Religion is often used as the “end-all cure” for ailments in the black community. Is your man cheating? Just pray about it. Depressed? It’s all in your head; prayer will cure you. Can’t seem to get yourself out of a rut? Just bow your head down and the Lord will hear your cries and make your situation better. While religion is a basis for many black households, it can also be a deterrent to taking the necessary action towards self-sufficiency.
In the olden days of slavery in the United States and the Caribbean, Christianity was used as a tool to keep slaves docile while their humanity was stripped away. Actual bible quotes were used in manipulating slaves into thinking that God wanted them to obey their master and be cheerful while doing it. Slave master’s cruel actions were deemed as the “Lord’s work.” Jesus was depicted as the “white savior” who would eradicate hardship and once he returned to the living world, circumstances would eventually change for the better.
Interestingly, the expansion of Islam in Africa was due to the spread of Black Africans throughout the Arab world. In Islam, dhimmis or protected persons and individuals who didn’t practice Islam were forced to become slaves.
In 2017, the Judaic, Christian and Islamic religions respectively consider the man as the “leader” of the household. Although inputs from women are “encouraged” and allowed, the male figure in a family is often consulted first when challenges arise, allowed to inherit larger portions of a property when loved ones die, and his decisions are final – and therein lies the problem.
Although women have rights in the aforementioned religions, their rights are often stifled, their needs are denied, their respect is lowered, societal expectations are used as narcissistic tactics to manipulate them, and their quality of life is diminished. Religion has caused women to become doormats.
When a heterosexual couple experiences infidelity in their marriage, women are often blamed and told she must stay and continue to be married at the detriment of her livelihood; it isn’t often that men are heartened to stay with their cheating wife. Men are encouraged to have as many sexual conquests as possible while women are deemed as sluts for the same action. Women were just recently allowed to drive unaccompanied in Saudi Arabia while men have been doing so for centuries.
African-American women have suffered too long with the “Superwoman Syndrome.” It is no wonder that men and women of African lineage are exploring and implementing the tenets of alternative religions such as Wicca and African Spirituality into their daily lives. We were not bred to take the brunt of abuse, become eternal cooks, maids, and enablers.
From infancy, Black women need to be infused with ideas of maintaining quality health, superior education, higher-paying positions of employment, adequate economic standing, and sufficient mental health. We shouldn’t be lambasted with quotes from Bibles or the Quran, threatened with damnations of going to a less than kinder place after death because we choose to live unconventional lifestyles or be pigeonholed into what individuals contemplate will be a better position for us purely due to our gender.
Now is the time we dared to become CEOs of corporations, high-powered attorneys, engineers, software developers, entrepreneurs, or whichever career choice is to our liking.
Read below for some thoughts on women, religion, and oppression
a woman doing the most emotional labour for her husband, placing him above her needs, making the most compromises, adapting to him and his ways is so normalised in our community that me wanting to be treated like an equal is considered being too difficult and wanting too much.