Male Supremacy, a.k.a., Sexism, Chauvinism, Machismo --Thank god I don't have to deal with it (well, at least not much) anymore. Not only is a wheelchair a serious @#%$ detector, it virtually eliminates sexist aggression. Add to that the fact that I'm over 60 and I'm home free. Quite a relief!
I titled this piece "Male Supremacy" in order to facilitate my comparing this ubiquitous phenomenon to the similarly all-pervasive White supremacy - in America and across the globe.
I could quote horror statistics ad infinitum re the battering, rape, torture, kidnap, and murder of girls and women throughout the world. E.g., right here in this so-called developed nation, a woman is murdered by her ex-lover or husband every three hours. You do the math! Of course, that means a woman is battered, raped, abused every few seconds. You do the research. It changes quite regularly. Just a few years ago, the murder happened "only" every four hours.
If you were to travel abroad, you would soon find that somewhere between 700,000 and seven million (depending on whose stats you read) human beings --overwhelmingly female-- are kidnapped and enslaved whereupon the abuse is unbelievable. In India, men set their wives on fire frequently and with impunity or, worse, sanction. In many African nations, women are still having their genitals destroyed, a tradition of male control that defies humanity. All one need do is reverse this procedure in the male imagination. What if your penis was rendered defunct and you would be forever deprived of sexual pleasure?
Male supremacy is manifested in a myriad of different ways. Men are dominant in the political arenas, religious hierarchy, corporate boards, food production, entertainment, and sports. In most families, men are the patriarchs or "kings of the castle." Everyone who is female is automatically subordinate.
WHITE SUPREMACY a.k.a. racism, prejudice, and bias
White supremacy is, of course, facilitated by male supremacy, since men have the physical strength and dominance with which to institute and execute overt and covert racism. Thus, white MEN are the group most dominant in government and industry; and they wield the most power. Add to the whiteness and maleness, wealth and the power becomes nearly absolute.
Now comes the question, what about the Black MAN? He is in a quandary. He's the dominant sex, but he's been enslaved, exploited, and dominated by "the white man." Naturally, the Black man is rightfully and righteously angry about his ongoing oppression in this white supremacist society, not to mention his continuous humiliation by his bosses, lieutenants or guards.
So while guns and economics might force him to accept his "place" in society (or remain in prison), he can still be dominant in his own home and hood. He can exercise the same kind of power he's subjected to by his boss with the females in his life. Moreover, he's been subjected all his life to White-male-supremacist images of what is to be a MAN: John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Clark Gable, which he imitates: Superfly, Black Caesar, and, yes, even "the spook who sat by the door." (The women in that film are a sorry lot.) The John Wayne image of manhood is prevalent. Please recall how when a woman resisted Gable or Wayne's attempts to embrace her, she was grabbed and thrown over backwards and forced to be kissed. But of course she always surrendered and ultimately enjoyed this "persuasion.
" In a recent issue of the San Francisco Bay View, Ewuare Osayande, wrote an article that really spells out the current acceptability of the degradation and humiliation, not to mention abuse, of Black women. In fact, when I first began reading it, I assumed the author was a woman. I couldn't perceive a man writing such an in-defense-of-women article.
He writes: ". we will be losing more than sleep if we fail to deal with the way in which Black women are imaged and treated in this country. We will continue to lose them to rape, incest, harassment, homicide, depression and suicide. What kind of community do we want to have? What are the values and principles that will hold us together in a mutual embrace of respect, admiration and love? Love is justice in its most intimate expression. What is operating right now as the norm is a far cry from love. The outright hatred of women has become an accepted expression in many parts of our community. It is not just in hip hop; it can be heard and seen wherever we are -- in our homes, in the streets, in the churches, in the schools, in the workplace. This patriarchal pattern only breeds more and more disdain for us as men. Black women are gracious to us when they continue to hold onto the hope that we will get our collective acts together given all they have had to tolerate from us. But each time an episode like this one occurs, it draws a wedge deeper and deeper between us, making trust all the more difficult. The price of our complicit silence and defense of our madness is too costly. It is costing us our community, families and our very future."
Kudos to Osayande! I hope more men will follow his lead.
White supremacy and male supremacy have much in common.
In fact, they're virtually the same phenomenon but with different targets and varying manifestations. Of course, a white, male supremacist targets a Black woman twice. I.e., Black women suffer double indemnity at the hands of White supremacist men --triple! If you add upper-class.
So I say to Black men: Think about how you have been treated, generally, by White men all your African life. You've experienced practically every level of racism, covert and overt. You've learned to recognize, almost smell, white racism when it's coming at you; when you're in its presence. You're conscious of the fact that no white person can know (theory + experience = knowledge) what it's like to grow up Black in Amerika. You know that well meaning White people must defer to Blacks when it comes to understanding white racism and all its manifestations. N'est pas?
Well, the same holds true for women, especially Black women. We have borne the brunt of White and male supremacy throughout our history, from chattel slavery to MTV and BET. The Harriet Tubman's must be turning over in their graves at the new images of young African women, their constant debasement. So when it comes to the various levels of male chauvinism, overt and covert, women are conscious of the fact that well meaning men cannot know what it's like to grow up female in sexist Amerika. Therefore, men must defer to women to understand sexism and all its manifestations. At the same time, just as too many Blacks cooperate with and even support their own oppressors (government and corporate), too many sisters do the same.
I'm of the opinion that Mother Nature did nothing wrong. She has checks and balances galore. And I believe that men and women are balanced equally. They are equally human and possess equally important characteristics. Moreover, they are equally lovable when all things are equal :>).
What's most important is that women should be respected and defended, not disrespected and abused.
Sisters of the world unite, resist all forms of oppression, and struggle to abolish White and male supremacy.Kiilu Nyasha
Black Leadership Owes Hip-Hop An Apology
Kiilu is a long time activist, freedom fighter and community elder who is well respected and very muched loved here in the Bay Area. She's a former Black Panther who has sat down and worked directly with many of Bay Area west coast artists early on who are now considered 'conscious'. Kiilu was one of the few elders who was willing to break bread with Hip Hoppers when so many adults were thumbing their noses. She's the one who hipped a lot of cats to the Prison Industrial Complex, Black August, Political Prisoners and Cointel-Pro. Her articles are often featured in the SF Bayview.. and she can be heard on KPFA and KPOO.. Drop her a line at email@example.com