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Posts tagged Black Sexual Politics.

     

Back then, when I was growing up, boys gang-banging or gang-raping a girl was a pretty common thing. They called it pulling a train. IT didn’t happen to any particular kind of girl. It happened to girls who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. The boys talked about it like it was a joke or a game, like they were “only” out to have some “fun.” If a girl was caught on the wrong side of a park or in the wrong territory or on the wrong street, she was a target. It was a common thing back then for boys to downgrade girls and cuss at them in the street. It was common for them to go to bed with girls and talk about them like dogs the next day. It was common for boys to deny they were the fathers of their babies. And it was common for boys to beat girls up and knock them around. And then the girls would get hard too.

"If the nigga ain’t got no money, I don’t want to be bothered."
“If the nigga ain’t got no car, then later for him.”

The more I watched how boys and girls behaved, the more I read and the more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that this behavior could be traced directly back to the plantation when slaves were encouraged to take the misery of their lives out on each other instead of on the master. The slavemasters taught us we were ugly, less than human, unintelligent, and many of us believed it. Black people became breeding animals: studs and mares. A Black woman was fair game for anyone at any time: the master or a visiting guest or any redneck who desired her. The slavemaster would order her to have six with this stud, seven with that stud, for the purpose of increasing his stock. She was considered less than a woman. She was a cross between a whore and a workhorse. Black men internalized the white man’s opinion of black women. And, if you ask me, a lot of us still act like we’re back on the plantation with massa pulling the strings.

— Assata Shakur, 116

"… if African American men need women to bring their masculinity into being, then women who seemingly challenge that masculinity become targets for Black male violence. Educated Black women, Black career women, Black women sex workers, rebellious Black girls, and Black lesbians, among others who refuse to submit to male power, become more vulnerable for abuse. Violence against "strong" Black women enables some African American men to recapture a lost masculinity and to feel like "real" men."

 - Patricia Hill Collins, from Black Sexual Politics

Hypersexualization of Black Women

"The virgin/whore dichotomy is continually reified through the lens of race wherein white women exist with the construction of purity and the black female is reduced to the ever wanton Jezebel. This construction has its foundation in slavery. It was meant to justify the repeated rape of black women by their white male slave owners.

Though we have long since moved beyond slavery as a condition of living in the broader culture, its shadow continues to interject itself into our discourse about sex and sexuality. Young black girls quickly internalize the idea that their bodies exist for consumption based in the falsehood that they are continually desirous of sex. This construction removes the agency from the decision to have sex and implies that sex must occur because that is the foundation of the black female identity. It further reifies a hierarchy of beings wherein the black female is routinely located at the bottom. Bell Hooks theorizes that the black woman has no institutional other, and when we examine the discourse of sex and gender what immediately becomes clear is that the politics of colonization and oppression continually manifest in ways in which foster a negative sexual identity in black females.

Reducing black women to simply sexual beings without agency or autonomy over their physical beings translates into high rates of teen pregnancy and a low cultural self esteem. If your identity is based on sexual performance rather than achievement in education, it perpetuates the idea that success can only be achieved by conforming to the role of eternal Jezebel. This creates an unhealthy sexuality in that sex is no longer something one engages in to share pleasure or manifest a loving relationship, but to assert a form of self worth.

While a healthy sexuality is important to achieve a well rounded sense of self, the overvaluation of it is detrimental. Reducing women to what they do with their vaginas rather than with their brains serves patriarchal interests. For black women who have a history of slavery the perpetuation of the Jezebel complex amounts to the continued colonization of black female bodies.”

Read Full Article: http://www.womanist-musings.com/2009/02/confronting-hyper-sexuality-in-black.html

      Besides being characterized as aggressive, angry, and prone to violence one of the most prominent stereotypes about black masculinity involves the hypersexuality of black men. Historically, black men are seen as having large sexual appetites and as being sexually endowed but as psychologically too immature to have meaningful relationships.

Athena D. Mutua, in Progressive Black Masculinities, “Welcome to Terrordome,” 97

Excerpt from “The Spirit of Intimacy” by Sonbofu Some

"Being a woman does not mean you have nothing to do with masculine energy. Similarly, being a man does not mean you have nothing to do with the feminine. Vaginas and penises are not the only things that define our sexual nature. Our lives are influence by the presence within us of both feminine and masculine energies. It is important that these energies maintain harmoy within us.”

"He Ain’t Talking About Me": How the Word "Ho" Effects All Black Women

The sexism and sexual oppression of women throughout the world is evident. However, in this discussion, analyzing the use of the word “Ho,” and the perception of Black Women as seen in mass media and popular culture, is crucial to the understanding of the term and it’s use as a controlling and oppressive image of Black womanhood and femininity, used to justify the sexual oppressive acts and behaviors that target Black women. The black woman’s experience within the U.S. is one that is unique and different from the intersecting oppressive forces amongst women of different cultures. The oppression is different, not of higher value or lesser value.Therefore, as a result, we can not minimize the differences of the African American female experience by trying to place it amongst a broad homogenous struggle of women. In doing so, we refuse to acknowledge the unique and indiviual experiences of not just African American women facing sexism, but the unique and individual experience of all women facing racism in the world.Confronting the controlling images forwarded by institutions external to the African-American community remain essential, however, it is equally important that we examine how these same controlling images are being perpetuated in the African -American community and create the appropriate solutions and acts of resistance. So the question becomes, if we do not discuss the unique forms of oppression aimed at Black women or that often effect Black women, how do Black women as a collective resist intersecting oppressions as they affect us and the communities we live in? How do U.S. Black women indentify the specific issues associated with controlling images of Black womanhood without safe spaces within the Black community where we can talk freely? And, how do we contest and resist these images if we do not first identify the language being used within their oppression?

      Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and preactice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.

— Bell Hooks

      Black women and men who recognize that the development of their particular strengths and interests does not diminish the other do not need to diffuse their energies fighting for control over the other. We can focus our attention against the real economic, political, and social forces at the heart of this society which are ripping us and our children and our worlds apart.

Audre Lorde (Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on Barriers to Women and Loving, 46)

A New Way of Looking at the Word, “Ho”
Has Black Culture’s appropriation of the word “Ho” changed it’s meaning, in the male perspective. Has the word “Ho” now become a way of dehumanizing the general population of Black women by refusing to acknowledge their individual and complex identities, and become simply another term to describe a mass of name-less, face-less, PUSSY. A term that was once given on the basis of a woman’s sexual morals can now be used in casual conversation in discussing Black women among Black men and sometimes amongst Black women, to describe women, whether familiar or unfamiliar, without any knowledge of her sexual practice or promiscuity.

Has Black Culture’s appropriation of the word “Ho” changed it’s meaning in the female perspective. When used in discussion amongst Black Women, it is often used to reference the undesirable Black woman, or those deemed by the speaker as undesirable. Often said with disdain, or indifference. But when used in these type of discussions, does the word, “Ho” become a term that’s essential existence is to verbally appropriate the person with the label as morally less than, regardless of their sexual standing?

Has the meaning of the word “Ho” become a term used simply to dehumanize and lessen the value of the Black woman of which we currently hold in contempt when using the word OR has the appropriation of the word “Ho” transformed the term into a simple denotation of race, gender and class, by using it to represent the nameless, lower-class(economically), Black woman?

I would love to read people responses!