Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Black Male Privilege Eh? Part 3

Okay I know its been a while but I've been a bit busy. Back in parts 1 and 2 I started my break down of Jewel Woods Black Male Privilege list. Here goes the third and final part of my critique of the his list.


College
66. In college, I will have the opportunity to date outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women will.
67. I have the privilege of having the phrase "sewing my wild oats" apply to my sex as if it were natural.
68. I know that the further I go in education the more success I will have with women.
69. In college, black male professors will be involved in interracial marriages at much higher rates than members of the opposite sex will.
70. By the time I enter college, and even through college, I have the privilege of not having to worry whether I will be able to marry a black woman.
71. In college, I will experience a level of status and prestige that is not offered to black women even though black women may outnumber me and out perform me academically.
72. If I go to an HBCU, I will have incredible opportunities to exploit black women

66. I wonder why that is. Is it because black men are more willing to go outside the race than black women, women other races are more willing to date black men than men of other races are willing to date black women, or maybe something else?

67. Since that plays off of the stereotype that men (especially black men) are mindless beasts that only want sex this is not a privilege. Being assumed to have sex on the brain all the time is natural is not a privilege.

68. True...but is that because women moreso than men look to "marry up"?

69. How is that a privilege?

70. Not being expected to marry a black woman? Agreed.

71. Agreed.

72. Not sure about that one...




Communication/Language
73. What is defined as "News" in Black America is defined by men.
74. I can choose to be emotionally withdrawn and not communicate in a relationships and it be considered unfortunate but normal.
75. I can dismissively refer to another persons grievances as ^*ing.
76. I have the privilege of not knowing what words and concepts like patriarchy, phallocentric, complicity, colluding, and obfuscation mean.

73. Agreed.

74. Agreed but should I choose to be emotionally open and communicate in a relationship I run the risk of having my masculinity questioned.

75. Agreed.

76. I get the feeling this is the obligatory, "I have the privilege of being blind to my privilege." statement. Given the solid material in this list I really hope he is not trying to throw this in there as the usual, "Anyone that doesn't agree with me is just refusing to acknowledge their privilege." trump card.




Relationships
77. I have the privilege of marrying outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women marry.
78. My "strength" as a man is never connected with the failure of the black family, whereas the strength of black women is routinely associated with the failure of the black family.
79. If I am considering a divorce, I know that I have substantially more marriage, and cohabitation options than my spouse.
80. Chances are I will be defined as a "good man" by things I do not do as much as what I do. If I don't beat, cheat, or lie, then I am a considered a "good man". In comparison, women are rarely defined as "good women" based on what they do not do.
81. I have the privilege of not having to assume most of the household or child-care responsibilities.
82. I have the privilege of having not been raised with domestic responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and washing that takes up disproportionately more time as adults.

77. Same as 66.

78. That I don't agree with. Its often thrown in the faces of black men that they are responsible for the failure of the black family. Being told they we knock up women then, run out on our children, out on the streets "hustlin" and "gangbangin". And while the target of such harassment may not be the black man's "strength" it is often his integrity, loyalty, and intelligence that come under fire.

79. Agreed and I also have the privilege of being more likely to get blamed for the divorce (I must have cheated on her, abused her, etc...)

80. Agreed.

81. Agreed and my spouse also has the privilege of not having to assume most of the outside of the home work.

82. Agreed.




Church & Religious Traditions
83. In the Black Church, the majority of the pastoral leadership is male.
84. In the Black Church Tradition, most of the theology has a male point of view. For example, most will assume that the man is the head of household.

83. True and this seems to be prevailant in all churches.

84. True and this seems to be prevailant in all churches.





Physical Safety
85. I do not have to worry about being considered a traitor to my race if I call the police on a member of the opposite sex.
86. I have the privilege of knowing men who are physically or sexually abusive to women and yet I still call them friends.
87. I can video tape women in public- often without their consent - with male complicity.
88. I can be courteous to a person of the opposite sex that I do not know and say "Hello" or "Hi" and not fear that it will be taken as a come-on or fear being stalked because of it.
89. I can use physical violence or the threat of physical violence to get what I want when other tactics fail in a relationship.
90. If I get into a physical altercation with a person of the opposite sex, I will most likely be able to impose my will physically on that person
91. I can go to parades or other public events and not worry about being physically and sexually molested by persons of the opposite sex.
92. I can touch and physically grope women's bodies in public- often without their consent- with male complicity.
93. In general, I have the freedom to travel in the night without fear.
94. I am able to be out in public without fear of being sexually harassed by individuals or groups of the opposite sex.

85. Agreed. I just have to worry about being called a coward, not being believed, or even being arrested myself instead.

86. Hold up. If this were a privilege this would in imply that women should have friends that they know are abusive. Its a problem indeed but a privilege?

87. Agreed.

88. Agreed.

89. As many cases that are popping up these days of women doing the same thing (and getting away with it) I'm not sure this can be considered male exclusive anymore.

90. This is often an unavoidable biological fact. Even in the utopia the many human rights activists dream this will still hold true. What would be removed is the desire to do so. But the fact that it is possible is not a privilege. And weapons can be pretty damn good equalizers...

91. Agreed.

92. Agreed.

93. Agreed.

94. Agreed.




Well there you have it. Am I silly enough to think that my breakdown of this list is some prophetic message that will open everyone's eyes? No. Am I silly enough to think that everyone will agree with the things I've said in this series? No. Am I silly enough to think that my opinions on this list are absolute and unwavering? No. But hopefully anyone that disagrees will be civil enough to talk it out.

Part 1
Part 2

8 comments:

thebigmanfred said...

Danny the more I read these lists, the more bothered I get by what is and what isn't a privilege.

On 66:
I have a theory that men of other races are more willing to date black women. To me it seems that white men historically have been attracted to black women.

68. I know that the further I go in education the more success I will have with women.

One of my friends said this to me once and I couldn't put my finger on it but I knew something bothered me about it. It feels almost dehumanizing to me, as if the value of a black man is attached to his education only. What about the other characteristics in a relationship? I kind of feel like it reduces a black man down to a degree as if nothing else matters, women will just come flocking to you because of a degree?

70. By the time I enter college, and even through college, I have the privilege of not having to worry whether I will be able to marry a black woman.

I've lived in an overwhelmingly white area in middle and high school and college. I've always worried about being able to date a black woman much less marry a black woman precisely because so few are around.

This is what I dislike about privilege lists, because often things don't apply universally. Take another example.

82. I have the privilege of having not been raised with domestic responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and washing that takes up disproportionately more time as adults.

In my family this is the exact opposite. Me and my siblings have almost always done the chores, with few exceptions. My mom of course did more the of the cooking when we were younger, but as we got older we took up more and more of the cooking role also. My Dad also cooked on occasions. I will say that my family's situation must be highly unusual. I recall some of the my mom's friends commenting "wow you have such good boys" and generally being stunned that we actually cleaned.

frau sally benz said...

I will have incredible opportunities to exploit black women

Um. Whoa. What exactly is that supposed to mean???

I agree with pretty much all of your agreements/disagreements with the rest of the list.

In general, all of the dating/marrying black women things seemed really awkward to me. I'm not sure exactly how that is labeled as a privilege, especially since I am constantly hearing from black men and women that black women need to "suck it up" and start dating outside their race. The whole interracial relationship thing is touchy with me, I guess, b/c I'm a Latina engaged to a black man and we get attacked b/c of it all the time.

What about the other characteristics in a relationship? I kind of feel like it reduces a black man down to a degree as if nothing else matters - thebigmanfred

I think that goes right back to the idea that black men will fail, so if they succeed in any sense, then it's a huge deal. I don't often reference Chris Rock, but it's like his sketch about black men bragging about "sh*t they're supposed to do," like taking care of the kids, getting an education, etc.

thebigmanfred said...

frau sally benz -I think that goes right back to the idea that black men will fail, so if they succeed in any sense, then it's a huge deal. I don't often reference Chris Rock, but it's like his sketch about black men bragging about "sh*t they're supposed to do," like taking care of the kids, getting an education, etc.

That's probably a good description of why it occurs - low expectations. There's still something unsettling about it though. I don't think I've put my finger on precisely what it is, but something still rubs me the wrong way about it.

Danny said...

I think part of what you may be trying to put your finger on fred is the double standard black men face. On one hand you have people telling us "they ain't worth shit" and other put downs. On the other (sometimes the same people on both sides) you have people standing there waiting for a black man to do anything that might generate the smallest bit of positivity just to tell him, "What are you happy for? You're supposed to be doing it anyway!"

They tell you us we can't do things but as soon as we do we're told we're supposed to be doing it anyway. Damned if you do damned if you don't...

thebigmanfred said...

Danny, you may be right there. I'll think about it some more, and discuss it some more in another comment if you're interested?

On 93.

93. In general, I have the freedom to travel in the night without fear.

I do not agree with this one. I think it's just a matter of what you're scared of. For instance, I'm pretty scared to travel anywhere at night for fear of the police. When you hear about how the police abuse their power, let alone the harassment African American males have faced I do think it's reasonable to fear it. I also fear general all around violence which I know is still more likely overall to happen to males. Males are more likely to be a victim of a violent crime in general and African American males even more so. What I don't fear is rape, as I think it's the least likely to occur to me as an black male. I think black women have a greater fear of rape but black men have a greater fear of all around violence.

Danny said...

I think you are right on the fear of overall violence thing. But I think the feminist counter point would be to point out that being African American would be the reason for the fear and not just being male and then I think they would play "But most violence is committed by men so you only have your fellow males to blame for your fear!"

And by all means continue the discussion. I am interested.

frau sally benz said...

It definitely is unsettling regardless of which way you look at it. The double standard there and the sense of damned if you do, damned if you don't is disheartening.

I think it comes down to looking at things in the hope for the future (going with the "you're supposed to do that" route), or hanging on to the stereotype (the "great job!" route). I would say that the former would be the most productive for moving forward. Do you folks agree?

BigFred said...

frau sally benz I do think raising expectations would be good. I don't like the idea of people just settling which I think is the net effect of "wow, I'm lucky to have found a black man with an education, even if he has (insert very long list of other problems)!" I guess that's part of my problem with the "educated black males have a better chance with women" thing, it bothers me that expectations are low to begin with. I personally wouldn't want a relationship in which I thought someone just "settled" because well there really weren't any better options. It's troubling to both parties involved. On the one hand, the guy doesn't (I assume doesn't) like the idea that there was a better option other then him. On the other hand, women wan't better options (assuming that they would prefer educated men). So yeah I'm troubled by the double standard and the idea of just settling for lack of better options, I think it's unfair to both parties and setting a better standard would be a pragmatic solution for the problem.

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