MIC CHECK THIS SUNDAY
I’m cushioned in the corner of the lift waiting to be delivered to the food court while my mp3 croons “Black Brotha, strong Brotha there is no one above ya” into my ears. It’s a fitting tribute. Leaning against the glass wall of the elevator, sneaking blistering looks in my direction is quite the fox. “Every time you come around something magnetic pulls me and I can’t get up, disoriented I can’t tell my up from down. All I know is that I want to lay you down”. The elevator reaches its destination and the doors begin to part open. There’s something different in the air. His look changes from tempting to territorial. He rolls up his sleeves and locks his elbows. His eyes zero in and I disappear from his space. Ladies first, so I step forward but, “It’s the eye of the tiger it’s the thrill of the fight’’ and suddenly we both know…it’s on! And I don’t quite know what happened but he’s out first, assuming his assumed position in the world.
I reflect on how Steve Biko advocated that the black man was on his own. But he didn’t mean man alone; he was talking to women too. We would hope. I must believe that he was speaking to the collective, assuming that because of the established social pecking order, those on top would take accountability for the collective, for more than just themselves. I imagine that colonial suffering was never an individual enterprise and inhumanity and degradation is as much the experience of black women and children, as it was and is of black men.
It’s an unspoken, simmering and often ungamely domestic tournament. It is his blueprint to how he should be treated and his place in the world. But I suppose it’s more importantly about women and their place in the world. While we sit, sweetly encouraging and holding the man up, raising his little brown baby, we can’t even get out of the elevator without getting one in the ribs. Forget chivalry, it’s ruff in Africa.
“Move Bitch, get out the way. Get out the way Bitch. Get out the Way.” (Please) The roadside often sets the scene for another leg of the domestic tournament: Stop inching me out the lane. Once he’s noticed my car cruising alongside his, I promptly find myself uncomfortably close to the curb, exactly where he thinks I should be. Flashing his lights to put me in my place, he’s inching me out of my lane, in a bid to overtake me. Until I’m left choking in his dust. Yet another angry black woman in the way, and he needs to go to work.
It is interesting to note that amongst African Americans, between 1959 and 2002, the number of married women declined from 62 percent to 31. But I’m not an angry, figure pointing, marriage seeking shrews. I consider the ethos of feminism to still continue to have relevance. Independence, self-determination, sexual liberation, pro life and pro choice are anthems that retain value. I recognize that since the very start of the migrant labour system, black women have carried their communities in the absence of their men. I’ve always been willing to go fifty-fifty, ma baby. And pay your way. And Tyrone’s too. (But seriously, that nigga’s gotta go!)
Bullying makes you nasty. Bullying makes you ugly. Bullying makes you greedy, and that is a fact. From the sandpit days, I’ve always known that dominance isolates cruelly and cripplingly. It’s about picking fight’s you can win. There’s nothing admirable about walking around saying that you’ve been hard done by history and the world if when it’s time to fight, the only one that you’re willing to fight is your female counterpart. Part of the blueprint for the coup must be a sense of self worth, but this cannot mean respect for the self to the exclusion of others, it must mean being part of the collective, and part of humanity.
MIC CHECK THIS SUNDAY