We need more men to understand how the messages we receive about sex hurt more than women — that these messages hurt us in myriad ways, too. It’s time that we name the ways that patriarchy teaches men to pursue unhealthy sexuality in ways that hurt everyone. Thus, I want to analyze four of the most prominent messages men are taught about our sexuality.
Despite progress in raising awareness of sexual violence, there are still those who attempt to lay people’s trauma on a spectrum with one end being “shut up, it’s not that bad” and the other end being “legitimate rape.” All this ends up doing is denying the pain of survivors. Here are four important things we need to do in order to abandon perpetrator logic.
I would posit that there are a few things that it’s about time all White people figured out. These are things we’ve been told collectively by people of Color countless times, but we don’t seem to be hearing them. Perhaps we can hear them differently when called in by a White person to consider how we can actively work to end racial injustice and oppression.
No, not all men will be like the USCB shooter, but if we are not actively working to dismantle the ways in which men learn the type of entitlement that he felt, then we are surely contributing to the wider problem. We cannot expect women to be the only one’s leading men to change. So here are 10 simple ways that men can combat sexist entitlement in public.
When I do Q&A sessions with young people, a White young person will usually ask, “How do you feel about Affirmative Action? It’s not fair that I will have less of a chance of getting into college because of what happened in the past!” Ask any White person how they feel about Affirmative Action, and you’ll probably hear that it is “unfair.” This is just not true.
Recently I got an angry e-mail from someone who knows my parents pretty well, and had read something I had written about privilege. “How disrespectful can you be!? You’re spitting in the face of everything your parents have worked for.” I explained that acknowledging privilege doesn’t discredit any of my dad’s hard work. It simply puts that hard work in context.
I want to see a masculinity where love, power with, and compassion replace dominance, power over, and violence — a masculinity where some of those good messages I learned from the men in my life endure while leaving behind the destructive things that hurt me and so many other male-identified people. In short, we need a new way to understand ourselves as men.
We must get in touch with our cultural heritage to understand our stake in ending White Supremacy through a connection to what we lost, but we also have to understand and remain accountable to the privileges that Whiteness affords us every day. In some ways, this is a complex tension to hold. Because while not all White people are bad, Whiteness surely is.
There are many aspects of my identity that afford me privilege. I used to feel as if this meant I was a bad person, and I was trapped in shame. In time I came to realize that if privilege guilt prevents me from acting against oppression, then it is simply another tool of oppression. I had to find a way to move out of guilt if I wanted to make a difference.
Dear White Folks: We have to stop using the n-word. Like really, really. There was a word invented by White people as a pejorative for Black folks. Our people gave up the privilege to use that word the moment we invented it as a tool of oppression. So here are four reasons why it’s never okay for us to say it — no matter what Black folks are doing.