What can Black men do to uplift, encourage, &/or support Black women?

        A few days ago, on twitter, I posed a question to my “followers” asking what Black men can do to uplift, encourage, &/or support Black women? I received an overwhelming amount of answers and most of the answers were valuable and very much needed. The Black women who responded suggested that Black men do a number of things to support, encourage, and uplift them such as respecting their humanity, validating their experiences, praising them in their beauty, etc. The tweets are provided below:

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Feminist : a man or a woman who says, “Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it, we must do better.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

TED | We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at TEDxEuston (transcript)

(This is a personal transcript. I take responsibility for all typos. The symbol “[–]” simply indicates African names and references unfamiliar to me.)

So I would like to start by telling you about one of my greatest friends, [–]. [–] lived on my street and looked after me like a big brother. If I liked a boy, I would ask [–]‘s opinion. [–] died in the notorious [–] plane crash in Nigeria in December of 2005, almost exactly 7 years ago. [–] was a person I could argue with, laugh with and truly talk to. He was also the first person to call me a feminist. I was about 14, we were in his house, arguing, both of us bristling with half-bit knowledge from books that we had read. I don’t remember what this particular argument was about, but I remember that as I argued and argued, [–] looked at me and said, “You know, you’re a feminist.” It was not a compliment. I could tell from his tone, the same tone that you would use to say something like, “You’re a supporter of terrorism.” I did not know exactly what this word “feminist” meant and I did not want [–] to know that I did not know. So I brushed it aside and continued to argue. And the first thing that I planned to do when I got home was to look up “feminist” in the dictionary.

Now, fast-forward to some years later. I wrote a novel about a man who, among other things beats his wife and whose story doesn’t end very well. When I was promoting the novel in Nigeria, a journalist, a nice well-meaning man told me he wanted to advise me. And to the Nigerians here, I’m sure we’re all familiar with how quick are people to give unsolicited advise. He told me that people were saying that my novel was feminist and his advice to me — and he was shaking his head sadly as he spoke — was that I should never call myself a feminist because feminists are women who are unhappy because they cannot find husbands. So I decided to call myself a “happy feminist.” Then, an academic, a Nigerian woman told me that feminism was not our culture, that feminism wasn’t Africa, and that I was calling myself a feminist because I had been corrupted by “Western” books, which amused me because a lot of my early reading was decidedly un-feminist. I think I must have read every single [–] published before I was 16. And each time I try to read those books called the “feminists classics” I get bored, and I really struggle to finish them. But anyway, since feminism was un-African, I decided I would now call myself a happy African feminist. At some point I was a happy African feminist who does not hate men and who likes lip gloss and who wears high heels for herself but not for men. Of course a lot of this was tongue-in-cheek, but that word “feminist” is so heavy with baggage, negative baggage. You hate men, you hate bras, you hate African culture, that sort of thing.

Now, here’s a story from my childhood. When I was in primary school, my teacher said at the beginning of term that she would give the class a test, and whoever got the highest code would be the class monitor. Now, class monitor was a big deal. If you were a class monitor, you got to write down the names of noise-makers, which was heady enough power in its own. But my teacher would also give you a cane to hold in your hand while you walked around and patrolled the class for noise-makers. Now, of course you were not actually allowed to use the cane, but it was an exciting prospect for the 9-year-old me. I very much wanted to be the class monitor, and I got the highest score on the test. Then to my surprise my teacher said that the monitor had to be a boy. She had forgotten to make that clear earlier because she assumed it was obvious. A boy had the second highest score on the test and he would be monitor. Now what was even more interesting about this is that the boy was a sweet gentle soul who had no interest in patrolling the class with a cane. While I was full of ambition to do so. But I was female and he was male, and so he became the class monitor. And I’ve never forgotten that incident.

I often make the mistake of thinking that something that is obvious to me is just as obvious to everyone else. Now take my dear friend Louis, for example. Louis is brilliant progressive man and we would have conversations and he would tell me, “I don’t know what you mean by things being different or harder for women. Maybe in the past, but not now.” And I didn’t understand how Louis could not see what seemed so self-evident. Then one evening in Lagos, Louis and I went out with friends. And for people here who are familiar with Lagos, there’s that wonderful Lagos fixture, the sprinkling of energetic men who hang around outside establishments and very dramatically help you park your car. I was impressed with the particular theatrics of the man who found us a parking spot that evening. And so as we were leaving, I decided to leave him a tip. I opened my bag, put my hand inside my bag, brought out my money that I had earned from doing my work, and I gave it to the man. And he, this man who was very grateful and happy, took the money from me, looked across at Louis, and said, “Thank you, sir!” Louis looked at me surprised, and asked, “Why is he thanking me? I didn’t give him the money.” Then I saw realization dawn on Louis’s face. The man believed that whatever money I had had ultimately come from Louis, because Louis is a man.

Now, men and women are different. We have different hormones, we have different sexual organs, we have different biological abilities; women can have babies, men can’t, at least not yet. Men have testosterone, and are in general physically stronger than women. There are slightly more women than men in the world, about 52% of the world’s population is female. But most of the positions of power and prestige are occupied by men. The late Kenyan, Nobel Peace Laureate, Wangari Maathai, put it simply and well when she said,

The higher you go the fewer women there are.

In the recent US elections we kept hearing of the Lilly Ledbetter Law. And if we go beyond the nicely alliterative name of that law, it was really about a man and a woman doing the same job, being equally qualified and the man being paid more because he is a man. So, in a literal way, men rule the world. And this made sense a thousand years ago. Because human beings lived then in a world in which physical strength was the most important attribute for survival. The physically stronger person was more likely to lead. And men in general are physically stronger; of course, there are many exceptions. But today we live in a vastly different world. The person more likely to lead is not the physically stronger person, it is the more creative person, the more intelligent person, the more innovative person, and there are no hormones for those attributes. A man is as likely as a woman to be intelligent, to be creative, to be innovative. We have evolved, but it seems to me that our ideas of gender have not evolved.

Some weeks ago I walked into the lobby of one of the best Nigerian hotels. And a guy at the entrance stopped me and asked me annoying questions. Because the automatic assumption is that a Nigerian female walking into a hotel alone is a sex worker. And, by the way, why do these hotels focus on the ostensible supply rather than the demand for sex workers. In Lagos, I cannot go alone into many reputable bars and clubs. They just don’t let you in if you are a woman alone. You have to be accompanied by a man. Each time I walk into a Nigerian restaurant with a man, the waiter greets the man and ignores me. The waiters are products of a society that has taught them that men are more important than women. And I know the waiters don’t intend any harm, but it is one thing to know intellectually, and quite another to feel it emotionally. Each time they ignore me, I feel invisible. I feel upset. I want to tell them that I am just as human as the man, that I am just as worthy of acknowledgement. These are little things but sometimes it’s the little things that sting the most.

Now, not long ago I wrote an article about what it means to be young a female in Lagos and an acquaintance told me it was so angry. Of course it was angry. I am angry. Gender as it functions today is a grave injustice. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change, but in addition to being angry, I’m also hopeful because I believe deeply in the ability of human beings to make and remake themselves for the better.

Gender matters everywhere in the world, but I want to focus on Nigeria, and on Africa in general, because it is where I know and because it is where my heart is. And I would like today to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start. We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently. We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way. Masculinity becomes this hard small cage and we put boys inside the cage. We teach boys to be afraid of fear. We teach boys to be afraid of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves because they have to be, in Nigeria speak, “hard man.”

In secondary school, a boy and a girl, both of them teenagers, both of them with the same amount of pocket money would go out and the boy would be expected always to pay, to prove his masculinity. And yet we wonder why boys are more likely to steal money from their parents. What if both boys and girls were raised not to link masculinity with money? What if the attitude was not, “The boy has to pay,” but rather, “Whoever has more, should pay.” Now, of course because of the historical advantage, it is mostly men who will have more today. But if we start raising children differently, then in fifty years, in a hundred  years, boys will no longer have the pressure of having to prove this masculinity.

But by far the worst thing we do to males, by making them feel that they have to be hard, is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The more “hard man” a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is. And then we do a much greater disservice to girls because we raise them to cater to fragile egos of men. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, “You can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful, otherwise you would threaten the man. If you are the bread winner in your relationship with a man, you have to pretend that you’re not. Especially in public. Otherwise you will emasculate him.” But what if we question the premise itself? Why should a woman’s success be a threat to a man. What if we decide to simply dispose of that word, and I don’t think there is an English word I dislike more than, “emasculation.”

A Nigerian acquaintance once asked me if I was worried that men would be intimidated by me. I was not worried at all. In fact it had not occurred to me to be worried because a man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in. But still I was really struck by this. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now, marriage can be a good thing. It can be a source of joy and love and mutual support, but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?

I know a woman who decided to sell her house because she didn’t want to intimidate a man who might marry her. I know an unmarried women in Nigeria who, when she goes to conferences, wears a wedding ring, because according to her, she wants all the participants in the conference to give her respect. I know young women who are under so much pressure from family, from friends, even from work to get married, and they’re pushed to make terrible choices. A woman at a certain age who is unmarried, our society teaches her to see it as a deep personal failure. And a man, after a certain age isn’t married, we just think he hasn’t come around to making his pick.

It’s easy for us to say, “Oh, but women can just say ‘no’ to all of this.” But the reality is more difficult and more complex. We are all social beings. We internalize ideas from our socialization. Even the language  we use in talking about marriage and relationships illustrates this. The language of marriage is often the language of ownership, rather than the language of partnership. We use the word “respect” to mean something a women shows a man, but not often something a man shows a woman.

Both men and women in Nigeria will say — and this is an expression I am very amused by — “I did it for peace in my marriage.” Now, when men say it, it is usually about something that they should not be doing anyway. Sometimes it is something they say to their friends in a kind of [fundly] exasperated way. You know, something that ultimately proves how masculine they are, how needed, how loved. “Oh, my wife said I can’t go to the club every night, so for peace in my marriage I do it only on weekends.” Now, when a woman says, “I did it for peace in my marriage,” she is usually talking about having given up a job, a dream, a career. We teach females, that in relationships, ‘compromise’ is what women do. We raise girls to see each other as competitors, not for jobs, or for accomplishments — which I think can be a good thing — but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. If we have sons, we don’t mind knowing about our sons’ girlfriends. But our daughters’ boyfriends, God forbid. But of course, when the time is right, we expect those girls to bring back the perfect man to be their husbands. We police girls. We praise girls for virginity, but we don’t praise boys for virginity. And it’s always made me wonder how exactly this is all suppose to work out, … [applause] I mean, the loss of virginity is usually a process that involves two people.

Recently a young woman was gang raped in a university in Nigeria. And the response of many young Nigerians, both male and female, was something along the lines of this: “Yes, rape is wrong. But what is a girl doing in a room with four boys?” Now, if we can forget the horrible inhumanity of that response, these Nigerians have been raised to think of women as inherently guilty. And they’ve been raised to expect so little of men that the idea of men as savage beings with out any control is somehow acceptable. We teach girls shame. “Close your legs. Cover yourself.” We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.

I know a woman who hates domestic work. She just hates it. But she pretends that she likes it because she has been taught that to be good wife material she has to be — to use that Nigerian word — very “homely.” And then she got married, and after a while her husband’s family began to complain that she had changed. Actually, she had not changed. She just gotten tired of pretending.

The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are.

Now, imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations. Boys and girls are undeniably different, biologically. But socialization exaggerates the differences, and then it becomes a self-fulfilling process.

Now take cooking for example. Today, women in general are more likely to do the housework than men, the cooking and cleaning. But why is that? Is it because women are born with a cooking gene? Or because over the years they have been socialized to see cooking as their role? Actually, I was going to say that maybe women are born with a cooking gene until I remembered that the majority of the famous cooks in the world who we give the fancy title of “chefs,” are men.

I used to look at my grandmother who was a brilliant, brilliant woman and wonder how she would have been if she had the same opportunities as men when she was growing up. Now today, there are many more opportunities for women than there were during my grandmother’s time because of changes in policy, changes in law, all of which are very important. But what matters even more is our attitude, our mindset, what we believe and what we value about gender.

What if, in raising children, we focus on ability, instead of gender? What if, in raising children, we focus on interest, instead of gender? I know a family who have a son and a daughter, both of whom are brilliant at school, who are wonderful, lovely children. When the boy is hungry, the parents say to the girl, “Go and cook [noodles] for your brother.” Now, the girl doesn’t particularly like to cook [noodles], but she’s a girl, and so she has to. Now, what if the parents, from the beginning, taught both the boy and the girl to cook [noodles]? Cooking, by the way is a very useful skill for a boy to have. I’ve never thought it made sense to leave such a crucial thing, the ability to nourish one’s self, in the hands of others. [applause]

I know a woman who was the same degree and the same job as her husband. When they get back from work, she does most of the house work, which I think is true for many marriages. But what struck me about them is that whenever her husband changed the baby’s diaper, she said, “Thank you” to him. Now, what if, she saw this as perfectly normal and natural that he should in fact care for his child?

I’m trying to unlearn many of the lessons of gender that I internalized when I was growing up. But I sometimes still feel very vulnerable in the face of gender expectations. The first time I taught a writing class in graduate school, I was worried. I wasn’t worried about the material I would teach, because I was well prepared and I was going to teach what I enjoyed teaching. Instead, I was worried about what I was going to wear. I wanted to be taken seriously. I knew that because I was female, I would automatically have to prove my worth, and I was worried that if I looked too feminine, I would not be taken seriously. I really wanted to wear my shiny lip gloss and my girly skirt, but I decided not to. Instead, I wore a very serious, very manly, and very ugly suit. Because the sad truth is that when it comes to appearance, we start off with men as the standard, as the norm. If a man is getting ready for a business meeting, he doesn’t worry about looking too masculine, and therefore not being taken [for granted] [seriously?]. If a woman is getting ready for a business meeting, she has to worry about looking too feminine, and what it says, and whether or not she will be taken seriously. I wish had not worn that ugly suit that day. I’ve actually banished from my closet, by the way. Had I then, the confidence that I have now, to be myself, my students would have benefited even more from my teaching because I would have been more comfortable, and more truly myself.

I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.

Gender is not an easy conversation to have for both men and women. To bring up gender is sometimes to encounter an almost immediate resistance. I can imagine some people here actually thinking, “Women [–?]” Some of the men here might be thinking, “Okay, all of this is interesting, but I don’t think like that.” And that is part of the problem. That many men do not actively think about gender or notice gender, is part of the problem of gender. That many men say, like my friend Louis, “But everything is fine now.” And that many men do nothing to change it. If you are a man and you walk into a restaurant with a woman and the waiter greets only you, does it occur to you to ask the waiter, “Why haven’t you greeted her?”

Because gender can be a very uncomfortable conversation to have, there are very easy ways to close it, to close the conversation. So, some people will bring up evolutionary biology and apes, how female apes bow down to male apes and that sort of thing. But the point is, we’re not apes. [applause] Apes also live on trees, and have earthworms for breakfast, and we don’t. Some people will say, “Well, poor men also have a hard time.” And this is true. But this is not what this conversation is about. Gender and class are different forms of oppression. I actually learned quite a bit about systems of oppression and how they can be blind to one another by talking to black men. I was once talking to a black man about gender and he said to me, “Why do you have to say ‘my experience as a woman’? Why can’t it be ‘my experience as a human being’?” Now, this is the same man who would often talk about his experience as a black man.

Gender matters. Men and women experience the world differently. Gender colors the way we experience the world. But we can change that. Some people will say, “Oh, but women have the real power, bottom power.” And for non-Nigerians, “bottom power” is an expression in which I suppose means something like a woman who uses her sexuality to get favors from men. But “bottom power” is not power at all. Bottom power means that a woman simply has a good root to tap into, from time to time, somebody else’s power. And then of course we have to wonder when that somebody else is in a bad mood, or sick or sick or impotent.

Some people will say that a woman being subordinate to a man is our culture. But culture is constantly changing. I have beautiful twin nieces who are 15 who live in Lagos. If they had been born 100 years ago, they would have been taken away and killed because it was our culture, it was our culture, the Ibo/Igbo culture to kill twins. So, what is the point of culture. I mean, there is the decorative — the dancing — but also culture is really about the preservation and continuity of a people. In my family, I am the child who is most interested in the story of who we are in our traditions and the knowledge of ancestral lands. My brothers are not as interested as I am, but I cannot participate. I cannot go to a [–] meetings, I cannot have a say, because I am female.

Culture does not make people. People make culture.

So if it is in fact true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we must make it our culture.

I think very often of my dear friend [–]. May he and others who past away in that [–] crash continue to rest in peace. He will always be remembered by those of us who loved him. And he was right, that day many years ago, when he called me a feminist. I am a feminist. And when I looked up that word in the dictionary that day, this is what it said:

feminist : a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.

My great-grandmother, from the stories I’ve heard, was a feminist. She ran away from the house of a man she did not to marry and ended up marrying the man of her choice. She refused, she protested, she spoke up, whenever she felt she was being deprived of access of land, that sort of thing. My great-grandmother did not know that word, “feminist.” But it doesn’t means that she wasn’t one. More of us should reclaim that word.

My own definition of feminist is:

feminist : a man or a woman who says, “Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it, we must do better.”

The best feminist I know is my brother [–]. He is also a kind, good-looking, lovely man, and he is very masculine.

Thank you.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc

Renisha McBride Killed After Asking For Help In White Neighborhood

Black Woman Killed After Asking For Help In White Neighborhood

Image

(pic courtesy of Fox 2 News)

You might be reading this headline and think that I am mistaking Renisha McBride with the name of Jonathan Ferrell. You will recall that Jonathan Ferrell is the 24 year old man killed by Charlotte Police after surviving a serious car accident. Ferrell was murdered after a resident called 911 when Ferrell knocked on her door for help. The police arrived and shot at unarmed Ferrell 12 times, 10 of those bullets hitting Ferrell. Sadly just a few months later a similar situation has happened.

Renisha McBride, a 19-year-old young woman from Detroit was involved in a car accident around 2:30am Saturday morning in the predominantly white Detroit suburb Dearborn Heights. McBride’s cell phone was dead and she knocked on the door of a Dearborn resident for assistance. At this moment McBride’s life was ended by the resident who shot her in the head right on his front porch.

The police are already up to their shady tricks, as they refuse to release the name of the resident, and have given mixed stories about whether or not McBride’s body was dumped somewhere other than residence. The police are saying that the shooter mistook McBride for an intruder and acted in self-defense (Michigan is a “stand your ground” state). At this moment no formal arrest have been made against the shooter. I don’t know any intruders that knock on doors, or stand on porches waiting for the residents to come the door. I would say that the resident should have called the police, but who’s to say the police wouldn’t have shot Renisha down in cold blood too? Let’s remember that the police were the ones that killed Jonathan Ferrell.

The real question is what steps will the people take? Renisha was only 19 years old, she was someone’s daughter, niece, cousin, and friend. Do we just add her name to the long list of Black lives eaten up by a vicious system that devours whenever it feels hungry? Or do we finally say enough is enough, and awaken, organize, and fight? If we choose to fight we must remember that we must not only fight individual acts of racism but institutional racism. These despicable acts of individual racism are reflective of deep rooted systemic racism, like symptoms of are reflective of a disease. In order to stop the symptoms we must cure the disease. The best thing we can do at this very moment is get Renisha’s story the attention it deserves. Pass this story onto every individual you know. People need to see the evil that still exists in this country. Our children need to know what they are facing every time they walk out the door. This time it was Renisha, next time it could be you or your loved one. Stay Woke

Please see Rania Khalek’s original post on Renisha McBride (http://raniakhalek.com/2013/11/06/black-detroit-woman-shot-to-death-while-seeking-help-in-white-neighborhood-after-car-crash/ )

About blacksankofa

Taurean Brown is an author, poet, speaker and activist. “You don’t have to agree, but I want you to think. Just trying to speak what I believe is the truth, and it is always out of love.”

” … Ima Bad Bitch …”

I never understood why some women like to call themselves “bad bitches”. I guess they’re entitled to call themselves what they want, but you’d think they’d pick something that doesn’t represent a four-legged animal. People have a history of redefining condescending terms and giving them new meaning, but that doesn’t eradicate the stigma the word carries. Don’t attempt to redefine a condescending term because you feel powerless to stop others from calling [that condescending term]. Demand respect, don’t feed into the [bullshit].

@HarlemCam

“Temptation Is a Movie About Punishing Women …”

Tyler Perry Isn’t Just an Artless Hack, He’s a Scary Ideologue

By  Lindy West

There are a lot of things to laugh at in Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Kim Kardashian’s attempts to move and talk at the same time, Vanessa Williams’s fake French accent for no reason (hoh-hoh-hohhh!), the alien dialogue, the blunt-force moralizing, the sheer ineptitude of Perry’s filmmaking. (Worth noting: None of Perry’s actual scripted “jokes” made the list.) But, that said, it is not a funny movie—it’s a frightening one. Temptation is a movie about punishing women. Specifically, Perry is obsessed with punishing women who stray from the good woman/bad woman binary dictated by traditional Christian gender roles. That is the film’s entire purpose. I watched it 24 hours ago and my skin is still crawling. And I’m starting to believe that Tyler Perry isn’t just artless—he’s reprehensible.

Temptation is framed as a story told by a marriage counselor to her client. The client, some white lady, comes in and is like, “I’m thinking about having an affair! YOLO!” And the marriage counselor is like, “Well, let me tell you a little story, lady. About my, um, ‘sister.'” (The first of a million spoilers: IT’S REALLY ABOUT HER. SHE IS HER OWN SISTER.)

The “sister” in question is Judith—a nice, pretty, church-going “good woman” who wears ugly high-collared blouses, cooks dinner for her man every night, and only has married-sex in bed with the lamp off. Judith’s husband, Brice, is a “good man.” He works hard at a pharmacy all day, wears glasses, and is on great terms with Judith’s mother. They are “happy.” Except that they’re totally not (spoiler #2: it’s Judith’s fault).

The first hint of Judith’s discontent comes when she and Brice are heading home from a romantic dinner. A group of ne’er-do-well youths on the street cat-call Judith as they pass. Judith flips the fuck out and has to be physically restrained by Brice, who tells her to calm down, ignore it, let it go. They get in the car and go home. Judith refuses to speak to Brice for the rest of the night, because he didn’t defend his property her honor by fighting the cat-callers to the death. He didn’t do his manful duty. “But honey, they could have had guns!” Brice says. THEN HE APOLOGIZES TO JUDITH FOR NOT FIGHTING THE YOUTHS. I didn’t see the rest of the scene because my eyes fell out and rolled away.

Meanwhile, at the Millionaire Matchmaking agency where she works, Judith meets Harley—the “third largest social media inventor since Zuckerberg!” (so, uh, LinkedIn? Christian Mingle?). Harley immediately fixates on Judith and begins scheming about how to get his penis inside her posthaste. Harley is rich, sexually aggressive (his dialogue highlights the inhuman weirdness with which Perry writes about sex: “Sex should be random, like animals!”), he believes in Judith’s career (Brice, by contrast, told her that she should stay at the matchmaking agency for 15 years before starting her own practice—!?!?), and he goes jogging with no shirt so ladies will look at his muscles. “I bet you only have sex in a bed with the lamp off,” he tells Judith. (Nailed it!!!) In a clunky counterexample to the cat-calling incident, Harley attempts to murder a doofy bicyclist who accidentally bumped Judith’s knee with his bicycle. He is truly the best man ever.

Oh, also Harley is literally the devil. Linemouth.

You can tell he’s literally the devil because he says things like, “Let me play devil’s advocate,” he drives a sinful red sports car, everything in his apartment is constantly on fire, and every time Judith’s churchy mom sees him she starts screaming, “HE’S THE DEVIL. THAT MAN IS LITERALLY THE DEVIL.” He is literally the devil.

And because he’s the devil, he manages to “seduce” Judith, lure her away from her good Christian life with Brice, nose-feed her mountains of cocaine, beat the shit out of her, and turn her into a cackling demon who hates Jesus and never, ever cooks dinner. Back at the pharmacy, Brice discovers that Harley has been running around giving HIV to all kinds of fallen women all over town. This discovery finally awakens his dutiful aggro side, so he runs to Harley’s apartment to rescue Judith from Satan-AIDS, and then throws Harley through a window. Then Brice gets a new, better, non-HIV-having wife and Judith puts her frumpy clothes back on and goes to church, alone forevermore.

Cut back to this dialogue between the therapist and the white lady:

“How does the story end?”
“Well, it’s still being written.”
“Did [Judith] get HIV too?”
“Yes.”
“Did Brice?”
“No.”
“Thank you so much for sharing this story with me  I’m going to end this almost-affair and stay with my husband.”

THE END. OF THE MOVIE.

Okay. Now. Okay. There are three main areas in which Tyler Perry is fucking over the entire human race in Temptation.

1. Men Do Marriage Like This/Women Do Marriage Like This!

Temptation is a feature-length Chick tract, only with slightly less artistry and nuance. Watching this film as an atheist, it makes absolutely no sense. If you don’t believe in the devil, which I don’t, Temptation is simply the story of a 25-year-old woman who got married too young, is no longer compatible with her partner, is frustrated with her stalled career, and is preyed upon by a charismatic sociopath with a drug problem. Then, because of Perry’s fixation on Christian moralizing, the film portrays Judith’s contraction of HIV (deliberately given to her by an abusive partner) as a fitting punishment for her “sins.” From a godless perspective, this is bonkers.

Outside the confines of traditional gender roles, Judith is just a woman trying to find her place in the world. She is confused, she is sad, she is frustrated. “I feel so dead with you Brice,” she says. In the real world, women are not obligated to cook dinner for their husbands, or eschew casual sex, or put their careers on hold for their partners, or submit sexually to dominant men, or ignore cat-callers, or stand up to cat-callers, or swath their knees in modest hemlines, or be nice to their moms. Women are people. But in Perry’s universe, women are women, and a “good woman” is a very specific and important thing to be.

People can have whatever kind of relationships they want—if a traditional Christian marriage works for you, go nuts—but Perry’s insistence on punishing women who don’t follow his doctrine of subservience is harmful and oppressive. Compliance with gender roles doesn’t make anyone a good person. People are good people because they’re good people. Church doesn’t make you good. Loving your mom doesn’t make you good. Even fidelity doesn’t make you good. Those are all just excuses, loopholes, cop-outs that signify “goodness” without having to actually do the legwork.

When Judith stops being “good,” she is punished. The moral of the movie is explicit: Stay in your unhappy marriage forever because the alternative is Satan-AIDS.

Which brings me to my second point.

2. People with HIV Are Not Your Toys.

Three people in Temptation have HIV. One of them is literally the devil (see above), and the other two are black women who slept with the devil. That Perry would have the gall to use HIV as a punitive measure against black women who don’t fit his idea of “goodness”—black women, by the way, account for 2/3 of new HIV infections among women—betrays a frightening selfishness and lack of empathy. It echoes, very plainly, the old Fundamentalist rhetoric that AIDS is a punishment from god for the sins of the gays. Perry expands that rhetoric, sure—now dirty, filthy women can sin just like gays do!—but the message is the same. Casual sex is a sin and sinners deserve HIV. That. Is. Crazy.

The other woman infected by Harley is named Melinda (played by the Brandy), a saintly gal who works at the pharmacy with Brice. “I’m accepting my part in it,” she says. She chose to stay with Harley even though he was abusive and she knew he was sleeping around. Besides, the film takes care to point out, she totally took Harley’s private jet for granted—so of course he cheated! Temptation isn’t a movie about Harley—who, after all, can’t help his sin seeing as he is a demon from hell. It’s a movie about Harley’s victims. Only they’re not portrayed as victims—they’re sinners. They’re to blame. And in the end, Melinda and Judith wind up alone, repentant and meek, while Brice finds himself a new, untainted wife.

Apparently this needs to be said: People with HIV are people. People with HIV are not a rhetorical device that Tyler Perry gets to exploit to keep women in line. People with HIV have healthy relationships with other people, regardless of HIV status. Tyler Perry is a bad person.

https://i1.wp.com/img.gawkerassets.com/img/18jixdclw0wodjpg/original.jpg

3. Harley Rapes Judith.

Here are all of things that Judith says immediately before Harley has sex with her in his private plane: “No.” “Stop it.” “I don’t want to.” “Get off of me.” Judith does not want to have sex with Harley. (There’s another layer of nuance here—one reason Judith doesn’t want to have sex with Harley is that she’s deeply invested in Perry’s beloved gender roles. But the reason for her “no” is irrelevant. Her spiritual weakness betrays her, Harley can tell she wants it, and she’s punished for that weakness.)

He does not stop. He just tries harder. He knows what she really wants, no matter what her mouth and body are saying. She never says yes. He says, smugly, “Now you can say you resisted.” He has sex with her anyway. This is a rape scene. But, in Perry’s universe, Harley is right. She did secretly want it. And that’s the real problem.

Afterwards, for a minute, Judith is disgusted with Harley and with herself. She pushes him away. She tells him never to contact her again. But then! Then! She’s back on the phone with him almost immediately (while Brice is caught up in the football game—doofy doofy dur dur!), telling Harley he’s the best she’s ever had, begging him to have sex with her again. Judith, it seems, is addicted to what the dick did. And now she’s like, “OMG I NEED MORE OF YOUR SATAN BONER AND ALSO COCAINE.” Because that’s how us fickle ladies work.

This idea—that men know what women really want, that resistance can be fucked out of us (or consent fucked into us)—is DEEPLY NOT OKAY. It’s not okay to telegraph this to young men or young women or victims of sexual violence or potential perpetrators of sexual violence or lawmakers or anyone. It’s a paradigm that I was hoping had died out with Pepe LePew. It is frightening.

I’m amazed at how efficiently Perry was able to roll back discourse, human rights, the basics of consent, and storytelling itself in just one shitty movie. Perry has done a lot for the visibility of black voices in popular culture, but that doesn’t make his moralistic subtext in Temptation any less repellant and irresponsible. The world should demand better than Tyler Perry.

Source: http://jezebel.com/5993523/tyler-perry-isnt-just-an-artless-hack-hes-a-scary-ideologue

“There’s Not a Black Man on This Earth You Can Count On …”

 

Among Black children, those who learn in early childhood, long before confronting a hostile white world, that they are not worthy will then encounter that same message when they go out into the public world. Thus they are trapped. They are not valued in family life and they are not valued in the world beyond. Often Black male children hear adult women repeatedly maligning adult Black males, saying things like “he’s no good,” “he ain’t shit,” or “there’s not a Black male on this earth you can count on.” All these messages reinforce the notion that he is flawed, that nothing he can do will make him whole. All he is offered is a life of compensation, where he must work hard to make up for the “lack” others see in him and for his own sense of inner emptiness.

– bell hook, We Real Cool pg. 91

In a Rap Culture, Rick Ross Glorifies Rape

 

Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it
I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it

– Rick Ross

By Anti-Intellect,

Rick Ross raps about drugging a woman, having sex with her WITHOUT HER CONSENT, but he’s not glorifying rape? Right. This dude is fucking shameless. And the nerve of him to throw out all that hollow patriarchal language, “I love my queens, woman are the most precious gifts to known to man.”

Rick Ross Clears Up The Meaning Of The “She ain’t even know it” Lyrics

Patriarchal men are so predictable. Their language give them away: “Women are queens” “Women are the most precious gifts in the world.” Do patriarchal men not realize that idealizing women is just another form of dehumanization? Pedestals are just as much of a prison.

Twitter: @Anti-Intellect

***** *****

What is the “Rape Culture?”

Rape Culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.  Rape culture is perpetuated through the use of misogynistic language, the objectification of women’s bodies, and the glamorization of sexual violence, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.

Rape Culture affects every woman.  The rape of one woman is a degradation, terror, and limitation to all women. Most women and girls limit their behavior because of the existence of rape. Most women and girls live in fear of rape. Men, in general, do not. That’s how rape functions as a powerful means by which the whole female population is held in a subordinate position to the whole male population, even though many men don’t rape, and many women are never victims of rape.  This cycle of fear is the legacy of Rape Culture.

Examples of Rape Culture:

  • Blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
  • Trivializing sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
  • Sexually explicit jokes
  • Tolerance of sexual harassment
  • Inflating false rape report statistics
  • Publicly scrutinizing a victim’s dress, mental state, motives, and history
  • Gratuitous gendered violence in movies and television
  • Defining “manhood” as dominant and sexually aggressive
  • Defining “womanhood” as submissive and sexually passive
  • Pressure on men to “score”
  • Pressure on women to not appear “cold”
  • Assuming only promiscuous women get raped
  • Assuming that men don’t get raped or that only “weak” men get raped
  • Refusing to take rape accusations seriously
  • Teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape

How can men and women combat Rape Culture?

  • Avoid using language that objectifies or degrades women
  • Speak out if you hear someone else making an offensive joke or trivializing rape
  • If a friend says she has been raped, take her seriously and be supportive
  • Think critically about the media’s messages about women, men, relationships, and violence
  • Be respectful of others’ physical space even in casual situations
  • Always communicate with sexual partners and do not assume consent
  • Define your own manhood or womanhood.  Do not let stereotypes shape your actions.
  • Get involved! Join a student or community group working to end violence against women.

Source: http://www.marshall.edu/wpmu/wcenter/sexual-assault/rape-culture/

*Black Girls Are Ugly*

 

By Micky 

 

Most statements in life fit into either the ‘fact’, ‘fiction’ or ‘opinion’ category.  However, it seems that some black men (and I use that term loosely), are attempting to break the rules of life, and believe if they repeat their opinions long enough, they will start to become factual. What they have achieved, in fact, is a whole new category of ‘delusion’.

 

Black girls are ugly’– fiction. Correction, ‘black girls are ugly’– opinion.  Sorry, ‘black girls are ugly’– delusion.  ‘Black guys who say black girls are ugly should have been the product of masturbation’– FACT.

 

A recurring topic of conflict between black males and females is the black males’ denunciation of the black female race. I’ve seen and heard black males constantly put black females down ‘all black girls are ugly’, ‘I can’t run my fingers through a black girl’s hair’. Can we pause just for a second to question what the pressing need is for you to run your fingers through any girl’s hair?  Okay, I get the romantic gesture of maybe playing with a few strands, wrapping them around your finger while you gaze lovingly into her eyes. But to take your four whole fingers and thumb and push them through the length of her hair, roots to end? Um.

Okay, let me continue. Now, I’m not one of those black girls with a Jackson 5 afro, who believes every word India Arie sings is gospel and who spends 140 characters of every tweet proclaiming that ‘black is beautiful’.  I am actually of mixed heritage and therefore feel I have an unbiased opinion of this issue. After all, if it wasn’t for interracial dating, I wouldn’t exist.  But I totally get why black girls would have issues with interracial dating, and the reason for that is YOU. Let me clarify some things for you though. If Tom wants to date Shaniqua, it is highly unlikely that any black girl would have an issue with this. Why? Because Tom doesn’t cuss Laura, Jess and Beth in order to appreciate Shaniqua. He appreciates Shaniqua for being Shaniqua.  However when Tyrone wants to date Chloe, it’s often because Shaniqua is ‘too loud’ and Shaniqua is ‘too hard to deal with’ and Shaniqua ‘argues too much’. How often do you hear black men say ‘I need to get me a white girl’? Not because he loves the glossy, milky radiance of Caucasian skin and the way her wispy hair blows in the wind, but because the alternative is ‘too hard’ to handle. Are white girls not insulted by this?  Being the easy alternative is not a compliment but some will sit there and giggle and blush when a black male is cussing black females.

A girl is not beautiful because she is black, neither is a girl ugly because she is white. Let your choice be a girl you find attractive who, only HAPPENS to be whatever race she is. Black girls do not ‘hate’ on white girls in interracial relationships because we want the black guy in the relationship. Negro, please. However, black men are the cause of this resentment we feel towards such relationships and therefore should take responsibility for it. I believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion and their own preference. What I don’t condone, however, is an insulting, offensive public declaration of your preference.

One thing that REALLY gets to me is the phrase ‘she’s nice for a dark skinned girl.’ We all know that dark skinned girls bear the majority of the insults. It shouldn’t be like that, but it is. How dare people suggest that being dark skinned is a disadvantage? Like it’s the Paralympics -‘he plays football well for a blind man.’ As if being darker already puts you at a disadvantage and therefore if you’re pretty, you deserve bigger recognition. And who has defined what shades are beautiful? Largely, the media has. What’s interesting is that black females don’t fall for this.  We see the likes of Gabrielle Union and Kelly Rowland we see beauty. Maybe inwardly we’re affected, but it’s very rare that we would publicly express these thoughts should they exist. We have grown something called solidarity. Why put our sisters down when the rest of the world already does? Black men, strengthen your minds. Your opinions are weak because the minds they come from are weak.

 

One of the things I have learned growing up, is that the people I am attracted to, attract me because of their qualities, not because of someone else’s apparent downfalls. What do I mean? By all means, be with Becky, breed Becky, MARRY Becky because to you, Becky is amazing. NOT because, Shaniqua is too loud, and Shaniqua is too much to deal with and because you can’t run your fingers through Shaniqua’s hair. Speaking of hair, you have a problem with weave? My brain cells aren’t able to wrap around the foolishness of this statement. How many of you would approach Meagan Good with an afro? You hate that black girls wear weaves, you love that white girls have ‘natural’ hair? Do you even know how many white girls have hair extensions? Trust me when I say fake hair is not just a ‘black’ thing.  Why must you be negative about one race in order to be positive about another? And while you, black men read this blog, cussing my views, calling me a ‘hater’, your mother, Shaniqua is downstairs cooking your dinner.

By Micky

Source: http://www.hoodvoice.co.uk/hood-blog/dear-black-men/

Twitter: @JamaineJones

Spinning The New Pope as a Good Guy

 

 

The media keeps highlighting that the new pope has a long history of advocating on behalf of the “poor”. I’m assuming they think this absolves him of his homophobia, misogyny, and all around ignorance. It’s easy to be “for the poor” without examining how social inequalities like disdain and lack of access to contraception like condoms and birth control adds to the growing number of the poor. Or how homophobia prevents people from accessing the workforce and other segments of society that could help them hold a job. Or how forcing women to carry pregnancies that they don’t want or can’t afford also adds to the growing number of the poor. Also, I don’t see homophobia and misogyny as synonymous with humility. A modest view of one’s own importance does not translate into infringing on OTHER’s rights. They can try to spin this new pope into being a “good guy”, but he’s not.

– The Anti-Intellect Blog

 

Rap Music & The Degradation of Women

War on MAN through the degradation of WOMAN!

How is man to recognize his full self, his full power through the eye’s of an incomplete woman? The woman who has been stripped of Goddess recognition and diminished to a big ass and full breast for physical comfort only. The woman who has been silenced so she may forget her spiritual essence because her words stir too much thought outside of the pleasure space. The woman who has been diminished to covering all that rots inside of her with weaves and red bottom shoes.

I am sure the men, who restructured our societies from cultures that honored woman, had no idea of the outcome. They had no idea that eventually, even men would render themselves empty and longing for meaning, depth and connection. There is a deep sadness when I witness a man that can’t recognize the emptiness he feels when he objectifies himself as a bank and truly believes he can buy love with things and status. It is painful to witness the betrayal when a woman takes him up on that offer. He doesn’t recognize that the create of a half woman has contributed to his repressed anger and frustration of feeling he is not enough. He then may love no woman or keep many half women as his prize. He doesn’t recognize that it’s his submersion in the imbalanced warrior culture, where violence is the means of getting respect and power, as the reason he can break the face of the woman who bore him four children.

When woman is lost, so is man. The truth is, woman is the window to a man’s heart and a man’s heart is the gateway to his soul.

Power and control will NEVER out weigh love.

May we all find our way.

– Jada Pinkett Smith

Source: http://thinkingbeautiful.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/war-on-man-through-the-degradation-of-woman/