Let me preface this by saying that I am a staunch self-idenitifed feminist. Not an accidental, apologetic “I believe in women’s rights, but I don’t wanna call myself that because its often associated with White women or man-hating lesbians” one, but a proud believer that another world IS possible if we prioritze ending patriarchy and gender-based oppression. I don’t believe in ‘letting a man lead’, I don’t believe in submission and I don’t believe that my God-given role on this planet is to be a help-mate to someone of another gender because he has a penis and I, a vagina.
That said…I worry that many of the women out there who feel strongly about issues of gender don’t seem to recognize a crippling hatred of men. And among Black women, its often a hatred of our own brothers. And its dangerous, y’all. Its dangerous.
When I read the comments from women on this site and others, I am hurt at times to see how vehement the hatred towards our men can be, just as I am disheartened at the number of Black men who come to Clutch with the sole intent of telling us how sisters ain’t sh*t and that they’d rather have anything but us. As a woman warrior, I am compelled today to address the former alone, as we have come for the men many, many times. In the midst of our fight, we have to be self-reflective and we have to be willing to engage the ways in which we may also be contributing to what’s wrong between Black men and Black women.
One of the main aims of feminism/womanism and any other anti-sexist school of thought or action is to eradicate misogyny– the hatred/belief in the inherent inferiority of women. When one recognizes that she is hated and oppressed, its easy to respond with feelings of hatred of her own. I have hatred, too. I hate oppression. I hate suffering. I hate the global rape culture, the cultural devaluing of the Black female body and mind. But I do not hate men for being men. When you cannot make the distinction between allies (men who wish to support the struggles of women in a genuine way), willing participants in our opression (the sexism deniers and those who cry for foolish concepts like ‘masculism’), and those who are truly unaware of their complicity in the global abuse of womanhood…when you cannot see past the pain of patriarchal oppression to see that there are men who we should be proud to call our brothers, even if they aren’t feminist-identified…there is a problem.
Sure, there’s gonna be brothers who don’t know how to act, who think White women are a gift from God, who wouldn’t know to respect their mothers/sisters/lovers if they were provided with an instruction sheet. But if we allow those men who represent the lowest common denominator of our people to become the image that we identify to be the “real” Black man of our community, then we are no better than the racists who pitted us against each other in the first place.
To want more from Black men, you have to be willing to offer more. You have to explore and examine your own scars and look to find ways to heal together. You can’t say “I got cheated on. All Black men ain’t sh*t” or “My child’s father left me. Black men leave their kids.” We have to work on improving individual accountability for the greater good of the group without allowing the worst to be the image of the whole. You also can’t let romantic relationships (or lack thereof) be the only metric by which you judge the men of our race. Lovers should not be the only Black men who occupy space in your life. Even if your relationship with your dad is strained or non-existent, you can seek out teachers, mentors, platonic friends and others to provide you the space to have important relationships with men.
As Che Guevara taught us, a true revolutionary movement must be guided by love. If you hate Black men, you can’t rightly contribute to any efforts to improve the relationship we have to them, nor can you successfully raise a generation of Black boys that will avoid the mistakes of those who came before them. We can’t look at brothers as a problem to solve, but rather as our counterparts who are also damaged, also suffering at the hand of a White supremacist patriarchy that is ordered in such a way that both genders suffer. We can’t get anywhere hating our men.