How does the cultivation of Supreme Lover Identity speak to/against supremacist patriarchies?
There are two important points to remember when understanding the relationship between Supreme Lover Identity and justice movements. The first step involves understanding patriarchies and their effects in/on the Spectrum of Personhood. The second step involves understanding Supreme Love as a radical, indomitable, comprehensive, and uniquely mediating sociocultural and socioemotional force:
1. Supremacist patriarchies hurt and kill people.
The reach and influence of supremacist patriarchies extends to, and includes, ALL people. No one is immune to their outcomes. Both victims and perpetrators of supremacist patriarchies are at risk of figurative and literal deaths every day, over the course of their entire lives. We each suffer all manner of slights and unspeakable terrors that extend from these patriarchies. For example, people who self-identify as women, particularly those of us who self-identify as women of color, are subject to a pervasive and relentless range of anti-subject biases, social rejections, moral abandonments and outright erasures, cultural disregards, demoralizing body critiques, variations of neglect, physical harassments, batteries, assaults, rapes, etc.1 These terrors wound the most vulnerable and unreconciled fragments of our Self.
They trigger the voices and stories of our unmediated fragmented selves in particular ways. The existence and perpetuation of terrors trigger survivalist knowledge frames, incite fictive constructions of reactionary REALITIES, and encourage the “reasonableness” of deleterious and disabling ways of being. All realms bearing hallmarks of human identity and forming guidelines for human engagements (including the place of the spirit, the place of the soul, and the place of the flesh/body), are affected by these phenomena. In effect, social relationships, practices, and institutions; cultural norms and values; and vast emotional and psychological terrains and enactments that are occupied and operationalized by women, can become dangerously dis-eased and dis-ordered. All of humanity is affected by these dis-eases and dis-orders…these terrors turned to Terrors.
Conversely, people who self-identify as men, particularly men of color, are too often trained to associate and interpret their social worth, cultural capital, political savvy, interpersonal intelligence, and physical prowess with their ability to uphold and perpetuate supremacist patriarchies in personal and public relationships.2 This training can be embraced even as one performs a range of dismissals and indifferences to the existence of terrors (eg. it’s all in your head; that didn’t happen). Supremacist patriarchal training is often embraced while one minimizes the influence of the psychological and emotional outcomes of terror (e.g. it wasn’t that bad; get over it; that was a long time ago; it shouldn’t matter anymore). Training in racist, supremacist, patriarchal ideologies depends on defense of its normalization (e.g. that’s how men are; that’s how it is; you should have expected this; it is what it is). It also depends on degradation and/or objectification of others (e.g. you’re an ice princess; she’s a tease; you’re crazy; that one’s a whore; she’s a slut; you’re so touchy, too sensitive; she got what she deserved; what did you expect; she was asking for it).
This training also depends on outright entitlement to the perceived privileges one gains from enacting patriarchal norms that perpetuate terrors (e.g. I’m a man; I have needs; if you won’t, someone else will; it’s a man’s world). I say “perceived privilege” because people who self-identify as men do not actually benefit from supremacist patriarchies. They are, instead, subject to the same toxicities, differently ordered in the Spectrum of their Personhoods. These toxicities cause blindness, deafness, muting, and tastelessness in the place of the flesh/body; they cause de-sensitizations and cauterizations in the place of the soul; and, they incite aimlessness, Godlessness, and tendencies for irreverent dismissal in the place of the spirit. They further alienate people who claim manhood from the range and variation of constructed REALITIES, knowledges, and reactionary ways of being perpetuated among people who claim womanhood (e.g. women are just stupid; y’all are just crazy; you don’t make any sense; men are from mars and women are from venus). This further roots the idea of separation (which, as discussed in footnote #74 of The Revelations of Asher, is a terrifying illusion).
2. Supreme Love heals and saves people.
Cultivating a Supreme Lover Identity means building up the internal constitution required to identify, interpret, and facilitate your trajectory of voices, stories, and terrors. It means demonstrating wisdom, compassion, acceptance, and inclusion in relation to every aspect of Self…becoming selectively and strategically involved with however the fragmented selves voice and whatever they story. Supreme Lover Identity is dependent on developing a highly and deeply literate life. It means learning to read, write, speak, and listen to selves on a regular basis. When supremacist patriarchies (constructing racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, ageism, xenophobia, ableism, and the like) fulfill themselves through people and within relationships, invocations of Supreme Love can act as mediator, even as savior, in the Spectrum of Personhood (where terrors are stored). Supreme Lover Identity enables the work of mediating not only the selves that voice and story the REALITIES, knowledges, and ways of being formed as reaction to supremacist patriarchies, Supreme Love acts as saving grace too. It does this by redeeming and enacting the highest form of consciousness in relation to these REALITIES, knowledges, and ways of being. Such a consciousness saves by invoking radical acceptance, radical wisdom, radical inclusion, and soulful appropriation of all that is present (whether active or dormant).
All of this means that when the spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical t/Terrors associated with supremacist patriarchies happen to people, especially women…particularly women of color…there is a way to do healing and configure counter-action to stave off figurative deaths and the entrenchment of hurtful ways of being.3 This is significant. It means that overcoming dis-eased lover identities is possible. This overcoming is so necessary, because, as I stated previously, in the chapter entitled, This book is different: An introduction:
A warped lover identity not only disables the formation of social, sexual, and romantic relationships, it disables familial, phileo, and communal relationships as well. Such disabilities undercut social and emotional justice work and activism because they stunt empathy, compassion, and altruism at their core.
CAUTION: The cultivation of this Love and Identity does not absolve oppressors or perpetrators of their guilt and shame for intentionally or unwittingly perpetuating supremacist patriarchies. Supreme Love doesn’t do that. The forgiveness it extends does not let anyone off the hook. The forgiveness it extends creates space within Self for absolute nakedness, benevolent observation, complex acknowledgment, awareness of multifaceted connection, and the possibility for deliverance, healing, and atonement. It empowers people to meet with the effects of patriarchies by developing revelatory consciousness within their own wounded spirit, soul, and flesh/body.
Once this extension in Self is made, it then becomes possible to branch it out to Others, and to the World. This extension…this blanket hope, and deific power…alters global consciousness, one person, one partnership, one community, and one nation at a time. It results in a dismantling of patriarchies. When taken seriously, the cultivation of a Supreme Lover Identity then makes justice work palpable, personal, and perpetual. It really anchors social and emotional justice work by securing the respectful regard and inalienable rights of people who are singularly or multifariously marginalized, victimized, brutalized, neglected, penalized, etc. Such people Self-identify as women, persons of color, [dis]abled, homosexual, transgender, queer, fat, old, etc. (although, of course, Supreme Love is not reserved for any one type of person…Supreme Love and Supreme Lover Identity is for everyone and everybody).
Excerpted from: Staples, J.M. (2016). The Revelations of Asher: Toward Supreme Love in Self (An Endarkened, Feminist, New Literacies Event). Peter Lang. New York, NY.
Jeanine Staples is Associate Professor of Literacy and Language & African American Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. Her book, The Revelations of Asher: Toward Supreme Love in Self, is an endarkened feminist new literacies event (Peter Lang, spring 2016). In it, she explores Black women’s terror in love. She produces research-based courses and methodologies that enable marginalized girls and women to realize internal revelations that fuel external revolutions.
Dr. Staples’ next book details the evolution of her acclaimed undergraduate course, The Philadelphia Urban Seminar. In it, she explores Supreme Love in schools. She shows how she generates curriculum and methodologies that incite anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-ableist pedagogical stances among teachers interested in urban education and equity for all people in schools and society.
1 For more on this, see Kimberle Crenshaw’s commentary, here: http://antidotezine.com/2015/06/16/where-white-supremacy-and-patriarchy-intersect-sayhername/. Also read Nicole G. Alexander-Floyd’s important work, entitled, Gender, Race, and Nationalism in Contemporary Black Studies (Comparatist Feminist Studies).
2 See hooks’ We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity and hooks’ The Will to Change: Black Men, Masculinity, and the Will to Change. Richard Majors’ work, entitled, Cool Pose: The Dilemmas of Black Manhood in America, Mark Anthony Neal’s work, Looking for Leroy: Illegible Black Masculinity Masculinities to read more about the construction of masculinities in relation to the racist, homophobic, capitalist, imperialist ideologies of Western patriarchies, in particular. See Michael Kimmel’s Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men and his Manhood in America: A Cultural History to read more about how white, supremacist patriarchal norms and values are etched into the fabric of American (Western) sociocultural and socioemotional terrain.
3 terrors cause figurative deaths in the Spectrum of Personhood. terrors can be categorically organized by noting the ways people voice and story accounts of mental confusion, social humiliation, emotional neglect, and physical violence in the context of all manner of relationship (including romantic, sexual, social, professional, familial, and phileo). All of these types of terror meet in a nexus that is signified by, cyclically responsive to, and resulting in, emotional and psychological trauma that manifests in various ways. As personal and public ideologies supported by deeply complex systems of oppression and dehumanization (e.g. racism and sexism) play out in relationships via the connections we bear to one another, we are stuck in the spin of unreconciled post-traumatic stress and disordered spectrums. When this happens and is not interrupted and healed, no one can realize justice, be it emotional or social. This is true no matter how many rallies we stage, how many laws get changed, what policies are revised, and whatever curricula and counseling program are implemented.