Tuesday, October 28, 2008

84 % of Rapists Do Not Even Know They are Rapists.

Men have no claim to being fully humane if we're not working, collectively, to end rape.

Three videos:

1. A Powerful Statement by a White Woman:

2. A Powerful Statement by a White Man:

3. On Male Privilege on College Campuses, re: being seen as a rapist. A short address by a white man:
This one from Men Ending Rape.

Where the title of this blogpost comes from:

Koss et al. report that one out of every twelve male respondents had acted in a manner which would be defined legally as rape. 84% of these men did not believe their actions to be illegal.

- Koss, M. P., Gidycz, C. A., & Wisniewski, N. (1987). The scope of rape: Incidence and prevalence of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of higher education students. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 19, 1182-1197.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


The 'Patriarchal Racist Ignorant Condescending Know-it-all': an experiential analysis distilled from Stan Goff's blog* discussions on Engels and MacKinnon

by Julian Real, copyrighted 2005, 2008. All Rights Reserved.

(*It is my understanding that Stan's blog has been or is still co-moderated by De Clarke, although I have not participated in that blog's discussions for years. At the time I was part of The Feral Scholar discussions, the URL was www.stangoff.com. That has since changed, making it more apparent that it is co-moderated.)

Note: CRAP stands for Corporate Racist Atrocious Patriarchy.

In this essay, I will begin by making several truth claims.

1. Patriarchal racist ignorant condescending know-it-alls (or p.r.i.c.k.s, for short) are poorly equipped, individually and collectively, experientially and situationally, through social position and privilege (not biology) to know much about women that is useful in the activist struggle to end patriarchy. Some p.r.i.c.k.s are white heterosexual men, and some of them are caring and respectful partners to women, though many are not. Respectful or not, I know of no white heterosexual men who are anti-patriarchy activists in support of the radical feminist project to end racist patriarchy, except Stan. Note: being a p.r.i.c.k., like being a white heterosexual man, is not a permanent condition, and therefore one can be transformed into an humane citizen, as society radically transforms away from patriarchy.

2. P.r.i.c.k.s are raised with sufficient privileges to assume they have enough knowledge to discuss just about everything, and they can pretend and/or presume, against great evidence, that they know what they are talking about. Too often, p.r.i.c.k.s privilege men's limited experiences, man-gendered and ethnically white philosophical ideas, facts of his-story, and needlessly abstract theoretical frameworks, placing them at the center of their arguments and actions, in part to avoid dealing with the way they disrespect women, daily. What is simultaneously marginalised is (surprise!) women's experiences, ideas, herstory, and frameworks.

Due to this general disinterest and ignorance of a substantial portion of reality (women's), p.r.i.c.k.'s knowledge remains astoundingly partial and seriously biased, but is not called either by them. It is, rather, called "reality" or "important philosophical inquiry"—especially when it is so academically elite (read: abstract) as to be practically incomprehensible. That some p.r.i.c.k.s retreat to their abstract minds' "universally important thoughts" is not questioned, until now?, as a very specific political strategy for NOT dealing with women's real condition as women.

Not all white heterosexual men participate in this pro-man prioritisation and anti-woman marginalisation, but they can choose to do so without consequence of being held accountable, systematically, by other white men. For example, a woman may speak up, occasionally, after her fury, anger, irritation, or boredom subsides from the last disrespectful comment, to call a white man on something racially sexist or sexually racist, but he can generally evade her points by taking (or maintaining) possession of the discourse used in the discussion.

He will often dismiss her points of view, her experiences, as "silly" with a casual and paternalistic disregard institutionally afforded to white heterosexual men. (Note: p.r.i.c.k.s rarely call one another's ideas "silly".) He will point out that we are talking about "ideas" here, not "emotions" as if they were disconnected. He will alert her to the wonders of white heterosexual men's great work, ignoring, rather completely, the great works of women of many ethnicities, which he has likely never seen, let alone defended as "great" and "important". The "literary canon" was compiled around what white men, many of whom were p.r.i.c.k.s, loved to read. That academic white men love to read work that doesn't have much to say about women's real lives, especially those of Colour, means something. Womanists and Feminists have pointed this out, many times. Academic p.r.i.c.k.s don't seen to be able to listen, let alone hear, what these women are saying, because, well, they are so busy blissfully reading the books by their people.

3. Engels was a European married man, and, quite possibly, a p.r.i.c.k.

4. Engels was not situated or experienced, was too privileged, was not in the position, to know much about women as humans, that is, as humans altered into (e)raced women, systematically, through oppressive experiences of patriarchy, white and male supremacy, misogyny, sexism, heterosexism, racism, and other ethnic hate and discrimination. In other words, Engels didn't know how some humans become women through practices of subordination, by other human beings, called men, in patriarchy; and brilliant man that he was, it never occurred to him to find out. He did some very valuable intellectual work, but not on this matter. Engels is an expert on "the woman question" in the sense that Shakespeare is an expert on people of Colour. That both of these "white" men can be seen to be experts on "humanity" means something very dangerous: and that is that their humanity is awfully white and manly, and, therefore, ethnically and gender specific, in terms of how they view the world, and who they see as universally human when they look out at it.

5. Due to this, it is imperative that p.r.i.c.k.s learn to listen and take in the experiences and knowledge of activist and radical women of all ethnicities, who unavoidably endure way too much CRAP.

6. Ethnically oppressed men, and white gay men, *may* know something, due to political location, experientially and positionally, about racism and heterosexism, but are also poorly equipped (politically, not biologically) to know much, if anything, that politically pertains to women of all ethnicities, as women, in various patriarchies.

7. Any men that *do* know anything meaningful about the politically harmful conditions women face as women—conditions that constitute women as women (see the next three paragraphs), know it from women or women's writing, directly. I do not know of one single living or dead exception to this point. There are abundant examples, however, of white heterosexual men *claiming* knowledge of women's conditions that they simply do not have the experience to truthfully claim. For this reason, Engels, among many other white heterosexual men, must be "left behind" generally, except as an example of the above claims: he and his work may, in other words, be utilised to prove the claims made above, but his work cannot disprove them.

"Woman", in this view, is not primarily or essentially a biological category. While some (not all) "human females" share physiological experiences, such as menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and menopause, the meanings of and responses to those experiences are strongly cultural and political: cultural laws about menstruating women being associated with being "unclean" for example, turn what could be an morally neutral adolescent to mid-life sometimes monthly experience into one tainted with negative patriarchal social stigma. That these physiological phenomena happen to some "human females", only at some ages, doesn't equate with being gendered, in my view, any more than having pale skin, blond hair, and blue eyes equates with being Aryan (or otherwise raced). Admittedly, physiological and biological processes such as menstruation and pregnancy are more psychologically and socially impressive and involving than having a particular eye color (usually), but this involvement still doesn't add up to having a gender. Genitals are real, physiological processes are real, sexes (genders) are assigned in a nonconsensual, compulsory way. And if, as tons of people believe, the simple appearance of genital formations amounted to "having a gender", then what "gender" do intersex babies have, when born?

As with "woman", there is nothing about whiteness, heterosexuality, or manhood that is essentially biological. These are primarily social constructs, cultural phenomena, political affiliations: they are terms of position and privilege, rendered real through cultural and social forces and mandated identities. These identities and conditions are not learned from non-human animals, and what is "animal" in us is unlearned by being social, politically regulated human creatures. Seen this way, rape is not, as many men like to believe, a natural condition of being a male animal, even a human one; rape is a response learned in patriarchy, about who men and women are and how women and girls, and feminised boys and men, are to be treated. Being raped, and being "not a man," are mutually constituting. Rape, among other atrocities, helps make some humans into girls and women, and stigmatises some boys and men as feminised.

The meaning of so-called "significant biological differences", and the enforced ignorance about actual, more diverse differences in eroticism and ethnicity, is what is relevant here, not the facts of their physical existence. As noted earlier, some people give birth: some women, not men, do this. But many women do not give birth, or cannot, or are celibate and carry a firearm, or are post-menopausal, and they are still considered women, even while misogynistically derogatory terms are attached to some of those specific categories of women (such as "barren", "man-hating lesbos", and "old hags". Having a vulva at birth does not sufficiently, empirically, define "woman" as such. Some transgendered people born with vulvas do not identify as women when adults, nor appear as such. Joan of Arc escaped being patriarchally female by resisting all instructions, and refusing all associations with the sex she was supposed to be. (See pages 83-105 in Intercourse, by Andrea Dworkin, for a brilliant discussion of Joan's life in these terms). In most patriarchies, people are defined dualistically (that is, incorrectly, distortively), through physiological qualities and biological capabilities, which are then taken as significant and supportive of creating a separate allegedly natural category of sexually subordinated humans called "women". Not surprisingly, intersex, multi-ethnic, transgendered, and ungendered folks are invisibilised by these binary, hierarchically arranged social forms. (They don't do much for women's human visibility, either.) In the case of transgendered folks, the only way to be socially real and acceptable is to "choose" one or the other as your patriarchally correct physiology and identity. That there is no way to "choose" *not* to do this, *while* being socially real and acceptable, is not something the surgical world finds ethically and politically necessary to contend with. That women cannot choose to be not-women, yet not-men, and be socially real and acceptable means that women do not have the real choice to be ungenderedly human. No one does, really, in patriarchal cultures that have gender dualism. I once knew a person who was not born male or female, had no primary or secondary sexual characteristics, and was, in fact, fully human. That there are no pronouns for this person--in English, at least, tells you something about how our reality is denied us through language.

In Pornography: Men Possessing Women, Andrea Dworkin puts it this way (p. 17): "Men have the power of naming, a great and sublime power. This power of naming allows men to define experience, to articulate boundaries and values, to designate to each thing its realm and qualities, to determine what can and cannot be expressed, to control perception itself."

As Catharine MacKinnon states in her book Feminism Unmodified (p. 47), from a talk delivered at the Conference on Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, July 11, 1983): "We purport to want to change things, but we talk in ways that no one understands. We know that discourses have fashions, that we're in the midst of a certain fashion now, that a few years from now it will be another, that ten years ago it was different. We know better than to think that this is the pure onward progress of knowledge. We participate in these fashions, are swept along in them, but we don't set them. [...]

Sometimes I think to myself, MacKinnon, you write. Do you remember that the majority of the world's illiterates are women? What are you doing? I feel that powerfully when I think about what brings us all here, which is to make the changes we are talking about. When someone condemns someone else for the use of jargon, they tend to suppose that they themselves speak plain plate glass. I'm not exempting myself from this criticism, I'm saying that I see it as fundamental to developing a politics of language that will be constructive as well as deconstructive."

To pretend that patriarchally gendered and gendering terms, or raced and (e)racing terms, are not primarily social and political is to operate out of a dangerous biological essentialism that has the effect, necessarily, of reinscribing and reinforcing each of the atrocious phenomena (the "isms" and their accompanying forms of hate and harm) named earlier, relegating them to a somehow natural state, as if beyond social critique and political intervention. Similarly, if we believe men will always create military wars—that it is men's "nature" to do so, we are destined to live in a world where such wars persist. This point must also be made regarding men's patriarchal war against women.

It is grossly assumed that white heterosexual men speak for all of humanity. They don't. Much of the time, even when claiming otherwise, they speak for themselves, for their own experience, universalising it, pretending it applies to more than just them. This projection and extension of white men's being is a consequence of extraordinary privilege, which can and often does have the effect of rendering these social creatures profoundly arrogant and self-centered. Women of all ethnicities know (experience, endure) this arrogance daily. This privileged arrogance is manifested in institutions and other practices that women cannot avoid, and, as unavoidable, may need to ignore or repress, or, tragically yet commonly, participate in and support, much to the empowerment of CRAP.

On Stan's blog, there is a challenge to some white heterosexual men's speech, to their forms of speech as legitimately privileged, as well as to the content of the speech (that is, what it purports to say). A note to white heterosexual men: when you, as members of an oppressor class, are oppressive, and because of that, women, and other folks, respond with anger, or in other expressive ways that make you uncomfortable, I recommend *not* trying to get those challenging you to change their manner of expression, or their style of discourse. Why? Because the requirement that oppressed people speak with a privileged tongue, in a man-gendered manner, with a white ethnic accent, is a form of oppression. Specifically, it is but one of CRAP's entitlements to decide who can speak and who can be heard.

"That's fucked up!" is an appropriate critical response to what many p.r.i.c.k.s have to say. That some p.r.i.c.k.s register this sort of response as "inappropriately critical" or "over reactive", to use note two such dismissive terms, does not make it either inappropriate or unmeaningful, as a response. That some white men prefer to hear "rational" (ahem) cognitive argumentation in forms familiar to those white men, means, only, that those white men do not want to learn how to hear more emotionally unrepressed and intellectually real commentary. P.r.i.c.k.s can, usually, get away with "closing their ears" to this sort of critique. They have the power and privilege to tell the rest of us how we should debate or engage in discussion. To paraphrase my main point here: "That's just a big load of CRAP".

Most women cannot and do not ignore white heterosexual men's privileged arrogance. They instead find ways around it, under it, over it, or through it. They combat it individually and collectively, passively or actively, affectionately or aggressively. Only those women so unrelentingly inundated, insulted, and injured by this privileged arrogance pretend to not know about it, or do not, consciously, let themselves know about it. Only those for whom there seems no way around it, under it, over it, or through it, is there the solution, a political survival mechanism as it were, which does not often even allow for survival: they repress the knowledge of what white heterosexual men do, and, especially, the political meaning and reasons they have for doing it. In this repressed state, and with some privileges, at times, women are as dangerous to humanity as men, especially to children and other women.

In this discussion about Engels, some white heterosexual men have made great attempts to bolster the authority of one of their own. What they have not been willing to admit is this: they have no systematically lived experiences, no social-political position (no legitimate one, that is), from which to claim this authority. It is, rather, only by "virtue" of the privileges afforded white heterosexual men (privileges, which, along with their traumas, constitute them), that they make such grandiose truth claims to begin with. Acting unconsciously or arrogantly from this stance, oppressively, is what makes some white heterosexual men into p.r.i.c.k.s.

This must be systematically exposed and seriously challenged, if we are to move beyond "white heterosexual man as authority on the world", a pernicious and delusional stance they take, not from a base of knowledge, but, rather, from a base of privileged presumption and profound ignorance. P.r.i.c.k.s presume what people not in their group mean by what they say and do, while ignoring complaints about what they say and do. They march ahead like ghosts in the night, pretending they have substance and the power to illuminate. They have neither. Sometimes, of course, they white heterosexual men do have something useful to say about CRAP, usually because some oppressed "other" said it first, and they appropriated it, not giving credit to the originator of the thought. Every thought expressed here--what I write--has been informed, deeply and thoroughly, by women's writing about patriarchy and women's experience of it.

Charles, an African-American man, who is well-read in feminist theory, and well connected to real women, is, among the marxists here, the most understanding of the need to raise the consciousness of the Left on matters of gender oppression in male supremacy. I just don't know if Stan calls himself a marxist or not, but if so, I include him with Charles, as another anti-racist man who is seriously concerned about the Left's privileging of economics over gender.

I know what I know, about women-as-humans and men-as-humans, only because of my experiences of patriarchy, male supremacy, misogyny, sexism, heterosexism, racism, and other forms of ethnic hate and discrimination. I do not know these things through personal and interpersonal (social) experiences only, though this has created a solid foundation of important emotional knowledge. I know them also through reading of the experiences of women, almost never well-articulated by men. James Baldwin is one exception I can name. He was neither white nor heterosexual, and this is significant in understanding why he could know more about women's experiences of oppression, and write convincingly about women's plight inside racist patriarchy. (See the Communion chapter in Andrea Dworkin's book, Intercourse, for a deeply respectful, stunning analysis of Baldwin's worldview and ethics.)

You will find that those white heterosexual women who know most about women's diversely oppressive condition and experiences, are those who have read or talked openly and respectfully with women of many non-dominant ethnicities and sexualities. You will find that white heterosexual women who have not consulted or learned about the experiences of women of many non-dominant ethnicities and sexualities are limited in their understandings, but still carry much experiential knowledge, of patriarchy, male supremacy, misogyny, and sexism, as experienced within their own men's ethnically privileged arenas. White heterosexual women are, not surprisingly, less reliable on matters of patriarchal heterosexism and racism. They, like their brothers, have been and ought to continue to be held accountable to their privileged unwillingness to listen to women of Colour, women of other oppressed ethnicities, and women of many sexualities.

Generally speaking, you will find that radical feminist lesbian women are more knowledgeable on matters of patriarchal heterosexism.

Generally speaking, you will find that women of Colour are most knowledgeable on matters of patriarchal sexualised racism, as well as on matters of patriarchy, white and male supremacy, misogyny and race-hate, and sexism.

In conclusion:

White heterosexual men simply don't know what the fuck they are talking about, when claiming to know the truth about women. What they know with any accuracy, they know from emotionally and politically meaningful intellectual contact with women.

Lesbian white women, and women of oppressed races and ethnicities of all sexualities, do know what they are talking about, when speaking of these and other matters, due to what they experience and their contact with other women similarly or differently affected. Oppressed people, it has been noted many times, often know much more about oppressors and their institutions, than oppressors know themselves.

That there is a connection between experience and knowledge is something p.r.i.c.k.s are not willing to admit, in large part because it would destabilise and challenge (to the core) their abilities to legitimately make truth claims about women.

I offer as proof of what I say, every entry in the discussion on Engel's and MacKinnon, on Stan Goff's blog here, here, here and here (see each post's "comments" sections).

That Stan is exceptional on these matters, means this: he, unlike *any* other white heterosexual man I know, pays attention to what women say. He listens and learns from women of all ethnicities, has emotionally close politically accountable friendships with lesbian and heterosexual women, and therefore knows, experientially, through respectful engagement and empathy with those women, what women endure that men do not, inside CRAP.

Empathy is the key ingredient in the political group "men" knowing anything at all about the political group "women". Cognitive intellectual analysis, especially abstract intellectual analysis and academic philosophising will not get any man very far—except among his own people, who, often, do the hiring in academic institutions, and the publishing of their books. College courses and academic texts often thrive by promoting needlessly abstract conceptions of the world of white men's ideas. But unless he has found ways to respectfully empathise with women, thereby learning one dimension of those women's bases of knowledge, and engage respectfully with their cognitive intellectual knowledge, he is lost in a tiny ethnic and gendered universe that he rather alarmingly believes is the entirety of the Universe, as he conceives of it.

I invite men of all sexualities, races, and other political locations and affiliations, to politically empathise with the women around them, in order to know and befriend them better. I challenge men to read the work of politically radical feminist women. (A suggested reading list follows.) Then, and only then, might those men have something useful to say about radically and effectively challenging CRAP.

I will conclude by making this truthful statement: The writings of Andrea Dworkin and Catharine A. MacKinnon are to a cogent critique of patriarchy and analysis of male supremacy, what the writings of Marx and Engels were to a cogent critique of capitalism and analysis of the dictatorship of the proletariat: each set of writings are profoundly important to understanding, deeply, the central conditions and key determinants of each oppressive social-political phenomenon, patriarchy and capitalism, respectively.

Recommended reading list. All works are non-fiction, unless otherwise noted.

By Andrea Dworkin:
Woman Hating
Our Blood: Prophecies and Discourses on Sexual Politics
Pornography: Men Possessing Women
Right-wing Women
Ice and Fire (a novel)
Letters From a War Zone
Mercy (a novel)
Life and Death: Unapologetic Writings on the Continuing War Against Women
Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation

By Catharine A. MacKinnon
Sexual Harassment of Working Women
Feminism Unmodified: Discourses on Life and Law
Toward A Feminist Theory of the State
Only Words
Women's Lives, Men's Laws

By Dworkin and MacKinnon:
Pornography and Civil Rights: A New Day for Women's Equality
In Harms Way: The Pornography Civil Rights Hearings (editors)

See also, by Patricia Hill Collins:
Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment
Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism

And, by Patricia Williams:
Alchemy of Race and Rights
Seeing a Color-Blind Future : The Paradox of Race

...for additional perspectives on humanity outside the experiential and intellectual limitations of a white ethnic experience.

MacKinnon, deservedly, gets the last word on this post: from p.13, Toward a Feminist Theory of the State:

"Engels, by contrast [to Marx], considered women's status a social phenomenon that needed explanation. He just failed to explain it."

Sexxxism, P.R.I.C.K.s, and other CRAP

I am fond of creating new terms and acronyms for things that are inadequately or deceptively named by the dominant oppressor society I live in. Here's a list of a few of them that may appear occasionally or often on this blog.


In the summer of 2005, I coined the term "CRAP". It stands for corporate, racist, atrocious patriarchy. Other activists call the oppressive systems we live in by more accurate terms, such as white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. I wanted something that was shorter to type, and also had some humor value, even though I'm talking about a network of systems and institutions as destructive to Life as nuclear war and poisoned water.

2. Sexxxism (with many variations: sexxx, sexxxist, sexxxuality, sexxxism industries, etc.)

This refers to the forms of heterosexist, racist sexism that, among other places, permeates industry pornography and other systems of sexxxual exploitation.

3. P.R.I.C.K.

This acronym was also created in 2005. It stands for patriarchal, racist, ignorant, condescending, know-it-all. This phrase was born in response to witnessing and arguing with mostly heterosexual white men who were such deliberate or unconscious jerks to feminists and/or women of color, on the blog The Feral Scholar, that I felt compelled to address them, with an acronym that synthesized most of how they were behaving.

It also identifies a larger group of white men than racist, misogynist asshole blog-commenters. This larger group of white men is those who are intentionally and activity motivated to maintain and bolster CRAP's many systems and practices of harm to women of all colors and ethnicities, among other people. These men have a few reasons for doing so:

a. They profit from this, monetarily.
b. They gain pleasure from doing this.
c. They gain esteem and status from doing so.
d. They claim they don't know how to behave any differently.
e. They are not meaningfully held accountable by any systems or policies.
f. They are jerks or assholes, avocationally if not also professionally.

4. EDC

EDC means the Era of Christian Domination. BEDC means Before the Era of Christian Domination.

Everyone I know is forced, through a lack of socially/historically meaningful options, to use the dominant Christian time-line as some sort of "universal" calendar system. I object!

I know of no other "globally agreed upon" (ahem) calendar system of marking time that I can use here, especially, for example, if I wish to refer to when a book was published, or what today's date is.

In protest, in place of the commonly used AD and BC, I use the letters ECD (or BECD) after the dominant Western Christian calendar system's "year" is written. Today is, therefore, for me, the 26th of October, 2008 ECD.

The Western Academy's scholarly version of this, if referring to the time before or after a man named Jesus was supposedly born, is BCE or CE (in the Common Era/Before the Common Era, respectively). Calling Dominant Christianity and the Christian Era "common" is not only untrue for most of the world's population, it also negates many other calendars, and invisibilises many other ways of understanding and representing time. It is also woefully benign moniker for a period of time in which so many nations, cultures, societies, people, non-human animals, and other Earth-based spirited life, have been savagely and sadistically massacred and otherwise destroyed by what has come to be termed (in English) by many of the sexually and racially oppressed as the white man.

Lakota Woman: on not being white or male

Lakota Woman, by Mary Crow Dog, with Richard Erdoes. Copyrighted
1990, by Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes. [She is also known as Mary Brave Bird. What follows is from pages 3 and 4 from the 1991 (ECD) book. ECD means the Era of Christian Domination. What follows is brutally honest and graphic in describing the horrors of white male supremacist behavior on what is now called North America.]

Chapter 1
A Woman from He-Dog

A nation is not conquered until
the hearts of its women
are on the ground.
Then it is done, no matter
how brave its warriors
nor how strong their weapons.

--Cheyenne proverb

I am Mary Brave Bird. After I had my baby during the siege of Wounded Knee they gave me a special name--Ohitika Win, Brave Woman, and fastened an eagle plume in my hair, singing brave-heart songs for me. I am a woman of the Red Nation, a Sioux woman. That is not easy.

I had my first baby during a firefight, with the bullets crashing through one wall and coming out through the other. When my newborn son was only a day old and the marshals really opened up on us, I wrapped him up in a blanket and ran for it. We had to hit the dirt a couple of times, I shielding the baby with my body, praying, "It's all right if I die, but please let him live."

When I came out of Wounded Knee I was not even healed up, but they put me in jail at Pine Ridge and took my baby away. I could not nurse. My breasts swelled up and grew hard as rocks, hurting badly. In 1975 the feds put the muzzles of their M-16s against my head, threatening to blow me away. It's hard being an Indian woman.

My best friend was Annie Mae Aquash, a young, strong-hearted woman from the Micmac Tribe with beautiful children. It is not always wise for an Indian woman to come on too strong. Annie Mae was found dead in the snow at the bottom of a ravine on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The police said that she had died of exposure, but there was a .38 caliber slug in her heard. The FBI cut off her hands and sent them to
Washington for fingerprint identification, hands that had helped my baby come into the world.

My sister-in-law, Delphine, a good woman who had lived a hard life, was also found dead in the snow, the tears frozen on her face. A drunken man had beaten her, breaking one of her arms and legs, leaving her helpless in a blizzard to die.

My sister Barbara went to the government hospital in Rosebud to have her baby and when she came out of anesthesia found that she had been sterilized against her will. The baby lived only for two hours, and she had wanted so much to have children. No, it isn't easy.

When I was a small girl at the St. Francis Boarding School, the Catholic sisters would take a buggy whip to us for what they called "disobedience." At age ten I could drink and hold a pint of whiskey. At age twelve the nuns beat me for "being too free with my body." All I had been doing was holding hands with a boy. At age fifteen I was raped. If you plan to be born, make sure you are born white and male.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

54 Things Men Can Do To Respect Women and Girls

What Men Can Do to Help End Men's Domination of Women and Girls
by Julian Real. Copyrighted 2006, 2008. All rights reserved.

Here’s a very partial list of what men can do. This is likely a work in progress, and it currently contains 54 recommendations.

First, recognize and accept that the personal is political, and that challenging and eliminating sexist interpersonal behavior is part of your political work as a responsible, caring human being. Stop either/or’ing the private and the public, the personal and the social, the interpersonal and the institutional. All are intimately linked breeding grounds for men’s domination of women and girls.

Given the above:

1. With their permission and when welcomed to do so, ask Women’s Liberation activists you know who are anti-racism, anti-sexxxism, anti-misogyny, and anti-imperialism: “What can I do that would be helpful to your struggle for human rights, respect, and dignity?”

2. Treat each woman you know in a manner she finds respectful of her full humanity, and which you know is not intended by you to control, demean, or abuse her. Give up all “chauvinist” and “chivalrous” behavior as mandatory to enact when a woman is in your presence. Understand chauvinistic behavior to be outdated and in need of being referenced only in dusty books or rarely visited websites on Western Civilization’s ways to disrespect women.

But also understand that “chivalrous” behavior, too, can be patronising, condescending, and disrespectful. Holding the door open only for women can communicate an attitude and practice of believing women are weaker or more in need of assistance (by a man), only because they are women, not because of what they are doing that may require some assistance. (Never mind that women do most of the world’s work, with no assistance from men, and with no doors being opened, while many are being slammed in their faces.)

Hold a door for someone who you know appreciates that gesture as one of consideration, not condescension. Assist anyone who is carrying a heavy load, if they welcome you to. Don’t be embarrassed or take it as a challenge to your manhood when women hold a door open for you. Thank her when she does this. Individual women can let you know what they prefer in this area and all other areas of your behavior. Listen to them and respect their wishes. Don’t assume what any woman wants or needs from you. Ask her what she wants and needs, from you, and otherwise.

3. Read Deals With The Devil, and Other Reasons To Riot, by Pearl Cleage (it contains the best definition of sexism I’ve ever seen), Black Sexual Politics, by Patricia Hill Collins, Only Words, by Catharine A. MacKinnon, Beauty and Misogyny, by Sheila Jeffreys, and Conquest, by Andrea Smith, and many other contemporary writings on how men and male supremacist institutions and relationships regard and effect women. Learn to recognize how men (including you and me) condescend to, patronise, dehumanise, violate, and degrade women, in words and other actions. It astounds me how often I do it, after thirty years working for human rights for women.

4. See and treat women-as-humans, not as feminine (or any other kind of) objects or things.

5. Stop complimenting girls primarily on their appearance. Compliment and appreciate them for their many attributes other than those associated with their appearance, such as on their intelligence, humor, knowledge, athletic abilities, skills, interests, etc. Don’t continuously behave in ways that demonstrate to a girl that you are better than her. Self-esteem develops early in life, and you have a role in what any girl thinks of herself and men.

6. If you have children of your own, make sure you are doing at least half of the nurturing and other forms of parenting of them, whatever kind of relationship you are in. Support women who are parents in ways they want and welcome your support, not in ways you that occur to you to offer it when you remember to ask. If there’s housework to be done, do it without being repeatedly asked. Do it without any expectation of praise. (That’ll give you greater empathy for what women do for men globally, in ways that go completely unnoticed and unappreciated by far too many men.)

7. Hold every man around you accountable to every sexist-racist-classist-homophobic thing that comes out of his mouth or is demonstrated in his non-verbal behavior, hopefully in ways that are meaningful and useful to him “getting it”. Some men won’t let you know they comprehend why you are critiquing their behavior. But do something rather than nothing each and every time. Practicing this (daily) is the only way to learn how to do it effectively. In my experience, there are abundant opportunities for practice, including by holding ourselves accountable.

8. Live a principled life that respects human rights. Hold your ground, respectfully, when with a woman (or anyone else) does not share those values and practices. I work hard to engage women who are fans of pornography in conversation about how it impacts other women I have know. And don’t castigate or condescend to any woman who doesn’t agree with your point of view. Keep in mind, you haven’t lived their lives and you don’t know what directions your life would have taken if you had.

9. Ask these questions of yourself and other men, and seek answers from Women’s Liberationist resources. (While doing this, don’t take a lot of time and energy from any woman or group of women: ask any woman or women if you may seek their counsel on matters of gender politics. Women aren’t on the Earth to teach men how to be humane, despite what the media sometimes infers.) What does it mean that we live in a society that will offer women more money to take off their clothes on a stage or floor for men, to give a man a lap dance, and to have sex with men they don’t love or even know, than to do anything else? Why is any woman’s sense of worth determined to any degree by men who don’t really know who they are? What would women’s choices be if they were paid exactly the same amount (as men) to work in any field and to do any task? Do you appreciate women for who they are as individuals, or simply because they are female, or have a narrowly defined appearance that attracts you? What does it mean if you appreciate a “look” more than the person behind the façade? Do you want women to value and appreciate you for the depths and complexities of who you are, or for your façade? Why do you think the sexist things some women appear willing to do with you are things that are appropriate to do? What does it mean that an alarming number of men inaccurately define sexual behavior women name correctly as rape to not be rape? Regarding interacting with women, socially and personally, to what degree is what you enjoy witnessing yourself exercising your power to engage with them in ways that are primarily self-serving, if not also exploitive and demeaning?

10. Regarding any woman in your life, how do you communicate and otherwise demonstrate your respect, care, and appreciation for her individuality: her particular history, complexities, and soul?

11. Stop using (consuming or looking at) adult or child pornography, stop using women and girls who are being pimped and otherwise sexually exploited or degraded. Stop using women or children as pornography, in any way, including in fantasy. If you do not understand why this is necessary for women’s and girls’ liberation, just remember that the average age that most girls become caught up in systems of gross sexual exploitation is twelve, and have been and/or are being sexually abused; such systems include populations of women and girls who are pimped and controlled by men with and without cameras, as well as women and girls who are also trapped inside systems of sexual slavery. If seeing images of sexually exploited and displayed people is a turn-on for you, humanise yourself to the point that it isn’t. (Note those images are not primarily “pictures of naked women”. They are most often images of women being portrayed and posed as wh*res-by-nature. Learn about the atrocities, the normal inhumane activities that primarily define and comprise industries of sexual exploitation of and access to women for sex as pimps define it.

12. Systematically deprogram your mind/body to be sexually responsive to pornographic and other dehumanising images of women in dominant cultural media. Stop predatorily pursuing women who look like those images.

13. Stop objectifying women and girls (and everyone else). Understand it as an act of violation or dehumanisation of another person, not something you are born to do or have no control over. Pay attention to when and why you don’t do it, at those times. Pay attention to how you feel before you want to objectify a woman, and stay with that feeling, rather than going on to objectify her. Note if there is a recurring need for an addictive objectifying “fix”. This is culturally learned, not genetically encoded or hormonally produced behavior, regardless of what others claim. It is on the continuum of behaviors men do that support the existence of rape as an endemic atrocity, so please understand why some women are very upset when you do it. (Most young women I know cannot get through one week without being verbally harassed and visually violated by men dozens of times. Don’t add to that experience.)

I have been friends with many heterosexual men who are inexplicably drawn to women who look like what white male supremacist societies and/or pimps promote as “what women should look like in order to be considered attractive”. These men often believe their attractions are normal and “natural”. They may be the norm, but it is also, not coincidentally, the norm to exploit out-of-the-home workers of any gender by bosses and CEOs. Participating in the destruction of the Earth is also the norm. That doesn’t make it humane or beneficial to the world as a whole. Yes, pimps and CEOs (if not one and the same) do “benefit” materially. But, as is commonly known, many suffer for those few to profit and otherwise benefit from the degradation of humanity.

As for whether heterosexual men’s attractions are natural: there’s nothing natural about a shaved tanned or skin-lightened woman with dyed and treated hair, painted fingernails, wearing high heeled shoes. There’s nothing natural about Photoshopped and otherwise “enhanced” images of women. Learn to appreciate what is individually appealing about every person on many levels, rather than fetishising a “genre” of appearance made popular by corporate media controlled by a few white heterosexual men. Find women as friends (first or only) with whom you share common interests and values. Don’t assume it is always fine to approach women for sex. Please keep in mind, if a woman is interested in you, she can approach you. If she doesn’t feel capable of it, it isn’t likely that you initiating contact will support her becoming assertive in this area of social life.

14. Boycott all misogynist-racist cosmetics and misogynist-racist fashion products, and other “beauty” industries that maintain and profit off of a dehumanising standard of what corporate pimps call “hot” and “sexy”. Boycott all products that objectify women and children in the advertising of those products, and write letters to the companies explaining your boycott.

15. If you have anarchist leanings (or not), smash cosmetics counters if no woman is nearby and make sure you let the police and media know you did it to support women’s independence from corporate beauty standards. Smash men’s vehicles that are covered with misogynistic/racist bumper stickers, mud flaps, and images hanging from rear view mirrors. Go into pornography stores and tear up anything that portrays women as wh*res-by-nature, and let the manager and media know why you are doing it.

16. Regarding marriage: If you have real choices in the matter, and are not among an oppressed class fighting for survival, such as by needing immigration papers, or preserving customs and traditions that are not patriarchal and white supremacist, seriously consider not participating in or supporting the Western institution of marriage.

The institution of marriage, as it exists in the United Rapes of Amerikkka, has a grossly misogynistic-racist-heterosexist history, including by forbidding it among people of color, or between people of color and whites, during and following the time of Slavery in the U.S. South; by social ridicule and contempt including lethal violence against “mixed race” heterosexual couples. Other non-dominant ethnic and cultural groups have had their ways of being together intruded upon, violated, and denigrated, by white European heterosexist conquerors and settlers. Genocidal conquerors’ standards of unequal partnership, oppressive forms of family, and insecure and unsustainable kinds of community have become mandatory for social acceptability and legal and political status in the U.S. The predominant marriage institution in the U.S. still effectively, if not also legally, makes women into men’s nurses, cooks, housekeepers, and sexual assistants (or slaves), which disproportionately benefits heterosexual men disproportionately and harms women. (This is why, in many countries where women have economic independence, such as in urban centers of Japan, marriage rates are rapidly dropping.)

For a more engaging discussion about this, read this. Whatever the status of your relationships, keep racist, misogynistic, and heterosexist practices out of them. Demonstrate forms of love, affection, and commitment that do not involve being controlling, abusive, neglectful, exploitive, or disrespectful.

One unequally statused and accepted way of being in the social world should not be privileged and promoted above all others: this is discriminatory against all queer people, people-as-friends, roommates, people choosing a life of solitude, people with other than Western/European-American State-licensed marriage traditions, people who do not wish to involve the State in their relationships, as well as nurturing people who prefer to have house pets around them and not humans, people who are too traumatised from childhood to be able to be in compulsory romantic or emotionally coercive relationships, and those who choose to live in caring community without one primary partner.

17. Stop having sex, if the sex you need or wish to have is objectifying, dehumanising, degrading, humiliating, or otherwise harmful to a woman or girl (or anyone else). Never have degrading or humiliating sex, regardless of what the other person wants you to do sexually. This gets back to living a principled life. (See point 5.)

18. Stop calling heterosexual genital-to-genital intercourse “sex”. “Sex” can be and is a myriad of erotic activities that may have nothing at all to do with your penis. Also keep in mind that there are many sexual activities women enjoy that have nothing to do with men. Stop thinking of “lesbian sex” as something corporately produced for heterosexual men to enjoy. Lesbian sex is sex which you, as a man, are not meant to enjoy or witness.

19. Never accept oral sex if you do not plan to also perform oral sex on a woman you are with. (She may decide to pleasure you that way, without wanting to be pleasured orally-genitally as well, but if you “won’t go down on her” don’t be involved in the act of a woman going down on you.)

20. Friends don’t let friends fuck drunk. Never have sex with a drunk or otherwise chemically inebriated woman (or anyone else). 29. Don’t fuck drunk, and don’t let any woman around you go home with a man if she’s drunk or altered by drugs, or if you know the man to be someone who uses and/or abuses women.

21. To heterosexually active men: Use highly effective barrier methods of STD/STI and pregnancy protection. Always take 100% responsibility for where your sperm and sexual fluid goes. Never leave it up to a woman to plan and use birth control. Use your own. If you cannot have heterosexual genital-to-genital intercourse while using a condom EVERY TIME, don’t have that form of intercourse. (You’ll live). Never self-servingly “allow” a woman to have heterosexual g-to-g intercourse with you if you are not wearing a condom even if she is fine with it. (Note: Kimono is one of the best brands; Trojan and LifeStyles are among the worst.)

22. Keep methods of terminating an unwanted pregnancy available to any woman you are with sexually, including “Plan B”. Understand: the decision about whether or not to terminate a pregnancy always belongs entirely to the woman who is pregnant. Don’t bully her or coerce her into making a decision that best serves your interests. If you absolutely, never, ever, want to have children, do one of two things as soon as possible: get permanently sterilized, or, never have heterosexual genital-to-genital intercourse. If you do not get sterilized, and do have heterosexual genital-to-genital intercourse, be prepared to be responsible (financially and emotionally) for raising a child.

23. Never coerce, bully, pressure, intimidate, harass, or shame a woman (or anyone else) in order to get her to do things with you sexually. Never give a woman a hard time for deciding to stop engaging with you sexually, no matter how much time has gone by. She doesn’t owe you anything, especially not an orgasm. “Blue balls” is a fictional ailment men use to get women to bring men to orgasm. If you experience what you think is “blue balls” bring yourself to orgasm, without involving her if she doesn’t want to be involved.

24. With regard to sexual behaviors: Don’t habitually or repeatedly propose “new ideas” that are only your idea or sexual fantasy, or things you have experienced before that you liked that you think she’ll like. She’s a different person: ask her what she enjoys. Do that. Let her know what you enjoy, but in a way that makes it apparent there is no pressure to do it. (It’s “apparent” if she can say no with no negative consequence to her or the relationship.)

25. Examine where your sexual fantasies come from. Usually they have been produced and sold to you by the racist-sexxxism industries’ pimps. Boycott racist-sexist sex, and make sure the men around you do also–hold them accountable if they practice sexist-racist sex. Be willing to end friendships with men, including family members, who use or abuse women sexually.

26. Choose women who are concerned about and working for women’s human rights to be involved with, as allies, colleagues, activist partners, and friends, as long as you have done your homework on the issues she works on. Don’t drain women’s energies by trying to get her to bring you up to speed on Womanist and feminist issues and practices. It is not women’s work to humanise patriarchal and otherwise oppressive men. Seek out anti-racist/anti-sexist men for advice of how to humanise yourself and join women in the struggle when you are welcomed to do so.

27. Don’t pretend you know more about Womanism or feminism than women, and don’t seek positions of power and control in women’s organizations and human rights campaigns.
28. Organise with other men to daily practice being a proWomanist and profeminist: to confront other men’s (and our own) misogyny together. Relieve women of the burden of having to call men out: do it before the women around you do it and let anyone who praises you for doing so know that it’s what any man should do. Especially, do it when the women around you won’t or can’t do it.

29. Make your body and the space around it a misogyny-free zone.

30. If you become a parent, consider not giving the child or children your last name.

31. If you have a daughter (or any other children) tell her that no man, including you, ought to touch her bare skin in the areas usually covered by a girl’s bathing-suit. (Use a washcloth or baby wipes on young children. There are no occasions where your hand or other body areas need to touch those bathing-suit areas specifically and only). Teach her by example that no men should do that. Teach older children how to wash and clean themselves so you aren’t doing it. Don’t tell your daughters you’ll kill (or otherwise hurt) any man that touches her in those areas. This will help ensure she will not tell you about being abused. Instead, tell her you will love her always and comfort her if anything confusing, scary, or horrible happens to her that makes her feel confused, ashamed, dirty, or scared. Tell her predators of children often threaten to kill the parents, and that it’s a common lie they tell so they can get away with abusing her and other kids. Give her clear guidance that it is fine to be rude to any adults who mistreat her in any way, including by yelling, kicking, and punching. Get advice from rape crisis, battery-prevention, and family crisis support service groups on how to help your child, or spouse, or friend, if they have been sexually, physically, verbally, psychologically, or emotionally abused or assaulted. Learn what all those things are, and to look for the signs of someone who has been or is being abused. Study the behaviors that constitute being abusive and neglectful and make sure you aren’t practicing any of them.

32. If you have children, make sure pornography is not in your home, or accessible through the television, VCR, camcorder, or computer, including in your own computer hard drive. Never let your child have a webcam, ever, or a computer in their own bedroom alone. The Internet is a common tool for sexual predators to turn your child into a victim of sexual assault, prostitution, sexual slavery, and/or child pornography, without you even knowing it. Teach them it is a tool for research and connecting with friends and family. (If that’s what it is, there’s no need for any child to have one in their room, whether alone or shared with other siblings.)

33. Don’t be in abusive, neglectful, and highly dysfunctional relationships no matter who is being abusive, neglectful, or highly dysfunctional. Get help from family crisis organizations if you are in an abusive or otherwise fucked up relationship, whether you are the one who is mistreating your partner, or you are being mistreated by them. If you know your relationship is highly toxic or chaotic, get out of it.

34. If you live in a house or home where one or more woman (whether your partner or not) or girl lives, regularly do the grocery shopping, prepare the meals, do the dishes, sweep and wash the floors, make the beds, and vacuum the carpets. Demonstrate to those around you that men do housework, and don’t have to be asked, by a mother, sister, or female partner. Let girl children witness you doing this without being asked, reminded, told, or praised for doing so.

35. Don’t physically strike your child, ever. Don’t put them down, ever. Never tell a child “You’re bad!” Discipline them humanely in ways that lets them know you care about them and are upset with their behavior, not with them as a person, and explain why the behavior upsets you. Follow up any humane (and consistent, expectable) discipline or “time outs” by reminding them that you love them.

If you don’t know how to parent in healthy ways, in ways that support your child having healthy self-esteem and a sense of safety and security when with you, learn how to do so. There are people that know how to do this (not necessarily in our families!), so seek out their advice. Never make your children feel afraid to be around you. This includes not yelling around them, not belittling or insulting their mother or other parent or guardian, or their friends, and not being drunk, high, or stoned around them. Never drive your children anywhere if you are under the influence of any substance that reduces your ability to drive as effectively as you can when you drive most responsibly. Don’t “scare” your kids with driving stunts “as a joke”. Scaring kids isn’t a joke: it’s abusive. If you tickle children to make them laugh, when they say “stop”, STOP. It’s cruel to them if you don’t. (Did you ever like it when someone tickled you beyond the time you wanted them to stop?)

36. Don’t tell children, of any gender, not to cry if they are frustrated, hurt, sad, angry, afraid, or overwhelmed. Encourage them to cry and to otherwise express their feelings, verbally and non-verbally. Teach them how to know and identify what they are feeling, they have a right to their feelings, whatever they are, and how to effectively communicate them to others.

37. Don’t regulate, direct, or control your children’s behavior based on the shape of their genitals. Don’t gender-stereotype your children or make assumptions about who they are and what their interests will be.

38. Report all incidents of adult sexual assault, and domestic violence that you are aware of to the police or to rape crisis and family crisis centers (unless the police are part of the problem in your life). Report any police officer or other professional who should know how to behave around an abused or victimized person to their superior if they are behaving inappropriately, in victim-blaming ways, or abusively.

39. Learn how to be present, supportive, and caring when with someone who feels safe with you, if they have been recently assaulted or hurt, or are triggered into past trauma. Never get angry at them, harass or berate them, blame them, or further hurt or disbelieve women (or others) who are in trouble. Report your best male friend, father, brother, son, or any relative you know if he is oppressively harming women (or anyone else).

40. If possible, remove siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, and grandkids from abusive and neglectful homes if there is a stable, safe place for them to be. Call the department of human services and the police (unless they are part of the problem), if you know of any child who is being abused or neglected. And make sure something is done about it that is in the best interests of the child or children.

41. Don’t sexually touch your children or anyone else’s children. If you feel the inclination or desire to do so, remove yourself from the home or area, and seek out adequate professional help or take yourself to the police station and say “I need help–I am in danger of harming a child.”

42. Report all incidents of child neglect and abuse, even if it is your spouse, relative, friend, pastor, doctor, neighbor (or you) who is being abusive or neglectful.

43. If women work for or with you, treat them with respect and dignity, always. Never comment on their appearance, unless it is strictly related to the duties of her employment. If she works at Hooters, encourage her to sue her employer for making her sign a document that is unconstitutional (giving up her right to complain about and file charges against harassers and other men-behaving-badly). If an employer, don’t set the terms of women’s employment so that they are required to wear clothing men wouldn’t wear to work. If you pay employees, always pay women at least as much as you’d pay men to do the same work. Disproportionately, women have more people to take care in their lives, and capitalist-patriarchal system maintainers generally don’t give a shit.

44. Never threaten to kill or harm the rapist, if a woman reports being raped to you. Instead, ask her what she needs from you, and encourage her to make contact with a rape crisis center, and to not blame herself. Encourage her to go to a hospital as soon as possible and have a rape test done to gather evidence and assess her level of injuries (emotional and physical), so that she has the forensic information needed should she wish to later prosecute the raper. (Make sure steps are taken within 72 hours of a sexual assault to administer medical treatment and collect forensic evidence.)

45. Stop controlling women’s behavior in small or large ways. Never hover over or around a woman in a controlling way, or restrict her range of motion, regardless of your reason for doing it. Never isolate women you are with from their social circle. Learn how to deal with your jealousy in ways that DO NOT perpetuate the lie that she is responsible for your feelings. Own your own feelings. Don’t ever strike a woman, ever. If she strikes you in an unprovoked and harmful manner, back off or leave the situation, and break up with her as soon as possible.

46. Never “trade” sex for money. This means any form of sex, and any kind of money (including bartering with alcohol, drugs, dinner, presents, gifts, etc.). The typical male assumption that “I gotta get some sex from someone” is sexist, inhumane bullshit. If you’re horny, go jerk off, alone. You don’t “need” sex. You may desire it and want it, but you don’t need it. You need oxygen, clean water and air, nutritious food, and safe shelter and companionship, as does everyone else.

47. Strive to be a humane person in the world, rather than a person whose behavior exists to prop up a silly idea or expectation of “how masculine you are supposed to be”. Stop worrying about “being a man” in the obnoxious way that phrase is tossed around, and instead continue taking responsibility for being humane, including when around other men.

48. Never call a girl or woman any of these names (you can fill in the missing letters, in the case of some of them–I will not write them out, as many women who experience them regularly as hostile have seen and heard them about 1000 too many times, at least). This is not a complete list, but you’ll get the idea from the terms listed here: b*tch, sl*t, wh*re, sk*nk, hook*r, h*e, tr*mp, sl*g, tw*t, sn*tch, beav*r, po*nt*ng, h*ochie, g*ok, squ*w, g*sh, c*nt, p*ta, p*ssy, d*ke, n*gga, nigg*h, nigg*r, sp*c, ch*nk, k*ke, or j*p.

Women are not what men call women: misogynist and racist terms reveal what men think of and project onto women, how men perceive and treat women, not what women are. Women are human beings, deserving of respect and dignity at all times. Don’t call a woman any derogatory term that applies only or primarily to women-as-a-negative-thing. Don’t call women derogatory terms that refer to their ethnicity, whether or not these terms are also used against men of oppressed ethnicities. Don’t use the excuse “Women call each other b*tch all the time!” So what? That doesn’t entitle you to do the same.

49. Don’t call women terms that men use to control and put down, insult, and silence women, primarily. Such terms include: crazy, unstable, irrational, hysterical, out-of-your-mind, f*cked up, and stupid.

While some of these terms are used against men too, they are disproportionately and distinctively used against women by men who do not agree with the way a woman is communicating or being. There’s no law that says she has to communicate in ways that you approve of. Learn to hear her on her own terms. (She probably has to do that with you and most other men, after all.)

The way men communicate is often irrational, crazy, f*cked up, histerical, and unstable. Women are told and/or forced to endure men’s dangerous behavior, including verbal behavior, in and out of marriage, in and out of relationships, on and off the streets, in schools, at work, in public places, and in private places.

In the words of the feminist activist Celie's Revenge: ‘I’ve been called these things by men and I’ve heard other women branded like this when they dare to speak their minds, especially if their ideas challenge liberal men on their shit. Angry men are sexy, attractive, living up to their manhood as defined by a patriarchal culture. This culture celebrates and congratulates aggression in men. Movies like The Hulk celebrate the idea that one man can get so angry he can destroy an entire city and white rappers like Eminen make their careers off of his anger at women and gay men. But women are expected to be warm, accommodating and repressed when it comes to our feelings of hurt and rage.’

The expectation that women will and should communicate the way you want them to, is sexist and dehumanizing. Learn to listen to women’s anger and hurt, even and especially when it’s expressed in ways that make you uncomfortable, as long as it isn’t physically violent (unless she’s defending herself against your physical or sexual violence). Learn to be present to it, not to move into a defensive or violent posture. Work to understand women’s experience in patriarchy. Learn to empathize. Don’t tell a woman “I understand” if you really don’t.

One strategy men use as a conscious or unconscious strategy to control, regulate, and silence women is to claim to understand them better than they understand themselves, or to politely (or not) request that women rephrase or tone down what they say and express in tones and manners that are comfortable for men, and constricting of what women need to say. The way women express themselves when hurt and angry is PART OF what you need to hear and listen to. She doesn’t need to “calm down” or “speak more quietly” or “stop crying” to suit your needs. She’s expressing her needs and feelings, after all, not yours. Stay present, listen, and be respectful. You can speak about your experience too, but not in ways that obliterate or demean hers, or make hers “wrong” and yours “right”. That’s sexist and silencing, and damned frustrating and annoying as hell.

50. Don’t ever apologize in order to shut a woman up, or to self-servingly and patronisingly end a discussion. Don’t ever apologize if you don’t fully understand what you are apologizing for. Don’t ever apologize if you don’t intend to make sure that behavior will not be repeated. Don’t apologize for your harmful behavior if you don’t understand the meaning and effect of it as she experiences it, not (necessarily) as you intended it. Doing so will only serve to perpetuate a cycle of abusive behavior that you are spinning. If you don’t understand what she experienced, you are likely to repeat the behavior. (And if you’re a prick, you’re likely to repeat it even if you do understand her experience of it.) Learn to tell women: “Wow. I had no idea what I did was so hurtful to you” and “I hear and respect your anger. Please keep expressing what you need to express to me. I’m listening.” Women’s reality is, after all, as much reality as is men’s.

51. In some instances, men put down in women what males were put down for as kids. Pay attention to this connection, and use it to re-humanise yourself. Because you were made fun of or ridiculed for crying when a boy, for example, that doesn’t give you the right to put women down who cry. You don’t like being shamed, so don’t shame women (or anyone else who isn’t behaving oppressively).

Some women and men are emotionally unwell, unstable, and/or seriously mentally ill. No one who is unwell in these ways needs to be called demeaning names. Speak with women respectfully and non-patronisingly about your concerns for their well-being, if and when you have concerns. That is, speak with them as you would your best male friend (unless you verbally abuse and systematically shame your best male friend). This should go without stating it, but calling a woman “a cr*zy b*tch” is not helpful or supportive, or harmless.

In the words of the feminist quoted earlier, Celie's Revenge: ‘I feel that whether or not it’s true, whether or not a woman really is “mentally ill” any man calling any woman crazy or unstable is wrong and sexist. He should try to help her, understand her, not ever label her. I think more women should be crazy living under this system of patriarchy where you can’t walk down the street without feeling eyes and sometimes even hands invading your right to an autonomous space and being. Where you are expected to flirt back with every creep who finds you attractive unless you want to be called a bitch or dyke. Women who get angry over sexism or even a perceived slight by a man should be understood within the context of living in a patriarchy that forces us to second guess our gut feelings, betray our interests and feel nuts every time our “true-true” selves tell us something isn’t right. The oppressor does not have the right to tell the oppressed when or how to express our anger. There’s nothing I hate more than a white person or a man telling me to calm down or how I should feel or respond to an injustice. Women just like people of color are entitled to every ounce of our anger, our hatred, our pain.’

McLune continues: ‘Men should encourage women to trust their feelings, their passions, their pain even if these feeling cause that man discomfort or even fear. Men should encourage women to be angry. Men should understand why a woman would feel enraged or hurt or confused by something he’s done, take responsibility and stop trying to make us believe everything that happens is “all in our heads.”‘

The problem in Western society, historically and institutionally, and also, often, interpersonally, is white men’s contempt, hatred, disregard, and dismissive attitude for women, expressed interpersonally and though white male supremacist institutionals. The problem is not white women and women of Color’s rage at anyone, and not men of Color’s anger at white men. In my experience, white men generally forget which forms of disrespect or contempt are political enforced, normalised, and required for the systems of oppression we live in to exist and continue. We white men often never fully realise just to what extent our racist and sexist values and ways of being are normalised and accepted, so that anyone else’s values and ways of being are seen as “abnormal” and “unacceptable”. That’s f*cked up, to say the least. White men need to learn, too often from women of Color, white women, and men of Color, that there are other ways of being that are just as human and healthy and appropriate as white men’s ways of being. White men also need to learn that we are not the golden standard for “civilised” behavior, unless “civilised” means savage and cruel. We, “our people”, have committed and are committing great atrocities across the globe. What are “we” doing to stop it? Our historic and political heroes are often mass murderers of people of color, and/or rapers of women.

As a feminist mentor once pointed out to me, privileged and powerful white men sit around in corporate board rooms, making decisions that cause death and destruction to many people (and non-human animals, and plant life, and the Earth) that they will never see. And when committing these atrocities by proxy we white men often call what we are doing “rational” and “well-reasoned”. Privileged men, who are in political and military positions of power, have discussed how many nuclear bombs it will take to curtail a war, and call that conversation “sane”. Read Yurugu, by Marimba Ani, for much more on her analysis of the oppressive thoughts and behaviors created by Western [patriarchal] civilisation’s leaders.

Understand who really has institutional power in this world–look at who controls what happens in the world, economically and politically, religiously and secularly, racially and sexually. It isn’t women, especially women of Color.

50. Get used to not being taken care of emotionally by women, especially when they need to express themselves. The burden on women to always be understanding, loving, devoted, kind, deferential, compliant, submissive, subordinate, apologetic, etc. is a burden no human should have to bear, especially women in infuriating, degrading, brutal, and dehumanising patriarchal relationships and societies.
51. Be aware of your own expectations that women are supposed to be the reconcilers in interpersonal conflicts, and also be aware of--and call men out on--our tendency to use being loving, “sexy”, sweet, suddenly kind, begging of forgiveness, deeply apologetic, sad, pleading, and desperate as tools for keeping women in abusive relationships. If a woman wants out, don’t try and keep her in. She doesn’t belong to you. She’s not your CD collection. She is free to go.

52. Learn all you can about male privilege, and how it operates in intimate and group settings. For example, if at an activist event, notice how many non-feminist men are in leadership, or “hold the microphone” so to speak. Interrupt such non-feminist male-led events, calling on them to get feminist voices to the stage. Work to make sure an organization you are part of has anti-racism, anti-sexxxism feminist women in leadership. Don’t ever think that “feminist” men are more knowledgeable about what sexism is than a woman who has lived in patriarchy. Don’t take Women’s Studies courses at a college in order to “score” with feminist women. (It’s all too common, unfortunately.)

53. Learn that growing your humanity is much more important than protecting your socially learned “male ego”. Don’t lie through your teeth, be evasive, or deny a truth that a woman is calling you on. Admit to being wrong when you are wrong, and own what you have done if you’ve done it, right away. Just because a behavior of yours may be fine when around other men, it may have a very different effect on the woman or women you are with, privately or publicly. Be sensitive and respectful of those feelings. And be aware of your tendency to allow and participate in sexist banter when just with men. Interrupt it. And don’t ever talk about the sex you had with a woman, unless it’s one to one with a trusted, humanitarian friend, and you are being vulnerable, not exploitive.

54. Finally, once again from the feminist writer and activist, Jennifer McLune: ‘Another thing the oppressors, both men and white folks are guilty of is arrogance and self congratulation once they feel they have worked on themselves or towards equality on the behalf of the oppressed. They will trot out the few people of color or women who agree with them and celebrate them and use them to manipulate and silence anyone who does not. When a man believes he is progressive, even feminist, and has paid his dues publicly to the cause of gender equality suddenly he believes he can teach women more than he can learn from us. Suddenly not only is he the expert on gender but he will allow himself to use women as cheerleaders for his ego around his supposed enlightenment. Just because some women think you are great and another woman thinks you are a pig does not give you the right to patronize and silence that woman’s feelings. A man who thinks he’s worked on himself, “recovered from his misogyny”, developed gender consciousness and sensitivity would not call a woman crazy under any circumstances nor would he resort to any number of typically misogynistic manipulations to silence and hurt a woman. The eagerness of so many so-called feminist men to become the spokespersons for feminism is nauseating, especially when time and time again these men prove they still have not learned how to listen to women. A man who has not learned to listen to women, ALL women, hasn’t learned much. Listening only when it strokes your ego is not listening. Listening when it is difficult and uncomfortable is a part of the struggle and reflects real enlightenment.’

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Feminism and War, a new book edited by Chandra Talpade Mohanty

From the press release:
Women - both within and without the United States - are being dramatically affected by war as currently waged by that country. But there has been little public space for dialogue about the complex relationship between feminism, women, and U.S. war. The editors have brought together a diverse set of scholars and activists who examine the questions raised by ongoing U.S. military initiatives. These theorists and organizers develop an anti-racist, feminist politics that brings to the foreground an analysis both of imperialist power and forms of resistance to it. The questions they raise include: what are the implications of an imperial nation state laying claim to women's liberation and did U.S. intervention and invasion in fact result in liberation for women in Afghanistan and Iraq? END OF POST.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Honoring Lozen: Apache Warrior, Seer, and Shaman

Lozen was a Chihenne-Chiricahua Apache warrior, shaman, and sage, or seer. She was born in the 1840s ECD*, in a section of New Mexico/Arizona/Northern Mexico known at that time as Apacheria, within sight of the Sacred Mountain near Ojo Caliente where the People began. Some reports place her birth in the late 1840s ECD.

Lozen let it be known at a very early age that she had no interest in learning the duties of wife and mother, and set out on the warrior's path with her brother, who looked up to her. He was the Chihenne-Chiricahua Apache chief, Bidu-ya (also known as Beduiat; European name: Victorio).

At a ceremony at the time of her adolescence, Lozen was given the power to find the enemy which she did by going alone to a deserted spot, standing with her arms outstretched, her open palms facing skyward. She stood waiting, turning slowly until she felt a tingling in her palms. After this spiritual-physical experience, she knew that she had found the direction of the enemy. She could tell the distance of the enemy by the intensity of the tingling. She was legendary for such powers, Diya and Inda-ce-ho-ndi (or "Enemies-Against-Power"), in battle.

She was not the lone woman warrior in her band. She had a companion, Dahteste. Both women fought alongside Geronimo. Lozen did not appear, in photographs, as a woman among men. As is evidenced in several famous photos with fellow warrior Geronimo, there is nothing to indicate that she chose a more traditional Chihenne-Chiricahua woman's appearance: she dressed, lived, and fought as her fellow warriors did. She never married, devoting her life to fighting for her people's survival.

In addition to her considerable skill as a warrior, Lozen was also a skilled reconnaissance scout and clever battle strategist. She took part in warriors' ceremonies, sang war songs, and directed the dances of the war parties before going into battle.

Lozen was a person of many talents, on and off the battlefield. She was also a gifted seer and shaman. Her guidance was sought by many far and wide, and her advice to them was always true. It was while performing her duties as a medicine woman for a Mescalero woman in childbirth that she was not able to perform her usual rituals prior to her band going into battle. Because they did not know the enemy's whereabouts, the band was ambushed, and her brother was killed. Many of her people believed that such a tragedy would not have befallen them had Lozen been available, among them, for guidance.

Lozen and Dahteste, with Geronimo, were eventually taken as prisoners by the white male military; the whole of the U.S. government's military was a blood-thirsty and savage band of what would now be termed "illegal aliens", invading foreigners, and terrorists. She was taken to the prison in the U.S. territory termed Florida (named by the Spanish conqueror, Juan Ponce de León). She was later transported to Mount Vernon Barracks in the U.S. region called Alabama, a Muskogean Indian word. Lozen died there, presumably of tuberculosis, at the approximate age of 50.

Her brother, Bidu-ya, is quoted to have said that "Lozen is my right hand... strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people."

Lozen was among the Apache ringleaders shipped by train from Fort Bowie, AZ to Fort Pickens, Florida. During a rest stop, the prisoners were allowed out for a break, where this famous photograph was taken. Lozen is in the back row, the third figure from the right. (Geronimo is in the front row, third from the right.)

*"ECD" is my way of indicating the "Era of Christian Domination" (roughly the last two thousand years, if calendar time is to be measured in this way) which includes Western and Southern European imperialism, colonialism, white supremacy and rape, the formation and expansion of European white Christian patriarchal power, and the atrocities against so many peoples and regions of the Earth as a result of its existence. ECD includes all white male supremacist genocides and gynocides.

In researching this biographical material it was clear that Lozen's story has been told through the lenses of people impacted by the ECD worldview and its values. I have tried to correct as much of this Anglo and European patriarchal distortion as possible. But being a U.S.er raised inside that worldview--while critical of it, there is a limit to what I could do. I welcome further work being done by Apache story-tellers and record-keepers who also wish to uncontaminate their stories with white men's way of dualistically and hierarchically misperceiving spiritual-material reality. To note a couple of problems, one white man wrote that she held her hands toward heaven" as if "heaven" were a universal concept. Many men seemed preoccupied by her gender-role and her relationship to men, not noting that she didn't live in a patriarchal society, and was revered because of her own powers, not because her powers were comparable to men's power.

The sources for this biographical essay, with some additional information, all found online, are listed below:

Fuck Columbus Day, and Thanksgiving too!

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim October 11, 2004, as Columbus Day. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also direct that the flag of the United States be displayed on all public buildings on the appointed day in honor of Christopher Columbus.

Christopher Columbus was a slave trader and a genocidalist. Of course it makes sense G.W. Bush would want to preserve "Columbus Day" as a holiday (holy day).

Fuck G.W. Bush and fuck the holidays that celebrate the bloody massacre of millions of Indigenous North Americans at the hands, swords, diseases, penises, and bullets of savage, barbaric European colonialists and settlers.

I love Italian Americans and grew up with Jews and Italians living together, not mutually exclusively. We were marginalised by whites of Northern and North-Western European descent as not-fully-white people, although we had plenty of white privileges.

I support Italian Americans selecting another person to honor annually. And I support replacing "Columbus Day" with an annual "Day of Remembrance and Honor of Great American Indian Warriors".

For more on related efforts, see here, here, and here.

White Christian Male Supremacy & John McCain: 3 Videos

Video #1:

Thank you, Irwin Tang, for this video and your book and other work.

I'm not so sure if John McCain used the n word he'd be disqualified to be president, however. Almost every one of our popularly elected presidents have been overtly hostile to people of color here and abroad, or covert supporters of terrorism against people of color, here and abroad. Genocide against American Indians continues to this day, at the hands of U.S. governmental policies, practices, and leadership, as does the economic and social subordination of African Americans, and also the sexualised degradation and terrorism of women of all colors.

Video #2:

"The White Christian Male Power Structure" is not a Womanist or feminist term: it's Bill O'Reilly's, shared above by John McCain--take note, antiWomanist, antifeminist, Christian whiteboys.

Video #3:

I didn't know Jesus was a pro-U.S. Christian Republican: wasn't he a Middle Eastern radical Jewish preacher reminding people that there is a power greater than the State government, and that State governmental power should not be obeyed or be in control of people's lives?

U.S. white Christians, among other white Christians, keep turning Jesus into a white non-Jew, even though his heritage and teachings were entirely Jewish and Middle Eastern. And these revisionist white Christians also keep implying that Jesus was a non-person born to a virgin who supplied no ovum, who was pro-corporate capitalism and pro-white male supremacy. Religious myths are important... to understand as such.

And white Christian male power is a force anyone who is against oppression, terrorism, and ecocide must contend with. The greatest terrorists are not "out there" in the hills of Pakistan. They are in power here, pale-faced and male, politically corrupted to the depths of their souls.

Excellent New Video on Central Nervous System Depressants

From: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFMooT3Cx3A

Thank you, Nikki Craft, for caring so deeply about humanity, and pets, and the Earth, for decades. END OF POST. THERE IS NO MORE

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Black Male Privileges Checklist, by Jewel Woods

This is great work. Thank you, Jewel!!!

Website location: http://jewelwoods.com/node/9

The Black Male Privileges Checklist
By Jewel Woods
© Renaissance Male Project (2008)

What does "privilege" have to do with Black men? We understand some kinds of privilege. The privilege to call a black man "Boy", even if that black man happens to be 60 years old or older. The privilege to drive a car and never have to worry that the police will racially profile you. Privileges that have nothing to do with what a person has earned, but rather are based entirely on who a person is, or what color they are.

As African Americans, we have the ability to critique and condemn these types of "unearned assets" because we recognize that these privileges come largely at our expense. We have also learned from social and political movements that have sought to redress these privileges, and academic disciplines that have provided us with the tools to critically examine and explore them.

However, there is another type of privilege that has caused untold harm to both black men and women but has not had the benefit of being challenged by a social and political movement within our community, nor given adequate attention within our own academic community. The privilege that I am referring to is male privilege.

Male privilege is more than just a "double standard", because it is based on attitudes or actions that come at the expense of women. Just as white privilege comes at the expense of African Americans and other people of color, gender double standards come at the expense of women.

Given the devastating history of racism in this country, it is understandable that getting black men to identify with the concept of male privilege isn't easy! For many black men, the phrase "black male privilege" seems like an oxymoron -- three words that simply do not go together.

While it is understandable that black men are hesitant or reluctant to examine the concept of male privilege, the African American community will never be able to overcome the serious issues that we face if we as black men do not confront our role in promoting and sustaining male supremacist attitudes and actions.

Inviting black men and boys into a conversation about male privilege does not deny centuries of discrimination or the burden of racism that we continue to suffer from today. As long as a black man can be tasered 9 times in 14 minutes, shot at 50 times on the morning of his wedding night, or receive less call-backs for a job than a white man with a felony record, we know that racist sexism that targets black men is alive and kicking.

Examining black male privileges offers black men and boys an opportunity to go beyond old arguments of "personal responsibility" or "blaming the man" to gain a deeper level of insight into how issues of class and race are influenced by gender. Gender is one of the most important tools in the production and reproduction of power because it relies on consent and not just coercion.

The items represented on the Black Male Privileges Checklist reflect aspects of Black men's lives that we take for granted, which appear to be "double standards," but in fact are male privileges that come at the expense of women in general and African American women in particular.

I offer this checklist based on years of experience working with men, and with the faith that we as men have far more to gain than we have to lose by challenging the privileges that we take for granted.

I believe that there are more similarities between men than there are differences. Therefore, many items on the Black Male Privilege Checklist apply to men generally. However, because of the specific privileges that black men have in relationship to black women; there are specific items that apply only to black men. I will leave it up to you to determine which items apply only to black men, and which items apply to men in general.

The Black Male Privileges Checklist

Leadership & Politics

1. I don't have to choose my race over my sex in political matters.
2. When I read African American History textbooks, I will learn mainly about black men.
3. When I learn about the Civil Rights Movement & the Black Power Movements, most of the leaders that I will learn about will be black men.
4. I can rely on the fact that in the near 100-year history of national civil rights organizations such as the NAACP and the Urban League, virtually all of the executive directors have been male.
5. I will be taken more seriously as a political leader than black women.
6. Despite the substantial role that black women played in the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power Movement, currently there is no black female that is considered a "race leader".
7. I can live my life without ever having read black feminist authors, or knowing about black women's history, or black women's issues.
8. I can be a part of a black liberation organization like the Black Panther Party where an "out" rapist Eldridge Cleaver can assume leadership position.
9. I will make more money than black women at equal levels of education and occupation.
10. Most of the national "opinion framers" in Black America including talk show hosts and politicians are men.

11. I have the ability to define black women's beauty by European standards in terms of skin tone, hair, and body size. In comparison, black women rarely define me by European standards of beauty in terms of skin tone, hair, or body size.
12. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of having my hair conforming to any standard image of beauty the way black women do.
13. I do not have to worry about the daily hassles of being terrorized by the fear of gaining weight. In fact, in many instances bigger is better for my sex.
14. My looks will not be the central standard by which my worth is valued by members of the opposite sex.

Sex & Sexuality
15. I can purchase pornography that typically shows men defile women by the common practice of the "money shot.”
16. I can believe that causing pain during sex is connected with a woman's pleasure without ever asking her.
17. I have the privilege of not wanting to be a virgin, but preferring that my wife or significant other be a virgin.
18. When it comes to sex if I say "No", chances are that it will not be mistaken for “Yes".
19. If I am raped, no one will assume that "I should have known better" or suggest that my being raped had something to do with how I was dressed.
20. I can use sexist language like bonin’, laying the pipe, hittin-it, and banging that convey images of sexual acts based on dominance and performance.
21. I can live in a world where polygamy is still an option for men in the United States as well as around the world.
22. In general, I prefer being involved with younger women socially and sexually
23. In general, the more sexual partners that I have the more stature I receive among my peers.
24. I have easy access to pornography that involves virtually any category of sex where men degrade women, often young women.
25. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where "purity balls" apply to girls but not to boys.
26. When I consume pornography, I can gain pleasure from images and sounds of men causing women pain.

Popular Culture
27. I come from a tradition of humor that is based largely on insulting and disrespecting women; especially mothers.
28. I have the privilege of not having black women, dress up and play funny characters- often overweight- that are supposed to look like me for the entire nation to laugh.
29. When I go to the movies, I know that most of the leads in black films are men. I also know that all of the action heroes in black film are men.
30. I can easily imagine that most of the artists in Hip Hop are members of my sex.
31. I can easily imagine that most of the women that appear in Hip Hop videos are there solely to please men
32. Most of lyrics I listen to in hip-hop perpetuate the ideas of males dominating women, sexually and socially.
33. I have the privilege of consuming and popularizing the word pimp, which is based on the exploitation of women with virtually no opposition from other men.
34. I can hear and use language bitches and hoes that demean women, with virtually no opposition from men.
35. I can wear a shirt that others and I commonly refer to as a "wife beater" and never have the language challenged.
36. Many of my favorite movies include images of strength that do not include members of the opposite sex and often are based on violence.
37. Many of my favorite genres of films, such as martial arts, are based on violence.
38. I have the privilege of popularizing or consuming the idea of a thug, which is based on the violence and victimization of others with virtually no opposition from other men.

39. I have the privilege to define black women as having "an attitude" without referencing the range of attitudes that black women have.
40. I have the privilege of defining black women's attitudes without defining my attitudes as a black man.
41. I can believe that the success of the black family is dependent on returning men to their historical place within the family, rather than in promoting policies that strengthen black women's independence, or that provide social benefits to black children.
42. I have the privilege of believing that a woman cannot raise a son to be a man.
43. I have the privilege of believing that a woman must submit to her man.
44. I have the privilege of believing that before slavery gender relationships between black men and women were perfect.
45. I have the privilege of believing that feminism is anti-black.
46. I have the privilege of believing that the failure of the black family is due to the black matriarchy.
47. I have the privilege of believing that household responsibilities are women's roles.
48. I have the privilege of believing that black women are different sexually than other women and judging them negatively based on this belief.

49. I will make significantly more money as a professional athlete than members of the opposite sex will.
50. In school, girls are cheerleaders for male athletes, but there is no such role for males to cheerlead for women athletes.
51. My financial success or popularity as a professional athlete will not be associated with my looks.
52. I can talk about sports or spend large portions of the day playing video games while women are most likely involved with household or childcare duties.
53. I can spend endless hours watching sports TV and have it considered natural.
54. I can touch, hug, or be emotionally expressive with other men while watching sports without observers perceiving this behavior as sexual.
55. I know that most sports analysts are male.
56. If I am a coach, I can motivate, punish, or embarrass a player by saying that the player plays like a girl.
57. Most sports talk show hosts that are members of my race are men.
58. I can rest assured that most of the coaches -even in predominately-female sports within my race are male.
59. I am able to play sports outside without my shirt on and it not be considered a problem.
60. I am essentially able to do anything inside or outside without my shirt on, whereas women are always required to cover up.

61. I have the privilege of being a part of a sex where the mutilation and disfigurement of a girl’s genitalia is used to deny her sexual sensations or to protect her virginity for males.
62. I have the privilege of not having rape be used as a primary tactic or tool to terrorize my sex during war and times of conflict.
63. I have the privilege of not being able to name one female leader in Africa or Asia, past or present, that I pay homage to the way I do male leaders in Africa and/or Asia.
64. I have the ability to travel around the world and have access to women in developing countries both sexually and socially.
65. I have the privilege of being a part of the sex that starts wars and that wields control of almost all the existing weapons of war and mass destruction.
66. In college, I will have the opportunity to date outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women will.
67. I have the privilege of having the phrase "sewing my wild oats" apply to my sex as if it were natural.
68. I know that the further I go in education the more success I will have with women.
69. In college, black male professors will be involved in interracial marriages at much higher rates than members of the opposite sex will.
70. By the time I enter college, and even through college, I have the privilege of not having to worry whether I will be able to marry a black woman.
71. In college, I will experience a level of status and prestige that is not offered to black women even though black women may outnumber me and out perform me academically.
72. If I go to an HBCU, I will have incredible opportunities to exploit black women

73. What is defined as "News" in Black America is defined by men.
74. I can choose to be emotionally withdrawn and not communicate in a relationships and it be considered unfortunate but normal.
75. I can dismissively refer to another persons grievances as ^*ing.
76. I have the privilege of not knowing what words and concepts like patriarchy, phallocentric, complicity, colluding, and obfuscation mean.

77. I have the privilege of marrying outside of the race at a much higher rate than black women marry.
78. My "strength" as a man is never connected with the failure of the black family, whereas the strength of black women is routinely associated with the failure of the black family.
79. If I am considering a divorce, I know that I have substantially more marriage, and cohabitation options than my spouse.
80. Chances are I will be defined as a "good man" by things I do not do as much as what I do. If I don't beat, cheat, or lie, then I am a considered a "good man". In comparison, women are rarely defined as "good women" based on what they do not do.
81. I have the privilege of not having to assume most of the household or child-care responsibilities.
82. I have the privilege of having not been raised with domestic responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and washing that takes up disproportionately more time as adults.

Church & Religious Traditions
83. In the Black Church, the majority of the pastoral leadership is male.
84. In the Black Church Tradition, most of the theology has a male point of view. For example, most will assume that the man is the head of household.

Physical Safety
85. I do not have to worry about being considered a traitor to my race if I call the police on a member of the opposite sex.
86. I have the privilege of knowing men who are physically or sexually abusive to women and yet I still call them friends.
87. I can video tape women in public- often without their consent - with male complicity.
88. I can be courteous to a person of the opposite sex that I do not know and say "Hello" or "Hi" and not fear that it will be taken as a come-on or fear being stalked because of it.
89. I can use physical violence or the threat of physical violence to get what I want when other tactics fail in a relationship.
90. If I get into a physical altercation with a person of the opposite sex, I will most likely be able to impose my will physically on that person
91. I can go to parades or other public events and not worry about being physically and sexually molested by persons of the opposite sex.
92. I can touch and physically grope women's bodies in public- often without their consent- with male complicity.
93. In general, I have the freedom to travel in the night without fear.
94. I am able to be out in public without fear of being sexually harassed by individuals or groups of the opposite sex.


The Black Male Privileges Checklist was born out of years of organizing men's groups and the numerous -- often heated -- conversations I have had with men while utilizing Barry Deutsch's The Male Privilege Checklist. In my experiences, most men would object to at least some items on the Male Privilege Checklist. However, "men of color", and especially African American men, often had the sharpest criticisms of the Male Privilege Checklist and the most problems relating to the idea of male privilege.

There are many reasons why black men would be reluctant to identify with the concept of male privilege. One of the most important reasons is that our experience with privilege is based on a history of political, economic, and military power that whites have historically exercised over black life. This conceptualization of privilege has not allowed us to see ourselves with privilege because the focus has been placed largely on whites. Privilege is not restricted to economic, political, or military areas of life. Privilege is also social, cultural, sexual, institutional, and interpersonal in nature. Our inability to have a more expansive understanding of privilege and power has foreclosed important insights into virtually every aspect of black men’s lives and other "men of color".

As black men, we have also been skeptical of pro-feminist males, most of whom were white and middle class. Black men who fought for freedom during the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Power Movements were suspicious- to say the least- of the motives of white men who were requesting that black men give up the privilege they never felt they had. Given the timing of the pro-feminist male movement and the demographics of these men, it has not been easy to separate the message from the messenger. Black men had a similar reaction to the voices of black feminists, who we saw as being influenced by white middle class feminists. Alongside this, there has long been a belief among many black men that racism provides privileges to black women that are denied to black men.

In addition, many of the items on The Male Privilege Checklist simply did not to apply to black men and other men of color. As a result, many black men argued that the list should have been called The White Male Privilege Checklist. In light of these considerations, the Black Male Privileges Checklist differs from the Male Privilege Checklist in several respects.

First, It departs from an “either/or” view of privilege that suggests that an individual or a group can only be placed into one category. Therefore, the focus is on privileges and not privilege. It also highlights belief systems that often serve as the basis for justifications and rationalizations of exploitation and discrimination. Second, The Black Male Privilege Checklist takes a Life Course perspective, acknowledging the fact that privilege takes on different forms at various points in men’s lives. Third, it takes a Global perspective to highlight the privilege that black males have as Americans, and the privileges black men share with other men of color. African American men rarely acknowledge the privilege we have in relationship to people in developing countries -- especially women. Too often, our conception of privilege is limited to white men and does not lead us to reflect on the power that men of color in Africa, Asia, and Latin America exercise over women. Finally, it calls for action and not just awareness. We need “men of color” to be actively involved in social welfare and social justice movements.

Invariably, the Black Male Privileges Checklist will inspire some men to create their own list describing the list of privileges they believe black women benefit from. What men need to understand is that paying attention to male privilege does not mean that women are without faults. Rather, it means that black men cannot be blind to the facts that black men earn more than black women do, black men continue to dominate most of the political, religious, and cultural institutions within the black community, and that black men continue to dominate black women in areas of physical and sexual abuse.

As “men of color”, we have a responsibility to acknowledge that we participate in this system even though it offers us little rewards. Most African Americans, for example, take for granted the system of capitalism that we all participate in, even though we know that it does not offer us the same rewards that it does for whites. The sex-gender system, which privileges men over women, operates in similar way for all men. Black men and other “men of color” can participate in this system even though it does not offer similar rewards.

Finally, the Black Male Privileges Checklist is a tool that can be used by any individual, group, organization, family, or community that is interested in black males having greater insight into their individual lives and the collective lives of black women and girls. It is also a living tool that will grow and be amended as more discussion and dialogue occurs. This is the first edition of the Black Male Privileges Checklist and will be updated regularly. This checklist was created with black men in mind, and does not necessarily capture the experiences and cultural references of other ethnic males. I would welcome dialogue with others who are concerned about these constituencies as well.

Please visit our website at http://renaissancemaleproject.com/ to view our Teen & Male Youth Privileges Checklist. An historic tool for all young males, schools, community organizations, youth groups, sports teams, and families that can be used to assist our young males in becoming the type of adult men we want them to be.

Jewel Woods is a gender analyst specializing in men's issues and executive director of the Renaissance Male Project . He is also the co-author of 'Don't Blame it on Rio: The Real Deal Behind Why Men Go to Brazil for Sex.'