Their focus on equality and a common strand of humanity ignores that blacks don’t meet under the category of human – turns case
Wilderson 10, Frank B Wilderson is a professor at UC Irvine, “Red, White, and Black: Cinema and Structure of US Antagonisms,” NN
I have little interest in assailing political conservatives. Nor is my argument wedded to the disciplinary needs of political science, or even sociology, where injury must be established, first, as White Supremacist event, from which one then embarks upon a demonstration of intent, or racism; and, if one is lucky, or foolish, enough, a solution is proposed. If the position of the Black is, as I argue, a paradigmatic impossibility in the Western Hemisphere, indeed, in the world, in other words, if a Black is the very antithesis of a Human subject, as imagined by marxism and/or psychoanalysis, then his/her paradigmatic exile is not simply a function of repressive practices on the part of institutions (as political science and sociology would have it). This banishment from the Human fold is to be found most profoundly in the emancipatory meditations of Black people’s staunchest “allies,” and in some of the most “radical” films. Here—not in restrictive policy, unjust legislation, police brutality, or conservative scholarship—is where the Settler/Master’s sinews are most resilient
Traditional conceptions of feminism and general equality ignore the specificity of blackness – their liberty for all is not inclusive of the black positionality which dooms their movement to failure
Robtheidealist 14, Robtheidealist is the creater of the website OrchestratedPulse, a social justice blog and forum where he writes about personal experience along with reviews of popular equality works, “Feminism Ain’t For Black Folks: Why My Mama Had It Right All Along,” http://www.orchestratedpulse.com/2014/03/feminism-black/, NN
My mom came of age in the late 60’s as a Black woman committed to social change. She had the afro, she read all the radical books, and she hit the streets when the time called for it. She is and always has been down for the cause. My mother taught me that struggles for justice had to be lived, and not just discussed or intellectualized. True to form, she dedicated her life to creating programs and services that protected and uplifted Black families, particularly Black women and children.∂ ∂ But, don’t call her a feminist.∂ ∂ I was a teenager and fresh off of my first year in college. I came home praising feminism and claiming that we should all incorporate it into our worldviews. My mother balked at that suggestion, and explained that the ideology was not useful for truly understanding how systemic oppression functioned, particularly as it related to Black people. At the time, I thought she was just out of touch; yet, as I got older, I began to realize just how right she was to be critical of conventional articulations of feminism.∂ ∂ What Beyoncé Can Tell Us About Conventional Feminism∂ ∂ Feminism is a complex web of ideologies and histories, but let’s turn to a real authority on the issue, Beyoncé, for some clarity on how to define conventional feminism. On her most recent album, Beyoncé used a quote from a TED talk by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The statement ends with the following definition, “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes”.∂ In another interview Adichie suggests that feminism has an even broader definition, saying, “it is about being a woman who likes and stands up for other women”. Although there are multiple definitions of feminism, Adichie is a bit of a popular figure among feminists, particularly Black feminists, and so her words are significant.∂ ∂ In many discussions, conventional feminism is not so much an analysis of patriarchy as it is an emphasis on equality of the sexes and a sense of camaraderie between women. This broad and vague definition allows it to operate as a big tent ideology that absorbs any and every idea and person dealing with women and gender. Even when women like my mother object to its norms and say “I am not a feminist”, they are still viewed as “feminist” because their work relates to women in some way.∂ ∂ What makes this dynamic so troubling for me is that I genuinely want to understand patriarchy and its impact on our society. But what happens if I don’t see myself in feminist articulations of patriarchy? Should I fight for inclusion in a set of ideas that were not designed with me in mind? As I struggle to find ways of theorizing my own multidimensional existence as a Black person in the United States, like my mother, I find myself drifting further and further away from conventional feminism– even Black feminism.∂ ∂ Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there’s a system called gender. It subjugates people by first forcing them into gender identities, and then creating a hierarchy of those identities. We’ve seen this process in the form of colonialism, which forced European gender concepts onto the colonized people, thus stripping them of their pre-colonial systems of differentiation. (See Oyeonke Oyewumi’s work)∂ ∂ More broadly, the entire system of gender is founded and maintained by violence and brutality, which is of course disproportionately experienced by those at the margins. We typically understand the margins to be made up of women, queer folks, and trans people; yet, Black men have a special relationship to the gender hierarchy as well.∂ ∂ Letting White Women Off the Hook∂ ∂ Contrary to the Declaration of Independence’ words, not all men are created equal. As a Black male, I too am one of the hunted. Though I have a degree of male power under the patriarchal superstructure, and can use that power to do violence against women (most likely Black/Brown women), I do not have the same systemic power and cultural authority of a White male. It’s not as simple as men always being privileged and women always being oppressed.∂ ∂ If we want to talk about patriarchy in the United States, then we have to talk about the role that White women played/play in preserving the White patriarchal system at the expense of non-White women AND men.∂ ∂ Under slavery, Black men were raped by White men AND White women (see Thomas Foster’s work). During the period of mob lynching, White women were instrumental in getting Black men killed—often with the men’s genitals being mutilated (see Ida B. Wells’ work). There were numerous White women that used women-only Ku Klux Klan groups as key sites of “feminist” work and used the Klan to push the “women’s agenda”, which demonstrates that there’s nothing inherently liberating in the nebulous notion of “equality of the sexes” (see Kathleen Blee’s work).∂ Those are just a few examples of common and systemic occurrences that muddy the waters a bit, but these realities are almost never discussed in most feminist spaces– even Black feminist circles.∂ ∂ So yes, as a Black man in the United States, I of course benefit from the male supremacy superstructure. However, historically speaking, that structure wasn’t created for the benefit of Black men, and I don’t fully possess the power of “masculinity”–which was created by and for White males. In fact, Gail Dines argues “the elevation and mythification of white masculinity relies on the debasement of black men as sexual savages, Uncle Toms, and half-wits such as Stepin Fetchit”. I’m being subjugated by the very dynamic that grants me cursory benefits.∂ ∂ Black Male Privilege?∂ ∂ Yet, when I look at most of our conversations on feminism, the reality of Black male subjugation is largely ignored. In fact, recent years have seen a rise in the idea of “Black male privilege”, particularly among Black feminists. In one popular black male privilege checklist, the writer declares, “I will make significantly more money as a professional athlete than members of the opposite sex will”. Is this discrepancy a result of something that Black men have historically or collectively done or is it just a function of the broader patriarchal superstructure?∂ ∂ Remember, these are the same leagues that wouldn’t let Black men play, and even after integration these same leagues continued to relegate Black men to less prestigious (and less well-paid) positions. Black men didn’t found these leagues, and they are almost completely locked out of ownership (with a handful of exceptions). White men founded and control these leagues, and moreover, White men are their target audience and ideal consumer. So while Black men benefit from the sexual inequality in sports, they didn’t create it and they don’t control the leagues that practice it.∂ ∂ Receiving a benefit is not the same as possessing the power. Additionally, there’s a difference between situational power and systemic power; privilege is systemic, not situational. The Black Male Privilege Checklist fails to understand this reality.∂ ∂ For example, light skinned Brown folks get advantages over darker people, but that’s not “light skin privilege” or “white privilege”– that’s White supremacy. The same can be said of Black men’s relationship to patriarchy. You can talk about Black men benefiting from patriarchy, and even how we perpetuate it, but you can’t say that we control it.∂ ∂ Where Do I Go From Here?∂ ∂ Patriarchy exists, and it does provide benefits to those who are gendered as “male”, but there is much more to the story. I’m looking for a critical conceptualization of patriarchy.∂ ∂ Where did patriarchy come from? What are its components? Is it universal? If patriarchy is a social construct, how and when was it imposed? Is gender, which is the building block of patriarchy, a White supremacist construct? If patriarchy is, in part, defined by sexualized violence, what is its connection to “Stop & Frisk” and the broader prison system— two sites of pervasive sexual assault impacting all genders, but disproportionately plaguing Black and Brown men? How do experiences under patriarchy impact the ways that non-White men interact with non-White women and other non-White genders? Is the chauvinism and sexual violence that Black and Brown women (and other genders) experience at the hands of Black and Brown men a sign of privilege, or a case of transference?∂ ∂ Laverne Cox begins to explore some of these more murky aspects of gender oppression and their connection to White supremacy as she gives a talk about anti-trans harassment and violence. Rather than simply moralizing the issue, and saying that her Black and Brown tormentors are merely morally wretched, she connects their behavior to the broader systems of power—systems that those Black and Brown people don’t actually control. ∂ ∂ There’s so much more that I want to explore, but I’m not finding room for those questions in most conventional feminist spaces. When I look to conventional Black feminism, I still can’t find room. I’ve found the work of Greg Thomas and Oyeronke Oyewumi on Africa, colonialism, and gender to be particularly insightful– but I wouldn’t say that it is “feminist”. Tommy Curry has been an indispensable resource as well. Also, Lucy Delap’s ‘The Woman Question and the Origins of Feminism’, which is a nuanced and history-rich version of feminism, has been an invaluable resource for helping me to identify the history and pre-history of European feminism.∂ ∂ Feminism is an ideology, and it can be a useful one for framing some conversations, but it’s not the end all be all– and it’s not the only way to describe patriarchy’s impact on our world. So, I’m going to trust my mother’s insight and look for ways of theorizing the world that go beyond conventional feminism; in fact, these worldviews may not be feminist at all.∂ ∂ I know that this is not a popular perspective, and that it may rub some people the wrong way. However, I remain thoroughly convinced that the further we drift away from “Lean In”, debates about whether “women can have it all”, “Black male privilege”, and other conventional articulations of feminism– and towards a robust critique of patriarchy and its special relationship to White supremacy (colonialism, imperialism, and racism)– the better off we’ll be.
White feminism doesn’t discomfort subject positions rather it reifies white supremacy and structures of power – white bodies only care about their own equality and ignore the uniqueness of black suffering
Obadina 14, Shaki Obadina is a politics student at Hull University along with also being a prominent social justice writer on the concepts of black feminism and inequality on her website BlackFeministKilljoy, “WHY I AM NOT PRAISING EMMA WATSON’S SPEECH…,” http://blackfeministkilljoy.tumblr.com/post/98266792208/why-i-am-not-praising-emma-watsons-speech, NN
I am going to be fairly honest Emma Watson has never really interested me. I am not a Harry Potter fan and I haven’t seen much of her work as an actress. But I know deep down that the main reason why I have never really cared for Emma Watson is because she represents everything that I am not. I am not a white heterosexual middle class woman whose clean cut is adored by the public and the media and is what society wants me to be. Instead I am a poor black woman from Peckham who is solely just seen “ghetto”, “ratchet” and a “thot”. I am highly aware of 4chan threatening to leak nude photos of her because of her speech which I honestly believe is cruel and extremely misogynistic. However, I will not ignore the fact that the reason why feminists especially white feminists and the media are not criticising the problematic nature of her speech is because of her high power status as a white heterosexual cis middle class.∂ Lack of intersectionality∂ Emma Watson states when she researched the word feminism and she noticed it has become unpopular. According to Emma Watson she is “among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive”. In this case Emma Watson is extremely wrong. The idea of feminism being associated with hating men is soley rooted in lesbophobia. How many times have you heard “you are a feminist oh shit you must be a lesbian and you totes hate men lmao” from a random dickhead when you tell them you are feminist? Emma Watson speech continues to erase women who are more marginalised by her by simply not acknowledging that is black women who are constantly trapped in the one dimensional racist trope of being as a strong angry black woman. We have already seen how detrimental this trope is with the New York Times article about Shonda Rhimes. It is the strong angry black woman trope that silences us and dismisses our cries when we are sick and tired of everything that is a result of our double oppression.∂ “What about the Men?” Feminism∂ “What About the Men” feminism is a current trend within white/mainstream feminism. This type of feminism advocates that women should make spaces for men in feminism and should essentially pander to men. I strongly disagree with “What About the Men” feminism not only is this idea extremely patriarchal and kyrichal but as a black woman I do not see why I have to make the space for men especially for white cis heterosexual men when their spaces are virtually everywhere in all aspects in society. Black women have been constantly marginalized and not accepted in the feminist movement from the very beginning. Instead of white feminists trying to remove the overt racism in the feminist movement, creating spaces for black women and stop using intersectionality as a buzzword they would rather focus on praising male feminists and creating space for men. Emma Watson has been guilty of dismissing Beyonce’s feminism because it “pays too much attention to men” even though that is not the case and it is actually HER feminism that is male centric. This all just shows how feminism continues to fonder anti-blackness and further alienate black women.∂ Malcom X was asked by a journalist when he founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity if white people were allowed to join. Malcom X simply replied that white people were not allowed to join the organisation because as black people we had to sort out detrimental impacts that white supremacy has made on black people. The same rhetoric goes for feminism. Men should use their privileged position to make society accessible for women it shouldn’t be the other way around.∂ So much Westernisation…∂ Let us all remember that this speech and the HeForShe campaign is for the United Nations. The UN (like IMF and WTO) promote the strong fundamental idea that the West is civilised and any country that is not Western is deemed as uncivilised, savage and barbaric. These racist and imperialistic stereotypes of the Global South is inherently linked with the idea that people of colour in the Global South need to be saved and most importantly saved by white Westerns. The white saviour complex allows white Westerners to get away with not taking responsibility for the fact colonialism is the main reason why the Global South is suffering. Emma Watson’s speech and campaign does not acknowledge the fact it is capitalism and neo liberal policies that has constantly harmed women of colour in the Global South rather than benefited them. For instance in the past the use of modernization theories in development polices actually created gender inequality and contributed to the oppression women in the Global South face today. Emma Watson does not even pay any respect to African feminists and African women who have continued to fight for their own liberation which is deeply rooted in black womanhood livelehood. At the end of the day it was African Women in the Congo who had to fight against modernisation theories destroying their agricultural livle. Why didn’t she use her privilege and platform as a celebrity to reaffirm African women and African feminists who have fought for their liberation rather than Hilary Clinton?∂ I am so done with this type of feminism getting praised all the time. I am not here to educate/pander to men or let white feminists dismiss me and other black women’s feminism simply for the fact we are black. The more this continues to go on the more I think I should follow down the path of womanism because at least my struggle to exist in a white supremacist, kyriarchal and capitalist society with be fully understood and I will be accepted with open arms.