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Thanks for your reply. I appreciate you took the time.
I can see how due to the lower status of African Americans historically with the dominant culture offering freedom from slavery through conversion to christianity – that this was indeed a wondrous offer at the time. I can see then how the church became important in AA culture.
I feel shocked and grieved that you describe the position of black women being reviled by the dominant culture. I find it abhorrent. I was born in 1976 in England, and my personal impression of Black American women, is one of strength and courage. I know that these are also stereotypes – but I wonder if my impression reflects a broader impression and also portrayal of AA women in the media. I think Opera and others have a world presence that gives AA woman a great and revered status. Although again, we can see that Opera has some belief in spiritual things – I’m not sure of her beliefs, but would suspect she was christian. – and from memory I think she has talked about God looking out for us.
This is a complex issue with many contributing factors. It’s great that you are pioneering this subject – for other black women who might need that support to express their own honest beliefs about the world – without having to submit to the christian faith to gain respect and recognition.
I do wonder with America though – that it is a hard place for many – it seems dominated christian men. I think all minority groups would struggle with the American dream – and the idea that you can do and have it all – because without support, most minority groups can’t do it all – and that’s a fact.
I wonder if my learning more about this topic might help any to promote awareness or understanding for positive outcomes. Understanding the causal web of all things - I am a strong supporter of spreading the word about important issues that are often overlooked and neglected by those in power.
There are quite a few internet groups now who have more leverage with governments due to the instant access of internet to gaining signatures or just spreading information generally that causes people to question decisions that are made.
Please keep me in touch with your progress and steps forward as you go. I'm interested in knowing how you go and what you can achieve with your writting. I think book writting is a great way to go, to have a say in the world and get your message out there.
Thanks for writing. On the question of black women and their commitment to the church; I've written about how culturally and socially ingrained religion is to Afr-Am communities because of the gender hierarchies and conventions of both the dominant culture and Afr-Am culture. As caregivers and "moral" providers, black women are practically required to be religious (or at least appear to tacitly agree to religious culture) as part of the association between proper femininity and religiously defined morality. Because of the reviled position of black women in the dominant culture, being Christian has played an especially important role in conferring women of African descent with moral legitimacy/femininity. So, no, AA women don't primarily "turn to the church" to try to reform "wayward" male relatives. For some the church is a means of personal and cultural sustenance/support. I grew up in a secular household but was raised in a community where it was presumed that one was religious. Because there are so few of us, it has been isolating to be an "out" black female atheist. But over the past two years I have met more folk who are willing to be out about their identities in person.
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