Attaining High Socio-economic Status –
By Renée R. Russell, Esq
Black women have delayed or refused marriage.[i] While Black women have not been the only group to delay or forego completely the traditional marriage relationship in favor of professional and economic achievement,[ii] they, especially those of high socio-economic status (“SES”), have based their decisions to some extent on social imperative but to a larger extent on choice. Although they have attained high professional success despite structural barriers like racism and sexism, I’d not describe these women as Highly Evolved[iii] Women (“HEW”). These women have surrendered to the debilitating consequences of race consciousness[iv] instead of aspiring to a personal consciousness[v] that transcends race and race consciousness. A HEW would connect with her true self, her pure personhood, her soul and is willing to evolve into the woman that God willed her to be,[vi] rather than permit society to dictate her manner of being and thus, live her life unconsciously. Unlike HEWs, these women have co-created their singlehood because, based on their self-imposed constraints and reactive choices, they appear stunted evolutionarily, and they lack self-conscious awareness that they co-create their personal loneliness.
Women who are also highly evolved are powerful co-creators[vii]. They embrace and live through their Souls,[viii] their Being.[ix] These women consciously think and act; they embrace their consequences. Authentically empowered[x] by connection to their Souls, these women responsibly choose their thoughts, actions, and ultimately the manner in which they will live their lives. They know that every action, thought and feeling is motivated by an intention that is the cause that has or will have an effect.[xi] Thus, they understand that their choices, personality, and energy affect others and what they will receive from others.[xii] Hence, they use their personal power, their authentic empowerment, to consciously co-create their own reality. Without this knowledge and recognition of their power or gift[xiii] to co-create, women are not HEW, and are unable to appreciate the significance of the events in their lives, or to understand the effects of their responses to them. [xiv]
As such, the HEW has the power to assist others in their own growth, in their own realization of selfhood.[xv] The highly evolved woman makes this commitment to others with whom she chooses to engage in spiritual partnership to ensure her continued evolution.[xvi] She resolves to assist in their self-development, knowing that doing so feeds her own self-fulfillment and self-actualization.[xvii] In sum, the highly evolved woman empowers herself, her own self-determination through service and commitment to others.[xviii] In building a spiritual partnership, the HEW learns the roles of love and commitment and trust in making her partnership work, valuing the needs of her partner as much as she values her own.[xix]
[i] See Generally William H. Grier & Price M. Cobbs, Black Rage, 25 (Wipf and Stock Publishers 2000) (1992); Suzanne Bianchi & Daphne Spain, Women, Work and Family in America, Population Bulletin (Dec. 1996).
[ii] Renata Forste, Prelude to Marriage or Alternative to Marriage, 4 J. L. & Fam. Stud. 91, 98 (2002) (Discusses the increasing rates of cohabitation among the more educated and higher income groups. Specifically notes that while Black and Puerto Rican women are more likely to cohabit than White women, cohabitation is more of a prelude to marriage for white women and an alternative to marriage for Black and Puerto Rican women. Life table estimates indicate that only 40% of Black heterosexual cohabiting couples eventually marry compared to two-thirds of White cohabiting couples.).
[iii] Gary Zukav, The Seat of The Soul, 21 (Fireside Books 1990) (1989) (“Our deepest understanding tells us that a truly evolved being is one that values others more than it values itself, and that values love more than it values the physical world and what is in it.”).
[iv] Reginald Leamon Robinson, Human Agency, Negated Subjectivity, and White Structural Oppression: Analysis of Critical Race Practis/ Praxis, 53 Am. U. L. Rev. 1361, 1413 (2004) (I allude to robinson’s use of race consciousness constituting “a belief (or mind construct) that encourages ordinary people to point accusatory fingers at white racism,” and choose not to accept personal responsibility for their situations.)
[v] Id. (Refer to Robinson’s pure consciousness model where “ordinary people create physical reality.” “By failing to appreciate this gift, ordinary people blame God, fate, and society’s failures.”).
[vi] Jean Baker Miller, M.D., Toward a New Psychology of Women (Beacon Press Boston 1986) (1976); Dennis Kimbro & Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich, A Black Choice (Fawcett Books 1991); Zukav, supra.
[vii] Zukav, supra at 29 (“The decisions that you make and the actions that you take are the means by which you evolve. At each moment you choose the intentions that will shape your experiences and those things upon which you will focus your attention. These choices affect your evolutionary process.” Each person can choose to evolve consciously or unconsciously.); Robinson, supra at 1397 (“Co-creation rests on four indispensable elements: beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and imaginations.” “Ordinary people co-create their personal experiences even if they refuse to acknowledge this power.”).
[viii] Id. at 30 (The soul is that part of a person that is immortal. It is a positive, purposeful force at the core of one’s being that understands the impersonal nature of the energy dynamics in which a person is involved, that loves without restriction and accepts without judgment).
[ix] Rollo May, Discovery of Being: Writings in Existential Psychology 20, 79 (W.W. Norton & Company 1983) (“Being is that which remains. It is that which constitutes this infinitely complex set of deterministic factors into a person to whom the experiences happen and who possesses some element, no matter how minute, of freedom to become aware that these forces are acting upon him.” A being is conscious of and therefore responsible for its existence.)
[x] Id. at 26 (We are authentically empowered “when we align our thought, emotions, and actions with highest part of ourselves and as a result become filled with enthusiasm, purpose and meaning.” “When the personality comes fully to serve the energy of the soul, that is authentic empowerment.”).
[xi] Zukav, supra at 38.
[xii] Id. at 40-41.
[xiii] Robinson, supra at 1415.
[xv] Id. at 161-174; Baker, supra.
[xvi] Zukav, supra at 161-5 (Spiritual partnership is partnership between equals for the purpose of mutual spiritual growth. Spiritual partners recognize the existence of the soul in each other and seek to further each other’s evolution and authentic empowerment.)
[xvii] Id. at 161-174; Baker, supra.
[xviii] Zukav, supra at 165 (Argues that when one commits to a spiritual partnership, she begins “to set aside the wants of her personality in order to accommodate the needs of her partner’s spiritual growth, and in doing that she grows herself.).
[xix] Id. at 166.
However, as women evolve, they constantly deconstruct, through co-creation, conceptions, principles, and structural dynamics of society like white-male patriarchal norms[i] including white structural oppression.[ii] Black women, in particular, face double conflict because men consider women to be inferior or subordinate to them. Racism complicates patriarchal norms, through whites perceiving themselves to be superior to Blacks. As Black women, they are forced to deal with the ways they are perceived by other Black women, Black men, White women, and last but not least White men. In dealing with others’ perceptions of them it is increasingly essential that Black women of high SES have, know, understand, and be able to express their own conceptions of themselves – their sense of Being, if they are to live healthy, fulfilling and complete lives, not splintered personalities[iii] or lives compartmentalized[iv] according to society’s dictates.[v]
Others who have addressed the declining marriage rate of Black women of high SES have done a very cursory analysis based on the results of various surveys and have not delved into an understanding of the individual for whom the research regarding their external behavior is a reflection of their personal evolution. According to various studies, the decline in marriage in general is due in part to cohabitation.[vi]
In their examination of marriage and cohabitation from a utilitarian perspective, Brines and Joyner recognize that although marriage is the ideal for heterosexual couples,[vii] cohabitation is emerging as a substitute for marriage or remarriage where partners emphasize individualism, personal autonomy[viii] and equity or equality.[ix] Cohabitation, they argue, is the choice of those who are uncertain about the future of the relationship, are less committed to the relationship, and seek a short-term horizon for which to evaluate the “gains” to the relationship. [x] Gains to marriage are maximized through partners’ joint investments in the relationship. In marriage, each spouse invests according to his/ her specialization, where biological differences and socialization enable women to specialize in household work and men to specialize in employment. [xi] Therefore as women’s earnings increase to equal or exceed that of men, under the specialization model, the gains to marriage decline and the risks of dissolution increase, largely due to the time the woman spends in the labor market, her higher level of personal investment in market skills that lessens the time she can contribute to household work, and her greater financial independence that lessens her dependence on the income of her husband. [xii]
Brines and Joyner further found that cohabiting women tended to be women of higher SES, spending more time in the labor market than married women and being more likely than married women to earn more than their partner. [xiii] Nevertheless, they found that once committed to marriage, marriage, compared to cohabitation, is more flexible and accommodating of unorthodox economic practices that belie the norm of “male providership” such as the wife earning significantly more than the husband. [xiv] And in cohabitation, where partners value equality, men are less tolerant of cohabiting women who command higher earnings and are more successful at work, due in part to their competitiveness and reduced bargaining power in the relationship. [xv] This is consistent with my theory that Black Women of high SES who remain unmarried are not HEW. They either stay single, join the dating game, or choose to enter short-term, uncommitted co-habiting relationships where neither they or their partners are willing to accommodate each other to help each other grow spiritually.
Pamela Smock and Wendy Manning found that more than women’s economic circumstances, it was the man’s economic situation that underlie Black marriage patterns.[xvi] It is male joblessness and economic insecurity that deters marriage.[xvii] While they found that relative levels of men’s and women’s economic resources did not influence transitions into marriage or separation from cohabitation, their research was limited only to cohabiting partners over a specific period of time who likely had already sorted and co-selected each other on the basis of earnings and equal contribution to the cohabiting union. [xviii] Both Smock and Manning realized due to these limits, their study could not properly be generalized to issues of marital choice as a whole. [xix]
In her discussion of the rise of cohabitation in America as either a prelude to marriage, in the case of White women, or an alternative to marriage for Black women, Renata Forste concluded that cohabitation is a preferred option for women with higher earnings, who value their careers and individual societal advancement, seek freedom from traditional marital roles, and seek equality with their partners.[xx] It is because of this emphasis on equality in wealth, power and individual success, Forste proposes, that higher earnings among cohabiting couples increase the likelihood of their dissolution. [xxi] Forste recognizes that cohabiting partners are less committed to a long-term union, marriage, less committed to each other, refrain from taking responsibility for each other, and are less or unlikely to commingle their funds. [xxii] Although Forste notes that relative to married couples, cohabiting couples place greater value on individualism and personal autonomy,[xxiii] she fails to define these terms or at least limits their definition to a basic societal context. Rather instead of the cohabiting woman of high SES, it is the HEW whose value for and true realization of her personal autonomy and self-advancement enable her to commit to marriage and responsibility for the well-being of her spouse.
In her article “The Future of Marriage and Family in Black America,” Lynda Dickson attempts to explain why Black men and women face difficulty entering into marriage.[xxiv] She proposes as causes: the unequal sex ratio; black male unemployment levels; the greater level of black male incarceration compared to black male educational attainment; greater emphasis on individualism, self-realization, and fulfillment;[xxv] and the expanding expectations of the family function including sexual fulfillment, intimacy, and companionship. [xxvi]
However, Dickson goes a step further to suggest some attitudes that Black women have toward Black men and marriage. [xxvii] She suggests that Black women first learn about Black men from their mothers, and while earlier studies implied that those teachings were that “Black men are abusive, no good and unreliable,” the more recent studies Dickson consulted showed that Black women viewed Black men as being “endangered” and were therefore more tolerant of the limited pool. [xxviii] However, although Black women may have been more tolerant of Black men, Dickson proposed that their differing perceptions of marriage and their inability to articulate and pursue what they really want in a spouse make engaging in marriage difficult. [xxix] Black women may say they want a good man, but Dickson suggests that Black women had too few models of women who engaged in meaningful, fulfilling relationships with good men, that the Black men they actually sought were not the good men they had initially intended. [xxx]
However, Dickson did acknowledge that since Black women are now earning at least 80% of what Black men earn, they have less of an incentive to settle into marriage. She concluded her discussion suggesting as a remedy to the declining Black Marriage rate, that with the growth in the number of Black professional women, Black men adopt the skills such as nurturance, supportiveness, child care, etc., in exchange for economic support, but recognized the need for social support of this new adopted role for the future success of Black marriages. [xxxi] Dickson’s conclusions regarding how Black women relate to Black men and to marriage and even her proposal for the future success of Black marriages support my theory that Black professional women who are not marrying, have not married, and choose not to marry are not highly evolved. Her own earnings would not affect a HEW’s decision to marry. Additionally she would be able to juggle the roles of professional and nurturer, compromising where necessary to ensure her success in both. Moreover, she would not wait for social acceptance of her juggling of roles and her spouse’s adoption of the new skills that would contribute to the success of their family formation, but co-create the optimal solution suited to her situation.[xxxii]
In a study examining black college women’s perceptions on dating and marriage, Margaret Porter and Arline Brozaft found that 15% of the Black women queried who expected to obtain an advanced degree beyond their Bachelors did not expect to marry.[xxxiii] The researchers attributed this lower expectation of marriage to the fact that while Black men were the favored marriage partners, more of the Black college women believed that Black men were less trustworthy and had more difficulty in committing to permanent relationships than men of other racial groups.[xxxiv] However, this study is limited in that its focus was limited to a small sample of only 70 black college women, and largely based on the perceptions of these women without seeking to validate or qualify their perceptions.
This paper specifically examines Black women who have attained high SES and delves into a deeper analysis behind their singlehood or non-marriage beyond the perfunctory explanations that have been offered to date, using an offshoot from Reginald Robinson’s New Age Legal Theory.[xxxv] Part II presents statistics that show the declining marriage rates among black people and Black women’s overall perceptions of marriage. Part III reveals various structural obstacles,[xxxvi] erected as a result of the racist ideology that perpetuates white supremacy and black inferiority and subordination — a race consciousness,[xxxvii] with which all Black women must engage and relate if they are to form marital relationships.[xxxviii] Part IV discusses the personal responsibility that each person holds in relating to these obstacles, co-creating her life situation and thus determining the nature of her relationships. Part V analyzes why Black women who have attained high SES remain unmarried and in so doing attempt to articulate a workable solution based not on a deconstruction[xxxix] of race consciousness, but on the development of a personal consciousness[xl] that transcends the “oppositional dynamic”[xli] advanced by race consciousness and, in so doing, serves to delegitimize race consciousness.[xlii]
II. Declining Rates of Black Marriage
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, March 2002 Current Population Survey, Black people married less frequently and remained in marriage for a shorter duration than White people. Forty-three percent of Blacks had never married while only 25 percent of Whites had never married by March 2002. Additionally, only 35 percent of Blacks had been currently married while 57 percent of Whites were then married. Considering sex, more Black men were currently married than Black women, 40 percent and 31 percent, respectively, but more Black men were never married than Black women, 45 percent and 42 percent, respectively.[xliii]
While over 65 percent of Black women ages 30 to 34 were living with their husband in 1960, there were only 33 percent of such women in 2000.[xliv] Over the same period the percentage of 30 to 34-year-old Black women who had never married grew from 10 percent to 44 percent. Even among Black women of prime marrying age, 20 to 29 years, 72 percent of them had not married by 2000.[xlv]
According to a 1999 study conducted by Anthony E. O. King examining African American Females’ Attitudes toward Marriage, that had as its median Black women age 33 with 15 years of education, income of $25,000 and 1 dependent child, a large percent, 44 percent, had never been married while only 28 percent were currently married. Reflecting on past and current studies of African American Women’s attitudes toward marriage, King recognized that “[o]verall these studies suggest that the majority of African American women want to marry and value marriage.[xlvi] Although according to King’s study, most Black women disagreed that “everyone should want to get married,” more of them agreed that marriage helps individuals mature. More women also agreed that a successful career wasn’t as important or as satisfying as a successful marriage, yet they acknowledged that people then were less committed to marriage than they were in the past.[xlvii] Additionally, the majority of Black women rejected the idea that being married stifles individual growth and that there are fewer advantages to marriage in the present than in the past.[xlviii] King found that generally individuals with higher education and higher income respondents expressed the most positive attitudes toward marriage versus their less educated and younger counterparts. And, it was only the respondents who were never-married who indicated that a successful career was more important to them than a successful marriage.[xlix]
King recognized that never-married, childless women had no difference in quality of life or satisfaction than married women largely because they developed a social network of supportive relationships among neighbors, family members, and friends.[l] However, he found that nonmarital relationships were not effective substitutes for marriage: because 1) marriage binds men and women together in a legal, reciprocal, and meaningful commitment; 2) marriage is a legally sanctioned relationship that affords the spouses the most social and economic benefits afforded any relationship in American society; 3) marriage has played a key part in the traditional Black family that has enabled Blacks as a group to overcome social, political and economic hardships over the past 300 years; and 4) marriage forms the basis for young men and women to learn how to develop future committed, intimate, mutually respectful, and supportive relationships with each other. [li] In sum, King suggests that marriage is relevant to the development of a healthy Black population. [lii]
To build on King’s findings, I conducted a survey at Howard University’s School of Law in November 2005, designed to determine Black women’s perceptions of marriage particularly in relation to income and money matters. What we learned is that even here, where the majority of respondents were students under the age of 35, 80 percent of the black respondents expected to earn incomes of over $75,000 a year and the same percentage optimistically hoped to marry sooner than later. Sadly (I say sadly because of my personal ideology of the man as the breadwinner) sixty percent of these women expected to earn higher incomes than their spouses. However, 80 percent of these breadwinners disagreed that they should make the major financial decisions. Moreover, 92 percent of the respondents agreed that the breadwinning spouse must consult with the other spouse even if the breadwinner ultimately makes the decision. While 44 percent of the Black women surveyed agreed that the non-breadwinner’s refusal to allow the breadwinning spouse to make major financial decisions could be a basis for divorce, a larger percentage, 80 percent, would not resort to divorcing their spouses if a power struggle over money developed. In the same vein, the same percentage that wouldn’t get divorced agreed that one spouse’s individual earnings couldn’t be the lynchpin of a marriage.
While the majority of Blacks[liii] and according to, both King’s and my studies the majority of Black women, particularly high-income and highly educated Black women, have such high regard for marriage and expect to marry, the statistics would suggest the direct opposite where only 28 percent of them are currently married (or were married at the time of King’s study). This contradiction compels a more searching analysis of the interaction between structuralism and agency to offer an explanation for why these Black women are and remain single, above and beyond the popular explanations, such as the growing sex-ratio imbalance, the shrinking pool of marriageable men, the increased incarceration of Black men, and the large percentage of Black men who are either unemployed or underemployed. [liv] While these explanations have been offered for a cursory examination of the declining marriage rates among Blacks, a more searching inquiry into the individual is required when discussing the situation of the Black Woman of high SES, for whom it seems the structural impediments are not insurmountable, and thus not the only obstacles to their marriage.
Only by understanding both one’s self and one’s society can either be changed.[lv] It is integral to one’s understanding of her situation to consider that part of her situation caused by individual agency and that attributed to the ills of society. According to Grier and Cobbs, “if the Black American is to be truly understood, [her] history must be made intelligible,” her past is seen reflected in her daily life.[lvi] In assessing the situation facing today’s new middle-class Black woman, we would be amiss to ignore the long-term effects of racism and sexism in America.
III. Structural Impediments to Black Marriage
My separate discussions of racism and sexism are not to suggest that they act independently of each other. However, I do mean to help the reader appreciate the challenges that each, racism and sexism, present to those that are subordinated either by race or gender, so that she/ he can gain a greater appreciation for the plight of the black woman who stands subordinated by both race and gender. “In addition to being under the constant scrutiny of others, the Black woman, no matter how ‘liberated’ she may be is a victim of the ideology of sex and race in America, and is therefore under the perpetual scrutiny of her own conscience as well.”[lvii] Other scholars have echoed the importance of considering the intersectionality of racism and sexism to any analysis of the precarious situation of Black women in America.[lviii] Therefore, I will begin by considering the contributions of racism and sexism in American Society to the problem of singlehood among Black women of high SES.
Racism in America
Racism is a man-made, man enforced phenomenon…defined as all of the learned behavior and learned emotions on the part of a group of people towards another group whose physical characteristics are dissimilar to the former group; behavior and emotions that compel one group to conceive of and to treat the other on the basis of its physical characteristics alone, as if it did not belong to the human race.[lix]
Notwithstanding the abolition of slavery, racism remains deeply embedded in American Society, its people and institutions. The ideology of White supremacy permeates society to such an extent that it has crippled Black Americans in conceptions of their own self-worth and in living only within those limited conceptions.[lx]
“Racism is woven into the warp and woof of the way we see and organize the world…Racism forms part of the dominant narrative.”[lxi] We exist within a “free market of racial depiction…(whose) dominant pictures, images, narratives, plots, roles, and stories ascribed to, and constituting the public perception of minorities are always dominantly negative.”[lxii] An examination of today’s media, the books, magazines, motion pictures, television programs, etc. that bombard us daily, suggest that it is only recently that young Black boys and girls have seen positive images of those that resemble them. Even still, the few positive images that they see or that are available to them are overwhelmed by the negative images of “gansta” rappers, video “hoes,” and hip-hop kings and queens that only perpetuate the values and stereotypes of White America, the “Dominant Gaze.” [lxiii]
Apparently, by accepting and entertaining media and submitting to the laws and customs of American society,[lxiv] we have all submitted to the universal system of hegemony, a domination that occurs when both the dominant and the dominated classes embrace and perpetuate the existing order.[lxv] We have surrendered, almost unconsciously[lxvi], to a symbolic subordination in which Blacks as a group have been denied social and racial equality and a material subordination through discrimination and economic exclusion which commands Blacks to accept their “lot” in life or inferior life chances to that of whites.[lxvii] In describing the way women behave as a function of or in response to the dominant, male-led society, Dr. Miller explains that the dominant group, inevitably, determines the overarching cultural perspective—philosophy, morality, social theory, and science, by incorporating it into society’s guiding concepts.[lxviii]
Moreover, Senator Fred R. Harris in his foreword to Black Rage, in 1968 recognized the pervasiveness of this system of hegemony when he articulated “the root cause of the Black wrath that now threatens to destroy this nation is the unwillingness of White Americans to accept Negroes as fellow human beings…the civilization that tolerated slavery dropped its slaveholding cloak but the inner feelings remained…the practice of slavery stopped over a hundred years ago, but the minds of our citizens have never been freed.”[lxix] Grier and Cobbs remind us that even when slavery ended, it was supplanted by a different but equally damaging psychological abuse that continues to underlie today’s societal norms as race consciousness.[lxx]
While slavery served to castrate Black males, restricting their assertion of masculinity, such as protecting and providing for their families, dictating their sexual activity, in today’s society Black men are continually castrated in the sense that they have been excluded from America’s land of opportunity. Bell recognizes the pervasive conception that white supremacy, white social standing is threatened by any Black gains in society.[lxxi] Black men, in the name of slavery, have been denied education to ensure that they would remain in an oblivious state of ignorance and degradation and thus, have been excluded from any economic opportunities that education would provide.[lxxii] Even when Black men were allowed to pursue an education, the education afforded Black men and women was far inferior to that offered to Whites. They were educated only to the extent necessary to maintain their usefulness to society while ensuring their servitude or subjugation.[lxxiii] With little to no education Black men were relegated to positions defined within the class of unskilled laborer. Moreover, until recently, even with education, black men were largely denied the economic opportunities available to white men. [lxxiv]
As a result of the technological revolution after World War II, the reduction of manufacturing jobs and the increase of low-level white collar jobs produced a decline in the Black working class, an expansion of the Black underclass, and an unstable Black middle-class. For Black men specifically, the shifting structure of the economy, namely the decline in manufacturing jobs, led to decline in the labor force participation rate and thus increased the rate of unemployment of Black men.[lxxv]
If Blacks were not offered any and therefore could not seize any economic opportunities, it would necessarily follow that they were denied access to any of society’s favored living conditions. Refer to Crenshaw’s “material subordination” occurring when blacks are paid less than whites for doing the same work, when segregation limits access to decent housing, and when poverty, anxiety, poor health care and crime cuts the life expectancy of blacks five or six years shorter than that of whites.[lxxvi] Thus, racism inevitably made Blacks victims of classism, poverty, chronic illness, failing mental health and violence.
With formal barriers to racial equality and express symbols of white supremacy removed, Crenshaw argues that “the white norm” the “dominant narrative” of black inferiority and white supremacy remain submerged in popular consciousness.[lxxvii] But is it? Doesn’t it underlie much of today’s interactions among Blacks and between Blacks and whites? Is it submerged or is it part of our near consciousness? Nevertheless, with a persistent dominant society resistant to change, unwilling to upset the current order of things, the current social hierarchy, wanting to retain its power, Blacks who continue to embrace race consciousness can only move as far as whites will permit them, as far as they can go without threatening the notion of white supremacy in America and will continue to co-create white supremacy and black subordination. If you disagree, then why did it take so long for slavery to be abolished, for equal rights protection to be extended to Blacks, for Brown v. Board of Ed. or Grutter v. Bollinger, and why does the majority of Blacks still live in the ghetto? Bell was on point when he reminded us that “[w]hether we are called ‘colored,’ ‘Negroes,’ ‘Afro-Americans,’ or ‘blacks,’ we are marked with the caste of color in a society still determinedly white.”[lxxviii]
It is White people who are in the position to invite us, Black people in to partake in their world, in their success. [lxxix] According to Hernton, they maintain the Black-White divide by lowering standards to allow us some of their benefits and in so doing attempt to prevent Blacks from achieving the higher standards that would make us equals.[lxxx] In essence, they hold bait out to us and remove it at their whims.[lxxxi] It is rare that we see a Black man or woman of authentic power, education, wealth who isn’t, in reality, a puppet for the White bureaucracy. Personalities like Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell come to mind. Consider the ball players, the recording artists, the movie stars. Although they make gross amounts of income, we must look behind the scenes to consider who really profits from their energies, in essence, who exploits their talents. As Bell intimated in his Interest Convergence theory, the interest of Blacks in achieving economic, social, racial equality with Whites will only be fulfilled when it converges with the interests of Whites.[lxxxii] Consider also affirmative action[lxxxiii] or fellowships created by white institutions for “exceptional” minorities. White America has given us what they can afford to without losing their grip on society.
“A major function of racial discrimination is to facilitate the exploitation of black labor, to deny us access to the benefits and opportunities that would otherwise be available, and to blame all the manifestations of exclusion-bred despair on the asserted inferiority of the victims.”[lxxxiv] As long as they, White America, retain their stronghold symbolically, they will always be able to do so materially. Which Black person has actually stepped out of the social order, directly challenged white supremacy, the existing dominant narrative to attain wealth, economic or political status, power and has lived to tell of it? Consider Miller’s view that society works to sustain itself, its existing order, and that those in power, in the dominant position, seek to retain it.[lxxxv]
The following statistics shed some light on the looming disparities between Black and White America and suggest that racism is alive and well, a deliberate construction and not just a by product of white survival, but a scheme to achieve and retain white supremacy.[lxxxvi] In March 2002, only 68 percent of Black men 16 years and over were in the labor force compared to 73 percent of White men.[lxxxvii] In March 2002, the unemployment rate for Blacks was twice that for Whites. Moreover, while 33 percent of White men were employed in managerial and professional specialty occupations, only 18 percent of Black men were so employed. To add salt to the wound, Black men were more than twice as likely as White men to work in service occupations and almost twice as likely as White men to be operators, fabricators and laborers.[lxxxviii] White families consistently have more income then Black families, while only 33 percent of Black families had income over $50,000, 57 percent of all White families had such income. Additionally, the percent of White families making $75,000 or more was over double that of Blacks.[lxxxix] In March 2002, the poverty rate for Black people was almost double that for Whites, 23 percent and 12 percent, respectively.[xc] A greater percentage of Black families, 21 percent, than of White families, only 6 percent, are poor.[xci]
Moreover, racism has caused the association of any strides in black economic activity with social deviance.[xcii] The acquisition of wealth, like other forms of economically advantageous or enterprising behavior, is treated as forbidden, mysterious, or aberrant when undertaken by black people,[xciii] much less black women. However, this cynical or derisive attitude towards Black economic achievement is not just an external affliction but one embraced internally by many black people, black women in particular.[xciv]
Sexism in America
An argument, equally applicable to racism, is made my Jean Miller in her 1986 writing Toward a New Psychology of Women. In her book, Miller explores the ways the “dominant narrative” have affected women in the way they see themselves, relate to others, and seek or shy-away from self-determination. I would be in error if I didn’t address the way sexism in America has marginalized and alienated not just women as a whole, but black women in particular, to an extent that many black women feel that they cannot move up the ladder of success while maintaining the relationships of their past or that their mobility makes it difficult to pursue new relationships.
Sexism in America has served to subordinate women to men and to impose upon women the “inferior” duties of homemaker, nurturer, and helper. No matter how valuable and essential women’s roles as producers and caretakers of others are, our dominant male-led society regards and has regarded their activities as less than important, as inferior.[xcv] The most favored activities in a culture are usually within the domain of the dominant group while less favored roles are relegated to the subordinates.[xcvi] Historically, the dominant group, men, sought to maintain the distinction between male and female abilities, activities, and roles.[xcvii] Even coeducation was disfavored because it was thought to “destroy feminine sensibility,” specifically, women’s reproductivity.[xcviii] Be mindful that this theory against education for women only applied to white women.[xcix] Concerns focused on her attractiveness for marriage, her ability to have and to nurse her children, and her ability to fulfill her duties as woman. [c] However, there were no such concerns for the black woman. Her limited education concentrated on stereotypes of her fecundity and immorality.[ci]
While subordinates are encouraged to absorb the norms created by the dominants, there are members of the subordinate group that do have certain experiences and perceptions that challenge the dominant norms.[cii] And with those experiences and perceptions, it would seem that the members of the subordinate group, black women in particular, are forced to make tough decisions—relinquish the truth about themselves to fit into the norm or prepare for war, open-conflict with those who are unprepared to recognize much less give credence to the truth.[ciii]
Very early in life men acquire the sense that they are members of a superior, dominant group. Things are supposed to be done for them.[civ] And for the white man, it would seem that it is the white woman, black woman or even the black man who is supposed to do things for him. But for the black man, he can only expect the black woman to do things for him and he’d be lucky if the white woman did the doing.
Dominant groups seek to maintain their dominant positions and therefore encourage the under-development of subordinates and erect obstructions to their freedom of expression and action.[cv] Particularly, “[m]ale-female relationships have been so effectively structured to deflect women away from their own reactions and fulfillment”[cvi] and toward an acknowledgment and attention to those of others, men and children. As a result of male-led society, sexism, women are deterred from focusing on their personal development and advancement.[cvii] Instead, they are encouraged to choose between either forming and maintaining close relationships with others or pursuing self-development, fulfillment.[cviii] For black women, any attempt on her part to climb the social ladder may easily be seen by her man, her close relatives, and so-called friends as an attempt to leave them behind, distinguish herself from them, or “show them up.”[cix]
As women attempt to use all of themselves, they face the task of putting all of their characteristics into operation under their own determination requiring a new transformation of women’s valuable qualities and women’s redefinition of herself.[cx] This new transformation, redefinition does not come without external resistance that bears upon internal strife within the woman who attempts it. In reality, when women have struggled through to develop themselves as strong, independent individuals they did, and do, threaten many relationships, relationships in which the other person will not tolerate a self-directed woman.[cxi]
Men fear women’s self-directed effectiveness. They are threatened by women’s independence, by their use of their own energies in pursuit of their own interests. A man sees a woman’s independence as an attack to his dominant role as provider, breadwinner, an attack to his masculinity.[cxii] And since American society, its images, its politics, its economy, so firmly encourages women to remain in a subordinate role, moving beyond it in pursuit of self advancement means working against very heavy odds. Women who attempt to change their situation of subordination are threatened with abandonment, total isolation and complete condemnation.[cxiii]
The texture of Black Women’s relationships amid racism and sexism
In the social hierarchy of America, Black women are the most oppressed of humans[cxiv] and if their lives were simply a result of oppression, they would either be lifeless zombies without any occasion for recourse or rebels well warranted in their rebellion. An analysis of the black woman, who has achieved high socio-economic status but remains single or unmarried, would be incomplete if I did not give a brief synopsis of the Black woman’s relationships to others from a structural perspective.
Black Women vs. White Women
The White woman is two steps above the Black woman, just a step above the Black man. A diagram from Hernton is indicative[cxv]:
Highest Status Group
Middle Status Group
Lowest Status Group
Black women bore the burdens of slavery, primarily as bearers of slaves and as a defenseless breeding ground for curious White masters. Thus, they were transformed into subhuman, sexual beasts.[cxvi] Their femininity was not recognized.[cxvii] Moreover, they were distinguished from their white counterparts largely due to their role and function during slavery. The black woman’s fertility, her womanhood, her motherhood were never of protective social concern, instead they were condemned as evidence of black women’s uncontrollable sexuality or irresponsibility.[cxviii] In fact, historically, she has been considered a “cash crop, discovery zone, unworthy crack infested momma.”[cxix] While other cultural groups have been victims of prejudice, discrimination, injustice and persecution, the Black woman, more than any one else, has borne the misery of slavery and suffered its sexual penalties.[cxx]
The personality, or ego, of the Black woman is a product of slavery and the institution of racism in American society.[cxxi] Racism, a construction to further White Supremacy has shaped both the way Whites treat and conceive of the Black woman, and the manner in which Black women view themselves.[cxxii] American culture has perpetuated an ideal of womanhood as white, an ideal of purity and sanctity that is unobtainable for the Black woman. [cxxiii] To the Black woman, who embraces this ideal, she represents the opposite of whiteness, impurity and defilement, and sees herself as less valuable, less worth than the White woman.[cxxiv] Consistent with these ideals, black women were encouraged to work, for white families, as “true workers” to help their husbands the “true laborers” support their families financially.[cxxv] And, while white women’s education was focused on the academic subjects, schooling for black women, recognizing that the classical education offered to white women did not apply to black women, concentrated on training these women to be teachers, nurses, missionaries, domestic workers and church workers.[cxxvi]
The myth of White womanhood is so prevalent in American culture that it has penetrated Blacks vision of themselves, so much so that Blacks, Black women in particular, have submitted to measuring their attractiveness, their value against the White standard.[cxxvii] Grier and Cobbs suggest that this comparison to the White standard of womanhood and of beauty, leaves Black women with an impaired self esteem or “feminine narcissm” that negatively impacts their character development.[cxxviii] Moreover, while their historical economic situations have prevented some Black women from living the patriarchal norms of the man as the aggressive and dominant party in a relationship and the woman as the feminine and subservient one, Black women appear to face added difficulty in developing a healthy sense of womanhood, if not according to the White standard, even according to her own.[cxxix] While she is held responsible for learning to work and support her family, her white counterpart is free to loftily prepare to become a ‘true woman.’” [cxxx]
Having borne the burdens of slavery with their femininity not just ignored but assumed non-existent, bought into the myth of White womanhood, and withstood the envy of White women of misperceived sexual prowess, Black women are challenged with rising above this structural, defensive relationship with the white woman and taking responsibility for charting a new future relationship.
Black Women and White Men
In the past Society attached a negative stigma to interracial marriages, particularly black woman-white man marriages. [cxxxi]
In general, Black society and culture teach, and Black people believe and feel, that interracial sex is just not right. … Ultimately, like Whites, the vast majority of Blacks really feel deep down inside that sex across the color line is morally wrong and somehow sinful… The fact of the matter is people who trespass across race and sex barriers are fugitives in American Society…Collectively and individually they are haunted by the sense of guilt that society imposes upon them, and they are constantly irritated by their sure knowledge of being “oddities” in a sexist and racist culture… [I]nterracial sex will never be more than tolerated in America; it will never be desired and valued in and by this society and culture…[cxxxii]
In fact, interracial marriages fly in the face of old laws of the antebellum south that prohibited and even criminalized miscegenational marriage between a free white man and an enslaved Black woman in the name of securing and preserving white supremacy.[cxxxiii]
Enslaved Blacks were white property, whether real estate or chattels, bought and sold, passed through inheritance, attachable for debts, insurable and even subject to taxation. [cxxxiv] In the antebellum South, the most prevalent relationship between a Black woman and White man was his “rape” of her. [cxxxv] The enslaved Black woman represented to the free White man a means of generating wealth in that he controlled her sexuality to breed more slaves adding to his wealth of cheap labor and a means of enhancing his sexual prowess in that his legally sanctioned “rape” of her served to satisfy his desire for cheap, at-will sex. [cxxxvi] To her he was the master who controlled every facet of her life and against whom she knew and could conceive of no recourse. [cxxxvii]
To justify the sexual and economic exploitation of the black female slaves, the White man developed various sexual myths about Black women, the most dominant were “Jezebel” and “Mammy,” that functioned as tools for controlling Black women’s behavior regardless of economic class or social status.[cxxxviii] While Jezebel represented the openly promiscuous, lustful black woman whose provocative sexuality excused white men’s sexual abuse of their female slaves, Mammy was constructed as an image that displaced black women’s sexuality, denying their femininity, into nurture and devotion for white men and their families.[cxxxix] The debilitating effects of the constructs, particularly the myth of Jezebel, remain alive today to justify racial oppression, the politics of gender subordination, and capitalistic economic exploitation—white male patriarchy. [cxl]
However, contrast the enslaved Black woman as the helpless victim of the White master with the minority Black mistress class that originated from White masters freeing and then conveying limited property rights to their enslaved Black concubines. [cxli] In the most liberal states like Louisiana and South Carolina, concubinage between white masters and their former female slaves was legally recognized, black women concubines could formally acquire limited property rights, white man could formally acknowledge and bestow inheritance rights upon their mixed children with their concubines.[cxlii] However, when Reconstruction ended, the privileged status of the Black mistress ended with it, ushering in a renewed heightened status of white women as the standard of femininity and beauty. [cxliii]
Today, the Black woman of high SES instead of challenging white supremacy, appears to accommodate it in the sense that her educational attainment, her higher enrollment at the various distinguished universities around the country compared to Black men, and her upward mobility both 1) makes her more readily accessible to and more desirable by White men, and 2) allows the sponsors of white male patriarchy to deny the need to develop and further solutions to the pervasive gender and wealth disparity in America. [cxliv] Hence, while these women appear to have achieved economic and social success “against all odds,” they have only done so within and to the extent permissible by the overarching framework of white supremacy. [cxlv]
Black Women and Black Men
Black women and Black men, while they are both in the bottom rungs of society, often fail to get along or cooperate to better their positions. Racism and sexism in American society has set up a hierarchy that pits black men and black women against each other and set up black women to be rejected by the Black man as a symbol of his castration.[cxlvi] As Hernton so blatantly put it, “[b]lack men and women “fuss and fight” constantly, because the values of the White supremacist’s world invade their lives.”[cxlvii]
Grier and Cobbs suggest that generally choice of mate and marriage in America is influenced by a person’s Blackness.[cxlviii] And, since Black men and women have been conditioned by society to think of themselves in terms of white standards of beauty[cxlix] blackness has become a constraint against marriage. In this society dominated by constructions of the White woman as the embodiment of the ideal woman, Hernton suggests that the Black man submits to judging the Black woman according to the standard of Whiteness.[cl] Hernton suggests that though the Black man may separate his view of the ideal woman from that of the White woman intellectually and cognitively, it is “impossible” for him to do so emotionally. He argues that the Black man’s inability to view black women in isolation from the White standard of beauty and the Black woman’s presence as a constant reminder of his second class citizenship and his inability to obtain society’s notion of ideal cause the Black man to resent the Black woman even in his daily interactions with her.[cli]
When a Black woman sees herself in the mirror “she sees a negative,”[clii] in relation to society’s standards. And as she feels dejected, she knows that the Black man rejects her too because she is a constant reminder of what he cannot obtain, attain.[cliii] With this self-resentment comes a wall, a protective shield to keep others from recognizing her self-resentment, recognizing the source of it, and resenting her also. Seemingly this wall may come in many forms, disguising one’s self, over objectifying the source of resentment, violence, isolation, alienation, etc. Whatever form the wall comes in, it prevents the Black man from getting to know her true self, to know her insecurities, and understanding the source of her resentment. And, when the Black woman chooses a Black mate she is reminded of her inability to achieve the white ideal and feels as if the Black man will never truly be satisfied with her. [cliv] Thus, it appears her options are to either settle with these feelings of insufficiency in relating to her mate or remain single.
Grier and Cobbs suggest that this inability to the obtain the white woman, the ideal woman emasculates the black man in that his natural male inclination to obtain, compete for and possess a highly valued woman remains unfulfilled.[clv] They further suggest that the oppression imposed by pervasive images of the ideal of white womanhood imposes an additional psychological burden on Black lovers, which serves to undermine the Black family. [clvi]
In this same vein, Hernton suggests that black men are also held to the White standard of masculinity and of beauty. However, Black women’s acquiescence to the dominant narrative, he argues, compounds the rejection these Black men face at the hands of society. Thus, he concludes, the Black men who pursue White mates largely do so because their own women have rejected them as “Black and ugly.”[clvii] Hernton acknowledges that Black women tend to choose Black men on one of two bases: 1) that he not be “Black and ugly”; or 2) if he is that he be a professional with economic means.[clviii] Other studies, recognizing that in general Black women marry within their race, support Hernton’s conclusion that Black men’s economic attractiveness is a significant factor in Black women’s decision to marry.[clix]
In the past, efforts to combat the deprecating images of Black men and Black women relied on patriarchy in order to privilege black males as the hope for racial equality.[clx] And Black women were relegated to the background, behind the scenes work of taking care of the home, feeding the Black man, and still working to help him support their families.[clxi] Even Dubois’ vision of a talented tenth was premised on an educated elite of black men who he hoped would uplift the black community.[clxii] But today, it is black women who are more educated, largely because society hasn’t put up as many barriers to education of black women, who were historically supposed to take care of White Families and didn’t represent as much of a threat to white supremacy.[clxiii] For the population age 25 and over, 18 percent of Black women obtained a bachelor’s degree compared with just 16 percent of Black men.[clxiv] While Black women ages 18-44 outnumber Black Men in America by almost 10 percent,[clxv] more Black men are unemployed than Black women and more Black women, 48 percent more than Black men have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree and higher.[clxvi]
As the proportion of educated black women exceed that of black men, Black women’s recent rise and success in mainstream America is another symbol of castration for many Black men. [clxvii] Although both Black men and Black women are making inroads into Corporate America and into the fields of politics, academia, business, government, and entertainment,[clxviii] many middle-class black men believe that Black women generally have more opportunities than Black men and some even feel that Black women are partly responsible for the low status of Black men.[clxix] Increased employment opportunities for Black women usually translate into decreased reliance on the earnings of Black men, decreased financial incentive to marry, and decreased tolerance for Black men’s overly aggressive exercise of masculinity.[clxx]
Due to the “deranged emotional fabric with which racism in America has afflicted” the majority of Black men, there are some Black men who are “incapable of genuine love for any woman, much less a Black woman.”[clxxi] But for the rest, Hernton hurls the responsibility upon the black woman to resolve the “crisis” between Black men and Black women.[clxxii] He suggests that although society, through its racist ideology, hurls overwhelming obstacles against Black men and women, it is the black woman who must take responsibility for the creation and nurturing of meaningful, intimate black relationships.[clxxiii] But what about the Black man? If Hernton is suggesting that the black man is incapable of shouldering the responsibility for his situation, I would disagree. But as this paper considers the situations of Black Women, particularly those of high socio-economic status, I do agree that they, Black Women, must take responsibility for their own love lives, the way they see themselves, carry themselves, and control the way others see them.
Self-Consciousness And Taking Responsibility for One’s Circumstances
Regardless of the external world, it is our internal world that controls, governs the way we relate to the external world and its elements with us.[clxxiv] Rollo May, in his book Discovery of Being, defines consciousness as the capacity to know oneself as the subject who has a world. May further explains: “consciousness is man’s capacity to transcend the immediate concrete situation, to live in terms of the possible.”[clxxv] And “this capacity for consciousness,” he suggests, “underlies the wide range of possibility which [wo]man has in relating to h[er] world and it constitutes the foundation of psychological freedom.”[clxxvi] May also defines “world” for us as “the structure of meaningful relationships in which a person exists and in the design of which he participates.” [clxxvii] In this sense then, he supports and espouses the principle of co-creation.[clxxviii] He asserts that to be aware of one’s world means at the same time to be designing it. While he acknowledges that “world” includes the past events which condition one’s existence and all the variety of deterministic influences which operate on the individual, he makes clear that one’s world is the past events and the influences as she relates to them.[clxxix] May further recognizes that “world is never something static, something merely given which the person then accepts or adjust to or fights, [but] rather a dynamic pattern which, so long as [one] posess[es] self-consciousness, [she] is in the process of forming and designing.”[clxxx] May challenges us to be conscious of our own identities (i.e., values, beliefs, thoughts, intentions) in the midst of the vast natural and social forces operating a destiny upon us if we are to control our own destinies and live our potentialities, our existence.[clxxxi]
Without understanding and being conscious of, and therefore responsible for, our “Being” and the power that true acknowledgement of one’s being wields, we are unable to effectively identify the being in others and thus, effectively appreciate and relate to them.[clxxxii] Confirming the close nexus between knowing one’s self and one’s relationships, Miller suggests that woman’s pursuit of authenticity is a reflection of her personal creativity, which she uses to create a changing vision of both herself and her relationship to others.[clxxxiii] Therefore, if we cannot control our own perceptions of ourselves, we leave ourselves open to attack from the forces of negativism and defeat in those around us.[clxxxiv] Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill, in their book Think and Grow Rich, A Black Choice, challenges us “never los[ing] sight of the greater battle to develop as an individual,” especially when we encounter injustice.[clxxxv] “Finding one’s true self,” he declares, “is the beginning of success,” and encourages, “though you may not be able to control all the circumstances that surface in your life, you are able, however, to control your response to those circumstances.”[clxxxvi] Only the woman who has found her true self can know herself, find her own best talent, and achieve her own high success. [clxxxvii]
If we choose, then we choose because of our own self-authentication and exercise of our being. By choosing we choose not. If we don’t choose and don’t choose not then we just resign ourselves to unconsciousness, a state of not actualizing those potentialities for knowing and experiencing.[clxxxviii] Note that we can lose our own sense of being only by our own choices, as our minds are the hidden creators of those things we realize according to our thought.[clxxxix] It is how we channel our thoughts, how we give them life that determines our circumstances, our future opportunities.[cxc] Concepts, ideas, and beliefs become truth for us only as we process them as truth in our own consciousness.[cxci]
But “man cannot realize his being except as he wills it in his encounters.” [cxcii] And there are internal forces acting against his willful acknowledgement and exercise of his sense of being, the greatest of those forces is fear.[cxciii] Fear is evident in our resistance in forming new relationships. For participating with others always involves risk.[cxciv] If one shares too much of herself, she fears that she will lose her identity. But if she allows this fear to take control that she refuses to share any part of herself and instead holds back, her growth is stunted and she will miss an opportunity to develop. Thus, she must wait for another opportunity to grow as an individual.[cxcv] Fear is also evident in our repression of our own sense of being in hesitating to challenge our conformist modern culture, so as not to be ostracized, alienated, and marginalized from the conformist society.[cxcvi] Lastly fear is evident in our failure to develop self-consciousness, become the beings God meant us to because consciousness itself implies self-confrontation, the possibility of turning against oneself, denying oneself, an inner conflict between letting go of old self-limiting notions, an old sense of security and instead, grabbing on to the concept of the possibility of fulfilling one’s existence, the ability to create new ever-changing conceptions of oneself and one’s relation to others, freedom.[cxcvii] Moreover, there is an external resistance, pervasive in the whole of modern Western society, to the notion of being of self-consciousness.[cxcviii] May recognizes that Western society’s loss of the sense of being is related to society’s tendency to subordinate existence to function in economic terms as well as to the mass collectivist trends and widespread conformist tendencies in our culture.[cxcix]
However, if we are to develop the deepest sense of being, self-consciousness, we must overcome the resistance to the sense of being and deliberately identify our own potentialities and courageously live them out throughout our existence.[cc] We must live our lives with conviction and stop allowing our existence to be a thoughtless accident.[cci] For when we inhibit or repress our sense of being and fail to live our lives, instead letting them live us, we harbor repressed hostility and resentment which translate into a passive form of happiness, preoccupation with altruism, morality, and drugged tranquility and a dearth of genuine relationships.[ccii] When we miss opportunities for fulfilling our existing, living our potentialities, we become guilty.[cciii] This guilt may become a neurotic guilt if unaccepted and repressed.[cciv] Or, if accepted, this guilt can have constructive effects on one’s personality. Specifically, it can lead to humility, sensitivity toward others, and increased creativity in the use of one’s own potentialities.[ccv] When we prevent ourselves from expressing our true being, when we merely submit to subordination, injustice, external mistreatment, we are unable to experience true happiness. For genuine happiness does not come from submission, but from assertion of and exploration of our potentialities.[ccvi]
Yet, we must recognize that whether or not we are in tune with our Being, which is a precondition to our unfragmented, unsplintered personality,[ccvii] our behavior nevertheless comes forth from our personalities and affects how others see us and how we respond to their views of us.[ccviii] If our personalities are alone a reflection of the external world, of the society we live in, we have no sense of our Being and no capacity to see our wide range of potentialities, much less the potentialities of others, and we consign ourselves to designing a world out of reaction versus pro-action.[ccix] Thus, the personality without appreciation of its Being, or without alignment with the soul, is self-limiting and thus, is limited in what it can expect from others.[ccx] Kimbro and Hill remind us that we are living magnets, constantly drawing to us the things, people, and circumstances that are in accord with our thoughts, asserting, “whatever you persistently allow to occupy your thoughts will magnify in your life” and “whatever you send out in word or deed will sooner or later return to you—and with astounding accuracy.”[ccxi] The way we hope others will respond to us is the way we must express ourselves.[ccxii] For, we get from others what we give and we attract those who are most similar to ourselves and who can share in our energy.[ccxiii]
V. Why the Black woman of high ses Who is not
Highly Evolved remains unmarried
While my study suggests that most Black women, even those of high SES initially want to marry, the statistics show that these women are not marrying, that their plans do not reach fruition. While they assert a willingness to marry down and to cooperate with their under-earning spouses, it appears that when faced with the reality of a racist and sexist society, these women are unable to maintain their initial conviction for marriage. While Black women of high SES reject divorce as an answer to power struggles over money, it appears that their initial convictions collapse when they are put to the test and instead of hypothesizing are faced with the harsh reality of earning more than their potential spouses. However, I opened this paper with the thesis that the Black women of high SES that do not marry, do not marry not just because of the structural impediments of a racist and sexist society, but mostly due to their less than highly evolved selves or their lack of personal consciousness in that they are unable to relate to or participate with the social pressures to co-create vital marital relationships for themselves. Although, it seems these women successfully chose to reckon with and transcend race consciousness to advance their socioeconomic status. However, since these women are not HEW and have not developed into the Beings that God willed them to be, they are therefore not in tune with their personal consciousness. [ccxiv] And as such, they cannot or are unwilling to attempt to deligitimize and transcend race consciousness as an impediment to their marriage.
It is only when a woman contemplates the true quality of her relationships and how to improve or change them rather than thinking of first pleasing others and conforming to their desires and expectations that she can even begin to know herself.[ccxv] However, knowing the true quality of one’s relationships implies a knowing of one’s self, desires and intentions as well as a knowing of the selves of other parties in the relationship.[ccxvi] It is only by relating to other beings (knowing, ignoring, embracing, competing with, etc) that a woman can achieve self-actualization.[ccxvii] Consistent with this theory, Kimbro suggests that enriching the lives of others is a necessary prerequisite to true success.[ccxviii] The above stresses the importance of relationships and is consistent with notions of the HEW, who is attuned to her consciousness and explains why, consistent with King’s findings, for Black women the desire to marry is an inherent part of their Being.[ccxix] However, many Black Women of high SES are catering to, striving toward, or competing with society’s standards of who, what, where, and how they should be.[ccxx] As they climb the social ladder they become experts,[ccxxi] but experts lost in the midst of class, money, and external power (as defined by society), lost in the ideology of social others, namely professors, employers, competitors, friends, parents, children and other relatives, that they forget themselves, forget to strive to know themselves, to assert their selfhood.[ccxxii] And thus, they stunt their own growth.[ccxxiii] Thus, in the climb up the social and economic ladders, even as Black women strive to prove that they deserve a place next to their white counterparts, they either lose or forfeit the development of their Beings and lose sight of their initial convictions.[ccxxiv] It would be telling to see how many of my respondents actually marry in the next ten years?
Although the Black woman of high SES has been successful economically, even in the face of much societal pressure, unlike HEW, she has compartmentalized[ccxxv] her life, channeling all her energy into one area, and repressing her desire for a genuine love relationship, marriage, surrendering it as a protection against the harsh reality (i.e., the sex-ratio, the high incarceration and unemployment rates of black men) that her forefathers and foremothers have helped to co-create. [ccxxvi] Under the discouragement and rejection of the white racist and sexist ideology, which governs so much of the physical operation of the Black woman of high SES, she is inclined to organize her personal ambitions in terms of her achievements and to find these achievements serving to compensate for other losses and hurts.[ccxxvii]
Recognizing that, as Miller and May asserted, implicit in personal consciousness and self-authentication is both an internal and external conflict, the additional direct conflict[ccxxviii] that occurs when a Black woman attempts to know[ccxxix] or love a man, any man, given the oppressive background of racism, or white supremacy, and sexism, white male patriarchy, may be too much for her to bear. No one else appreciates her pain, no one else is subject to and challenged to transcend the combined societal pressures of racism and sexism in America.[ccxxx] However, if the Black woman of high SES wants to develop her potentialities, her Being, fulfill her existence and ultimately marry, she must, transcend her expert knowledge by tuning into her personal consciousness, and exploring her potentialities. Thus, she must aspire to become a HEW. She must not run from but work through and rise above any conflict she faces, within and without, through conscious co-creation.
The Black woman of high SES who remains unmarried, although she will never admit this to anyone, not even herself, has given into fear—fear of conflict, fear of change, and fear of losing her sense of security.[ccxxxi] The genuine forming of a new relationship is always a potentially creative experience which leads to a changing of the persons involved and an enrichment of the being of each person.[ccxxxii] For the essence of relationship is that in the encounter both persons are changed. Relationship normally involves mutual awareness and understanding, which itself is already the process of being mutually affected by the encounter.[ccxxxiii] It is the High SES Black woman’s clutching to the fear of changing her vision of herself and fear of relinquishing social norms and conventions that has stunted her development, has attributed to her lack of self-consciousness, and has thus limited her ability to form genuine relationships. But, to live is to grow, and one can only grow through change and the courage to learn through fear and doubt.[ccxxxiv] The Black woman of high SES must acknowledge her fear of change of conflict of upsetting her current security for whatever it is, and must reject it as just another roadblock to get around. For, if she lets the fear overwhelm her, she will never be highly evolved and will never be able to transcend her situation.[ccxxxv]
Black woman of high SES must recognize that any genuine love relationship requires her own full awareness and expression of her own sense of being. Any repression of her potentialities, any limitations placed on the fulfillment of her existence, will affect her outward directed personality (translating into an unhealthy neuroticism),[ccxxxvi] the way she relates to others, and in turn the way others relate to her. “When we seek to know a person, the knowledge about him must be subordinated to the overarching fact of his actual existence.” [ccxxxvii] In order to love another being, we must know him, participate with his being, and understand his being.[ccxxxviii] And to be able to do this, to love presupposes that one has already attained or developed her sense of being.[ccxxxix] Thus, in the quest for self-determination, Black women of high SES should reject her race-consciousness and refrain from merely submitting to, without challenging, society’s standards, to those perpetuating the derogating stereotypes that have become inherent in American Society.[ccxl] She should not merely accept or ignore the limiting conceptions given her regarding her self, and surrender her self-consciousness to race consciousness. Instead, if she is to enjoy a complete and fulfilling life, she must live out her Being; live out her potentialities such that she can genuinely participate in the being of another and he with her, and thus co-create the nature of her relationships.
As the Black woman of high SES works toward her sense of being or fulfillment of her existence, she must move in faith.[ccxli] When one moves in faith, her personal power becomes unlimited and she opens up for herself a world on endless opportunities and possibilities to develop an even grander vision of herself and to translate that vision into the physical.[ccxlii] “Faith gives perspective, accurate analysis, and the ability to forge ahead.”[ccxliii] It is those who dare to risk, who challenge the status quo and push themselves beyond their normal limits, who find success. No person ever fully discovers and develops all the potential within himself until he expresses his faith.”[ccxliv] At last, once she has discovered that she has a Being or has committed to the development of her Being, she must have faith when she engages the being of another to continue the process of development of her Being.[ccxlv]
I wrote this paper not to suggest that Black Women of High SES adopt race blindness as proposed by Robinson and others, but I challenge these women to attune their intentions, their actions and ultimately their lives with their Being or personal consciousness and in so doing transcend the structural limitations that they allow to control their marital prospects. They can still acknowledge race as a part of their identities to understand how the greater society views them and operates to constrain the free exercise of their Being. Thus, they can consciously choose whether to react to those structural forces or live in spite of them. However, once these Black women of High SES acknowledge society’s race consciousness, its origin, its purpose and its debilitating effects, it is only their evolution, aspiration to their Being or personal consciousness that will enable them to delegitimize race consciousness and hence, responsibly and consciously choose the steps in their lives that will fulfill their inherent desires for marriage. Moreover, if these women, the more favored members in society, arguably the more educated, can consciously co-create their situations of high-economic status despite the structural impediments to economic success, but are unable to transcend race-consciousness in order to co-create vital marital relationships, how can Race critics expect the greater society to do so (transcend race-consciousness).
[i] Miller, supra at 6.
[ii] Robinson, supra at 1406 (Following Anthony Giddens’ structuration theory, “ordinary people directly participate in the reproduction of wite structural oppression, even if they do not intend to do so.”).
[iii] Zukav, supra (Discusses the experience of a splintered personality that struggles with itself whose values, perceptions, behaviors and intentions are not integrated and who is thus not conscious of all the parts of itself and is thus unfulfilled.)
[iv] May, supra at 62-66 (Contemporary man leads a fragmented life which is a symptom of the emotional, psychological, and spiritual disintegration occurring in the culture and in the individual. Our culture encourages the compartmentalization of man, who keeps the different segments of his life entirely separated: separating reason from emotion from religion.)
[v] Zukav, supra (Discusses the experience of a splintered personality that struggles with itself whose values, perceptions, behaviors and intentions are not integrated and who is thus not conscious of all the parts of itself and is thus unfulfilled.)
[vi] Forste, supra; William C. Duncan, The Social Good of Marriage and Legal Responses to Non-Marital Cohabitation, 82 Or. L. Rev. 1001, 1005-06 (Characterizing cohabitation as having short-term status, being less healthy than marriages, promoting greater inflexibility in family life, resulting largely from uncertainty about the future of one’s intimate relationship, and lacking in commitment.); Linda J. Waite, The Importance of Marriage is Being Overlooked – decreasing popularity of marriage, USA Today (Jan. 1999); Julie Brines & Kara Joyner, The Ties That Bind: Principle of Cohesion in Cohabitation and Marriage, 64 American Sociological Review 333 (1999); Lynda Dickson, The Future of Marriage and Family in Black America, 23 J. of Black Stud. 472 (1993).
[vii] Brines & Joyner, supra at 333.
[viii] Id. (I’d argue that their use of personal autonomy doesn’t rise to it’s definition in the existential sense but is limited to the superficial definition linked to worldly self interest.).
[ix] Id. at 333-34 (Their study found that more blacks cohabit than marry.).
[x] Id. at 335.
[xii] Id. at 338.
[xiii] Id. at 341.
[xiv] Id. at 349-50.
[xv] Id. at 351.
[xvi] Pamela Smock & Wendy Manning, Cohabiting Partners’ Economic Circumstances and Marriage, 34 Demography 331, 338 (1997).
[xx] Forste, supra.
[xxi] Id. at 99.
[xxii] Id. at 93.
[xxiii] Id. at 99.
[xxiv] Dickson, supra.
[xxv] Id. (Again, Dickson fails to define these terms. Where research shows that most people desire marriage but put it off because they are not able to reconcile it with their careers, I can’t see how choosing to make the trade off instead of making marriage and career happen can truly be fulfillment.)
[xxvi] Id. at 476-80.
[xxvii] Id. at 480-84.
[xxxi] Id. at 487.
[xxxii] Bianchi & Spain, supra (Despite their growing economic independence, married women allocate less time to market work and more time to family than do husbands. While married women have decreased their hours devoted to housework over the years, husbands have only picked up part of the slack doing about 40 percent of the work in child care, yard work, and home maintenance, but less than 25 percent of the cooking, cleaning, dishwashing, laundry, and grocery shopping.).
[xxxiii] Margaret Porter & Arline Brozaft, Do the future plans of Educated Black Women include Black Mates?, The Journal of Negro Education (Spring 1995) (Study based on a survey of college students).
[xxxv] Robinson, supra (Challenges Race Crits to examine themselves and think of themselves and “ordinary people” as “powerful reality co-creators” as they seek liberation from the limits of race-consciousness.)
[xxxvi] Anthony giddens, the constitution of Society, 16 (I use structure here to refer to what Giddens refers to as understood by functionalists and social analysts as a patterning of social relations or social phenomena that operates external to individual action as a constraint on the free initiative of the individual in that race is a social construct created by Whites to advance white supremacy and subordinate blacks.)
[xxxvii] Kimberlé Crenshaw, Race, Reform, and Retrenchment: Transformation and Legitimization in Antidiscrimination Law, Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement, 103 (The New Press 1995) (Race-consciousness refers to a system of material and symbolic subordination perpetrated on Blacks who were and are cast as the “other” where the norm and ideal is whiteness, a reinforcement of the racist ideology that Blacks are inferior to white perpetuated by American laws and customs, and at present, a legitimization of Blacks cultural inferiority to Whites.).
[xxxviii] Twila L. Perry, Race Matters: Change, Choice and Family Law at the Millenium, 33 Fam. L. Q. 461, 463-65 (1999) (The Black woman’s choices about marriage must be examined in the context of the past and present economic, demographic and cultural realities of race in America such as the unstable economic situation of many Black men and the rate at which Black men, both of which have significant racial undertones).
[xxxix] Crenshaw, supra at 118 (Deconstruction of race consciousness will not occur until Whites are willing to admit to and surrender the hegemonic function of racism.).
[xl] Id. (Blacks must develop a self-conscious ideology to delegitimize race consciousness).
[xli] Id. at 112-13 (Racism has grouped Blacks in a subordinated Other group that is definitively contrasted with the white norm).
[xlii] Id. (Deconstruction of race consciousness will not occur until Whites are willing to admit to and surrender the hegemonic function of racism).
[xliii] U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Demographic Supplement to the March 2002 Current Population Survey (CPS).
[xliv] U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000; Dickson, supra.
[xlv] Census 2000.
[xlvi] Anthony E. O. King, African American Female’s Attitudes toward Marriage: An Exploratory Study, 29 J. of Black Stud. 416, 428 (1999).
[xlvii] King, supra at 428.
[xlix] Id. at 430.
[l] Id. at 418.
[lii] Id. at 420.
[liii] Kelly Starling, Single and Satisfied, Ebony, August 1999.
[liv] Id. at 416, 21.
[lvi] William H. Grier & Price M. Cobbs, Black Rage, 25 (Wipf and Stock Publishers 2000) (1992).
[lvii] Calvin C. Hernton, Sex and Racism in America 167 (Anchor Books 1992) (1965).
[lviii] Kimberle Crenshaw, Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Anti-Discrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Anti-Discrimination Politics, 1989 U. Chi. Legal F. 139, 140 (hereinafter referred to as Crenshaw 2) (1989); Paulette M. Caldwell, A Hair Piece: Perspectives on the Intersection of Race and Gender, The Cutting Edge, 279-85, 279 (Temple University Press 2000) (“Racism and sexism are interlocking mutually reinforcing components of a system of dominance rooted in patriarchy.’).
[lix] Hernton, supra at 178.
[lx] Id. at xii-xiii
[lxi] Richard Delgado & Jean Stefanic, Images of the Outsider in American Law and Culture: Can Free Expression Remedy Social Ills?, The Cutting Edge, 225-35, 228 (Temple University Press 2000).
[lxii] Id. at 231.
[lxiii] Margaret M. Russell, Race and the Dominant Gaze: Narratives of Law and Inequality in Popular film, 15 Legal Stud. F. 2 (1991).
[lxiv] Crenshaw, supra.
[lxv] Crenshaw, supra at 108 (Antonio Gramsci, an Italian neo-Marxist theorist articulated the concept of hegemony as the means by which a system of attitudes and beliefs, permeating both popular consciousness and the ideology of the elites, reinforces existing social arrangements and convinces the dominated classes that the existing order is inevitable).
[lxvi] Charles R. Lawrence III, The Id, The Ego, and Equal Protection: Reckoning with Unconscious Racism, Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement, 245-57 (The New Press 1995); May, supra at 17 (The unconscious in “not to be thought of as a reservoir of impulses, thought, wishes which are culturally unacceptable,” but “rather as those potentialities for knowing and experiencing which the individual cannot or will not actualize.”).
[lxvii] Crenshaw, supra at 114.
[lxix] Grier & Cobbs, supra Foreword.
[lxx] Id. at 26
[lxxi] Derrick A. Bell, Property Rights in Whiteness: Their Legal Legacy, Their Economic Costs, Critical Race Theory: The Cutting Edge, 71-9, 77 (Temple University Press 2000).
[lxxii] Verna L. Williams, Reform or Retrenchment? Single-sex Education and the Construction of Race and Gender, 2004 Wis. L. Rev. 15, 39 (2004).
[lxxiii] Id. at 43.
[lxxiv] Dickson, supra at 476-7.
[lxxvi] Crenshaw, supra at 114.
[lxxvii] Id. at 115.
[lxxviii] Bell, supra at 71.
[lxxix] Hernton, supra at 198.
[lxxxii] Derick A. Bell, Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest Convergence Dillema, Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement, 20 (The New Press 1995) (Bell contends that the decision in Brown must be considered according to its value to Whites including “those in policymaking positions able to see the economic and political advance at and abroad that would follow abandonment of segregation.”).
[lxxxiii] Mitchell F. Crusto, Blackness as Property: Sex, Race, Status, and Wealth, 1 Stan. J Civ. Rts. & Civ. Liberties 51 (2005) (Argues that Justice O’Connor’s reasoning in the landmark affirmative action case Grutter v. Bollinger promotes white supremacy in that it the justification for allowing Blacks to attend the university was to create a diverse student body and thereby enhance the learning environment of the affluent white majority.)
[lxxxiv] Bell, supra at 71.
[lxxxv] Miller, supra at 56.
[lxxxvi] Delgado, supra at 232.
[lxxxvii] March 2002 CPS.
[xcii] Regina Austin, Nest Eggs And Stormy Weather: Law, Culture, and Black Women’s Lack of Wealth, 65 U. Cin. L. Rev. 767, 768 (1997).
[xcv] Miller, supra at 76.
[xcvi] Id. at 7.
[xcvii] Williams, supra at 55.
[xcviii] Id. at 56.
[xcix] Id. at 57.
[cii] Miller, supra at 11.
[civ] Id. at 43.
[cv] Id. at 7.
[cvi] Id. at 110.
[cvii] Id. at 18.
[cviii] Id. at 18.
[cix] Austin, supra at 769 (1997).
[cx] Miller, supra at 78.
[cxi] Id. at 95.
[cxii] Id. at 120.
[cxiii] Id. at 22.
[cxiv] Crusto, supra at 66 (“It is appropriate to view African-American property history through a “racial ladder” analogy. At the bottom rung of the ladder was enslavement, where enslaved black women had no property rights and were themselves property subject to many types of personal, including sexual abuse.”).
[cxv] Hernton, supra.
[cxvi] Id. at 127; Crusto, supra at 52 (“For a black woman enslavement meant white men owned and controlled your sexuality, often using you to bear their children.”).
[cxvii] Williams, supra at 47.
[cxviii] Id. at 56.
[cxix] Deleso Alford Washington, “Every Shut Eye Ain’t Sleep”: Exploring the impact of crack cocaine sentencing and the illusion of reproductive rights for Black Women for a Critical Race Feminist Perspective, 13 Am. U.J. Gender Soc. Pol’y & L. 123, 124 (2005).
[cxx] Hernton, supra.at 125-6
[cxxi] Id. at 133.
[cxxii] Id. at 133.
[cxxiii] Grier and Cobbs, supra at 51.
[cxxv] Williams, supra at 66-7.
[cxxvi] Id. at 48-55.
[cxxvii] Hernton, supra.at 62.
[cxxviii] Grier and Cobbs, supra at 40.
[cxxix] Id.; Dickson, supra at 483.
[cxxx] Williams, supra at 56.
[cxxxi] Hernton, supra at xvii-xix.
[cxxxii] Id. at xvii-xix.
[cxxxiii] See generally Crusto, supra.
[cxxxiv] Id. at 78.
[cxxxv] Id. at 90.
[cxxxvi] Id. at 81-82.
[cxxxvii] Id. at 81-82.
[cxxxviii] Joan R. Tarpley, Blackwomen, Sexual Myth, And Jurisprudence, 69 Temp. L. Rev. 1343 (1996); Regina Austin, Sapphire Bound!, 1989 Wis. L. Rev. 539, 569-70 (1989).
[cxl] Tarpley, supra.
[cxli] Crusto, supra at 136.
[cxlii] Id. at 89.
[cxliii] Id. at 162-63.
[cxliv] Id. at 167.
[cxlv] Crusto, supra at 167.
[cxlvi] Dickson, supra; Hernton, supra.
[cxlvii] Id. at 135.
[cxlviii] Grier and Cobbs, supra at 75
[cxlix] See generally Hernton, supra.
[cl] Id. at 62.
[cli] Id. at 63.
[clii] Id. at 135.
[cliii] Id. at 138 (Argues that the black woman represents to the black man the opposite of the white woman, who is the ideal standard that is generally unattainable.).
[clv] Id. at 87.
[clvi] Id. at 90.
[clvii] Hernton, supra.at 86.
[clviii] Id. at 85.
[clix] Daniel Lichter, Felicia LeClere & Diana McLaughlin, Local Marriage Markets and the Marital Behavior of Black and White Women, 96 The Am. J. Sociology 843, 864-65 (Deficits in the supply of economically attractive black men affect the marital prospects of black women); Dickson, supra at 477.
[clx] Williams, supra at 67.
[clxiv] March 2002 CPS.
[clxv] U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000.
[clxvi] Census 2000.
[clxvii] Hernton, supra.at 131; Austin, supra at 568 (“Changes in the socioeconomic status of black males are gauged in terms of their parity with black females as opposed to more favorable situated white males, and advances by black women are seen as being at black men’s expense.”).
[clxviii] See Diana Solis, More Blacks Taking Seats in Boardroom, Dallas Morning News, Feb. 17, 2005 (Blacks make up 8% of board seats of Fortune 500 companies but only 4% of corporate officers. These numbers are still rather small in my mind and they suggest that these people are the elite, who situation is very distinguishable from that of the average Black.).
[clxix] Dickson, supra at 482.
[clxxi] Id. at 79.
[clxxii] Id. at 172.
[clxxiv] Kimbro and Hill, supra at 28; Robinson, supra at 1411 (“[A] pure consciousness model of human agency begins with a mind that exists prior to social awareness.”).
[clxxv] Id. at 1412 (Compare to Robinson’s pure consciousness model of human agency. “A consciousness exists that has a deeper identity, and it forms the inner and outer egos.”)
[clxxvi] May, supra; Robinson, supra (“This consciousness forms the core of an ordinary person’s identity, the veritable psychic seed from which she springs, the multidimensional personality of which she is a part.”).
[clxxvii] May, supra at 123.
[clxxviii] Zukav, supra at 171(When a soul chooses to participate consciously in more inclusive levels of interaction, it becomes capable of participating directly in the liberation of its family, or its group, or its community, or its nation from the negativities that are present and active at those levels.”).
[clxxix] Id. at 147 (In this world, “each human being is experiencing the causes and effects of his or her own choices, his or her desires to fill in the empty powerless places within him or her.); May, supra at 123.
[clxxxi] Id. at 132; Zukav, supra at 138 (“As you become conscious of the different parts of your personality, you become able to experience consciously the forces within you that compete for expression, that lay claim to the single intention that will shape your reality. When you enter these dynamics consciously, you create for yourself the ability to choose consciously among the forces within you, to choose where and how you will focus your energy.”).
[clxxxii] Id. (When you release the wants of your personality in order to accommodate the and encourage another’s growth, you attune yourself to that person’s soul.”); May, supra.
[clxxxiv] Zukav, supra at 172; Kimbro and Hill, supra at 7.
[clxxxv] Id. at 14.
[clxxxvi] Id. at 28.
[clxxxvii] Id. at 42..
[clxxxviii] May, supra at 18; Zukav, supra.
[clxxxix] May, supra at 25.
[cxc] Kimbro and Hill, supra at 47.
[cxci] May, supra at 73.
[cxcii] Id. at 77.
[cxciii] Zukav, supra.
[cxciv] May, supra at 20.
[cxcvi] Id. at 21.
[cxcvii] Id. at 33.
[cxcviii] Id. at 95.
[cc] Id. at 79.
[ccii] Id. at 82.
[cciii] Id, at 112-16.
[ccvi] Id. at 83.
[ccvii] Zukav, supra at 108 (Similar to May’s concept, Zukav finds that “[a] splintered personality struggles with itself. The values, perceptions, and behaviors of a splintered personality are not integrated. A splintered personality is not conscious of all the parts of itself…experiences the circumstances within its life as more powerful than itself.”).
[ccviii] May, supra.
[ccix] Id. at 103; Robinson, supra (“[O]rdinary people cocreate their personal experiences even if they refuse to acknowledge this power.”).
[ccx] Zukav, supra at 174 (“Your evolution to authentic power … affects not only you. As the frequency of your consciousness increases, as the quality of your consciousness reflects the clarity, humbleness, forgiveness, and love of authentic power, it touches more and more around you.”).
[ccxi] Kimbro and Hill, supra at 28.
[ccxii] Id. at 215.
[ccxiii] Id. at 31-2.
[ccxiv] Robinson, supra at 1414 (The woman who stays connected to her pure consciousness, “can manipulate the physical world, but she does so in a way that bears witness to her awesome gift to co-create physical reality.”).
[ccxv] Miller, supra at 110.
[ccxvi] Zukav, supra.
[ccxvii] Id. at 83.
[ccxviii] Kimbro and Hill, supra at 6.
[ccxix] King, supra; Porter & Bronzaft, supra..
[ccxx] Lichter et al, supra; Smock & Manning, supra; see Delgado & Stefanic, supra at 229 (“[W]e are our current stock of narratives and they us. We subscribe to a tock of explanatory scripts, plots, narratives, and understandings that enable us to make sense of—to construct—our social world. Because we then live in that world, it begins to sape and determine us, who we are, what we see, how we select, reject, interpret, and order subsequent reality.”).
[ccxxi] Reginald Leamon Robinson, Expert Knowledge: Introductory Comments on Race Consciousness, 20 B.C. Third World L.J. 145 (1999) (Hereinafter referred to as Robinson 2) (Given the manner in which we have been socially constructed through race, sex, gender, class, ethnicity, culture or racialized experiences, we have become experts.”).
[ccxxii] Id. (“We think through this expertise about who we must be. This thinking reinforces how we must act. Who we must love. What we must say. Where we must live. Why we must think as we do.”).
[ccxxiii] Id. at 149 (“Race consciousness hinders, if not destroys, us all.”).
[ccxxiv] Id. at 147 (“After one becomes an expert, however, one operates within obvious boundaries … Rather than strike out into the supposedly stable world, questioning all and doubting everything, the expert prefers the safety of conventions, and thus she has no inner strength.”).
[ccxxv] May, supra at 53 (existentialists are centrally concerned with rediscovering the living person amid the compartmentalization and dehumanization of modern culture).
[ccxxvi] Id. at 65; Robinson, supra.
[ccxxvii] Grier and Cobbs, supra at 52.
[ccxxviii] The conflict identified by Grier & Cobbs, Hernton, and Dickson and others.
[ccxxix] May, supra at 93 (“When we seek to know a person, the knowledge about him must be subordinated to the overarching fact of his actual existence.”).
[ccxxx] Crusto, supra.
[ccxxxi] See Porter and Brozaft, supra (Doubts of Black college women about future marriage attributed to fact that most of them believe that Black men and not trustworthy and not committed to intimae relationships.)
[ccxxxii] May, supra at 22.
[ccxxxiii] Id. at 128.
[ccxxxiv] Miller, supra at 55; Zukav, supra at 163 .
[ccxxxv] Id.; May, supra.
[ccxxxvi] Id. at 65
[ccxxxvii] Id . at 93.
[ccxxxix] Id. at 131.
[ccxl] Robinson 2, supra at 171 (“[A]n expert knowledge depends on culture and context which, like experience, function fluidly and dynamically. With this fluidity, we can shift from an expert knowledge toward a human consciousness, but it requires that we begin by accepting that this expertise locates itself in unconscious, habitual practices of racism that inform how we experience others.”).
[ccxli] Kimbro and Hill, supra at 119 (Defines “Faith” as a “state of mind that has been labeled by Napoleon Hill as the ‘mainspring of the Soul’ through which your aims, desires and goals may be translated into their physical equivalent.” “Faith is the prerequisite to positive power.”).
[ccxlii] Id. at 120.
[ccxliv] Id. at 140.
[ccxlv] May, supra; Zukav, supra.