her essay on women’s rights in ancient Kemet, in “African Women in Antiquity, Beatrice Lump quotes Herodotus stating the following, “The Egyptians themselves, in their manners and customs seem to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind. For instance, women attend market and are employed at trade, while men stay at home and do the weaving.”
Even during times of war the African man and woman of ancient Kemet supported each other to the very end. During Kemet’s revolutionary war to oust the invading Hyksos from the land, it was Queen Aahotep who fought with her husband and even after he was killed on the battlefield, she still continued the fight until her people were liberated. Such love and devotion between men and women were prevalent throughout ancient Kemet. The love that Ramessess II had for his chief wife Nefertari is testament to that. He loved her so much that he built a temple dedicated to her, and the tomb were she was buried was so lavishly decorated that it is considered the most beautiful one in Kemet today. This template of how African men and women can relate to one another is currently missing from the historical memory banks of the vast majority of the population. As indicated by Wayen Chandler in “Ancient Future,” the rise of male patriarchy has played a detrimental role in the friction that plagues gender relations today. However, if the lessons left by the ancient Kemites are remembered and adopted to modern times, then the relationships between African men and women can be repaired and shared with the entire world to create societies where egalitarianism or Ma’at dictates the social order.
In closing I would like to share the final remarks of Dr. Ivan Van Sertima in a 1991 interview conducted by Dr. Kwaku Lynn, “One has to see in what way the new historical information that can heal or help heal the black psyche can be used to help the family……To think this historical information stands as a separate area of knowledge and that it can only peripherally impinge on relationships is not true. It’s just that nobody could come and map out your relationship for you. They can give you certain information that can change your consciousness. A changed consciousness automatically remaps its relationships.” Thank you for reading.
“8 Reasons to date a White Man,” http://madamenoire.com/22660/8-reasons-to-date-a-white-man-30188/
“8 Reasons you might consider dating a white woman,” http://madamenoire.com/23370/8-reasons-you-might-consider-dating-a-white-woman-22222/
Reporter Jawn Murray Calls Black Women Militant and Nappy Headed: http://www.forharriet.com/2010/10/reporter-jawn-murray-calls-black-women.html
Lucas, Demetria L., “Us vs Them,” “Essence,” November 2010
Chandler, Wayne B., “Ancient Future, The Teachings and Prophetic Wisdom of the Seven Hermetic Laws of Ancient Egypt,” Black Classic Press, 1999
Van Sertima, Ivan, “Black Women in Antiquity,” Journal of African Civilizations, 1984
Van Sertima, Ivan, “Egypt Child of Africa,” Journal of African Civilizations, 1994
Black Marriage Negotiations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb3XLBKq4NE
Black Marriage Negotiations (Woman’s Perspective): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oXsUVWnrTQ&feature=related
Black Marriage Negotiations Pt. II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mHoTmSdrkY&feature=related
Miseducation of the Black man – What do women want?: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBhz1cK_f9A
Dating The Modern Mid-Twenties Black Man: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFneIlFXPEk
Black Dating in a Hip Hop Society: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uehF-S5UB_g