Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Where race and gender seem to tell the same story

There is a post over at ethcofem that is discussing male and female privilege lists. Boy is that thread interesting. There is this one commenter named Melissa that I have had the pleasure of having a long discussion on gender and oppression and the movements of people that seek to correct those things. Well during the discussion I was thinking about how the system harms me because of my gender and my race. More precisely I started thinking about how the system as it stands benefits from the self destructive cycles that target my gender and my race.

Being black I'm expected to go down in a spiral of gang violence, drugs, prison, and not being in the lives of the children I helped create. The gang violence, drugs, and prison are meant to keep the numbers of my race under control. We are out there on the streets literally thinning our own numbers just as fast if not faster than the direct actions of "the man" By not being there for the children we help create we are destroying the black family (I assure you that despite what Obama may take the time to say on every Father's Day the destruction of the black family is not solely the fault of men) by way of not giving our kids the safe place and guidance they need to grow up and become responsible adults themselves. And often when a child is denied that they there is a good chance they will then repeat the cycle by doing the same to the children they help create one day.

And to complete the circle people of my race are taught that to want something more in life is proof of being a traitor to one's race. Want an education? You're an Uncle Tom/Thomasina. Want to move to a safer place for your kids? You are turning your back on where you came from. Want a high end job with a good salary and benefits? You're acting like a white woman/man.

With influences like that its no wonder people of color get stuck in self destructive spirals.

Being male I'm expected to toil my life away working outside the home to provide for children and to "protect the women" from the dangers of the outside. Yes protecting women from the dangers of the outside is a very big part of the male gender role (and very damaging, chivalry can kiss my ass). However as far as children are concerned I am taught that my worth to my children is measures in how much money I can give. A part of my job of protecting women is to take on the dangerous jobs so they don't have to and my character is often weighed by this. Another part of this is that when compared to women and children my life is worth less than theirs but I can prove my worth by risking and even losing my life to help them live. (Don't get me wrong there are few things that are more noble than risking one's life for another. Yet there is a big difference between doing it because you care and doing it because your gender role says so.) And as far as children are concerned I am not supposed to be around them because I am supposedly a molester waiting for the opportunity to violate them.

And to complete the circle there are people lining up with taunts to keep me in line if I stray. Don't want to risk your life to help a woman? You're a coward. You're the primary caretaker for the children? You're a molster/rapist. You're doing it because you aren't a real man by not being the one to work outside the home. You're doing it to hurt their mom. Take your pick. You're talking about your pain. You're not a man because real men don't talk about their pain they hold it in.

No wonder men hold in their pain and frustration until they go on rampages and die way too soon.

Just pondering over how my gender and race make me the target of some sinister shit.