Sunday, October 08, 2017

Straight Black male privilege

[VIDEO] I posted the video from Anthony Brian Logan above over at E.M. last month and he discussed an article making its rounds on social media discussing "straight Black men are the white people of Black people". Huh? What does that even mean?

Well here's just a flavor of what's being written over at Very Smart Bros because this is their article:
It feels counterintuitive to suggest that straight black men as a whole possess any sort of privilege—particularly the type of privilege created for and protected by whiteness. In America, we are near or at the bottom in every relevant metric determining quality of life. Our arrest and incarceration rates, our likelihood of dying a violent death, our likelihood of graduating high school and attending college, our employment rates, our average net worth, our likelihood of surviving past 70—I could continue, but the point is clear.

But assessing our privilege (or lack thereof) on these facts considers only our relationship with whiteness and with America. Intraracially, however, our relationship to and with black women is not unlike whiteness’s relationship to us. In fact, it’s eerily similar.

We’re the ones for whom the first black president created an entire initiative to assist and uplift. We’re the ones whose beatings and deaths at the hands of the police galvanize the community in a way that the beatings and sexual assaults and deaths that those same police inflict upon black women do not. We’re the ones whose mistreatment inspired a boycott of the NFL despite the NFL’s long history of mishandling and outright ignoring far worse crimes against black women. We are the ones who get the biggest seat at the table and the biggest piece of chicken at the table despite making the smallest contribution to the meal.
So Black men or straight Black men have "privilege". Since Donald Trump became our President we've been hearing more about white male privilege and that actually makes some sense. Although to be fair the demonization of white males are really uncalled for. I do however understand where the idea comes from and sometimes I have to unwrap my mind from that idea.

With that said straight Black male privilege is certain an odd concept. If this is all about the struggle of Blacks in America why even decide to separate us like this. Black males have had a hard time in America and perhaps Black women has it worse. The last thing I want to ignore is any crimes against Black women - well really any women for that matter.

Still straight Black male privilege? Let's go further:
But when black women share that we pose the same existential and literal danger to them that whiteness does to us; and when black women ask us to give them the benefit of the doubt about street harassment and sexual assault and other forms of harassment and violence we might not personally witness; and when black women tell us that allowing our cousins and brothers and co-workers and niggas to use misogynistic language propagates that culture of danger; and when black women admit how scary it can be to get followed and approached by a man while waiting for a bus or walking home from work; and when black women articulate how hurtful it is for our reactions to domestic abuse and their rapes and murders to be “what women need to do differently to prevent this from happening to them” instead of “what we (men) need to do differently to prevent us from doing this to them,” their words are met with resistance and outright pushback. After demanding from white people that we’re listened to and believed and that our livelihoods are considered, our ears shut off and hearts shut down when black women are pleading with us.

Making things worse is that black women and girls are also black people in America—a fact we seem to forget whenever possessing a bad memory is convenient. The effects of racism—metaphysical and literal—and the existential dread and dangers felt when existing while black are not exclusive to black men and boys. They face the same racisms we do and the same doubts from whites about whether the racism actually exists that we do, and then they’re forced to attempt to convince their brothers and partners and friends and fathers and cousins and lovers of the dangers of existing as black women, and they’re met with the same doubts. The same resistance. The same questions. They are not believed in the (predominantly white) world or in their (predominantly black) communities. And we (black men) remain either uninterested in sincerely addressing and destructing this culture of danger and pervasive doubt or refuse to admit it even exists.
And yet straight Black males have privilege. Black women should be and are defended by strong males especially from disrespect. Whether this is from other Black men or men from other ethnicities.

At the same time when singling out straight Black men, I wonder if this was going to be a piece about gay Black men. Nothing is mentioned at all about sexual orientation. This was a piece regarding heterosexual Black men and their lack of acknowlegement of Black women's fears with regards to being Black in America.

One thing this piece has done on social media and in this video by Anthony Brian Logan is that it got people talking.

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