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October 2013

Black Men and Patriarchy, Intraracial Sexism and Misogynoir

[I originally published this list in February 2013, and have since updated it and the title, adding some new essays and removing a few old ones.]

I recognize the important intersectional, anti-oppression theory and praxis (and not only anti-racism) that many Black men articulate and engage in and I speak about that good work; I never suggest that there are no Black men interested in such work. In addition, I regularly recognize Black men on my “sublime men" tag and quote/cite their work as well. 

However, I am NOT going to be silent about the impact of intraracial sexism, misogynoir and patriarchal oppression by Black men and its impact on my own life, Black women’s lives and Black people in general. However, I discuss it with an intersectional lens and within the larger context of White supremacist capitalist patriarchy itself because “arbitrary” pathology doesn’t exist nor do I promote decontextualized blaming, as that wouldn’t be Womanist work.

Most people understand patriarchy and sexism, but I will briefly define misogynoir here: Term coined by Moya Bailey, its etymology = hybrid word, -e not currently used on the end. From the word misogyny: miso-: hater, gyn-: woman, noir: Black. Specific anti-Black misogyny. Race and gender, together, intersectionally are factors. This type of misogyny has a binary with White women (who still face general misogyny) where White women represent “good” womanhood and Black women do not or has hierarchical levels that include other women of colour, but only insofar as Black women are placed at the bottom because of anti-Blackness. It’s especially virulent historically and can be proliferated by anyone in a social sense though in an institutional sense how its articulated by others varies based on White/male privilege etc. This essay list speaks to how male privilege, sexism and intraracial patriarchal oppression by Black men who are misogynistic and misogynoiristic impacts Black women; but most certainly Whites engage in this (as its origins are in White supremacy and the construction of White womanhood, and my other writing and essay lists on White supremacy/racism etc. speak to this) and even how/why Black men oppress is connected to the larger context of White supremacist capitalist patriarchy because the role of anti-Blackness in White supremacy and the role of sexism and misogyny in patriarchy intersect. See: Misogyny, In General vs. Anti-Black Misogyny (Misogynoir), Specifically.

Below are some of my essays on Black patriarchy, intraracial sexism and misogynoir:

While street harassment (or any form of gender oppression) is not specific to Black men (as all men benefit from sexism and male privilege [which has variances based on race/class/sexual orientation/cis vs. trans,intersex etc.] and though harmed by patriarchy as well, still exhibit patriarchal dominance over women), most gender violence that Black women experience is at the hands of Black men where Black men dominate and oppress Black women. (This is recent. Historically, there was a time where the primary threat of interpersonal violence Black women faced was statistically by White men though via State violence, sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, racism and White supremacy, White men still harm and greatly oppress Black women [and Black men via racism]). This intraracial oppression is not arbitrary pathology and I examine it intersectionally, where White supremacist capitalist patriarchy and its impact on Black masculinity, as well as Black men experiencing oppression while oppressive is included. 

The essays on street harassment below are newer and then the final bullet is an essay list on street harassment that covers my other essays on the topic except for the newer ones mentioned above it.

A few things. One, this essay list is not a free for all for random academics to exploit. Do not fuck with me. See my Content Use Policy. Two, this is about what I and other Black women experience; it is not a post for White feminists to co-opt and then use to claim how misogynistic Black men are to White women while completely ignoring the utter havoc and oppression that White men and White supremacy cause globally or to ignore the oppression that White women also cause Black women via White privilege and racism. It’s not for White feminists to use to parallel the racism Black men experience to the sexism that White women experience while purposely ignoring and erasing that Black women experience both. Check your own race of men and your White privilege first. Three, this work is not about portraying Black men as “more” misogynistic than other men when all men have male privilege and White men’s class and White privilege means how they use and abuse power is unmatched, globally. Women of colour face abuse and oppression from men of colour AND from White women and especially from White men. However, this work is about the oppression that Black women face intraracially.

There are definitely more oppressions that impact Black women, in general, to consider (i.e. classism, colourism [though some of what I wrote include these] and fatphobia/fat shaminghomophobia, transphobia/transmisogyny etc.) that other Black women may articulate on much better than I can. 

This essay list is not conclusive and the end all on the topic. It’s simply some of MY work on the topic.

"Everyone seems eager to forget that it is possible for Black women to love Black men and yet unequivocally challenge and oppose sexism, male domination and phallocentrism." - bell hooks

©2013 Gradient Lair

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