By David Ikard

Can black men provide helpful insights on black ladies and patriarchy? Many black feminists are uncertain. Their skepticism derives partly from a background of explosive encounters with black males who blamed feminism for stigmatizing black males and undermining racial cohesion and partially from a notion that black male feminists are opportunists capitalizing at the present acclaim for black women's writing and feedback. In Breaking the Silence, David Ikard is going boldly to the crux of this debate via a chain of provocative readings of key African American texts that reveal the prospect and price of a achievable black male feminist perspective.

Seeking to boost the first ambitions of black feminism, Ikard presents literary types from Chester Himes's If He Hollers allow Him move, James Baldwin's cross inform It at the Mountain, Toni Morrison's Paradise, Toni Cade Bambara's The Salt Eaters, and Walter Mosley's continuously Outnumbered, continually Outgunned and Walkin' the puppy that consciously strive against with the concept that of sufferer prestige for black women and men. He appears at how complicity throughout gender strains, faraway from rooting out patriarchy within the black group, has allowed it to thrive. This complicity, Ikard explains, is a method through which victimized teams put money into sufferer prestige to the purpose that they accidentally concede energy to their victimizers and interact in styles of habit which are perceived as progressive yet really strengthen the prestige quo.

While black feminism has fostered very important and valuable discussions in regards to the difficulties of patriarchy in the black group, little cognizance has been paid to the intersecting dynamics of complicity. through laying naked the nexus among sufferer prestige and complicity in oppression, Breaking the Silence charts a brand new path for conceptualizing black women's advanced humanity and gives the rules for extra expansive feminist techniques to resolving intraracial gender conflicts.

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Extra info for Breaking the Silence: Toward a Black Male Feminist Criticism

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Refocusing with the black women’s perspective in the foreground reveals the gendered assumptions underpinning Himes’s black masculine discourse. His text provides a clear case of what Deborah King calls “monist” black politics. To black male monist thinking, the end of black male oppression will necessarily precipitate an end to all oppressions, including sexism. Thus any attempt by black women to vocalize the specific intraracial gender oppression of black men is interpreted not only as compromising racial solidarity but as emasculating black men.

In short, hers is the power to choose the mate of her choice. ” Jones’s view of black female “privilege” conspicuously ignores the exploitive dynamic traditionally informing relationships between white men and black women. Further, it collapses class and caste distinctions among black women to accommodate a black male-centered discourse that renders invisible the gender privilege black men have historically exercised over black women. At points, Jones seems to sense the contradictions in his own understanding.

Introduction 27 1 love jones A Black Male Feminist Critique of Chester Himes’s If He Hollers Let Him Go in writing his essay “A Black Man’s Place(s) in Feminist Criticism” Michael Awkward’s chief aim was to legitimize black male perspectives on black women’s literature. As discussed earlier, this was a daunting task, considering that most black male critics who engaged with black women’s text were antagonistic, seeking, in most instances, to discredit unfavorable representations of black men. These chauvinistic and self-interested perspectives had led many black female feminists to conclude that black men were simply incapable of providing informed readings of black women’s literature.

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