MY STREAMING THOUGHTS
on Men "Protecting Black Women"
Men, protecting black women should be grounded in respect, equality, and the recognition of their individuality and autonomy. Here are some ways men can protect black women without inadvertently invoking internalized misogyny and patriarchy.
01. Understand That Men Are Inherently Misogynistic: Recognize that as a man, you've been socialized in a society that promotes patriarchal values and leads to inherent internalized misogyny. Acknowledge this reality and commit to learning and unlearning as necessary. This understanding is a crucial foundation for respecting and supporting black women without perpetuating harmful narratives or behaviors.
02. Educate Yourself: Learn about systemic racism, sexism, intersectionality, and other relevant concepts. Read books and articles, listen to podcasts, attend lectures and seminars. It's essential to understand the specific forms of oppression and discrimination that black women face due to the intersection of race and gender.
03. Listen and Validate Experiences: Black women's experiences with sexism and racism are unique and can be very different from your own. When black women share their experiences, listen without interrupting or trying to relate it back to your own experiences. Validate their feelings and experiences, even if they're not something you've personally encountered or can fully understand.
04. Amplify Their Voices: If you are in a position of privilege, use it to amplify the voices of black women. This can be as simple as sharing their work or perspectives on social media, or as significant as advocating for their inclusion in decision-making roles or panels.
05. Check Your Privilege: Acknowledge the privileges you have as a man, and be aware of how these can play out in your interactions with women. For instance, make sure you're not talking over or interrupting black women, or expecting them to educate you on their experiences.
06. Challenge Stereotypes and Biases: Confront and question stereotypes, biases, and racist or sexist behaviors when you see them. This could be in the form of a joke, an offhand comment, or even a discriminatory policy at work.
07. Support Their Work: Support black women in their professional and personal endeavors. This might mean buying from black women-owned businesses, supporting black female artists, or advocating for equal pay and opportunities in the workplace.
08. Teach Other Men: Encourage other men to understand and respect the experiences of black women. If you see problematic behavior, intervene and educate them on why it's harmful. Absolutely spend more time holding men accountable over trying to hold women accountable. Women are capable of doing that.
09. Respect Their Autonomy: Avoid adopting a "savior" mentality. Black women do not need to be saved or protected in a paternalistic way. Respect their decisions and support them, rather than trying to control or dictate their actions.
10. Promote Equality in Relationships: If you're in a relationship with a black woman, ensure that it is balanced and respectful. Share responsibilities equally, and respect her choices, boundaries, and career.
11. Advocate for Policy Change: Advocate for policies and institutions to change discriminatory practices. This might involve lobbying for policies that protect black women from violence and discrimination, or promoting inclusivity and diversity in your workplace.
Remember that it's not about protecting black women because they are helpless or vulnerable, but about challenging the systems and behaviors that pose a risk to their safety, opportunities, and well-being.