Saturday, April 14, 2012

Christian groups and the Angry Black Woman

For a while now I've been wondering why I have so many battles with Christian women in general and Christian bookreaders specifically. I do have a talent for ticking off a lot of people and I seem to have the record for ticking off Black folks, Christian folks, women folk, etc. (All groups to which I belong.)

But the ones who have been particularly miffed have been Christian women. I am often forgiven by atheist feminists, for instance. And by Christian men. But Christian women have a gift for holding a grudge that well, it's a gift. So...why then?

So Jessica Fry and I came up with the following reasons:

A) a lot of time groups can't handle anger. Anger is an emotion that is to be kept hidden, and anger against those within one's own group makes everyone uncomfortable...because some larger issue (agreed upon by the group) is being challenged. If one had taken the person aside and commented, maybe there would be some hope of some understanding but...with the group as back-up...holding to the beliefs/assumptions/presumptions of the group...well, let's just say it is never good to argue with groups because "if everyone is angry at the same thing, there is backup." Basic meaning: one can continue believing the same thing if there are certain tenets the group has been taught to believe.

B) The Christian idea of a patient non-mouthy woman. If one talks back, well one is immediately not only mouthy and unsubmissive but immature and unspiritual. Indeed, one is even called "unforgiving." Oh, most Christian women or Christian women writers don't come out and say that but at the foundation of their thoughts, that is apparently what's going on. One is being judged for one's pain and one should, apparently, be spiritual enough (and strong-but-silent American enough) to bear it without being a bitch. When all the group is emailing back and forth or telephoning back and forth about a mouthy Christian, the herd mind will back up the person. The herd mind is a comforting mind, Jessica says. When you're in the herd, you don't really have to think of the merits of your argument. And it is true. So if I as a Black woman challenges the herd mind on a particular thought...the herd mind will survive...but my reputation won't. (I've gotten into many arguments about homosexuality, welfare queens, and race with some white Christian writers and Lord have mercy! The men have forgiven me for being wrong...(even if they still think I am wrong)...but the women, wow!)

C) The Christian idea of fellowship and the protection of the herd from evil, and the protection of the theology from taint. Of course in America, Christian theology is often mixed in with so many other issues. I remember challenging a Black Christian woman who believed that "if you're still suffering, God is trying to tell you something." I asked her, "so if a woman has lost six of her children in Africa or to drugs in America, God is trying to tell her something! How will you survive if you suddenly lost everything? Will you think it's because you aren't good? What a smug theology!" (Yeah, I can be nasty when I know I'm right. That's a failing I have to work on and which no doubt doesn't help my cause.) In this situation, I was challenging Christians, Blacks, and Women (not to mention the woman's livelihood because she went on spiritual engagements talking this crap) so I got pretty slammed.

Yet, there is something very pushy -- unChristian? Christian?-- about me. I just can't let a stupid comment go. I wasn't always like this. I was really quite bullied as a kid. But... since I got older, and sicker, I guess I just can't put up with crap.

Of course, this is not to say that atheists are free thinkers or that Blacks are free thinkers. I'm always telling atheists that their assumption seem to be that they are smarter, deeper, less deluded than everyone else. And I'm always questioning Black folks who insist on certain facts that just aren't true (for instance, like when I tell them that the broom-jumping ceremony is not African but Irish-Scottish, or that Cleopatra was Greek and not African) while they also ignore certain things that really should be noticed (like the fact that Planned Parenthood is rooted in the genocide of minorities, the disabled, and Black folk.)

But the thing is that Christians hold their anger at me way longer. And I must learn to deal with this....this making enemies of those in my own camp. 
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