Sunday, August 9, 2009

Week 7: Intersections & Black Masculinity

**fell free to answer all of these questions or just one, also feel free to go off on your own tangent :)**

In a movement that has been characterized as “racist”, how can white feminists and pro-feminists work to both check and acknowledge their privilege and have a more anti-racist approach? Also, as a movement that has been characterized as “sexist”, how can Black men working towards racial justice include more anti-sexist doctrine in their movement? And in a world where “All the Women Are White and All the Blacks Are Men”* where do those who don’t fit into this dichotomy or who experience varying levels of intersectionality fit in?

*Borrowed from the book “But Some Of Us Are Brave: All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men: Black Women's Studies

16 comments:

Merritt Johnson said...

There are black women that are feminists also. I think just like women fought for feminism, blacks fought against racism. Look how far both have come. We had a female running for president and a black become president. Not to say there still isn't problems, which there are ignorant people out there thinking blacks and women are not equal, yet if you look at the whole picture they both have come a hell of a long way. I found these next two articles that I will be discussing related best with our blog prompt.

In Why I'm Not a Feminist, when Haji wrote, "Even among women, the term feminist has had less acceptance in the black community than among whites." Then he states, "Does a white person identify as a black to do anti-racism work?" I liked seeing how he was for the feminist movement, he says how he does not need to make his feminine side his primary side in order to honor his, mother, sister and daughter. He knows he is for the movement, yet the title feminist is derived from feminine and "that doesn’t work for him".

In What a Feminist Looks Like, I found it amazingly cool how Ferrais tied in feminism with black hip-hop. He listened to Sarah Jones and Georgia Me and loved how they projected women and made him interested in what they were fighting for. He says, "Damn, I need to get it together. I don't want to be that nigga who acts so stereotypical that I no longer recognize myself as the somewhat confident, respectable, black man my family raised me to be. I want to be more than that. Better yet, I want people around me to feel the same." If everyone I this world today were this positive, it’d be a perfect place. Like I said before people are ignorant and will keep they’re selfish views and make them known. He goes on to say on page 153, “I stand tall as a self-proclaimed, black, male feminist. This title is important to me. It reminds me of my responsibilities in regard to the treatment of women, and the importance of respect and dignity.” In my opinion stating that takes a true man, especially writing an article and getting it published in a book. Hopefully other men see this and catch on.

Just as black men play a part in the feminist movement, white women and men also play a role in stopping racism. It is a good balance to hold onto. In this world, you cannot get by, by sitting around and watching, you must be the change you wish to see in the world!

Ani Reina said...

A main theme I recognized during our reading was issues with black fatherhood and the acknowledgements of black feminists not just feminist. Eswuare X. Osayande states “I will certainly be there to provide an example of manhood that is not an expression of force, superiority, and violence but rather an expression of love, respect, justice, accountability, integrity, and peace” ( 39 Men Speak Out). Earlier in his essay he describes how difficult it is for him to protect his sons from sexist, racist media. If we look to Haji Shearer, while discussing his own fathers faults for not being around while he was growing up he states “But I remember as a boy thinking that I would be around fro my children because it hurt me so much that my father wasn’t around” (133, MSO). Mark Anthony Neal discusses black fatherhood in his article New Black Man “We need black men to be there for their children, not just financially, but physically and emotionally….We need to applaud black fathers who see themselves as partners in the full range of parenting activities, and who take seriously their roles as nurturers” (593, Men’s Lives). I find it very interesting that 4 out of 7 of our readings deal with how fathers must improve. As someone who has never had a father I am very grateful to these men for realizing that they need to break a terrible cycle. Going back to the quote above by Haji Shearer I think it is crucial to point out that believes “the most important place” to practice gender equality is at home with the family. If we remember the movie from last week, Venus Boyz, where a common them was the sense of “family” among those who did drag and even the ex-girlfriend of one film participant talked about how their family dynamic made them more comfortable with their own gender. The sense of understanding and togetherness that comes with being in a family, well a healthy family is imperative to have when dealing with homophobia, sexism, classism etc.


This same sense of “family” and togetherness was important to point out when discussing how men of color do experience oppression by white society but that they also hurt those within the “family” or their comrades in the fight against racism. Haji Shearer states “A third-grader could draw a direct line from the resources and benefits accrued by whites during slavery to the downtrodden condition of blacks today. Likewise, as men we benefit daily from a conspiracy of the male privilege and are burdened with some of the collective karma of our gender’s actions” (135, MSO). Although Shearer points out that he does not identify with the term feminist he does state that a black-woman-led childbirth organization who adopted the term womanist encouraged him to do the same. He states “with such a strong group of black, female role models distancing themselves from the feminist label while upholding the ideals of gender equality, it’s little wonder I turned a cold shoulder to the term” (134).


However, Mark Anthony Neal addresses black feminism by stating “one of the main attributes of black male privilege is the unwillingness or incapability to fully understand the plight of black women in our communities. Yes, there are acknowledgments of incidents where black women are affected by blatant racism, but fewer when black women are affected because they are black women as opposed to being simply black people” (592, ML). Neal does not use the term womanist or feminist, instead he choose the term black feminist, other writers who do use the term feminist still point out black women comrades who do not prefer “feminism” as a blanket term. Therefore I found it extremely interesting that this class has many times discussed how feminism has “room” for all people, yet all people still do not feel welcomed. I think the question is “why are white women leaders within the movement continually disregarding the plight of other women/men?

Ashley Halpin said...

When it comes to white feminists and pro-feminists having a more anti-racist approach, one cannot just acknowledge privilege, but must learn to be acutely aware of how race affects their everyday life and the lives of others. I loved the quote by Peggy McIntosh; “I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group". Racism goes far beyond white supremacists (or separatists, whatever they call themselves nowadays); it is the everyday action of pretending race does not matter in America and then simultaneously benefitting from white privilege. Racism, such as white supremacy, is a major problem in our society, but white privilege is much more pervasive in everyday lives. However, this sort of racism is much harder for people to realize and even harder to accept that they are part of the problem.

Obviously, the first step is to acknowledge that while race privilege may be “invisible” for white people in our society, it is certainly not invisible for the many people who are disadvantaged just because of the color of their skin. Once acknowledgement does occur, it cannot stop there. One must be aware, as McIntosh provides in a list, the many, many ways white people benefit in life because of their skin color. While reading the list, there were many advantages I, a person who thought I knew my privilege as a white woman, had not even began to think about. As a result, I took all of those privileges for granted. Now that I am aware, I can do as McIntosh suggested; stop taking advantage of the privileges that disadvantage others and fight for the positive privileges I receive on a daily basis for others. In this way, I suppose they would cease to be privileges, and would become rights we all have as human beings. This is not an easy process by any means, but progress is very possible.

Beyond being aware and checking privilege in everyday life, the next step would be for feminists and pro-feminists to open the discussion of racism in America. Increasing academic literature on these topics and taking a strong stance against racism would be a start. It terms of reaching a wider audience, it would be great for public schools to discuss racism and sexism. As a student who went to a comparatively racially diverse school, none of these issues were ever discussed. In fact, my school was basically split racially between honors and regular classes, which I think is a major issue in many schools around the country. I know I’m going off on a tangent here, but if public schools would at least touch upon some of these issues, I think it could go a long way for a wider audience to realize that racism and sexism is not only present, but is very prevalent in our society. It would certainly be much more productive than FCAT classes. I also feel as though by black and latino classmates were not taken seriously in many classes. In most of my classes, they were basically expected not to succeed and therefore, it was not worth the effort to help them become a better person. There were a few blacks in my honors classes, but they were definitely the exception, not the norm. Opening this dialogue would be a great way to empower students and show that they have something to share with the world and what they say does matter.

Zen Lien said...

I wanted to address the article "Why I Am Not a Feminist" by Haji Shearer, because honestly, it pissed me off. I thought the title was just some clever word play to get the reader's attention and he would go on to show us how he tricked us in to thinking "wtf?" But as I read the whole article, I just became more and more irritated. Shearer makes it a theme through his entire essay to express how much he supports women's equal rights. How he was drawn into the blend of civil and female rights by the influences of some strong black women, how he supports his wife in the home but yet refuses to identify as a feminist. What does equal right have to do with femininity other than that it support women? Shearer says "I consider it a short-sighted compromise for a man to identify as a feminist. Does a white person identify as black to do anti-racism work?" (MSO 131) Well no they don't, but the title for someone who does anti-racism work doesn't allude to color. We say Civil Right Activist, or Anti-Racism supporter. I think Shearer's parallel is lopsided. Saying you are a feminist doesn't mean you are feminine or female and by not identifying as a feminist, I feel Shearer is stripping the movement of its history. This is the very issue I have with Post-feminism. Even women, White women (who Shearer among other African Americans believe are the feminists, while the rights of Black women have been marginalized) refuse to claim the label of feminist. The very word incites eye rolls or "ughs". They usually respond with " I am all for gender equality but I am not one of those feminists." So instead we end up quibbling over a stupid word rather than getting shit done to improve the movement itself and not the terminology. Don't get me wrong, linguistics has its place but we get no where without activism. Shearer participates in so much beautifully feminist activism. He is a role model for black men, whether it be for his children or for his community at large, and by not taking on the label of "feminist", the people who look up to him need to recognize his work as "feminism". The whole phrase of "This is what a feminist looks like!" was meant (in my opinion) to show the community and society that all walks of life can feminists. Shearer was strongly contrasted by Derrais Carter who even titles hies essay "This is What a Feminist Looks Like". Carter incorporates elements of how his Black culture can be feminist. Carter in contrast tries to show how his experience as a Black man is connected to the movement, not how it differs.

Shearer has every right to criticize the feminist movement. However I think it should be used to improve on the already existing movement, not to start forming new ones, and coining new terms. The word "feminist" is important because it connects it to its birth. We need to see the movements progress since then, we need to see what we have done wrong, like excluding African Americans, like excluding men and so on. So when Shearer says talks about Black men "listening to our sisters" or even "abdicate some of our power", he won't say "One need not to be a feminist to understand that" (MSO 135), he could say, "one should be a feminist to support it."

Ariel Dansky said...

I found the two articles "Why I am Not a Feminist" and "This is What a Feminist Looks Like" quite fascinating, as they represented the reasonings of two black males in regard to their respective feminist identifications.

On one hand, Shearer rejects a feminist identification, claiming that the very word implies that which is feminine. Shearer says, "I don't feel it's necessary, or even beneficial, for me to feminize my personhood in order to do the right thing vis-a-vis gender." Shearer goes on to say that there is no comparable term for men (masculinist doesn't quite fit) and that the goal for men is not necessarily to be feminists, but to "reclaim the essence of manhood."

On the other hand, Carter writes that feminism is inspring to him
and "teaches me about my position in society."

Both authors speak of strong black women who detested the term feminism and used instead the term "womanist."

Personally, I find nothing wrong with all three expressions of the goal of equality. In fact, I find Shearrer's referance to the "feminine" connotation of "feminist" extremely relevant to the reason so many men refuse to identify with the term.

Further, I believe the field of Women's Studies is filled with a plethora of problematic terms. Allow me to list them:

1. Patriarchy
This term, which denotes the social system in which we all participate, connotes that our society is run by the "patriarchs," implying that it's the "big bad men" who perpetuate discrimination. Needless to say, this is problematic, since we all perpetuate the system.

2. Women's Studies
This term is outdated. As we delve further into the 3rd wave movement, we in turn focus more on examining multiple types of gender, not just that of "woman." A more proper name for the field would therefore be, "Gender Studies"

3. Feminism
Yes, this term can be problematic too. Just as Shearer said, the term connotes that which is feminine. However, one could argue that those who are discriminated against in society are also "femminized" by others and that those who are femminized are not always women. Still, the term connotes a primary tie to women and alienates others who do not identify as such.

Although I personally do not advocate throwing away the term "feminism" and replacing it with something else, I do not feel like everyone who believes in equality must identify with it in order to make a difference in their communities. Activism to end discrimination is what is most important, whether it is labeled "feminist" or not.

Gravityreigns said...

White feminists and pro-feminists can “check” their privilege by doing the simplest/hardest thing: getting an education. I don’t mean attending classes (though I’m not knocking it) but reading books, volunteering in the community, personal connection in any form with situations foreign/similar to their own forces the creation of new ideas, conversations, and communities. Experience and education are tangible ideas for fighting against racism and sexism in/outside of the feminist community. Another, like in “The New Black Man” is acknowledging privilege. By acknowledging privilege one acknowledges, too, the hierarchy. By acknowledging the hierarchy it’s impossible not to experience an understanding of the different treatment of people within a community. Like in the Anarchist article from a few classes ago, once the hierarchy is realized something can be done to up-end it. Without fully acknowledging our problems it’s impossible to perceive with clarity the changes needed and the outcome possible. But it isn’t enough just to educate ourselves, acknowledge the hierarchies and privileges, one must individually in/outside the community work and struggle to improve relations and beyond that value rather than discriminate difference. All of this, seems so DUH but it can’t be if we have so many problems within a community that what I originally thought was so open and understanding.


On an awkward side note I typed in “The New Black Man” looking for the author’s name and the 8th link was to a Johnny Cash website. Understandably he’s the man in black (or whatever) but even the internet constructs the ideas of who/what we SHOULD be. Expectations/ Limitations are everywhere. The Feminist movement has not only itself to deal with but the basic problem of the surrounding society to deal with/change. Sometimes because of these classes, the people I’m friends with, the books I read, etc I forget the world we live in isn’t the struggle of the feminist community but the struggle of feminism/ understanding/change within the global community. We never should forget the struggles of ourselves but, like me, we definitely CANNOT forget the people around us. Example: The Ugly Truth. It’s a movie capitalizing on gender roles, social conventions, hierarchy, stereotypes, “romantic” [read: sexual] love and is white centric. I’d love to re-watch it with whoever is interested and literally keep tabs for every demeaning joke, perpetuating label/action/phrase; but I know it’s not worth it. Movies like this are made all the time. ALL THE TIME. Just looking at the film section of the newspaper I can understand exactly who/what my society thinks I should be. Not a spy, not an informant, not in the military, not a Zombie killer (and if I am I’m required to be “hot” and near naked) but a passive participant in a romantic tangle? Where are the passive men? Where are the romantic men? Where are the men that don’t want to be spies, astronauts, warriors, business moguls? Where are the men that are scared? Where are the REAL men? ONE movie at a Regal Theater Website has black lead actors/actresses and all films expect men to be heroes (amongst a million other problems). It makes me want to protest in front of theaters or at least question the people going in: what interested them about their chosen movie; whether they notice the stereotypes (and how can they not: in “Daytona Beach: Beyond Beats and Rhymes” when questioned the man that sexually assaulted a women knew what he was doing was problematic/ a sexual assault); what expectations they feel from the movies they see; do they feel expectations? Anything! I’m mad but moreover what makes me want to do something is the fear that if I don’t all of this will just keep happening. Because it will, it does.

VOX UCF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abigail said...

Tangent:

For Safe Sex Week Vox helped out with a panel called “Lick Me in all the Right Places” hosted by Club Kreyol. I attended to support groups doing events based on safe sex and also to represent my group…and what a bad idea that was. The event on a whole was okay not great but nothing that I would get up and walk out cause I was so insulted…well let least not until the last speaker.

There keynote speaker was someone who works in admissions and he wanted to do a battle of the sexes. We all spilt up into males and females and his goal was to get each sides take on a situation for example your girlfriend or boyfriend kissed someone else is that considered cheating. The whole point of the exercise was to understand where the other group is coming from, harmless right? Well this keynote speaker encouraged these individuals to use gender stereotypes then validated them by saying that’s how we are. That we should understand why men cheat…it’s because he thinks he has to be tough or a player but we didn’t go beyond that point. We didn’t go anywhere near this is how we are socialized though we don’t have to conform, we can question our own beliefs and behaviors and make appropriate healthy changes.

Even when someone brought up that the conversation was being very stereotypical (hetero, masculine) the speaker simply said that he was addressing this particular club and that we wouldn’t deal with gay or lesbian issues because I guess it would take a whole other event it include (the gays). I’m so sorry I didn’t know that heterosexuals’ having safe sex was so different from homosexual safe sex.

The event left a very bad taste in my mouth, just like the reading about Spring Bling in Daytona Beach. I wanted to vomit at the part where a man pulled down the top of a woman and justified it as white men have “Girls Gone Wild” now this is ours. How disgusting!?! How do you deal with people who say this is how it is now deal with it?

Claraine said...

I think the intersectionality of these issues is an important thing to note. Once we realize that to end one type of oppression we must fight to end all type of oppression we would be well on our way to making this world and more just environment. The so called “privileged” individuals need to acknowledge the struggles of other groups to achieve their goals. Being visible in the movement would help to build awareness of the various kinds of oppression that exist today? Make your voice heard and speaking up about issues that affect everyone can be a great way to battle the problem of white washing.


I am one of the discussion leaders this week and I thought posting one of my questions would be helpful to the discussion plus I really enjoyed Neal’s article The New Black Man.

I found this week’s readings on black masculinity to be very engaging and accessible. From hip hop to fatherhood black masculinity is often generalized into categories like “players, pimps, womanizers, and rappers” but something I that I think is lacking in the black community are more positive role models who encourage young men to further their education and respect women, why is it that the negative and degrading images are the ones we see so often in media? We need to instill values that are positive and uplifting to the black community. Teach love not hate; stop the mean muggin’ and the frontin’, so to speak.

I think that some recurring themes throughout this week’s readings would be the relationship between hip hop and feminism in the black community and how they influence one another and also how they shape black masculinity. To draw from Neal, in the article new black man on page 594, (quote) “Like it or not hip hop is the soundtrack of black youth.” (End quote) He also says in the beginning of the article that, “[Hip hop] is a history of the lived experiences of various ethnic groups and classes. It is art, love, hate, envy, exploitation, and more. It is a battlefield of identity. (151)” I think that that Hip hop acts as a channel within the black community that spreads messages be it positive ones or negative ones, how can we ensure that the messages that are being put forth into the mainstream environment are positive and uplifting to not only the black community but all listeners of hip hop. How do you think that this shift can be brought about? What are some ways that hip hop music can open up the dialog of black feminism? How can we maximize the positive effects of hip hop to reflect this shift in the black community?



I want the money, money and the cars, cars
And the clothes, the hoes I suppose
I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful
I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful
I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful
-Drake

Jo said...

I was not offended by Haji Shearer’s article “Why I am Not a Feminist,” and the earlier post made me really think about it. It makes perfect sense to me why he, in particular, does not relate to that terminology. He grew up in a time when feminism was really a white bourgeois women’s movement. The needs of black women were not being met and he was surrounded by black women. I’ve decided that it is not so important to me that he identify as feminist as it is important to me that he behave in ways that are feminist. Just because he does not identify as such, it does not take away from the good work that he is doing in his life that promotes feminist and womanist teachings. I must admit that I would prefer he use those terms, even outside of identification, in order to promote the movement as well, but I think it is more important that he live by them. I love when he says, “true manhood must advocate for equal rights and responsibilities for women as a component of its’ own integrity.”

Recently, I've been realizing that I care less and less how people identify in general. Because I have decided that all identification is subjective and that my understanding your identification category has no bearing on how you actually are. I don’t know if that makes sense or not. An example is how someone identifies their sexuality. How I understand their sexuality is of no importance. Yet people all the time want you to identify one way or another; make a choice, categorize yourself in order that they may have a better comprehension of you. I think that most people don’t actually fit into a neat little box of identification. I know for me there are aspects of myself that resemble particular categorization, but then there are other aspects that go against that same category. Sorry if this went off topic, I just got led here.

jorge mendoza said...

I was really taken by Osayande's description of the current state of black masculinity, and how sexism is woven in to the very fabric of this type of cultural identity. Black Masculinity in mainstream culture does reflect an affront to the biased and bigoted attitudes and legacy of mainstream American culture, and as he observes, "this defensive posturing often leaves us detached from our feelings," and "sexist black men have used that racism to trump any real discussion of sexism within the black community" (p. 38, MSO).

Mind you, I am not speaking for African-Americans.
I recall watching the film 'Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes', where one of the black men on camera is arguing with the documentarian about the treatment of women at the BET beach event, and himself uses the trump card, criticizing the documentarian for 'holding him down' or something to that effect. Whatever the exact phrase was, the attitude that 'sexism doesn't matter or shouldn't even be considered as an issue in this racist-tinged culture' is prevalent.

Back to Osayande, when he mentions the feelings of black men, I feel this is important and often overlooked. Black men in the media are often portrayed as either being full of emotions or lacking reason or logic leading to being highly emotional. Feelings have the potential to connect and sympathize with one another, but when we shut them away while putting up barriers or facades, it can lead to ill-fated confrontation.

As with most things which seek greater equality and awareness, it all starts with communication. Osayande, in speaking of his own personal life and those men in his life, recognizes the problems in his environment. He understands the telltale signs he has seen too many times before in the relationships between his male family members and the women in their life. And he listens and engages them, so that they can express themselves while (hopefully) understanding how their attitudes and behaviors are seriously disaffecting those they say they care about as well as themselves.

"Love is Justice in its most intimate embrace" says Osayande, a concept that should be indoctrinated in all equality movements, and serves as a reminder that justice encompasses and unites all of these movements. Just as we have said that as gender equality is to the benefit of not just women but for men as well, equality and respect extended to black women is of benefit to black men.

Kevin Alvarez said...

I absolutely loved the readings this week. I had previously read Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (and got into an argument over it with a white male and feel that something like this should be created for men of color who typically ignore the plights of other oppressed peoples to focus on their struggles with racism and capitalism.

Neal's article on the New Black Man is something I believe can also be applied to Latino men because in many cases the culture of Latino men and Black men are not too far from each other. Both cultures are displayed as inferior, violent, misogynistic, and insensitive to the plights of other oppressed peoples.

These readings really made me realize that black masculinities are complex and even within the feminist community is misconstrued. I really enjoyed how Neal makes us realize that Hip-hop is not to blame but is actually a reflection of the culture and not something monolithic.

taco said...

I really liked the readings from this week, especially the ones relating to hip hop. In "This is What a Feminist Looks Like," Derrais Carter writes, "I am quick to acknowledge that hip hop is about more than labeling women. It's a history of the lived experiences of various ethnic groups and classes. It is art, love, hate, envy, exploitation, and more. It is a battlefield of identity." He traces the ways in which hip hop has changed his life, which reminded me of one of the articles we read about hip hop feminism last fall in Third Wave (unfortunately, I can't remember the title of that piece).

Often we focus on the negatives of hip hop: the representations of women, the emphasis put on violence, the brand of manhood portrayed. Hip hop as presented in these two pieces, though, shows that it has the potential for profound positive impact on the people who identify with it. But this statement reveals the catch: it has the Potential for positive impact. It also has the potential for negative impact. Lots of different types of people are able to identify with and find community in this music. I think that's what interests me about it; I get such a sense of culture when I hear about hip hop - but what culture is it? Part of me thinks of Ras Kass or Lauryn Hill, part of me thinks of Lil Wayne. Can you reconcile these different artists? They all use hip hop as a medium, but with such different results. I suppose the only way to approach it is to reference the "battlefield of identity" which Carter talks about. Hip hop is not monolithic; like everything, it is neither wholly positive nor wholly negative, but sometimes one, sometimes the other, and often somewhere in between.

art. said...

"There is a different gendered experience for a black woman or a woman of color and a white woman. Women of color scholars and activists have written about this for years."(MSO 38)

This is an excellent point. It makes sense for people of color to not identify with feminism. "...racism has made it difficult for feminism to have a radicalizing effect...within the black community, sexist black men have used that racism to trump any real discussion of sexism within the black community(MSO 38)."

This begs the question, when white feminists speak of equality under the term 'feminism' are they [without realizing it] trumping discussions of racism?

mixed enigma said...

In the feminist movement I believe it is hard for white women to recognize their privilege. Most of the time, white women refuse to acknowledge their privilege while mainly focusing on the oppressing factor they hold, their gender. In order for white feminists and pro-feminists to move towards a more anti-racist movement, they need to visualize both sides of the horizon. For majority of the women who are not white and privileged, their oppressions are intersected. Unfortunately, most white-feminists and pro-feminists cannot experience such intersectionality due to their unacknowledged privileges. Once again, I believe this calls for more dialogue and readings based on intersectionality so that white women may become aware of such diversions of feminism. For instance, the readings from this week were good consciousness-raising attributes to all types of feminists/womanists. It’s not only white-feminists who experience such disregard of intersectionality. As Osayande points out, “Like many black men, I believed that racism was the only oppression...” (MSO, 37). It’s sad that feminism is dismissed because it’s categorized as “white women’s stuff.” (MSO, 37) We as feminists of all oppressions need to dismiss such socialization of stereotypes and find a way to involve all of our oppressions and find a solution together. But as Osayande says, “it seems that every aspect of [black men’s] young lives is filled with sexist instruction...[but what men should do is] provide an example of manhood that is not an expression of force, superiority, and violence but rather an expression of love, respect, justice, accountability, integrity, and peace” (MSO, 39). It’s hard for people, especially white people, to recognize this positive shift within the black community. Through Byron’s essay, we see the black masculinity at its finest and what it is mostly portray it as: money, power, and bitches. Byron recounts going through BET’s Spring Bling and noticing all the degrading sexist material that black masculinity gives. I believe Byron tells us about two young boys who strip a heavy set woman’s bathing suit off leaving her bare-chested. Byron questions the young men’s action and all they have to say is, “how you gonna play the black man out like that, man?”; as if they have some bond because they are both brothers aiming towards the same goal (MSO, 20). Unfortunately, for the black community “this is exactly what the white people think of black people” (MSO, 21). Why aren’t more black men rising up against the socialization of their masculinity? According to the movie, black masculinity has been shaped by the white man’s empowerment over the black community. White men degraded black men in the slave era and this is why black men hold their penis everywhere they go, because they have been stripped of everything but their dicks (I am a Man: Black Masculinity in America). It truly seems that sexist instruction is found implicitly throughout society and is hard to break away, but there are some men, even the ones we least believe to be, who are fighting with women to change such negative perceptions. Carter points out that he began to notice the objectification of women; “I saw them highly misrepresented figures in society who I had been conditioned to mistreat and ignore” (MSO, 152). For feminism really teaches all of us our positions in society and sheds light on ourselves in ways we never noticed (MSO, 152).

Evan Wyss said...

Whenever you have a movement that is predominately made up up of a certain group of people, you will not only have them fighting for biased goals. Oftentimes, this exclusive group could even work towards goals that are detrimental to others. Sometimes this happens out of pure ignorance, and other times it happens because of a more sub-conscious (or conscious) feeling of superiority. If you are unknowingly biased towards your own group it doesn't automatically make you a bad person. It just means that you have a very myopic view of the context.

In order to make a movement more anti-racist and essentially more productive, there must be real education. Not necessarily education in the sense of going to a class, but becoming more aware and enlightened of a situation. There is no magic way to make a movement more beneficial to all people. People must learn about the complexities of the environment around them and realize that personal experiences of how others are affected by oppression can be immensely different person to person. This can be done by reading works by a diverse group of people. For example, an essay done by a pro-womyn activist who also happens to be a womyn of color would help.

Another way that can a white feminist can work to become more anti-racist is working with anti-racist groups that are run by non-whites (assuming that the group is open to the idea).