Young Black boys and all young girls share something in common. Mothers and fathers of Black children must teach their young boys how to survive outside the home.
Black children have one existence within the home; but once they step outside the door into the “white world,” they are an endangered species. Black boys must be taught survival lessons. Words, word inflections, blinks of the eye, movement of the hands, position of the shoulders and hips convey messages that the white world may consider hostile, threatening, and deserving of retaliation.
The same lessons should be taught girls. However much “freedom” females have gained, however “liberated” they may feel, the world outside their home is dangerously patriarchal.
Males do not go to “women’s liberation school.” Males who “look over” females, males who approach females for a date—for the most part, have not been similarly “liberated” from patriarchal norms, rules, expectations. Many males understand women’s liberation to mean simply that females are more free to do what men want.
Patriarchy is oppressive to most men, and my hope is that someday men will realize that.
But today, Patriarchy still runs much of the show. It has produced the winner-take-all rules for politics, business, and the military. Males-in-charge in any of these fields of endeavor continue to see the female as part of the spoils to which they are entitled.
The “warrior” model dominates, whether the action involves war, sports, adventure, business, rescue efforts, weather forecasting, or relationships. To be accepted, boys must be aggressive both socially and sexually. Girls are part of the pay-off. Boys are humiliated by their peers for not “scoring” with girls. Some insist this is “nature” due entirely to youthful hormones. But many boys are not aggressive by nature; rather than sex, they may prefer to have intelligent conversations with girls.
I strongly believe that men need to stand up to their own patriarchal oppression. Patriarchy promises a great deal to males; however, most men receive precious few of the “benefits” of a patriarchal society. Males are taught that dominance is their birthright. The one thing left for most of them to dominate is the female.
Until our society opts out of Patriarchy, it cannot afford to let black boys be safe or allow girls to be free.