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It not only frightens me, but literally pains me to be privy to the prevalent myths about feminism that circulate the Black community. Various forms of propaganda and misinformation about what the movement is and what its goals are have imbedded some incredibly ignorant and fallacious notions in the minds of not only men, but sadly even some women. What makes these myths particularly harmful is the fact that they often take attention away from the real issues that the Black community continues to face.

To combat such misdirection, here’s a list of 9 of the most ridiculous myths and logical arguments to put the conversation back on track.

1. Feminism is responsible for the breakdown of the Black family. The number one indicator that a man will marry and stay married is his financial predicament. With the ongoing struggle against employment discrimination and unfair judicial practices that have branded large swaths of Black men felons, further limiting work opportunities, it should come as no surprise that the Black community has the lowest marriage rate of any other racial demographic. Though it may be easier to place blame on feminism, rather than to actually explore the reasons for the breakdown of the Black family, it is pointless and impractical. While the Black community rambles like a senile, misinformed, outdated man, the true issues plaguing the Black family continue to fly under the radar.

2. Feminism made Black women lesbians. Though the LGBT(QI) community has fought and been able to promote social awareness of queer issues, there has been no dramatic increase in the number of gay people in the United States of America. Currently, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual or transsexual only account for 4.6 percent of the entire Black population. When we consider the large number of women show identify as feminist in the Black community, should we not expect to see far more lesbians?

3. Black history’s most notable women weren’t feminists and they only cared about “Black” issues, not women’s issues. Many attempt to smudge out the contributions to feminism made by various Black Civil Right activist women, primarily out of ignorance. Let the list begin: Angela Davis wrote a book titled “Women, Race & Class” which literally studied the women’s movement. Sojourner Truth’s notable speech “Ain’t I A Woman” was delivered at a Women’s Convention. Harriet Tubman toured the North East giving speeches in favor of women’s suffrage. Rosa Parks championed for the rights of rape victims. And the list goes on and on. Seems like just about every notable Black woman in American history was a feminist or believed feminist ideologies.

4. Feminism is responsible for the feminization of boys. This myth is tied to the unfounded claim that feminism has somehow made Black people gay. There is no connection between advocating for the right’s of women and girls and “gayness.” That is just absurd.

5. Women are single because they think “they don’t need no man” (which they learned from feminism). Women are single because large swaths of Black men are incarcerated, unemployed or under-educated.

Let’s explore the numbers:

**1 million Black men incarcerated and thousands more out on parole or with records

**A 3:1 ratio of women to men with a college degree

Seems like the dating pool just isn’t fair to Black women.

6. Feminism divided the Black community. When Black people came to the United States of America as slaves, they could not marry and families were often torn apart and sold separately. Most Black slaves could not marry and When Black people did somehow find a way to maintain some semblance of family, the threat of rape or violence was always omnipresent. Even a rudimentary historical education would reveal the very evident and obvious reality that White supremacy is the major divider of Black people.

7. Feminism promotes White supremacy or is a White supremacist tool. Funny enough, this myth actually reinforces White supremacy, because it marginalizes large numbers of Black women who made significant contributions to the feminist movement from its inception. As with any movement, the more powerful majority always receives more attention to their issues, overshadowing the needs of the minority. This could be seen in everything from the gay civil right’s movement, where White receive more mainstream attention, to even the Civil Right’s Movement, where Black male participation casted a shadow over the contributions of their female counterpart. There are racial hierarchies (created by white supremacy and patriarchy), even in movements– that is true. However, we should not reinforce those hierarchies by further marginalizing those wanting to be heard.

8. Feminism has not helped Black women or the Black community. Feminism fought (and continues to fight) for reproductive rights. This includes, but is not limited to, the freedom for both men and women to decide if, when and how many children they would like to have, access to birth control and access to abortion. If a Black man wears a condom, he is actually demonstrating his belief in such reproductive rights. Feminism also remains at the forefront of the fight against domestic violence, and abuse, rape, all issues that have huge effects on the lives of Black women and girls. These examples, and many left unmentioned, exemplify the importance of feminism for Black women.

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9. Only White or gay women can be feminists. It should be understood that within every movement exists a multitude of demographics and belief systems. Participants in any movement cannot be painted with one broad brush. For example, the Civil Right’s movement was composed of numerous ideologies like those who believed in militancy, or peaceful protest, from Martin Luther King Jr. To Malcolm, Angela Davis and The Black Panthers. Though there was only one Civil Right’s Movement, many pieces comprised that complex puzzle. Similarly, there are White feminists, Black feminists, womanists, heterosexual feminists, lesbian feminist and various other groups that all comprise “feminism”. For that reason, we should always be careful that we do not characterize entire movements based solely upon the ideologies espoused by one specific group, but we must instead look at a movement in its entirety.

 

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  • “Feminism is responsible for the breakdown of the Black family.” True very true I know because I was here when white liberals baited the hook with feminist themes and black women took to it hook line and sinker this happen just after the civil right bill was sign just after we were legally freed up pop white liberals with feminist themes and drove a wedge between black males and black females before we could get our balance get use to legal freedom.
    “Feminism made Black women lesbians.” Not totally true lesbianism was here in the black community well before black women took on the worst of the feminist movement however it’s a fact the radical white lesbians was at the head of the feminist movement and the National Organization of Women and we would be fools if we didn’t believe that white lesbians in the movement didn’t influence and seduce naive and open minded black women into trying lesbianism.
    “Black history’s most notable women weren’t feminists and they only cared about “Black” issues, not women’s issues.” True because before 1965 we black men and black women suffer under the iron foot of oppression equally only after we became legally freed did the word feminist pop up in the black community. “Sojourner Truth’s notable speech “Ain’t I A Woman” was delivered at a Women’s Convention” When Sojourner Truth made that speech at
    the Women Convention she was not addressing sexism she was addressing racism in the women movement because those white women in the movement was discriminating against her it had nothing to do with a man or sexism.
    “Feminism is responsible for the feminization of boys.” Somewhat because after the women ran her husband away with feminist themes she inculcated her males son with feminist themes while battering men and maleness which was confusing to her son which is contrary the his male nature.

    “Women are single because they think “they don’t
    need no man” (which they learned from feminism Women are single because large
    swaths of Black men are incarcerated, unemployed or under-educated.” Very true
    because a single mother raising these boy with a feminist mindset neglected to
    teach these boys as a man their duty to god, ancestors, family community and
    himself.

    “Feminism divided the Black community White
    supremacy is the major divider of Black people.” Feminism is a part of white
    supremacy.

    “Feminism promotes White supremacy or is a White
    supremacist tool.” True very true it was a tool of white supremacist when it
    took traction in Europe right after WWIII.

    “Feminism has not helped Black women or the
    Black community.” True very true after being legally freed up pop feminist in
    the black community before we could get our balance and it became the major impediment
    keep black community from moving forward at the rat we should have.

    • Feminista Jones

      I hope you don’t have children. For the sake of our entire community, I hope you don’t reproduce and pass these views along to those innocent babies. This I pray and beg of Oshun!

  • tigerthelion

    white women do better than black/hispanic men/women at every measure. white women are the majority and so any gains that comes out of the movement will be benefit them the most. the dictionary definition, as stated above, lumps black/hispanic men in the category of all men as if they’re doing so much better and feminism doesn’t advocate for them so why would they support such a movement?

  • Tanielle

    Do you ever notice that many BM have so much to say about BW being feminist but love WW. So BW took on a WW movement but they still love the WW who are the originators of the movement they hate? How does that make sense? It doesn’t. BM who talk this nonsense just need a good excuse to bash BW and they use feminism.

  • disqus_6sinns1216

    <– Black feminist
    Because I will never stand for being in a movement that empowers black people, but subjugates women. That is offensive to my humanity as a woman.
    So if Hoteps & Ashy Ankhs lazily translate that as turning my back on my blackness because I support female empowerment, that's your problem.

  • GeekMommaRants

    Women fight for equality. The pinks want privilege. Harriet Tubman called herself a feminist however she fought for rights and not privilege..