Clarification of Terms
African: refers to people of African descent worldwide; the indigenous people of the African Continent as well as the African Diaspora.
Black: also refers to African people worldwide, however it is more so used to refer to Africans in America and their socio-economic and political condition.
Euro-American: refers to people of European descent who have inhabited the Americas for the last 500 years.
European: refers to all people of European decent.
White: refers to Europeans and Euro-Americans and the racist social structure that is upheld by them.
American: refers to the native people of this land.
The first thing I want to say is that I am not a black American reformist. I am not concerned with getting along with, being accepted by, or seeking justice from euro-American institutions, e.g. the U.S. government and euro-American media, etc... I have to say this because most people, when they talk about the black problem, are coming from a "Can't we all get along? / I have a dream…" mentality. As a student of history, I am 2000% clear that we (African and American indigenous people) are at war with Europeans. There has been no significant time period within the last 500 years where Europeans have not been trying to conquer, enslave, or exploit us. There is no nation or culture in this world that is safe from the threat of being colonized and exploited by Europeans and their way of life. In other words, European dominance aka white supremacy is the greatest threat to our people and the entire human population. So any and everything that I speak of is expressed in that context. Police brutality, oppression of black women, and economic disenfranchisement are results of being conquered and dominated by another nation and not a social mishap in society that can be corrected with town hall meetings, government programs, or being politically correct.
Privilege: a right or immunity granted as a particular benefit, advantage, or favor.
By definition, a privilege is something that is granted to one individual and/or group from another individual and/or group. Therefore, a privilege is something that can be given and taken away. “White Privilege" exists because Europeans can protect their interest. Powerful white men grant other white men privileges because they want to and more importantly because they can. I do not subscribe to any theories of White, White Male, Black Male, or any other types of "Privilege". Allow me to explain.
Firstly, I do not care to attack Black Feminists. However, I do question the direction from which their ideas are coming and the direction in which those ideas will lead them. There is much talk in black activist circles around the concept of privilege and in my personal experience this talk comes predominately from Black Feminists. This notion focuses on the belief that because white males dominate the social, political, and economic framework of the current global society, white males have all the privileges, black males have more privileges because they are men and white women have more privileges because they are white. This concept has additional components but that is the general idea. Supporters of this idea go on to suggest that white women, black men, and progressive-thinking white men should use their privileges to balance the playing field so that everyone has equal access to these privileges or use their privileges to restructure the way privilege works in society.
At first glance, this seems to be a noble, humane, and politically correct approach. What could be wrong with leveling the playing field? But let’s think for a moment on the definition of privilege; a right which is granted to someone. Essentially, whenever the person who granted that privilege decides to revoke it, the benefactor of that privilege is now in the same boat with the rest of the under-privileged people. If you are wrestling with privileges, then unfortunately you've already accepted defeat. Asking someone to give you privileges or lessen their own privileges is undeniably admitting that you submit to their rule.
How in the heck can we bring ourselves to a seat of power in this world wrestling with privileges? This strategy may work for the white feminists who created it as they may have no other way in dealing with their men. However, our ancestors have never depended on the ideologies of European women to improve our civilizations. When dealing with a people whose history does not date back more than 6,000 years ago I am not compelled in any way to take advice from their women. I come from an ancestry that has celebrated feminine power and has had of many flourishing societies. I do not mean to romanticize about Africa, but my history is filled with powerful women. When Yaa Asantewaa, Dahia al-Kahina, and Queen Candace led Ashanti, North African, and Ethiopian armies (respectively) to battle against the British, Arabs, and Romans there were no questions about sexism or black male privilege; or white male privilege for that matter. The only thing that mattered was that the Europeans and Arabs were not going to conquer our land and conquer the spirit of our people.
At what other point in African history do we have black feminism? None. Black feminism exists because white supremacy exists. It was born out of it and exists only because of it. I agree with many of the things black feminist say about the problems we face as a people. There is no denying that there is a major imbalance in this society. Yet, when did siding with Europeans ever bring us closer to the greatness from which we came? If we are going to have a discussion about sexism then let’s start with Christianity. Why is there no feminine aspect in European divinity? Islamic divinity? In African history women have been prominent in every capacity. Our societies were matriarchal and matrilineal as well as patriarchal and patrilineal at various times. If our ancestors have been flourishing on this earth for hundreds of thousands of years, don't you think that they would have some knowledge, forethought, or insight on how we could flourish today? We have a history full of untapped knowledge.
When did the black woman first start being abused by white supremacy? In the 60's? The Harlem Renaissance? No. It was when the first African woman lost her husband to slavery. Then, they came back for her. Then, they came back for her children. Then, they came back for the rest of her family. Black women are abused in this European society because black men are powerless in this European society. When a white man even thought that a black man was “disrespecting” a white women that black man was hung immediately. White men did this because they did not fear and still do not fear any repercussions from black men; hence, Emmit Till, Rodney King, Eleanor Bumpers, Trayvon Martin, etc... The only rights we truly have are the ones that we can protect. How can so many unarmed, innocent black men be shot and killed by police (white men) and those police never, to any noteworthy degree, receive any punishment? It is because black men do not instill fear in police to the extent that those police are compelled to behave differently. That is not white male privilege but white male dominance over black men and women. For example, recently the Supreme Court ruled that the New York Police Department's use of Stop and Frisk violated the constitutional rights of black/brown people. Apparently, it took the U.S government nearly 20 years to figure this out. But what's more important is that the mayor of New York City stated, [Okay. Yes, you’re right. It is unconstitutional, but I don’t care. We're still going to do it anyway].
That is not white privilege. That is white power.
We're a human development centered cooperative, producing in part through the generous and faithful contributions of our North Star members. Choose your membership: Annual ($36), Monthly ($3), ($5), ($10), ($15), ($30), ($70), ($200), ($500), ($1000).