The Power And Glory Of Africana Womanism

This is a very powerful article written by media theorist and writer, Brenda J. Verner, discussing the need for Africana Womanism in the face of feminist political agenda and subversive pressures from academia to force US Black Women away from their own heritage. I have not asked permission to reprint this, as Owl feels it is apart of the collective consciousness of Black people and not subject to the intellectual harassment of state authorized property definitions.


Over the last 25 years feminist architects have had free reign to present, virtually unchallenged, the feminist perspective. American media has presented feminist issues as if they border a new religious ideologue. Yet despite their quarter century campaign, and the cooperation of the most powerful mind-bending instrument on the planet, the overwhelming majority of American women (some surveys estimate as much as 75 to 80 percent) still reject the feminist label. America’s women seem to distinguish the difference between legitimate generic women’s issues and the feminist political agenda.


From the very beginning, African-American women’s response to feminism has been cultural womanism. One cannot deny the presence of black women who have come into contact with white feminists in the academy, politics, the arts and professional fields and have subsequently bought into the concept and promote the feminist ideologue; nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of rank-and-file black women have rejected the feminists’ identity and continue to do so.


Womanism reflects the cultural mindset of Africana women, a thought mechanism that comes out of centuries of struggle for dignity and self actualization, the way we view the world from inside Africana culture and the principles upon which we base our decision-making. I have named this thought mechanism Africana Womanism: Africana because we belong to the world diaspora of African people and Womanism because Africana women are members of families, communities and cultures that embrace men, women and children.


Africana Womanism in essence says: We love men. We like being women. We love children. We like being mothers. We value life. We have faith in God and the Bible. We want families and harmonious relationships. We are not at war with our men seeking money, power and influence through confrontation. Our history is unique. We are the inheritors of African-American women’s history, and as such we shall not redefine ourselves nor that history to meet some politically correct image of a popular culture movement, which demands the right to speak for and redefine the morals and mores of all racial, cultural and ethnic groups. Nor shall we allow the history to be “shanghied” to legitimatize the “global political agenda” of others. We reject the status of victim. Indeed, we are victors, Sisters in Charge of our own destiny. We are Africana culture-keepers: Our primary obligation is to the progress of our cultural way of life through the stability of family and the commitment to community.


The practice of cultural womanism is not limited to Africana women. Italian, Japanese, Hispanic, East Indian, Arab, Jewish women, etc., all utilize this approach to decision-making, and know the value of maintaining indigenous cultural autonomy. The rite of passing generation-to-generation knowledge free from outside manipulation, coersion or intimidation insures traditional integrity, which fosters a climate of cultural security. Traditional cultures should not be obligated to bow to redefinitions foisted upon them by elitist entities that gain their authority via the drive of well-organized “media hype.”


The community of racial experience, cultural folkways and bonds of female friendships have weaved African-American women into one of the most tightly knit groups of women in the world human family. Black women truly live out the creed of “sisterhood.” Where we refer to one another as “sister,” “girlfriend” or “sistergirl,” it is not just a casual use of language. Close friendships and networks of “girlfriends” are an integral part of understanding the process of socializations among Africana women. Learning how to get along with friends is an important part of establishing one’s place in the family, school and the community. The most notable byproduct of black women’s quest for self-actualization is our unrelenting loyalty to the special traditions surrounding family life. It is this fierce loyalty and the determination to maintain independent, indigenous, definitive authority, that prompts black women to resist outside influence, particularly those ideas that conflict with the traditional moral and spiritual base of African-American life. The collective mindset encourages women to look inward for the personal strength through a relationship with God.


Africana Womanism represents the rich heritage of African-American people-the ancestors of women who sacrificed immeasurably to birth this nation. Her stalwart allegiance and cultural identity may be likened unto a mighty oak tree, “planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season,” whose roots go deep, whose breach is broad, that is able to withstand the changing seasons-she shall not be moved.

9 White Women Black History Should Have Avoided On The Elevator

Although the history of Blacks–Black History– in this country is replete with unsung narratives of Black people being harmed because of the false or exaggerated abuse of White women by Black perpetrators, I have decided to limit this post to only 9 White Women Black History should have avoided on the elevator. This is mainly due to the media I am analyzing, the media I am using, and the media most people will be using to access this piece. That being written…


Last week, Kim Foster wrote a piece in response to a piece written by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the world renown group, The Roots. Without quoting or going into the depths of a piece you can simply click on and read yourself, she composes a hypothetical narrative based on the anecdote Questlove provides. Questlove describes a scene where he is on an elevator destined for his apartment in a highly secured, posh hotel. A White woman enters, and as he is next to the floor buttons, he asks her what floor she is going to. She is quiet. He assumes she is heading to his floor, so when they arrive, he prompts for her to exit first as is customary in most Western countries for men of certain civility to do. She reveals that this is not her floor.


In analysis of Questlove’s anecdote, Foster hypothesizes that the woman might be wary of men, especially three hundred pound, six foot two, Black men with large afros, on elevators, and in public spaces in general. As a cultural study, her words are an attempt to reflect the rape culture of the United States. Yet, they worked in media impact to reboot notions of White Women being raped or sexually abused by Black men. She notes in her piece that she felt it was being protective of the woman in Questlove’s elevator to not disclose her floor. I quote her article’s summation here,”They can get off the elevator because they are leery of the guy who is having a pornographic fantasy about them in his head, and not worry one little bit about hurting his feelings.” Obviously, she cares less about the reality of Black history.


I do not disagree with that. Women are disproportionately victims of sexual assault and rape in alarming numbers. Yet, historically, Black men are accused and Black people further criminalized and dehumanized because of White Women claiming rape or abuses that simply did not occur.

This is a pattern that scours Black Afrikan Amerikkkan(Black African American) history.

If the White Woman in Foster’s Elevator, or QuestLove’s for that matter, felt uncomfortable, based on the historical trajectory, QuestLove and the entire US Black community should have been defecating their britches when QuestLove found himself alone in an elevator with a White Woman on United States soil. Black history notes that this would have indeed been an incident worthy of trepidation.


So, with this in mind, I thought about the incidents that have reach me through history. I have listed 9 White Women Black History should have avoided on the elevator in hopes that those that read it realize that there is a history of fear that permeates US culture, and it is not just White Women that need to be afraid of famous Black guys.


In many instances, the famous Black guy should be looking to lie about what floor he is getting off on.


  1. 1. Flora Cameron:


    Flora Cameron is not a real person. She is an aspect of US culture that represents much of what is being discussed in this piece. Flora a figment of the imagination of a White man that forge her in the book and stageplay, “The Clansman”. This novel, written by Reverend Thomas Dixon would gained US historical acclaim as the film, “Birth of a Nation”. In this piece of media culture, Flora is the daughter of a confederate general who, upon being cornered by a Black militia, runs to fetch water. While being pursued by a Black paramour, she dramatically hurls herself over a precipice. The her Black pursuer would be tried and killed. I use Flora as an archetype for the white damsel in the distress that is the Black male presence in the US. Although, a fictive construct, she very well demonstrates the many fictive constructs entertained by US Whites when discussing Black criminality and the protection of US White women.


  3. 2. Sarah Page:


    On May 31, 1921, Sarah Page alleged that she had been assualted by a Black shoeshine personel, Dick Rowland. As she relates her abuses, which would later be found to be fabrications, a mob of White police and Tulsa residents had mounted up. During the initial attempts to arrest Rowland, a gun is accidentally shot, and the ensuing events would leave the thriving Black town of Greenwood “Negro Wall Street” Oklahoma ravished by flames and military bombing.


  5. 3. Carolyn Bryant:


    During a family visit to Mississippi, fourteen year young Emmett Till was accused of whistling at Carolyn Bryant. The accusation of the event would cause Emmett to be brutalized by White men of the town. The murder of Emmett was such a human atrocity that when his body was finally returned to home to his mother, the open casket funeral ceremony would lead to worldwide questions about the United States’ policy on the treatment of Blacks.


  7. 4. Frances “Fannie” Taylor:


    In the early weeks of January 1923, Frances “Fannie” Taylor reported to authorities that a Black man had assaulted her. Witnesses that attested to her story would later recant and state that they had seen her White lover leaving through the back door she claimed was her Black male assailant. Due to her initial statements however, the self-sustaining predominantly Black lumber town of Rosewood, Florida would be devastated and the Blacks of that town terrorized by US White men. The damage and US White terrorism was of such a scale that those Blacks able to escape with their lives never returned.


  9. 5. Bethany Storro:


    Bethany Storro claimed to have been diagnosed with a form of obsession that caused her to pick at fictive constructs on her face. In an effort to rid herself of the fictive body disorder, she mixed a cocktail of household chemicals, and placed the acid on her face. Unable to withstand the pain, she decided to terminate the suicidal procedure. When asked what had happened, she blamed the scars on a Black woman she had conjured up. After authorities burned through her lies, she was convicted of making a false statement to a public official and was sentenced to community service and ordered to continue mental health treatment.
    She was not forced to pay back the twenty-eight thousand dollars donated to her from concerned donors, and she would later publish a book detailing the hoax.


  11. 6. Bonnie Sweeten:


    After robbing several of her co-worker’s bank accounts, Feasterville, Pennsylvanian Bonnie Sweeten made her way to Disney World where she claimed to have been kidnapped and car jacked by two Black male assailants. Sweeten’s accounts of the May 29th, 2009 events resulted in a national manhunt for the two Black male fictive constructs would ensue. Police would later dissolve her allegations through videotapes of the grounds, and charge her with misdemeanor identity theft and false reporting charges.


  13. 7. Susan Smith:


    October 25, in 1994, Susan Smith made a call to the police of South Carolina that a Black man had taken her car at gun point with her two sons. While the nationwide search for the fictive Black male constructs was under way, she would admit that she had driven her car into a lake, consequently murder her own children in the car.


  15. 8. Ashley Todd:


    As the presidential campaign of John McCain and Barrack Hussein Obama commenced in October 2008, a volunteer for the McCain campaign, Ashley Todd, would report that she had been mugged by “six-foot-four African American of medium build, dressed in dark clothes wearing shiny shoes” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania while recruiting university students. As the search hunt for this fictive construct evolved, Todd would confess to her white lies under the duress of being asked to take a polygraph test and shown surveillance footage.


  17. 9. Amanda Knox:


    In Italy, US exchange student, Amanda Knox would be questions about the details of the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, on the first of November in 2007. She would initially blame her former employer, Diya “Patrick” Lumumba — a Congolese-born resident of Italy, for the murder. Lumumba was promptly arrested and would lose much of his hard earned business assets. Lumumba would eventually be cleared of all charges, and Amanda Knox returned to the safety of White USA.