Why (some) subscribers to Black Consciousness date “White” people

It was recently brought to my attention that a certain journalist in South Africa, that is known to behave like one who is twenty-minutes away from applying for a trademark on Black Consciousness, dates nothing but women of European Descent (or White women, as I may continue to refer to them for the rest of this article).

Upon seeing that my response was a sarcastic “surprise, surprise” my friend quickly wanted to know why I was so unimpressed by this piece of information, that I went on to say something along the lines of: “these Black Consciousness brothers couldn’t care less about Black Women.”

But there’s a lot more to it than that and I’m going to show you why I think many subscribers to Biko, Fanon, Garvey and Co.’s principles end up with romantic histories that predominantly feature non-Black lovers.

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Before we begin, let me confess something: At the age of fifteen I nearly got arrested for shoplifting Steve Biko’s ‘I write what I like’ from CNA.

That began my path into the wonderful world of Black Consciousness (BC). I ran into the aforementioned contributors to the movement and have since grown to understand a lot about my identity as an African woman and what exactly that means to me.

But I am beginning to suspect that I have outgrown staunch Bikoism and can therefore look at this topic with a detached wisdom on the issue.

Ok?

Ok.

Let’s begin.

Why subscribers some Black Consciousness date White people:

THEORY #1: Deification of Black People leading to disappointment

One of the first things a person does when venturing into BC is to research as much on ancient African history as possible. I believe this step is what allows many to regain the pride in African culture lost in the bastardization of the history of civilization.

However, some streams of BC go the route of taking the findings of ancient African history and literally translating them to today.

So they begin to call Black people ‘Gods’, ‘Kings’, ‘Queens’ etc. and begin to demand that people ‘carry themselves with the dignity of royalty.’ This can mean so many things, but very rarely does it mean the majority of Black people get the up-vote from the people that think this way.

Quite often a manner of conduct that ignores the psychological wear and tear of centuries of subjugation on the Black person is demanded of people that care very little about black consciousness. Consequently, the BC-er is left feeling disappointed.

This disappointment can lead to a deepening of the very self-loathing Black Consciousness is meant to discourage. Many begin to feel saddened that their people “don’t get it.”

Ultimately some end up going for non-Black because it’s much less complicated than dating a Black person and having to “teach them” Black Consciousness.

THEORY #2: Identity crisis and middle-class upbringing

Another, perhaps more likely, reason could be centered in the identity crises that many African youth experience as a result growing up in an upper-middle-class, and often predominantly White environment.

Being exposed to a great deal of White culture as first-generation middle-class Africans can lead many young people to go “the opposite route” out of the often resultant self-loathing that may come with being exposed to a great deal of White (supremacist) stimulus.

Some end up fearing the title of ‘coconut’ to such a great extent that they begin to research what they perceive to be the anti-thesis of mental colonisation—black consciousness (or pan-Africanist beliefs.)

This specimen begins by vowing to date exclusively “Black Kings and Queens” but ultimately is unable to resist the lure of dating people that they shared common up-bringing with—unavoidably , their “White” classmates etc—People that “understand” their taste in music, film and literature—things they were undoubtedly exposed to during their school-time and similar occasions.

THEORY #3: Patriarchy

In some cases, men that subscribe to Black Consciousness—particularly African men—interpret it as a call to “return” to pre-colonial practises in African culture. This often translates to men that view romance from atop the hill of the patriarchal history of African cultures. They allows themselves to view women as nothing more than mere pawns in their Shaka Zulu-esque fantasies of strict, often non-beneficial to women, gender roles all in the name of ‘preserving African culture’.

Read Patriarchy Is The Parasite That African Culture Must Rid Itself Of to find out why this is terribly wrong.

What this does in the twentieth century of predominantly women-headed households, is create an animosity between the modern African woman (who ain’t got time for submission) and the supposed BC male subscriber.

What happens in the mind of such a man is a situation where patriarchy and the resultant disregard for female humanity overrides any African-centred ideas in the realm of romance. Basically, the need to sexually dominate comes before the love of African women. Ultimately, the man then goes for women outside of his race that are rumoured to be far less ‘hard-headed’ than women.

These are often the types that “forget” all this Black Consciousness stuff when they enter financial success.

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Interestingly enough, it is also the patriarchy that drives some women advocates of black consciousness away from Black men into the arms of men whose cultures have been more embracing of feminist principles. Though this is not always the case – in some instances women that are both pan-africanist and feminist find more harmony in these two principles by involving themselves with people that see the two political philosophies as not contradictory.

THEORY #4: “Enlightenment”

This is, what I believe, to be the final stage on the road to self-realisation as a member of the Black Consciousness Movement. At this stage, all the reading on African history, and African culture allows one to view themselves as equals to their “former” oppressors.

At this stage one can date freely and begin to see people for who they are, while not forgetting what said people represent in the “grand scheme of things.”

THEORY #5: You probably misunderstood

They were never into Black Consciousness to begin with. Those African prints and Rastafari colours and that kinky hair was just to look cool and nonconformist. Don’t take it personally.

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For more of my ramblings to my made-up gods: follow me on Twitter @siyandawrites

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18 thoughts on “Why (some) subscribers to Black Consciousness date “White” people

  1. BriIIiant articIe, thank you for writing this. Were you subwriting AndiIe? If so untrue about onIy dating white women.

  2. I dont get no where in ‘black consciousness’ literature or philosphy where we are taught to hate whites, nor that dating them disqualifies you or makes you less appreciative nor conscious of your Africa.

    1. Brother, I think you’ve been asleep. I’ve certainly seen some of the teachings of the “conscious” community that often misuse African Culture and turn it into a hate fest over run by patriarchy. I’ve seen some things out there. It’s not that hard to find.

      Being aware isnt the problem. Misusing culture is. And the conscious community has a long way to go.

      Dating whites…. No one said anything about not dating outside your race. Here’s my thing… If I’m going to follow anyone as a potential leader (of anything), I want to know you also have my invested interest at heart. Too often the conscious community led by Black, cis, heterosexual men barely even acknowledges the plight of Black women (both cis and trans). We are barely even given a platform to speak or voice our opinions. And the white woman they date can’t speak for us either. Black women carry the double burden of being Black and women. We are a part of two minority groups. Overall, the conscious community barely, if at all, acknowledges that and mostly focuses on race. Mainstream feminism focuses mostly on issues white women face. Thus womanism was born. So brother, tell me… Who is going to speak for us (Black women), but us (Black women)? When will we see ourselves as partners in this fight for equality and not show pieces? It’s more to this than just dating another race. No, you can do what you want. But when it comes to someone claiming to represent me, I want to be certain that my interests and my needs are taken seriously. I have yet to see that from the conscious or mainstream feminism communities. So, I’m with my sisters in fighting for what we need to get stuff done.

      1. I do not consider my self to be conscious to a higher degree but I am African. I have had the chance of not being indoctrinated by White Washed history of the continent (at least the corner where I come from) due to the revised curricula of the post-colonial African state. I don’t need to go in details about what such education entails but to put it rather shortly, colonialism plays a distinct role contrary to what slavery does in the Americas. Colonialism is seen as the thing these nations fought against in blood and that blood is what defines the post-colonial African state. The point I am trying to make is that my consciousness, if I have any, comes from a certain place and its origins certainly play a part in what I am conscious about.

        I said this because I want to talk about a specific part of your comment and not the whole article itself. Recently, (and as you did here yourself) there is this move by African-Americans to equate their struggle with other minorities especially as you mentioned in passing with –trans. Although I understand solidarity, equating your struggle with that of the trans-community is very dangerous and it goes at the heart of your own struggle only to undermine it by and large. Without having to waste your time reading my script here, know that black struggle has an objective ground in nature and biology. Equating it with a post-modern relativist struggle such as being trans refutes the struggle on the very grounds you seek justice –objectivity. Furthermore, as far as feminism is concerned, no feminism out there represents the struggles of the black woman. Feminism is by the very nature of its origins a white female struggle. In the black community, women struggles are men struggles if one sees it from systemic vista. You as a black woman (which I assume you are) shouldn’t be fooled in to thinking that white Feminism and the trans-community have the same grounds as you do. Thats all I want to say. All my perceptive is derived from my consciousness as a citizen of a post-Colonial state.

        1. One point I forgot — No black person “comes out” as black
          One only comes out as “gay” or “trans”, that seemingly simple distinction should help elaborate the objectivity I mentioned in the previous comment. Good day to you

  3. Great insight!! I’m a pan-african from Ghana & i embrace black feminist voices.I didn’t get my ideas from Black consciousness books.Nice article

  4. I remember watching one of those South African parliament debates and recall Julius Malema, leader of the EFF party talking about how black South Africans are still not free. He argued that black South Africans want to live in white neighborhoods, mingle with whites and have white girlfriends and still do not have these things. He paused and asked the parliament, ‘where is my white girlfriend?’. The EFF being a party that is openly hateful towards whites and yet their representatives in parliament ask, ‘where is my white girlfriend?’ gives us a clear picture of what is not far from black men’s minds when they think about freedom from white dominion.

    I have come to believe, through my readings of the civil rights movement in America, Apartheid readings, and through the opinion of black men that what black men are fighting for, is not necessary the same thing as what black women fight for. In America they made it imperative that they be the faces of the liberation movement despite countless black women who were just as significant to the cause. Many of the prominent black liberation faces where associated with white women. Often i have read ‘black power’ male writers write about their rights to ‘date’ white women as part of their black freedom. As a people (blacks), female, male and child, when we are hounded with the images of those that fight for ‘our’ liberation, and see that the images of our defenders, value white women as something that is just as important to protect, you question. If we are not lower than the whites that violate and abuse us, why are we so ready to get into bed with them and share our lives with them when that is one of the main reasons why black men are killed by white men? If white women are ‘equal’ to black women, why you busy dying for them and not your own? White women have white men that keep them in mind,defend and protect them, when black men are busy dying for white women as well, who defends black women?

    Be under no illusions ladies, and men should be outright and honest with it. Black men do not share the same concerns for the nurturing and protection of black families, you can see with the number of single black mothers in SA, USA and across the globe. Women should think firstly for their own cause as black women (womynism), especially since the black cause means different things to men and women.

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