I came across your web site in surfing, and was very alarmed to read your article
on the dysfunctional predatory process that both black men, and particularly black
women have had to endure to reach a reality that they are actual human beings with
minds as well as bodies.
I wasn't aware of the extent to which black women were used, as described in your
article about Jezebels, and I grew up down South but not in the deep South. Therefore,
I'm sure that most white women are not aware of the extent of stereotyping that apparently
prevails among males that make it so difficult for black women to achieve self respect
and self esteem. It explains a lot to me, but doesn't present a very admirable white
male, as most white women expect of their white husbands. The number of issues this
brings up are varied as you might imagine.
One striking one that has yet to seem understandable is why black men would perpetuate
the illusion, and capitalize upon the vulnerability of their black women in making
the kinds of rap music songs that continue to offer the protocol for that kind of
image. Surely, they understand their own history, and how difficult it is for their
women, and themselves, to escape from these stereotypes. Despite the attempts at civil
rights of recent years, the lyrics of these kinds of stereotyped songs cannot serve
to reduce or eliminate that kind of thinking.
In fact, the advent of civil rights might be viewed as a conversion of this type
of stereotyping onto mainstream America to also include white women so that by some
estimate it could be considered to have shifted onto white women, though not entirely
divorced from black women.
The disaster is why a nation of both black men and white men would allow their women
to be used in this manner, to be mocked and ridiculed, and tortured by sexual aggression
failing to recognize the harm it causes. For all practical purposes, it reveals all
men as sadistic and irresponsible which is certainly not a good role model for children,
or for the men who aren't.
Because the stereotypes for black women, or for white women, are primarily male generated,
it's unlikely that women have much control over the attitudes of how males choose
to disparage females. Certainly they are in no position to demand greater respect,
and lack political efficacy sufficient to mandate it. But from first impression, this
male problem that profits from female oppression is a problem that men must take upon
themselves to cure, if it's possible for that to be done after so long a period of
indulgence and accommodation.
As it becomes increasingly public, it's possible that many more men might be willing
to draw the line at what most could only consider unreasonable predatory injustice.
But then, if I'm wrong, perhaps men prefer an environment where males are supreme
and females are little more than animals as characterized. My instincts suggest that
there are males who feel and understand the injustice of that premise, and would be
willing to stand up for human rights for all. Where black males have long been subject
to similar characterizations, one would think they might be leading the charge, and
perhaps they already are though we are unaware of it. It would be unfair to expect
that white males shoulder the entire burden of these racial realities, however, given
the lyrics of rap music today, and the breakdown of the black families.
Obviously, your presentation shows that the affliction has gone on too long, and
too far, to be fixed easily, under the parameters of most social conditions which
flourish like social diseases, so it is no small challenge, and most of our media
presentations that idolize sexuality are not helping but serving to extend the fault
line. For black people, it might be ideal that whites are now included in the disparaging
process because it takes the issues out of the racial bias and into the mainstream
where it can be addressed not as a racial issue but a social issue.
Few women prefer to be enslaved by sexual objectification just as black women may
have preferred not to be, but as you have described, they may be helpless to prevent
it with prevailing attitudes of male privilege, or as in your account, white male
privilege. Since much of this goes on under the radar of so many, perhaps bringing
it out into the open may be the ideal solution where the process and practice can
be examined, explored, and addressed within the confines of Constitutional rights,
privileges and expectations in a context of human rights.
Thanks for posting your articles and analyses. They are difficult to read, and for
most, that would be understandable since they reveal the shame of predatory instincts
that are outside the boundaries of human rights for anyone, much less the persons
caught up in what can only be called a despicable, schizophrenic attitude toward human
rights, and an insensitivity to human life that is beyond descriptive words to express.
Congratulations on your courage to reveal it and to properly characterize the practice
and the dilemma.
Pat Ross, Boston
-- April 3, 2005
BACK TO LETTERS