The Need for Spiritual and Emotional Healing of African American Women
The African American collective, in general, is currently at a pivotal moment in its history. The hostility against the African American male, and the indifference to the suffering of the African American female is at an all-time high. Over the course of the last five years or so, a great deal of pressure has been placed on the Black woman to conform to the expectations of both, the Black man and the institutional force of a White-male driven social system. While her beauty is secretly lauded as unattainable by her white counterparts, she is marginalized and degraded for the same features and spiritual prowess she is secretly praised for.
Recently, actor and activist, Jesse Williams, was praised for his acceptance speech for the BET Humanitarian Award. While his speech was the only thing I watched on this award show, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, there was one line, in particular that stood out to me:
“Just because we are magic doesn’t mean that we’re not real.”
I personally believe that this statement is specifically and uniquely appropriate concerning Black women. While we all have magical qualities that are inexplicable to a great degree, there is something extraordinarily special about the Black woman. Her resilience is unparalleled, and her spiritual prowess is unattainable.
In my study of the Black Race and its many enigmatic issues, the current state of health as far as the Black woman is concerned has alarmed me. I am concerned not only because there is a great need for emotional and spiritual healing for the Black woman on a mammoth scale, but my concern ventures into the realm of indifference to the damage that has been done to the spiritual and emotional capacity of the Black women — not only by external forces, but specifically by the Black man.
Somewhere along the way, the Black man lost sight of the uniqueness of the Black woman. He became disconnected from the once innate understanding that she was designed and built to press inexorably through difficulty and adversity on his behalf. Somehow, he became indifferent. And even worse, some Black men have even found it to be an acceptable course of action to treat his “organic and spiritual counterbalance” as an enemy.
Unfortunately, the Black man views the contempt and hostility of the Black woman through the paradigmatic lens of emasculation and hypersensitivity — a condition that is the result of his own plight in the struggle of our people. The system of power painted our women as the enemy and the cause of our emasculated state of being, and we needed someone to blame who we could actually lash out at, so we chose to accept the narrative written by a system of power that sought our demise. Likewise, our women had been shown for centuries that we had no power to provide for, protect nor lead them. So, their contempt for us grew, repelling us in substantial numbers.
One thing that Marion Myers makes lucidly clear in her book, Ghettos Forgotten Daughters, is the level of lack as it pertains to Black male support and protection for the females of our race. The numbers are staggering. Consider that more than 60 percent of all Black women have experienced some form of sexual abuse during their childhood years. Now, imagine the extent of the untreated trauma that this population of Black women is carrying around. Yet, we consistently demand that they perform. When the Black man comes to the realization that the Black woman is inextricably connected to his success and elevation, he will begin to develop a lucid perspicacity of the importance of protecting her. When he becomes aware of her spiritual womb and its direct correlation with the birth of his visions and dreams, he will no longer treat her as something disposable and unnecessary.
The Black woman is in need of emotional and spiritual healing, because she is bearing the weight of perpetual trauma. She can’t breathe, because the air around her is contaminated with contempt, distrust, abandonment and betrayal. She can’t stand, because her legs have grown weary from the burden or bearing children to absent and disinterested fathers. She is in need of healing. Her spiritual sight has become nebulous and undefined. While she is physically alive, she is spiritually dead, or on spiritual life support. It is time for the Black man to rise up and take on the responsibility of loving the Black woman back to life.
It is time for the black man to understand that while the Black race will only go as far as he is able to lead it, it will only rise as high as the Black woman can spiritually elevate it. We are built to function as a unit — an immensely powerful and highly balanced entity, created from the masculine energy of the Black man and the feminine energy of Black women. It is time that we rise to the level of our design. Black men, your authentic love and appreciation for the black woman is the healing balm that will initiate the process of restoration. Black woman, your trust and respect for the black man is the facilitating force of your own healing. We cannot do it alone, we need each other. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.
Dr. Rick Wallace, is the Founder, CEO and Director of Behavioral Research at The Odyssey Project, a subsidiary of Rick Wallace Enterprises that focuses on addressing the many enigmatic issues that plague the black community. He is also the author of 16 books, including The Mis-education of Black Youth.