I fricking LOVE the blog, For Harriet, and if you don’t have it bookmarked you should. I just read a piece over yonder about all the shade SOME black men throw Scandal’s Olivia Pope, that, for me, helps explain the zealousness surrounding why we have blogs, You Tube channels, and full-time trolls dedicated to bashing black women. Wanna know what it is?
Our success is a threat to them.
Black men, are indeed part of discourse on patriarchy and male privilege. And they’re also a part of the conversation on how the institution of Black male power is being sourced. Black men represent the highest population of incarcerated persons. Unlike other races of men, homicide is top five killer of Black men. I do not pose these systemic issues as Black men’s fault. Instead, I mention them to illustrate the dire atmosphere Black males face and how these issues possibly foster conditions in which Black men turn to the other avenues for power—in this case, Black women’s agency.
These avenues vary by nation, culture, and context, but Black women’s immobility, whether sexual or economic, seems to be a supreme source of power for Black men. Whether we’re being tacky by carrying condoms or freezing at night because we dared to earn degrees, if we’re performing choice, it’s perceived as a threat to Black male mobility. In so many arenas, Black male power is being siphoned from Black women’s livelihoods—a cultural crisis of sorts.
When examined just as tweets, they appear to be harmless, crude opinions from contrarian viewers. But in a larger cultural context—when we start looking at social hierarchies and who comes first in line for power—these comments represent a rift between Black men and Black women. Though still oppressed because of their Blackness, male privilege in a patriarchal society has given Black men a one up on Black women. Even in terms of historical order of political rights, it’s always been the White man, the Black man, the White woman, and then the Black woman—at the bottom of the barrel.
Wow. That explains a lot. No wonder we have trolls coming in here bragging that black men interracially date and marry three times the rate of black women and how all we’ll ever be is the white man’s bed wench (the relationship between Olivia and Fitz fits into this narrative for them) despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary–white men and non-black men are wife-ing up black women, not hiding them under their beds. As my friend LorMarie often says, “These are conquered men who are competing with women.”
And this little nugget is the money shot…
Though she remains in a position of submission, to a White man, Pope has stepped from behind the Black man and cut the proverbial political line. There is this implicit “how dare you?” tone in Black men’s Twitter commentary about the show. Black women have played ‘other women’ to married Black men, for decades. It’s not until now that it’s an issue of morality. The show’s relational dynamics aren’t what we’re used to. And likely, because so much of Black men’s power has come from Black women’s oppression, this shift makes them uncomfortable.
And THIS is why they are scared…
And so, as Black female identity slowly begins to transcend historical dichotomies, this generator of sexual, political Black female immobility—that has powered Black male power and patriarchy for so long—is running out of fuel.
I’m worried that pretty soon, it’ll be lights out. Lucky for them though, there are a few activist, feminist Black male allies to the womanist movement—and they’ve brought flashlights.
They are running out of mammies and mule to carry their water. Boo fricking-hoo. More black women are realizing that it’s not our sole responsibility to worship, uplift, and carry water for black men out of some mythical historical duty. Let the “blacklash” begin.