Has the rise of Black Feminism unified or divided Black men and women?
Every member of the Pan-African Alliance understands that there is only one crime punishable by expulsion – promoting disunity among our people. Every other shortcoming, from miseducation and ignorance to moral faults can be dealt with.
We do not look down on others for not being “perfect” Pan-Africans. And we believe that we dont have to be uniformed in our opinion to be unified in our intention.
However, when an individual seeks to divide and destroy the unity of our people, that person does so intentionally and therefore must be held to the harshest standards of accountability.
We know that unity is one of the biggest problems we face in the Black community, and so ideas and practices that seek to further divide and destroy us must be examined and corrected.
We also know, thanks to the works of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing that sex can be used as a weapon to maintain white supremacy over Black men and women.
Many of our sisters have become “Black Feminists”, and many brothers have become “Sex-negative” or “anti-sex” feminists. This relatively new movement promises a more “conscious” and less “oppressive” atmosphere for those who choose to exercise their identities in ways that mainstream society may not recognize. But in the context of Black Consciousness, is this movement responsible for the unification or the further division of the Black man and woman – the two elements that make up the Black survival unit known as the family?
If we are to protect ourselves from the weapons of white supremacy and begin to heal ourselves from the wounds that these weapons have inflicted, we must understand how those weapons came into play in the first place, as well as how they are used in contemporary settings. Therefore, all of us must understand where feminism came from and how it is being used as a tool to keep us confused, divided, conquered, and fighting amongst ourselves.
Lets start at the beginning….
A Short History of Black Feminism
Feminism, as defined by the Webster’s New World Dictionary is
“1. the principle that women should have political, economic, and social rights equal to those of men;
- the movement to win these rights.” The term was created by a male French philosopher in 1872 who believed in a perfect, Utopian world. The world during the late 19th and early 20th century was a place where power was concentrated in the hands of white men. It was feminism that sought to bring balance to this concentration of power by granting women the right to participate in politics, parenting, and economic advancement (to include expanded job opportunities and property rights).
The “First Wave” of feminism began when white women banded together to demand a share of power, and the opportunity to fully and equally participate as members of society. Organizations like the the National American Woman Suffrage Association (comprised entirely of white women that denied membership to Black Women) drafted and pressured congress to pass the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1919, granting all women the right to vote. It is important to note that all Blacks were granted the right in 1870, but were blocked from doing so in practice the end of Jim Crow laws. Black women, however, suffered from both racism and sexism, and so received virtually none of the benefits of the women’s suffrage movement.
In 1954, Blacks in America mustered together enough political and legal power to overturn school segregation(Brown v. Board of Education – Topeka, 1954) kicking off the Civil Rights Movement. One of the most important pieces of legislation was the 1964 Civil Rights Act, originally drafted to end Jim Crow laws once and for all. However, the bill was hijacked by white feminist organizations like the National Organization for Women (NOW) to advance opportunities for white women as well as all other minorities. The hijacking of the Civil Rights movement by white feminists began the “Second Wave” of feminism.
Once again, Black women found themselves left out and unrepresented in the white feminist movement but were still able to secure power for their race. Women like Rosa Parks, Daisy Bates, Mary Mcleod Bethune, and Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall (who was the inspiration for Dr. King’s I Have A Dream Speech) helped make the movement successful. Six of the “Little Rock Nine” were women, and thousands of unnamed and unknown women spilled their blood alongside Black men to secure a better future for the entire race – not just for their gender.
But whereas organizations like Stokely Carmichael’s Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)’s encouraged Black female leadership, the Black Panther Party and other smaller Black Power organizations restricted women from positions of leadership.
Assata Shakur and Angela Davis found themselves being subjected to the same forms of oppression that they found in the white world. Disenchanted with their subordinate role in the Black Power movement, and unwelcome in the white women’s suffrage movement, Black women set out to define their own place in the world. Thus, the “Third Wave” of feminism emerged.
Rather than serving to bridge the divide between Black male and female relations and their equality in a white supremacist society, Black Feminism became a perpetuation of the same miseducated thinking that led to the destruction of Black civilization.
The Black Power movement sought to set Blacks free from the harmful influences of white society. Black Feminism saw integration into that society and the adoption of white values as a way to achieve equality. Ideas concerning race and sex gave rise to those who believed that there are no inherent differences between the sexes and that gender roles were created by social conditioning.
Black Feminism evolved as white supremacists began to change their tactics to cope with the rise of Black Consciousness. The Black Feminist movement was fertile ground for several weapons of white supremacy, including miscegenation, integration, miseducation, sex, and eugenics. With reproductive rights being a cornerstone of the Feminist movement, Planned Parenthood launched an all out campaign to encourage Black women to voluntarily participate in eugenics.
White supremacists also saw the destruction of the community as an important factor in destroying the Black Power movement at large. Black communities were flooded with drugs by the same governments that unleashed an army of police officers to disproportionately prosecute Black men and imprison them for decades – thus leaving women to single-handedly raise children while working to cover the income lost by the male of the household.
These circumstances produced “independent women”, who came to spite the Black man missing from the family unit, and the “career woman”, who bypassed having children to attend college and climb the corporate ladder in white owned companies. Some Black feminists turned to lesbianism to have their intimate needs met. Others abandoned Black men entirely to enter interracial relationships.
All of these results played perfectly into the tactics of white supremacy, whose original goal was to prevent the rise of a unified Black movement that could destabilize the concentration of power in white hands.
Today, Black feminism has evolved into a movement that sets Black women against Black men, promotes both violence and victim-hood, spreads extremist thinking, and that demonstrates white supremacy in action. Here’s how:
Feminism Sets Black Women against Black Men
You must use the [Black] female vs. the [Black] male. And the [Black] male vs. the [Black] female. – The Willie Lynch Letter
Black Feminist Kola Boof, whose tweet is shown above, has more than 17,000 twitter followers. 17,000 oftentimes young and impressionable girls and women who carry these words with them into interactions with every Black man that crosses their path.
Kola Boof suggests that if she had her choice of being in one position of inferiority to the white man versus the Black man, she would choose the white man. Why? Is this not white supremacist thinking in action? And yet, this woman with this mindset serves to influence Black Feminist thought.
Even worse, this woman automatically assumes that she would be placed in a position of inferiority by Black men, thus categorizing ALL Black men of being unworthy of her companionship. With so many great Black men working hard to build themselves and their community, this type of thinking is both inaccurate and worse than any insult that could come from racist whites.
Sometimes, the misguided thinking of Black Feminists lead them to abandon all thoughts of racial solidarity out of fear of “abuse” by some mythical Black patriarchy. For instance, this feminist has said”I Won’t Accept Abuse In The Name Of Racial “Unity”. This statement assumes that abuse must always accompany their participation in the movement for Black unity.
Let me be clear: NO ONE should accept abuse from anyone. The Black Conscious movement is no patriarchy that demands our women fall back and bow down to the men. In fact, if we are to achieve our goals of unification and redemption, we will need 100% of the front-line effort from both our men and our women of equal capacity.
Black Feminists Dictate Rather Than Discuss
One of the favorite bylines of Black Feminism is “anti-oppression”, the assumption that “Men are in no position to tell women they “must” do so. That’s patriarchal control and is the antithesis of feminism. So is trying to silence Black women.”
This is true, for under no circumstances except slavery and tutelage is any one human permitted to tell anyone what they must or must not do.
The problem is that Black feminism constantly attempts to dictate to men what behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors “must not” be tolerated. By doing so, they attempt to do the same things they accuse males of doing with statements like “No Black man can tell Black women what is acceptable.”
Black Feminists choose to completely disregard the opinions of their male counterparts, even if his information is right and exact. In this video, a Black Feminist responds to Dr. Umar Johnson’s statements on Black Feminism versus Womanism. Watch it
The Black community needs more dialogue, not small groups attempting to dictate to other groups how things are going to be. If unity is what we truly seek, men must learn to compromise with women and vice-verse.
there are many Black Feminists who refuse to engage in civil dialogue with Black men and cut the conversation off before it even begins.
Black Feminism Perpetrates White Supremacy
Feminism, which was touted as an avenue available to all women, has not been kind to Black women. As a matter of fact, White feminists have appropriated most of the benefits of feminists without acknowledging their own race and class privileges. – R.M.
Media has long been used as a weapon of white supremacy. From the days of feature length films like Birth of a Nation (where African-American men (played by white actors in black face) were portrayed as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women, and the portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan as a heroic force) to….The Black male image is degraded, destroyed, and distorted by record labels (controlled by whites) who seek out the most derogatory elements within the black community and promote them to superstar status.
Just as the movie Birth of A Nation portrayed Black men as unintelligent and sexually aggressive, so to does Black Feminism promote the negative images of Black men as being rapists, aggressive, “bitch” or “ho” cat-callers, or inferior to them in their intellectual capacity.
Just as the architects of this nation wove their racist beliefs into the fabric of society, founders of the feminist movement wove their beliefs on the racial inferiority of Blacks into their feminist beliefs. Here are some of the founding Feminists, in their own words:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1815-1902 (Social activist, abolitionist, author)
“What will we and our daughters suffer if these degraded black men are allowed to have the rights that would make them even worse than our Saxon fathers?”
Laura Clay, 1849-1940 (Founder of Kentucky’s first suffrage group)
“The white men, reinforced by the educated white women, could ‘snow under’ the Negro vote in every State, and the white race would maintain its supremacy without corrupting or intimidating the Negroes.”
Carrie Chapman Catt, 1859-1947 (Founder of the League of Women Voters)
“White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by women’s suffrage.”
The same beliefs that influenced the thinking of early Feminism finds itself preserved in the thinking of today’s Black Feminists. We know that the image of the “degraded Black man” was engineered to dehumanize the Black man and justify his mistreatment by white supremacists.
We also know that Black Feminists like all of the ones mentioned above that spew their divisive ideologies operate as agents of white supremacy. That is not conjecture – through records released through the Freedom of Information Act, we know that agents were planted within Black Feminist student organizations to engage in campaigns of misinformation, while also keeping tabs on other Black organizations.
How many COINTELPRO agents posing as Black feminists were able to draft the policies and thoughts that form the foundation of contemporary Black Feminist thought?
Black Feminism Destroys Black Families
Black Feminism has become the newest front in the war on Black unity by fundamentally destroying the male-female dynamic that produces healthy Black families. Black Feminists talk at length about the importance of understanding gender, and yet give Black children no context for what a strong, healthy, mature Black man looks like by excluding them from the home and replacing them with other women or white men.
Black Feminists are the first to suggest an alternative to the Black man.
Some also suggest that a “loving lesbian household” is better for a child than an imperfect Black male and female couple. For a child to understand what a “good Black man” looks like, and how he conducts himself in the administration of family affairs, the child must be able to see him in action.
Even the most heroic single woman or lesbian team in the world can’t fill the role of a father. So to intentionally deprive any Black child of its Black mother or Black father, except in cases like divorce for grave reasons or the death of a parent, is itself a form of abuse… Every child has a mother and father, and when that figure is missing, there is a narrative that is experienced as pain, loss, and at times shame…Whereas single parenting and divorce have always been understood as a breakdown of the married mom and dad ideal, same-sex parenting is now being elevated as normal. This is not only wrong, but dangerous.
Power And Accountability
In this community, we believe that our women are sacred. Our women have the power to positively influence the behavior of men. There is power in the womb – and with that power comes the impetus to make better decisions. Our women cannot surrender your sacred temple to “cute convicts” and then lament the myth of the absence of good Black men.
You cannot jump to divorce and child support as your first resort, rather than choosing the more difficult and productive path of counseling and reconciliation.You cannot choose an alternative sexual orientation, and then blame it on some deficiency on the part of men you bring into your life.
This isn’t a cop out for men – street harassment, sexual and emotional abuse, violence, and sociopathic behavior is real. But the truth is that most Black men want to see an end to this behavior as much as Black women do.
Perpetrating our divisions by retreating into Black feminist thinking is not the way forward. Using dialog and your power for the benefit of our community is. Fight with your Brothers. Not against them.