The Blackman has always been held up for public evaluation and scrutiny, whereas this has never been the case for the Blackwoman. In fact, the Blackwoman has been shielded, protected from such public evaluation; they are a protected class in this way.—Shahrazad Ali
While much has been said, written, and studied about Black America more generally, and certain aspects and sectors of it more specifically (for example, the “hood” or ghetto precincts and its denizens), what hasn’t received as close a look are the inner workings, motivations, and psychology of a small but rather vocal and, to some extent, influential group of African Americans: Black feminists. While they’ve been around since at least the early 1970s, there has to date been no attempt to delve into what makes them as a group tick, to attempt to explain why they do what they do.
In this article, I will lay out my particular take on the psychology of the Black feminist, where it comes from, and, finally, how it manifests in real time today—what I refer to as the Ms. Ann syndrome. It is, if I do say so myself, an unprecedented look into the psyche of a particular sort of Black woman in Black America.
So let’s get right to it.
The Bougie Sista Mindset
As Roosh so eloquently put it in his recent article “What Is A Social Justice Warrior?” those who make it their life calling in our time to “right wrongs” almost always come from an “alt” or “unconventional” background; indeed, such people regard their “otherness” as a kind of badge of honor, imbuing them with special superpowers that make it possible for them to lord it over everyone else. When it comes to Black feminists, via the superpower of intersectionality, they can claim a unique oppression: they’re not just women but they’re Black women, and in some cases they’re queer Black women, and in many cases they’re “plus-sized,”unconventionally attractive Black women, and … well, you get the idea.
But what they don’t tell you is the following:
They’re very often not very attractive Black women, at least not in terms of what most of the Black men who matter would think of when asked to give their idea of such a sista who fits the description. And it is not making the select brotha’s cut that really puts a bee in the Black feminist’s bonnet.
Now, of course, they’ll deny this, but the sheer volume of their screeching in protest really tells you all you need to know on this score—they care deeply what select brothas—the Mr. Bigs of Black America—think of them. If this wasn’t the case, they would have never come out with ridiculous drivel like “Black male privilege“—yet another smokescreen for Black feminists crying sour grapes.
Anyway, let’s discuss the essential mindset that animates the Black feminist. It is informed by hailing from at least nominally middle-class and increasingly upper-middle-class backgrounds. They tend to attend “White” schools—either parochial or private schools outright or, in the case of public schools, those that tend to be suburban and “magnet” in orientation. Moreover, they tend to take classes in which the majority of their classmates will not be Black, and this will tend to be the case going all the way through their graduate studies (if anyone out there can hip me to well-known Black feminists who have attended predominately Black schools/universities, by all means do so; to the best of my knowledge, this simply is not the case).
Of course, their experience as feminists, like just about everything else in their lives, is defined in “White” terms; after all, feminism came about as a direct result of the actions of White women and continues to be defined along those lines, despite almost a half-century of teeth-gnashing, feet-stamping, and “me too!”ing on the part of Black feminists themselves. From their high school and/or college years when they’re first cutting their teeth on feminist ideology, they do so in the shadows of their White “sisters”—who regard them as little more than stepsisters up in the attic, in truth of fact.
But perhaps the most impactful experience for the Black bougie sista turned Black feminist is life after graduation from college and heading out into the working world. Most sistas of this class tend to work in “do-gooder” professions—nonprofit, health care, certain types of law, and, more generally, academia. And it is here that they, once again, are surrounded by Beckys and Rachels, where they “live” cheek by jowl with them. The sistas that become Black feminists see the world of Becky and Rachel and see the possibilities—of being able to be adored, protected, and catered to by the whole of society. They marvel at how their White “sisters” can explore themselves sexually—even to the point of making horrendously boneheaded mistakes in doing so—and none of that is held against them, professionally or otherwise. For example, Becky and Rachel can hook up like mad in school and shortly thereafter, and they can still “get their Chad”, i.e., get a (relatively) conventionally attractive, educated, and successful White guy willing to go on bended knee and put a ring on it (compare and contrast to brothas, regardless of where they fall on the socioeconomic status (SES) spectrum, who aren’t exactly the marrying kind among America’s men). Many sistas in this strata know and understand well that if they give off even the hint of being a ho, they can and will forfeit their pass to the better-off brothas: they may like it, but they ain’t gonna put a ring on it.
Think about this for a moment—put yourself into Danielle’s or Tanya’s shoes. For most of their lives, they have lived as “aliens” among Whites generally, and White women in particular; oh, they may play a role in their lives but rarely anything more than a bit part, so to speak. Wouldn’t you want more for yourself too?
A Mistake of the Intellect
Of course, the problem here is that Black feminists haven’t put anywhere near enough thought into their ideology, thinking that all they need to do is mix ‘n’ match elements of White feminist “thought.” For example, take the idea(?) of patriarchy—if one accepts the (White) feminists’ premise, it then raises powerful questions as to how this applies to the American Black man, who has never had, and doesn’t now have, patriarchal control over his woman. In fact, it has long been a matter of common knowledge that Black America is decidedly matriarchal in configuration, function, and outlook. Black feminists never really address this glaring hole in their “argument,” instead attempting to sidestep the whole thing by tossing the red herring of so-called “Black male privilege” onto the table, yet another White feminist ideological knockoff (by discussing “White straight male privilege”). Again, Black men writ large have not and cannot be said to possess “privilege” in any way that would be considered meaningful, and again, upon closer inspection of the facts, it is revealed that if anyone in Black America enjoys “privilege,” it is Black women themselves, seven ways to Sunday—from presidential attention and caring about their health and wellness concerns to that same presidential laser-like focus when a Black girl is killed, which raises the profile of her death to such an extent that her killers are swiftly apprehended by local police. Compare and contrast to President Obama’s tepid responses to the verdicts in the cases of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner; and Obama could barely finish unveiling his My Brother’s Keeper initiative before the Black feminist coalition jumped down his throat for daring to suggest that any attention be given to the plight of Black men at the Oval Office level. There are many more examples.
Undaunted, Black feminists continue to make the case(?) that Black female lives are somehow not just substandard when compared with Black males’ but also that said Black males are themselves the direct cause and reason for the deplorable conditions of Black female lives—this, despite the fact—FACT—that Black women themselves call the shots in every demonstrable way in Black American life. That Black feminists have been able to get this far on such a flimsy, weak-sauce “argument” really does beggar belief.
The Ultimate Goal: To Be Ms. Ann—What Else?
Of course, the ultimate goal of Black feminists—de facto White women who aren’t attractive enough to get the attention of select Black men (or successful enough to swim in the same social orbit waters in order to get close enough to them)—is to somehow ape enough White feminist cant to qualify as quasi–Ms. Anns themselves. This explains all of the squawking on the part of Black feminists of late around so-called “issues” like “street harassment” (which the White outrage outfit Hollaback! recently proved, by hoisting themselves on their own petard, is a bunch of bunk) because Black feminists are trying to say that they’re exactly like the Ms. Anns of the social justice warrior world, when all available evidence, from what little has been academically conducted to what one can glean with one good eye out on the streets for themselves, says otherwise. The sad truth is, like Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Black feminists aren’t the people they think they are, and no one is going along with the charade—which explains how and why Black feminists themselves continue to get short shrift from their own “sisters” time and again, as recently as a month and half ago. After all, if Hollback! really thought Black women mattered, they’d have included them in their big media video too, now wouldn’t they?
In summation, the entire project that is Black feminism is really an elaborate smokescreen that runs interference for the fact that there is a not insignificant number of Black women in our time who are deeply envious of White women, want what they have, and have set out to try out “Ms. Ann” herself … which, by all accounts, hasn’t gone over very well.
As per usual, Black women are attempting to do everything but accept themselves for who and what they are and stand up for, and with, the very people in America they should most be able to trust: Black men. But, I fear at this juncture, that they may have alienated far too many brothas to make a difference.
I sure do hope that I’m wrong.