By: Daniela Gomes and Dada Mkutano Collective (this text was written by 5 women)
It is really interesting to me that even we are creating posts about everything in social media there are some subjects that are so painful that we avoid talking about them. I have some subjects that are hard to deal with and this is one of them.
One day I heard someone saying that a Black woman has the power to heal the community, because she is the one who gives birth. At that moment, I thought it was so beautiful, because I thought about the power of the creation and the process of reproduction that is able to generate healing. At that moment, the beauty of thinking on my belly as a place that would start something so powerful really enchanted me, especially because it was a Black woman who said it.
My admiration for this thought didn’t finish, but at the same time, I have been thinking about the responsibility that it put in our shoulders and the things that the community asks from us because of it. So I wonder: what is the price of healing?
According to this talk, which is correct by the way, the healing process would happen because Black women are responsible for generate, create, feed, caring, to watch over and love and that would generate a chain of positive things that will be disseminated in the whole community. This is awesome and can work if it was put in practice.
The issue here is that some people decided to think that it means that we as Black women are the only responsible for this healing and that in addition to everything that I already mentioned here, we also have to fix other people’s emotions and carry people in our shoulders.
In this way, although it was not the original intent of this concept, in a claim for the preservation and healing of our community the afro naughtiness keeps perpetuating and multiplying every day.
We face a lot of trouble, our emotions get broken, we suffer in abusive relationships and we do all this to preserve our community, so we don’t expose the other, inside and outside the activism, but feel people do the same for us. This type of violence and reproduction overpass boarders and are reproduced everywhere in the Diaspora.
In my opinion, a clear example of this idea of pass over our pain to “heal” the community is Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas case. You all know how Anita was harassed by Clarence while she was working for him and how she stood up against his nomination to the Supreme Court because he was a predator. You probably knows how she was massacred by part of the community who thought she should be quiet about it, and pass over her suffering so a Black man could be in the Supreme Court.
In other words, to not let him exposed, Anita should be sacrificed.
Anita is just one Black woman who faced something like that and we can’t think that it happens in the U.S. Actually in Brazilian activism we have several of them. They pretend they are pillars of our community, symbols of resistance, but when we go deeper they are rotten people who are destroying the lives of Black women and children.
I remember that in each of Dada Mkutano meetings (Dada Mkutano is a Black women meeting that I coordinate with more four friends, where we do picnics to talk about our lives and try to heal) there was a huge number of women who were suffering, crying and using that space to share the same kind of pain and abuse. Women from 15 to 60 years old narrating exactly the same things.
There are a lot of examples, since men who physically and emotionally abused of the women, to those who have children with several of them without recognize any of the kids, don’t give their name to the children and when they are charged they request women to pay the DNA test and threat them saying they are going to sue them. Others who assume their children, but don’t pay child support, leaving all the responsibilities in the women shoulders and demand her to give financial support to him as well; but that on FB post pics smiling and posing as father of the year, even telling stories of how the woman would be the abuser, trying to revert the game. Other are beating their wives up and blaming them when the marriage is over, and there are others, and others, and others…
Then they follow, being lengthy on FB, pretending on social media that they have character, selling their products, writing revolutionary poetry and being gurus of a lot of people, who quote them and keep applauding them, because some people believe in everything they see on social media.
Meanwhile, we as Black women keep follow alone, even we have to deal with the pain, the trauma so we can generate the mentioned healing of the community.
So to preserve our community, we keep those stories for ourselves, without mentioning their names, so we don’t expose Black men, so we don’t show our dirty laundry, so we don’t destroy our community and we help them in their healing process.
But my doubt is who is worry about our healing? Who is getting worried or doing something for us, while this emotional harassment keep killing us day after day, because it brings us depression, cancer and so many other physical and emotional diseases. I only see women doing that. I see Black women getting together in squares, parks, going to counseling, meditating, doing yoga, searching to improve their spirituality, finally doing everything to break the cycle. However, in this process we are always alone and people are demanding the same thing from us: silence.
The consequences of not talking about this come not only for us, and our children who are neglected but it also reach other women who will be new victims. Because when we don’t talk about this, these same men will leave without consequences, and will be reproducing their evil acts again and again the whole time.
Women who meet them after us don’t know anything about their historic of oppression and violence and buy the discourse of the man who was treated unfairly by a crazy Black woman. This has been happening with many of us. Me included. I don’t really like to talk about my personal life, but I can’t leave myself out of it. Because of the low self-esteem that racism bring to us, I also had my own parcel of abusive relationships.
In my last relationship, I was cheated in a really cruel way. One day, talking with my then boyfriend, I asked about his ex and he told me she hated him, when I asked why, he told me that this was a western thing that as an African man he couldn’t understand. At that time I was so in love that this sentence went unnoticed, but today, although I stopped blaming myself by his lack of character, I think the tip was right there in front of me, because if his ex-girlfriend hated him, she probably had good reasons for that, because hate is a strong word to being used in a banal way.
I wish I had the chance to know who he really was. Many of us wish that. So, I claim for us to break the culture of silence. That this culture can end and we don’t cover for them anymore.
That we can of course generate life and healing, but we don’t have to carry the whole pain of the world in our back. The growth of our community must be preserved, but our tears, bodies, pain and death can’t be the price of healing.