The Black Feminist Discourse…And Its Dilemmas

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By Nasir Parker

 

At the outset, let’s first recognize that I, the writer, have no intention of engaging in the sort of back and forth mudslinging that is all too common in today’s opinion media landscape. Further, let’s be clear that I not only consider free speech the cornerstone of any true democracy, but that such a freedom, if it is that, must by definition of the term “free”, include the license to offend. If one disagrees or even dislikes the said perceived “verbal offense” it would be imperative that the offended be able not only to deconstruct such an argument, but be able to do so based upon fact and not ad hominem attacks or typecasting of the other. As with all critical thinking, analysis, dialogue, and writing the point essentially, is to determine what are those parts of discourse worthy of critique and praise respectfully, based not on emotions alone, but logic and facts. This piece of writing is such an attempt to do so.

In a recent article entitled “All Films Matter: The Birth of a Nation and the Vilification of Black Feminism” brought to us (the public) by w ww.theroot.com, contributing writer Michael Harriot harps on how Black men (particularly) h ave “blamed” BOAN’s failure at the box office on Black women, more specifically Black feminism. This according to Harriot is largely due to the schism that currently exist between Black women and men regarding the films producer and director Nate Parker. Not long before the release of the film Parker, 36, found himself in the middle of a rape allegation scandal from his past. As it has been frequently reported for some time now, the alleged incident occurred on the morning of August 21, 1999 when Parker was a 19 year old student at Penn State University, there on a wrestling scholarship. According to the accuser Parker and his friend (and BOAN co-writer) Jean Celestin had non-consensual sex with her while she unconscious after a night of drinking. According to the accuser’s own statement, she met with Parker two days prior to the incident in which occurred a sexual encounter at between the two at her apartment, with the accuser admitting that she engaged in oral sex with Parker. On the following day August 20, 1999 the two met for a “date” at a bar in which Parker didn’t show up until midnight. In the time in between the accuser’s arrival and Parker’s arrival she by her own admission had been accepting drinks from a 40 year unidentified male. Citing to Parker that she was “pretty drunk”, she insisted on going to a friend’s apartment so that she could get sleep. Upon reaching the apartment she was offered more drinks, according to the accuser it was rum, specifically. As she described the scene;

“ I mean I knew I was intoxicated. Just blurry vision. I don’t remember conversation. I don’t remember who was in the room. I don’t remember how many people were in the room. I just knew I was there.”

There she told Parker that she was “too drunk” and insisted then on going back to his apartment for fear that she would get in trouble for being drunk on campus. When they arrived, the accuser testified to having seen two other people sitting on a bed watching TV. She was given a shirt by them and went to sleep. According to her testimony, when she opened her eyes, she found Nate Parker having intercourse with her.

“ It was just a split second. And then awake again and another gentleman with his penis in my mouth and somebody on top of me and then, again, somebody just on top of me other than Nate and as far as that, that’s all I remember.”

According to the accuser, when she awoke she wasn’t able to find either Parker nor the alleged co-conspirator(s), at which point she left, departing for her dorm.

“I’m completely naked and I’m like, oh, shit, I’ve just been raped and I get up to go home and then the next thing I know is I’m in the bathroom and there is red everywhere and I’m having cold water splashed on my face.”

For the sake of brevity, respect for the accuser (who is now deceased, sadly having taken her own life back in 2012 at the age of 30), and not relitigating the whole entire case, just know that on October 5, 2001 Nate Parker was acquitted of all charges due to lack of sufficient evidence. His friend Jean Celestin however, was charged with sexual assault (a lesser charge than rape) and sentenced to six to twelve months in prison. However soon after, Celestin had his conviction overturned due to inefficient counsel.

Needless to say that because of the very serious and sensitive nature of sexual assault and rape culture in the U.S., this incident has seen barbs thrown by and at opposing sides as to the nature and timing of this case. On one hand some consider the timing rather odd given Parker’s previous string of prominent roles in films such as ‘The Great Debaters’, ‘Red Tails’, ‘Secret Life of Bees’, and ‘Beyond The Lights’, just to name a few.

Those on this side of the issue inquire how someone who was already in the public eye was able to have this charge firmly placed behind him, only up until the time he decided not only to create an independent film, but one on Black history’s most revered and revolutionary figures. On the other hand there are those who find the allegations of Parker’s past actions so abhorrent as to not only be publicly critical of him, but unsupportive of his film.

Considering the history of this nation and its opposition to Black male assertion of any sort, expressed in both the extreme and violently overt and the deviously covert, those in former group stand on justified suspicion. Nevertheless, those of the latter group who are protesting Parker’s film on the ground of women’s rights, have a democratic right to do so.

Further, as the father of a daughter myself and one who has spent the entirety of his life around Black women, I find nothing more disgusting than the violation of any woman, let their be no mistakes about that. As for what side I’m on (for I’m sure that in such a polarized society as the U.S., with its endless democratic or republican narrative, Black vs white, gay vs straight, etc) it’s the reader’s next logical question, to that I say I am on the side of what’s known.

What’s known is that a rather vague but nonetheless disappointing incident happened in the life of Nate Parker back in 1999. It involved the sort of detestable charge that is not to be taken lightly. He was acquitted of the charge in 2001, and his friend Celestin while convicted of a lesser crime, eventually had it overturned.

The alleged victim, sadly, has taken her life and is no longer here to speak for herself. All this in a country that has been notorious for locking up and even killing Black men for a whole lot less, in a country still has innocent Black men behind bars for decades if not life for similar convictions with n o evidence, and in a country that has seen innocent men on lethal injection tables, in a country where the history of the perceived taboo of Black male white female relations has been at the center of lynchings and other extralegal horrors. Does all of this mean that we can be assured that what was alleged to happen didn’t happen? Quite frankly, it does not. However, per the trial system which is (or should) be based on sufficient evidence, Nate Parker was found innocent, on all charges. That means he isn’t guilty of rape, and the court of public opinion, doesn’t matter in the grand scheme.

This however does bring me back to a third group. One in which to me appears neither to be on Parker’s side in the matter nor even particularly against him, well….per se. For in the recent weeks and months after the details of his case were revealed publicly, Parker himself made it a point to make media rounds being as open about the case as possible.

In many of these interviews he was consistent about that fact he was not only apologetic for the incident (though he made it clear that it was consensual), he also made it clear that he was found innocent. Not only this, but Parker reflectively and I feel, maturely admitted that he was at a rather immature time in his development and made it clear that he see’s “with wiser eyes” now the “arrogant” ways of his past. This to me suggest, that while he maintains his innocence of rape (as he should because he was found as such) that he indeed is still regretful for the sort of sexual objectification of women that is regretfully common in American culture, more particularly college culture.

This third group appears to only be concerned with ad hominem attacks on not only Parker’s character but even more so, his movie’s failure at the box office. Michael Harriot, contributing writer at www.theroot.com appears to be a member of such a group, that one on the fringes of feminism known as Black feminism. To be fair, I do not have a problem with the concept of economic, political, and social equality between the genders, that which is the definition of feminism. Nor do I take issue to the striving for this as it specifically pertains to Black women, in fact I think it necessary.

However, I do take issue with sloppy rhetoric disguised as journalism, and even more, that which is cloaked in the costume of Black feminist (female or male) “outrage”. To be sure, Harriot’s rather casual rhetorical barbs throughout the piece are neither original nor unique to him. This sort of self righteous indignation is an attitude that has for many within the Black feminist movement (particularly its neophytes) served as a sort of supplement, employed to fill a rather gaping void in a movement that for all of its fire and swell sounding intentions has yet in its 50 year officially titled history to move past theoretics into data based actionable programs specific to Black women.

Programs that could potentially lead to tangible results for the Black women they so claim to support, in the areas that negatively affect our women the most, such as as poverty and child care for instance. As a result, a large portion of the Black feminist movement and its pundits have been limited to lamentations on continually being marginalized by “mainstream” (white) feminist movements and organizations, or bantering on about their issues with Black men (and sometimes white men). Oft times, these diatribes are in the form of journal commentaries such as op-eds or columns, other times they occur in panels on and off air in the form of pop culture and social commentary.

In all fairness, this is not to say that all Black men come from obsidian heaven. Indeed some of the commentary is well intentioned if not deserved, but this is particularly when the critique is based on a fair and balanced assessment on the whole of an issue, not an emotionally charged rant. Michael Harriot’s piece in The Root appears to have been such a commentary. Let us examine, if we will, the article in question.

At the outset Harriot states two points;

  1. “ I paid to see The Birth of a Nation. I reviewed it. I liked it. I wish more people had seen

    it.” And….

  2. “ I believe Nate Parker is a despicable human being.”

    From the get, it is rather interesting to see Mr. Harriot feign balance by first

complementing the work of Parker’s ‘ The Birth Of A Nation’ then in one fell swoop, disrespecting him by stating the he believe’s that Mr. Parker is “despicable”. While Mr. Harriot is indeed within his right to whatever opinion he wants to have of Parker, it should be duly noted that this is the also the sort of opinion veiled double talk that is the cornerstone of a typical ad passiones argument, something not all that uncommon among pseudo Black feminist types. Acutely aware of the fact that emotion can often cloud the reader’s or listener’s ability to reason this device is employed recklessly.

Harriot goes on by saying:
“ I don’t believe those two facts negate each other. Intelligent people understand that two things can be true at the same time. A sexual abuser can make a beautiful movie, just as a serial rapist could be one of the funniest men who ever lived, just as a pedophile could write “I Believe I Can Fly” or “Ignition (Remix).”

Here, Harriot plays an insidious shell and pea game. First, with attempting to lull the reader into his point without reason by essentially stating that if you don’t “understand” or even agree with his contention that you are by proxy “ unintelligent”. Second, he essentially commits what amounts to a libelous but rather veiled statement by alluding to Parker as a sexual abuser.

The fact that he doesn’t mention Parker explicitly is the o nly reason it can’t legally be considered as such, and his craftiness exposes the intention of the statement. Not only that, he draws false equivalency to not only Bill Cosby’s case but also to R&B singer R. Kelly’s case. Both attempts at a comparison fail quite miserably because in both instances there is or was, rather damning evidence.

The difference in Cosby’s case being that he on “trial” if you will 30 or 40 years after the fact, nonetheless there has been enough evidence to at least established a rather provable pattern of behavior. Beyond the testimony of the accuser, there is no such proof as was found to be sufficient in a court of law. Yet, in a the sort of commonly contradictory manner he goes on to say it “it’s useless to relitigate a decade-old rape case”…he clearly doesn’t know where he wants to go with this beyond evoking some sort of raw emotion. Harriot rambles on;

“ There is a contingent of people (largely black men) who believe that the film is too important to be ignored or boycotted. Many of them have gone so far as to lay the blame for the film’s box-office failure squarely at the feet of black feminism. For these men, the women who have loudly refused to support Parker’s opus are traitors. The subtext of their argument, however, extends far beyond the narrative of a Nat Turner biopic. It goes to the heart of many black men’s attitude toward black feminism itself.”

Ah ha! Yes, this is the point in Harriot’s piece where he begins to build a case against none other than Black feminism’s favorite target, Black men. He first says that the largest contingent of the film’s supporters are Black men, but I would be interested in knowing whether or not he has verifiable proof of that in the form of data, and if so what is his source? I personally, assume that he doesn’t, for if he were really concerned with any kind of objective commentating he would have included such information. Further, he assumes that many have gone on to “blame Black feminism for the film’s box-office failure”. It would be comical if it were not such a sad display of how often pseudo Black feminist and the Black feminism p seudo movement, attempts to inject itself in anyway that will garner it a ny sort of attention, however vain or short lived. In a since, I think it could be attributed to the fact that in many ways Black feminists, (both its real and fake types) recognize that it is quite frankly, a movement without a country. Except during its inception in the 60’ and 70’s when it was of superficial use to the largely white feminist movement, Black feminism has been all but ignored by white feminism since then.

As stated above, the bemoaning on this fact has taken up a great many page spaces in Black feminists commentary (ironically so, as this attitude contradicts their so championed and often underscored “independent” affront). Secondly, within the Black community Black feminism has yet, as an organized and unified movement, to yield any results for Black women based on provable facts about what ails Black specifically. Could this be due to the fact that Black feminism (as specific as that title is) has defined itself as a largely multi-intersectional movement? Sure, intersectionality makes since to some degree, given that we are talking about Black people who are women. I even get that there are sisters who are Black, women, and members of the LGBTQ community. I even understand the temptation to draw parallels to the struggle of Hispanic/Latina women.

But in actuality, the LGBTQ movement quite honestly is a mostly white, mostly male movement that has all but achieved admirable gains in two of its most signature platforms in record time (when compared with Black movements in general, let alone Black feminism) ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ and marriage equality in all states. As for the Hispanic/Latino/Latina community, it’s platform has largely been based around immigration reform, amnesty, and to some extent police profiling largely, (strides for the former two which are being continually being made in Washington D.C.) and as for their women they tend to identify themselves with “mainstream” (white) feminism.

Then there is Black feminism, a movement which continues to propagate its “intersectionality” apparently in the hopes that by attempting to attach itself to the victories and movements of others it will achieve some sort of notoriety. But, this has the opposite effect, it caters to so broad and general of a base that it caters to no one, particularly those Black women and issues specifically, who could use some of the movement’s most useful theoretics, academics, business leaders, etc., to actually create a real program of change for Black women.

Instead however Black women are cheated, being given instead the opioid of rhetorical caterwauling that has at its center non provable vanity commentary, by people such as Harriot who quips that Black women who didn’t support Nate Parker’s film are considered by Black men to be “traitors”. And that Black men have a “negative attitude toward Black feminism itself”.

“ For them, progressive-thinking women of color have become too vocal, and too militant. These black feministas’ uncompromising stance toward The Birth of a Nation, their unwillingness to support a project created by a rapist and an accused rapist (let us not forget that Parker’s writing partner, Jean McGianni Celestin, was actually convicted by a jury of his peers of rape), is problematic for these men. The men who are upset with the women boycotting BOAN do not care about the merits of the argument at its root. They don’t care about feminism or equality or even the movie. They just want these women to shut the f–k up.”

This particular portion of the piece is rather interesting. Harriot himself takes on the illustrious role of mind reader by deciding (in his own “infinite wisdom”) what Black men think about progressive-thinking “women of color” (there goes intersectionality again). He speaks of Nate Parker being an accused rapist, which of course we know is not the same as actually being a rapist, and Jean Celestin who, to the writer’s dis-credit was convicted of sexual assault a lesser charge than rape, only to have that conviction overturned.

The circumstances under which the conviction was overturned can indeed be debated, but the fact that it was cannot. So in this instance Harriot has finally achieved the libelous label that he’s all but bordering on throughout the piece anyway. Then he goes on to say that the Black men who are upset with with Black women boycotting BOAN, “don’t care about equality” or “don’t care about feminism” and that “they just want these women to shut the f**k up”. Because Harriot somehow “knows” this, he is indeed a “leading authority figure on what Black men think” right? Wrong, Harriot appears to be a below average debater, who for a living seems to write pieces that cater to emotions and not logic.

“ It is the same premise as “All Lives Matter.” Black men who accuse feminists of being anti-male man-haters for affirming their rights as women are the mirror images of the conservative whites who accuse black people of being anti-cop racists for simply affirming that their existence matters. The subjective merits of the movie don’t matter. It’s like being upset with civil rights activists sitting in at lunch counters because you like that particular restaurant’s sandwiches.”

“ Perhaps the most frequent rebuttal to black women’s refusal to accept Parker’s arrogant belligerence is the refrain that “he was found not guilty.” I want to show those people pictures of George Zimmerman eating juicy steaks in fancy restaurants. I want them to see Darren Wilson’s vacation videos. I want them to see the six-figure salary of the policeman who choked the life out of Eric Garner. I want to remind those people that “not guilty” does not mean “innocent.”

Shall I continue? I believe that I should. Because one must now point out how Harriot casually attempts to change the subject from Black men being “against” the protest of Black women, to Black men being “against” Black feminism, to Black men labeling Black feminist as, in his words “anti-male”. Again, Michael Harriot, contributing writer for w ww.theroot.com, has placed himself in the role of seer. He just knows that Black men find Black women as “anti-male” but what is such a clairvoyant statement based on? He draws a similarity to the “All Lives Matter” movement by essentially saying that Black men are essentially comparable to whites who say that Blacks are “anti-cop” racist for affirming their right to exist.

The parallel is that Black men who view women as “anti-male” for affirming their rights are no different. On this point I actually agree. However, he has no proof that Black men on the whole “view Black women as anti-male” therefore he has no right what so ever, to make such an ill comparison. In fact, it’s making trivial two rather serious subjects, a possible sign into what his true motives may be in writing this piece…doesn’t seem like solutions nor elevating the discourse. He then speaks of what he considers to be Parker’s “belligerence” given the interviews in which the actor/producer informs openly that he was found not guilty.

A true statement indeed, but seemingly not one that Harriot is interested in, given his aversion to the truth (as seen in many parts of this article). Would it be better for Harriot if Nate Parker where to just steal away to a monastery and there, proceed by starving himself and chanting for the rest of his days? This is a rather interesting trait of these Black feminist writers (both male and female) that they are quite concerned with being the humility police when it comes to Black men. But, the virtue of such a thing largely depends on what you consider “lack of humility” to be.

Parker as stated above, has shown remorse and an understanding of his past immature ways. Do I feel it is a genuine remorse? I do in fact feel that way. However, can always debate how genuine? Certainly, because technically no one really k nows but Parker and that also means that Harriot doesn’t know. So when he compares what he perceives as Parker’s “belligerence” or what he seems to be alluding to as his arrogance to “George Zimmerman eating juicy steaks at restaurants” or “Darren Wilson’s vacation videos” or “the six figure salary of a policeman who choked the life out of Eric Garner”, he draws one of the most disgusting false equivalencies of the piece. One which reveals not only his remedial level of analysis on this subject, but his seemingly insidious motivations to rally people in general (Black women in particular) against Parker, based on his own biases.

After a short diatribe in which he appeared to be championing the movie and singing it’s praises, Harriot goes into acknowledging the privilege that he has as a male of ignoring the issues of women including but not limited to, sexual abuse. To this point, I agree that many times men do take for granted the difficulties of womanhood. In fact it’s not uncommon in the circles of some men to show a certain callousness as it pertains to this. However, where we disagree could be best summed up in my nonbelief in a “Black male patriarchal structure”. This has nothing to do with my male privilege, but rather historical and present truths of Black familial and communal structures. Historically speaking African American communities have largely been ones based on a matriarchal structure and emphasis on the maintenance of extended family relationships. If one looks at this with any degree of historical clarity, it is an extension of slavery in which Black males, mistakenly having been considered more of a rebellious threat than Black women, were often kept away from or their roles limited within the family nucleus.

This was done in numerous ways from overwork, to selling off Black men perceived as a “threat”, lashings, or worse. As a result, Black households and communities have more often than not been spearheaded by Black women. Further, pre-enslavement African women were considered equally involved in the maintenance, development, and upkeep of tribal societies in many cases. Which is why many Black women were considered “as prepared for work” as men, given that Black women and men have always shared laborious burdens. In essence this makes the Black community something of a d i-archal society if not outright matriarchal. Does this mean that there aren’t some Black men who in many cases insist on using patriarchal or gender assigning frames of reference? No. In fact, there are many Black women who do the same. It’s not that these instances are good, bad, right, or wrong, we could debate the merits of that all day. It’s just that as African Americans our point of reference is America. Which is something of a racial and cultural amalgam but nonetheless underlined by an extension of western (white/European) values, a part of which is the practice of patriarchy.

As for my opinions on the roles of Black men and women, those are my own. But, I do believe that men should practice leadership skills, as well as women. Not unlike any union, I believe each party should work according to their strengths. I believe, that a man should protect and provide for his woman and rear his children, but that this doesn’t not make the woman weak, vulnerable, or incapable of providing for herself. It’s doesn’t make a Black woman less of a leader, it’s just that we lead in different areas according to arrangements that are specific to our own private relationships.

I must continue, because after all of the incoherent caterwauling of Mr. Harriot in the piece, we finally get to the root (no pun intended) of what so drew his ire:

“ The elephant in the room is that a few days ago, journalist Roland Martin, an outspoken supporter of The Birth of a Nation, called out The Root’s Senior Editor Yesha Callahan’s

reporting as inaccurate when she referred to the movie as “a flop.” In the interest of transparency, I must admit that I have a professional relationship with Callahan. I also have personally witnessed her clapback powers, and trust me, Martin don’t want none. They don’t make ascots thick enough to protect his neck. While Callahan’s article did dance on BOAN’s grave, journalists far smarter and better than I have found no factual fault with the article. The movie failed to meet the distributors’, the media’s and the general public’s box-office expectations. That is how you define “flop.”

“ Although Martin’s subsequent rants (after he reported Callahan’s clapbacks to her boss) focused on black media’s responsibility, professionalism and the need of black people to support the artistic endeavors of other black people, his argument was too transparent. It was the same pivot as when Fox host Bill O’Reilly condemns Black Lives Matter and then starts a dialogue about black-on-black crime. It was the same as when police release mug shots and arrest histories of dead, unarmed black boys. Martin did not want a collective of black support for black movies. He did not want Callahan to “do better.” He wanted her to shut the f–k up.”

As one can see from the above excerpts of these particular portions of Harriot’s article, this was really nothing more than a “clapback” on behalf of his friend, professional colleague, and fellow Black feminist Yesha Callahan (who also writes for The Root). Harriot took issue with “shots” that he felt were fired by News One host Roland Martin when he described Callahan’s article on ‘ Birth Of A Nation’s’ box office failure as inaccurate. To play the devil’s advocate, it is true that BOAN did underperform at the box office, those are facts. However, to Mr. Martin’s credit (and he has much credibility given his intelligence and illustrious career) what he may have been attempting to say is that despite these allegations, for which again Nate Parker was found not guilty in a court of law we need to support the work of not only Parker, but other Black filmmakers. I personally believe this opinion, is based on the assumption as shared by many that this allegation came at quite a unique time considering Parker had already been in the spotlight for years and that maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to withdraw our support for him based on a rush to judgement that couldn’t even be founded in court.

Nevertheless and in usual Black “feminista” fashion, Harriot took this as an attack on the whole of Black feminism and it harps back to what was pointed out earlier, that the Black feminist movement has among its ranks, “pseudos”. These are folks who attempt to wear an activism on their sleeve through ill formed arguments, and emotionally laced diatribes injected into any subject that will gain page views. He then goes on to compare Roland Martin’s opinion to that of Bill O’Reilly when he “condemns Black Lives Matter and then starts a dialogue about Black on Black crime”. This is yet another one of those disgustingly erroneous false equivalencies. Because this assumes that Roland Martin is blaming the victim, which is indeed an egregious charge to make especially without any real proof. He goes on to say that; “ Martin did not want a collective of black support for black movies. He did not want Callahan to “do better.” He wanted her to shut the f–k up.”

Per this statement by Harriot and it’s use of provocative language, I assume that this is what he wants the public to believe Black men are. Callous individuals who do not see the value in the opinions of Black women, right? Of course this is what he is attempting to do and he’s doing so by attempting to paint Roland Martin as a microcosm of that attitude. Both are attempts misrepresentation and this is the rather juvenile nature of Black feminist commentary as it oft times exist. He ends the piece on much the same ridiculous accord as he started by stating:

“Ultimately, to blame black feminism for The Birth of a Nation’s failures is stupid. Black women did not create Nate Parker’s sordid sexual past. Black feminists did not look back on the incident years later and still refuse to acknowledge that having sex with a drunk 19-year-old and then deciding to invite your friend to join in was regretful, not even in hindsight. Black women did not make up tworape stories out of thin air and shoehorn them into a historical account. Black feminists did not hopscotch through media outlets flaunting their belligerent, unrepentant attitude and expecting people of color to support them because … black people.”

“Ultimately, the reason for the backlash against black feminism is simple: It is for the same reason butt-hurt wyt pee-pull use the term “reverse racism.” It is why they call Black Lives Matter a “terrorist organization.” It all boils down to the same sentiment. Whether it is white people standing over dead black bodies on Ferguson, Mo., sidewalks, black men upset because their pet project died in theaters or rotund neckerchief wearers berating a fellow journalist in public,

on the time-honored stage of accusation and attacks, victim-blaming is still No. 1 at the box office.”

In the closing “argument” (if one can call it that) Harriot asserts that Black men “blaming Black feminism” for ‘ Birth Of A Nation’s” box office failures is “stupid”. And goes on to say that essentially Black women aren’t responsible for Nate Parker’s “sordid” sexual past, his lack of admittance to the incident, the fact that these allegations exists, or his “belligerent” flaunting of his innocence throughout media outlets. He again makes the false comparison of this to right wing white media attacks of Black Lives Matter and essentially ends the piece with yet one more ad hominem attack on Roland Martin by calling him a “rotund neckerchief wearer” who “berated a fellow journalist in public”. This as if Ms. Callahan or himself should be immune to criticism on the grounds that they are “fellow journalist”.

Mr. Harriot talks about victim blaming (something by the way that no thinking person really supports when there is a victim) but it seems to me that he himself and on behalf of Ms. Callahan are all too content with victimizing themselves. Unsurprising however, as this has been the (to use Mr. Harriot’s term) sordid state of Black feminist discourse for sometime now. Paint any critique of its methods or theories as “attacks” and any such Black critique as a “woman hater” or “victim blamer”.

Lump Black men together as one large group of unsupportive “patriarchal” half-wits whose only purpose in life is to keep Black women from expressing themselves. So much for that thing call Black male female unity right? Luckily for us, Mr. Harriot and others like him are fringe pseudo Black feminists who while utterly annoying, don’t represent, I believe all those things which can be great about a t rue movement for Black women. They’ll for the most part be marginalized to the rhetorical sloppiness that stems from the imaginary world that exists in their minds…and thank God for that.

4 thoughts on “The Black Feminist Discourse…And Its Dilemmas

  1. c says:

    Dafaw? Tariq who is this trash author. Ole agree to disagree, flip flopping suspected black feminist apologists. Not only is the article too long, and poorly written, it contradicts itself every other paragraph.

    Manginia ass author.

    I expected more from melanoid nation.

    1. Nasir Parker says:

      I wrote the piece. And while I will admit that there are some typos in there, to your credit, I do ask…where did I “flip flop” exactly? Explain….

  2. Peter Sheridan says:

    One of the stupidest things about “black feminism” is that it treats black men as though they were white men. Really if you have followed third wave feminist discourse for some time you will recognise all the arguments being used against Nate Parker and “Birth of A Nation”. Particularly their theories about “rape culture” (especially on college campuses) and the representation of women in media. Thing is, these models make some sense when looking at the white man/woman dynamic but they make little sense when it comes to black people.

    Americans do not live in a country where black men are a protected class. On the contrary, its the reverse. Black men are the most vulnerable, criminalised group in society. And a black man raping a white woman? That is at the heart of white fear. Whole towns have been destroyed just on the accusation of a white woman. So far black feminists (who are a collection of women and gay men) to take for granted the idea that Nate Parker raped a white woman and got away with it either speaks to great stupidity or something deeper – hatred of black masculinity.

    They are fighting a war against straight black men and BOAN was the battlefield that finally exposed them.

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