My school is focusing on black women for this year’s Black History Month in order to be in line with this year’s national BHM theme of “Black Women in American Culture and History” and someone, a black male (in the community, not at my school… and supposedly a member of the local chapter of the NAACP), complained to those in charge that “no black men would attend” because they would “not benefit” from the events.
Wow. This is black male sexism in action.
Every year, my school has predominantly focused on black men… simply because no gender was specified and whenever that happens women are naturally cast to the side. Unless there is a specific initiative to remember the accomplishments of black women, only black men are remembered. That’s a fact. A decision to focus on women is an attempt to more fully remember black history, because there is no way that men can ever be forgotten. MLK and Malcolm X will be in every Black History Month regardless. (My Sorors) Daisy Bates and Dorothy Height will not.
But what bothers me most is the notion that a black man cannot receive anything from programming specifically about black women. This is exemplary male arrogance. A man’s experience is universal, but that of a woman is only confined to her interests.
It’s also interesting because the committee is predominantly made up of female students. It is also headed by a female student. I know my Sorority is putting on an entire week of programming for Black History Month. YET, women are maligned as not important enough to focus on our specific issues and concerns. And the bravery of our foremothers.
The man who responded to this sexist critique has a feminist consciousness, so he responded more than adequately. But, it alludes me that black men feel as if they are the only ones who truly matter in black history.
It points to a bigger problem. Black men feel as if they are the only ones who matter everywhere. Black History Month is nominal, but this notion extends to institutional racism and racial injustice (generally speaking) as well.
Black men feel as if racism primarily concerns them. The black man’s attitude is “give me rights because I’m a man too” and then I’ll be nice to my black woman and my black children. Not much has changed from decades ago when that was the black movement’s nearly official stance.
Meanwhile the black woman remains the mule of the world. Muted. Expected to aid in muting herself, in order to “uplift” the black man. And that starts with Black History Month. We are good enough to put on the month, but not good enough to focus on ourselves when it comes around. We are good enough to have the black man’s back when he struggling, but not good enough for him to do the same thing.
Ya’ll need to come correct. This is 2012.