XVII - Much Better - Gender, Privilege and More
bell hooks labeled our system: white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.
We can win reforms from this system. It'll take a strong committed radical response. We won our right to abortions free safe legal on demand for all in 1973 by organizing and building militantly with millions around the world.
But governments can also again and again can chip away our rights like they're doing it now and abolish those rights like they want to now. It will take a workers/allies social revolution with us fighting for that to guarantee all our rights and freedom for all workers and all women.
And where were we – the M e n?
I can’t seem to find how many women were in Congress in 1973, though this was the last time Margaret Chase Smith was a senator, and I believe she was the only woman in the senate then.
Nicknamed "Battling Bella", in 1970 she challenged the 14-year incumbent Leonard Farbstein in the Democratic primary for a congressional district on Manhattan's West Side. She defeated Farbstein in a considerable upset and then defeated talk show host Barry Farber in the gIeneral election. In 1972, her district was eliminated via redistricting and she chose to run against William Fitts Ryan, who also represented part of the West Side, in the Democratic primary. Ryan, although seriously ill, defeated Abzug. However, Ryan died before the general election and Abzug defeated his widow, Priscilla, at the party's convention to choose the new Democratic nominee. In the general election Priscilla Ryan challenged Abzug on the Liberal Party line, but was unsuccessful. She was reelected easily in 1974. For her last two terms, she represented part of The Bronx as well.
It would be foolish to say that there haven’t been white men – who have been true leaders supporting Gender Equity. When, however, have their been white men – leading a push – to get fellow white men on board in seriously working for Gender Equity.
1. We – the white men – have often (perhaps generally) worked as “lone wolves”. Where we build coalitions of white men, or primarily of white men, our issues are commonly things like:
a. Being drinking buddies – and/or
b. Sharing Sexual Lies and Innuendo – either putting down women or supporting other men putting down women and/or – occasionally:
c. Scapegoating – others – Gays, Immigrants, Muslims…
2. Issues are important to us – when they have – “relevance”. Let’s look briefly at what is relevant to us – as men. Generally – relevancy has to do with either:
a. Direct connection to us – Example: As the father of a teenage girl, we are concerned that she isn’t raped, pregnant, whistled at or similar, and/or:
b. We will – face serious pushback – IF we don’t conform – Example: Multiple people, most notably children, have been killed, or seriously injured walking across an intersection, so we push for installing a stop-sign or light at the intersection.
“I salute all those brave women of the vanguard… the old world ought to fear the day when those women finally decide they have had enough. Those women will not slack off. Strength finds refuge in them. Beware of them!… Beware of the women when they are sickened by all that is around them and rise up against the old world. On that day the new world will begin.”
Who have the men been of the Vanguard? Who have the white men been?
I can think of a few, but mostly they are qualified heroes, with a “but”, as in Bill Gates was, until he was exposed for who he really is. Barack Obama, a Black man, significantly influence by Michelle Obama, as well as their two daughters.
Those who have deeply pushed, organized, and persisted – have proportionately been most prevalent in the work being: Black, Queer-Identified, Lesbian, not well-off Females (or “non-males”). They have many reminders of the importance of the issues, including confronting the Homophobia and silencing of Cis – Het – white Women. Where they haven’t faced Huge Resistance from us – white men, it usually has been because we’ve not even seriously seen them, nor seem them as a threat.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Hopefully the source is obvious to you! Let’s excuse the word “men” for this moment. There was no mention of:
1. Landowners – generally of large amounts of land vs. the others – who were very poor to relatively poor, and certainly didn’t have equality
2. Slaves – who were counted as “3/5” of a person – at the insistence of the larger slave-owning (future) states of the South
Men (meaning white men) (meaning well off white men – class), (meaning white – not BIPOC) – were the ones controlling – much of the power over others.
MALE (gender) + WHITE + (race) + WEALTHY (or in that direction) (class):
Those – who have – worked to eliminate the barriers have largely been those who have been oppressed.
When will the time come – when we – the privileged, white men – not only acknowledge the truth of these statements, but/and – also take on the responsibility for being there – in highly significant numbers – in support of women, girls, trans/gender-non-binary – people –
++ Actively Supporting – not taking over from – the “others”.
I try to imagine a world – a real, actual world – where being:
D I F F E R E N T – brings forth:
1. Curiosity – as opposed to – bullying, not – seeing/acknowledging, or similar,
2. A recognition – of the worth – autonomous status – of being oneself
3. A desire for connection – learning from, appreciating, feeling a tiny slice of the heart
I am both – Privileged – being: white, male, cis, het, upper-middle class, educated, able bodied, adult
Not- Privileged: - being: autistic (gender diverse) and Jewish, as well as perhaps “aging” or “aged”.
I try to not only acknowledge, but also to confront the privileges – I – and many others have – and to actively work towards others having the same privileges - equity – social justice. I recognize that the more I do, the more I want to and should try to do.
I do fail at times! I do needlessly hurt others, at times! I honor – the discomfort I face at times, while not pretending that I am some kind of hero, which I’m not.
The true heroes – don’t seek – nor generally get recognition! They often do have something that many of us often lack. It is – community – true belonging – a spirit that reflects their hearts and souls!