IMHO !!! personally no offense I think we should just replace kendrick lamar with j cole for the spotlight in terms of self aware black male rappers with a message I just have more faith that he won’t go off with the “blacks incriminate themselves” self hating tangent thing like kendrick did/does
The 5 realities of being a Womanist ally... (Who happens to be a Black Heterosexual man)
I wish I could say that I’ve always had a deep passionate respect for women, especially being born into a large matriarchal family. That would be a lie. Like most men I willingly ignored and sometimes participated in disrespectful behavior toward women. At the risk of sounding cliché, it wasn’t until I became a father of a baby girl that I even considered censoring my words and behavior. But two years ago my views shifted. After dating a womanist, I learned all about “rape culture.” Embarrassingly I had never heard of the concept. So, I read up on it hoping to impress her but ending up doing much more. My skimming turned into research, and eventually a mission.
My first reactions were shame and disappointment. I had ignorantly been a vehicle for this idea. It was, in my eyes, no different from black men who perpetuate negative racial stereotypes about black men. Though I had not participated in the extreme aspects of rape culture, my silence and ignorance were enough to indict me alongside rapist. I felt horrible for my mother, my three sisters, and my daughter. I felt horrible for all the black women I had disrespected directly through my actions and indirectly through conversation and tolerance.
My research continued. I was determined to make up for all the things I had said, done, and encouraged. After some careful reflection and a few unwarranted apology messages to ex’s and friends. I decided that I should share my new found respect with other men. I should share with my brothers these findings so that they too would realize that perpetuating certain ideas through conversation, tolerance, and ignorance is as bad as physically assaulting a woman. I felt the need to change the way we speak of the black woman and hold ourselves accountable for their rights and justice as we did our own.
I did just that. I took to social media with positive images and articles about black women. I changed the way I spoke about black women with friends and family. I did my very best to support black women of color in ever outlet that was available. My experience was substantially disappointing. People either didn’t care, didn’t think it was a problem or outright questioned my sexual preference. Imagine that! You have to be gay to care about women’s rights? As disappointing as my experience was at times I have made it my mission to support black women and to fight for their rights and justice. Now, as I reflect on what this experience has taught me, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve encountered. Here are a few things I’ve learned as a Womanist ally who happens to be a heterosexual black man.
1. You will have to face and admit your misogyny.
I’m a misogynist. There is no doubt about it. While I don’t actively carry out oppressive behavior towards women, I have tolerated, ignored, and participated in oppressive institutions.
2. Some may question your authenticity.
It seems that the concept of a man who cares about the oppression of black women is so foreign that some believe that it can’t be genuine. People will question your authenticity. For good reason.
3. You will ultimately question the message of Civil Right Leaders.
Many black male leaders have argued that it is necessary for black men to relegate black women to a subordinate position both in the political sphere and in home life. Does this invalidate general views on oppression? Absolutely not! However, it does speak volumes of how the black woman is oppressed even among some of the greatest civil rights leaders
4. You will meet Phenomenal Black Women
It’s not all bad! Through conversation, social media, and dating you will become friends with some amazing black women. Even better, you’ll have some of the best conversations and share a mutual respect for one another that strengthens your relationship.
5. You will be criticized especially by other men
It’s no secret that misogyny is the accepted norm. Speaking about the oppression of black women in barbershops and social settings where men speak freely you will ultimately face criticism and questions about your own masculinity.
While there are tons of lessons, I could add. These five were the first and most constant that I encountered on my mission to bring awareness and fight the oppression of black women . Feel free to comment and share. Thanks for reading.