Tag Archives: gender violence

Feminist Care Packages: Healing Love for Hard Times

23 Feb
Image of a brown paper package tied up with string

CC Licensed from LethaCollen on Flickr

“Thrown away where? The world is round.” – Luciente

This month we’d hoped to talk about love and relationships but a lot of terrible things have been happening in the world. Whitney died. Too Short gave some terrible advice. So did Not So Very Smart brothas. and there’s a thread in these narratives about black women and girls bringing things on to themselves when really the deadly combination of heteronormative masculinity is to blame.

The binaristic gendered scripts we set up for people are killing usLiterally. The conversations that blame feminine people for the violence they experience but some how miss the role that masculine of center people have in that violence is beyond me. Yolo reminded us that most often, what survivors want is for the abuse to stop. They don’t want to get rid of the person who is hurting them; they just don’t want to fear for their lives.

Too often in this culture, safety means the survivor has to leave. We haven’t yet figured out how to create accountability that doesn’t look like recriminalizing the survivor by restricting their movements or demanding that the abuser be held accountable in a way that supports the survivor’s needs. We blame their choices and actions because honestly we can’t seem to wrap our minds around the massive collective fail that didn’t keep someone safe. We point fingers at the survivor and try to believe that perpetrators are uniquely bad people, not logical products of a culture that rewards aggression and violence directed at those who appear weaker. How does one ever make sense of what types of violence are and are not ok when the state enacts violence on communities and the planet all the time?

We can’t throw away people. Not into prison, where they come out years later more hardened than they were when they went in. Community service and anger management don’t come close to undoing a lifetime of social conditioning that supports masculine folks thinking that abusing feminine folks is only bad if you get caught or leave marks. Abusers live in our communities and our gender scripts recreate them everyday. There is no security in locking people away when we actively create these ideas about how to relate to each other in our society. If the culture is toxic, a quarantine is not an effective solution.

In trying to make real the transformative justice we desire for both survivors and perpetrators of gender based violence, The CFC, FAAN Mail, and Quirky Black Girls present Feminist Care Packages*. The CFC has been sending feminist care packages to each other in our times of need but the project of care goes beyond our collective. Feminist Care Packages are public offerings for healing and justice, invitations to survivors, perpetrators, and community to create a new narrative for the world we want. They include a letter to the person and a list of resources that may help them on the road to resilience. These are open outpourings of hope and possibility.

We are not naive enough to think that these suggested resources are enough to shift centuries’ old ideas about behavior but we hope that they begin conversations that have a greater capacity to hold the complex reality of human existence. By holding folks accountable and giving them tools to see their world differently, another world is possible.

There will be a series of Care Packages but in light  of recent events, the first Feminist Care Package is for Too $hort.

*Shout out to Mark Anthony Neal for giving this idea to Moya several years ago.

“And You Even Licked My Balls: A Black Feminist Note on Nate Dogg”

20 Jun

***Note: This piece is from the blog vault of CF ReninaJ, who maintains her own spot at newmodelminority.com. As the 24 hr news cycle goes, it’s easy to miss great commentary on popular culture. Occasionally, then, we’ll share with you pieces that we think you should read, which you might’ve missed. We hope you enjoy the reflection below on Nate Dogg’s life and music for those feminist, Hip Hop enthusiasts among us.***

So I have been thinking of Nate Dogg in general but rap music in particular and the difference between how I as a Black woman and how White men relate to rap music.

While I understand that sexism and patriarchy is systemic, that we LEARN and are taught how to be “men” and “women,” how to be racist, how to be sexist as well as  how to Love, how to forgive.

What I am getting at is, to be crude, we don’t pop out of our mommas knowing how to be men and women, we are taught from infancy on through blue and pink clothing,  girls being told to sit a certain way that is lady like, boys being told crying is weak, and not manly etc.

I also know that there are several structural things impacting the lives of Black men and women such as archaic drug laws, mandatory minimums, three strikes, the underdevelopment of public education, gentrification, police who shot and kill Black people with impunity, and the lack of good grocery stores in working class and low income neighborhoods. All this matters.

Culture matters as well. Culture meaning,  music, books, websites and films.

Culture is hegemony’s goon.

Which brings me to Nate Dogg. The recent coverage of his death clarified for me why some issues that I have thought of about rap music but didn’t have the language to articulate.

I am a little troubled over how White mens investment in Black mens misogyny in rap music isn’t interrogated. And how this impacts me and the women who look like me.

Society is organized by and for men.

And our lives in the US are hyper segregated racially.

By and large Black people don’t live around White folks, so most White men can experience the pleasure of singing “and you even licked my balls” in the comfort of their cars, homes and apartments, whereas a young Black man said to me nearly two years ago on 125th street that he wanted to “stick his dick in my butt.”

On the street, in broad daylight.

This was so absurd I thought HE was singing a rap song initially. No, he was talkingto me.

Consequently, largely, White men are  not subjected to the kinds of violence and sexism that is sung about in the songs that Nate sang the hook on. As a Black woman, I am.

As a woman, as a Black women who Walks like she has a right to be in the street, this means my behind is toast.

For example, there is an officer in my neighborhood that harasses me so fucking much that I am now on a first name basis, Peace to Officer Anderson. Typically he stops me because there is apparently a 11pm curfew in DC for children under 18 on week nights. He normally asks me from his car, “Hey, how old are you.”  Dead ass, the second time he did it, I responded saying I was grown. o.O

After the third time, I was like “Mr. Officer whats your name because this is either the second or third time you have asked me that, and seeing as we are going to keep running into each other, I thought we could just on speaking terms.” He smiled. Doesn’t MPD carry 9mm’s too? Sassing officers of the state who carry legal weapons?  Ummhmm. And, he told me his name.

My clarity on this issue came about after I read a excerpt of a post on NPR about Nate Dogg by Jozen Cummings. He writes,

“There’s also “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Get None),” a song that was never chosen as a single from Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle but has become a favorite for many DJs trying to work a room. The song is a tour-de-force of misogynistic lyrics, but only Nate Dogg can make a verse about dismissing a one-night stand sound so sensitive and endearing.”

“Remembering Nate Dogg, Hip-Hop’s Hook Man”

by Jozen Cummings, NPR.org,  March 16th, 2011

(via beatsrhimesandlife)

Then I reblogged and responded on tumblr saying:

In some ways, Cummings comments re Nate Dogg remind me of why I think The Chronic and Doggy style are the Devil, in terms of rap music. Men in general and White men in particular have a different relationship to the kinds of violence that I am subjected to as a Black woman who WALKS like she has a right to be in the street. Shit…two weeks ago I told two dudes to kill me or leave me alone. Dead ass. This ain’t for play. This is our lives.

Have you ever thought about White men’s investment in rap lyrics by Black men that are hella outta pocket?

I went to look for Cummings racial identity and I learned that he is African American, Japanese and Puerto Rican, so I am not saying that he is White. What I am saying is that his writing about Nate Dogg’s misogyny reminds me of how when the misogyny bomb is dropped, people who look like me tend to get hit with hella sharpnel. Whereas White men get to live out their thug fantasies singing along with Nate “And you even licked my balls.”

The Chronic and Doggystyle are sonically genius, however, did they up the ante on allowing White men and even some Black ones live out their Black sex fantasies?

Do you see the connection between Black women and White men that I am trying to make, why or why not?

Originally posted at New Model Minority.com.

On Ashley Judd and the Politics of Citation

13 Apr

Ashley Judd holding a copy of her new book

A couple of folks were asking for a crunk response to Ashley Judd’s memoir passages and the resulting controversy. Judd is being called to task for singling out rap music as the “contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.” You can read her words here.

There are lots of responses that you can check out but I want to say something about the folks who defend Judd’s words with “Well, She has a point.”

Black women have been talking about (and back to) misogyny in hip-hop since it’s inception. Y’all remember Roxanne Shanté right?

It’s frustrating when all the work that black women have done to speak back to music that has particular, real world consequences in our lives is ommitted and unacknowledged. We’ve also done this talking back with an analysis of the systemic forces that make black men/rap music the scape goats for societal oppression of women. I know it’s a personal narrative, but can some hip-hop feminist foremothers get a shout out?

If we can all turn to the Ten Crunk Commandments for Re-Invigorating Hip Hop Feminist Studies, we’ll see that the first commandment reminds us to “know and cite” authors who have shaped the field of hip-hop feminism. This commandment doesn’t just apply to Judd but also to some of her defenders. If you are going to defend her position, can you cite the black women who have actually done work on the issue in scholarship, film, and action? The “she has a point” camp feels dismissive of decades of resistance and carefully crafted projects by hip-hop feminists and activists.

Rap music’s connection to rape culture and misogyny is real explicit. Its visible and repetitve invocations of gendered violence voiced by black and brown men make it an easy target. But by only focusing our attention there, we miss the larger picture of a white supremacist capitalist (hetero)patriarchal society that supports rap’s bad rap. It’s not a coincidence that we don’t know the names of the white men who sign the checks that rappers’ cash. Four major music labels account for almost 80% of the industry and not one CEO is a person of color (…and the white man get paid off of all of that).

The gendered violence that Judd experienced in her own life was not accompanied by thumping bass or autotune. To return to the commandments, if Judd had contextualized and situated her comments within her own lived reality, would rap music makes sense as the soundtrack to the misogyny she and the women closest to her have experienced or are experiencing?

CF Esha’s last three posts provide important context for how gendered violence is a social issue that goes so much deeper than music. She points to international military attacks by the U.S., national and state legislation, along with a moral cultural war that work in concert to oppress women, and women of color most specifically.

I am a big fan of holding rappers accountable for their misogyny. Trust. But I also want to push for white folks to hold each other accountable for the ways in which they perpetuate systems of oppression in culture writ large. I’m interested to read the whole book to see how she understands white culture’s impact on the way she experienced violence. She mentions the soundtrack but what about the movie itself?

*Update*

Ashley Judd Apologizes

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 121 other followers

%d bloggers like this: