By David Ikard

ISBN-10: 0807132136

ISBN-13: 9780807132135

Can black men provide precious insights on black girls 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 team spirit and partly from a belief that black male feminists are opportunists capitalizing at the present approval for black women's writing and feedback. In Breaking the Silence, David Ikard is going boldly to the crux of this debate via a sequence of provocative readings of key African American texts that reveal the chance and cost of a attainable black male feminist perspective.

Seeking to increase the first targets of black feminism, Ikard offers literary versions from Chester Himes's If He Hollers allow Him cross, James Baldwin's move inform It at the Mountain, Toni Morrison's Paradise, Toni Cade Bambara's The Salt Eaters, and Walter Mosley's continually Outnumbered, continuously Outgunned and Walkin' the puppy that consciously combat with the concept that of sufferer prestige for black women and men. He seems to be at how complicity throughout gender strains, faraway from rooting out patriarchy within the black neighborhood, has allowed it to thrive. This complicity, Ikard explains, is a method during which victimized teams put money into sufferer prestige to the purpose that they accidentally concede strength to their victimizers and have interaction in styles of habit which are perceived as innovative yet truly toughen the prestige quo.

While black feminism has fostered vital and priceless discussions concerning the difficulties of patriarchy in the black group, little awareness 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 ways to resolving intraracial gender conflicts.

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

Sample text

Clearly unnerved by Ella Mae’s insinuations, Jones, unable to “let it go,” continues his course of signifying. “You know how much I love the white folks,” he says. “You just ain’t saying it, either,” Ella Mae retorts. “All that talking you do ’bout ’em all the time. I see you got the whitest coloured girl you could find” (47). ” To act “like a black gal” is for Jones to attack black men who are striving to improve their socioeconomic condition. It is also for darker-skinned women to purposely misrepresent the social dynamics informing the relationship between black men and white or fairer-skinned women as a mode of control.

Issues of class further complicate Himes’s rendering of Jones’s social emasculation at the hands of Alice, his affluent fiancée. ” To Jones’s thinking, Alice is the closest a black woman can come to feminine perfection without actually being white. The fundamental problem Jones perceives with his relationship with Alice is that her higher social status forces him to submit to her authority in ways that undermine his sense of his masculinity. When he reflects on the date Alice breaks with him, which precipitates his trip to the Lincoln theater, he thinks that had Susie, one of his working-class lovers, canceled a date with him at the last minute, he would not have tolerated it.

Ultimately, if black male feminism is to help overturn black patriarchy, it must widen the scope of its critical inquiry across gender lines. Even as a chief aim of Breaking the Silence is to challenge overdetermined and oversimplified representations of black men’s experience of oppression, privilege, and resistance, I will still make use 22 breaking the silence of the terms black patriarchy and white supremacy. While it is certainly true that these terms have been used in reductive ways that belie the complexity of the cultural phenomena that they represent, they remain useful if utilized with “caution and qualifications,” as Ania Loomba observes in her insightful study Colonialism/ Postcolonialism.

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