Pimparchy: A system of control that is sexually, physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and financially exploitative and damaging to women and children for personal gain or benefit. Alongside it’s parent system Patriarchy.
Term coined by Fatou Diarra; Definition by Tanisha Coleman
Pimpology And Interpersonal Relations:
Pimpology: pimpology refers to the art of understanding the female psyche to the point of being able to “pimp” them. Giving the man (or woman) the ability to control and manipulate a woman through her personal choices. When I did some research on the “pimp/ho” relationship, I started to notice similar behaviors I see in normal relationship exchanges between men and women. I spoke with several men who themselves have expressed to me they have read articles and books that were authored by self-proclaimed pimps or sex-traffickers themselves. Looking at the socialization between black males and females, I witness much pimp/ho behavior in ordinary men (the pimp archetype), and assimilated behavior in the women (the hoe archetype). I have traced such behavior to what is taught and instilled into black girls/women vs. black boys/men. In this blog (and the blogs to follow) I will break down where I believe such behavior could possibly stem from, as well as the contribution pimp/ho culture has to conflicting relations between black men and women. Thus, creating the cultural system of Pimparchy.
The Black Pastor:
Going to church is undeniably social conditioning amongst black women – it’s how many Black women were raised. But what women hear in church about staying hidden, waiting on God to bring a man, receiving blessings based on donations to the church is in reality nothing but pimp style game. Children are also at risk to be used, as churches are increasingly the location for sexual abuse of children at the hand of church leaders and congregants alike. Church is not a safe place for Black women or their children, because the men there see you as nothing but prey!”
– Deborrah Cooper
Like most black women and men, I have grown up in and out of the black church. In a black low income family and community that often provides experiences of hardship and struggle, the black church is often where we have found enlightenment and sanctuary. My blog is not a direct attack on religion or black churches as a whole. I will speak on the harmful effects that the black church (and its associating religion/denomination) has on the psyche of black girls and boys, the dynamics of black male/female relationships, and its connection to pimp/ho culture. Below is a list of insightful questions to ask when deciphering the difference between pastor and pimp, from Black America Web:
1-Does your minister care more about visiting the sisters than visiting the sick?
2- Does your minister care more about his clothing than about clothing the poor?
3-Does your minister care more about hooking up at the convention than helping the elderly keep their gas and electric hooked up?
4-Does your minister care more about his first lady’s appearance than he does about appearing at the prison to visit the inmates?
5-Does your minister spend more on cars and bling than feeding the hungry?
6-Does your minister have more groupies than Denzel Washington?
7-Does your minister care more about Preaching than he does about Pastoring?
8-Does your minister have a bigger house than the homeless shelter?
9-Does your minister give out more hugs to the women in the church than the church gives scholarships to young people?
10-Does your minister condemn gay folks so you won’t notice his and his fellow ministers’ male and female lovers?
The first statement that I want to exclaim as it relates to relationships is: “Where is your man?”. Or as the church will say, “God, Where is my Boaz?”. When I expressed my hardships in “finding a good man”, many of the first suggestions to me would be to look for one in church. At many times I did find myself going back to church and finding new hope in religion. Often I would also be judged and criticized for whether I was “wife material” or deserving of a good man. Here lies the shame that is often spoken in religious texts against womanhood. By these narratives the expectations for a woman is usually to prove herself as a “good woman” first in order to be worthy of marriage. Anyone who is a regular church goer or leads by such faith, is very aware of the Proverbs 31,”virtuous woman”. It is usually assumed that if I was in a relationship that failed, I perhaps wasn’t “virtuous” enough to be worthy of marrying. This is the sort of shame that is constantly preached to black women in church, accompanied by the fear that if you are not “pure” enough for a man, you don’t deserve a healthy relationship or marriage.
What is lacking in accompany to the “virtuous woman” is the “virtuous man”. Usually the number one example in a black church of such man is the black pastor. After years of trying to find another “good man” outside of the black pastor, I usually came up empty handed. Its not often that I found that sermons or even church events centered on bridging black families together. Especially the single congregation, and surely I wouldn’t see the church as a dating arena. Usually the most I received was a sermon, and a restoration of hope in eternal life. What I have came across, however, was many sermons on who and what would entail me to be a “good wife” to a man. What is the point in preaching to me what a good wife is, if the objective of finding a “good husband” is not also a main objective? Or even preaching the qualities of one, that doesn’t resort to the control (“leadership”) of a man/husband via my submission? Especially considering the power struggle and control aspects of many relationships which often results to more failed relationships.
In many churches, the business aspect of the church is also the main or primary objective. Here you can observe the exploitation of the church, and the harmful effects it has on it’s congregation. Especially black women and children. The black pastor who is power hungry or full of financial greed can eventually lead his church to lose it’s focus from restoring families to destroying families and his community. Or even destroy the mental, physical, and spiritual well being of his followers. In this church dynamic, I see the pastor as the “pimp”, and his congregation as his “hoes” (especially the women). In any pimp/ho relationship the pimp controls the resources of his “hoes” via exploitation or demand. This is in the form of demanding money, demanding worship, demanding obedience, and demanding blind loyalty.
Even if I am to describe the image of said pastor, his controlling image can resemble the pimps from Blaxploitation films. He has the suit, the cane, the hat, the gator shoes, and the Cadillac (or similar). Controlling images are very powerful in programming the human psyche. Powerful controlling images perpetuate misguided messages about impoverished African American women that contribute to the oppression these women endure. These images inform policies and behavior that create and maintain structural barriers such as lack of access to education and meaningful employment further marginalizing oppressed individuals. Imagine the damage the controlling image of the black Pastor-Pimp can have on the psyche of his female supporters/followers. The black women in the church become blindly devoted to their Pastor-Pimp, similar to how a hoe becomes devoted to her pimp. His sermon becomes his “game” that is preached to his congregation to keep them under his authority, control, or guidance. They never question his authority, nor do they challenge him in a way to detach her individual humanity from under his control. Her voice, individual benefits, and right to grow, becomes secondary (or absent) to his main objective. Thus she becomes his “hoe”.
As I stated earlier, anytime I expressed my struggle in finding a healthy relationship with a “good man”, I was often redirected back to the black church. However, as I learned, the church is hardly designed to provide enough potential husbands. I often found myself lost in the congregation of predominately black families (unavailable/married men) or other single black women. It has been obvious to me that many single black men don’t regularly attend church as much as single black women. I assume the single black women would have to utilize hope and prayer for a good man to become readily available. Perhaps the single black men reject the pimp image and pimparchy system within the black church. I’m sure most men who are ego driven wouldn’t feel comfortable being pimped by another man, yet the single black woman becomes easier prey and targets. Not only her, but any children she would bring with her to regularly attend church. The responsibility of the Pastor-Pimp would be to create a surrogate dynamic within the church, to be both father and husband to all of the mixed families within his congregation. Especially the single black woman and mother.
Considering most of the black churches’ congregation comprises mostly of black women, how come there isn’t a drive to push black women to stand behind the pulpit? Does the black woman behind the pulpit pose a threat to the pimp/ho dynamics of the black church? I often remember the “women’s ministries” of the church being mostly created only for the black women in the congregation. So despite the black women attending the sermons of the black male pastor (or other black male deacons, bishops, etc), the black women’s voice get drowned out by the church’s male pimp domination or redirected to smaller group environments (women’s and children’s ministries). If according to the Bible, the objection of any strong religion or faith is a healthy and strong family, perhaps it would serve the best interest of the church to also have more black women serve as standing pastors, and other leadership roles. I would even dare to say elder councils, and committees that also focus on orchestrating the guidelines, policies, and religious doctrines. Dare I even elect a female Pope? Preferably a black woman.
In the congregation’s blind loyalty to their pastor, especially black women, they hardly question his authority or his actions/behavior. The black women and children often become prey to the criminal behaviors of exploitative Pastors-Pimps. This is often exposed in the many Pastor-Pimps that have participated in extra marital affairs, child molestation, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking that many have been found guilty of. This greatly exposes the pimp/ho culture found within the black church. This can also be said of the churches of other racial groups and religions, such as the Catholic church and Islamic religions. You can redress the pimp, but the game is always the same no matter where he is. One thing that life and the black church has taught me, is that you can’t turn a Pimp into a husband. Though I will still be told to this day, this is where I will be sure to find a good man/husband. But, is the objective for me to be his hoe or his housewife?
Featured Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oy6miWidWEo
© Tanisha R. Coleman, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tanisha R. Coleman with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.