Friday, June 20, 2008

The Musings of a Womanist

A few days ago Renee over at Womanist Musings put up post that was well I'll just say interesting. In said post Renee comments on the parody video (there is a link to the clip in the post) about why news agencies aren't going on and on about the John McCain calling his wife a cunt. Her focus is near end of the clip where there is a quick conversation between the news staff that consisted of:

Anonymous Black woman: John McCain called his wife the worst word there is.

Anonymous Black Man: What, She's not even black

Anonymous White Man: No cunt, John Mccain called his wife a cunt

Anonymous Black Man: No way


She points how his first thought was a racial slur instead of a sexist slur. Seeing as she is a black woman I really can't blame Renee for being a little put off by it and when I stopped and tried to think about it from the black woman's angle (which is in my mind the is the biggest contribution of this post) it made sense she would be angry. But once she pointed that out she continued on into some things that I really don't agree with.


First there is this:
I think that this is a very revealing look at the black male psyche. In their mind the only oppression that is real, is related to race. Gender very seldom factors into the equation, and this is a problem.

Actually gender factors in the equation for black men a lot. While the issues that blacks face are racially charged (education, economic standing, employment) just as black women have several issues that are unique to them there are issues that are unique to black men. And as far as being a very revealing look its not. That one example offers about as much insight as saying that woman kicking the guy in the crotch near the end reveals that black women think its okay to respond to words with physical violence (and that would be totally wrong and unfair).


Next we have this:
The key here is that, while a black male is usually oppressed due to race or class, they still operate with a form of male privilege.

Privilege is a word that I've thinking about over recent months (with a lot of it done at Feminists Critics. If you're curious I'm using the handle Danny there.) And part of what I've been thinking about is the fact feminists like to point the privilege finger at men at every turn while at the same time denying their own privilege (yes women have privileges, they aren't just side effects of sexism.) That doesn't disprove male privilege mind you but I think denying their own privilege gives them a little extra courage when calling out male privilege.



Here we have:
While all POC must negotiate racism, it is only women that must negotiate sexism.

That's just wrong. Black women most definitely have to negotiate sexism but to think black men don't have to deal with it is just plain wrong and I think that only a person that thinks sexism can only be male against female would believe it. Different forms of sexism mind you but sexism nonetheless.



Next there is:
Even though black men represent an oppressed group within society, they are still intent on creating a patriarchal power structure that mirrors the one currently run by white males.

I'd really like to know where she got this conclusion from. But one thing I've seen for sure is that there are feminists out there that won't think twice about securing as many women/girl-only privileges and protections as they can no matter how many men/boys they destroy.



Next:
In fact the two combine to create a unique kind of social stigmatization that is specific only to us.

Yes that is correct. It is also correct for black men, asian women, white men, latin women etc...



Finally:
Newsflash the word cunt gets thrown at black women too, and it is equally demeaning as the word nigger.

Its not anything new. Just because black women are the only demographic that has to deal with both of these words does not mean no one else is concerned about them. Nor does that mean that no one else thinks they are offensive




Despite the many things I picked out of her post I won't say Renee is overreacting nor will I accuse her of whining or being over sensitive. But she does seem to take that conversation and make some very long reaching assertions.

I mentioned over at Amy Alkon's site a few days ago that she may not be the stereotypical angry feminist that is running on nothing but blind hatred. If people of all walks of life are going to get along and if any hope of real equality is going to brought to fruition then we all have to start listening to each other. I'm not promising that I'll hang on to Renee's every word and become a loyal follower of her brand of feminism but I'll drop in to hear her out.
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