Broken Social Contracts and Silent Consent

I’ve been very busy and going through a lot of late and had resolved I wouldn’t post much if at all this week. But I just had the PRIVILEGE of watching a short clip of a full length documentary entitled Broken Social Contracts by Laura L. Rahman. In the past few weeks there has been so much “back and forth” about Rihanna and Chris Brown that many folks have turned away from a dialogue that remains perpetually silenced: an honest and critical dialogue on violence between Black men and women. While I don’t know the creator of the piece, it immediately resonated with me because as an Alumnus of Morehouse it documents and challenges many of the standing sanitized commentaries on rape in the Black community, particularly between Morehouse and Spelman. I love the metaphor that is developed in the trailer, likely in the whole film, of a social contract that positions Spelman in silent service and allegiance to Morehouse and any rupturing of that contract somehow is heretical, anti-Black male or even really anti-Black.



A few years ago I wrote a post entitled “Playing the Rape Card” inspired by the tensions happening between Morehouse and Spelman around student rape. As I talked to brothers I went to school with and looked at comments on facebook about rape between Morehouse and Spelman I was disappointed. I was at first disgusted with our “knee jerk” reaction to allegations and our emphasis on “alleged rapes” when many of us have damn well known for years these issues plague our schools, communities and families. My post was well received by sisters who read it and commented, but very few from brothas. When I looked at my hit counter it was one of my “most popular” posts and when I asked brothas who read it their thoughts they said things like, “I agree.” But men weren’t really ready to “stand up and stand out” against the growing wall of ” Black male solidarity” with Morehouse. I found that brothers were silently consenting to my argument that rape is not fiction as well as silently consenting to rape. It’s time to break that silent consent as well. While I’m sure my post didn’t do much, I have high hopes that this film will begin to re-open that dialogue. I intended to just post the video quickly, but too many things came to mind. Thank you Laura Rahman for breaking the social contracts and I’ll continue to try to break silent consent.

Hattip to Byron Hurt for the video trailer.

Filed under: Activism, Art, Black Men, Campus Life, Education, Gender, Morehouse, Protest, Race

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  • longbench

    THANK YOU for sharing this! I didn't attend either of these schools, but I have always been suspicious of, and frankly, a little disgusted, by the absence of critical engagement about these schools, and the kinds of identities they foster. It is as if all black people are supposed to be genuflecting to these institutions and thus become complicit in the big cover-up. Glad the women decided to tear the curtains down.

  • longbench

    THANK YOU for sharing this! I didn’t attend either of these schools, but I have always been suspicious of, and frankly, a little disgusted, by the absence of critical engagement about these schools, and the kinds of identities they foster. It is as if all black people are supposed to be genuflecting to these institutions and thus become complicit in the big cover-up. Glad the women decided to tear the curtains down.

  • longbench

    THANK YOU for sharing this! I didn't attend either of these schools, but I have always been suspicious of, and frankly, a little disgusted, by the absence of critical engagement about these schools, and the kinds of identities they foster. It is as if all black people are supposed to be genuflecting to these institutions and thus become complicit in the big cover-up. Glad the women decided to tear the curtains down.