Black Feminism and The Black Men’s Rights Movement

| 08/18/2010 | Comments (22)

Black Men and Feminism

For some reason, Black men seem to feel a woman who describes herself as “a feminist” is a male basher that hates men. To these fellows, a woman who would dare upset the well established imbalance of power by requesting an equal share, respect and opportunities for females is viewed as someone whose goal is to destroy the Black family, and Black men in particular. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Taking a stand against male oppression and fighting for women to have the right to make choices for her own life does not mean that such a woman is against you. Being pro-woman does not mean that one is anti-male.

According to the dictionary, feminism is “the movement for the full social, political and economic equality of all people.” When viewed in those terms, how could any decent man be against the feminist movement?

An English professor wrote the words: “Woman without her man is nothing” on the blackboard and directed the students to punctuate the phrase correctly.

The men wrote: “Woman, without her man, is nothing.”
The women wrote: “Woman! Without her, man is nothing.”

And this my dear readers, is the chief motivation behind my quest to raise awareness amongst men about their deeply ingrained sense of entitlement and superiority to women. Men have this belief for no reason other than they have a clitoris that is a little bigger than ours, and ovaries on the outside of their body.

For thousands of years, society has been constructed to place men in a position of superiority over women. By placing themselves in the power position, men have conveniently had things their way for generations.

Men have been judge, jury, and executioner (with the right to decide what is right and wrong when it comes to women) for generations! Men will of course resist and resent any female that would have the gall to say that the old way ain’t benefitting her, thus she has no interest in participating in their system.

Why I Decided to Become a Feminist

I am compelled to write this post after more than a year of listening to Black men complain about “the natural order of things” as they relate to Black women subjugating themselves to men. That, along with the Biblical quotes used to justify persecution of adult women and the sexuality of both women and girls, inspired me to investigate the reasons so many Black men felt entitled to have us behave the way they wanted. Several blog posts followed including The Male Struggle for Control of Female Sexuality, Are Black Men Judgmental Haters of Black Women?, and the upcoming radio broadcast How Religion Messes Up the Minds of Men.

The last straw was delivered to my e-mail box in the form of a link to an Internet radio interview. The show’s guest was a middle aged Black man who purports to be a leader in the men’s rights movement. Hmm, what possible rights could men want that they don’t already have? I wondered to myself. I clicked the link expecting to be educated on a new cause with a solid foundation of fact. Instead, I ended up  utterly dismayed at the majority of the guest’s statements, as he expressed a toxic anger and deep rage at Black women.

(continued on page 2 below)

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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  1. Mission Specialist says:

    It would take me a month to comment on all that is here. Cooper’s article is poorly reasoned. She fails to cite a single so called “quote” or even to tell us whom the radio interview was with so we could check the veracity of her quotes or the context of them.

    Maybe more important is the fact she would write such an article with such an angry tone, and write such errors in fact and logic based one a single interview with a single man; even if that interview took place exactly as she portrays it. [However, without the subjects name, the interviewers name, or the broadcast date, we have no way to know if it even took place, much less if it took place as she describes]. If we assume she listened without bias, and it took place exactly as Cooper describes, then we must ask ourselves how much of what this one man said is actually the common view of the modern black man.

    Her bias is obvious, and while I could enumerate literally dozens of such logical fallacies, let us look at just one such ad hock attack. She states that BLACK MEN are irresponsible for using crack while leaving black women to take care of the children. I have been a volunteer in a children’s shelter and I can assure you that far more often than not, when the father is a crack user, so is the woman. And while the child is living in the woman’s home, that is a point only of geography as women on crack rarely take care of their children either.

    If there is a case where either the man or the woman is not on crack while the other is, then the non-user must be viewed in the most suspect perspective. What kind of fool would have sexual relations with a drug addict? Therefore, I give no quarter to either party in such circumstances. I have looked many parents in the face as they complain about the behavior of the child’s other parent and said, “You chose to get into a relationship with such a person, you chose to have sex with such a person, you chose not to use condoms or birth control with such a person. Unfortunately it is YOUR poor choices that your child must now pay for.”

    The 17 comments that I read are equally disappointing.

    To Blackinjun (8/22/2010)
    African women were just as oppressed – or even more so in many cases – than European women – or Asian women for that matter, or natives from the Americas. One can also cite some exceptions on almost every continent as well, though those exceptions are painfully rare. And while the gender hierarchy usually placed men “above” women, this was largely a survival advantage for women until the industrial revolution. So, most likely, the hierarchy was largely advantageous to women – especially women not of nobility – until the industrial revolution.

    To Renee Moore (9/24/2010)
    You should not feel singled out because you had a child and were rejected for it. It is a survival instinct that often keeps people from wanting to date people with children. After all, dating leads to marriage which means that person will be supporting someone else’s child. And while we all like to think of ourselves as progressive and talk about how noble it is to take on children that are not ours, many people will not actually live up to those ideals when it is their time and money that they have to take from their own children [or future children] to support someone else’s.

    My wife left me when my children were 6 months and 2 years old. I raised them. I cannot tell you how many women were interested in me, even stating why they could not understand how such a man could be single. When I told them I had children, no problem. When I told them I was the custodial parent, the date was often finished within FIVE MINUTES. When calling these ladies later on, the same women who called me “wonderful” five minutes before a date ended, could not find the time to even catch a lunch date later.

    You just have to realize that it is not you, but instinct and realize you need to find someone that rises above that instinct. It is simply one of the conditions you have to accept when you become a single parent.

    To Anwar Amir Isreal (12/20/2010) [Isreal = Is Real or Israel?]
    “The reason being is the Black Man [is,] by nature[,] biologically the most dominant being genetically [sic] on the planet”.

    Anwar, I don’t know where you get this idea – or maybe I don’t understand your concept of “dominant”. ‘Dependency theory’ claims that Europeans have dominated Africans from the dawn of colonialism to this day. Others would argue that the Mongol hoards that came west to dominate most of Asia and parts of Europe [including Russia and Ukraine] would trump that. So then how do you support such a claim? Do you think black men dominate their wives more so than other races? I doubt it. But if you think so then you should tell us why you think so.

    Also, even if you think that is true, does that justify the injustice done to women who are dominated by these men? The Japanese used that same argument to justify their atrocities against the Chinese in World War II and the white slave owners used it to justify the enslavements of blacks in North America. Maybe you should reconsider your comments.

    To Raz (12/20/2010)
    Who says “Biology has nothing to do with it”.

    Oh on the contrary! You’re probably enjoined with Cooper as she states, “ …no reason other than men have a clitoris a little bigger than ours, and ovaries on the outside of their body [sic]”.

    First, if something that is well over 300 times by weight larger than the other is “a little”, then we certainly have a good gage on one’s perspective here. But there is much more to the difference than size and location. The ovaries and testes produce mood and behavior altering hormones of different types and quantities. The method of gamete (sex cell) reproduction is dramatically different. For one, the ovaries do not produce any gametes after the female is born, it only releases the cells produced before a woman is born. The testes produce sperm all during life and for about 30 hours after the end of life. The gamete production number difference is astonishing. The testes will produce more sperm in a few minutes than the ovaries will produce in the entire life of a woman. Even that location difference is done for a biological purpose. (To reduce heat in order to increase production).
    But, that is just the reproductive aspect. Sexual differences alter the way men and women process thoughts, how their bodies handle movement and balance, and a myriad of other things.

    Almost all of one sex’s advantages are offset by an associated disadvantage. For example it is a well known fact that, pound for pound, men can lift more weight than women. The price is flexibility. There are positions women can take and moves they can perform that are impossible even for the most flexible man. In fact, that is the very reason they are not as “strong”. The bones and muscular connections give one sex leverage while giving the other articulation.

    The same is true for thought processes. As a group women are verbally more articulate and tend to be better writers, men are stronger with math. Also notice how a typical man reads a map oriented in one direction while women tend to turn maps oriented in the direction of travel. These differences do not demonstrate a difference in intelligence but a difference in the way information is processed.

    The point is people do not need to be the same to be equal. Our differences are what give us our value and thus equality does not demand homogeneity, in fact the reverse seems to be true. [Yet another area where Cooper seems to resent any claim that women may enjoy certain advantages both in modern and traditional society].

    To Anwar Amir Isreal (12/20/2010)
    “Why is it that all cultures of every race have always had a king having multiple wives[,] but no culture ever had legal societal accepted [sic] females marrying multiple males at the same time”?

    Anwar, you could not be more wrong. When men have multiple wives it is called polygamy. When women marry multiple husbands it is called polyandry. While polygamy is much more common than polyandry, there are many societies across several continents that accepted polyandry. To name just a few: some cultures in Tibet [Asia], some of the native cultures in the arctic regions of North America, (in fact courts in Saskatchewan recognize them), the Maasai people of Kenya [Africa], are just a sample.

    These are the types of claims that drive me nuts. If someone has not heard of it then it could not have happened. All of these comments and yet it seems few have even bother do a simple Google search to see if these ideas have any basis in fact whatsoever.

    This long comment only scratch the surface of the factual errors and false assumptions throughout the Cooper essay and the subsequent comments.

    We should remember men and women bring a different set of abilities and skills to the table. We should celebrate the differences not separate ourselves by them, nor convince ourselves there are no differences between us at all beyond the “size of our clitoris” [Cooper].

    Was I a great mother to my children? NO! At best I was a mediocre mother but possibly a great father to my son and daughter. Sure they had great grades and got scholarships to some of the nations best universities. Sure they did not get into trouble with the law. But I can see the price they paid for not having a mother. I see the longing for that feminine touch, just as I see that longing for the masculine touch in homes that have no man in it.

    My ex-wife was a woman who abandoned her own children, yet I do not tell my children it was her fault. I chose to have a relationship with her. As such I am as much to blame as Cooper’s woman who had kids with the crack addict. It seems the only thing that separates me from her (the crack mom) is that I accept my responsibility for it [and thus empower myself to change the course of my destiny and that of my children] while that woman blames only that addicted man for her problems and thus is highly likely to repeat her mistake.

    We seek to have others understand us, but what chance do we have of it if we can’t start to understand our own race, our own sex, or even our own selves? What hope do we have to improve our lives if we can’t take any responsibility for our own decisions? What good is it to react emotionally to the unnamed radio interview subject, no matter how Neanderthal he may be, if all we do is justify our own failings in the process?

    • What it would take is a month to read your comment! Damn! Its a COMMENT dude, not a book.

      Secondly, this is my blog. I write what I want to write, the way I want to write it. If I read or hear some bullshit from a man and I am disgusted by it and write about it in an “angry” tone, too damn bad.

      As for the podcast I heard and what I wrote about it, you don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to prove shit to you. I said it happened and it’s true – that better be good enough. If you want “proof” then YOU go use your time and prove it for yourself. It is not mandatory that I provide a link to anything I think is foolish which is exactly what I didn’t link to his garbage podcast. Plus, I refuse to give that idiot any promotion or any traffic from my website.

      You do not decide anything for me, including what I write about or how I feel about my experiences in the world. I get sick of men always trying to dictate what women “should” feel and “should” do, as if we are here to satisfy your asses or meet your stupid ass standards so you feel like you are running something.

      What you really need to do is think about that controlling fonky judgmental attitude you have about women, and how much it contributed to your wife walking off and leaving you and those brats you have. Women don’t leave their young children unless they have to do so to save themselves. Just this snapshot of your attitude lets me know that she left because you drove her fucking crazy.

      But finally, you can post responses to articles here anytime you get ready. You just need to always remember that you don’t decide anything about me and what or how I do anything. You have no decision-making power about what goes up on this blog or how it is written. You have no influence over anything to do with me and this website. You only get to decide what works for YOU in YOUR LIFE.

    • Raz says:

      Mission Specialist: “This long comment only scratch the surface of the factual errors and false assumptions throughout the Cooper essay and the subsequent comment”

      Mission you are “The one who didn’t fly over the Cukoo’s Nest.”
      Dude! go to group therapy or something and stop using this blog and cyberspace to play out your bitter angry feelings about women and the wife who left you and all of that. Nobody is going to read this long azz saga you wrote. Get busy working on yourself. Anytime a dude writes some long drawn out shyt such as this, you just know, this is a damaged male in need of some therapy and too dumb to go and get it. He’d rather stay stuck in bitter land, dictating and blaming women and fault finding instead of getting busy working on improving his inner self. A long winded rejected bitter whiny he-motional he-bitch Ain’t nothing attractive about that at all!

    • Raz says:

      Mission Specialist: “My wife left me when my children were 6 months and 2 years old. I raised them. I cannot tell you how many women were interested in me, even stating why they could not understand how such a man could be single. When I told them I had children, no problem. When I told them I was the custodial parent, the date was often finished within FIVE MINUTES.”

      Give it a rest, men ALWAYS post about how unattractive they find dating single mothers. In fact there is an article up on this blog with plenty of men posting about that. So give it a rest. Just like men don’t want to date baby mama’s women don’t want to date baby daddies. Nobody owes you the time of day just because you feel entitled to it. Your long azz post is just you whining because your dumb but has gotten repeatedly nignored by women you want. From your wife who had the good sense to walk away from you, to other women who picked up on your nasty attitude and wanted nothing to do with you or your kids who no doubt are growing up under your influence and will inherit the same fonky attitude that you have.

      Women and men date and marry other people all the time with kids. That’s not new. But if you are fonky, then nobody wants to have anything to do with you. A sensible woman would pick up on that and certainly wouldn’t want anything to do with you or your kids. Why deal with 3 troublesome folk and their ready made family if you don’t have to.

    • Raz says:

      Mission Specialist: “My ex-wife was a woman who abandoned her own children,It seems the only thing that separates me from her (the crack mom)”

      There are 3 sides of the truth, yours, hers and what lies between. Was she on crack when you two got married? Did you know she was addicted to crack before the marriage? If you knew this, why in the world did you choose to marry someone who was addicted to drugs? If she became addicted during the course of your marriage, what brought that on? What part did you play in the demise of your marriage? People just don’t up and do drugs for no reason. That is usually a downward spiral preempted by several events beforehand.

  2. Anwar Amir Israel says:

    I just am checking to see if I am blocked my post yesterday didn’t go through.

    • Not every comment is approved, especially if it in any way violates our Comment Guidelines. Please take time to check the rules for posting on this site. If you violate them, you can guarantee that your comments will never go live and will be deleted.

      Secondly, there is no arguing here. You make your comment, others make theirs, then we go on. We are sharing our thoughts and opinions, but back and forthing is not going to change anyone’s opinions on the issues. I prefer not to have my server clogged up with unnecessary comments that add no value to the thread.

  3. Hodan says:

    well written, it breaks my heart and pisses me off to learn in this day and age black men by and large are still treating their female black sisters/mothers/daughters/wives/etc as the enemy. It reminds me of the blog Khadija wrote on her site:

    its hard to take the truth sometimes, but until black men and the black community recognize what ails us and willing to fix such ugliness…it will continue to alienate black women.

    • Black men that think this way will soon be extinct. Their genes will die out and they will be gone from the planet. They think a woman should bend to their will just because they are men. They don’t seem to understand that the accomplishments and goals they achieved FOR THEMSELVES are not of benefit to a woman when she is assessing men for romantic partnerships.

      • David says:

        I really enjoyed your article. I really liked the part about encouraging young black men to stop spreading their seed all “willy-nilly”. I’m a 37 y.o. black man that abstains from sex precisely because I think it affords me a superior quality of life, due to the peace of mind it affords. I was watching the Chad Ochocinco reality show recently, and he was concerned about the potential for “Baby Daddy Drama” with the ex-husband of one of the contestants. Well, then I learned that Chad Ochocinco has had 4 children out of wedlock. They never mentioned any potential “Baby Momma Drama” that the female contestants might have to deal with. I recently voted that a woman with one child was a deal breaker on that online poll. The reason for me that it is a deal breaker is because it indicates poor judgement for any woman to become pregnant while unmarried. I think to myself about these women that they are lacking in self-esteem, and wonder about their devotion to Christianity and the whole not fornicating thing. Debster, I know that you have issues about black women and religion, for some good reasons, but women would do much better to simply abstain or atleast try to abstain from sexual activity prior to marriage. My mom and sister both married and I wonder why so many other black women are unable to marry the men with whom they procreate. I’m becoming a huge fan of yours Debster!! Keep up the good work!!

        • Renee Moore says:

          I was just looking at that online poll and was shocked at how many men wouldn’t date a woman with one child. I have a 19 year old that I had when I was MARRIED. My husband decided that he wanted to be married to more than one woman and when I didn’t comply, we divorced and he moved to Saudi to do so.
          It’s unfair to judge all women as being irresponsible. Because maybe we had the child in wedlock or maybe we are widowed. Or maybe it was an opps but we didn’t abort it. We work hard and raise that baby. We work hard to give that baby every thing it needs oftentimes without a father being present.
          Maybe you could reconsider your stance on single mothers. Some of us are simply trying to do what’s right and make the best of a unforeseen situation.

  4. Blackinjun says:

    Deborrah, I can’t make the comments I want because I don’t know if you make the distinction btw “Black” and “White” feminist.

    I say this because only in European (type) society could the idea of a “feminist” be born. It was spawned out of the female European mind, a mind that comes out of the same cultural environment of the European male. One of power for control over others.

    Feminism came into existance because of oppression of the Euro male and the desire of the Euro female to express her cultural essence. Power for control over others, not just independence from male domination.

    For me this is the big difference btw “Black” and “White” feminism. In African society the “Black” female has always been able to express her independence from the “Black” male, they were (before the missionaries and imperialist) matralineal.

    So what is feminism for a “Black” female?

    • BJB says:

      This was the subject of the show I listened to last night with Deborrah and a few other ladies. A couple of guys called in as well. This is the link from my web browser

    • WillDo4Now says:

      Because Black Feminism was born out of the Black Power Movement. Basically black women felt like they had traded one master for another and this new Black Master had a stronger since of entitlement. He felt he was owed not just her allegiance in race but complete obedience, and rights to her body. In fact the only time a concern for black women was discussed in public it always pointed to slave rape but ignored sexual assault and sexual abuse of black women at the hands of black men. I’ve always found it comical when black men think that Black Feminism/Womanism had anything to do with white men OR white women. Black men had plenty of power. Keep in mind it was the black man who black women looked to for validation, support, protection, approval, love, sex, etc and since it was his to give and withdraw at his discretion that alone was enough power to abuse. So if there is a finger to be pointed for Black Feminism or even RADICAL black feminism it was the black men in the movement who abused his position of influence and his willful indifference to black women unless it involved sex and even then he didn’t want the emotional connection of sex, just exclusive rights to it. Hence why it is believed that the Black Power Movement evolved from an effort to address the needs of the oppressed into a “struggle” for black men to have sexual access to white/non-black/black women without the threat of violence and criticism. So while it is convenient to use whites as an excuse for feminism in the Black community this conflict was home grown. One more thing, being allowed to express your independence is different from being FORCED TO ENDURE your independence.

      • Anwar Amir Isreal says:

        I am all for women receiving respect honor and protection and making money. However, biologically women were not designed to be in power over men. In any relationship even abnormal lesbian ones somone is in control. Women have no problem recieving all of the beneifts of womanhood the courts are in their favor the law is on the side of the black woman and in everyday interactions I see white and black people attempt to ignore me as ablack male infavor of focusing on my wife. I am educated, pleasant and aloving sincere guy. I took a tally with other black men from alll walks of life and they tell me the same story.

        • Raz says:

          Anwar: ” However, biologically women were not designed to be in power over men. “
          Biology has nothing to do with it. People are born with a blank slate babies are socialized from birth to behave in a certain way based on their gender.
          A woman’s ‘womanhood’ has nothing to do with what the courts decide. The courts decide what is in the best interest of the child (if you’re referring to child support and divorce). And perhaps folks ignore you in favor of looking at your wife because you could be mugging.

          • Anwar Amir Isreal says:

            Raz: Biology has everything to do with biological impulses. men have Y chromosomes which are responsible for male characteristics. Females have x chromosomes which are responsible for womanly characteristics.If it was simply a matter of nurture instead of nature why isn’t half or hell even 1/4 of the planet controlled by women ? why is it that all cultures of every race have always had a king having multiple wives but no culture ever had legal societal accepted females marrying multiple men at the same time? The very fact that man has always been in control of females and the planet earth is historical proof of that. The conditioning had to start somewhere and boys are drawn to certain masculine behavior the majority of the time. As for me “mean mugging” I am not some ignorant, insecure punk or thug who goes around mugging people frowning or projecting negativity.You are in denial of the racial/gender war that is going on in Amerikkka. Your suggestion that that I am of that type of caliber person is an insult to me!!As for the courts giving custody to who they deem as fit; poppycock!! The courts determine whom they deem fit and most of the time they racially/profile and deem the mother as the fit one. My brother lost custody of his son in Florida to his haitain baby momma who was arrested for stabbing a girl on the public bus (it was on the news) she was arrested and given mental treatment. she makes minimum wage and has aged. my brother owns his own debt consolodation company and has always taken care of ahmad his son. This was atravesty of justice. “Did it ever occur to you that if I was so blatantly stupid as to be walking around “mugging” people as you say, I probably wouldn’t even be on a site like this questioning this type of behaviour? Very rarely does the barking vicious dog question why everyone runs from it, so that reasoning on your behalf just lets me know that you are one of the unfortuanate casualties of war that has submitted to the whites mans system and loves him and that system(typical house nigress behavior) “Stockholm syndrome” is what a lot of coonessess are displaying nowadays.

          • Raz says:

            Anwar: “The very fact that man has always been in control of females and the planet earth is historical proof of that.”

            I don’t know how much education you have, from what you’ve written, academically very little. But it’s not about biology. The human baby is born a blank slate. They don’t even know they are male or female. But what happens from birth is gender socialization. The world is set up by men for men and that is why men have been in charge. Men aren’t ‘more of anything’. (except in brute strength). And these days with machines designed to do the heavy lifting, that isn’t such an advantage.

            Socialization is ingrained and started from birth and gender roles are played out. This is why society the world over is set up the way it is. Has nothing to do with biology and everything to do with how the genders are socialized. I’d suggest you do research about gender socialization and read some professional journals and stop talking out of your azz.

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  6. I will say that all your points are well taken. Men of color have for years been against women’s rights/feminism tracing back to even the civil rights leadres themselves. byron hurt and men can stop rape (out of d.c), are really going against this dominant narrative. I agree w/ many of the statements you made, and wanted to show some men who are making strides… peace!

  7. Patricia says:

    The patriarchy harms men, too, who get caught in a very narrow definition of who they can be as men and still be “okay.” They do get more power and privilege, no question. But they would have more freedom if they ditched the patriarchal role.

    When he says, “Women are emotional, not logical,” he is putting women into a tiny box. But he is simultaneously telling men they are “logical, not emotional,” and that is a tiny box that is confining, too.

    Since men and women and both logical and emotional creatures, his message is limiting to both genders.

    Thanks for the article, Deborrah

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