Black Male Privilege x Male Privilege

This piece is dedicated to Michele, T.Dot, John, and Pepe
Shout out to Bianca for the above image.

While on an awesome date last weekend, Pepe hesitated, then proceeded to challenge me on the idea of Black Male Privilege. He didn’t want to because he suspected that it would derail the date.

It didn’t.

In fact I appreciated the conversation because he forced me to think of things I had not conceived of.

The first thing was a question which was “What is the difference between Black Male Privilege and Male privileges period, name some Black male privileges.”

The first is that Black Men are born male in a society that is organized by and for men.

The second is that Black men (who read as heterosexual/straight) can go from point A to point B, from the train to the house without the risk of sexual verbal and physical violence. By sexual verbal violence I mean men yelling out at cars, men leaning into you as you walk down the street, hearing fifty eleven hey baby’s, or can I get a piece of that.

Yesterday I had two confrontations with Black men.

9 either honked or said something.

One on Rhode Island and 3rd, the other a block from my house. It was hot, my skirt was short. In both instances these Negros were surprised that I spoke back. By the time dude said something to me near my house I had had enough. HE claimed that he was BEHIND ME ON THE PHONE TAUMBOUT he wanted to take me to Red Lobster. What he really said was that he wanted to take me to bed. He lied to kick and said he ain’t say that, but you can’t sprinkle sugar on shit and call it ice cream. I heard him.

The psychological costs of being treated like a sex worker on the streets is lightweight unspeakable.

The truth of the matter is that they would NEVER talk to White women like this loud, open and in public because they would be in jail as sure as rice is white.

For many Black men in the street, an attractive Black woman is prey to get at, not a human being returning from running errands so she can go home to write for the evening.

The privilege here is that they know that if they say it to us, more than likely they can get away with it, and that shit is wack sauce. Not the kid.

If you think that I am putting ten on two and that negro men don’t really be fucking with us on the street see,

Black Woman Walking, by Tracey Rose

The college student who was shot in DC for not giving out her number

The Comments in this post

Hey Shorty, a Doc on Street Harassment by Girls for Gender Equity

Walking Home

Going back to Pepe’s question, means that by being born male, they will benefit from the social structure that says that MEN naturally have the right to public space.

The right to earn more than women doing the same job. (statistically Black men’s unemployment is hella high, but when they do work they work in jobs that, across the board, earn more than women, they often tend to be union jobs. See Paula Giddings When and Where I Enter for more on this.)

The right to dominate women and children and be violent towards them if they get out of line.

The right to beat another Negro mans ass if that negro man threatens his property which is his house, car or “his woman.”

The right to be visible leaders and to make directional choices about the future of the household, community and society.

I responded saying that Black male privilage is different from male privilege because Black masculinity is different from White masculinity which is different from Latino masculinity. Yes they have elements in common, however they read differently.

Black men have a different relationship to the police than white men. Oscar Grant, Sean Bell etc. Black men also have a different relationship to each other than white men do. Derrion Albert & Philly’s, Newark’s and Chicago’s homicide statistics. Black men have different relationships to trying to get and keep a job than white men.

They also read differently based on the persons class, their social standing, their income.

Different masculinities have different kind of privileges. This is how patriarchy works.

In addition one further thing that I have realized while writing this is that Black male privilege is different from “male” privilege in the same way that Black Feminism is different from Feminism (which is known as being organized by and for middle classed White women), further more there is Womanism to knowledge as well.

The second thing he said was that he thought the term Black male privilege may do more harm than good, in that it could alienate Black men, who may otherwise be allies.

My response was that first, that I find the words that I choose to be very important. Second, while it is true that using the term Black Male privilege may alienate some cats, so be it. When dealing with violence and oppression this is not the time to get coddled. He disagreed with me on this point and I am fine with that. I don’t want Black men to think I am attacking them, I am not, I am asserting ALL of our humanity and if they can’t that, that’s between them and they Jesus.

In reading Dumi’s post on Black male privilege I had an epiphany today. I realized that it is a challenge for many people to understand that victims can be perpetrators.

Dumi gets at both Black male privilage and the idea that victims can be perpetrators when he writes,

The hidden and overlooked nature is what is crucial for understanding privilege. It is the careful analysis of the social fabric of our world that will make privilege visible, even to Black men.

and

BMP is akin to White privilege in that it is often invisible to those who benefit from it the most! It is the accumulation of these unearned advantages that matter but are often dismissed as inconsequential. These advantages are often thought to be insignificant, unless of course you are on the receiving end of the oppression.

Meaning that Black men who are oppressed in a society dominated and controlled by Whites, turn around and try and dominate Black women, because thats what society says that men do.

There are many people who feel that because they had fucked up childhoods, or that they were oppressed as Black men or women, or for that matter as White men and women that they have the right to be rageful or abusive to others.

You don’t. No one does.

Just because my father was an addict for more than for nearly half my life, that that shit was fucked up and that drugs took him away from me and my mom and that our lives were profoundly impoverished after he left, doesn’t give ME the right to take that shit out on the people that I meet today. FULL STOP.

Conversely just because the White world treats Black men like shit doesn’t give THEM the right to be abusive and violent towards us.

The more I experience and read and write about this topic I believe that a street harassment awareness/education campaign may be awesome.

A whole new value system is needed. #ummhmm.

Here are some resources to start with:

Girls for Gender Equity does work around street harassment.

As does Men Can Stop Rape.

Read Kevin Powell’s Ending Violence Against Woman and Girls and take one of the recommended action steps.

Men having conversations amongst themselves around how they treat women in the street can be powerful too. #Ummhmm

You buying my Black Male vs. Male Privilege?

Is it all patriarchy?

Or does it read differently on differently bodies?

Someone sent me a video of a young Black woman on the streets of Brooklyn walking from home to the train, dealing with street harassment.? Please leave that link again! Thank you.

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Comments

  1. says

    This is a GREAT case for male privilege. I’m still not buying “Black male privilege.” Your examples are privileges all men possess. The masculinities are different, but privileges aint.

    The term “Black male privilege” alienates more than just “some cats.”

    “I don?t want Black men to think I am attacking them, I am not, I am asserting ALL of our humanity.”

    I don’t understand how pushing Black male privilege asserts our humanity.

    Yes, it is all patriarchy.

    I have some questions.

    Why are you & some other folks so invested in this notion of Black male privilege?

    What is the benefit in buying into Black male privilege as opposed to just plain ole male privilege?

  2. says

    it is definitely patriarchy. but it also reads differently because, as you mentioned, of black men’s relationship to white power structures. bell hooks also writes about this…how in order to end sexism (which negatively effects both men & women), both men & women need to work against it. i think a lot of men see this discourse as another way for us to say they ain’t shit. but it’s clearly not. it’s a way to talk about the issues & work to solve them.

    this is timely & necessary.

    #lovesit

  3. Renina says

    Hi There kind sir.
    I have responded below.
    ~R

    I don?t understand how pushing Black male privilege asserts our humanity.
    =======
    There are some Black men who feel that they cannot be sexist because they suffer from racism. The point in using THIS language is to articulate that yes, they can in fact be sexist. The isms don’t have a one at a time-o-meter.

    Historically, Black women have been told by Black men that had to choose to identify as being EITHER Black or Women, as it pertained to social movements, or allying onesself when something popped off in the media (Anita Hill, Chris Brown and Rihanna Fenty, Mike Tyson…Etc..)

    Why are you & some other folks so invested in this notion of Black male privilege?
    ========
    Listen here Negro man. You don’t ask me the woman studies investment question. Don’t be using my steez on me. Luls.

    I am invested because I have been taught that we all have multiple identity markers. These markers have the power render us as victims or oppressors, depending on context.

    I also know we cannot deal with what we cannot name.

    Let me ask you a question.
    Why are you so invested in it not being named specifically Black male?

    Especially given the fact that from Point A to Point B in the hood, it is Black men who treat Black women like prey.

    What is the benefit in buying into Black male privilege as opposed to just plain ole male privilege?
    ==========
    The benefit is that it nearer to a language that reflects a willingness to be accountable to how gender and racial markers influence how power operates between Negro Men and Negro Women on the streets in the hood.

    Race and Gender are not the same for Black folks, white folks, etc….I am invested in a language that gets at that.

    #ummhmm.

    Pedagogy Bear for the WINSKI’s.

  4. Renina says

    @BD
    Glad you liked it.

    i think a lot of men see this discourse as another way for us to say they ain?t shit.
    =========
    They can see it that way, and if they do it’s b/w them and they Jesus.

    Politically I am invested in celebrating and critiquing Black folks.

    It reminds me how during Nixon time if you critiqued the US you were called a traitor like. WORD? Word.

  5. says

    I’m invested in it not being called Black male privilege because:

    1. I don’t think it exists.

    2. Even if it does exist using this language does far more harm than good in my opinion. Any differences between male privilege & BMP are extremely minute. It’s totally semantics to me. Because I see that as the case I put an emphasis on not alienating the exact people we are trying to reach. You seem to dismiss that point, but you can’t change people who won’t hear you out, and for a lot (I would bet a large majority) of Black men, BMP closes their ears.

    “I also know we cannot deal with what we cannot name.”

    It already has a name. Male privilege.

    It basically comes down to this for me, the fact that I’m Black gives me no specific benefits over Black women. All the benefits I have over Black women comes from being male. Conversely, a lot of the things negative I have to deal with spring from the fact that I’m Black AND male. Just as it is the same for Black women.

    Street harassment is the #1 example of BMP, but I assert that if white men were unable to find jobs at the rates of Black men and dropped out of school at the same rates & lived in cities we would see the same phenomenon with them.

    Blackness aint got nothing to do with it.

  6. says

    “They can see it that way, and if they do it?s b/w them and they Jesus.”

    This problematic because it puts the all of the emphasis on us. If you want folks to not see it that way you gotta make your point. If you wanna teach, teach. You can’t just throw it out there, and blame people for not seeing it your way.

  7. Renina says

    Ummm.

    You and I have two different ideas in GENERAL about the best ways for me to utilize my voice, who to engage with, etc.

    I would rather build with folks are are willing to sit through the discomfort than those who need to be coddled. This is hard grown shit.

    This is how I teach. I don’t not humiliate, I try not to shame, I make the space safe as possible and I get at assumptions and I ask questions.

    For me, It is more important to NAME this phenomenon than to REACH people who may be turned off by the name. You and I are different that way.

    I am after hearts and minds, not making folks comfortable.

    #ummhmm.

  8. says

    This does not compute:

    “For me, It is more important to NAME this phenomenon than to REACH people who may be turned off by the name. You and I are different that way.”

    Then you say:

    “I am after hearts and minds, not making folks comfortable.”

    You can’t reach hearts & minds if people aren’t at least somewhat comfortable. I feel like you’re just preaching to the choir. Which is fine, but it won’t help end any BMP that you see.

  9. Mickey says

    Shucks! That this is dedicated in part to makes me smile a megawatt smile. Thank you! And thank you for caring to write and spread knowledge.

    This concept of Black Male privilege is a very interesting and difficult one. Black male privilege is by and large (in my opinion) connected to male privilege in general that it is difficult to tease out the raced dimensions of it (and “raced” here implies social and economic class as well as education…since for hundreds of years to the present your race determined your access to these different categories).

    Yesterday, as I walked with my partner in Target, I shot the shit with her about masculinity in the form of masculine presenting women. I asked her why does she believe masculine presenting women are a lot of times physically overweight. She responded that she thinks it might be the aversion to being seen as a male sexual object…she then said that she thinks that it can be witnessed in all masculine presenting women, regardless of race. This made me pause, she was right, the argument can be made irregardless of race. Now, I wonder if race is important in this assertion at all….

    All this to say, pointing out specific racial dimensions to privilege is very difficult; especially in our current “post racial” society where people are hesitant to mark something as raced (and hesitant here is to be understood as vocal and within the public purview. Behind closed doors people are not hesitant to say its a “race issue”) but I believe the components eloquently pointed out in this blog: difference in relation to enforcement–and the nation state in general, marginalization, disenfranchisement, etc…add up to create a different form of masculinity.

  10. Renina says

    Any differences between male privilege & BMP are extremely minute.
    ========
    Word. How can you say that the differences are minut and then reason that the street harassment is the number one example of Black Male Privilege/ dominance.

    It basically comes down to this for me, the fact that I?m Black gives me no specific benefits over Black women. All the benefits I have over Black women comes from being male.
    =========
    So if SIMPLY BEING MALE is what matters, and you spoke to a White woman on the street the way that man spoke to me yesterday (and trust a white woman was in front of me on Rhode Island and heard him, and turned and looked at me in relief, like at least he is harassing her and walked more briskly) and the police were called, What would happen to your Black male body?

    What happens to Black men when they try and dominate White women rather than Black women and popo gets involved?
    Does it matter then that you ARE A “MALE” or that you are a BLACK male? #ummhmm.

    Peace to Emmitt Till and his whole family. #ummhmm.

  11. Mickey says

    BUT I *do* believe that there is a difference. Wholeheartedly. Part of my goal is to be able to clearly articulate the differences that form to construct a Black masculinity as oppressed to dominant, hegemonic, and white masculinity.

    Having been reading though the work of scholars such as Athena Mutua, Robin G. Kelly, E. Patrick Johnson, Marlon Riggs, Martin Summers and so on (its been a long summer of reading on this topic)across the board is the recognition that Black masculinity is formed within the bubble of oppression, degradation, and marginalization. From the very basic starting point of a masculinity created under those circumstances to a masculinity forged within a space relatively free of this impingement, you will see a difference.

  12. Renina says

    @Mickey

    “but I believe the components eloquently pointed out in this blog: difference in relation to enforcement?and the nation state in general, marginalization, disenfranchisement, etc?add up to create a different form of masculinity.”
    =================

    Luls…Your a nerd..

    “Yesterday, as I walked with my partner in Target, I shot the shit with her about masculinity in the form of masculine presenting women. I asked her why does she believe masculine presenting women are a lot of times physically overweight. She responded that she thinks it might be the aversion to being seen as a male sexual object?”
    ========
    I can see it on one hand weighing more means less desirable to males?
    On the other hand For Black folks tho? We privilege thick snacks.

    Thanks for queering the space EVEN further. #win.

  13. says

    I don’t reason that it’s an example of BMP. I don’t think it is. I said it’s the #1 reason given. I said that to explain that if white men were in the same position economically there would also be plenty of street harassment by them as well.

    Call the police for what? Aint no charge.

    The fact that there would be more beef if a Black man harassed a white woman speaks to WHITE privilege not Black male privilege. The police are more concerned with the well being of white people in general & white women specifically. This is something I’ve been marinating on for a few weeks. I’m starting to believe that a large part what y’all are calling BMP is actually white female privilege.

  14. Mickey says

    One last thing before I stop rattling on. I do not think that the differences between BMP and WMP are in any way slight. I only believe that they haven’t been articulated in a manner that has reached the large majority (maybe thats a job for me or someone like myself…I digress).

    Athena Mutua comments in her article “Theorizing Progressive Black Masculinities” that because masculinity in general is so rigid a role to perform, it is also difficult to maintain (any misstep can have you dubbed, effeminate or ineffectual). So, you have a line that is narrow to walk for anyone and then you take away most of the ways men are encouraged to walk this line (i.e. political power, wealth, possessions, opportunities, and resources) and *then* tell that person to still be a “man” what is left? For many the answer is brutish domination and tyrannical exertion of strength. Im not saying this is the case for all Black men but I am saying these are the circumstances under which many are called to perform their masculinity.

    All and all, I seek to change this…cause when Im walking down the street I dont want to be knocked upside the head or sexually dominated (either through words or deeds) so that someone can feel “like a man”. Erasing the barriers to other forms of attainment is, in my opinion, necessary.

  15. says

    Just to quibble. I was not speaking on WMP. I was speaking on male privilege in general. WMP is very different from the BMP in the way I’ve heard it articulated.

  16. Renina says

    Um. Police have never needed to have a charge to kill Black men and Black people with impunity. Oscar Grant. Sean Bell. Emmitt Till.

    The fact that there would be more beef if a Black man harassed a white woman speaks to WHITE privilege not Black male privilege. The police are more concerned with the well being of white people in general & white women specifically.
    =======
    Power manifests itself in our relationships, it is relational.

    The ways in which Black and white men and women relate to each other is historical and rooted in slavery.

    You seem to be willing to ascribe gendered+raced privileges to everyone EXCEPT for Black men.

    White women.

    “MEN” in general, but not Black men.

    The fact that Black men can and do on the daily get away with saying shit to us they DO NOT say to white women publicly because they know that ass would be grass AND THAT we are socialized to NOT call the police because “boys are being boys” (ie. R. Kelly) is in fact a privilage.

    I could see your response if I were using the term Black Male domination. But REALLY, that is what I am getting at here.

    Oh, and all that business about White men, denies the material reality, the day to day of the lives of Black men, women and children.

    Stakes is high.

    Every time a dude comes @ me outta pocket in the street I am reminded of how when we raise our boys not to feel we end up with adults who are incapable of feeling.

    Thus domination + street harassment is normal. That is wack sauce.

  17. Renina says

    @M

    This is really interesting.

    that because masculinity in general is so rigid a role to perform, it is also difficult to maintain….So, you have a line that is narrow to walk for anyone and then you take away most of the ways men are encouraged to walk this line….. For many the answer is brutish domination and tyrannical exertion of strength….these are the circumstances under which many are called to perform their masculinity.
    ================

    When you explain it like this you get at the pressure cooker of Masculinity in general and how it affects both men and women. We ALL feel that heat on the street. From point A to point B.

    I mean. Think about it. What if the police dealt with street harassment between Black men and women like they dealt with non violent drug (crack, marijuana) it would be a rap.

    Dang. This comment just clarified the whole jawn and depressed me.

  18. says

    It is a privilege. I have never denied this point, but it is not a privilege specific to Black men. Any man could do the same.

    I can think of plenty of things Black women have over Black men, but I wouldn’t call that “Black women privilege.”

    Just because you deal with us on the daily does not make our privileges any different from another male. It’s centered on that b/c y’all deal mostly with us, but that doesn’t change the privilege. It’s still male privilege not BMP.

  19. says

    I don’t really see how y’all can sit here & say BMP doesn’t exsist & the salary stat pretty much proves it. Just like I’m sure if you compare white male to black male income in the same positions the same thing would probably surface.

    We’ve been raised to a point where it’s an us vs. them mentality, but just like anything there’s usually more than two sides to something.

  20. says

    Excellent post as usual Neen.
    I think that it’s also important to point out that BMP is learned by my generation and the generations after from our black elders. From personal experience there were a lot of things done by my male ancestors that were wrong, but accepted by their women because they were men. In my opinion BMP is a learned behavior that a lot of black males (myself included) grapple with everyday.

  21. says

    Girl, WOW! I am so blown away by your wonderful analyses of these dynamics. It’s EXTREMELY difficult to articulate what is SPECIFICALLY Black Male Privilege while staying on topic and keeping your cool. The denial of this privilege from men who enjoy it at the expense of women and children (boys, too – patriarchy being what it is)can be maddening.

    You may have referred to this already on Teh Twitteh, but Jewel Woods did a checklist a while ago for Black Male Privileges. I recommend that anyone who wants to know what BMP looks like take a looksy:

    http://jewelwoods.com/node/9

  22. says

    (I should add that a lot of what Woods has to say reeeeeeeally makes me kinda ill, but this was a good effort on his part all the same.)

  23. Renina says

    I peeped woods steez. A lot of what he has to say pertains to all men not just Black men.

    HOWEVER….his comments re sexism and the civil rights movement will be used in my next post. #ummhmm.

    Thank you for sharing little bear.

    How you been otherwise?

    Love,

    Renina

  24. says

    I am starting to see your point of view but I am still feel conflicted.

    BMP effects black women primarily, while other groups have something to help them (police, gangs, community groups), so I can see why you’re passionate about this
    Brothas don’t protect our black women like they should for many reasons (not trying to go there at this moment)
    Exposing/understanding BMP should (emphasis) help relations between us so we can properly combat white privilege, amirite about that goal?

    so my conflict comes with how aggressive and polarizing the presentation is. I want to join in this, but feel like I am being shamed for being a man. on the low, I enjoy some of my privileges and want more (more power). I don’t cat call, rape, physically abuse women or most of the shit on Woods list. it sounds like yall saying black men do what we do out of hate but most of us would tell you we love you. I figure the men who took the time to read this are most likely not the type that are the serious problem.

    I guess I am saying most black men are down to help bring us up a level but its going to be a tough road getting us to stop doing what comes natural (not saying its right). especially when the ones who need to hear this aren’t going to read this.
    pardon my long response & generalizations, GLO on the Nixonland poast

  25. says

    Enig,

    Little bear. Thank you for being honest.

    Please understand that I know @tkoed…so there is a broader context to the tone with which I spoke to him….If thats what you mean.

    Re the tone of the piece. This man harassed me ON THE WAY TO MY HOUSE ock. ON my one little day to chill for dolo. I was pissed and I had a a right to be.

    You know how hard I go for People in general and Black folks specifically, so yeah…I put my foot in that post because that was where my heart + theory and experience was.

    The follow up piece is going to be in response to this one with some exploration of that a feminist Black malehood looks like and I hope to include a short bib/ links to authors.

    As for the ones who need to read it not being the ones who read it. EH? I believe that it takes a small committed group of people to change the world.

    “Exposing/understanding BMP should (emphasis) help relations between us so we can properly combat white privilege, amirite about that goal?”
    =====
    The goal is for us to take sexism as serious as we take racism. #ummhmm.

  26. john says

    The post seem to all have the same theme to them now. It seems like “Black Masculinity” is the foundation for the site at times. It also seems that in alot of instances you are equating what seems to be your imited access to black men as what all black males are like. How does that help heal anything if you are continually putting me and other black males such as myself in the same box with men who we can only partially identify with. Thats no different than me says that all blacks chicks are hoes. The male population that you are simingly surround by does not equate to the black male populus as a whole. But I do understand what you are saying about how black men treat white women vs black women. And to be honest I don’t really know why there is a difference but thats not with all black males either. But I think some of it doesn’t neccessarily have to do with respect but more so being comfortable. Most black know the attitudes that most of the women carry in their environments and women the same. What ever the status que is that’s more than likely how he is going to talk to her/treat her. But for the most part when it comes to a white women regardless of what the environment is he will approach her with some respect in fear of punishment if he steps incorrect. But that’s not good either regardless of race women should be treated and approached with respect and dignity. But like I always say thats the difference in dealing with men vs boys. Just because you are over a certain age doesn’t mean you have the emotional,mental makeup needed to properly converse with a WOMAN!

  27. john says

    To touch on something else I think you leave the woman out of fault on this. Like someone stated in one of the earlier post “women let men get away with certain things because they were men”. That continues to happen not just in the HOOD but throughout society yet as a black woman you scream for change. While your counterparts around you stand silently by waiting for a man to take care of them. How do you expect to change this black male masculine trait if a majority of black women especially in the hood feed into in order to survive in some cases. I like the saying that “can’t nobody do nothing to you unless you let the”. (Now I think that statement is partially true)Black women have been coddling the black male ego so long that along with making their men feel a sense of pride and self-worth they forgot to keep theirs intact at certain points. Then you have women such as yourself that want all of this to go away and for equality to be the same between men and women.(In a perfect world universe that would be nice) Reality though is that our roles are different has been throughout time and will continue to be throughout time.

  28. Renina says

    Hi John,

    Next up, “Black Womens Complicity in Being Dominated.”

    Thank you for reminding me.

    Luls.

    Oh. And I don’t want equality. I want to be a human being. All men ARE NOT treated equal in this society. #Umhmm.

    “Reality though is that our roles are different has been throughout time and will continue to be throughout time.”
    ===========
    Human being create their reality.
    There was a time where instead of blogging I would be picking cotton.#ummhmm.

    ~R

  29. says

    The word/phrase stung for a while reading through this piece but in its entire context I totally understand and agree. For those of us who consider ourselves “different” from the rest in the way we treat women we have a large role/part to play. We sometimes get into certain conversations and instead of speaking up or against things we just kinda ho-hum hoping its all over because we don’t want to get alienated from “the fellaz.”

    I think education and healthy meaningful discourse is necessary. I do know however for black women it is DIFFICULT having this convo without emotion, angst or frustration which will definitely make cats like me feel alienated because we know what you’re talking about and the whole time we’re saying, “well you’re right but that’s not ME.” I believe it is this kind of discussion which should be had in more pub and open forums encouraging men esp. from pre-adolescent ages the importance of taking care of our women.

    I think another overlooked issue really is the fatherhood and the lack thereof esp. in this society. As an immigrant from another country where fathers in homes are more prevalent I can’t deny the importance esp. in my own life about the relevance of my Dad and other Dads of friends and acquaintances who instill values, norms and moraes that help shape our ideas towards women.

    Men do learn from their mothers but there is also something about a father speaking to his son, saying, “now son, here’s how you should treat your sister, here’s how you should speak to your mother and here’s how you should love/treat your wife.” I know I obtained a healthy view of women from my Pops just as the guys in my circle.

    But education, and this kind of “painful” discourse is important, and needs to be moderated in such a way that we can get past mere emotion and taunting like we always do in order to progress as black folks.

  30. Golden Silence says

    “For many Black men in the street, an attractive Black woman is prey to get at, not a human being returning from running errands so she can go home to write for the evening.”

    It’s not necessarily just “attractive” Black women that this happens to. If you don’t fit the mold of what’s feminine to these raggedy men (being thin, light-skinned, having long hair, etc.), then they’ll be just as bad. When I had long dreads I was constantly hearing “Hey, sexy!” and things said in a very lecherous tone like “Girl, I love yo’ dreads!” along with the leers, but since cutting my hair two months ago I’ve gotten nothing but insults from these same types of men. Cutting my hair has made me “ugly,” “looking like a dude,” “ball-headit,” etc.

    The point is that these men who hang out on the corner think that any Black woman is game to have her looks unsolicitedly commented on, whether or not she fits the mold of beauty.

  31. Renina says

    Thank you. I meant to change that after I wrote it but got HELLA caught it.

    How we look is irevlvent. The issue is being born w/ Brown skin and a vagina.#Ummhmm.

    Glad you caught that.

    ~nains.

  32. says

    Having seen some truly hateful commentary on blog posts discussing BMP in general, I try my best to only read posts and avoid people’s observations.

    And then I noticed that my boy Ed posted the first comment. I simply had to read it. So for the most part, this comment is directed towards Ed – someone who always approaches convo from a position of respect & whom I admire.

    First off however, can I say how grateful I am that you wrote this post? Thank you! You write powerfully and I am looking forward to reading more posts from you.

    Eddy, there is a certain intimacy necessary for varied types of privilege to flourish. So while we technically could discuss “patriarchy” and “male privilege” in ethnic-less, race-less ways, getting to the root of WHY each particular ethnic population suffers differently to similar forms of patriarchal violence – will require recognizing distinctions in the brand of oppression being served.

    low-income black women are exposed to three times more intimate partner violence from their black male partners than their white low income counterparts. considering that, we need to explore patriarchy in such a way that specifically addresses the reasons behind this sad reality. I understand you and other black men feel attacked by the term “black male privilege”, but studies show – black women are getting beaten, bruised and abused by our black male lovers far more than white women in our same social class. Why is that? That disparity in victim identity could certainly be a coincidence, but I doubt that it is. The numbers are simply too extreme. I am three times more likely to get jacked up by my black man because I am a black woman and he is a black man. Not because I am a woman and he is a man. Whatever we decide to call this, “Black male privilege”, or “patriarchy from poor black men who aint got shit” or whatever – this specific type of patriarchy is harsher on black women and therefore needs to be singled out.

  33. john says

    I liked the comments i’ve read so far but no one seems to comment on the fact that as black women you to have fault in this. (Now i’m not saying that any of the messed up things US black men do is right) but when I look at these relationships, intimated or not between a black man and a black woman the things tolerated at times out weigh that of other ethic women. There are things that you guys have tolerated for years for the sake of letting a man be a man that has lead to your detriment. At what point do you say to self at what point did I feed into the black male priviledge.