“Speak, so you can speak again.”
Zora Neale Hurston
In the Black American neighborhoods around the United States of America, racism is considered the ultimate end-all-be-all as to what harms the Black community.
Discussions on racism hold paramount interest among both Black women and Black men.
rac-ism; ˈrāˌsizəm/ nounnoun: racism
- the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
- prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.“a program to combat racism”
Yes, racism has caused destruction against Black people for over four centuries.
With the election of Donald Trump, racism has been given a legitimacy it has not seen since the times of Ben “Pitchfork” Tillman, Coleman Blease, James K. Vardaman, Walter Ashby Plecker, and George Wallace.
Racism has left in place the vestiges of white racist hate of Black people.
Many Black people are quick to discuss and attack racism in the form of the decimation it has caused in Black communities across this nation as a result of restrictive covenants, racial Jane Crow segregation, race-based slavery, FHA loan discrimination, redlining, gerrymandering——to name just a few—–all have left devastation in many Black communities across this nation.
But, racism is not the only hell that affects the Black community.
Sexism does as well.
sex-ism ˈsekˌsizəm/ nounnoun: sexism
- prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.
synonyms: sexual discrimination, chauvinism, gender prejudice, gender bias“your hiring practices have generated numerous complaints about sexism”
When a co-gender group of Black men and women get together to address what is harming the Black community, three things often ride the conversation: a) race is discussed as if it is the only thing that matters in the lives of Black people; b) sexism is drop-kicked out of the discussion; and c) Black women’s voices are talked over and dismissed as irrelevant and disregarded as lacking legitimacy.
Any woman/girl who has been in mixed-gender group discussion has seen all too often how a woman will bring up an idea for discussion, maybe even have a different and enlightening take on what is being discussed, and most of the time her ideas are shot down as not having any bearing or improvement on the topic at hand. If the discussion is going on and there are people who interject and men have been holding sway on the conversation, often when a woman speaks to add dialogue to the discussion, she is usually talked over, sometimes even told, “You don’t know what you are talking about.”
Many in the Black community have refused to accept the fact that sexism (the term I prefer as opposed to male privilege) is in existence in the so-called Black community. For anyone to say and believe otherwise is to beg the question:
“How on earth did the Black community manage to avoid the traps and pitfalls of sexism when all the other communities and nations around the world managed to end up with sexism in their communities and the Black community supposedly did not have sexism?”
Impossible, to say the least.
There are various aspects of sexism that occur within the Black community, and some that do not.
It is possible to have many isms that require comprehending, isms that would be more prevalent among White males and Arab males, that would be practically non-existent in the Black community. There are aspects of sexism that would create bonds of solidarity between White males and Black males (“bros before hos”). There are aspects of sexism where Black males may be in dominance over White females and females of other racial/ethnic groups.
For so long, and still now, many Black men refuse to accept that sexism has created suffering in the Black community. Then again, they do not want to believe that sexism exists in the Black community.
There is no fighting against racism only———-there is fighting against all isms: racist white supremacy, sexism, ageism, classism, etc.
No one ism trumps others.
That some Black women and men think that only racist white power is all that we have to worry about, well, God help that person.
The devaluation of Black women is by no means only in the Black community.
The devaluation of women period is global and deeply entrenched.
The cavalier brushing off of the humanity of women is worldwide.
Black men have no monopoly on sexism, but, they are trained and raised up on it by a society and a world that educates them on a daily basis that women and girls are to be taken for granted, expected to serve and suffocate their needs and autonomy, as well as to stifle any desire to learn, and grow and evolve.
The racism that Black men and women have suffered in America is very well documented.
That they both suffered sex crimes from both White males and White females is indisputable.
It has been thoroughly documented that sex with non-whites, most specifically sex with Blacks, is of paramount importance to both White men and White women.
White women can acquire sex more easily now than she could pre-anti-miscegenation laws.
White men can still have sex with Black women, but, the respect to marry Black women is just as non-existent now as it was pre-anti-miscegenation laws.
Black women and men have suffered greatly in this nation.
They have both suffered at the hands of racism and sexism.
True, they suffered different hells at the hands of racist Whites but they were still the twin hells of racism and sexism committed against both Black women and Black men, by White men and White women: White men raping Black women and little girls, then running out to lynch a Black man for reckless eyeballing of a White woman; White women who laid down willingly and with consent, with a Black man to have sex with him, only to jump up and scream, “Rape!” when White daddy, brother, or son walked in on the two of them in flagrante delicto, causing the Black man to be lynched.
White women can acquire sex more easily now than she could pre-anti-miscegenation laws. She can now have the sex that was denied her for so long. The scenario for White men has not changed. White men have gone the world over crawling between the legs of millions of non-white women, impregnating them with children that white baby daddy gave not a damn about.
Which is why, no thanks to White men, that is the reason so many of the dark races of the world now come in so many colors.
Sex has been the crux at what drives the venomous racist hate of racist White man and racist White woman.
The greed, the desire, the craving for Black flesh.
And, if they could not control and possess that black flesh, violence would ensue and the black body must be destroyed if it would not bend to the will of racist white supremacy.
True, Black men were castrated, tortured, and burned for hours, before finally succumbing to their death.
True, Black women were raped, tortured and burned for hours, before finally succumbing to their death.
On the racist hate meted out to us, all Black people can certainly agree on that.
………………….when it comes to the discussion of sexism, and God forbid, feminism, the baby, the bath water, the tub and the tile wainscot are thrown out the window.
Black women have not only suffered racism in this nation with Black men; they have also suffered sexualized gendered racism as well, mainly from the violent hands of psychopathic racist White men. Because of Black women’s marginalization in this nation, our history, our stories, our rebellions have been silenced.
As a result of our silenced history, much of the resistance we have done against both racism and sexism has been buried for far too long. During slavery, Reconstruction, and Jane Crow segregation, the voices of Black men were heard loud and clear, but, not so the voices of Black women. As a result, the discussion centered more on Black men, both past and present, with more listening to the pain of Black men having grown throughout the years, as the deafening silence to Black women’s presence in this nation has grown to become a sealed sepulchred tomb.
As a result of this hell of a history, many people, inside and outside of the Black community place more credence, more value, and more respect on the voices of Black men. More people become alert on the words coming from a Black man than a Black woman, even when they are speaking on the same subject.
It can be seen readily in the images people described when the word lynching is mentioned.
Say the word lynching, and what images come to mind?
Or this one?
Even during the Civil Rights Movement, the voices, grass root efforts and sacrifices made by Black women were silenced.
The respect for the voices of men knows no boundary.
Regardless of the man’s race.
Sexism is a monster that thrives throughout the world, and its effect on the Black community is certainly no positive boon.
Sexism in the Black community exists.
That Black women have suffered from the racist sexual psychopathy of racist White men was bad enough.
That Black women are invisible in the Black community, as long as they shut up, put up and do not bring up any discussion on sexism is the flip-side of the Janus coin of the disregard for the integrity and womanhood of millions of Black women. Black women who discuss equal pay are scoffed at with derision and told that Black women make more money than Black men.
Most Black women work service jobs: care taker at nursing homes, fast food, janitorial, to name a few.
Black women may work two or more jobs like Black men. Black women are not all CEOs of major corporations.
Then there is the “But, you are taking good jobs away from a brother”.
So, by that, single Black women should not want to raise themselves up to a higher economic status because who else will the buck stop at if not them? They certainly cannot expect family or strangers to just up and take care of them when they are able bodied and willing to be responsible adults. And not all Black women want to be on welfare—-I certainly sure as hell do not want to.
Black men have to realize that they are not in this all by themselves. They must listen to Black women just as so many Black women listen to them. Black men have to realize the racist/sexist hate that Black women and girls still go through in this nation. The continued degradation, defilement, and denigration of our bodies and integrity is not something that for us has gone away. True, Black men still have to fight against the racist stereotype of Beast, but, Black women still have to also fight against the monstrous lies of sexually available, sexually lax, unrapeable Sapphires/Mammies/Jezebels, beast of burden, mules of the world.
Black men have to realize that castigating and disregarding us does neither them or us any good.
You cannot beat down that which is a part of you in the form of your mother, your sister, your wife—before the eyes of the world—and then turn around and look for her to help you when the shit hits the fan, only to see her lying on the ground bleeding from all the wounds that the daggers of the world and inconsiderate Black men have aimed at her.
Black men can no longer blow off sexism as if they have kryptonite protection against it. They have to face the facts that Black women are vilified by racism and sexism. Black women face derogatory maltreatment at the hands of all men who have bought into the sexualized gendered lie that Black women are to be looked upon as less than woman, less than human. Black men can no longer let the discussion on race be all about them as if what helps Black men will bring Black women along. It has not. It never will if it is to be predicated only on respecting the humanity of Black men alone. That some Black men worship the hate of “Black women and girls as hos and bitches” is tearing the Black community apart. Hell, it has already torn the Black community apart. That black parents treat their sons better than their daughters is witnessed time and time again in many families across this nation. That more is put in stock of what a Black man says and does, as opposed to what a Black woman has to offer casts aside the other half of the Black community. Just as White women are not the default person for woman, Black men are not the default person for the entire race of Black Americans.
“Be not discouraged, Black women of the world, but push forward, regardless of the lack of appreciation shown you. A race must be saved, a country redeemed, and unless you strengthen the leadership of vacillating Black men, we will remain marking time until we will be forced to subserviency or extermination.”
Amy Garvey, Black feminist and race liberation movement leader
That abuse and mistreatment of Black women in the Black community in the form of rape where Black women are silenced into not reporting rape (where they will not be believed by police/district attorney) and they have to face the “Why are you doing this against a brother? Why are you setting The Man on him?”
Where a young Black girl is raped/sexually abused by a predator and that girl has the hateful statement thrown at her, “She was fast, and brought it on herself”, when it was a supposed grown man who committed rape on an underage non-consenting child, look at the message that cements in the minds of all who dare not challenge such cruelty.
This callous contempt for the agency and humanity of Black women and girls strangles and cripples the strength that should be flourishing in the so-called Black community.
Racism is a travesty that has been in the lives of Black people for over four hundred years. It ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. At least not in my lifetime.
Maybe in the next 10- to 15,000 years.
But, neither is sexism going anywhere either.
When Black women speak of what can be done to fight against racism, listen to them. Do not feel as if you must have the last word, all the time, every time. There is power is sitting and listening and being still.
There is power in learning when to speak, learning when to defer, learning when to allow someone else, yes a woman, to have a say in challenging racism.
Two can carry the load so much better than one.
Want to fight racism and protect the Black community from further destruction, let go of the capitalist racist patriarchy that has been destroying this nation for centuries. The capitalist racist patriarchy that has been destroying men and women for so long. Resolve to never let that dictate what being a man means to you. Create a more improved living shelter for Black women and girls in the so-called Black community.
Being in the driver’s seat does not mean driving against the speed limit, disobeying state sign regulations, and veering off the road into a cataclysmic accident, which is what is happening with the disrespect shown by some Black men towards Black women.
Being in the driver’s seat means sometimes letting someone else drive and safely take everyone to a better destination. Then when that driver needs a rest, they will have no fear that they are in the hands of someone who cares only for their agendas, but, that they have someone who wants to protect, cherish and love that person and wants the very best for them.
Black people are citizens of this nation no matter who does not like it. Here we are. Here we must stand.
We will be faced with racism for the next millennium and we can not fight racism if the fractures and fissures of sexism continue to disrupt and tear Black men and women apart.
We have more than Trump to deal with, since he did not elect himself into the role of Commander-in-Chief.
He had the help of many White people, many who were only too glad to have someone give voice to how they really feel, and many of whom were White women who said to hell with Trump’s sexist diatribes against women—-be those women Black, Asian, Latina, Native American, or White women.
Black women deserve better than the short end of the night stick that we have been pummeled with for so long.
So, to the Black men of America, when all is said and done, who will be in your corner when the world is beating you down?
Who can you turn to when you need someone to have your back?
I believe you already know the answer to that.
So, Black community, you cannot discuss racism and sexism as if they do not work hand-in-hand.
Always have in the good ‘ol USA.
The Black community and the Black men who are a part of it must cease tripping over, stumbling over and falling under the feet of the elephant in the room known as sexism.
The sexualized gendered racism legacy of racist White males has poisoned the minds of White men, and also those minds of Black men, Asian, Latino, Arab, and men of other racial groups who have fallen prey to believing that Black women are to be treated as less than women, less than human. To those Black men who know who they are, cease your maddening desire to be up their with the racist White man and the racist White woman. Cease your desire to destroy Black women only so you can grab a few crumbs from the white racists who have nothing but contempt and hatred for you. Cease your beat down on Black women in trying to curry favour with the racists who have nothing in mind but yours and Black women’s destruction.
Racism and sexism must be fought against by all.
By both Black women and Black men.
Telling Black women they “ask too many questions, they question too much”, they should be barefoot and pregnant, they should be dumbed down—they should remain silent—and launching into disrespect, cursing, and threats when a woman disagrees with your point of view—-only serve to shut down any viable dialogue that would start the deconstruction of the ravages of both racism and sexism.
Knowledge is truly power, and forbidding Black women and girls the right to question and challenge all that harms us and the so-called Black community in the end obliterates Black women, Black children, and Black men.
We all must fight to get rid of racism and sexism.
One follows the other.
Because of the suffocating effects of sexism, until then a stronger more formidable battle against racism will continue to be pushed into the sidelines, into the dark.