The election of 2012, even more so than the election of 2008, exemplifies the state of race and power in the United States. My God, the formally enslaved have run amuck, they have lost their way and their position in the social and cultural order. The position of a black man as the most powerful man in the United States, i.e. the head of the house, is antithetical in a society grounded in white supremacy. It is a scandal, an affront, consequentially causing white supremacy and its agents to double or even triple down on the oppressions which are strategies toward a narrative of dehumanization. This situation is real, a core narrative strategy within a grand narrative of American society.
A treatment then of sacred black masculinities is necessary because in a real sense the Black man, regardless of place of power, along with the black transgender woman, is one of the least appreciated, and least understood in the context of U.S. racial patriarchy. Considered a threat, sacred black masculinities as a whole, historically, have suffered various regimes of dehumanization, i.e., frameworks and structures of interlocking oppressions which deny his legitimacy and in this his sense of humanity. This sets up the black man for various forms and processes of marginalization which are meant to assist in the maintenance of a structure created and developed by and for white supremacy.
That said, sacred black masculinities have significant stratifications and intersections of oppressions to work through which have been developed specifically for them. This is primarily because white supremacy considers sacred black masculinities to be a primary challenge to its totalitarian regime. Clearly the sacred and the truth must be separated from the hyper-myth established to support the interests of white supremacy. I suggest here that this is one reason why most of the black militant/ intelligencia were slaughtered both physically and politically in 1960’s and a reason today why music industry hiphop in particular spew lyrics that maintain the dehumanization of those sacred black masculinities, the black feminist/womanist and their community as a whole. This is a strategy produced in concert with programmes such as “Stand Your ground” in Florida and Stop and Frisk in New York City which maintains a myth first imposed by the plantation owners in the days of southern slaveocracy.
No secret here that a concerted effort, structured and strategized through various racist sexist frameworks, oriented hyper-myths, on the part of the U.S. government, the corporate community, media complex and their agents continue to marginalize any stirrings of Black Power and black men simply because the only authorized power in the U.S. was and still is white supremacy, even in its so-called social and political diversity and inclusion in a mindset of whiteness. This is also a reason for various political discourses on poverty, education, HIV/Aids, economy and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare to become proxies for a civil war. Reflecting on this unfortunate circumstance I find that sacred black masculinities can present a different moral vision of humanity. Even with the layers and layers of oppression meant to marginalize, even destroy their humanity overall sacred black masculinities have been able to survive, overcome, even thrive within those interlocking oppressions.
Sacred black masculinities have been that critical difference causing their nemesis to reckon with their totalitarian colonial ambitions of patriarchy and historical discourses on racial superiority. Most notably this has been evidenced in black men such as President Barack Obama, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Malcolm X, General Colin Powell, senator Corey Booker, 100 black men, community activist Bayard Rustin, professors Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, and, in their deaths, Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin, just to name a few. These black men and their particular masculinities, and many like them not mentioned here, represent a different moral vision, one very much influenced by the black experience in diaspora, yet able to mediate their particular masculinity with a structure that was not developed or created to reflect their vision of the masculine.
As evidenced by the reaction to the election of Barack Obama as the first black president, for some, these men represent a clear and present danger to the ideas of the totalitarian regime. In a weird sense these black men, and others like them, become a compelling reason for white supremacy to invest in a prison industrial complex. Surviving in a context of racial patriarchy the black man must focus on building movements of sustainability, i.e. movements that change the racial and economic terrain imposed as a matter of collective privilege and power. The black man, cognizant of the unfortunate situation must see and experience their particular sacred black masculinity as transformative within the culture and society through the creation and development of ideas which emerge out of their collective experiences.
I suggest here that as the black man experiences his sacred masculinity as the critical difference he will gradually shift a narrative which has been ingrained by the oppressor but will also liberate his mind regarding more diverse genders and sexualities even within the black community. That said, sacred black masculinities are called, in concert with the divine black transgender feminine to make a space for a new and different space of gender, sexual and racial legitimacy. I suggest that the ground of this new legitimacy should be a ground that reflects notions of a postcolonial imagination in which the black man is distinct from the imagination of white supremacy and its desire and by definition racial patriarchy. What I mean here is that the black man similar to the black transgender woman, must create and develop his own space of being, even his own legitimacy; they must be their social revolution. This requires what Kwame Nkrumah, one of Africa’s most renowned philosophers and political leaders, calls an intellectual revolution. He writes, in his book Consciencism, Philosophy and Ideology for De-Colonization and Development with particular reference to the African Revolution, “Social Revolution must have, standing firmly behind it, an intellectual revolution in which our thinking and philosophy are directed at the redemption of our society.” Decolonization of sacred black masculinities must have as their primary purpose the decolonization of the black mind.
 Bell Hooks. Don’t Make me hurt you, Black Male Violence in We Real Cool, Black Men and Masculinity (New York, NY: Routledge, 2004), 44 – 66.
Kwame Nkrumah. Consciencism. Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization and Development with particular reference to the Africa Revolution (New York, NY: Monthly Review Press, 2009), 78.
Copyright © 2014 Monica Joy Cross. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.