Monday, August 2, 2010

Who Cares About Black Male Privilege Anyway?


In a recent post, @TKOEd expressed concern regarding the terminology “Black Male Privilege.” Reasonable criticism from reasonable individuals always makes me pause to think. That’s when it hit me:

Why are Black women defining their grievances vis-à-vis Black men anyway?

On some multi-tiered dream-within-a-dream “Inception” type isht, the concept is about as patriarchal as it gets.

We must ask ourselves, what is the purpose of the Black Male Privilege debate? Is it not to articulate grievances of Black women in hopes that those injustices be eradicated?

If this is true, then we ought to express grievances of Black women in a narrative centered on Black women. We need not relegate Black women’s plight to a position beneath the thumb of Black men. Furthermore, there are enough communication difficulties between Black men and women in America today. I concede tossing up the word “privilege” if it means our intergender debates proceed productively.

If our purpose is to abolish injustices specific to Black women, we must begin our conversation on agreeable grounds (that’s Persuasion 101). The history of the Black man in America makes it extraordinarily difficult for him to swallow the idea of being an oppressor. Correspondingly, the Black Male Privilege debate has become divisive, and inevitably distracts us into a counterproductive and phallocentric discourse.

When we discuss the issues of Black women, let us discuss the issues of Black women, not the privileges of Black men. In that way, we keep the debate appropriately focused instead of derailing it into a conversation that ultimately buries our gripes (which is exactly the opposite of what we desired in the first place).

9 comments:

  1. Very interesting & thought provoking POV.

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  2. Thanks Eddie! I meant to @reply you the post, but got busy. Glad you picked it up from my Twitter. Thanks again for inspiration!

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  3. As I stated on twitter, I totally agree. My only question is: how? There always seems to be a strong tendency to create these kinds of categories when discussing Black women once others are invited in the dialogue. What happens once the conversation moves beyond Black women to include Black men and others? Won't they inevitably inject themselves into the scenario in one way or another? I am interested in talking about what a conversation without these categories might look like. Exciting stuff!

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  4. @TheSultryOne Thanks! I recognize that this conversation must move beyond Black women in order to be productive, which I why I raised the point about changing the narrative. I think it's helpful when others inject themselves into the scenario, so long as the debate remains appropriately focused.

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