Thanks very much to Cher for this. Pay very close attention to the image below:
The thing is, the problems implied actually DO affect a number of black girls and women. But that wasn’t the only thing that bugged me; I wanted to know why the image struck me as so familiar. And then I remembered where I’d recalled seeing something like it before:
The “Fool” as pictured here cannot see any danger nor any need to avoid harm. There therefore is no harm. He’s just walking without minding his step…right off the edge of a cliff.
This is not a comment on the belief in any god or God, in spirituality, or having faith. This is, however, a comment on the insistence in encouraging little black girls to believe that if they just have enough faith, no harm will come to them. It puts them in the perilous position of first, being self-reliant in terms of their own safety and well being. Second, it seems to suggest that no one else but God is obligated to look after her. And if she has faith in him, she is safe from stray bullets, sexual deviants, and psychological scars. Where are her parents? The trusted adults in her community? ANY protective figures?
I think what bothers me most about this image is that we’re meant to take the harm as imaginary. As if there are no little black girls living in a virtual warzone, eating while sitting on the floor because it’s not safe enough to sit at the table, even as I type this. Faith is a spiritual shield, but reality requires a different kind of shield from harm: truthful instruction and people willing to protect and care for their young.
Do not allow black daughters to go out into the world with their eyes closed to problems they will likely run into. Mental, emotional, and physical danger is very real. There are people who rely on black girls being ignorant about the necessity of self-preservation so that they can take advantage of and use them. The worst thing that can be done is make it a matter of believing that God will uniformly protect these girls from harm, so they need not even be aware of their surroundings. Or count on you, their parents and family, to act on their behalf.
Question: Have you observed persons encouraging a sense of spiritual naivety in black girls rather than preparing them for real issues? How do you feel “faith” is used to disarm black women and girls?