Two types of subjugation that impede the Black Woman’s Collective Identity. Social Oppression and Self-Oppression. They both happen in the context of relationships, whether it is in rapport with one-self or with another.
There is an unspoken law that women are second to man. Subtle messages that say, “women are not good enough.” A male friend of mine said to me, and I quote, “this is the natural order of things,’ God, Man then Woman,” as if I am to tuck tail and get in line. Another unspoken rule that causes me to question all manner of authority is it seems males are in most leadership positions and make all the decisions that benefit their gender. Have you heard the expression, the man wears the pants and let him lead? What if the male is not going anywhere, he just needs to feel in control and have power over the woman? Aren’t most companies and government run by men? Some women even behave like men.
I am a substitute teacher. I walk into a school wihout any idea about how my day will go. This has been my experience for over eight years. Just recently I accepted a permanent position as a Para-professional in the classroom. The first assignment was in the Art room. This female teacher was all over me. She was constantly in my space. If I was helping a student, she would come near me and take over. Get this, my first day she wanted me to run a personal errand for her as if I was her personal servant. I told her no.
Another thing that nearly sent me over the edge was when she told a class of students if I tell you to walk around the table three times, do it, even if it is ridiculous. I walked out of the room when she said that. After being in class with her for about a month, I was dreading Monday mornings. Finally, I was moved out of her room after a clash we had. Secretly this was my prayer to get out. I was not having fun anymore. A few months earlier another teacher asked for me to be in her room.
This was my second assignment. This teaching partnership started out rocky. This teacher was loud. If the students were loud and not listening to her. She would stand a distance and start to shriek. Her body and gestures were directed towards me. I had to tell her a number of occasions not to yell in my ear.
One day she was absent and I did not have the time to print out the plans. The next day during our debriefing she became irate when I told her I did not follow her plans. The last words out of her mouth after our argument had escalated was to get out of her room and next time I had better follow her plans. Granted I have been in education for over twenty years and know how to pull together a lesson. This was an incident that landed her and me in the principal’s office. We agreed to work together. What is going on I am not sure? Why is there such a power struggle with females?
I see it all the times in my profession as an educator. I am quiet and reserved as if this is an indication to walk right over me. I am peace maker by design and Cultural Icon, one who believes that relationships are built on equality.I think a relationship is when two individuals empower, encourage and liberate each other instead, in most situations one or the other tries to dominate and control.
This becomes a failed attempt to reach outside oneself and control the other person. It is an act by the Ego because it needs to have power over and feel superior. The Ego does not see the other person as an individual, just someone to use for the glorification of one-self.
The other type of subjugation is Self-Oppression, which is thinking you are worthless and unlovable, and the constant negative self-talk. There was this story that I told myself for so long that it was hard to believe anything different. I can recall always thinking no one loved me and I would always be alone. This thought played over in my head like a tape that was stuck on rewind. I could not move forward and it was difficult to form a healthy relationship with either males or females. Most of my time was spent alone. This was a source of pain and suffering that shrouded my life. The Twenty-First Century is a time of awakening to the meaning of life. This evolution in our Humanity demands we learn to master the self.
What I have come to know is that I must learn my thoughts and my behavior. Through the practice of Mindfulness, I have come to the realization that everything is interconnected. With this idea I enter into a relationship with an openness and a willingness to meet the person right where they are. We need not fear the interaction with the other. Relationships then become the source of the greatest amount of learning. If one would see the situations with an openness to learn and allow for the other person to just be and allow an empty space for something wonderful to take place.
This becomes a meeting of souls who smile at each other and enter into the interaction without an agenda. This becomes a beautiful dance of two. Realize the person is a reflection of you. What you do not like about the other and always complain about is the one thing you must work on within yourself. Relationships are like mirrors we look into the heart of the other and see ourself.