Blacks are born black. Women are born women. Both groups had no choice in the matter. Both groups are oppressed and discriminated against for various reasons. I find it 50% hysterical and 50% pathetic when I hear a black man or black woman denounce feminism as unnecessary, annoying, or dumb- especially when they regularly talk about inequalities and injustices regarding their skin color. Why? Defined, feminism is the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men. Pro-blacks advocate for black rights on the ground of political, social, and economic equality to whites. If you believe black people (and all minorities in general) deserve to be equal to white people, you shouldn’t have a problem digesting the idea that women want to be equal to men. Im not here to debate the merits of coining the fight for women’s equality as womanism or feminism- I’m here to tell you that it’s impossible to be pro-black and against the ideology of either term. Basically, the fight for equality does not stop at skin color. If you can wholeheartedly believe that you shouldn’t be discriminated against, mistreated, or expected to act a certain way for respect, all because of a skin color you were born into and didn’t choose- then how can you not understand a woman’s desire for the same things? C’mon. Don’t be foolish. Stop regurgitating white supremacist rhetoric in the form of sexism.
Here’s a few common quotes I see as a reaction to feminism and feminist arguments, and my responses to them.
“WOMEN AND MEN ARE TOO DIFFERENT TO BE EQUAL.”
There was a time when many people thought blacks and other minorities were so physically, mentally, and emotionally different from whites that it predisposed them to destitution, crime, and irrationality… justifying racist laws and attitudes towards them. This was called scientific racism. Experts in the 1800’s truly believed that blacks were perfectly fitted to be slaves because of their “primitive psychological organization.” They even took it a step further and declared that northern free blacks suffered from mental disorders more than southern slaves, claiming that slaves who escaped were suffering from a case of the crazies. Despite all of the claims throughout the years that perpetuated the fallacy that minorities were lesser creatures and should therefore be relegated to subservient positions, said minorities have demanded equality and a better quality of life. When told that we were too simple-minded to survive without massa taking care of us, we proved otherwise when given the opportunity. When told our men were too violent and illogical to walk past white women without raping them, we proved otherwise. When told we were too lazy to become millionaires, we disproved this a thousand times over. This is no different from plight of women. We have been told we’re too emotional for leadership positions, too illogical to make decisions, or too delicate to endure hardship without the aid of a man. Clearly, women everywhere have proven this wrong when given the opportunity. The “difference” excuse, used to justify unfair treatment- is just that, an excuse.
“MEN ARE IN CHARGE. THAT’S HOW IT’S ALWAYS BEEN.”
If sticking to “what it’s always been” was a thing, black people would still be slaves. This argument is lazy and irrelevant.
“WOMEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE, THEY CAN WORK ANYWHERE, THEY’VE GOT TV CHANNELS… WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BE SATISFIED? MISOGYNY ISN’T A THING ANYMORE”
You know how a racist will accuse blacks of being ungrateful or choosy because they demand more? “They’ve got a black guy in the white house, a channel just for them, a whole month to themselves, and black twitter. Racism doesn’t exist anymore.” says racist number one. Black people don’t think they should simply settle for a black president and BET. We want cops to stop getting away with murdering our own. We want more of our people represented in the media- and not just in a stereotypical manner. We want to be able to talk about our problems without being told we’re being greedy. How is this any different from feminists? Feminists aren’t educating, working, and bitching this hard for anything less than complete equality and the right to choose our behavior without worrying about qualifying for respect. We want to be paid the exact amount that men are paid for the same work. We want sexual predators of all genders to be held accountable for their actions. We want to be the ones in charge of our reproductive rights- not crusty old men who don’t even have periods or babies in the first place. We want to be able to wear what we want to wear without being sexually assaulted for it and later told we looked like sluts. We want a wider variety of our gender represented in media- and not just the stereotypical or attractive ones. We want more content created by us, for us. We want to be able to talk about our problems without being told we’re being whiny and insufferable. We deserve it.
“THE BIBLE SAYS WOMEN ARE SUPPOSED TO BOW DOWN TO MEN.”
If you really feel the need to bring the bible into an intellectual conversation, lemme hit you with this whopper: the bible says a lot of shit. Among said shit, it tells servants and slaves to be obedient to masters. This was (and still is, according to some modern racists) a way to justify the enslavement of blacks. How can you put such stock into a book that perpetuated your ancestor’s enslavement and re-enforced the pillars of racism that are still in place today?
“WOMEN WHO WEAR SKANKY CLOTHES ARE ASKING FOR IT.”
Are black men dressed in anything other than a business suit and tie asking to be stopped and frisked? Asking to be bullied by a cop? Asking to be called a thug or criminal or anything else derogatory? No? So are women asking to be called sluts or disrespected? Try to answer this question without sounding stupid.
“THESE HOES AIN’T GOT NO SELF-RESPECT… AND FEMINISTS WANT ME TO RESPECT THEM?!”
Racists took the looting and rioting in Ferguson, Missouri after Mike Brown’s death to be black people, as a whole, disrespecting themselves. They took the behavior of few, and attributed it to our entire group. To them, the looting was a legitimate reason to blindly support cops accused of murder no matter what. “Look at those niggers acting like monkeys in the street.” sneers white boy Chad, who set a couch on fire on his lawn last year when state lost the championship. “How can they expect cops to treat them like anything but trash?” Who is Chad to say that angry rioters should be shot dead? Who is Chad to say that the actions of the few should represent the many? Furthermore, who is he to determine whether or not blacks should be respected based on behavior that can be attributed to anybody? It’s no different than when someone sees a woman who is scantily clad, or dancing at a club, or generally enjoying her life. How is she a “hoe” because you got cheated on by a girl who wore the same type of clothing as her? How is she undeserving of respect because she talks about her sex life on twitter, when you talk about it too? How does she not respect herself because she likes to hit the club every weekend? Tons of men- whose sense of self-respect you never question- hit the club every weekend. Stop with this repugnant rhetoric. Your definition of self-respect is not applicable to others, and vice versa. People, including racists and misogynists, only use the self respect argument on people they never intended on respecting in the first place. You just want a valid reason to treat them as your inferior. This is how people have always done horrible things to other human beings- rationalizing the abuse or discrimination as something the victim deserved. Remember that many of the hundreds of thousands of women who are sexually and physically assaulted every year are considered to be undeserving of respect by someone.
“FEMINISM IS JUST CODE FOR MAN HATING”
Are you aware that there are white supremacists and “im not a racist but…” racists alike who claim that pro-black people are anti-white? If so, you’re probably aware that there are indeed pro-black people who are anti-white. Does that mean that the minority who feel that way should be the reason the entire movement becomes de-legitimized? When those four black Chicago teens assaulted a white disabled man, racists were quick to link the event to Black Lives Matter to discredit the movement. Those teens did not speak for the ideology of Black Lives Matter, or the people who believe in it. When you say you don’t believe in feminism because of the rogue misandrists, you’re’ not fooling me. You wouldn’t believe in feminism even if there weren’t any misandrists. Like white supremacists who ignore all the positives to zero in on the negatives, you are afraid of change and losing the privileges extended to you because of your gender. Sidenote: Women who say that feminism is code for man-hating are just afraid to look like man-haters for the sake of their dating lives. Women who balk at feminism with incredulity are looked at with the same mixture of pity and annoyance as black uncle toms. In brevity, you’re brainwashed. I hope one day you wake up. Don’t @ me.
“FEMINISTS WANT TO EMASCULATE BLACK MEN AND RUIN THE BLACK FAMILY”
It’s a little telling that to some men, women’s equality means their doom. Its frighteningly similar to white people who claim that pro-black people want to strip white people of their power and ruin America. This irrationality is a manifestation of guilt and fear that the oppressed will treat their oppressors with the same cruelty and discrimination that they have experienced. You’re scared that women gaining rights means that your power will be reduced. Like white people afraid to lose the privileges they enjoy, as a black man you are reluctant to lose the privileges you have. Furthermore, because part of your identity as a black man ranges from feeling compelled to lead black women to believing yourself to be completely superior to them, feminism threatens your masculinity. Deep down you’re thinking how can you be I truly be a black man if black women are my equals? You’ve got to shred this way of thinking.
FEMINISM IS FOR WHITE WOMEN
You think you have a point, but you don’t. Feminism has had a long history of excluding or using women of color, but for quite a while now, intersectional feminists and feminists focused on black women (some call themselves black feminists, others simply say ‘womanists’) have done their part to fill in gaps that some selfish white feminists left behind. Check out this two minute video that probes a little deeper into that.
Not all black feminists always insert the “black” when identifying with feminism, but you better believe that’s what they are. Feminism is not a perfect ideology, but its core meaning remains unchanged. Either you agree with it or you don’t. But if you don’t believe in it, don’t be silly enough to also claim to be pro-black.