ChickenBones: A Journal

for  Literary & Artistic African-American  Themes

   

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For the most part, the literature of the Black liberation movement speaks

seldom of the particular concerns of Black women, or of the Black woman as a human

being whose existence is not necessarily tied to that of a particular man. However,

this is not something peculiar to the Black liberation movement, but

rather is reflective of the general misogynism of Western civilizations.

 

 

Books by Kalamu ya Salaam

 

The Magic of JuJu: An Appreciation of the Black Arts Movement  /   360: A Revolution of Black Poets

Everywhere Is Someplace Else: A Literary Anthology  /  From A Bend in the River: 100 New Orleans Poets

Our Music Is No Accident   /  What Is Life: Reclaiming the Black Blues Self

My Story My Song (CD)

 

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Breaking Silences and Broken Social Contracts

Films by Laura Holman Rahman

 

 

Speaking for Human Elevation

Laura Holman Rahman—social activist, writer, director, producer and lecturer—contributes to the stories of women and men of African descent by addressing intra-racial sexual terrorism in her film Broken Social Contracts

Laura began speaking on societal issues when she was a teenager in her hometown Detroit, Michigan.  She was selected as a Rosa Parks Scholar while serving as a teen leader in her community. For over 20 years she has actively engaged in social issues of our communities. Laura recognizes the importance of activism and how young adults can contribute to change in our society. She continues to charge young adults to actively confront systems of oppression and elevate the human condition across race, class and gender in the community organization she founded, T.O.P. (Teens of Purpose).

In 2006 while attending Spelman College, she produced, wrote, directed and edited her first short documentary Breaking Silences ©2006, an award winning documentary sponsored by the National Black Programming Consortium and the Digital Moving Image Salon at Spelman College. It confronts the increase of sexual terrorism on college campuses. It has been screened nationally and internationally as a teaching tool in colleges and universities. Her activist practicum while attending Spelman resulted in her second short documentary A Journey Shared: Reflections of Toni Cade Bambara © 2007 & 2008, which has been screened nationally at film festivals, conferences, colleges and universities. . . . Laura Rahman

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A Journey Shared: Reflections of Toni Cade Bambara

Toni Cade Bambara's work was instrumental in my social critique of women in media, development as a documentary filmmaker and charge as a social activist. I produced, wrote & directed a tribute to her as my practicum while attending Spelman College. This is a short documentary excerpt of 17 minute piece that has explosive heart filled expressions by student activists' women sharing a common journey of inner growth.

It exhibits student women activists who connect their activism to the work of documentary filmmaker, activist, writer and educator Toni Cade Bambara. Bambara's vision of truth telling is the embodiment of this documentary as these women's narratives exemplifies the struggles and triumphs of their shared charge to become agents of positive social change.

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Breaking Silences: Spelman College students protest, Pt. 1  / Breaking Silences: Spelman College students protest, Pt.2

Spelman College (Atlanta, GA) students walk out of class to march in protest throughout the Atlanta University Center (AUC) to bring awareness of sexual assaults. The protest was led by the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance an organization of the Women's Research & Resource Center at Spelman College.

 

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Broken Social Contracts—Ms Rahman's first feature length film—is a 75 minute video follow-up to her short film Breaking Silences. The 6 sections of the film is designed to raise awareness & consciousness.

 

The National College Women Sexual Victimization Study estimated that between 1 in 4 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years.

 

84% of college men who committed rape said that what they did was definitely not rape.

42% of college women who are raped tell no one about their assault.

42% of the women who were raped said they had sex again with the men who assaulted them.

Nearly one third of college men said they were likely to have sex with an unwilling partner if they thought they could get away with it

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/

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Synopsis

Rahman’s film explores female and male relationships on the backdrop of two elite historically black colleges, Spelman and Morehouse (sister/brother institutions) in Atlanta, Georgia surrounding allegations of sexual assault on their campuses during the 2006 semester. Broken Social Contracts provides analyses beyond these two institutions through its interwoven poignant testimonials of activists, students, and scholars on gender roles within our society. Broken Social Contracts is a catalyst for stimulating conversation, while demonstrating how to engage in healthy relationships.

Statistics of sexual violence in our relationships are jarring and disturbing. Broken Social Contracts creates a profound opportunity of discovery and addresses the necessity for open dialogue within institutions of higher learning. The film brings voice to many of whom are often not discussed in our circles of influence. This is a film that addresses us ALL across race, class and gender!

 

Broken Social Contracts Part I—Addressing Sexual Terrorism  / Part 2—The Commodity of Women's Bodies

Part 3Impact of campus sexual violence  /  Part 4—Historic Black Colleges Relationship Challenged

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Our Women Keep our Skies From Falling

Six Essays in Support of The Struggle To Smash Sexism/Develop Women

 

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Rape: A Radical Analysis 

from an African-American Perspective

By Kalamu ya Salaam

The struggle to eradicate sexism and develop African-American women is, in our opinion, a key and critical aspect of our people's struggle for a better and more beautiful life.

Sexism is the systematic repression and exploitation of one group of people by another group of people based on the criterion of sex. Sexism, as institutionalized in America today, manifests itself as the social and material male domination of women.

Sexism, like capitalism and racism, is a pervasive evil that must be rooted out and eradicated through conscious, uncompromising and consistent struggle. But smashing sexism will not be easy.

First, we must fight against the myth that sexism is not a major problem in the African-American community. Second, we must deepen our theoretical and analytical understanding of sexism so that we can know precisely how to proceed.

Our purpose in this presentation is to offer an analysis and theory of the phenomenon of rape, one of the most blatant and violent forms of sexual oppression. Hopefully this presentation will inspire women to fight back, will inspire men to be self-critical, and will inspire each reader to reassess their own thoughts and actions with respect to woman/man relationships in general and the sexist practice of rape in particular.

The Need for a Radical Analysis

From an African-American Perspective

Throughout this country and particularly in the South, rape has been a controversial and emotion-drenched crime. Both the myths that surround rape as well as the societal responses to specific and alleged cases of rape have been fraught with ulterior motives which generally have done little if anything to assist the victim of rape, to rehabilitate (or even punish) the person who rapes, and to identify and remove the social causes and support mechanisms of rape.

Those who have heretofore addressed the issue of rape have generally done so from a narrow perspective which limits both analysis of. as well as proposed solutions to, the rape crisis. They have been divided by a culturally induced parochialism that causes one group to deny or depreciate the relevance and importance of another group's experiences and analysis.

Like the proverbial five blind people describing an elephant, groups with different orientations have latched onto different aspects of the rape problem and proclaimed their position the most important or relevant. However, just as an elephant is more than a tusk, trunk, torso, toenail or tail, rape is more than an excuse to lynch African-American men, a crime that happens to one out of twenty women in this country, an expression of macho manhood, a crime of violence, or an inherent and inevitable aspect of man/woman social relations in this society.

Without an analysis which starts with an assessment of the material and social reality of rape in its various manifestations, and then places those findings in a cultural and chronological context, there can be no overall coherent and relevant understanding and solution to the problem of rape.

Rape a Malignant in Our Community

Rape is rarely thought of as a major problem in the African-american community. But the statistics present a different picture. (At this point, it is important to note that statistics are skimpy and in many cases nonexistent on a detailed basis. There is still a great deal of data gathering to be done.)

Magaret 0. Hyde, writing in her book Speak Out On Rape!, reveals this most startling statistic:

large numbers of people believe that black men are more likely to attack white women than they are likely to attact black women. Many people believe that poor men typically attack rich women. Yet studies show that the rapist and his victim tend to be of the same race and class. According to the leading study by Menachem Amir, Patterns in Forcible Rape, 77 percent of all rapes have been committed by black men raping black women.

Before Amir's study in 1971 there was no major study of rape per se. Amir's pioneering study was based on reported rapes in Philadelphia. Other studies have collaborated that rape is primarily intra-racial and intra-class.

Susan Brownmiller, in her influential book Against Our Will, digs into Amir's study and into his background. Brownmiller then offers an analysis that puts the high incidence of Black men committing rape into a fuller perspective. Her analysis is based on the work of Marvin Wolfgang, the professor who taught Amir.

An understanding of the subculture of violence is critical to an understanding of the forcible rapist. "Social class, "wrote Wolfgang," looms large in all studies of violent crime." Wolfgang's theory, and I must oversimplify, is that within the dominant value system of our culture there exists a subculture formed of those from the lower classes, the poor, the disenfranchised, the black, whose values often run counter to those of the dominant culture, the people in charge. The dominant culture can operate within the laws of civility because it has little need to resort to violence to get what it wants. The subculture, thwarted, inarticulate and angry, is quick to resort to violence; indeed, violence and physical aggression become a common way of life. Particularly for young males.. .there is no getting around the fact that most of those who engage in antisocial, criminal violence (murder, assault, rape and robbery) come from the lower socioeconomic classes and contribute to crimes of violence in numbers disproportionate to their population ration in the census figures but not disproportionate to their position on the economic ladder.

Rape is a sexist crime of violence. It should not be surprising then that the general African-american community is plagued by high rates of rape.

But beyond BrownmilIer there is a more important truth. In the African-American community there seems, at first glance, to be more violence. But really that violence is puny when compared to the violence of the larger white community. Among our people, violence is primarily directed by one member of our community against another member of our community. Whereas, in the larger white society, violence is directed against other ethnic groups, against other nations and cultures, against different classes but rarely against each other; except, and not surprisingly so, among poor whites.

The violence of African-American men is deplored and fought against. The violence of white men is legitimized and celebrated.

White male violence is called big business, good government, law and order. Priests and ministers bless the violence of white men. Movies make heroes out of white macho men.

Yes, crimes of violence are high in the African-american community, but it is not because our people are violent by nature. In the absence of liberation theory, organization and practice, petty violence of self-aggrandizement often seems the only way to get ahead. But our petty violence pales in comparison to that of the majority of the whites who created and continue to perpetuate the American ideals. We've dropped no atomic bombs, we've never stolen whole continents, nor committed genocide against the Native American, nor enslaved millions of people. The truth is that violence, to quote Brother Rap Brown, is as American as "cherry pie."

All of America is violent, even though the violence of the dominant society is often disguised, externalized and legitimized. The violence of sexism, specifically rape, is, in its institutionalized forms, distinctly a phenomenon imposed on us by the dominant society.

The number of people annually killed in factory "accidents," many of them due to faulty equipment or unsafe working conditions, is a violence which rivals the infamous homicide rate in African-American communities. But, such violences are rarely compared because this would expose precisely where the violence originates and who benefits from the perpetuation of violence. Joe Brown is frustrated and confused when he shoots his best friend over an argument about a bottle of beer. J. P. Stevens is thoroughly clear and conscious when he creates the conditions which lead to death under his employ.

In the same way, the rich, generally are not thought of as rapists. Those statistics which do exist will show the rich as a small percentage of rapists, yet further investigation will reveal that the rich generally do not show up in crime statistics because the laws were made to protect them.

For example, if you are rich enough to get an excellent lawyer, you can be acquitted on most cases which go to court, and can generally get out of even having to go to court. -In capital offenses and other major cases, you can plea bargain for a lesser charge, get light and/or suspended sentences, and achieve a parole much quicker than the poor charged for the same crime.

This note of caution is necessary less we be mislead by the available statistics. While our concern is with the high rates of Black on Black rape, it is at the same time necessary that we place this concern into the proper context. Otherwise, we will fall head long into the racist mythology about rape, namely that African-American men are rapists by nature.

It is bur contention that the class and racist nature of America conspires to render white rapists invisible and simultaneously, shines the spotlight on African-American rapists.

Nevertheless, the greater violence of the white world which victimizes us can in no way be used to excuse or condone the violence we commit against each other, and particularly the sexist violence we African-American men wage against African-American women.

Rape: An American Way of Life

Ellen Bernstein and Brandy Rommel, writing in the October 1975 edition of Today's Health magazine, present an overview of the frequency of rape in America. "In 1973 there were 51,000 reported rapes in the United States - 1 every 10 minutes. While this represents a 55 percent increase in reported rapes since 1968, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), rape is still one of the most underreported crimes in the nation."

If it is true, and we firmly believe that it is, that rape is the most underreported crime in America, then one can easily imagine the pervasiveness of rape in the African-American community.

In America, both past and present, it has been the African-American woman who has been the leading victim of rape. During slavery the rape of the African-American woman by her master and other men (particularly if they were white) was both legal (or covertly condoned) and common. After slavery, the rape of the African-American woman is technically illegal but, in fact, as the statistics show, rape is an everyday occurrence that happens disproportionately to African-American women. The depressing truth is that the problems of African-American women have always been ignored by both our own community and the larger white society.

Brownmiller notes that while Fanon (in Black Skins, White Masks), for example, wrote extensively on woman/man relationships and specifically spoke of the rape of the white woman by the Black man, Fanon had literally nothing to say about the Black woman.

Purely and simply, this radical theorist of third-world liberation was a hater of women. With an arrogance rarely matched by other radical male writers, Fanon goes on, "Those who grant our conclusions on the psychosexuality of the white woman may ask what we have to say about the woman of color. I know nothing about her."

Tragically, in that respect, Fanon is not the only Black man who knows "nothing" about Black women. For the most part, the literature of the Black liberation movement speaks seldom of the particular concerns of Black women, or of the Black woman as a human being whose existence is not necessarily tied to that of a particular man. However, this is not something peculiar to the Black liberation movement, but rather is reflective of the general misogynism of western civilizations. Misogynism is often unconsciously mirrored and advocated by men and women of color in their attempts to be accepted by the west. Hence, we understand why Fanon makes such a statement in Black Skins. White Masks.

One of the most shameful aspects of the aftermaths of slavery is that we Black men have, for the most part, in practice if not in theory, internalized American sexism. As a result, we treat women as objects to possess rather than as co-equal human beings with whom we should share our lives, loves and struggles.

The African-American woman has been the least understood person In American history. It is no wonder then that the alarming high frequency of African-American women being raped can be so easily

ignored. The rape of African-American women is not seen as a major problem precisely because the victim is both Black and female in a racist and sexist society.

Rape: The Historical Context

Rape is a violent form of male domination of women. Initially, in the European tradition and before that in the Judeo-christian tradition, rape was defined primarily as a property crime, i.e. the stealing of one man's property by another man. This led to the "legal" position on rape which denied that a man could rape his wife because she was de jure (in law) "his property."

As western society developed into modern American society, rape began to be defined as "unlawful carnal knowledge (sexual intercourse) with a woman without her consent." The law did not, just as in earlier history, apply to man and wife. In most states, to prove rape (unless, of course, it was a Black rapist and a white victim) it was necessary to prove both that force had been used and that there was penetration of the vagina by the rapist using his penis.

Needless to say, this was difficult to prove and often led to the humiliation of many women who sought legal redress. Rape victims, having already suffered rape, were then further subjected to "legal humiliation" on the witness stand as the lawyer for the rapist would question the victim's sexual history, question the specifics of the "alleged rape," and often, perversely, charge that the victim of the rape through her own actions caused the whole incident to' happen. Although, there has been some reform of the law in the area of question which are permissible to ask of a rape victim in court, there is still a great deal of psychological warfare waged against the rape victim when she attempts to seek legal redress.

But, whether viewed as strictly a property crime or as sexual assault (force), in the final analysis, the reality of rape was, and generally continues to be, determined predominately by men who are either the "owner" (i.e. the husband) or the legal authorities (i.e. male judge and juries). In its historical context, rape is a crime which adversely effects women but which is generally adjudicated by men.

Although rape disproportionately affects African-american women, she is seldom thought of as the prime victim of rape. Yet the authorities and the sociology experts know this. They have statistics and interviews which give them the data base to make the correct determination about who is most affected by rape. Instead the rape issue is used as one more club to beat African-americans into submission.

The objective result of rape and the societal reactions to rape is that it is used as a means to keep African-american men and women terrorized. While it is important to note that all women are victimized by rape, it is critical to note how the reality of rape is manipulated when it comes to the African-american woman as victim and the African-american man as rapist.

As Nathan Hare and others have noted, the white woman hollers but it's the African-american woman who suffers the highest percentage of rape and the African-american man who is stereotypically pictured and prosecuted as the number one rapist. This is the reality which colors African-american responses to rape. Unfortunately, this reality has led too many of us to dismiss the realness of rape as a major issue.

Rape: A Sexual Crime of Coercion

Rape is any sexual intimacy forced on one person by another! This definition is sufficiently broad as to cover forced acts of a sexual nature which do not necessarily include sexual intercourse per se, and is sufficiently specific so as to provide a reliable index to determine when rape has actually occurred. While this definition admits the possibility of women raping men or raping other women, the conditions under which we live, determine that, in the vast majority of cases, we are dealing with men raping women.

In America today, rape is the most violent form of sexual imperialism, i.e. the act of rape is an act of denying women authority/autonomy or self-rule in the same way that political imperialism usurps the sovereignty of colonized nations and peoples.

Rape is a specific reflection of a social system. Depending on who the victim and who the rapist are, rape becomes a very precise expression of the ideologies of capitalism, racism and sexism. If rape is artificially divorced from this context than it can not be fully understood and dealt with.

In their book Against Rape, Andra Medea and Kathleen Thompson offer a culture-bound view of rape in America:

to talk about rape we are obviously going to have to talk about a lot of other things as well. We are going to have to talk about how men think of women in this society, how they therefore relate to them, and what they do to them. Correspondingly, we are going to have to talk about what women think about men. We are going to have to talk about what it is in our society that not only fails to prevent rape but actively, if covertly, encourages it.

Rape is not a special, isolated act. It is not an aberration, a deviation from the norms of sexual and social behavior in this country. Rape is simply at the end of the continuum of male-aggressive, female passive patterns, and an arbitrary line has been drawn to mark it off from the rest of such relationships.

In America women are seen and projected as sexual objects, objects which are pliable, mindless and almost of another species. Women as sexual objects may be bought (prostitution and marriage) or stole (rape). By extension, sex becomes a possession that men consume rather than a social relationship that women and men share. The objectification of women, the obliteration of women as human beings and their projection as sexual objects, is inextricably woven into the total fabric of American culture. This wrong is not a simple rip or tear which can be mended but rather is a defect which demands the development of another culture/another society in order to reestablish human relationships between women and men.

Upon even a cursory investigation of America it becomes clear that nearly every popular image of manhood includes "owning a woman, whether it be "the successful man with a good woman behind him" or the Hollywood lover who "always gets his woman." The television commercials make clear both overtly and subliminally, and the billboards flash the message bigger than life, material acquisition means and includes acquiring women. Buy a new car, you get a woman. Buy a pack of cigarettes, you get a woman. Buy anything and a woman is thrown in. This is the image projected by advertising in America.

In this context, sex becomes something you buy directly or indirectly. Lacking the money or the desire to buy sex, sex then becomes something that men take from women. If at first the woman is reluctant, just apply a little forceful persuasion and everything will be all right. The point is that, due to the capitalist, racist and sexist basis of American society, every sexual contact between the average woman and man is, to one degree or another, heavily influenced, if not outright determined, by a male dominating and female degrading frame of reference.

The society at large encourages and condones macho behavior, a behavior which includes: 1. the active exploitation of women as sexual objects, 2. the institutionalizing of male chauvinism, and, 3. if the man is African-American, the attempt to deny that African-American women are significantly affected by the sexism of American men of all races. The society, also forces women to exhibit a passive behavior which includes: 1. their submission to the sexual objectification of a woman's body by capitalism, 2. submission to the sexual imperialism of sexism, and, 3. if the woman is African-American, the special oppression of racism which denies not only that a woman is equal to a man but also denies that an African-American woman is equal to any other woman.

In a society such as this one, rape becomes the rule rather than the exception. In this society, women are systematically , coerced against their wills to act Out a sexual behavior that completely denies them sexual self-determination, or, worse yet, their thinking is manipulated so that they seemingly voluntarily act out in sexist determined modes of behavior.

Rape: the Four Forms

Rape covers a broad range of activities. We have identified four broad categories of rape. They are 1. brutal rape, 2. bogart rape, 3. business rape and 4. bed rape.

When men talk about rape they generally only refer to one type, brutal rape. Brutal (or forcible) rape is the only rape universally recognized by law. But the three other types of rape are also rape in that sexual intimacy is forced on one human being by another. Understanding rape requires that we understand all forms of rape.

BRUTAL RAPE is an act of rape accomplished simply by the use of actual, threatened or implied physical force. It usually involves a rapist and a victim who either do not know each other at all or who have met only as passing acquaintances, although the rapist may and often does "stake Out" the prospective victim. This is the rape we read about in newspapers, hear about on the radio and watch reports of on television. Unlike, the other forms of rape, this act of rape is usually perceived to be rape from the perspective of both the rapist and the victim.

BOGART RAPE is an act of rape accomplished by persistent demands, physical pressure, threats of reprisals, and appeals to the maintenance of an on-going relationship. Examples of bogart rape include 1. "either give it up or start walking" said to a woman when parked at night five miles in the middle of nowhere, 2. men requiring that a woman be sexually submissive in order for her to "get and keep him." The latter is a devastatingly effective technique when you consider that there are many more "available women" than "available men.

Bogart rape usually involves a rapist and a victim who know each other. This type of rape generally takes place within the context of and as a normal part of woman/man relationships in America. In dating, most of we Black men will try a woman at least once and most women  expect to be tried. This is the sexist etiquette of dating.

BUSINESS RAPE is an act of rape accomplished by threat of the termination of employment, or the promise of employment, a raise, a better score on a test, a better grade in school, a promotion or some other form of material or social "compensation" or "payment." This type of rape takes place between the woman worker/student/applicant and her male employer/professor/supervisor.

This is a type of rape that is seldom specifically talked about between women and men because of a number of factors. Perhaps, chief among these factors are, one, the woman often needs the job/grade, and two, the woman is afraid to reveal the rape to the men she is close to as she knows that there is little they, or anyone, can do about it and revealing it would only hurt the men close to her. Besides, she could never prove it was rape as the rapist seldom physically threatened her. Yet, it is rape nonetheless.

The pervasiveness of business rape is most sharp and deep among African-American women in the lower economic stratum, many of whom are single and have children for whom they are the sole source of support. These women, in particular, have learned to take "approaches" and business rape attempts as a normal part and prerequisite of obtaining a diploma or employment in America.

BED RAPE is an act of rape accomplished by force and legitimized by the legal marriage contract. In this type of rape the force is rarely physical. Bed rape is the most subtle (and perhaps the most common) type of rape. Many married women, often being materially and emotionally dependent on their husbands to one degree or another, decide that it is easier to submit sexually than suffer the consequences of not submitting.

In this context, from the American perspective, the marriage contract is seen as a guarantee of sex on demand for the husband. Many women are unable to say no to their husbands without fear of some form of reprisal, so they grin, bear it, and fake sexual satisfaction. But often, not only don't such women enjoy the sexual encounter but, more importantly, they were either not prepared or did not want to engage in sex.

By far, it is social pressures brought to bear that makes bed rape a reality. Women feel forced to engage in sex, not because they enjoy it or desire it, or even because they fear a beating if they don't, but rather many women engage in sex with their husbands because they know that this is what the man wants and they have been taught to serve men.

Unsaid, in this form of rape, is the implied assessment of the woman's worth. Sex on demand is not only something that men want, but indeed, according to the norms of this society, sex on demand is what a husband is suppose to get. When he doesn't get it then something must be wrong with the woman. A woman's feelings of guilt, frustration and dependency thusly become the effective forms of coercion.

These forces are made maddeningly effective by the fact that the individual man does not have to do or say anything, indeed, does not have to even be aware that the sexist forces are at work on his wife when he demands sex. The society within which we are raised brings the pressures to bear. This pressure is constant and thorough. The whole of christian education on sunday, and American tradition on the

other six days have prepared women to passively accept this type of rape. In this context, revolt becomes an act which induces feelings of shame and guilt. Many women can not tell their husbands that they don't desire to have sex at a given time without feeling some degree of shame or guilt.

Added together, these four broad categories of rape cover an exceedingly wide range of sexual encounters between women and men in America.

Rape: Understanding the Victim and the Rapist

One of the worse aspects of the crime of rape is that it is a common and ordinary crime. As we have previously documented, rape happens to women everyday in America and, proportionate to the population, the majority of these women victims of rape are African-americans. They are the chief victims.

Because of our own acceptance, admittedly often unconscious, of sexism, few men attempt to understand the devastating impact of rape on the victim. Few men can appreciate how much the rape victim is dehumanized. Few men can comprehend the psychological terror and its long lasting aftermath of fear that accompanies the act of rape. For example, even male rape victims are often not as traumatized. No man has ever been left with the fear of pregnancy as the result of being raped.

Perhaps the crushing blow is the social stigma attached to the "victim" of rape by the society. A female victim of rape does not receive the same immediate concern, particularly if we were not close to the victim, as does a male victim of rape. The male victim is viewed as a person whose "essence," whose very being, i.e. his manhood, has been assaulted and breached. Some sexist go so far as to suggest that rape is worse when it is a male on male rape. Even in the context of rape victimization, women are treated less than equal.

A female victim of rape must often answer a long string of challenges to her womanhood and morality. We want to know the details, we want to know was it her fault, we want to know was it really rape or did she "tease" the man or lead him on, or perhaps she just got caught "doing it" and decided to scream rape. Too often it is assumed that there was something that the woman did or did not do that contributed to the rape taking place. In other words, a woman is seen as a consenting partner in her rape. Such thinking displays an incredible misunderstanding of the reality of rape.

Women do not rape themselves. Women do not like to be raped. Men rape women, and the majority of rape cases are not of the brutal, stranger in the dark, type. Rather, the majority of rape cases are perpetrated on women by men who know or are acquainted with their victims.

Frederic Storaska, Executive Director of the National Organization for the Prevention of Rape and Assault (NOPRA), writing in his book, How to Say No to a Rapist - and Survive, based on his study and experience, makes this statement:

Contrary to popular opinion, most of the time rapists and their victims aren't even strangers. Over the years, I've found that in about 35 percent of the rape cases the woman was assaulted by her own date, in the dating environment. Very few rapes of this type are reported. Most women (or men) have an emotional stake of their own in portraying their dates as acceptable, even desirable, human beings. About 35 percent of the time the rapist is someone else you know - a friend, neighbor, boss, co-worker, relative, friend of a friend - in other words, someone you thought you could trust, someone you never dreamed presented any sort of a threat to you. Rape in these cases often goes unreported, too, for a variety of reasons, including the embarrassment of innocent parties, perhaps those through whom you know the rapist. Finally, about 30 percent of the time the rapist will be a total stranger, someone the woman didn't know at all, though he may have known who she was or seen her several times prior to the attack. More rapes of this type are reported to the police than of any other kind.

In collaboration with Storaska, Meda and Thompson find that, "If a woman is raped, according to statistics from the study by Menachim Amir and according to the results of our questionnaire, the chances are better than 50 percent that her attacker will be someone she knows,"

The point is that in the majority of the cases the victim of rape is a woman (or child) who the rapist knows. This combines with another factor to drive home the fact that rape is, at root a common occurrence in this society, an activity that the American society culturally condones and propagates. The other factor is that the average rapist is, by psychological standards, a "normal man."

The average man in America fits the profile of the rapist. Writing in the September 1971 issue of Ramparts, Susan Griffin, in her article entitled "RAPE: The All-American Crime," noted that "According to Amir's study of forcible rape, on a statistical average the man who has been convicted of rape was found to have a normal sexual personality, tended to be different from the normal, well-adjusted male only in having a greater tendency to express violence and rage.. Alan Taylor, a parole officer who has worked with rapists in the prison facilities at San Luis Obispo, California, stated the question in plainer language, 'Those men were the most normal men there. They had a lot of hang-ups, but they were the same hang-ups as men walking out on the street'."

The reality of the victim and the rapist is exactly the opposite of what most people believe. Most victims do not desire to be raped and did not do anything to bring it on. Most victims knew who raped them. Most rapists are, psychologically, normal men.

Perhaps, the worse aspect of rape in America is that it is not a crime of uncontrollable passion but rather a cruel and calculated domination of women. Medea and Thompson report that "In Patterns in Forcible Rape, Menachim Amir revealed that the majority of the rapes in his study were premeditated. Of all the rapes, single and group, 82.1 percent were wholly or partially planned in advance."

If we are to deal with rape, we must begin to understand that we are dealing with a phenomenon which is often planned on the part of the rapist, often resigned to on the part of the victim, and often covertly encouraged by this society at large.

Rape: Facing the Reality

We believe that there are two major reasons that men generally don't deal with rape except to commit the act. First, most men are not concerned with women as women and are only concerned about "their" women, i.e. "their" mother, wife, daughter, lover and sometimes their sister. Second, most men have either committed, attempted to commit or seriously considered committing an act of forcing sexual intimacy (i.e., rape) on a woman, and therefore, feel either callous, guilty or defensive on the subject of rape. By rape, we must remember, we mean sexual intimacy based on coercion.

Due to the sexism of the society within which we are raised and whose values we usually unconsciously adopt and practice, the vast majority of we men are backward in our social relationships with even those women who are close to us. We generally are making no active and consciously serious attempt to struggle against sexism which oppresses those "special individuals" whom we love, nor are we struggling to help "our women" develop themselves.

What most of us do is go along with the general view of women. We may treat "our women" a little better or nicer but beneath it all, most of us consider women lower than men, i.e. less intelligent, innately less politically advanced, less capable of making sound decisions and taking charge of situations. Of course, there are many women to point to as examples of this alleged inferiority of women to men, but the crucial question is, are women this way because of their nature as women or are women this way because of the nature of this society?

Our sexist view of women requires we men to praise women who fit our stereotypes and persecute those who do not. This leads us to slander strong women. Don't we say of strong women 'the broad/bitch trying to act like a man," "she too mannish/manly," "she must be a bulldyke," "she need a man?"

What is really happening is that a strong woman, just by being strong, contradicts our backward concept of women. Thusly, in the interest of maintaining our own backward views and in the interest of maintaining the over riding sexist social structure which is both the nurturing environment and rewarder of male chauvinism, we men beat down and/or deny and depreciate the "womaness" of strong women.

Given this American society. unless we men are consciously and actively fighting sexism, then without a doubt, at the very least we are unconsciously committed to being backward in our personal and political dealings with women!

This backwardness is a reflection of our own general sexism vis-a-vis all women and is in no way lessened by how we treat or feel about individual women to whom we are emotionally close.

It is this sexism which blinds us to the understanding of the cruelly of rape and other forms of male domination of women, and also causes us to consider rape a far away crime of isolated and infrequent incident until it happens to someone very close to us. For the most part we men seldom give rape a second thought and sometimes we even slyly smile inside, wondering, as we visualize the rape victim, was it "good."

Which brings us to the second cause for a general lack of concern among men about rape. Cold and extreme as it may sound, most men have been involved in a rape, an attempt at rape or the serious consideration of committing rape. Think a minute. Rape, as we define it, is forced sexual intimacy. The force could be physical pressure, emotional feelings of guilt, social reprisals or any number of other forms of coercion. Of course, we realize that to understand rape in this way means that we must painfully reevaluate our entire theory and practice of woman/man relationships, but that is the whole point. We must scrap the present sexist modes of woman/man relationships. They are despicable and must be changed.

To rape a woman, a man invariably must see that woman as less than human or at least less than his co-equal. Rape requires that a man become an oppressor, and in the case of we African-american men, rape means that we become not only oppressor but also traitor. We betray not only part but all of our people when we rape our women. But, as the statistics and continuing cases of rape attest, we men keep on raping our women.

Incredible as it may seem, many men rape women without considering what they are doing as an act of rape. Using either physical or social force and coercion to consummate sexual intimacy is so generally accepted in this society that most men are not even conscious of the fact that they often resort to the use of force in their interrelationships with women. Because of the extreme negative connotations associated with the word rape and the corresponding general acceptance of using force in everyday woman/man relationships, "rape" is reserved to describe the most violent forms of brutal rape, such as the knife at the throat of a stranger, but is not applied to the everyday, although more subtle but nonetheless coercive, uses of threats or intimidations to make women sexually submissive.

While we do not and would not suggest that all four types of rape employ the same degree of violence or have the same traumatic effect on their victims, certainly there are degrees and differences, but still the critical element remains, i.e. the coercive use of force in sexual relations.

One indication of the pervasiveness of the use of force is the many rationalizations of force that we men use to justify battering down a woman's resistance to our sexual advances: "you know you really want it," "you can't fight the feeling." To a man seeking sex, when a woman says "no" he interprets her answer to mean "she's playing hard to get." In other words, we believe that "she wants to, but she wants me to take it," i.e. be a man! Of course, we men usually rise to the challenge and force the woman to say "yes," force the woman to engage in sex.

After having consummated the sex act, no one can convince us that she meant no. Our successful use of force blinds us to the reality that we used force. Our chauvinistically inflated male egos blind us to the reality that women do not enjoy forced sex even though they may fake or pretend satisfaction and enjoyment. The subtleness and pervasiveness of the use of force not only blinds we men to the fact that we have just committed rape when we use force, but indeed, tragically, sexism also sometimes blinds some of our women to the fact that they have been raped. Many women, after years of sexist indoctrination, have learned to expect the use of force. Women in general don't even consider "ordinary sexual aggression" by men as unusual. Women expect sexual assaults.

We men must begin to understand that it is not the degree of violence employed, nor is it a question of whether or not the woman is a stranger that determines whether or not rape has taken place, but rather it is the use of force, whether consciously or unconsciously, that is the dividing line which determines the difference between consensual sexual intimacy and rape. When we men refuse to recognize as rape the various ways in which we force or coerce women to sexually submit to us; when we men deny, even in the face of evidence to the contrary, that rape is a serious problem which traumatically affects its victims; when we men deny that a man can rape "his" wife, reductively what we are doing is reinforcing the sexist practice of non-brutal forms of rape.

The bottom line on the rape question has, in fact, nothing to do with what men think about their relations to women. Regardless of what we men think, if a woman feels forced to submit and we have done nothing in practical terms to make clear that we will respect her right to say no without some form of reprisal, then we have raped that woman.

Rape is real. Rape is a dominate feature of woman/man relationships in America today. A correct appraisal of the entrenched pervasiveness of rape is a necessary first step toward eradicating rape.

It is also important to recognize that among the many reasons that men in general rape women and that African-american men specifically rape African-american women, two of the leading reasons are that 1. men can get away with raping women and 2. the rape/domination of women becomes a surrogate exercise in power and social control which are uniformly and without question denied to African-american men in the society at large.

Lynda L. Holmstrom and Ann W. Burgess writing in The Victim of Rape specify how the judicial system is skewed against African-american women:

Race of the victim makes a great difference. The conviction rate when the victim was white was 6 of 60(10%), compared to only 2 of 48 (4.2%) when the victim was non- white. The conviction rate was even lower when one looks at black female victims, only 1 of 43 cases (2.3%) led to a conviction for rape. The one case was that of a five-year old girl. Thus not one black adolescent or adult woman was able to take her case to the criminal justice system and have her definition of the situation sustained.

This was a study of Boston rape cases which made it to court and does not deal with the many cases which never go to court, and which, in fact, are seldom even reported. Punishment for rape is spotty and seldom at best, and in the cases where the victim is an African-American woman, punishment is virtually non-existent.

When this lack of social restraints is combined with a frustrated male seeking to exert himself, the resultant social situation is one which not only condones but indeed encourages African-American men to rape African-American women in order to maintain a macho-defined and depressingly counterproductive sense and definition of manhood.

Of course the white, male ruling class recognizes that it is in their own interest to allow rape to exist as a surrogate to access to real power, which power this white, male ruling class wishes to maintain in total. So, on the one hand, rape is a general palliative used to soothe over the frustrations of men who, because of race and/or class, are not allowed to be men as men are commonly defined in America. On the other hand, rape is the ultimate boogeyman in the racist nightmare. It is the ultimate theft of the white, male ruling class' property.

Thus, as Alison Edwards points out in her polemic pamphlet Rape, Racism, and the White Women's Movement: An Answer to Susan Brownmiller, "although the rape laws did not specify 'for blacks only'

that is what they meant. Out of 455 executions for rape in the last forty years, 405 have been of black men... .No white man has ever been executed for raping a black woman." So, while the white, male ruling class is not overly concerned with intra-racial rapes, or with white men raping African-American women, the mere mention or suggestion of an African-American man raping a white woman is met with a pavolian, frothing at the mouth response watered by the tumor racist glands of the white body-politic of America. It is not the sexual assault of a woman which is really at question in such cases, but rather the "black" theft of "white" property.

With all of these dynamics happening, it does not take a genius to figure out that the safest and most accessible manifestation of "macho" manhood available to African-american men is the sexual domination of African-american women. No understanding of rape in America is complete without an understanding of the racist and economic, as well as sexist, scenario that is being played out in the act of rape.

Understanding Rape

Understanding rape in total is not merely a case of sympathizing with a victim but rather is a necessary element of our liberation struggle. Understanding rape requires not crying with women who have been victimized but fighting men who rape women and helping to arm women with the theory and practice necessary to smash sexism and repulse rape. Above all, understanding rape requires that we men actively fight the theories and practices of sexism within a capitalist and racist society.

This means that we men must fight our own weaknesses, must fight those negative aspects of ourselves and other men which are reflections of sexist thoughts and practices. Understanding rape requires that we change our own thinking not only about women, but indeed, about our ownselves as men, about what defines manhood, about our social relationships. Understanding rape requires new and necessarily rectifying revolutionary behavior.

While few of we men will openly admit that we have raped, attempted to rape, or seriously considered raping a woman, at the same time very few of us have not tried at one time or another, in one form or another, to force or coerce a woman to submit to our sexual desires. Think about it, brothers. How many of us can honestly say that we have never forced or coerced, through using either physical or social pressure, or attempted to force or coerce a woman to submit to us sexually? Very few of us, very few

The fact that many men have been routinely involved in acts of sexual coercion (rape) makes it doubly difficult for we men to confront and understand rape. Most of we men will admit that rape is wrong and if pressed, many of us will admit, at least to ourselves if not to others, that we have forced or coerced a woman. But the probability is high, that few of us would admit that what we have done is rape, even though our actions effectively suppressed the sexual self-determination of those women whom we coerced.

Understanding rape requires not only that we understand how it affects a woman but also that we understand and deal with why we men commit and continue to commit acts of sexual coercion.

Within the context of American society, rape is, in the final analysis, purely and simply an act of male domination. Rape is a "force connection" (See Beyond Connections: Liberation In Love And Struggle, Dr. M. Ron Karenga, AHIDIANA Publications) that in most cases has nothing to do with establishing a consensual sexual relationship. Instead, rape has, as an inherent objective, the forcible consumption of a sexual object (the woman) by the master (the man). This forcible consumption requires the domination of women in order to turn them from active human beings into passive sexual objects.

Rape is an aggressive act intended to bring a woman completely under a man's control. Rape denies the woman any significant decision making powers within a social relationship.

Rape is wrong. Rape runs completely counter to what we are trying to achieve in building a better and more beautiful future for ourselves and generations to come. But rape is what we men do and will continue to do until we consciously understand rape and are organized to stop rape.

Rape: Organizing to Stop It

As for stopping rape, women can and should defend themselves and fight back, both physically and politically.

While individual women can and should learn self-defense and the use of weapons, the priority of self-defense work should be on organizing the communities in which women live and work. People must be recruited to be part of an anti-rape militia. The active intervention of politicized third parties is a most effective means of helping to stop rape - particularly brutal rape.

However, the political education of women and men on the issue of rape is of the utmost importance. Politically women must begin speaking out on the evils and realities of rape. Silence and shame must cease being the chief characteristic of the rape victim. We must share struggle. Women must speak to each other and to men. Women must link rape to the overall sexism of American society and show how the sexist link interlocks in the chain of capitalist and racist oppression and exploitation.

Not only must women fight back, indeed, until women revolt against sexism as a whole, business will continue as usual.

Nevertheless, in the overwhelming majority of cases, women do not rape women. No matter how much or how well women fight back, rape will not be completely eradicated as a social disease until men stop routinely raping women. This means that men must be organized to stop rape!

The organizing of men to fight sexism and end rape will essentially come about thorough the efforts of women struggling for their own self-determination. Men, as a whole, will not voluntarily give up the male dominant position in this society.

For some men, political persuasion and political education will be sufficient in organizing them to join the ranks of those struggling to smash sexism. Other men will require political action in the form of contact with women who refuse to be dominated and who can articulate, theoretically and where necessary, physically, their opposition to manifestations of sexism. This politicization process will surely also include contact with fellow men who are actively and willfully standing up as men in opposing male chauvinism and sexism.

The key element in stopping rape will be organizing all who can be organized to improve Black woman/man relationships. We must be both patient and persistent in our efforts to overturn an entrenched social system that is rooted in our past experiences, daily lives and future aspirations. This struggle will necessarily include intense self-criticism and unity-criticism-unity sessions which are free and frank in their exchanges and yet not vindictive or petty. Feelings will be hurt and egos damaged, but the struggle will make us stronger and make us better. Social struggles are never easy.

Conclusion

As long as male domination exists rape will exist.

This does not mean that rape is eternal, nor does it mean that until we change every man rape will continue to exist. This means instead that the eradication of rape will be a serious and protracted struggle that will involve much more than increasing so-called "police protection" for women. This means, also, that we are confident that we can transform ourselves and the society within which we live, struggle and die.

Rapists will not voluntarily stop raping women, but women revolting and men made conscious of their responsibility to fight sexism will collectively stop rape. Such women and men will stop all forms of exploitation and domination among themselves, and simultaneously attempt to stop others from exploiting and dominating anyone.

The first place to stop rape is, of course, at home and within our organizations. In the process of accomplishing that task, we will become physically and politically strong enough to challenge and change this capitalist, racist and sexist society.

Perhaps the analysis sounds harsh and extreme but look around. Is it not true that the state of relations between African-american women and men is at a depressing low point? Is it not true that sexism, as a social system and every day actuality, weighs very hard on the lives of African-american women?

If we concede that these are the conditions, then we should concurrently concede that drastic steps are needed to halt the deterioration of African-american female/male social relationships. A radical analysis, an analysis which goes to the root, is not afraid to expose wrongs, regardless of how near to us the wrongs may reside. We believe that through revolutionary practice we can transform our weaknesses into strengths and build to higher levels based on the strengths we already have and will acquire in the heat of the struggle to improve and beautify.

A revolutionary practice, which calls for and institutes the overturning of backward ideas and behavior and the establishment of progressive ideas and behavior, is what is needed.

Our purpose has been to call into question our present conditions and theoretical assumptions vis-a-vis male domination in the form of rape. This is, from our perspective, a prerequisite in preparation for the development of a new and necessary way of African-American women and men viewing and working with each other and other human beings.

We believe that fighting sexism and developing the productive and creative capacities of our women is a key link in our struggle of national liberation. We believe that rape is one of the main cogs in the sexist machine of male, white ruling class domination. We believe, and have attempted to prove, that rape is a particularly pressing problem in our communities that must be openly confronted.

Rape can be stopped. Sexism can be smashed. Some of us have vowed that we will fight it until it is finished. Won't you help us grasp a key link in our struggle?

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music website > http://www.kalamu.com/bol/
writing website > http://wordup.posterous.com/
daily blog > http://kalamu.posterous.com
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facebook > http://www.facebook.com/kalamu.salaam

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Men We Love, Men We Hate
SAC writings from Douglass, McDonogh 35, and McMain high schools in New Orleans.

An anthology on the topic of men and relationships with men

Ways of Laughing
An Anthology of Young Black Voices
Photographed & Edited by
Kalamu ya Salaam

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Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement

 A Radical Democratic Vision

By Barbara Ransby

One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement, Ella Baker (1903-1986) was an activist whose remarkable career spanned fifty years and touched thousands of lives. A gifted grassroots organizer, Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle. She was a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Baker made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles that included W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr., all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white.

In this deeply researched biography, Barbara Ransby chronicles Baker's long and rich political career as an organizer, an intellectual, and a teacher, from her early experiences in depression-era Harlem to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Ransby shows Baker to be a complex figure whose radical, democratic worldview, commitment to empowering the black poor, and emphasis on group-centered, grassroots leadership set her apart from most of her political contemporaries. Beyond documenting an extraordinary life, the book paints a vivid picture of the African American fight for justice and its intersections with other progressive struggles worldwide across the twentieth century. UNC Press

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Who Was Ella Baker—Ella Baker began her involvement with the NAACP in 1940. She worked as a field secretary and then served as director of branches from 1943 until 1946. Inspired by the historic bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955, Baker co-founded the organization In Friendship to raise money to fight against Jim Crow Laws in the deep South. In 1957, Baker moved to Atlanta to help organize Martin Luther King's new organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). She also ran a voter registration campaign called the Crusade for Citizenship.

On February 1, 1960, a group of black college students from North Carolina A&T University refused to leave a Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina where they had been denied service. Baker left the SCLC after the Greensboro sit-ins. She wanted to assist the new student activists because she viewed young, emerging activists as a resource and an asset to the movement. Miss Baker organized a meeting at Shaw University for the student leaders of the sit-ins in April 1960. From that meeting, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)  was born.

Adopting the Gandhian theory of nonviolent direct action, SNCC members joined with activists from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to organize in the 1961 Freedom Rides. In 1964 SNCC helped create Freedom Summer, an effort to focus national attention on Mississippi's racism and to register black voters. . . .

With Ella Baker's guidance and encouragement, SNCC became one of the foremost advocates for human rights in the country. Ella Baker once said, "This may only be a dream of mine, but I think it can be made real." Her audacity to dream big is a cornerstone of our philosophy. Her influence was reflected in the nickname she acquired: "Fundi," a Swahili word meaning a person who teaches a craft to the next generation. Baker continued to be a respected and influential leader in the fight for human and civil rights until her death on December 13, 1986, her 83rd birthday.—EllaBakerCenter

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Endgame AIDS in Black America

HIV Continues Its Grim Toll on Blacks in the U.S.—‘Endgame: AIDS in Black America’ on PBS—9 July 2012—Today in America, 152 people will become infected with H.I.V.,” a speaker is telling a World AIDS Day gathering as the program opens. “Half of them will be black. Today in America, two-thirds of the new H.I.V. cases among women will be black. Today in America, 70 percent of the new H.I.V. cases among youth will be black.”

From there the program, directed by Renata Simone, embarks on a history lesson, tracing how AIDS was almost immediately typecast as a disease of gay white men, even though some of the earliest cases were in black men. That led to an indifference among blacks at the start of the epidemic, and soon along came the drug nightmare of the 1990s, with sex being traded for a fix, rampant needle sharing and resistance to needle-exchange programs that sought to do something about the problem. Endemic poverty in black America of course exacerbated everything about the AIDS crisis.

Black leaders acknowledge that they failed to take the kind of vocal role in the early years that they had been known for in civil rights battles and other struggles. “I didn’t do what I could have done and should have done,” Julian Bond, the civil rights activist and a former chairman of the N.A.A.C.P., says bluntly.—nytimes

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

 

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Shadowboxing

Representations of Black Feminist Politics

By Joy James

James rejects the liberalism of conventional black feminism for a radical agenda, which, in the tradition of black feminists Ella Baker and Ida B. Wells, targets capitalism and the state as perpetuators of race, class, and gender oppression. Their legacy of radicalism and activism is juxtaposed to the black feminist praxis and thought of Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, and Elaine Brown. This book successfully demonstrates that black feminism is authentically rooted in the black community. Especially enlightening is James's discussion on "distinctions between black men championing black females as patriarchal protectors and black men championing feminism to challenge sexism." An interdisciplinary and well-analyzed representation of radical black women fighting for rights and visibility. Recommended for women's studies, African American studies, or political collections.—Library Journal

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Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation

on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

By Harriet A. Washington

 

Medical Apartheid is the first and only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans. Starting with the earliest encounters between black Americans and Western medical researchers and the racist pseudoscience that resulted, it details the ways both slaves and freedmen were used in hospitals for experiments conducted without their knowledge—a tradition that continues today within some black populations. It reveals how blacks have historically been prey to grave-robbing as well as unauthorized autopsies and dissections. . . . The product of years of prodigious research into medical journals and experimental reports long undisturbed, Medical Apartheid reveals the hidden underbelly of scientific research and makes possible, for the first time, an understanding of the roots of the African American health deficit.—Random House / Kam Williams review

 

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Weep Not, Child

By Ngugi wa Thiong'o

This is a powerful, moving story that details the effects of the infamous Mau Mau war, the African nationalist revolt against colonial oppression in Kenya, on the lives of ordinary men and women, and on one family in particular. Two brothers, Njoroge and Kamau, stand on a rubbish heap and look into their futures. Njoroge is excited; his family has decided that he will attend school, while Kamau will train to be a carpenter. Together they will serve their countrythe teacher and the craftsman. But this is Kenya and the times are against them. In the forests, the Mau Mau is waging war against the white government, and the two brothers and their family need to decide where their loyalties lie. For the practical Kamau the choice is simple, but for Njoroge the scholar, the dream of progress through learning is a hard one to give up.—Penguin 

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.

"Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 2 March 2012

 

 

 

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Related files: "Revolutionary Struggle/Revolutionary Love"  Our Women Keep Our Skies From Falling  Preface: It Aint Easy   Debunking Myths 

 Rape: A Radical Analysis   "Women's Rights Are Human Rights"   We're in Love, But You Don't Know Me  When I Think About the Women in My Life