Whether you see yourself in those terms (black male) is irrelevant. You are not interacting with yourself, other people are and because of that, it is how OTHER PEOPLE see you that matters and battling the misconceptions that come with that is the real struggle.
And yes, there is a problem with subjectivity in discourse, however, you did not tackle this problem. You instead used four statistics out of context, incarceration rates, CEOs, the percentage of women in STEM and the gender wage gap. These statistics on their own are meaningless, facts are not truth. When people use these statistics to prove white supremacy or the patriarchy, they use them within the context that is necessary to make meaning out of these meaningless stats. For example, while the general ‘soundbite’ for mass incarceration rates is that white supremacy and racism are the reason for black people (specifically men) being disproportionately imprisoned (wrt white people), the context necessary to understand this claim is steeped in deep in American history; from the civil war to the reconstruction, jim crow to the civil rights movement and present day America, things do not just happen, and while I value statistics as much as anyone, I realize that if you take these statistics in isolation, you will often miss the bigger picture.
“So we say, ‘My subjective reality is that white people are racist and evil, therefore the fact there aren’t more black CEOs *must be* the fault of white people”. This is a nonsensical claim and very few intelligent people will actually make this claim. Yes, white people have been disproportionately involved in the suppression and systemic rape (physically and metaphorically) or black people and majority black nations since the 1600s but the idea of ‘white people’ directly means white supremacy or an idea of white lordship over black people. It does not mean that necessarily every single white person on earth is racist and evil, it means that white people have participated in a system to benefits them at the expense of black people and the majority (although they may be ‘good people) have done nothing to prevent this system. During the reconstruction period, America actually tried to integrate free men and women back into the society and give them equal standing with the white people. These efforts were VEHEMENTLY resisted by the supremacist south and directly resulted in the creation of the Ku Klux Klan for the first time, in America. The South resisted these efforts so strongly that the Federal Government relented and let the southern states do what they wanted and all the efforts to raise the black man were eventually destroyed and the south restored white dominance. Even the North was not totally for the idea of the black liberation but at least they did not suppress it, as many history books will tell you.
Now, if you don’t think that all this played in part in denigrating the status of the black man over the course of decades, then I don’t what else to tell you. This does not absolve the black American of any blame, of course not. It is still within his/her rights to fight for education, opportunity, wealth. To become more than they are born into. But I can spend an entire day talking about how defeating the mentality of suppression ALONE is a tough task for most humans. Not to mention a race that has an entire history of suppresion.
And there is a link between patriarchy and the low percentage of women in STEM.
Nobody claims that women, men and people of different races are perfectly uniform. This would be a nonsensical claim because, obviously, even within these groups, there are varying differences in ability, interests and aptitudes. The issue is with treating these groups as monoliths. And yes, I definitely agree that we value some abilities than others. You did the exact same thing in literally the previous sentence. Your example, height, beauty and IQ is hardly adequate but I can’t spend time on that.
Human nature is the problem with EVERYTHING. For example, when some African Americans got relocated to Africa and founded Liberia, do you know what they did? They segregated the country, they basically elevated themselves above the locals simply because they thought they were better than them. This is elitism or classism. The Ameri-Liberians went on to rule Liberia for more than a century, doing many of the SAME things that white people in America did to the African American community. This is a human nature problem. But specific to Liberia, it was a CLASSIST problem. In America? It’s a WHITE SUPREMACY problem. With respect to male and female relations? It is a PATRIARCHY PROBLEM. In South Africa? It was APARTHEID. These are all human nature problems but it does it (and the conversation) a massive disservice if we merely sweep all of them under human nature. Shocker, humans can be shitty people. There is no such thing as white nature or male nature. There is white nurture though and male nurture and class nurture. And these are the ideas that we fight against when we specifically mention partriarchy, white supremacy, classism.
A group of white men can be diverse but how many of those are you going to find? White men haven’t had black experiences, or latino experiences or asian experiences. How can they be diverse? It’s not just that an all white male group can’t be diverse, an all BLACK male group can’t be diverse. An all LATINO female group can’t be diverse. ESPECIALLY when the group is discussing issues that affects all races.
To be honest, I understand what the essence of your article is saying. The problem is that you take too many liberties in passing across this message. You try to delegitimize concrete claims and dismiss issues that have been discussed over decades. Is the approach to solving these problems of patriarchy, white supremacy, classism wrong? Of course it is. We can’t label all men, white people and rich people as evil without expecting blow back. But that does not mean we should not push for dismantling of these systems and thought processes that lead us to this place. That black people are unintelligent, that men have a ‘natural superiority’ over women that poor people are inherently useless. We label these mindsets so that can we can fight them appropriately and it does the fights (and the fighters and thinkers like Malcolm X, DuBois, Wollstoncraft, De Beauvoir) a disservice. What we must focus on is educating ourselves properly so that we can focus on building a world that not only eliminates THESE problems but prevents other problems from arising as well. That is the fight we must fight and win.
Shalom Timi, I’ll be reading more of your work.