Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 4.29.31 PMLet’s start with a disclaimer: racism and sexism are not equivalents. However, both racism and sexism are a result of cyclically and generationally recreated hierarchical systems– White supremacy and patriarchy– that govern the way we interact with one another. In these systems, a race or gender is relegated in society by a dominating population that uses misinformation, stereotypes and even propaganda to excuse their dominance.

It is possible to compare the arguments posed by White people who attempt to derail discussions about racism with those posed by Black men who attempt to divert discussions about sexism in the Black community, because people in both of those groups are a part of a dominant social group – White or male. Both parties unknowingly negate the existence of “isms”, in attempts to maintain the status quo and the power of their position in eerily similar ways.

This piece is working off the premise that readers have already acquainted themselves with the reasons Why Black Women Are Not More Privileged Than Black Men, which explores the harsh realities of sexism and patriarchy in the Black community in-depth. This list is merely an exploration of arguments posed by Black men who object to the reality of male privilege. It is not meant to prove the existence of said privilege. So without further a do:

1. There is no such thing as Black male privilege = There is no such thing as White privilege.

Despite the prevalence of outright and obvious sexism in Black community displayed in hip-hop music, domestic abuse statistics and the prevalence of street harassment, Black men tend to disregard the reality of Black male privilege on the grounds that they are also disenfranchised. This similar type of argument is especially frequent in poor White circles when discussions about White privilege arise. In the minds of these individuals, how can someone have privilege if they are also struggling to get by and society is beating them down?

“Privilege” simply means society has a preference for a group in which an individual may occupy. In order to explore and understand “privilege”, one must look at the macro not micro picture. In that macro picture, all people and genders are stacked above or below one another on a social ladder based on rules implemented and believed by dominant society. Though any individual may find themselves at any point on the social ladder, most people are clustered in a particular position based on race and/or gender.

That is because the United States was founded upon the tenets of not only White supremacy, but also patriarchy. Its social ladder looks very male and/or White at the top while all other races and females vie for position or power beneath. And like White supremacy, patriarchy is a system that cyclically recreates power structures and dynamics, except it deals with the relationship between men and women of any race, not simply Whites compared to non-Whites. Based on this structure, the masculine is far more prized and respected than the feminine, even in the Black community.

2. Black women are illogical, angry, emotional [or any other stereotype]= black men are violent, “thugs”. 

Since society’s social hierarchy is typically reinforced or explained by stereotypes, those that dominate rely on them to excuse the power structure when challenged. These are– to put it simply– sexist or racist arguments that are completely unfounded, but extremely powerful because they have been used so frequently, dating back to when the systems of patriarchy and White supremacy were first put in place.

3. Black men are treated worse than Black women in modern society = White people are the one’s being discriminated against today. 

Whenever there is a change in power structures or dynamics, those that are forced to give up the rights of privilege of their dominance always tend to feel victimized or short-changed. Many Whites blame the Civil Right’s Movement and affirmative action for their inability to gain access to employment or education. In their opinion, “all of the minorities have society’s preference,” and thus are given more opportunity. Despite the reality that such measures were taken to offset and combat inequality, not perpetuate it, those are the sentiments. Similarly, many Black men feel slighted Feminism and Black female progress. “Black women got stronger and the men got weaker,” such people argue, as if female progress somehow must come at the expense of male achievement. In both of these cases, the feelings of resentment stirred up by the loss of control or power is quite evident.

4. The Black community is in shambles because of strong, independent Black women= America is falling apart because of Obama.

When things start to crumble, those at the highest rungs of society and their community, always need a scapegoat to explain away the reasons why things are not working in anyone’s favor. Who better to blame than the individuals who only recently stole some power back for themselves? In modern America where banks and poor regulatory practices, brought the country to an all time low, White people excitedly and willingly have a non-White individual to blame, castigate and place all their fears on: President Barack Obama. He is blamed for everything from the terrible economy, to Ebola, because  it allows the White populous to avoid culpability and place the burden on an already vulnerable target. Such misperceptions are also often fueled by the media.

This particular move is an attempt to belittle a recently empowered populous by saying: “see, we told you that you are too weak or stupid to have any power: Look what you’ve done to all of us!” The Black male population uses a similar tactic to target and blame black women for all of the woes of the Black community, in attempts to deflect or avoid responsibility.

5. All men are not sexist or all men do not participate in [ fill in some sexist act or another] = All White people aren’t racist.

There is no argument more infuriating posed by White people who attempt to disregard the existence of racism than the “not all White people” argument. It is equally angering when used by Black men to diminish the role they play in Black female oppression.

In reality, all White people were not slave owners. All White police officers are not bad. All white people did not enact or agree with Jim Crow legislation. However, a large majority did and those who did not passively condoned the system by not doing anything to stop it. It is like watching someone else be bullied and not doing anything about it.

The same goes for Black men. All Black men do not have to actively participate in Black female oppression; they can merely idly permit it, which is just as bad.

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  • Anthony

    The premise of this article is common sense. Personally, one of the ways that I started to become more aware of my own sexism was through seeing the parallels between sexism and racism.

  • lil ray

    Yep many in the BWE community have been pointing this out for a while now, black men are using racist tactics against black women and I for one am glad that more and more Black women are catching on to this and are fighting back against it.

    • mike

      Can you say False analogy !! You piss poor attempt to compare white racial resentment and the factually Accurate, self evident truths that black men are the most disadvantaged group of people in this country. See, the difference is that white people false sense of prosecution is not backed up by anything but there own delusion… But black men being the most disadvantaged is easily provable realty.

      “There is no such thing as Black male privilege = There is no such thing as White privilege.”

      Oh the myth of Black male privilege…..What exactly is Black male privilege in A America? The vast majority of African men in America do not exercise ANY privilege over Black women. Black women control THEIR households, and THEIR churches, and refuse to relinquish any of the control in either, clearly exercising their prerogative in both. If a man cannot exercise privilege in the larger society, or in his own home, where would he exercise real privilege and prerogative anywhere? This concept applies to such a very small coterie of Black men that its impact is not even worth discussing.

      How the hell can Black men have privilege if there are more of them in jail than any other population, fewer in school than damn near any other population, and work as the poster child that drives Black and non-Black political attitudes rightward? Black women outnumber Black men in professional and managerial positions ! And Do you think you stupid feminist pet peeve more important that all the hardship black men face in the country ? How about you stop being so narcissistic and ignorant to reality and look at it objectively instead of ideological. We all know what this is about, it is yet another attempt at wholesale condemnation of Black men, just for existing by black feminist and there hatred for black men.

      BTW; even White privilege is very problematic when you consider there is a large portion of the white population who do not share White privilege,( do to their socio- economic position).

      “Black women are illogical, angry, emotional = black men are violent, “thugs”. ”

      Yes, unfortunately both of these are very much true. Not all but a significant part of black men and black women do qualify for this description.

      “Black men are treated worse than Black women in modern society = White people are the one’s being discriminated against today. ”

      Yes black men are treated worse than Black women and every one-else …..Example; How many unarmed black woman got shot this year and compare that to countless black men who were murdered because they were a black MAN.

      “The Black community is in shambles because of strong, independent Black women= America is falling apart because of Obama. ”

      Yes, The Black community is in shambles do to white supremacy and black female matriarchy. That is the fact. The strong, independent Black women meme black feminist created for black women did make things worst and played in the destruction of the black family unit, Congratulation.
      Black women see white women with all the privileges and advantages in society but ignore the fact that the white man privileged his woman above everyone else not above himself. If the white woman rises above her man she will lose everything because its her man and his position that grants her those things. Black women unfortunately have it backwards.

      At the end of the day; This is a false belief system rather than a depiction of reality, and, as with all belief systems, there’s no point arguing about it with the faithful.

    • Jo ‘Mama’ Besser

      Women definitely get shot, it’s just that no one gives a shit.

      Clutch, Get RID of WordPress, it’s notorious for its crumminess and many other blogs outright refuse to use it. Do you see how far the numbers of comments have fallen? Makes sense when you can’t get your comment published half the time. You say you’re working on it, clearly you aren’t. This is getting ridiculous.

      Five attempts to successfully post and counting…

  • tigerthelion

    if ““Privilege” simply means society has a preference for a group in which an individual may occupy.”

    i think it’ll help everyone if you can give some examples of ways society has preference for blackmen over blackwomen.

    • Kalilah

      You can find some examples of black male privilege here: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=black+male+privilege

    • tigerthelion

      In other words, there is no such thing as blackmale privilege. Blackwomen leads in every meaningful category and that’s a good thing that we all need to emulate but to turn that around to say blackmen actually have it better is unfortunate to say the least.

  • eve-audrey

    @ tigerthelion

    You are the perfect example of what this article denounces. We are living in a patriarcal society. That is a fact. Black men are the only male category that uses that matriarchy excuse for not being building nor leading their communities the way other men do. News flash: matriarchy has never existed in ANY black community on this planet stop the madness.

    you have that impression that black women are leading because their community is not providing viable leaders. Finding why is the solution. Black women are not an alien race of women who absolutely do not want to enjoy the advantages other females enjoy in their male dominated communities.

    I am not saying that all black women are good. I am saying that when in a given community, women become the explanation as to why said community is not doing better, there something rotten. It means the men are virtually absent. ThAT is the issue. Why is that only going on with black people?

    Aren’t black women as a collective still paid less than their male counterparts? Aren’t they the less paid demographic in the US? Aren’t they the female demographic with the highest rates of abuse? And for once this is not the white man doing that.

    When people talk about the treatment of black women inside their own communities, you come with a whole bunch of whining about how they lead in “every meaningful category”.

    News flash: it is not because they are preventing their male counterparts from doing the same. White people do that too: blacks enjoy so many privileges, there are successful black people and POTUS is a black man it cannot be that the black population is discriminated against. White people are discriminated against and proof is, there are poor white people.

    I can tell you that from what i observe, that incomprehension between the sexes in the black community is only going to get worse.