1. For the black woman (while sexism is undoubtedly a serious problem in the black community) racism is still the most significant form of oppression;
2. Black women experience sexism differently from white women – which brings me to my final point:
Maybe black women would be better off addressing gender equality/promoting feminism internally within the black community rather than doing this in collaboration with the white feminist movement…I personally am beginning to feel that this would be better for black women, and better for black male – female relationships/ overall black unity.
but i think, it is naive to claim that gender oppression outweighs racial oppression, or that racism is more oppressive than sexism. seriously. think about the young girl, sakia gunn, who was killed at the age of 15 for not being a woman, but for being a lesbian.
Rev. Dr. Ken Hutcherson
I hear that, especially when we have paragons of virtue like the esteemed Reverend Ken Hutcherson out here in Seattle, pastor of Antioch Bible Church, a conservative Christian megachurch, who is busy heading up a national anti-gay-and-lesbian-rights campaign entitled “Mayday for Marriage.” Together with James Dobson and Chuck Colson, Hutcherson led 250,000 people in a rally on the White House mall in support of “traditional marriage” during a time when gay and lesbian couples were fighting assaults on gay and lesbian marriage and partnership rights in a number of states. Hutcherson is continually on the news out here with his lesbophobic screeds (screeds against gay men, too, but lesbians come first with me always because they are my people), who said, in the course of organizing a nation-wide boycott of Microsoft for its pro-gay-and-lesbian political activism:
“Gay behavior is learned, just like prejudice. It’s a sin to God.
I’m lovingly aggressive, [with gays] the same I’d be for a murderer or an adulterer. I give ‘em the love of God. If they reject it, I give them the discipline of God.
“Same sex marriage was just the thing to wake the sleeping giant of Christian voters in the 2004 election. We’re not going to lay it down until we get the marriage amendment.”
We have a responsibility to keep the moral standards in our society.”
“We’re going to win, Is it going to be civil or hostile? If you surrender and accept Him as your Lord and savior, it’s going to be civil. You reject Him, it’s going to be hostile.”
Ken Hutcherson is a man who is all about wielding male heteropatriarchal power over women– of all races and ethnicities. My white skin is no protection against the kind of power Ken Hutcherson has, just as my white skin was no protection against the power my former black pastor had to head up a coalition of religious rightwingers who put me out of business, just as my white skin was no protection against the power my second black husband had to create the felt need for that coalition when I filed for divorce after 19 years of abuse, just as my white skin was no protection against the power my first husband had to nearly take my life by beating me with a lead pipe, fracturing my skull and eyesockets.
In Racial Realist’s post she says:
For that reason I feel that the gender discrimination issue with reference to black women is going to relate to black men, not white men. At the same time, white women are unlikely to experience sexism in relation to black men – black men haven’t got the power to discriminate against them period.
I think this is flat wrong. But in addition to what I have already said about why it’s wrong, I’ll say that black men got the vote 70 or so years before white women in the United States. I will say that black men earn more money than white women and have for years; in fact the only group in the U.S. which earns more money than black men is white men, to wit:
(“NOTE: Includes full-time, year-round workers ages 15 and above. “White” and “Black” exclude those who reported more than one race category. “Hispanic” includes all those who so identified themselves, regardless of race.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.)
I would further point out that white and black men and all races of men bond over misogynist pornography featuring the bodies of white women and all races of women (and girls). I’d say that white women, just like all women, are prostituted, including by black men. I think that black men can and do beat the shit out of their white wives and girlfriends from time to time and that they can and do beat the shit out of their white wives’ and girlfriends’ kids from time to time. I think that black men can and do incest and molest their white wives’ children from time to time, as well, just as all other men molest and incest their wives’, of whatever race, children.
This is a Denver Post article about my niece, the woman in the picture at the top of this post, who was raped by two young, black enlisted men while serving in the Navy on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln when it was stationed in the Gulf prior to the war on Iraq. I attended the trial of her two rapists who were found guilty and sentenced to the military brig (each for less than a year.) My niece became pregnant as a result of being raped, bore her baby and is raising her, and is now disabled by post-traumatic stress disorder. Nobody believed her in the months after rape. When she sought medical help she was given Tylenol. She had trouble getting to work in the morning because she was on the ship with her rapists, they were continuing to threaten her every single day, and she worked in the mess hall where she had to see them every day. Her ongoing struggles following the rapes resulted in her being demoted in rank and being discharged early and without the benefits she enlisted in hopes of receiving. She found good feminist attorneys who sued the Navy finally and won a fine settlement for her and her daughter, but not until she had literally gone to hell and back.
The men who raped my niece not only had the power to rape her and destroy her life, they were protected in that destruction by other men, both white men and black men. My niece’s white skin did not protect her.
Black feminists have and will continue to wage feminist revolution on their own terms, no doubt about that. But to suggest that black men as a group do not have the “power” to oppress white women is flat wrong. Which is not to say that black men do not suffer, suffer, suffer, dear goddess on high, under the weight of white racism, they do. I have four adult sons whose fathers — my abusers, my husbands – were black. I love them dearly. I have seen their battles up close and more personal than I have been able, at times, to bear. Which does not for one moment change the fact that they continue to have access to power over white women.