6. The Essence of Perfection

Posted: March 20, 2009 in African American, daughters, family, fathers, Relationships
Tags: , , , , , ,

Rachel Araya, Detroit-based Attorney

Debate – pronounced [di-beyt]
-noun: a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints
-verb: to engage in argument or discussion, as in a legislative or public assembly

I was blessed recently to partake in a very stimulating debate with a professional sista. Those that know anything about me know that I am passionate about Black folks. I am particularly a fan of the sistas (the misspelling purely intentional). So much so is this the case that my first literary effort, centered on father-daughter relationships is entitled “Daddy, Am I Pretty?”

During a recent stroll through the social network tool, Facebook, I responded to a Chinese proverb posted by a good friend. The proverb reads: “Man is the head of the family; woman is the neck that turns the head.” Topics like these are typically a Godsend for me; so I jumped right on it.

I started out by challenging the bruthas to take their rightful place and reminding the sistas to let the bruthas do what they were created to do. You know my typical platform. Out of nowhere a sista jumped all over my position, literally.

She immediately opined with her announcement (or denouncement) of the fact that we live in a “phallocentric” society. For those of you who don’t know, it means the superiority of the male sex. While I could not disagree with this notion, I offered it up as a benefit versus a liability.

Rachel was having none of it. She ripped into me with….well, read for yourself:

“Let’s be clear. Gender difference obscures and legitimizes the way gender is imposed by force. It hides that force behind a static description of gender as a biological or social or mythic or semantic partition, engraved or inscribed or inculcated by God, nature, society or the unconscious. The idea of gender indifference helps keep the reality of male dominance in place. But the truth is, (there) ain’t no real differences between men and women except the biological differences. We all have souls, and we all have soul growth. This, we are all the same in God’s eyes. Men in particular, if not men alone, sexualize inequality, especially the inequality of the sexes. We are in the new millennium now. Let’s try to leave those archaic notions between men and women and the way we raise our children. We are supposed to think for ourselves. That’s why God gave us ability to do exactly that. Peace my brother. Have a great day. :)”

It is clear that we are on opposite sides of the ideology of men providing leadership for their women, families and taking their rightful places in the home and the society at large. However, I believe we are on the same page with respects to our people being all, and doing all that they can to better themselves.

From the mouth of an independent, liberated attorney; you have witnessed first-hand (in my humble opinion) how women have had to blaze their own trails while men sit on the sidelines.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share with the FathersFootprints audience Rachel’s conclusive statements. “….Don’t get me wrong! A man needs to take responsibility for self and his family. However, women have the power to help men by reclaiming their own voices by living an out-loud devotion to freedom.”

Sistas like Rachel exemplify the “Essense of Perfection”, perfecting themselves as free-thinking, power-brokers, who can’t be diminished to “wearing the pants”, but rather “rockin’ the Jones’ New York power suits.

I have surmised that Rachel and I may be more alike than I initially believed. Excuse me while I go sew up the hole in the back of my britches.

Be well,

Special kudos for Rachel Araya granting me permission to publish her comments and photo.

  1. Kelly Terrell says:

    This is a excellent Blog D. I enjoyed the debate. I posted that note for my sistas. I have friends who can’t keep a man because they are so busy trying to wear the pants in the relationship. They won’t let the man be the man.

  2. Baby Ry-Ry says:

    Good one Squid. Its cool to hear both viewpoints and wierd it was that when we talked earlier I said it sounds like she may be from Detroit. I feel like the man has a place as does the woman and the more we defer from the traditional roles the more distened we are for failure. Ayonna always says our relationship needs to be 50/50 and I tell her its impossible. I mean we can go half on the bills and take turns cooking but certain things never change; like the sense of security I provide her with when I’m home and the way she puts me in check about various important issues.

  3. Rachel Araya says:

    For the record, I am from Detroit. I am wondering why my geographical location was used to define my viewpoint. I look through the lens of a black woman from Detroit; however, I cannot let it define me. For if I did let someone else define me for myself, it would only serve to recast black women’s subordination. Since interlocking systems of race, class, and gender oppression is so prevalent throughout society, it is necessary to adopt a worldview that encompasses a humanist vision of community which will create new possibilities for empowering our relationships across the board.

  4. baby ry ry says:

    I’m from Detroit too and living there and dealing with the women there I find that a lot of them (even members of my own family) feel similar to how u feel. It seems to me a lot of women feel that way and if I offended you I apologize but like you I look through the lens of the black man from Detroit and I sometimes associate attitudes and character traits to certain people from certain places. Lastly I think it’s important to be open minded but impossible to have a world view there are just to many situations out there all we can do is try.

  5. Pamela Anthony says:

    This was a very interesting blog – thanks for sharing. A close male friend of mine often debate about gender indifference, with me typically perched on the side of equality for women and him being steadfast about a man’s role. I do agree that God set different expectations for us, however, SOCIETY has socialized us in such a way that women are characterized as emotional creatures that are bound our feelings so much that it influences our decisions; weaker beings that “need” protecting; often marginalized individuals because quite simply, we live in a male-dominated society that gives credence to the male gender.

    I am an independent professional woman who is charged with supervising others, providing leadership and making important and difficult decisions on a daily basis. I can do things for myself and I have…because if I don’t, who will? At the same time, however, I trust that I will be able to aquiesce to my male partner without much transition (I imagine it’s easier said than done, right??) 🙂

    I am by no means a feminist and I do want a strong brotha to lead my family — I come from a family wherein my father is no doubt the “head of the household” but it doesn’t relegate my mother to a position of inferiority or one without valued opinions. Though not married yet and because of my parents’ role modeling, I hold on to the hope that balance in this realm is possible.

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