What happened to the Queen?, by B. Mchie
When my mother passed away I received many cards, phone calls of condolences from family and friends. One that still comes to mind 25 years later is that she was “My Oldest Friend.” She was not any more or less important to me than your mother was (is) to you but I bring her up to write about black women in America. A wise woman once explained to me that each and every African American decent of slavery today is alive because an African woman chose to live through the middle passage.
Lately our recognition of Mothers Day feels like how we recognize Black History Month. By that I mean that after February is over it’s back to business as usual for most of us unless there is another crises in black America. As a black man I remain exasperated in our conscience or memory loss that objectifies and degrades our women (all women) how my race and gender. Yet American feminism cannot be ignored because of its internal racism coexisting in a white male dominated society. This double assimilation leads to self-doubt in many African American women.
Where are we now in grasping the fullness of our women against the backdrop of subtle but universal racial and gender abuse? In 2016, sixteen black women cadets at the U.S. Military Academy put their own spin on the traditional graduation photo. They hoisted their fists in the air while posing in their dress uniforms, swords at their sides and a social media firestorm followed. West Point officials decided no punishment was warranted. Conversely many African American entertainers (men and women) continue profiting from white endorsed business models to defame the bodies, character and intelligence of black women. This miss-educates all children while warping the potential humanity of anyone witnessing this content. One legitimate (not merely symbolic) representation of strength and honor is Harriet Tubman replacing Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill.
Finally, what causes the difficulty in reestablishing the Queen’s gender and racial equity? Her lack of relevance is systemically provoked. A balance of patience and persistence with African American men in revaluing the Queen is a must. More African American women must identify and work on their own individual racial and gender respectability. The rest of us must make a more honest change in our expectations of them. By doing this both groups investment will be for the children who are not yet born and the queens among them.