White Women Used Their Privilege As Tools Of My Oppression,black Male

Discussion in 'News - Breaking News & Political Forum' started by Dellas, Mar 5, 2019.

  1. Dellas

    Dellas Well-Known Member

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    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...men-against-black-men-as-a-tool-of-oppression

    ‘I had to submit to being exoticised by white women. If I didn’t, I was punished’


    I support the movement to address misogyny and patriarchy in our society, but it’s time for an honest discussion about how some women use white privilege to oppress black men

    I’m going to talk about something that, until now, I have largely kept to myself. It’s odd, as I consider myself a writer of extreme honesty, and I try to carry that over into real life. And yet, even now, I’m hesitating, and I realise to some degree I have procrastinated even more than usual about the thinking, and writing, of this. The committing of a hidden life event to the written word. That’s always a scary act.

    I used to wonder if my reluctance was driven by shame, or simply my incredulity at what took place all those years ago. Now, I think that it is those things mostly, but also a hell of a lot more. Over the last few years, particularly in the recent crosswinds of our racial and cultural political climate, this life event bubbled to the surface of my memory, never quite boiling over. I’ve talked about it to a few of my close male friends, but that’s it. I almost never mention it to women.

    So, OK. I’ll stop stalling and try to be as straightforward as I can.
    A few decades ago, when I was just becoming a published author, I was discussing projects with various companies. In one, I dealt with a white male creative, and, when he left, I was assigned to someone else, a white woman. I was overjoyed to be taken seriously at last, a bit starry-eyed from the blitz of media and publishing parties, both of which I was unused to. My new contact, charming and jovial, was full of great ideas and encouragement. We hit it off, and got to work right away.
    I’d travel into the office several times a week, full of excitement. I was young and eager to change the world. We’d sit in a room together and thrash out story outlines. Almost right away, my editor began making personal comments that I found highly unprofessional. She had black female friends, she said, who would “love” me. She said I was cute, and, sometimes when we were sitting at a desk side by side, she would stare into my face when we were meant to be working. It was unnerving, and, while I appreciated the compliments, which would occur every time we worked together, I began to feel a little uncomfortable in her presence.

    Then she suffered a small injury. There was a meeting due, and she called me up, insisting that I come to her house. Given what had been going on in the office, I wasn’t that keen, so I asked if we could meet in a public place. She refused. We went back and forth until the conversation ended with her screaming down the phone, swearing at me and insisting I came to her house. I refused. The following day, someone in the company rang me up to inform me I had lost the job.

    I tried to fight it, but there was nothing I could do. The whole deal collapsed. I knew what had happened to me was a commonplace occurrence for women, and I’d long felt outraged about that reality, but I quickly saw there was no outrage for me. When I spoke to anyone about what happened, there was a sympathetic shrug and a change of subject. So I responded the same way the majority of people would in this situation. I let it go.
    It’s clear to me that this incident is an example of white female privilege being used to dominate a young black man. I was perceived to have no recourse, no agency. I had to submit to being exoticised in accordance with the hypersexualised stereotype that black men are often framed by. When I refused to reciprocate, I was punished. It wasn’t the first time I had seen this happen, and it wouldn’t be the last opportunity I would lose because of something said about me by a white woman. My most recent loss was a university teaching post. The interventions of other students saved my professional reputation, but I lost the job anyway.

    Many years after, as the fallout from Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour rippled and spread, and the #MeToo movement rose in its wake, I was reminded of my first experience in the media, of negative experiences involving white women from childhood to the present day and of events that happened to friends, or have occurred within the wider diasporic black community. And, although it’s obvious that none of my personal experiences come anywhere close to the heinous crimes of rape and enforced sexual harassment committed globally by men, I have seen white privilege used by women as an oppressive tool far too many times to believe there should not be the same level of accountability.
    I’ll hold my hands up and admit this is a complicated thing to tackle. I know this, and it has in part fuelled my hesitance. So, while I fully support any movement that seeks to address the rampant misogyny and patriarchy driving our society, which of course includes men of colour on too many occasions, I wonder if it’s possible to have a conversation about the role white women play in the continual oppression of black men; to speak about this in a historical context, tracing the direct line from enslavement and colonisation to the present day. To have an honest discussion about the fact that white women, who obviously face a cis, white patriarchal system of oppression, also use that patriarchal system to oppress those perceived as lower on the racial and social hierarchy?
    Snip...
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2019
  2. Dellas

    Dellas Well-Known Member

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    I just thought Lena Dunham...and Richard Pryor and when white women are more likely to be gatekeepers and in some cases in comes at a price.
     
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  3. Black Ambrosia

    Black Ambrosia Well-Known Member

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    Reminds me of an article I read recently. It may seem like a stretch but the common themes of perceived innocence and white privilege are the same.

    White Women Were Avid Slaveowners, a New Book Shows
    Feb. 26, 2019


    [​IMG]

    She knew, but she didn’t participate — not fully. She participated, but she didn’t know — not everything. She was a bystander. She was an anomaly.

    The full role of white women in slavery has long been one of the “slave trade’s best-kept secrets.” “They Were Her Property,” a taut and cogent corrective, by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, examines how historians have misunderstood and misrepresented white women as reluctant actors. The scholarship of the 1970s and ’80s, in particular, did much to minimize their involvement, depicting them as masters in name only and even, grotesquely, as natural allies to enslaved people — both suffered beneath the boot of Southern patriarchy, the argument goes.

    Jones-Rogers puts the matter plainly. White slave-owning women were ubiquitous. Not only did they profit from, and passionately defend, slavery, but the institution “was their freedom.” White women were more likely to inherit enslaved people than land. Their wealth brought them suitors and gave them bargaining power in their marriages. If their husbands proved unsatisfactory slave owners in their eyes, the women might petition for the right to manage their “property” themselves, which they did, with imaginative sadism.

    How have so many historians gotten it so wrong?

    According to Jones-Rogers, they have not been listening to the right people. “They Were Her Property” draws on the customary sources — letters and other documents from slave-owning families and the like — but radically centers the testimonies of formerly enslaved people in interviews conducted by the Federal Writers’ Project, part of the Works Progress Administration.

    From these stories, Jones-Rogers brings an unseen world to life: of white women’s instruction in domination, a process of grooming that began in infancy. W.P.A. interviewees recount threats, abuse and whippings administered by white children. “It didn’t matter whether the child was large or small,” one woman said. “They always beat you ’til the blood ran down.”

    “They Were Her Property” joins a tide of recent books — among them, Sven Beckert’s “Empire of Cotton,” Edward Baptist’s “The Half Has Never Been Told,”Walter Johnson’s “River of Dark Dreams” and Caitlin Rosenthal’s “Accounting for Slavery” — that examine how slavery laid the foundation of American capitalism, including the invention of financial instruments, such as bonds that used enslaved people as collateral. Jones-Rogers writes, “If we examine women’s economic investments in slavery, rather than simply their ideological and sentimental connections to the system, we can uncover hitherto hidden relationships among gender, slavery and capitalism.”

    Previously invisible sectors of the market are illuminated, many created and controlled by white women. Historians long asserted, for instance, that Southern women used wet nurses only “as a last resort,” but the testimonies of formerly enslaved people — and advertisements from the 18th and 19th centuries — tell a different story. The practice appears to have been widespread. One woman recalled that her enslaved mother always gave birth at the same time as her mistress, so she would be available to nurse the white baby. “These recollections make it clear that enslaved women were giving birth on a routine basis. But what often remains unexplored is what led to these constant conceptions,” Jones-Rogers writes. Some were “undoubtedly the result of sexual assault.”

    In horrifying, meticulous detail, this book illustrates the centrality of violence to capitalism. Baptist argued the same point in “The Half Has Never Been Told.” It was sheer brutality that dramatically increased the cotton yield between 1800 and 1860, he wrote. No new technology or innovation surfaced in those years, but constant beatings, sexual abuse and waterboarding had become common practices. In that era, “white people inflicted torture far more often than in almost any human society that ever existed.”

    Jones-Rogers reveals how the violence of slave-owning women especially could go unchecked, particularly when the victims were black children. She gives the example of Henrietta King. As an 8- or 9-year-old, King was accused of stealing candy. Her mistress wedged King’s head under a rocking chair. For about an hour, she rocked back and forth on King’s head while her young daughter whipped her. King’s face was mutilated. For the rest of her life she was unable to eat solid food.

    King lived, though. There are, somehow, even more painful stories in this book. Many of Jones-Rogers’s findings give credence to the historian Thavolia Glymph’s claim that enslaved people faced significantly more physical violence from their mistresses than their masters.

    Jones-Rogers is a crisp and focused writer. She trains her gaze on the history and rarely considers slavery’s reverberations. They are felt on every page, however. It is impossible to read her on “maternal violence” — the abuse of black mothers and babies during slavery — without thinking of black maternal mortality rates today. This scrupulous history makes a vital contribution to our understanding of our past and present.
     
  4. Everything Zen

    Everything Zen Well-Known Member

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    Not sure if I could read this book. I still haven’t made it through “Medical Apartheid.”
     
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