Misogynoir and the Language of Oppression
Is the negative Language of black men aimed at black women fueling oppression
Unlike most folks, I’m unafraid to admit that my new found “wokeness” didn’t manifest until the second half of the 2010’s. I had my fair share of problematic views that were all fostered by the racism, homophobia, and sexism that’ll pop up no matter where in this world you live.
I knew these things and concepts existed but I was either ambivalent about them or had only a tertiary understanding of them.
Long story short, I was ignorant; ignorant of the intricacies of social injustice and ignorant to the ways I may have been perpetuating systematic oppression.
Thinking about it though, failing to realize how we may be perpetuating systematic oppression is a problem a lot of black men have.
You’d think we’d understand more than anybody how oppression works and how damaging it can be. Despite this, many black men (even your bohemian poet types) spew patriarchal bile at black women with a myriad of justifications.
This can be pretty much boiled down to misogynoir. What’s misogynoir? Well, the short version is that it’s simply the hatred of black women but, for the sake of nuance (which is now my new favorite word), let’s dive a little deeper.
Misogynoir is misogyny aimed at black women where race and gender both feed the negative bias. The term was created by a queer black feminist by the name of Moya Bailey. Bailey created the word to address misogyny directed toward black women in popular culture.
Sadly, negative portrayals of black women in popular culture are rampant and black men are often far from hesitant to legitimize them.
It’s easy to peruse the internet and find posts from black men slandering black women only to tout “foreign women”, NBPOC women, and white women.
Equally disturbing are the women who wear their status as being “above” black women as a badge of honor. These women perpetuate the misogynoir taught to them through their culture and regurgitate the negative language popularized by black men to convey their misogynoir.
Here are some contemporary examples just to help paint a clearer picture of these archetypes.
There have been reports in the last month or so about the shooting of an unarmed black man by the name of Stephon Clark. Clark was shot 20 times by police according to body cam footage of the event despite committing a nonviolent crime.
Per usual, Black Lives Matter did their thing and expressed their outrage at the shooting of another unarmed black man. There was something… different this time though.
Though protest seemed to persist in the usual way, it was soon revealed that Clark made some disparaging remarks at the expense of black women on his Twitter back in 2015.
Tweets ranging from “I don’t want nothing black but a XBox, dark b*****s bring dark days” to “I don’t want no black baby I’m already black. I don’t need no black baby” paint a pretty clear picture of Clark’s Opinions on black women.
This caused many to question whether Clark should be supported by the movement and, though I still feel what was done to Clark by police was an injustice, I don’t think anyone has the right to tell black women how to feel about Clark as a person.
His opinions reflect that of a warped mind taught by society to demonize blackness and praise whiteness and patriarchy.
It’s unfortunate that the posts and opinions of said warped minds end up being ammunition for women brought up in anti-black cultures.
Sabrina Claudio is a singer who’s half Cuban and half Puerto Rican. Back in 2011, she made some disparaging tweets of her own with such negative remarks as “I rather be a pasty white girl than a sweaty chonga” and “It must suck to be a black girl with no booty”.
Without context, Claudio’s tweets seem like your run of the mill discrimination which, as I expressed in the article I wrote about Amara La Negra, is pretty common in Latin culture. One twitter user pointed out something interesting though and I’d I’d like to share…
According to the twitter user @Forniaa “Sabrina Claudio is a prime example of those Hispanic girls who hate black women simply because black men have put them on a pedestal and won't face no type of backlash because black men will cape for her and uses our own men for her sick reasoning to degrade us.”
To me, there are few examples more palpable than this. The fact that Claudio is using the anti-black sentiments of black men like Clark to degrade and diminish black women is very telling. It shows that though we black men may not create the systems of oppression we effectively fuel its engines by adding to the language of discrimination.
Regardless of the reasoning, degrading our women isn’t just venting grievances as some might perceive it. Denouncing our women won’t springboard us out of oppression.
Thankfully, I’m both patient and optimistic enough to hope black men will realize this.
Article by Rovell Vialva