Delete All Variations Of The Following Phrase From Your Vocabulary: “Fighting White Hegemony”

Ever since I woke up from “the Matrix,” I’ve been uneasy whenever I hear African-American women speak variations of the phrases “fighting White hegemony” and “fighting White supremacy.” I couldn’t quite put my finger on why I have had that reaction until I read Evia’s comments during this conversation in the comments section to her recent post at her blog, Black Female Interracial Marriage Ezine.

Well, she explained it all quite clearly during that conversation: That notion of “fighting White hegemony” is deadly, mental poison for African-American women! It’s definitely a Fantasy Island-based, SELF-defeating notion that African-American women need to purge from their minds.

I don’t want to repeat Evia’s comments, but I will highlight a few of the many, many key points that she makes:

White hegemony is currently feeding all African-Americans. To put it bluntly, White people feed all of us. Directly or indirectly. We need to stop “tripping” about that. Very few African-Americans have ever been serious about building the infrastructure needed in order to be a self-sufficient people. Only marginalized groups among us like the Nation of Islam went so far as to actually cultivate farm land, and create grocery stores and restaurants to feed African-Americans.

Nobody except African-American women is sacrificing anything in order to “fight” White hegemony. Including the Black men who flap their lips talking about White hegemony. Many of the Black men talking that stuff are busy dating, sexing and marrying the so-called “evil White man’s” daughters. These men are busy transferring whatever wealth they can accumulate back to the so-called “evil White man” through his daughter. If not the so-called “evil White man’s” daughters, then these Black men talking that stuff are looking to transfer whatever wealth they get to other types of non-Black women.

No other race or ethnic group of women are even worrying about “fighting White hegemony,” except African-American women. When you’re the only one doing something, that’s usually a clue that whatever you’re doing is a bad idea. Other women, including other types of Black women from around the world, are too busy making sure that they (directly or indirectly) get a slice from the current, status quo “White hegemony pie” by marrying whichever man will bring the most to their table. Including qualified White men.

I would suggest that anyone who’s conflicted or confused about the idea of dropping this phrase from their mind consider the following observations I made about activist Black women’s lifestyles during this post.

For Black men, political activism is a vehicle for getting their personal needs met—a source of getting paid and getting laid. Much like the ministry. All on their terms. For example, has Rev. Jesse Jackson ever worked at a job?

Think about the roster of married Black male activists who were promiscuous womanizers such as Dr. King, Elijah Muhammad, and so on. These men had the pleasures of a home life with a wife sitting at home waiting for them, and plentiful sex on the side with female groupies. Think about the single Black male activists who were promiscuous womanizers such the Panthers and others who had a steady, non-stop supply of female groupies they were having sex with. On top of this, Black male activists are typically treated as celebrities and showered with adulation. For Black men, activism is often a vehicle for fulfilling their (financial) safety and belongingness and love needs (intimacy of all sorts, including sexual intimacy).

In short, Black male activists routinely get their personal needs met. Every. Step. Of. The. Way. Meanwhile, activism does not provide the same perks for Black women who are working as hard and facing the same pressures and dangers.

ACTIVISM DOES NOT PROVIDE SIMILAR “ROCK STAR” PERKS FOR BLACK WOMEN ACTIVISTS—NOR DOES IT DO ANYTHING TO MEET THEIR BASIC PERSONAL NEEDS

Activism does not provide the same perks for Black women. While it may provide higher-level needs for women, it generally won’t do anything to provide the foundational second and third-level needs.

While keeping the hierarchy of needs in mind, I invite you to do what we rarely do: Consider some of the inner lives of the crusading, activist African-American women that we hold up as Black History Month heroines. If your thinking is similar to mine, you won’t be pleased by much of what you see. I’ll just name a couple of examples. Dorothy Height has never married. Mary McLeod Bethune separated from her husband (who died in 1918). She never remarried, and she passed away in 1955. These women came of age during an era when marriage was the norm for Black women and readily available within the African-American collective. Who, if anybody, did these women come home to for all those decades?

Consider the personal horrors of being married to a Black male activist like Dr. King. He was often away from home. Coretta Scott King was also in great physical danger—and living alone for long stretches of time with their children. She was responsible for holding down the fort, and child care while he was away. If she was faithful in her marriage, that meant she went through long stretches of not having sex while he was away. Meanwhile, Dr. King was having sex with his women on the side. I won’t even mention the female Black Power activists who apparently served as “booty calls” (and worse) for male Black Power activists.

For Black women, activism does not provide the perks it often provides for Black men. No free money. No husband to remain faithful to you while you sleep around with other men. No adoring harem of male groupies. The only woman I can think of that “had it like that” was a White author named Ayn Rand. Apparently for a number of Black women, crusading activism was a dead-end leading to an asexual, ascetic lifestyle. Who wants that, except a nun?

From what I can tell, one of the relatively few “Black History Month Heroines” that appears to have been involved in activism while also making sure to get her personal needs met (the way she wanted) was Lorraine Hansberry. She was a bisexual or lesbian who married (either out of genuine love for her White husband, or to use him as a voluntary or involuntary cover story), while still dating and sleeping with women.

Dorothy Height has passed away (at age 98) since I wrote that post. She never married.

A final note about justice. I can’t think of any group of women that are more justly deserving of abundant life than African-American women. Justice is for more African-American women to start reaping the benefits of all our centuries of hardship and struggle. Right now!

**Reader’s Note** I’m not going to publish comments that: (1) recount yet more damaged Black male horror stories, or (2) seek to analyze damaged Black males and the origins of their damage. I’m trying to wean some of you away from fixating and focusing on damaged Black men. I notice that some of you disrupt conversations at other blogs by dumping news story links to the latest damaged Black man horror story into the discussion. I’m not going to let that happen here.

If I mention something about damaged Black men, it’s explanatory and kept to a minimum. I don’t care about what’s going on in the minds of damaged Black men, or what they’re doing. I’m only interested in what’s going on in African-American women’s minds that blocks them from seeking abundant life. My main point in all the conversations here is on what strategies savvy, self-actualizing African-American women can use to maximize their enjoyment in life. In this post, I’m suggesting that we drop this particular phrase because it’s an obstacle to abundant life for African-American women.

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98 Responses to “Delete All Variations Of The Following Phrase From Your Vocabulary: “Fighting White Hegemony””

  1. pioneervalleywoman says:

    typo alert: prevent Af-Am women from becoming sojourners, not black women as I typed it

  2. PioneerValleyWoman,

    You said, “What bothered me is something I have spoken about before throughout our conversations, and when I said “this is what I teach,” I had something specific in mind.

    It is not uncommon for those who don’t have in-depth historical knowledge, to either make up stuff, or read what they want to read into the historical record, when their readings are not historically accurate. They pass on mythology as gospel.

    Guuurl . . . Exactly! And I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve encountered Black students who want to quote scenes from “Roots” and other tv shows to you—as if these are accurate history sources! IIRC, that has already happened at least once to the author Karen Folan during her interviews on Black radio shows.

    Lord have mercy.

    It’s scary to see that so many people in general take their history from historical novels, tv mini-series, and wishful-thinking-mythology. That sort of foolishness IS bothersome. It’s also crazy.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  3. truth p says:

    Hey Khadija,another good post.Thank you for all your work.

    I just wanted to let you know that the “get what you need first” stuff is really starting to sink in for me.Today I went to a site that was saying that Harvard was releasing some negative deceitful data to a study they did about black peoples intelligence.At first I thought to myself “I can’t stand Harvard” as I had heard they’d done other things that were racially offensive.I even thought that some boycott or something ought to occur.Then I went to another site that showed that Harvard is offering honor roll students who’s family’s income is 60,000$ a year or less an opportunity to attend their university tuition and student loan FREE.I think imma hold off on all that boycotting noise and getting all in a tizzy.Maybe they got some free education to give me.I have siblings, relatives,and friends who could possibly benefit from what they’re doing also.

    Thank you sooo much for helping me to know how to NOT shoot myself and possibly other black folks in the foot.

    • TruthP.,

      You’re welcome!

      You said, “I think imma hold off on all that boycotting noise and getting all in a tizzy.Maybe they got some free education to give me.I have siblings, relatives,and friends who could possibly benefit from what they’re doing also.”

      Guurl…yes, indeed. Please DO take a breath and see what you (or yours) can get from Harvard before you get all riled up. That’s what everybody else does!

      One of the things that I’ve always noticed about the African women I’ve known over the years is that they generally don’t and WON’T do “crusades.” The only minor exception that I’ve seen in real life was during the anti-apartheid struggle when I was in college. And those FEW exceptions to that general pattern were basically limited to some, not all, Black South African women students.

      The female African students that I observed who were from other African countries were NOT studying that anti-apartheid crusade. They were too busy getting theirs. [And even though I was annoyed with them at that time for their non-participation—NOW I understand what the “real deal” was—and I ain’t mad at ’em. Those African girls knew what to do! LOL!]

      ***And with that, I’m leaving the conversation again.***

      Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  4. **Because the reply function can cause comments to get buried, here’s a repeat of my reply to Amanda’s comment above**

    Amanda,

    You said, “You do have to be careful, because people withint he Americas consider themselves Americans.”
    ***********************************************

    Amanda, let’s do this experiment:

    Tell me the name of your (if I guess correctly, Nigerian) specific ethnic group, and then the rest of us—who are OUTSIDE your particular ethnic group—will take a vote to see whether or not we approve the name your people have chosen for themselves. And if we outsiders decide we don’t like the name your people have chosen for themselves, will you stop using that name for yourselves? Because we outsiders don’t approve?

    NOW—when it’s applied to YOU—do you see how CRAZY and insulting that whole notion sounds?

    People want to take liberties with AAs that they would never tolerate being taken with themselves.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  5. NijaG says:

    @ Amanda

    People within the Americas do delinate(sp?) and differentiate which part of the Americas they do come from.

    People from South America and Central America don’t introduce themselves as “Americans”. 99% of the world know that when someone says “They are American” that usually means THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Canadians don’t even identify as Americans even though they are part of the North American continent.

    Same thing with being African American. Most people know that when a black person says they are AA that usually means the descendants of the African slaves brought to the USA. I’ve always considered AA’s a separate and distince ethnic group, the same way you, I and other blacks from various countries and nations consider ourselves separate and distinct.

  6. NijaG,

    THANK YOU. These Black-skinned wanna-be slavemasters already KNOW the common-sense observations that you’ve stated in your comment. They KNOW all of this.

    How do I know that they know these things? Because they NEVER come to WHITE AMERICANS with that mess! If they were truly that confused and innocent in their intentions—then they would innocently speak this same madness to White Americans. But they don’t. And they never will.

    I’m this/close to banning some of these Black-skinned wanna-be slavemasters from this forum. We’ll see.

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.

  7. Karen says:

    Dear Khadija,

    It is all about setting boundaries or lines in the sand.

    Frankly, I think you and many of the posters have been more than polite with “explaining” to these people. To your point above, they are NOT dealing in good faith because if they were, then they would be saying the same things to White Americans.

    They are more than happy to go and talk that foolishness to other weak-minded people who will allow them in their “home”. This is not the place for it, we are moving forward and that means leaving childish things behind.

    What is particularly interesting is that they are invested in not what the actual topic was about which is to leave the madness and focus on making sure one’s needs are met, NO, they are focused on making sure we keep focusing on everyone else but US. US, meaning AA BW and our needs. I am not having it, there are more than enough places on the internet where they can have their conversations. WHY COME HERE?

    This is “Sojourners Passport”, to me that means a passport to a new way of living. What they are insuating is to hold on to old ways THAT BENEFITTED THEM. It irritates me to no end how many non-whites have benefitted from riding our coat tails with absolutely no reciprocity to be had. GAME.OVER.

    Normally, I do not get worked up, but this really gets my goat.

    Let me be clear, I am only directing this to those who are showing no respect for AA history, heroes, struggles or culture.

    I do not steal other ethnic groups cultural touchstones and I expect mine to be respected and honoured, but not stolen.

    Okay, I have calmed down now…. please forgive my tirade.

  8. Addy says:

    I like this blog (yes I’m new), and I think Khadija makes a lot of good points. I noticed a trend after I started paying attention among black male activists and their womanizing, mysoginistic behavior. Similarly, there’s virtually no benefit to being a sista soldier.

    That said, i get the whole “cross-cultural” legacy thing. But it seems more acceptable for African-americans to become activists in africa, take african names, and lay claim to ancient african empires and civilizations, but not vice versa?

  9. Foxycleopatra says:

    I’ve been reading the comments over the past few days and tbh, I have quite a lot to say. So bear with me because this may be a long post.

    First off, I will start by saying (for those of you who do not know already) that I am a Nigerian.

    Concerning this ‘AA is not an ethnicity’ issue, I can say that I understand it in terms of the ‘science/biology’ behind the reasoning. Ethnicity, unlike nationality, is something that is in one’s DNA. For example, if someone found me in Mongolia, and obtained a sample of my DNA and tested it, they would be able to find out that not only ami I Nigerian, but will be able to decifer all the different Nigerian ethnic groups (and possibly non-Nigerian ethnic groups) in my lineage. The argument some ppl make is that AAs do not have a ‘distinct’ DNA lineage but instead, it will be traced back to their West African forebearers and any other ethnicity an AA person may have in them. Makes sense? Yes. So I get it. However, my issue with this thinking is that the people who make this argument, don’t seem to make it with other ethnicities of ppl who this same argument could apply to. For example, if you took a Puerto Ricans DNA, their lineage/ethnicity will not necessarily come out as ‘Puerto Rican’ but will come out as all the ethnicity of their possibly African, European and Native Indian forebearers. Yet no one tells a Puerto Rican that they are not an ethnic group. If a Jamaican’s DNA was tested, it would most likely cone out as the ethnicities of their African forebearers and any other ethnicity they may have in them. If you found the Jamaican in Monogolia, you would not by virtue of their ‘DNA ethnicity test’ be able to decifer that they are Jamaican. Yet no one would tell a Jamaican that ‘Jamaican’ is not an ethnic group on its own. So how come they same courtesy/respect cannot be given to African Americans? For any of the AAs reading this, the next time someone uses the ‘science’ as the basis for their argument, please present them with the points I have presented above because all the times I have done it, I have never gotten a response back (says a lot about their argument doesn’t it?).

    So now that we have gotten the ‘science’ aspect out of the way, how about we just talk common sense. I see absolutely nothing wrong with say, a Cameroonian person not viewing me as ‘part of them’ when I am among Cameroonians. I see nothing wrong with Ghanians wanting to define themselves they way THEY CHOOSE. So in the same vain, I cannot get my head round why a non-AA person would want to dictate to AAs what they could or could not call themselves. What has it got to do with you (i.e. the non-AA). Would the non-AA person be willing for AAs to define them and dictate to them what they should or should not call themselves (as Khadija said above)???

    As for this nonsense about ‘they are just naive’, well I used to buy it but I dont anymore. If ‘naivete’ was the problem, then they would be ‘naive’ with everybody and not just AAs. For some reason, when they are around non-AAs, that ‘naivete’ seems to hibernate. I would like to see the day one one of these ‘naive blacks’ would come and dictate to me on what I should or should not call myself as a Nigerian. It does not even make sense to me.

    Concerning this whole US vs American issue, tbh, this is the very first time I am hearing this rubbish…yes I said it…RUBBISH! For those who are coming here to complain about US citizens or should I be more specific, US citizens of the black persuasion referring to themselves as ‘American’, well let me ask you this, have you ever gone to a white person, or a place where white pple where gathered, offered up that argument and told them to stop referring to themselves as ‘American’? We all know the answer to that question! As NijaG said, all around the world, when ppl say ‘American’ it is in the vast majority of times (and when I say vast majority I mean the limit is approaching 100%…for u mathematicians in here..lol) in reference to ppl who are from the US. Tough luck! Let us say for eg, you are from a country in the Americas, say for eg, Panama. Are you honestly trying to tell me that you always refer to yourself as an ‘American’ (from the Americas) and not a ‘Panamanian'(from Panama)? Puuhhlleease!

    Lastly, I have to say this. For the most part of it, I blame AAs. I am constantly seeing AAs tolerating this kind of nonsense and doing all this ‘kumbaya’ idiocy while those pple you are doing ‘kumbaya’ with are not actually doing ‘kumbaya’ with you!!! The fact that someone would actually have the guts to go to where AAs are and DICTATE to them what they should call themselves says how far it has actually gone. Do you think any of these pple writing this crap would dare have the guts do do it in the midst of white folks?? After all, is that not what the slave masters did when they forced the slaves to change their names and gave them whatever name they pleased? Yet some AA pple with see this happening now and will not see through it for what it is.

    Anyway, I actually had more to write but I didnt sleep last night so my eyes are heavy and my fngers are feeling weak. I can appreciate the fact that I came into this conversation quite late but I hope that pple will still read this comment and hopefully get something out of it.

    God bless!

  10. Karen,

    You said, “Frankly, I think you and many of the posters have been more than polite with “explaining” to these people.”

    I’ve thought about this today while at work, and I must say this little episode has been a learning experience for me.

    It was WRONG of me to be so polite with these Black-skinned, racist, wanna-be-slavemasters, and to allow them to spew their “your freedom from slavery, claiming the right to name yourselves, and self-determination offends me” cr*p for as long as I let that go on. Let me put everybody on notice: I WON’T make that mistake again.

    As I thought about this today, I realized that I NEVER would have allowed non-Black wanna-be slavemasters to get this far without having their heads verbally chopped off. And certainly NOT in my own blog-home. This was an error in judgment on my part; an error that I’ll strive to NEVER repeat again.

    So, everyone, wave “goodbye” right now to Amanda and the others, because they won’t be allowed back in here.

    You said, “What is particularly interesting is that they are invested in not what the actual topic was about which is to leave the madness and focus on making sure one’s needs are met, NO, they are focused on making sure we keep focusing on everyone else but US. US, meaning AA BW and our needs. I am not having it, there are more than enough places on the internet where they can have their conversations. WHY COME HERE?”

    Because, prior to this moment, I foolishly allowed them to come here with that mess. I apologize to the audience for this error in judgment, and any consternation that was caused by MY error in judgment in allowing this to happen.

    You said, “This is “Sojourners Passport”, to me that means a passport to a new way of living. What they are insuating is to hold on to old ways THAT BENEFITTED THEM. It irritates me to no end how many non-whites have benefitted from riding our coat tails with absolutely no reciprocity to be had. GAME.OVER.”

    I feel exactly the same way.

    You said, “Normally, I do not get worked up, but this really gets my goat.”

    Again, I give my heartfelt apology to any audience member who was upset by the insulting, degrading, wanna-be-slavemaster-foolishness that I erred in allowing through during this conversation. I (temporarily) failed in keeping this blog a safe space for AA women and girls. I am truly sorry for that.
    _____________________________________________

    Addy,

    You said, “That said, i get the whole “cross-cultural” legacy thing. But it seems more acceptable for African-americans to become activists in africa, take african names, and lay claim to ancient african empires and civilizations, but not vice versa?”

    I reluctantly let your comment through on the chance that you’re a confused AA. This is the last time I’m going to explain this—I said all of this before during this conversation. Didn’t you read the earlier comments?

    For the last time: AAs have historically allowed both Black-skinned and White-skinned outsiders (like Stokely Carmichael, Kivie Kaplan and other WM who ran the NAACP at least until the late 1960s, and so on) to have command and control over AA organizations.

    Here’s your own private homework assignment—because I’m not going to keep repeating this same observation over and over again—you’re acting as if you didn’t hear me mention this the previous times I’ve laid this out:

    I challenge you to find a single instance when non-AAs have allowed an AA to have command and control and set policy for THEIR political organizations or governments. I can’t think of a single example where non-AAs allowed AAs to rule over them, have command and control of their organizations, or set policy for them.

    And I don’t blame others for not allowing AAs to control their critical “stuff.” Only a foolish group of people allows outsiders to set policy for them.

    As far as the personal name thing, people can choose whatever names they want for themselves. I know—and you know—that I’m NOT talking about the choice of an individual’s personal name here. When you raise that angle, you’re speaking in bad faith. Stop it. FYI, if you pull something like this bad faith angle again, you’ll be banned from this forum.

    As far as the “lay claim to ancient african empires and civilizations, I’ve never heard AAs make any claim that AA people built the Pyramids in Egypt, or wrote the 12th century books in Timbuktu, or claim that AAs were the ones who have done any of the rest of these OTHER PEOPLE’S historical accomplishments.

    Much like the so-called “mestizos” and “mulattos” of Latin America, AAs are a relatively new and SEPARATE people who were created by the depredations of European overseas empires and colonialism.

    Meanwhile, there’s a segment of non-AAs (some Jews, some non-AA Blacks) who want to “lay claim to” the AA civil rights movement, as if they were integral to that movement and its accomplishments. These non-AA participants were a MICROSCOPIC fraction of the footsoldiers, DEAD MARTYRS, and other participants of the civil rights movement.

    Now, what I do hear all sorts of Black folks from various ethnic groups saying (not just AAs)—is asserting that many of the pharoahs and population of ancient Egypt were racially Black; that many of the Moors who invaded and ruled Spain were racially Black; and so on. Noting that many of these folks were racially Black is not at all the same as claiming/stealing/laying claim to these historical accomplishments for one’s own ethnic group.
    _____________________________________________

    Foxycleopatra,

    As has been noted, these Black-skinned, wanna-be slavemasters (and that’s exactly what it is when you want to dictate what other people name themselves) have never—and will never—approach non-AAs—and especially not White Americans—with their bs. They know that what they’re saying is offensive, and they lack the courage to insult White folks (or anybody except AAs) like that.

    And as you observed, it’s not about naivete. If so, they would be naive across the board—instead of only “naive” with AAs. This is about power relationships and these people’s desire to have somebody “under” them that they can step on. That’s what this is all about. They know that they’re too weak and powerless relative to non-AA others to try this mess with them. But they figure that it’s safe for them to say this cr*p to AAs. Which leads to the next point you made.

    You said, “Lastly, I have to say this. For the most part of it, I blame AAs. I am constantly seeing AAs tolerating this kind of nonsense and doing all this ‘kumbaya’ idiocy while those pple you are doing ‘kumbaya’ with are not actually doing ‘kumbaya’ with you!!! The fact that someone would actually have the guts to go to where AAs are and DICTATE to them what they should call themselves says how far it has actually gone. Do you think any of these pple writing this crap would dare have the guts do do it in the midst of white folks?? After all, is that not what the slave masters did when they forced the slaves to change their names and gave them whatever name they pleased? Yet some AA pple with see this happening now and will not see through it for what it is.”

    Yes, indeed. This is mostly AAs’ fault because—unlike anybody else—we put up with this cr*p.

    And in this instance, it’s MY fault—I made an error in judgment that I will do my best to NEVER repeat again. I allowed a coven of Black-skinned wanna-be-slavemasters to defile this space with their oppressive bs, and make it temporarily not a safe space for AA women and girls.

    Again, I apologize to everyone who was caused distress by the degrading, wanna-be-slavemaster verbal filth that I mistakenly allowed through during this conversation. I’ll do what I can to make sure nothing like that ever happens again here.

    **And on that note, I’m closing the comments to this thread. I think we’ve more than adequately covered all the angles here.**

    Peace, blessings and solidarity.