(FinalCall.com) – The teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam are known for several signature messages. One is “Respect and Protect the Black Woman.” The importance of the proper respect and development of the female cannot be understated or underestimated in the life of a people.
When you teach a man, you teach an individual, when you teach a woman you teach a nation.
Part of American and western history is the exploitation and the objectification of women. The Black woman has been the most objectified, the most abused, the most sexualized and debased in western society. The lie of Black hyper sexualization was part of the myth used to justify the enslavement of Black people and the rape of Black women. It was tied to the lie that Blacks were soulless animals and as subhuman anything could be done to us.
In 2008, the language has changed but the underlying thought and even some of the imagery about Black women has remained the same. The obsession with the back sides of Black women in booty shaking videos is a throwback to the cruel exploitation of Sarah Baartman, a Southern African woman who was showcased in Europe as the Hottentot Venus. She was born in 1789 among African tribesmen Europeans labeled the Hottentots. She was snatched aboard a ship in 1810, taken to London and exhibited as a freak show. Her exposed rear end and private parts were the attractions customers paid to see. She was later sold to a Frenchman. By 1816, she had died a victim of alcoholism and prostitution.
As slave masters profited from the sexualization of Sarah Baartman in the 19th century, corporate paymasters control the images of Black women and flood the culture with pictures of hyper sexualized “hoochie mamas” to accompany their thugged out male counterparts. Each image is controlled and promoted by White executives who hold the money and to White audiences who buy the bulk of corporate-sponsored gangsta rap.
With the loss of Black consciousness that pervaded the 1970s and the loss of Black-owned record labels like Motown has come the loss of control of images that impact the cultural life of America and portray Blacks in a positive light. In the 1960s, we had the Supremes. In 2008, we have the “Queen B,” and the “baddest b—h.”
The aim as always is to use Black bodies to generate profits and to keep Blacks under control. Professor Gail Dines, of Wheelock College in Boston, points out that a recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue pictured White women in swimsuits on beaches. The lone female who appeared to possibly be of color was placed in a lush jungle setting. It was a modern take on an old message of Black women as sexual beasts.
“We must respect and honor women if the nation is ever to be great. When we do not have a proper appreciation for women, this is reflected in society. Women should be active in every field of endeavor except those that degrade them,” wrote the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in his book, “A Torchlight for America.”
“The maintenance of women as sex objects is destroying society,” he warned.
Earlier in the chapter titled “Developing America’s Moral Backbone,” the Minister asks, “Will it profit the major producers and publishers to become filthy rich by feeding filth to the American public at the cost of the survival and progress of the nation? Who among the artists, producers, agents, publishers, writers and directors would like to be, in part, responsible for helping America become as the modern Rome, Babylon, Sodom & Gomorrah, all of which earned the wrath of God?”
The society, spurred on by corporate execs that don’t seem to care much for morality and decency, is pushing the envelope further and further to the edge. It is not enough to use the images of women to titillate the sexual appetite, now the desire is for younger and younger girls to feed sick fantasies.
Young Black girls, abandoned by their fathers can be found gyrating on school yards, street corners, YouTube and strip clubs. Fashions grown women should be ashamed to wear are offered as the latest styles for girls, who will likely grow up to be women without a true appreciation for their God-given value. If no one ever values their intelligence, their talents, skills and the beauty of their chastity and modesty, how will our girls and women learn to appreciate themselves?
We have a duty to protect and respect our women and to forge a way for them in the society. They should be free to express themselves in environments where they will be honored and not have to worry about harassment or propositions. They should be free to rise as high as their gifts and talents will allow.
Black men have to step up, strike out and build that kind of reality for Black women, who will be our partners in progress. We need to create and control institutions that reflect eternal values grounded in the word and law of God, which protect women from abuse and mistreatment.
Our women have given us life, love and often fought for us when we were too afraid to fight for ourselves. They have suffered indignity, hardship and rejection to make a way for us as our mothers, sisters and even our wives. We owe them better than what they have now and it is time we start to repay that debt.