Mammy, The Mule and Equally Yoked: Black Women As Tools of the Trade

I used the term ‘equally yoked’ for no other reason then the fact that I can’t fucking stand the damn phrase. When I hear anyone say it, and I recall hearing both Black Christian males and females and a Muslim Black man utilize the metaphor  it always strikes me as ironic.

I even associate the vague definition of a yoke (the premature baby chick, the most sensitive and important part of the egg, the center most space within a fragile shell that is intended to become life but it used for our selfish purposes) with the telling plight of those Black women who use Biblical reference as their road maps to life.

I find it both sad and humerus that the definition of a yoke, as in, a harness or a beam to be used on a pair of oxen, horses, mule, donkey or water buffalo to pull a load, which may also be used individually, is such an appropriate way to describe the lives of certain Black women that you wonder if this was all done on purpose.

In my mind, ‘equally yoked’ sounds like something used to describe a sucker, like ‘hood winked’, or ‘bamboozled’. Black women have the unfortunate requirement of having to exist under both patriarchy and racism cleverly handed out under the veil of mysticism, religious rhetoric and good old fashioned while supremacy. Think about it…..

Promises Unfulfilled

The Black congregation is made up of majority single women who worship a leader head “Daddy” figure as the head of their church and the captain of their eternal soul train. The fulfillment of everything these women want (love, resources, good health) and were told they need (a husband and children) rests on the shoulders of the church pastor.

If he can decipher the message of the Bible and figure it out and convey it through his sermon then the whole entire congregation of women will benefit by being blessed. There are generations of women who willingly sat in churches all across the world, who proudly and sincerely expect that things will get better for them. All they have to do is show their willingness to be patient with “GOD”, obedient to “HIS word” and faithful in the Daddy head’s ability to bring one home for the team.

The Black Church has a Helluvah stage show complete with singing, dancing, ‘holy-ghost’ing’, catchy and moving music. They have their own lingo and radio stations, and an energetic way about stirring up the ‘troops’. The wailing  chest beating irreverence of Black religious music is similar to traditional R&B music. We’re all apparently waiting, admonishing and begging for a HIM to love us like we need him too.

The Black Church can feels like a Pre-Paid Legal pyramid scheme presentation. It sounds like BS, you want to leave but if you make a run for the door…they’ll all stare at you!! So you play along…until you realize that in order to play you have to give up much and expect to have it returned.

What did you expect……?

In the meantime, Pastor and his church will require some form of income because without it, he cannot continue to preach for his congregation, and if he can’t preach, then they can’t get their Blessings from God. So the congregation (Black women) contribute to the man, and they wait for him to do what he promised he would do……to make things better…to improve their plight.

Does this ever happen….? You be the judge.

But I bet the chances of a Black woman improving her odds at anything in life rest more in her willingness to work on herself than it would waiting for someone else to do it for her whether its Pastor or God. But no matter how frustrated you may be with Jesus, you must remember that God will come through, GUARANTEED….if not now, then in the afterlife.

How do you know..because the Bible told you so (just like those letter Rabu sent from jail) How do you get proof of any of this? You don’t. Some women feel like they should just keep holding on and waiting for promises to be fulfilled, and they are taught that they can’t stop now, because after all this time if they quit, then they could be just five seconds away from their blessings.

If you leave your BM, then he might get right for the next woman. You were’t patient enough and now you don’t win is precisely what some Black women fear.

If you abandon the BM for not satisfying your needs just because he hasn’t and may not ever, than it means that you were never serious anyway. The same as you can’t ask God for blessings and then expect them to happen for you.

You see, just because God says he will grant blessings doesn’t mean that he will…because……well, he is simply not required to in order to be your God. As a woman, your eternal devotion is required if you choose to participate; no one owes you anything in exchange for your services. Does this scenario sound familiar to you…..?

Though the effects of this system damages some Black women’s chance to learn and develop appropriate male expectations, this message isn’t one that is specifically for Black women, per say. Since our society functions in a way in which the conditions a women finds herself in are directly related to a male in her life its not surprising that women often pursue the favors of whatever male is available. Women with dysfunctional or nonexistent male influence in their lives may be more prone to choosing less then appropriate men to be a part of their lives because they don’t know any better.

As second class citizens in general, it behooves women to seek the consideration of a man be it as an employer, a husband, a religious leader, her father or some other male authority figure. I find it laughable when certain women assert that problems faced by women will be solved by her successful acquisition of power via a male.

Women are as powerless as slaves if we insist on asking the creators of oppression that we suffer under to alleviate our oppression in the spirit of equality.

Our Hero…..

Some unfortunate Black women are victims of The Magical Black Man who they believe is going to show up and make everything all better, because, after all, he’s a man. The male hero is deeply embedded into our social culture, he is on his way to save the heroine, all she has to do is wait….if she’s White.  The only problem with waiting is that our Black male hero is busy trying to save himself and you, Black woman, just might become his life raft.

Patriarchy has an amazing marketing campaign and its message is meant to convince women that things in their life will improve by the mere presence of a man. This notion is built upon a historic system of power controlled by White men.

At one time not too long ago, women had no rights to vote, work, hold property or live independently. As a woman, your only hope at a better quality of life was through marriage to a man of means.

Since emotional well being and reciprocity were not part of the marriage contract until lately, an income and the ability to tolerate the man was all that a woman could hope for when it came to dating and then eventual marriage. This is the woman that takes a fixer-upper Black man, one who could get a job, one who could get his credit together and one who could marry her.

He could do allot, but he hasn’t for one reason or another. Women may overlook this very important fact in favor of having a Black man who may actually be a nice guy, who may be a supportive mate or who may be a willing partner.

However, the fact that he’s either unwilling or incapable of contributing in the same way as any other man would be expected to should be a detractor but its not. Rather than overlook a surface level undesirable Black men, many women simply lower their standards and resent the man whom they chose to be with for his not being as good a man as she would want him to be.

Though she won’t admit it, she has no respect for this type of man. Even though she accepted him as less than what she wanted, she fooled herself into waiting for him to improve to meet her level of acceptance and when he doesn’t…well……..he just doesn’t. Don’t be envious of every Black relationship you see….the cost of doing business is quite high. I can be your friend in your time of need but I am no man’s sponsor.

Where for art thou Mandingo?

I’ll use the term Superhero Mandingo to describe the phenomenon made of all of the White Supremacy fear and loathing of the Black man. Ever since White males came in contact with Africans males there has been a cock fight going on. Men measure each other’s worth by some very basic and crude attributes, one of which is via sexual prowess. I don’t expect men to agree or knowledge this fact, my observation of history and male behavior tell me otherwise.

Whether or not Black men have an edge on sexual talent and preferential biological equipment is not the question at hand. The fact remains that slavery and White fear made the Black male member something of a legend in American culture. Did White man’s fear caused White female curiosity while Black females were left in the dust because their male counterpart has something that everyone wants and can take but her? Could be.

Hanging Black men from trees was a way to exhibit the White man’s dominance over Black men, which one can understand under the circumstances.  However, the castration and selling of the murdered man’s penis as a keep sake speaks to another level of interest and disgust, beginning a long history of Black men members as a macabre object d’art.

Certain Black women will happily accept a Black man who does nothing more than make her ‘feel good’ based on this reinforced stereotype of Black men as sexual Gods. Though he may not be husband or mate material, there are plenty of men who exist in the schema of ‘hired gun’ to fulfill the needs of lonely and disillusioned women who strive to keep life convenient for their man.

Her short supply of self esteem and powerlessness cause her to justify these relationships as acceptable. She has been working and earning her money for a while now; she’s gotten the hang of living independently. She is also aware that there aren’t many men to go around, and since relationships do require work (literally!) the trade off is justified by the resemblance to a healthy relationship.

His lack of self respect for himself and others causes him to see himself as nothing more a sexual commodity. He has been disenfranchised, ill educated and institutionalized out of any chance of participating in general society at the rate and speed of his other male counterparts. His survival depends on his plying his trade to the highest bidder; he may tolerate the woman he’s with because he needs to and not because he wants to.

Patriarchy and improved economic ability now allows certain women to fall victim to the spoils of having power, “paying the cost to be the boss” isn’t such a bad thing when that labor allows a woman to present herself as having a Black man in her life while also banking on the fact that he’s tied to her economically.

Black men who accept this type of relationship may feel ill prepared to compete with other men for jobs or resources and so they use what they have (perceived sexual talent) for what they need (survival).

Its my hope that as more Black women read and learn about how we are perceived by ourselves and others there will be a change  in how much we contribute to our own demise. These aren’t all Black men or all men in general, only certain men, and once you’re better able to establish what type of man you’re dealing you won’t even have to break your stride as you step over that carcass.
Namaste, ladies…..


Know thy enemy.

Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy  -SUN TZU

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