Why Black Women choose Religion

In the bellows of the slave ship in the horrors of the Middle Passage, black souls were fashioned to be out of body. The stench of decaying flesh, the shrill of physical anguish and the feel of blood dung and mucous on the lips from being chained between the crouch of the next shackled immobilized captive transformed the beyond into the soul and the present into temporal deletion. Perhaps by design the African women on the slave ship were not shackled on their deck, presumably because mutiny was more aptly envisioned to be carried out by men, of which one was said to be as strong as four Indians upon arrival to the colonies. The sinister proclivities of the European slave trader made a twinge of conscience unrecognizable as many admitted that they saw no evil in enslaving Africans on ships like sardines because they never saw them as humans. Therefore, what would the insidiously perverse mind of the European tyrant conceive when he realized he had hordes of black women held captive under the fear of his ominous control? It would conceive the same mendacity that it would come to conceive on the plantation, that rape and sexual molestation and exploitation was not criminal, it was Darwinian; the spoils of the survival of the fittest. Male slaves were screaming in agony constantly because their minds were maddening expediently, their limbs were disfigured to pack them in the deck that was so compact that it didn’t allow for them to sit erect. The slaves that contracted European disease and were considered contagious to the cargo were chained to a pole in the basement of the deck where, by some accounts, their skin and flesh was almost rubbed off completely by the violent and incessant rocking their bare bodies were subjected to on the splinted wood floor. These solitary screams rivaled those on the deck. An African European named Eloudah Equiano was a crewman on a ship named the Zong in 1781 and witnessed screams of 132 slaves, considered to be a food supply risk, thrown over the deck to be torn asunder by sharks. In his memoirs he was adamant in believing that the Europeans were cannibalizing the Africans who screamed while chained together in procession around a boiling cauldron where he fainted at the belief of his people being cooked. There was so much screaming echoing throughout the ship perpetually that the screams of the female slaves being sexually emaciated by their slaver would be nothing alarming, it would simply blend in with the cacophonous melody of torment that must have sounded like a conchanto of demonic exorcism. In the wake of this event, two things happened to the psyche of the African, soon to evolve into the African American woman, it duplicitously told her that she was slightly above the damnation of her slave male counterpart who was shackled with dead bodies, and that being above the lowest of degradations only made her vulnerable to the vilest of degradations, rape and sexual exploitation. Moreover, this reasoning made her more dependent on religious spirituality since she felt more favored by god by not being shackled, but more damned by the devil who vandalized her genatalia unrequitedly. So when we read the Washington Post’s new statistic that African American women are the most religious sector of people in the country, we are articulating the underpinnings of their psychological self preservation form slavery. When they were sold on the auction blocks they were once again molested when they were inspected to see if their womb and vaginal canal was suitable for extensive child bearing. A woman or girl that was not previously violated would be presumed to be reproductively fit. Yet, since our foremother’s vaginas were handled like purchased groceries being bagged in express isles, evaluation was necessary to see if only minimal damage was done so that the auction price for damaged goods would be profitable. Once on the plantation, these slave women were often pregnant at the same time the slave owner’s mistress was pregnant and if the white woman was unwilling to nurse, the slave woman nursed the slave master’s child as well. Compromisingly, she felt another component within her was enslaved, her motherhood. As the white child drew similac from her mammary gland the slave mother was tortured by the fact that she was making strong, in essence nurturing the virulence, of the very person who next owned her. The child also owned her undocumented husband and her suckling child that knew nothing of bondage or captivity, just that the nipple he sucked was prematurely taut and ill fitted for the posturing of his mouth because master’s son was the primary breast mouther. She was afflicted with the knowledge that the white child could grow to separate the slave mother and the child, sell them apart from one another, and dehumanize them with the whip and the penis while profiting from the demoralizing. To raise both slave master and slave with the same breast milk was a dichotomous torture on the psyche of the African American slave woman because the slave child harbored her blood. In the wild when humans raise ravenous, carnivorous animals, set them free in the jungle and revisit on an expedition, it has been documented that the beastly predator would recognize the parental human figures and implore them not with savagery, but with affection. This is completely atypical of the animalistic instinct. However, in the wild of the plantation, the white child who would eventually become the ravenous, animalistic slave master that was once nurtured by the black slave woman would know his motherly figure well in adulthood, but lacked the decency of a barbaric animal and instead of affectionate entreaties, he would work all manner of devilment on her and her children who were nursed from the same bosom as he. This pain mad the African American slave woman dependent upon the belief in realities unbeheld, that godly deliverance through insurgent beseechment was the only rapture from her horror. It was easier for the male slave to resent the ideal of god all together because the emancipation seeking male slave became the run-away, thus having to cultivate a fleeing mentality which is one of self reliance, not godly reliance. The paradigm is didactic, male slaves who prodigiously and routinely ran away, did so leaning upon their own understanding as it were, whereas the female slave who had to stay and nurse both protagonist and villain was forced to stay and wait on god to deliver her which made her more spiritually reliant. A confession of a slave named Cyrus from South Carolina echoed the male slave psyche. He lamented “If I lived so, I should never see the face of god in glory…I did not think of Adam and Eve as sin, but I was sin. I felt my own plague…I felt myself at the disposal of sovereign mercy.” Contrasting this with the slave mother of her own child and the future slave master we find sentiments such as this from Harriet Jacobs in her 19th century slave narrative. “I loved to watch his infant slumbers, but I could never forget that he was a slave. Sometimes I wished that he might die in infancy. God tried me, my darling became very ill. I had prayed for his death but never now so earnestly as I prayed for his life…What mockery it is for a slave mother to try to pray back her dying child to life!” Black women grew more dependent on god to take the life of their children who they preferred see the face of god in the afterlife, than to see the face of the despot in the moratorium of the cotton field. Slave women were more attached to god because their conscience made them stay by the side of their children, praying for their survival, instead of fleeing for their freedom and leaving the children behind like male slaves often did. And when slave women would run away, they took their children with them and while hiding in the swamp it was customary for black women to pray to god while drowning their crying children who were threatening to bring notice to their hiding. The Hadenic anguish the African American woman felt through the trifles of slavery that wrought demise on them and their children made them ardent god petitioning women, this psyche has been passed down through the generations to enact the religiosity of African American women today who are slaves to the oppression of the black male who inherited the fleeing mentality of their forefathers. They are slaves to the misogyny of black men who view them as the same inanimate sex object as the slave trader viewed them and instead of wanting their sons to die to keep them from being slaves, they prefer the volition of their manhood to die to keep them from being like their fathers. Who else can black women call upon but god when they find themselves being sold on the auction block of misassociation, misassociated from society, their men and from the ugliness of their own history? My name is Kinshasa and these are my waking thoughts, you may disagree, but rest assured my intelligence is superior.

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This entry was posted in African American, African American Women, Black Culture, black culture and black consciousness, Black History, gender, history, racism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Why Black Women choose Religion

  1. Bruce Williams says:

    It is inherent in each generation to rebel against the “elders”. That being the case why has the black woman never rebelled against the oppression of religion? And at what point are you responsible for your actions and can no longer use the crutch of past wrongs?

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