Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Media, Race, & Progress: Passing Through The Rites by Brian Holiday-El
Provided that the images and messages we receive through the arts and the media are actionable symbols to the subconscious mind and reference points for the conscious mind are accepted facts, the issue of context becomes the crux, the critical point most worthy of delineation and deliberation as it pertains to correcting erroneous and self-destructive thinking and lifestyles in the communities of the people of African descent, but, for a proper perspective, the differences between sex, gender, and principle must be duly noted. Male and female are the sexes; the biological orientations of our species! That is all! Being a male doesn't make one a man! Being a female doesn't make one a woman! Masculine and feminine are gender principles and the two are present within both males and females from birth and how gender is expressed are determined in large part by parents, guardians, family, social environments, and education. The two can MATURE to become a Man and a Woman, respectively, but that is a Maturation Process.
When the community functioned as 'one village' or one Great Family, there was always a Rites of Passage, usually several thousands of years old, that brought boys and girls into the threshold of manhood and womanhood, respectively. The existence of a Rites of Passage is evidence of the monumentally integral nature of becoming a Man or a Woman. Each Rites of Passage graduated the initiate through an education process that was rich and replete with a spiritual, sacred, ritualistic, ceremonial, scientific, determinedly psychologically edifying, holistic organization of fundamental and eternal principles of Sound Living! Needless to say, that vital aspect of our cultural continuity was lost, so, amongst other things, as one educator phrased it, African Americans suffer from, 'prolonged adolescence.' Not having a genuine Rites of Passage is why there are full grown males and females of all ages who are not men and women! Doubly, the absence of a Rites of Passage doesn't eliminate the need for one. On the contrary, the absence of one aggravates and intensifies the utter necessity of one, exasperates the fallout effects of not having one, and becomes a void filled by who knows what!!!! This is CRITICAL to comprehend. The lack of familial and communal cohesiveness predicated upon the greatest positive development of the individual as expressed through the Rites of Passage is why there is such rampant confusion as to the differences and meanings of the male, man, masculine, father, husband, female, woman, mother, wife, feminine phenomena. Couple the fact that the mass distributed depictions of African Americans in media and the arts are in no wise the product of a collective consensus arrived at by African Americans with the absence of a genuine Rites of Passage and you have the perfect recipe for the dysfunctional, current state-of-affairs! The very presence and pervasiveness of an over abundance of negative, self-destructive re-presentations of people of African descent and the preponderance of corporate media conglomerates to exploit trends for the maximization of profits and the elimination of competition, makes it not only healthy, but, from a strategic vantage point, totally necessary to produce, market, and distribute as much power to the people as possible in the form of Media and the Arts. If nothing else, reading Post Traumatic Slave Disorder should have quelled any trepidation towards approaching Nation Building the same way a Master Physician approaches the healing of a sick patient, and an acrobat approaches his or her gymnastic routine...that is as a rigorous Balancing Act!
Having no genuine Rites of Passage is why so many children and people of adult age, struggle with issues of sex, sexuality, identity, and purpose! Struggling with those four alone can take many lifetimes if uninterrupted by the informing and enlightening efforts of the people who know better. What the people need to recognize from it's collective will is a genuine Rites of Passage forged from among us and fit for these times going forward, bringing us back to the Context in which people of African descent are depicted and the serious need to intelligently influence and predetermine most if not all of it! The Rites of Passage took place at the most pivotal juncture in a person's life, the age of Puberty! The commencement of pubescence unalterably changes a person on every level and for a child to experience this in an uncontrolled environment almost always results in a torrent of confusion and poor decision-making lasting well into their adult years and for some into their graves.
Apparently, our ancient forefathers and fore mothers made much adeu about this particular event in an individual's life to ensure that all of what such a transition entailed and implied was thoroughly understood, appreciated, and honored. Now-a-days most children stumble or happen upon the menstrual cycle, nocturnal emission, sex, and sexual expression and the parents or guardians are usually the last to find out, and when they do become privy, very little attention is given to the important issues involving puberty, if any at all.
I propose an open dialogue about sex, sexuality, identity, and life-purpose between parents, teachers, children and students in the context of education and empowerment, and a commitment as conscious consumers to only spend and invest with people and institutions dedicated to reinforcing the principles of Sound Living and to deny patronage to those whose modus operandi is anathema to the uplift of all people and the reversal of our plight.
What say you?
Sincerely Yours, Brian Holiday-El
Posted by The Intelligent Brother© at 12:37 PM
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