Black Feminism

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Black Feminism

Link The affirmative reduces narratives of police brutality to the violence that occurs to black men which renders black women invisible in status quo discussions of Anti-blackness

Imani 2013(Renisha McBride and the Victimization and Criminalization of Black Women November 20, 2013 Zellie Imani is a writer, photographer, activist, and teacher based in North Jersey) DDI 15///
Often at times the discourse of black folk is reduced to narratives of Black Men; likewise the discourse of women is reduced to a narrative of white women. In both cases, the voice and experiences of Black Women are left muted and silenced. A combination of racist and sexist historical and social forces render the victimization and criminalization of Black Women invisible. Acts of criminalization and victimization – structural, institutional, interpersonal – of marginalized groups are consistently denied and dismissed as exceptions instead of products of structural and cultural inequality. And so seems to be the case in the tragic death of Renisha McBride. Renisha McBride, a 19 year Black Woman from Detroit, was involved in a car accident and went to a nearby house in a Detroit suburb seeking assistance. She was shot in the face by the white male resident with a 12 gauge shotgun. Dearborn Heights police claimed the shooter feared Renisha was an intruder and accidentally discharged his weapon. No initial arrests were made and police refused to release the identity of the man who took the young woman’s life. Her death bore striking resemblance to the death of Trayvon Martin. In both cases White Fear of Blackness excused acts of transgression and violence against Black bodies. We know how the narrative goes when the person allegedly perceiving an imminent danger is white, but the story plays out quite differently when the seemingly threatened individual occupies a Black body. Particularly, a Black female body. In March of last year, Marissa Alexander, a Black Woman, was sentenced to 20 years in jail after firing a warning shot into the ceiling in an attempt to scare off her abusive husband. Despite invoking Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, Marissa was still convicted of armed assault…apparently Stand Your Ground only applies when the legs and feet involved aren’t brown. Odd how some justify Marissa Alexander’s incarceration with claims of recklessness but excuse the death of Renisha McBride as accidental. Oh, did I say odd, I meant racist. See, racists only side with the law when it’s protecting and defending whiteness. Recent studies show Black Americans receive almost 60% longer prison sentences than white Americans who committed the same crime. Black Women are three times more likely than white women to be incarcerated, while Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely than white women to be incarcerated. Institutional racism and sexism historically legitimized the victimization and criminalization of Black women. The black female slave experience is a brutal saga of assault, violence and abuse. Many slave codes ripped away the rights of enslaved Blacks. A white man who raped a black female slave was only guilty of trespass on the master’s property. Few, if any of these crimes against the humanity of Black Women were reported then. Few, if any are reported now.

The affirmative is pro-black while being Anti-black womyn as this discourse furthers the criminality of black womyn in the United States

Rakia 2014 [The Criminalization of the Black Woman May 28, 2014—Raven Rakia] DDI 15///

On March 20, Shanesha Taylor was arrested and charged with child abuse after leaving her two children in the car during a job interview. The homeless Black mother stated that se “had nowhere else to take her children." Austerity measures in Arizona cut child care subsidies from thousands of parents since 2009 — subsidies that would give parents, who cannot afford it, money for child care while they work (currently 6,000 children are on the waiting list for the subsidies and the number of children receiving these subsidies have been reduced by 70 percent since 2009). Now, Taylor is facing felony charges of up to eight years in prison. The county attorney, Bill Montgomery, declared he will proceed with prosecuting despite receiving an online petition with 12,000 signatures asking him to rethink the charges (since then, petition has reached over 55,000 signatures). Taylor's story rests on the assumptions that poor Black women are careless, unfit mothers and a threat to their own kids. With no nuance in the infliction they face on a daily basis trying to survive in poverty, the state is allowed to strip them of their resources then blame and jail them for their hardships.

This is the similar narrative as Monica Jones’ story but the criminal justice system isn’t saving Shanesha Taylor from the 'ills of sex work,' but instead, saving her children from their own mother. Under a guise of caring for and saving children, the state does just the opposite. The incarceration of black women for being ‘bad’ parents does not help the child but disenfranchises them. As Dorothy E. Roberts says in Prison, Foster Care and The Systematic Punisment of Black Mothers: “Mass incarceration deprives thousands of children of important economic and social support from their parents, placing extra economic and emotional burdens on remaining family membersSeparation from imprisoned parents has serious psychological consequences for children, including depression, anxiety, feelings of rejection, shame, anger, guilty and problems in school.”

Bill Montgomery is not interested in the wellbeing of Taylor's two children. If he and the system were, they would not be incarcerating their mother, rather, they would provide the family with a home and resources to not just survive, but to live. The idea that one must save Black children from their own mothers is a popular social sentiment dating back to the beginning of the War on Drugs. While the much hyped 'welfare queen' stereotype garnered support for the end of public assistance, the mythological 'crack baby' helped perpetuate the idea of the irresponsible, undeserving Black woman---often a poor mother who was dangerous to her very own kids. Using White supremacy as a pedestal, the result of both of these government campaigns was a continued depletion of resources from poor and Black communities, as well as the systematic surveillance and mass incarceration of Black people.

It took thirty years to debunk the crack baby fable, as researchers declared they “couldn’t find any devastating effects from cocaine exposure in the womb” and University of Pennsilvania neonatologist Hallam Hurt’s study concluded that poverty is more dangerous than prenatal exposure to cocaine. The initial studies declaring the dangers of the crack baby in the 1980’s were scientifically flawed (small sample sizes and not enough control groups). The pervasive notions in our society that both assumed the worst of Black people as a whole and made Black women dangerous to the lives of their children, allowed for the flawed studies to go unquestioned and be broadly accepted as truth. The result was thousands of women with stories similar to Shekelia Ward or Regina McKnight, who were criminalized for being drug addicted during their pregnancies, as opposed to being treated as addicts in need of rehabilitation.

The experiences of black women are unique as the specificity of violence manifest itself differently, the 1AC cannot resolve this issue

James 2013(Joy. James. Afrarealism and the Black Matrix. The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research) DDI 15///

Racial rape is complicated and mercurial although all blood trails are traceable to the black matrix. Part of the trauma of captive males entails their sexual violations. Boys and men could be forced into being proxy rapists, coerced to rape for the entertainment, edification, or enrichment of their captors or "masters." And black boys and men themselves are rape victims. (legal dis-16 THE BLACK SCHOLAR course has changed to acknowledge male victimization as rape; recently the US justice Department under Eric Holder redefined" rape" to include males.)Outside the narratives of compulsory heterosexuality, black males were raped by their white captors or were forced to rape others, or both. Outside of the narratives of compulsory black solidarity, captive males raped for pornographic, sadistic pleasure or material gain (more food and benefits, fewer beatings, etc. from violent authoritarians). Any philosophical aversion, emotional dissonance, political "shame" toward critiques of racial rape leaves black masculinity theory adrift or disengaged. Either it dangles as strange fruit or following the broken branch collapses heavily upon the black matrix. If black philosophy undervalues male entanglement and investment in racial rape and violence against reproductivity, it loses sight of the violence manifested through sexual trauma and denigration, forced breeding or sterilization, or abuse of or contempt for children. Thus the currency of black philosophical engagements with freedom is undermined. Male captives "feminized" through blackness, and terrorized by mutating manifestations of white supremacy, have structural male supremacy over black females. Male captives did and do not, could and cannot suffer rape as routine entertainment or the terrors of forced reproductivity. Hopefully, we agree that this discussion is not about which (trans)gendered being suffers most under racial subjugation; rather the focus rests on the "nature" of the subjugator's extensive reach into interior spaces, its colonization and scarification of black wombs and matrices that have no public record. TBS & Volume 43 • Number 4 " Winter 2013Downloaded by [Dartmouth College Library] at 10:19 26 July 2015 American democracy's generative violence uniquely and strategically targets the matrix because it offers the foundational frame for building the border between democracy and captivity, and deniability of state inmate violence. The black matrix is where patriarchal, racial-sexual violence, economics, and privatized terrors meet. The maroonage is where they are dissipated into the dust of Afrarealist departures. Historically, captives and fugitives painted political ethics and theory so that maroon philosophy could map freedom along the contours and fault lines of colonial and imperial democracies.10 When early rebellions and multiracial maroonage receded to leave only blackness at democracy's outer most borders, that blackness solidified into the silhouette of the black matrix, as the basic boundary between domination and power, 11 between the violence of productive labor for the marketplace and the terror that reproduces "plantation babies.''12 Encompassing democracy's anti-black animus and maroonage's anti-black feminist sentiments, the black matrix both points to and constitutes uncharted territory on the other side of democracy. Its objective is to destabilize democracy's mythology and maroonage's demystifications as a form of pleasure, as well as justice.

The alternative Reject the 1AC infavor of a discussion of herstory as it relates toc policing the colorline, only a rejection of dominate narratives of black violence allow us to put Black womyn in the forefront of our discussion instead of tokens

Carby 1997[White Woman Listen! Black Feminism and the Boundaries of Sisterhood 1997 Hazel V. Carby professor of African American Studies and of American Studies at Yale University Ph.D., Birmingham University, England, 1984]DDI 2015///

In arguing that feminism must take account of the lives, herstories, and experiences of black women we are not advocating that teams of white feminists should descend upon Brixton, Southall, Bristol, or Liverpool to take black women as objects of study in modes of resistance. We don't need that kind of intrusion on top of all the other information-gathering forces that the state has mobilized in the interest of "race relations." White women have been used against black women in this way before and feminists must learn from history. After the Igbo riots described above, two women anthropologists were sent by the British to "study the causes of the riot and to uncover the organizational base that permitted such spontaneity and solidarity among the women" (Caulfield 1974, 84). The WLM, however, does need to listen to the work of black feminists and to take account of autonomous organizations like OWAAD (Organization of Women of Asian and African Descent) who are helping to articulate the ways in which we are oppressed as black women. In addition to this, it is very important that white women in the women's movement examine the ways in which racism excludes many black women and prevents them from unconditionally aligning themselves with white women. Instead of taking black women as the objects of their research, white feminist researchers should try to uncover the gender-specific mechanisms of racism among white women. This more than any other factor disrupts the recognition of common interests of sisterhood. In Finding a Voice by Amrit Wilson, Asian women describe many instances of racial oppression at work from white women. Asian women Are paid how salaries and everything is worse for them, they have to face the insults of supervisors. These supervisors are all English women. The trouble is that in Britain our women are expected to behave like servants and we are not used to behaving like servants and we can't. But if we behave normally ... the supervisors start shouting and harassing us . . . . They complain about us Indians to the manager. (Wilson 1978, 122) Black women do not want to be grafted onto "feminism" in a tokenistic manner as colorful diversions to "real" problems. Feminism has to be transformed if it is to address us. Neither do we wish our words to be misused in generalities as if what each one of us utters represents the total experience of all black women. Audre Lorde's address to Mary Daly is perhaps the best conclusion. I ask that you be aware of how this serves the destructive forces of racism and separation between women—the assumption that the herstory and myth of white women is the legitimate and sole herstory and myth of all women to call for power and background, and that nonwhite women and our herstories are noteworthy only as decorations, or examples of female victimization. I ask that you be aware of the effect that this dismissal has upon the community of black women, and how it devalues your own words.... When patriarchy dismisses us, it encourages our murders. When radical lesbian feminist theory dismisses us, it encourages its own demise. This dismissal stands as a real block to communication between us. This block makes it far easier to turn away from you completely than attempt to understand the thinking behind your choices. Should the next step be war between us, or separation? Assimilation within a sole Western-European herstory is not acceptable. (Lorde 1981, 96) In other words, of white feminists we must ask, what exactly do you mean when you say "we"?



Black female suffering is essentialized through a discussion of black trauma but the language that initiated Black Female violence becomes invisible

James 13(Joy James The Black Scholar Volume 43 Number 4 Winter 2013Page 125-126 James is is the F. C. Oakley Third Century Chair, Professor in Humanities and of political science at Williams College)DDI 15///

Historically, captive females were violently forced to labor alongside captive males. This seeming erasure of gendered differences masculinized black suffering. Under patriarchy, violence against the female form is often denied or deflected through language that renders female trauma invisible, inconsequential, or self-inflicted. The “uncut bond” of black exploitation and trauma under white supremacy meant a folding of black female trauma into the black male frame, from which it receded from common view, typically emerging as spectacle only and not as spectrum. Thus common perceptions of black suffering became embodied in and represented by male trauma—emanating from the lash, shackle, the brand, convict lease, lynch mob, death row, mass imprisonment, and “stop-n-frisk.” With the norm and apex of black suffering centered on violence in the public realm and the public spaces of the private realm (cloistered plantations and prisons), racial rape became subsumed under racial capital.

The official chronology of and narratives about violence and terror that constitute US democracy’s borders—chattel slavery, the convict prison lease system,9 Jim Crow segregation, mass incarceration, “stop-n-frisk”— crowd out the black matrix, displacing it from philosophical inquiries into subjugation. The interiority of this trauma zone has paltry public record and memory. Racial rape, the dominant threat, appears in black women’s writings, memoirs, fiction, and art, but in these forms may be categorized as emotive performance, mere illustrations for rather than inherently forms of critical philosophy.


We come first –The Black Female body invokes a paradox to the notion of ‘reproductivity’, where the abundance of life, is the abundance of commodities, or death. The life of civil society and its sexual transgressions are dependent upon a pre-requisit black female violence

Martinot 2007[Steve Martinot Motherhood and the invention of Race Hypatia, Volume 22, Number 2, Spring 2007, Pg 79-97 Published by Indiana University Press is Instructor Emeritus at the Center for Interdisciplinary Programs at San Francisco State University]DDI 15///

For nominally free English women threatened with punishment for bearing free Afro-English children, an obligation was imposed to aspire to a social status defined by female sexual discretion. Their comportment was thus given iconic (rather than economic) value in requiring that they not be sexual beings, while still bearing children that the colony could certify as wholly “English.” This narrative of propriety exists for white “southern womanhood” (at least as male mythology) well into the present era (Dollard 1949, 136).5 The colony’s demand for black women’s obeisance also rendered them a different form of property across the category differential established between English and African women. Both English and African women were reduced in different ways to controlled breeding stock: one the producers of property and the other the producers of heirs to that property. While matrilineal statutes legitimized the sexual violation of some, antimiscegenation law violated the legitimacy of sexuality for all (Roberts 1997, 41).

In summary, in order for English women’s bodies to become sites of sexual purity, African women’s bodies had to become culturally hypersexualized. English women became the desexualized site of validated motherhood through the reduction of African motherhood to the status of capital. Sexuality and motherhood were thrown against each other in opposite ways, marking a disparate fracturing of the being of English and African women. In short, women and womanly being were deployed to shift a prior juridical distinction between the English and the Africans to a bio-economic plane. And through this fracturing of women, society was divided categorically; English and African were rendered socially incommensurable with one another. Herein was born the incommensurability that the concept of “race” sought to naturalize, revealed in full relationality. Yet contrary to the myth of “naturalized” race, it is the hegemonic group that remains dependent on those it dominates for its ability to define and redefine itself through them.

The birth of American whiteness and national identity converge across and through the race-marked bodies of women. Ultimately, the embodiment of sexuality in women of color in order to withhold sexuality from English women rendered sexuality as such an extension of the market, and the bondlabor market an extension of sexuality. The “color coding” of sexuality produced a sexualization of color, which augmented the emerging “color coding” of labor.

While the matrilineal servitude statute’s explicit purpose was to reduce women to different forms of productive resource, it also transformed the gender identity of men. On the one hand, African men and women were reduced to different forms of capital, that is, people held as productive resources for the benefit of plantation profitability. English men, on the other hand, found themselves conscripted to guard English women’s chastity. If masculinity’s definition of itself is contingent upon its own definition of femininity, then any attempt to redefine female identity will shift the definition of male identity. In trapping themselves in the role of holding English women to racialized standards for sexual purity and propriety, the English men’s sexual choices were severely reduced, precisely because it reduced them to policing and surveillance functions. That is, the reduction of English women to chaste breeders of a pure race at the same time reduced the possibilities for English men. An English man found himself having to marry the desexed signifier for propriety and the cold purity of ancestry, rather than a warm woman. And it was in these terms that the dissevering of all women, race-marked through specularized black women as forbidden objects of desire, incited a history of white male sexual transgression.

In sum, Africans and African Americans were transformed into mediations of the property relations between English men, while all women (English and African) were conscripted to mediate the relation between English men and their property. Property relations were rendered inseparable from gender relations, not simply with respect to inheritance or a division of labor, but as a proprietary categorization of people that would later be canonized as “race” and nation.

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