BWE and the Wall of Silence – An Addendum

How did things get this bad? How does the minority get to speak the loudest?   The Wall of Silence (WoS) and the Black Women’s Empowerment (BWE) Internet movement may just be symptoms of a disease, but with some diseases, like AIDS, the symptoms are the disease. This is the principal issue of BMV/BWE, they are like AIDS, not an Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, but an Acquired Ideology Deficiency Syndrome. It seems that at the end of the 20th century, black people in both Jamaica and the United States lost any sense of connection to a Grand Narrative. By a Grand Narrative, I mean a story of human history that gives meaning to the past, explains the present, and provides guidance for the future. Its purpose is therefore, not only historical, but teleological – it gives history and meaning. A past example would be that of Marxism. Modern examples would be Christian Fundamentalism, Californianism (technological utopianism driven by the belief that Moore’s Law can go on forever) and Radical Neoliberalism (the Kool-Aid imbibed by most of the West’s ruling parties)

 

Around 2007, a group of individuals came up with their own Grand Narrative of Late 20th/ early 21st Century African-American history. They intended to use their Grand Narratives to cause social change. They focused mostly on gender relations, each one blaming the other for the faults in the African-American community. The Wall of Silencers (Black Men Vent, Diary of a Tired Black Man, Sergeant Willie Pete) chided black women for their perceived masculinity, moving the black community away from black unity and black power by allying with the Feminist movement, destroying the black family unit, and whoring themselves out to men they call “thugs”, “bad boys” and other such undesirables, instead of choosing (of course) they. As such, they vowed to ignore and scorn any black woman that did not agree with them,and to stop talking about black women The Black Women’s Empowerment Movement makes the claim that black men fail to protect black women from insults and violence, has destroyed the black family by abandoning his woman and child, and failing to marry his woman en masse, is more willing to give love and devotion to (grossly overweight) non-black women, and sacrifices black women on the altar of the Black Community.

 

Now, there is nothing wrong with a narrative being ahistorical. The Jews, with their religious narrative, have it written in their Holy Books that they had been enslaved in Egypt by a cruel pharaoh, and were then liberated by the great leader Moses. That there is no archaeological evidence of this ever happening is irrelevant – enough time has passed between the time the enslavement was claimed to have happened and the time it was mythologized. Thus, the Jewish people have a powerful spiritual tradition to serve as a Grand Narrative. This is not the case however, with the Wall of Silencers (WoS) and the BWE. History does not agree with their narratives.

 

With the WoS:

  • Black women’s masculinity is played up by the media and their sassiness exaggerated by performers, such as actresses, comedians and cartoonists
  • Black women have consistently been a part of black Civil Rights movements; even their offshoots of feminism were rooted in black power. In fact, black feminism has usually been a response to mainstream feminism, not an offshoot of. Even now you can see this in black women’s apprehension to participate in “slutwalks.”
  • Like most women, black women are attracted to charismatic men. The WoS has created a false dichotomy of “nerds” on one side and “thugs” on the other. It ignores that the type of man (Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Idris Elba, Barack Obama, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Michael Eric Dyson) who is able to attract several women to his company is not a passive-aggressive “nice guy”, but a charismatic person who radiates self-confidence. That the word “swag” has replaced the word “charisma” is irrelevant, the meaning is the same.

The BWE movement does not acknowledge:

 

When a Jew is presented with the facts regarding the Exodus, he may get upset with you, but based on who you come across, he might just shrug it off. But the BWE/WoS will not have anything to do with facts, preferring instead to stick their fingers in their ears and chant their mantras of DBR and ankle, hoping that the facts will just go away. And when they don’t, they create even deeper delusions for themselves. They then begin to echo movements in their decline like the Black Panther Party, embracing internal repression, paranoia and self-exaltation, while at the same time labeling anyone that opposes them on their turf as “sock puppets” and “concern trolls”. Thus, they begin to look less like movements, and more like cults. The question is, how did they get this way, and how can movements avoid becoming this way?

 

It is no coincidence that both these movements came about during 2007 – 2008. This period saw several brutal gang rapes occurring in poor black communities, such as the particularly sadistic and brutal Dunbar Village rape. There was also the repeated television specials that appeared on various new programs that were  backhanded compliment to black men and women. But the BWE/WoS movements could not have been possible without ta technology that saw is mass proliferation at this time – Web 2.0. Presentable blogs replaced unwieldy sub-domains, combined with Twitter, social media such as Facebook and  video streaming sites such as YouTube gave ordinary people with the strangest ideas a medium to express themselves to the world. The problem is that Web 2.0 is a medium best suited to delivering messages – not ideas. An exchange of ideas require an embodied presence – think the signers of the Constitution arguing, or the sit-ins during the American Civil Rights movements. But the BWE/WoS do not believe in social change – or ideas for that matter. Th e perfect example of this can be seen with Christelyn Karazin’s response to Mikhail Lyubansky regarding his article about her No Wedding No Womb movement. Lyubansky first states:

My point is that Civil Rights movement focused on systems change, not on helping black folks make the best of Jim Crow. State-supported segregation is gone but many systems, including the education system, continue to be racially biased.  There’s nothing about the value of education that black youth haven’t heard 100 times.  They just don’t trust the education system to deliver on its promise….. But there IS a reason to change the system, and we need to work to make it happen, because the history of social change is that it doesn’t happen by itself.  And for all its good intentions, No Wedding No Womb not only doesn’t aim at systems change; it distracts from it.

 

To which, Karazin responds:

We Can Work for Change but..

It’s takes too damn long! The STRUCTURE is what IT IS. You and I both know we black folks have worked for structural change since the 1800’s. That mess takes time. You know it, and I know it. Also, didn’t you know that our government, the primary facilitator for “structural change” is bankrupt? THERE. IS. NO. MONEY. Combine that with the declining voting bloc of African Americans and “HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!”

 

And that, sums up the philosophy of BWE/WoS – don’t think about the future. Its too far away, and besides, it takes too long. Just work on what you can from the system now. The sad thing is, that the people who created the modern structure were in the smae place she was, but they chose to work hard and bide their time. Mises, von Hayek and the Mont Pelerin Society were the laughing stock of the economic community for thirty years, yet their neo-liberal ideas are the default economic system for the modern world. The Christian Fundamentalists that were once thought theological dunces.are now the mainstream in much of America and the Caribbean.And so it goes. It would seem that if any movement truly wants genuine change, they will have to actually grit their teeth and put in the work. Let the BWE/WoS , Human Bio-Diversity types, the (batty)manosphere and the Pick-Up Artists huddle together, and rant impotently. The rest of us have too much at stake to waste time with such foolishness.

 

 

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15 thoughts on “BWE and the Wall of Silence – An Addendum”

  1. black people in both Jamaica and the United States lost any sense of connection to a Grand Narrative

    You may be onto something here.
    It’s not just Jamaica and the States tough. The same applies to all so-called “black” countries around the world, IMO.
    What your article does not say is what, according to you, this Grand Narrative could be.
    Another thing I can’t decide from your writings so far is whether you believe each Black community should have its own singular Grand narrative (ie: a Jamaican Grand Narrative, an African-American Grand Narrative, etc…) or all African-descended culture should refer to a common Grand Narrative.
    (If I were to hazard a guess though, the former sounds more in line with the little you disclosed about your own philosophy.)

    1. This is like literature. When white people teach their greats, they combine traditions from American lit, British lit, the Romantic periods and so forth and it all becomes seamless; somehow it does not work quite the same for us. I had a high school teacher who tried her very best to separate black American lit from black Caribbean and African lit. I just don’t get it.

      1. I’ve been thinking about some ideas for a Diaspora/Africa Canon that would have combine the Western Canon with some stuff from the Continent (Akan Protocols and Sundiata mostly.) Harold Bloom’s own is quite excellent – he also includes the best Africa post-colonial literature.

    2. Another thing I can’t decide from your writings so far is whether you believe each Black community should have its own singular Grand narrative

      I don’t know. Not yet anyway. I don’t want to end up sounding like the condescending Jamaican type (Claude McKay. Orlando Patterson) who wags his finger at the lesser foreign blacks.

      I do believe that Jamaicans definitely have a folk connection with West Africans, especially Ghanians (slave trade, British colonialism, bauxite industry) so it will be interesting to look at that connection at least.

  2. Satan:

    Another great article! Since don’t agree or adhere to this madness, it’s hard to fathom it. I personally believe it comes down to low self esteem/ self hatred.

  3. Let the BWE/WoS , Human Bio-Diversity types, the (batty)manosphere and the Pick-Up Artists huddle together, and rant impotently.

    That’s it in a nutshell, a bunch of loons. The only thing they are good for is hilarity.

  4. Satan, this will be long, but other than your blog and Brothawolf’s, this seems to be the only place on the internet where it is safe to say this–not even Abagond is safe in that regard. Topix is a cesspool of hopeless black racists and sexist–both of the male and female persuasions.

    Taken from a few conversations i have had online with other black people about the Toldson and Marks marriage study:

    Presumed Black Man: I think it is a stereotype to say that white women with black men are always with the ones who are lowly. I know what I have seen and most of the white women that choose black men marry wealthy ones or smart and responsible ones.

    Me: While that may be true in some instances, the 12% of wealthy black men who have white wives cannot compare to the national average of 88% of wealthy black men (100,000 or more a year) who have black wives. And besides that, the 8% of black men who are working class and the 9% who are middle class with white wives respectively is really not notably higher than the 12%. Once we stop looking to the media to tell us what black men are doing, then a different dialogue can begin.

    Presumed Black Man: I don’t rely on the media to tell me anything, and I count my personal experiences as meaningful. I know what I see.

    Me: Sure thing! Have it your way.

    Presumed Black Woman: In my experience, successful black men only want white women or non black women. And if she is black, she has to be light skinned with long straight hair. What are black women like me supposed to do? Sit around and wait on a black knight in shining armor who is never coming? Being a black educated women is tough! Black men simply are threatened by us and people like you Phoebeprunelle are the reason why young black women shy away from approaching white men. You are a toxic, scared young black woman who does not want to face the reality that more and more black women will marry white men.

    Me: Sista, while i sympathize with you, i think you should know the truth. According to a study by Dr. Toldson and Dr. Marks, black women who have advanced degrees were three times more likely than their white female counterparts with only a high school diploma to be married. So it seems that not only aren’t black men threatened by an educated Sista, they seem to prefer them in many instances. When looking at data, they found that over 60% of women in Atlanta and the D.C. area with doctorates were married. Only 26% with high school diplomas had gotten hitched in Atlanta. As far as white men, if that is what you prefer in a mate no one has the right to incriminate you.

    Presumed Black Woman: You really believe that! You are full of crap! I bet you are some concern troll trying to derail us from having lives that are more meaningful than we could ever have in Blackistan!

    Me: Ok, lol whatever you say…

    Presumed Black Woman: Yeah, I thought so.

    1. ‘Blackistan ?’ ‘Concern Troll?’ I guess she read the BWE manual on derailment. Don’t talk to them anymore. Itsnotour job to educate those goons. Places like Topix only bring out the worst in people

      1. I am familiar with the term, Blackistan because I used to frequent the BWE spaces. The terminology is only used to describe Black residential areas in the United States. Often times, it is rendered with negative connotation due to the poverty and violence in these areas that the BWE women discuss on their forums.

  5. Unfortunately, I used to frequent BWE spaces and watched videos from the likes of Simone 56 and Breukelen Bleu on Youtube. What attracted me to the movement was the message telling Black women to put themselves first and make good decisions in life to benefit them in the long run. I wasn’t in the best place in my life when I started to look at those spaces. I couldn’t attend the private university that I was accepted into so I was depressed and distraught. I was also angry and frustrated with the colorism, sexism and misogyny that I had been through with Black men so I felt like I found a place to vent all of my frustrations. As I look back, I realize that I wasn’t doing anything any differently from the likes of misogynists like Angry Bus Driver, Tommy Sotomayor or Sandman. It pains me to think that I was turning into something I despised.

    Then, I started to attend community college. What was so significant for me was that I started to assess the doctrine and thinking of the spaces. I didn’t have as much time to sit behind the computer and rant about the inferiority of the Black American male or the Black collective. I decided to see the world and people for what they are, but I really started to notice the backbiting between the BWE gurus and women in the spaces. So many of them claimed to be for Black women yet they talked poorly about each other behind their backs. I even experienced this myself. How is the Black man the problem if you can’t treat other Black women with respect? I also notice how group think and polarization was highly encouraged by these women. It was like I couldn’t think for myself at all. All of the women had to go along with the opinion of the BWE guru or she is called a Mammy. After a while, I found myself walking on eggshells and modified my opinion not to offend others. The real reason why I went along with them was due to fear of being ostracized. Whenever I did express my opinions, I was attacked relentlessly so it was safer for me to just go along even if I disagreed with any of their viewpoints.

    I find much of their rhetoric on single Black mothers, overweight Black women and women from lower class echelons of society to be based on classism, respectability politics and internalized racism. None of these BWE bloggers ever took into consideration that many of the social problems in the Black Collective that they complain about was caused by White men. The same White men that they put on a pedestal. Much of their commentary on Black women from lower class echelons of society and single Black mothers is disgusting to say the least. When I frequented these spaces, I would see them post images of thin, beautiful Black women living in upper middle class areas while they would talk down on lower income Black women. If one read their remarks on Rachel Jeantel, one would think a White Nationalist or Fox News commenter wrote it. Many of these women blame Black single mothers for all of the problems in the Black Collective while overlooking the hurdles that these women go through to survive. Their fat shaming of overweight Black women is also not a good look either. Overweight Black women need to be encouraged to lose weight not shamed into losing weight to attract White men. While I believe that some of their advice on losing weight, staying in school etc is beneficial to many Black women, it doesn’t really change society(White people)’s view of Black women on a collective basis. Look at the way White conservatives bashed the Obama family on social media for years. It just shows that respectability politics doesn’t work. Nor does classism. Their rhetoric also leans on internalized racism, because much of it is racism internalized against other Black people instead of fighting against it. Though I think the BWE would benefit thin, beautiful Black women
    living in the suburbs, I don’t think that it will benefit the overall Black female situation in America.

    The major issue I had with these spaces was the way White men were positioned as saviors to Black women. I am not against interracial dating nor do I have a problem with it. But the idea that marrying White men will improve Black women’s plight in society is ludicrous to say the least. This is the same White man that raped, pillaged and stripped many continents of it’s resources to remain on top economically, socially and politically. And it came at the expense of Black women. Don’t these women realize that they are actually contributing to their own oppression? Yet everything is the Black man’s fault. Yes, I understand that many Black men are disrespectful towards Black women and children, but the White man is not a savior either. Though there is a small increase in Black women dating and marrying interracially, White American men aren’t marrying Black women in any substantial numbers to suggest that they actually desire or prefer Black women as romantic partners. It is not because I buy into the myth that Black women are oh, so undesirable and unwanted that the media churns out. No, I am actually going by what I see in reality and what I read in statistics. Until White American men start dating and marrying Black women en mass and presenting Black women in a desirable light in the media, Black women can’t rely on White American men as marriage partners or any man as a matter of fact.

    Recently, I left these spaces behind. I need to focus on myself and healing. As I look back on my days in the BWE, I cringe and regret some of the things that I have said in these spaces. I was sounding like the female version of Tommy Sotomayor and I didn’t even realize it until I sat down and analyzed my time there. The group polarization was quite limiting to my psyche as well as my internalizing racism against the opposite gender of my race. Though I have my regrets, I am moving forward in my life and trying to take back my power as a woman.

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