Author Topic: Conservative’s Cluelessness Makes Black Audiences Miss the Message  (Read 3978 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 10032
    • View Profile

Conservative’s Cluelessness Makes Black Audiences Miss the Message
Christelyn D. Karazin 07.12.2011, 12:15 PM

I read, along with millions of others, about ”The Marriage Vow–A Declaration of Dependence upon Marriage and Family” that was signed by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Taken on it’s face, a “declaration of dependence upon marriage and family” is a positive step in the right direction when it comes to government officials participating in community initiatives to promote marriage and family, because from a policy (and common sense) perspective, study after study shows that children raised by two parents do better in school, have less behavioral problems, and are less likely to use drugs and drop out of school.  Married couples tend to be healthier and wealthier.  It’s good policy to promote marriage.

But here’s where the declaration fell flat on it’s face, and I fear that any real chance of the black community getting on board with this pledge was thwarted by this language:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.

If this initiative expected any support from black churches, moderate to conservative blacks, community and other pro-family organizations that could have HELPED them spread a potentially positive message just evaporated in a puff of smoke.

I am befuddled that “The Family Leader” could get the American history so disastrously wrong.  Black slaves were not allowed to be married.  While they had their own “symbolic marriage,” by jumping over a broom, which signifies two people leaving one life and jumping into a new one together, that was as close as African slaves could get to marriage.  Black men were used as studs, and black women were treated as brood mares, and their offspring were separated and sold.  How anyone is government unaware to this well-documented truth completely boggles my mind.

And that’s where “The Family Leader” blew it.  Now I fear, nothing they could ever say could get black people who are pro-marriage and pro-family on board to support them, which is sad.  Black people have by far the highest out-of-wedlock rate (73%) than any other race in America.  They’ve since removed the language, but it’s way to late.  The horse is out of the barn.

When policy makers and organizations use ignorant language like this, you miss the opportunity and marginalize yourselves.  What the organization should have said is that the black family was the strongest after slavery, when they had the highest marriage rate.  At the time Martin Luther King Jr. did his “I Have a Dream” speech, over 70% of black children were being raised by a married mother and father.  That’s what “The Family Leader” should have said.

But it’s too late.  Now no one who should be listening will be listening.  And that’s a shame.

Offline BmoreAkuma

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 2237
    • View Profile
Re: Conservative’s Cluelessness Makes Black Audiences Miss the Message
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2011, 10:18:16 am »

I mean really? really? Remember ladies and gents she is running for office. I'm seeing what she is "trying to do" but as stated they both fell flat and I mean flat.
With these choices, I felt that the American black man only needed to choose which one to get eaten by; the liberal fox or the conservative wolf because both of them will eat him.

Offline Battle

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 11167
  • M.A.X. Commander
    • View Profile
Re: Conservative’s Cluelessness Makes Black Audiences Miss the Message
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2021, 08:00:56 am »
Wednesday, 23rd June  Twenty One
The tangled history behind why some couples jump over a broom at their wedding
by Jacob Shamsian

Wedding traditions often have odd, unexpected, and occasionally even disturbing histories behind them.

The tradition of "jumping the broom" is no exception.

Few wedding traditions have vexed historians and folklorists so much.

In its contemporary usage, couples jump over brooms as a sort of signifier of sweeping away the old to make way for a new beginning, and the tradition is most widespread among some black communities in the United States today.

As the name of a 2011 romcom, it's even firmly part of the cultural lexicon.

But oddly enough, the tradition originated with Romani gypsies from Wales.

Slave marriages often weren't legally recognized, with tragic consequences — families could be separated at the whim of their owners.

In the antebellum United States, "jumping the broom" was one ceremony where slaves were forced to marry one another, according to the folklore scholar Alan Dundes.

Instead of an ordained minister legally conducting a wedding, there are accounts of slaveowners fetching a broom and having two slaves jump over it before they were considered married, according to Dundes.

There was some variance in the practice, according to the accounts that exist today.

Sometimes the broom was laid on the ground and sometimes it was held in the air.

Sometimes the couple jumped at the same time and sometimes they jumped separately.

And sometimes they jumped over a single broom, and sometimes they each had their own broom.

Jumping the broom wasn't necessarily a tradition imposed on slaves by their masters, according to Tyler Parry, a historian of marriage rituals in the African diaspora.

Some slaveowners forced their slaves to do it as a form of mockery.

But at the same time, most historians think slave masters didn't care all that much about slave marriages "as long as they were bearing children," Parry told INSIDER.

If anything, some slaveowners tended to give more showy weddings.

"When slaveowners married slaves, they would usually give certain slaves a very elaborate wedding," Parry said.

"They used this to prove to northern abolitionists that they were being very benevolent, nice, and kind to their slaves. It became a form of apologetics."

By the 1830s and '40s, jumping the broom was a ritual that enslaved people understood as their own.

"They didn't entirely know the origins of it," Parry told INSIDER.

But at some point, "slave communities recognized it as one way they could legitimately marry each other."

After the American Civil War, former slaves "embraced more orthodox forms of marriage," according to Parry.

But in some situations, it was still used.

If a couple wanted to marry but a priest wasn't available, for example, they'd jump the broom and then wait for a clergy member to come into town a few weeks later to ratify the marriage.

At the same time, former slaves had complicated relationships with legal marriage in America.

Marriage was important for legal recognition.

But in some cases, they'd rely on their broomstick weddings.

"There were even cases where former slaves refused to be married, because they felt their broomstick wedding conducted 30 years ago was sufficient," Parry said.

"They didn't need the government telling them they had to get remarried."

Dundes credits Alex Haley's book and miniseries "Roots" for the resurgence of the marriage ritual. It's featured in a scene in Haley's story.

It's part of a larger conversation about broom-jumping and marriage rituals that was taking place among black writers in the 1960s, according to Parry.

The 1977 "Roots" miniseries, in particular, sparked a lot of interest in the black community in America at large.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Ebony and Jet magazines often wrote about the tradition.

According to Parry, the interest in it culminated with the 1992 book "Broom Jumping: A Celebration of Love" by Danita Rountree Green.

"That would be the turning point in changing the African-American wedding into what we typically call 'heritage weddings,'" Parry said, which implement African and African-American traditions into wedding ceremonies.

But what does the tradition mean and where does it come from?

Many writers believe the myth — promoted in Green's book — that some form of jumping the broom was practiced in Africa, particularly by the ruling tribes in Ghana, and came to America with the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

But there are no recorded instances of jumping the broom in Africa prior to the Transatlantic Slave Trade, according to Dundes.

Parry, who's done more recent scholarly work on West African wedding traditions, agrees.

"I found nothing about jumping the broom there," Parry said.

"It just doesn't exist."

The custom, bizarrely enough, most likely originated in Europe.

The oldest records we have of jumping over a broom being used as a marriage rite dates to around 1700, in Wales.

Some people — particularly Roma, commonly known as "gypsies" — had marriages that weren't recognized by the church.

They were married through non-church rituals.

One of these rituals, practiced widely in Wales, was a "Besom Wedding," a besom being a type of broom.

In a Besom Wedding, a broom was placed aslant in a doorway for a couple to jump over.

The couple had to jump over the broom without touching it to be married, according to the folklore scholar C.W. Sullivan III.

The marriage could also be annulled if the couple jumped over the broom again — but backwards.

By the beginning of the 18th century, broomstick weddings were widespread in Wales.

Stepping over an object was, in fact, widespread throughout much of England.

In one community, couples jumped over a "Petting Stone."

But while these unions were accepted in Roma communities, Christian communities did not accept the validity of those marriages.

For cultures where a belief in witches ran rampant, keeping those witches at bay was a priority.
Marriages, in particular, were considered susceptible to witchcraft and curses.

Take, for example, the "something old, something new" rhyme, which is meant to defend against the evil eye.

An article published in the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society in 1908 or 1909, cited by Dundes, said that some Roma communities in Scotland and England in the 1800s practiced jumping over broomsticks as a wedding rite.

The broomstick, the article wrote, is emblematic of evil and witches.

Jumping over the broom symbolized wedded love defying evil and witchcraft.

The practice may also be related to a British version of carrying the bride over the threshold.

For that tradition, in some British communities, brooms were placed at the entrance of the room the bride and groom would go into.

Anyone who refused to step over it would be considered a witch.

It's through 18th century British migrants that the folk ritual made its way to the United States, argues Parry.

Over time, the tradition of jumping the broom has been somewhat divorced from its Welsh roots.

In America, its history has now come to be closely associated with slavery.

But today, some people have reclaimed the tradition for their own.

"Jumping the broom matters for people," Parry said.

"Millions of people still do it."

In some black communities in America, jumping the broom is a matter of debate.

There's a discussion about whether the tradition is archaic and worth discarding as a relic of slavery, or worth maintaining and remembering.

"I'm starting to see that instead of just accepting that someone is going to jump the broom, there are actual conversations that people are having about whether or not they should," Parry said.

"Especially when people are interracially married and are dating outside their race ... I've seen some online blogs and polls that ask,

'I'm marrying a white guy, should I jump the broom?'"

In Europe as well as the United States, there's also a parallel movement in Celtic and Neo-Pagan communities to renew the tradition "as a kind of homage to the British Isles," Parry said.

"While in America, we usually attach it to an African-American practice, if you go to Wales or Scotland, they would see it as much more about people who rejected Christianity," Parry said.

Over the centuries, jumping the broom has acquired a tangled history, one that touches on different lineages and traditions in different communities.

Parry advocates for sharing it.

"What you'll actually find is people from different communities trying to claim the custom, which I think is kind of a problematic way of going about it," Parry said.

"Because no one owns culture. Culture is just something that evolves and is shared across time."