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The HipChick Gossip Column

Black Matriarchy: A HipChick Comics Perspective


Introduction

The following essay is not a rant against the wonderful Black men who raise their families, keep that fortune within the race by marrying Black women and raise successful sons and who make a positive difference in the world. However, it obvious that such men are rare. There just aren’t enough to go around. Black women often lose our knights in shining armor to straight-haired women outside the race. I am also also not against inter-racial couples. I would be a hypocrite to be so for all of my boyfriends have been white. I like geeks and I merge with men who share my geeky interests. I would happily consider a Black geek man, but the only ones I know are gay or fiercely taken. Nevertheless, it seems that our best and brightest marry outside the race or only marry within the race for the sake of Afrocentrism, which is unfortunate.  Love is organic. What honor is there in winning a mate by default?  Still, it would be nice to see more successful Black families. You can’t control who you fall in love with, but it would still be nice to see a successful Black family headed by a stable, erudite Black father. Instead, Black women, for the most part get the strays and losers of the herd, which has caused major problems in the African-American community in financial stability, strength of character and education. Personally, I think Black women who want children and go it alone as they have been, but with enough education which leads to the financial means and resources to raise their family successfully. Women have raised children without men before in collectives. Why not now? This is also not a rant solely against Black Men. This essay is more of question of why alternative’s to Patriarchy is considered subversive. There are a men of all races who aren’t the marring kind, yet impregnate a fair share of women who raise their daughters and love their sons. As a result, you get a population of spoiled man-boys who are unable to provide for families and strong women who become breadwinners and leaders in life: a matriarchy. This phenomenon has become endemic to contemporary African American culture and it’s time Black women were recognized as a legitimate leaders equal to men of their society.

Silvia Soleil speaks:

Why Aren’t Black Women Recognized As the Leaders of the Black Race?

Upon writing this concept, I assumed that I was the first to coin the term, but accruing to a Wikipedia article of the same name I am not. However, in contrast to Wikipedia, I must say that the Black community it a matriarchy.

Emerging Matriarchy in a Patriarchal Society
A Black mother prepares her children for their adults lives a bit differently. Black girl children are pushed to succeed in education and career and Black male children are spoiled to compensate for the missing husband in the Black household. This parallels the Creator Goddess and her Son/Lover archetype. This archetype is from the story of Cybil who was the goddess of the earth in early Mediterranean tradition who creates the world by immaculately conceiving a son who in turn inseminates her . Their children become the inhabitants of the world and we are all decedents of them today.  Since this myth is from the Mediterranean, the archetype of a mother who spoils her son in universal.  That’s when the father is supposed to step in and teach the boy to be man. However, 50-if not 70% of Black women so not have the luxury of a husband so the Black son of a single mom stays a boy. With sons spoiled to this degree, this son has no need to venture out on a Hero’s Journey to face the perils of the world and thus become a man, because he has everything he wants in the bosom of his mother. The same is not true for girls. Childbirth is how we face death and conquer it and it happens right at home. Therefore, our mother’s instill us with the power to look death in the face when tricks it’s way into our wombs and beat it.  The Black woman’s Hero’s  Journey comes in the guise of the impregnating predatory male who can ruin your life in 8 minutes of passion. A Black mother warns her daughter at the get go: don’t get pregnant and you’re on your own so prepare for survival. Furthermore, if you don’t want to be poor, don’t trust men. Men are the shape-shifter and the shadow instead of the knight in shining armor.
Therefore, Black women are resilient and wary. However, the ruling class interprets our demeanor as angry and unfeminine. In disagree. Black women are the governing power of Feminine- we’re matriarchal.  To us, feminine does not equal dependent. Weak and dependent is how a woman ends up on public assistance.

The Powerful Invisible Demographic
In an infuriating NPR article on the dropout rate of minorities and rural Whites from high school, a whopping 43% of Blacks drop out of high school. At first I was ashamed at the deterioration of my community since our peak pre-hip hop 1980’s, but then I thought of all of the successful Black women I know. Sure there are many Black women who become Welfare Queens, but I had a strong suspicion that NPR forgot to factor gender into the equation. I am sure most of that 43% of Black high school drop outs are Black MEN. For the sake of context, it was not the journalist job or the theme of the article to be gender specific. However, I think when it comes to Blacks of America and Sub-Saharan Africa, I think the world should make distinctions.
•    Who were welcomed and become the matriarchs of  Egyptian royal families. Black Women.
•    Despite having a vehement distaste for Black Africans who are considered “Zanj: slaves, who among the Zanj do the Arabs respect. Black women.
•    Who were the bread winners of their families since Reconstruction while Black men were plagued by the wake of Nat Turner’s rampage? Black women.
•    In the face of war torn Rwanda toad, who is building a crafts industry to support their families instead of using their income to further political conflicts? Black women.
•    Who took advantage of Brown vs. the Board of education and excelled in education and business. Black women.
•    Who has been consistently head of household since the Civil Right Movement. Black women.
•    When will the media get a clue and realize that the measure of man does not apply to the Black community any  longer.

IT. IS. THE. WO-MEN.

A  minister following the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan can preach equality diligence with all the fever you want to a congregation, but  It’s mostly the women who will be listening and take action. This is not a slight against the Black men who are breaking their necks to succeed, my rant is for the failures to who had potential, but choose the easier, short sighted path to a life of sloth and crime.
The Peanut Gallery will blame the emasculating Black woman for this phenomenon. We are not to blame. In fact, it because of the few Black women who emasculate their sons that get the Black men who succeed as far as they can without a father in life. However, once a boy outgrows his mother, her authority wanes and although he may still respect his mom, she is no longer a mentor and that’s where the missing link to Black male success. I had  several mentors in my formative years. As responsible, working adult, I know how important they are. A child can outgrow their parents in the education context as well.
Advancement Through Sexual Selection
Any woman will tell you that it’s better for a bad father to be gone than be part of the household as a drunken, festering sore on the health of the family psyche. There are those who live in a, ivory tower Disney’s Universe who say that Black women make poor choices in mates. True. However, what they repeatedly forget to include in their argument is that women are ranked and Black women are at the bottom of the sexual selection ladder. Therefore, we get the strays and losers. Every women has to kiss frogs until they find their prince and are sometimes left pregnant by them. Furthermore, excluding the Michelle Obama’s of the world, Princes of all colors avoid Black women. Don’t believe me? Dear White, Right-wing clueless senator who made the aforementioned “poor choices” comment, why didn’t you choose a Black woman for a wife?

Do I hear crickets?….yeah I thought so.

What are we? Ugly?
This leads me to different area of the topic: recent studies have shown that the earning power of Black women is less than that of men in general including the Black men who are successful. This is where marriage comes in: teamwork. When a person needs to prepare for that big push into management, they can go as far when they are scrambling to make rent.  I’ll use myself as an example: if I had been able to make a good match, I would never have had to move back in with my mother, in order to advance my career. I moved from a lovely San Francisco apartment which was located in one of the best parts of the city, because I could not wait for the right job to come around after graduation. My landlord even suggested that my boyfriend move in to help with rent. I was open to the idea, but there was a big problem: I had no boyfriend and I am unable to attract someone comparable to myself. Many have this problem no matter the race, but the problem is especially acute in Black women. We have no one to pool our assets with. Successful Black men marry outside the race and other races view Black women chiefly as liaisons. I attracted many a bloodshot rheumy eyed district manager, but they all had wives. I really put myself out there–even on Cragsligst with a mention of a shared centrally located apartment in San Francisco to sweeten the deal to prove that I was a good match, but the only person who showed up was a toothless,  night club bouncer who didn’t even know ow to drive and no college degree. So despite the ads and my regular visits to the MatrixFillmore-the trendiest bar where highly educated singles meet up, no one approached me seriously. Nor any of my much lovelier than I, Black girl friends. None of hese lovely Savah and Leetah of Elf Quest lookalikes have much luck with developing life-mate relationship with comparable partners–and no Mr. Cosby we’re not going to marry delivery boys and men with criminal records! Let the women of the ruling class pair up with them, we have enough working against us. The bottom line is, Prince Charming does not apply to Black women. We’re on our own. We must be both male and female. Oya and Athena rule our hearts. It’s not a choice, it’s survival.

In the Beginning…
Is Black culture the first re-emerged matriarchy? Historical circumstances seems to be making it true. If so, I hope Black women can temper their power with dignity. I will reference Jean Shinoda Bloen’s: Goddesses in Everywoman again to address the folkloric archetypes of the Black Woman:

Mammy

Sapphire

Jezebel

Workhorse

Western women have their goddess archetypes in various pantheons which share parallels, for example Brunhilde is the Norse counterpart of Athena. The Black matriarchy or the “work horse” is most akin to Athena:  diligent, regal, resourceful and just–who can show as Aegis of “don’t mess with me” when she feels the need to be an enforcer. Most men do not like that! However, West Africans have their own pantheon of archetypes. The closest counterpart to Athena would be Oya.  Oya, the Yoruban goddess of violent winds, rebirth, and the emasculating “‘dis” will always be part of a Black woman’s personae, but Oya can be subtle too when accompanied by Nana, the wise goddess of the Sky and Stars, Oschun, the goddess of everything beautiful, Aja, the forest goddess of medicine, and Yemaya the temperamental goddess of the seas. Respectively, you have every character, Tasha Smith, Angela Basset,  Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg and Hattie Mc Daniel ever played. The Western view likes to exemplify the negative of these archetype without realizing that they parallel their own. People are people no matter where you put them. Here’s the comparative archetype list. Take note of the variables.

Mammy/Yemaya/Demeter/Aja

Sapphire/ Oya/ Hera

Jezebel/Oschun/ Aphrodite

Workhorse/ Athena/ Artemis/ Oya/Nana

Your creator/destroyer, corporate manager, artist, doctor and mother isn’t a Sapphire, Workhorse, Jezebel, and Mammy of minstrel era America’s interpretation. She is a Goddess in Everywoman for Black women. A diverse array of re-appropriated archetypes to carry our human classification out of the margins and into the ranks  and respect that Asians enjoy in the American ruling class .

The Future
Black women are the future world leaders. They are already a burgeoning force in the African Union. Men may be physically stronger than us, but women have equal strength in  communication and management. When Black women recognize the emerging power that is Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, investments will be made. Black women will have a cause to channel their collective energy at long last. It will take a bit of the crafty, non-no-nonsense in Oya of the female Black consortium to unify the Bantu-Khiosan peoples and show a competency for government to rid our identities of “Zanj (slave)” forever. By reclaiming our history and bringing order to the continent of our origin we will finally eradicate our vulnerability and win the respect of the world. Black women are well in their way! How fitting it is for the unifying power of The Mother to order to the continent that gave birth to human civilization.

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About SoleilSmile

Professional Bohemian

Discussion

2 thoughts on “Black Matriarchy: A HipChick Comics Perspective

  1. This is a compelling perspective. I relate to your frustration with a cultural bias, but I submit that it was first an economic bias, thus making this more of a class issue than a sexual desirability issue. I am seeing quite a few Black women with non-Black men in couples situations, but I have no statistical info for how broadly this occurrence cuts thru 2012 America. Upper-crust Black couples? I guess I do have to admit, I don’t see that many, but it may be where I live. Having been there (regrettably) myself, I can attest that marriage is primarily an economic relationship. That is what makes it different from “serious boyfriend of 13 years;” you do become legally responsible for the other person, and you own each others’ stuff. That is why “money is the cause of most divorce.” And post-divorce, the wealthier party takes a bath. That is a biiiiig deal when you are talking about interclass marriage. Nobody wants to partner up with someone who drains their assets and does not contribute significantly….unless you are doing extremely well, and the other party brings something nonmonetary to the table that is worth some wealth-bleeding (like drop-dead good looks for a successful but older and unattractive partner). I was chagrined to the point of embarrassed silence when my friend, an extremely homely and heavy White woman produced a photo of her new “Husband,” a fisherman from an island I had never heard of before, where she had gone for a vacation. Basically, she was his ticket to “civilization,” and as long as she paid for absolutely everything, she could have her dreamboat spouse. You can tell by my description that, if her goal was to gain respect from her peers, she made a foolish choice, but that is a flipped version of the usual interclass relationship.

    Race and class are linked in the American subconscious, regardless the examples that break the mold, and regardless the fact that most poor people in the US are White and rural. You are right – there are Archetypes reserved for people of different racial groups, and while some men embrace them as fetishes, most well-paid guys don’t want anyone associated with poverty. In marriage, it brings them down economically. Perhaps the biggest enemy of marriage is the erosion of low-skilled union jobs in the USA. Most people of all cultures are not and cannot be academically gifted, and even among those who are, college is often no ticket out of poverty. It has been demonstrated statistically that the greatest determining factor of our own incomes is the income of our parents, even if we exceed them by an MFA and a PhD. Most wealth is inherited, not earned. So the “educate your way to a better job” argument has not held up too well. Better paying jobs for people who were not born wealthy was the biggest boon to marriage in previous decades. If a man can get a job out of high school making enough to support a household and has benefits that allow him to retire, he becomes less of an albatross to a woman. But fewer and fewer men can get jobs right out of high school…or right out of college. People don’t get jobs because they have college degrees; they can get afford college degrees because they are part of a class that controls who gets good jobs. The good jobs are filled by class nepotism; the crappy ones are filled by desperation. The specialized jobs are shipped overseas or filled by H1B workers from abroad who are sent right back when the work is done. This is killing the family. Who can be dependable if jobs are not dependable? And who wants to marry more doubt, desperation, and trouble when one’s own life is unstable enough? Who trusts the future of their kids to someone who temps 13 random weeks out of the year, works nights at Wal-Mart, and sells memorabilia on Ebay to make up the difference at the weekly-rate hotel room they share with 2 others? Hard work does not buy one marriagability in an economy that pays as little as it can get away with.

    If we want a future where marriage is accessible to the many, we have to create a system that offers more opportunity. Not potential opportunity as in select grants to select students to participate in the select programs that industry demands when they begin said program, but the possibility for anyone with 2 strong arms and the willingness to work to be valued enough to exchange that energy for a family-size wage. Some companies claim this would drive prices thru the roof, but this is a fallacious notion; prices are set by what the market will bear, not strictly by wages. Plenty of industries in this country and others are subsidized to make the products more affordable. But where do those subsidies go? Into better wages? Environmental upgrades? Better product? Usually just into inflated executive pay and profits. We HAVE paid men of all races better in the past, and when we have, families have flourished. Perhaps we can use this argument of yours to argue for why we need to create more decent-paying jobs for even the lowest skill levels. It can be done, if the political will is there. Super-PACs are crushing the will to listen to any cause for the non-super-rich. If we want marriage to be a real option and not a fairy tale, we have to stick up for the underclass. Sorry to drone on. Brevity is not my forte.

    Posted by WatchClocker | February 13, 2012, 12:56 am
  2. You’re argument is viable, but on a separate subject. I am speaking of Black women who have made it and remain successful through recessions and globalization outsourcing, but who are suffering under the umbrella of Black Shame due to the actions of errant, inner-city Black Males. We have risen above the stigma economically, but socially, the romanticized image of the Black, rapping thug has tarnished our desirability as wives. What other culture has the dregs of their society exalted above their intellectual and industrial exemplars? I’m sure there are some, but in America it’s African-Americans. Educated people, recognize the distinction for I have been pulled aside and complimented by many a CEO/business owning White male Marinite, however, despite these isolated glimmers of praise and encouragement, Black female professionals can not find husbands to pool their sources with. There was an episode of Oprah confronting the misogyny in hip-hip that has debased Black women to the point where when social events occur at historically Black colleges, the Black male students push their Black co-eds out of the way and ask, “Where are the White women at?”The only man who will actively seek out a Black woman is an impoverished one and that must change. As an educated Black woman, I feel that I did not spend 21 years in time and money to better myself in college and ladder climbing in my industry, just to have a bum for a husband.
    Sure, jobs are being shipped overseas, but there are jobs that must remain domestic. Military engineers, lawyers, doctors, financiers—teachers. You just have to be aware enough to recognize trends and be flexible enough to follow them. The U.S. is turning into a management job market as functionary positions are shipped overseas. Companies assess graduates as future assets for their companies. They train them as functionaries for a time, much shorter than periods in the past, and then promote them to management in their 30’s. I was shocked when I noticed the trend in the early 2000’s and couldn’t figure out why there was such a push into management so young. Now, I know. It doesn’t take much for another person, no matter their background to know either. It’s called networking. You seek out successful people and make them your best friends. This pisses your family and hometown friends off who may call you a snob, but you can only hem and haw for so long before you venture out to find Who Stole Your Cheese. Yes, rural areas are isolated, but PBS broadcast everywhere for free. Turn it on and learn. I did.
    Black women are the future wealth of the Black community and we are still waiting around for our statesman to recognize that. Sex comes to easily for the uber-masculine, ruled by Ares, Black male. Sex is pretty much the base of motivation for men broadly speaking) so, why should a Black man( the one’s who have no other ambition, this goes for every other race as well) build companies, invent technology, advance civilization, or become responsible fathers when the best thing a man’s life is free? As Hesiod said something to the effect of, “Then came woman who is beautiful and irresistibly desirable, but is evil for she makes men work.” Women are motivate men to succeed. I don’t predict a future where the availability of willing adventure seeking women will be in short supply to Black men without consequence, so Gingrich and other critics of the Black community should look towards Black women for the bulk of leadership in the Black community. We’re so close to the social bottom, so there’s no place to go but up in the parallel realm of industry. It would just be very nice if the latter was the image of Black American Woman and not the Welfare Queen who’s image should be swept under the rug and allow for a Black woman social star to shine with her burgeoning professional status.

    Posted by SoleilSmile | February 13, 2012, 12:09 pm

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