Here’s a joke:
Slave Girl A says to Slave Girl B: Massa treats me good in the bedroom. He doesn’t hit me hard at all. In fact, most of the time he just sits there rubbing my hair, talking about how nice it is, like he’s amazed by its flatness.
Slave Girl B: Really? He hits me all the time…HARD. And all he ever does is drag me around by my hair and call me a nappy headed n****.
The Punchline: Beyonce.
Horrible joke, I know (and for sooooo many reasons). But let’s look at what might be a startling truth. Many people believe that the black woman’s cultural gentrification started back in slavery along with black men, that they experienced similar things and thusly came to exhibit the similar behaviors. I’d like to offer a slightly skewed viewpoint. What if black women were culturally gentrified in the bedroom?
It makes plenty of sense right? Many women are “talked into” things when they’re in bed. It’s the one place where, even if your guard is up, it’s down. And although we don’t like to admit it, women are bound by their gender to care about the man who’s giving it to them. (And yes, the term gentrification is usually used for real estate. However, moving a non-black penis into an all-black neighborhood (her vagina) can equally change and shape the basis of a black woman’s identity.)
So I wouldn’t be surprised if slave women took notice of what their masters liked in the bedroom and passed that knowledge on, in order to escape brutal beatings. In fact, I’d also wager that slavery is when the concept of “girl talk” effectively began. It no longer was a casual practice of venting personal problems, likes, and dislikes to your closest friends; it was now an information stream, detailed and deliberate to help the community save lives.
But back to the rapist, slave-owning, white man…. (I have to put it that way, as all slave owners are not rapists and all rapists are not white or men.) We know that a hierarchy was in place, one that placed the lighter skinned slaves closer to and, oftentimes, inside the “big house.” But before that, before the slaves were shipped and sorted, before their dark skin was demonized, black women raped on their home soil, as a way for the whites to gain control.
Can you picture them? Women all lined up like prisoners of war while these drunken soldiers pass them around, laughing at them, mocking their accents, destroying their homeland and pissing on their sacred relics. Their tears are reflecting the roaring fire that the soldiers use to burn the ones who don’t obey. And then a girl is yanked by her arm, a light girl, and the whole mood changes. Suddenly they want to dance with her. The give her liquor to drink, they put her into a pretty dress and tell her to do average things before they rape her. It’s like she was the only one acceptable to them. The others were treated so brutally, yet with her, they were almost gentle. They didn’t slap her as hard. They didn’t bruise her or burn her at all…
So really, it’s no big surprise that B1 Yaki is one of the biggest selling items among black women. (Yaki= hair brand used for weaves.) Our entire style of dress has changed. Our hairstyles have changed. Our demeanor as queens has been struck down to peasant level. And we continue to exhibit these traits. Passed down by “girl talk” we all share. “Massa wants a quiet woman. Look real nice, but don’t say nothing. You got to laugh at all his jokes like ain’t nothing funnier. Wear your hair straight. And something tight. Wear something tight and cut real low, he’ll like that. Oh yeah, and make sure you dance for him too….”
Maybe it’s not just black women who have been conned into the “white man’s” version of femininity. I wonder if this too, shaped the ideal for the American woman and all she would become.
How do you feel? Has the slave owner’s preferential treatment caused the decline of black women?
PoetRaeMonet, author of ‘The Birds, the Bees, and the Boudoir,’ delivers bold and empowering erotic poems to address the blatant lack of Sexual Education in America. A Washington, DC native, Rae has a natural talent for wordplay, making her an accomplished poet, author, and songwriter. She is featured weekly on The Oral Hour and Chocolate Thursdays on the Hilltop Radio Show and is a contributor to Primo Fashions USA Magazine. Find her book here: amzn.to/1GqoZ2h