That patriarchy tho'...
I initially responded to a post concerning whether or not patriarchy is hindering the progress of black liberation. I responded basically saying, “of course.” Then a FB friend of mine made a comment that women were always a part of the black lib movement(s). So, I politely pointed out that women faced rampant sexism and overt misogyny in the movements, and that while we may have been present, that should not be conflated with us being “included.” My friend then wanted to know if I was ‘victim blaming’ (in a way) by intimating that the issue of black sexism – like the issue of black poverty – was a ‘fault’ of the people rather than endemic in their situations & circumstances created by a racist dominator society.
Well… I had to respond… and I did, thus:
All of the -isms & -archys come from an anthropocentric worldview, which comes from a deep-seated sense of alienation (from what I have surmised). This alienation holds humans separate from literally everything else, including a deep sense of self beyond the individual personality. You can see this reflected in the fact that we have made ourselves gods. Yet, we didn't always feel this way or operate this way. Just as humans didn't always possess the ability to really see the color blue as something distinct, we haven't always experienced ourselves as truly distinct individuals. I believe with the development of our brand of ego came a double-edged sword that we have managed to slit our own throats with. The gift of ego is knowing and experiencing the world as a part of you. The curse of ego is knowing and experiencing the world as separate from you. This paradox, however, is resolved in our ability to cooperate and to hold more than one reality in mind without destabilizing levels of cognitive dissonance that would fracture the ego. Basically, we can have two trains running (mentally) and still feel OK about it - notice our political policies (& practices). Our ability to rationalize is unparalleled.
So...to your point, "we" didn't create any of this, AND we are participating in the creating of all of it. Simultaneously. Instantly. Whether we acknowledge it or not. Kinda like how the sun shines, with or without your permission. The oppressor and oppressed are two sides of the same coin. They depend on each other to exist as such. Masters need slaves, lest they be powerless. Slaves need masters, lest they be free. This chicken-and-egg argument is linear and I think we must begin articulating quantum solutions to find our way out of a seemingly zero-sum game. And, I say ‘quantum’ to mean non-locally sourced solutions; solutions that can run forward and backward in time... toward progress and healing simultaneously.
Hegemony (read: the will to domination) cares not for class or race or religion. It simply seeks the paths of least resistance to achieve its ultimate goal of power. But it's a "power over" that this psychic drive wants so desperately to attain and of which it can never get enough.
Cooperation is the antidote to hegemony. It seeks, above all else a "power with."
I said this to Michael Eric Dyson in class one day. He asked me to repeat it, and he appeared to be reaching into the quantum thought for a linear toe-hold. He seemed a little stumped as to how to conceive of power that doesn't have an axiology seeking to control but rather one that seeks relationship.
The ghetto creates ghettoized people. The dramas from these people & everyone involved then ensue.
Patriarchy creates dominator culture and segments of dominated people. The dramas from these people and everything it touches then ensue.
We did not start this fire of supremacist thinking and being and acting, but we will be held fully responsible by nature itself for either putting it out or letting it burn all that we've built to the ground...And, it won’t be the first time. Humans have, ironically, played this game before. We just can’t seem to remember (or put together the clues we left ourselves on the cave walls, papyri, scrolls, calendars, and monuments of the past). It may prove a lethal forgetting.
Where the problem of hegemony exactly started seems less an issue to me as what we will do to stop it.
I watched a wildfire on the side of the road burning the other day as I pulled over to call 911. It moved almost too quickly for the fire trucks to arrive because the grass was so dry.
All of the -isms and -archys are like that dry grass, fuel for the raging brush fire of hegemony & domination. And all fires consume anything and everything that it can…because it can. Until its fuel runs out.
You can’t leave even a little fire burning, because it will ignite everything in due time. And even small fires are hot enough to burn anyone getting too close.
We have forgotten who we are…as human beings, not just as black folks. And those of us alive now are tasked with waking up before we’ve driven ourselves collectively over a cliff. Hegemony is not solved in determining whose fault it is. It’s solved in determining whether it works for our purposes/interests. When the purpose/interest is thing-based (which is where the sense of otherness comes from and thence the desire to possess and control that which is other), then yes, hegemony in any of its forms works…for a while. However, when the purpose is relationship-based (which is where the deep sense of connectedness and mutual thriving comes in), then no, hegemony in any of its forms is dangerous and ultimately fatal.
And in an ultimate irony, only the option offering the most freedom leads to any lasting, sustainable freedom at all.
‘Sexism lite’ and ‘patriarchy noir' will end in the same unquenchable fire as we observe with European imperio-capitalists at the helm. All these roads lead to Rome. And, Rome will burn.
Follow the rest of this 'Trilogy on Patriarchy' in other posts to come.