So if you follow me on twitter (I don’t recommend it, I’m banal and highly annoying), you might have seen me going back and forth with a number of other twitterers about gender, male privilege, and some other highfalooting concepts with which I’m sorely underqualified to deal with. I’m a very tactile person. I deal best with what I can touch, taste, smell, and feel. I like the feel of boobies, the sound of a Hemi exhaust, and the taste of bacon. The conceptual and theoretical, I sometimes have a hard time dealing with because I don’t necessarily see how it relates to the real world. That said, there are people far better than me at explaining the theoretical, especially in terms of race and gender politics. I present:



R. L’Heureux Lewis: Who wrote this treatise for the existence of Black Male Privilege

Here’s Brother Lewis speaking at Morehouse’s Founder’s Day Symposium:

If you’ve been an unfortunate witness to my sloppy back and forths with the above folks, you’ll know I carry a certain amount of skepticism about the concept of “Black Male Privilege.” I’m not saying it doesn’t exist. I just haven’t necessarily been sold on the idea that there’s something particularly special about Male Privilege as it relates to Black men.

What’s more interesting, I think, is how we address these concepts in reality, and in particular, in relationships. What a lot of my intellectual friends have suggested is a pathway towards making men and women more equal. Reducing the negative effect of male privilege and patriarchy on women, so that they have greater opportunity, safety, and stature.

I fully support this. But one of the things that I think will make an interesting sideshow to this is the fact that:

women still want a man that’s more powerful than she is!

Even a couple of the women I’ve mentioned above have had conversations with me saying that they either want or expect either an Alpha Male, or for a man to contribute financially to a relationship on a higher level than she is. If that’s the case, isn’t that a huge disincentive for men to give up what privilege they have from a socioeconomic perspective? After all, if women typically want a man that has more power/money/status than they do, why would men want to dismantle the power structure that provides them with these traits? I ask this as a means to discussion, not to prejudge an argument. Seriusly, I really think this needs to be talked about. I find it especially interesting that even very feminist women who rail against patriarchy are often themselves still somewhat tied to gender roles in their personal lives. I was watching Millionaire Matchmaker the other day (which probably deserves its own slice of the gender/socioeconomics discussion as men who have some kind of male privilege basically get to pick and choose from throngs of young, attractive women) and saw this:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Ain’t it wild to see women pushing for what many consider to be antiquted gender roles which clearly label the man as the stronger, protective party and the woman as the person to be taken care of while the man argues against it? I mean, think about that for a minute. Who’s right? And where does buddy’s hesitance to engage in chivalry come from? Is it a legitimate attempt to treat women as equals as opposed to being patronizing, or is it just laziness and narcissism? And is Patty right? If gender roles HAVE worked for millions of years, what happens when those gender roles change? How do both men and women adapt successfully to these changing roles? Or is that impossible?

As women and men: how do you deal with these sometimes conflicting issues? Discuss.

  1. I think you have reduced BMP to the parts that support “traditional” gender roles. I think their is a more immediate need is to adress other layers, i.e those which sustain rape culture (a global problem with specific problems in our community- see Dumi’s reference to “alleged rapes” pitting MHC vs SC) and the objectification of the Black female body. I believe we need to address the ways in which Black men have been allowed to pose Black male struggle as the defining “issue” of the Black community, with not challenging the ways in which sexism hinders the community’s ability to engage these challenges.

    We may not be at a point of agreeance on this matter, but we all know that something isn’t right between us. I resent how many people are willing to write the idea of BMP off and I think it has to do with comparing Black men to White men, instead of viewing their advantages and power over Black women. Without writing a post of my own here, I’ll just thank you for being willing to engage the concept at all and I hope we can all contribute to this dialogue.

    PS-thanks for naming two women and saying “a couple of these women have confessed to me their interest in alpha males. But I won’t say which two of these two are the two who said it.” LMAO

  2. Whole gang of grammatical errors, sorry.

  3. Ralph Kenol says:

    Great Post! What you are saying is real talk and worth serious consideration but I think it’s only one aspect of the whole black male privilege issue. To be clear, I believe that black male privilege is a part of a more general male privilege and I am one to argue that there are going to burdens and benefits for each gender. (It seems like every year a young cat gets killed trying to defend his girl in Brooklyn or Queens. Giving birth is still hard too) There is an aspect of the privilege that is specific to certain types of men. Jewel Woods does a better job listing those privileges that I could ever do. Now I do think that some of the things on his list are straight B.S. but who can deny that “leadership” in our community almost always has a male face but getting the job done and really doing the work is usually associated with women. We all acknowledge that hypersexualized image of the black male has more often been a hook up than a hindrance for a brotha. (“Is it really true what they say about Black men?”) Not so much for black women.

    We have actually reached a point in hip hop where the rapper has basically assumed the position of a plantation owner. (Ok in this scene, we gonna have all the big booty h$#s wit champagne an money spillin on em. put in some guns too. In the next video, we gonna have you wit your girl. She will have a slammin body and long hair and she will be light skin or foreign looking and it will just be you and her.”) Reminds of the plantation master with his virtuous white woman in the day and then he has his way with his slaves at night.

    Black women have been relegated to being exaggerated body parts in videos and uneducated black men become heroes. Is it anything else but a privilege to live your life like you are in a rap video and not be considered a sociopath? The truth is that there are a lot of young black men that do and are not really penalized for it in the community. This is a privilege that say Arab or Korean men just don’t have. Imagine two Korean women talking about whether they should date Cho-Lu because he only has one baby mama and even though he is 42 his album is about to drop. Really?

    Now some might say my comments focus on only segment of the community. Some might even argue that I’m on some bougie ish. C’mon. Really? I’m an Alpha and an Ivy league attorney and there are cats in my demographic that are straight beasts. You cannot tell them a damn thing. These are the cats who weigh 396lbs talking about how they can’t get with a girl who doesn’t take care of herself. This is privilege. It’s black male privilege because many of these men have a sense of exceptionalism because they feel like just by virtue of not being the other broke ass negroes they are entitled to whatever they want. This is not the same as white,chinese,left handed mexican jew privilege but it is some kind of benefit that black men can have by virtue of their being black men.

  4. AssertiveWit says:

    I rarely discuss issues like this on my blog because there is always that one person who wants to come and “argue” about the matter at hand. I don’t mind “discussing” things in a civil manner but it’s one of those sensitive subjects that people who feel VERY strongly on, appear to be VERY pushy about you accepting their POV.

    From what I have read and heard from certain Black women regarding this, it does come across as a double standard. “Treat me like a woman, respect me but…make more money or all the money in the household and what’s yours is mine”. That kind of thinking doesn’t sit well with me because I wouldn’t want a man thinking like that in regards to me. Equality is a funny thing…so many people CLAIM to want it but will retreat to their necessary gender role when they want to be doted upon. It isn’t fair. I believe in TRUE equality but then again, I view things with less gray areas than most. If you tell me you want to be treated fairly, I do that, regardless of you wanting special treatment tomorrow. It can’t work both ways, regardless of ANY argument ANY woman wants to use as an example. Either you accept that men WILL be placed above women, in the grand scheme of things, or you fight for everyone to be on equal playing ground and you ADHERE to that.

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