2010-03-18

Black Male Privilege

I heard an interesting story over at NPR. It's about something that is discussed here, in not so formal terms, but something that is often dismissed. Black Male Privilege. Now let's not get it confused with white male privilege. It isn't the same. This privilege is relevant only within the black community. Black men and their privilege over black women. We tend to focus on talking about black men and their crisis, never do we focus on their advantages.

L'Heureux Lewis, the person who was interviewed in the NPR piece, pointed out an example of incarceration rates. When we discuss incarceration rates, we tend to focus on black men, while ignoring the issues that cause black women to become incarcerated.

Lewis also talks about sexual assault within the black community. How often sexual assault within the black community is easily dismissed. Remember the Rihanna incident? We do have a tendency to blame the victim, or rather protect the assailant. We tend to view incidents of sexual assault as trapping the black man. It seems to show sympathy for the victim is hurting or degrading black men, and we pretend assault against black women don't exist, or that somehow it's the woman's fault when these things happen.


I found it interesting that one focus of privilege within the black community was negotiating sex. Black men who are educated and employed within our community are at an advantage. Due to the imbalance between black men and black women who fit into this criteria, there has been actual discussion of man sharing, sleeping with married men, or for black women to "settle" for those who are not as educated or not employed in a professional capacity. I think we are the only race who does this. I've never seen a professional white woman be expected to date or marry a line cook at a fast food restaurant for hopes that one day he'll move up. They are expected to be with established men, where as black women are expected to help establish their men.

I do like that Professor Lewis also addresses "Denzel Principle" book that came out, showing black women why they can't get a man. Why aren't black men asking what they are doing that impacts relationships? It seems when relationships are mentioned, the focus is always on black women.

Do you think black men are capable of seeing black male privilege? Do you think it exists?