*If people who read my column know one thing, it is that I am unafraid to say what I believe. I am also unafraid to leave out the sugarcoating.
For example, I believe that many Black men and women have been polarized by feminist propaganda.
We could get into historical perspectives and research as I have done before, or we could take a different approach of logic this time out.
For logic’s sake, we have to ask ourselves some simple questions: “Since we know that the extreme strife between the genders is fairly new, where did it all come from? Which gender has made radical changes in action and ideology?”
The goal here is not to blame women and move on. the goal is to identify the root cause and begin to create some solutions.
I believe the root cause of much of our gender strife was Black women identifying Black men as their oppressor, and accordingly, viewing everything from a gender perspective when handling relationships within the race.
If either of us—men or women—view our interactions from a gender perspective, we will end up coloring those interactions with our gender politics.
This is why we see so many Black women identifying Black men as their oppressors.
Frankly, for the Black women who believe that they are being oppressed as a group by Black men as a group, reality is not a friend and history is not a strong suit.
Let’s examine some of the myths of Black oppression passed out by feminist propaganda:
Black men have been abusing Black women throughout history.
The abuse of Black women has to be placed in a world historical perspective to see who was doing it, because it wasn’t the strict domain of Africans, and based on our real history, it wasn’t even a significant number of African Americans. When Black women were being prevented from voting, purchasing homes and cars, et al, Black men were right there being beaten back as well.
If you want to be honest, do the real research and admit that Black women were further in the workplace during Jim Crow and were working side by side with Black men, which is why marriages were working.
Black men have been holding Black women from equality.
Black women have always been equal to Black men, and in many ways, ahead of us. It is a recent event to hear sisters declare that they want equality. Black men are the most put upon, despised and hated living creature on the planet–we hate ourselves and now, many of our sisters have taken to hating us too, blaming us for their misery and pain even as we are miserable and hurt. We are behind everyone in getting hired and accepted into anything good, but ahead of everyone in getting killed, arrested, beaten, profiled, blamed and hated–you want to be equal to this?
Have that equality if that is your true desire, but leave the blame for the inequality to those who have truly oppressed you.
Frankly, white women were being oppressed by white men and simply delivered that view to some Black women who then transferred the oppression mission to Black men.
As Black people, we have to focus on who we were, who we are, and who we can be. Leave the white woman’s plight to the white woman.
Those things having been said, the whole issue of equality entered our community when white women duped Black women into joining them in a women’s rights movement that could not have a good result because it was intrinsically for white women (but they got some of you to see them as your “sisters”). Prior to that, Black people were focusing on equality as humans, alongside Black men.
Black women who are realistic know that they can not separate sexism from racism and classism. Black men are not your oppressor and looking at us that way only further divides us. Are we holding you down on the job? I think not. Are we really oppressing you in the home? Well, make up your mind, because we are either absent or abusive, but not both. Since you have the financial and legal freedom to leave an unhappy marriage, you are only being oppressed if you sign up for it and stay. You can’t be at once independent women, but poor abused creatures.
Black men fear, or are otherwise repulsed by progressive Black women.
Strong Black men don’t have a problem with the equality or the progress of Black women, because they are our mothers, sisters, daughters and lovers. We do have a problem with the finger pointing to us, and with the nasty attitudes that come with the “I got mine and you are a bad person for not getting what I got” statements, coupled with the misplaced blame.
Here’s another myth: Black men were ever far out in front of Black women.
First, take a look at where we are today, which is where we’ve been for a while: Black women go to college more and are currently advancing faster professionally than Black men.
In pre-colonial African villages, Black women built the homes and were on top in the family. Men were hunters and warriors. In other African societies, Black women could be tribal leaders and queens. The history you are pointing to ain’t African, and it really ain’t even African American. It isn’t the full truth and it only serves to repel thinking men from women who pass this around.
In America, Black women ran the underground railroad, because Black men were being hunted down and killed with a vengeance. We understand that you were being raped and beaten, but it wasn’t by us and it hurt us, too. I suppose if Harriet Tubman were one of today’s “Independent Women,” she would have only helped the strong sisters and left those lazy weak, no-good men behind for oppressing all the female slaves.
For as much as Black people were wallowing in poverty, some of us were getting through—both male and female. Black women went into white homes to work when Black men couldn’t show their faces. Black men found work where they could, which often meant leaving the families for another state.
The first Black millionaire was a Black woman. Black women entered the workplace more prolifically than Black men–more of them were secretaries and assistants, while more of us were janitors and porters. But what Black women weren’t doing was sitting at home being subjugated by brutal men. Yesterday’s Black woman was smarter and stronger than that, so stop lying on her.
The stories of abuse and oppression of Black women by Black men were not as widespread as revisionist feminists want people to believe. We’ve mostly heard the bad stories, because that’s how America works.
What? You expect the stories of how we worked together beautifully to emerge from slavery, to endure Jim Crow and to hold on to each other through the Civil Rights Movement? Please, just don’t believe the hype! If we hated and blamed each other as much as we’ve been taught to now, we’d still be slaves, or we’d have died off by now.
Black women, try conversing with men as individual humans, as opposed to newly freed independent women who are mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore. We have also been abused and we don’t want to take it anymore, either.
If your movement is about Black women moving forward, let’s do that together. But if your movement is about moving away from Black men, make certain that you understand that, as well as the fallout.
Black men are moved by love and understanding, by faith and respect. We are moved by the truth and by unwavering dedication to our joint progress. Move these things and we truly can move together.
If your movement is against men, don’t expect us to move with you.
And really, don’t even expect us to be moved.
Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” James’ stage play, “Love In A Day,” opened in Los Angeles this Spring and will be running through 2011 View previous installments of this column at www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at [email protected].