ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
an economic disincentive to the continued existence
of the nuclear family among the underclass
Feminism and the Criminalization of MasculinityBy Aduku Addae
The Feminist Movement has usurped the legal and political processes to institute “rights” for women against a non-contending male interest. There has been no comparable organized masculinist movement to safeguard the rights of the other half of society. This is revealed, most dramatically, in the entrenchment of the concept of reproductive rights in federal and state law.
The feminists have effectively appropriated to themselves the power to make all decisions about reproduction. The gamut of legally sanctioned decisions includes the absolute right to decide to seize the semen of the male non-entity. Hence, a woman can choose to become pregnant; to carry the pregnancy to term; to terminate the pregnancy at will; or, to offer the child for adoption. In contravention of the notion of equity, which theoretically underpins the principles of law in democratic society. The male population has practically no say in deciding these matters. Concomitant with their disfranchisement, the workingmen of America have been saddled with the cost of rearing children. In a most disingenuous fashion, they have inherited the right of responsibility, an imposition which is enforced by county and state governments with a rigor rivaling the ferocity of the Salem witch-hunt. Workingmen of the most noble intent, who have the most intense love for their children and a consuming desire to see that they are cared for, have been systematically turned into scapegoats.
Zealots, in the District Attorney offices, (and now the “Public Defender” in Jamaica), who operate under the mantra that those persons whose names appear on a sheet of paper in their docket fall into two categories, bad guys and victims, have stigmatized them. Where child support is the issue, the father becomes the bad guy, a proverbial fly to be crushed by the might of the DA’s office.
Very often, this zeal is in the service of calculating Jezebels whose sole interest in child bearing is in the bounty that it brings from the welfare on the first and fifteenth of the month. Official statistics inform that 27% of households headed by women are black. The sudden conclusion is that Black Men are spawning and abandoning their offspring. This is, of course, consistent with the propagandist point of view, which is characteristic of the dominant culture.
There is, however, a more fundamental truth at the core of these statistics. A large proportion of black women who head households are under-skilled workers. From a purely economist view point, it is more cost effective for these women, represented in the statistics, to subscribe to the welfare dole than to seek employment. Additionally, it is more expedient to do the former than to commit to a grinding struggle with a man who barely earns above minimum wage when he can find employment, and who is the last to be hired and the first to be fired. The state dole was for a long time a better option than domestic partnership in the black household. Generally speaking the social dynamics of 21st century America has presented an economic disincentive to the continued existence of the nuclear family among the underclass. Black people are most severely affected. The critical fact is that 50% of the prison population is Black and poor (i.e., working people). For the welfare system which victimizes fathers and renders them economically redundant, at the same time as reproductive rights are assigned to women, alienates the male population and dooms men to antisocial and unproductive behavior — hence the epidemic criminality affecting black communities. The statistical evidence speaks for itself. The systematic impoverishment of the workingman through legal expropriation by the state and local governments has driven significant numbers of the male population underground. Draconian seizure of large chunks of already low wages before tax has forced many conscientious fathers into hiding. It is the simplest expression of the animal will to survive the deathblows of the bureaucrats. The choice is simple — escape or die! The term deadbeat is superbly apt. The social cost of childrearing has been lopsidedly shifted to men who are already socially disadvantaged. With a wage assignment of $482.00 per month (to use a figure with particular relevance), a workingman is compelled to foot a bill of $104,112.00 for the rearing of a child up to 18 years. This is often a child whose conception is not a matter of mutual agreement, but simply an expression of a woman’s “right to choose,” and who, if statistical trends hold, will end up a complete liability to society. And certainly will not be of any help to a father in his old age. It is the worst kind of extortion possible and goes to the heart of the systemic impoverishment, which afflicts a significant section of the workingmen in America. Political disfranchisement (the prejudicial assignment of rights to one group over another), social alienation, and economic marginalization of the poorest of the male population are the principal result of decades of feminist agitation. Social equality has not been realized for women! The corporate boardrooms are still enclaves of male domination and these are the seats of power. Yet, while women have remained essentially powerless, they have been powerful partners in a politicizing process, which intensifies the oppression of the working poor. This movement has been accessory to judicial and social engineering processes, which systematically dismantle working class families by setting woman against man. The concept of reproductive rights is one that is as alien to the working class experience as is the right to have multiple organ transplants. The reality of the working class experience dictates cooperative actions on a daily basis, especially at work. The stringency of working people’s finances necessitates cooperation between domestic partners, roommates, carpoolers, and so forth. The idea of choice based on individualistic pursuit is an ideal which the workingman or workingwoman cannot experience in reality. Individual choice for the poor is an illusion and in practice has dire consequences. Rights, by definition, subordinate the interest of the individual to that of the public. Hence one may exercise rights only to the extent that one’s actions do not infringe on the rights of other people. In other words, there are caveats on all rights, which means in essence that the average person has very little opportunity for purely individualistic pursuit. The rich, those who can afford to breach the caveats, are the only ones who can experience so-called Individualism.
The philosophy of rights in general, and of “reproductive rights” in particular is a rich man’s (rich woman’s) concept, which is synonymous to choice. When this is imposed on the lives of working people there are bitter consequences. For the wealthy, reproduction is associated with options including the sperm bank, in-vitro fertilization, surrogate reproduction, gene manipulation and cloning.
For the poor, copulation is obligatory (hence a nullified right — a non-choice)! And it is hardly individualistic since it requires the cooperation of another individual. Reproduction is for the working people a social act and becomes an individual right only to the extent that individuals do not participate in it.
Participation is forfeiture of this right. Hence, in principle a woman has no right over a man, or, over the child once she becomes part of this process. (It must be pointed out in this regard that legal abortion is not a matter of “choice” but state-sanctioned genocide. Child support orders are not matters of women’s right to choose. (For what are women choosing outside of impoverishing the lives of those who are closest to them?) Child support is an imposition of the state, a machination to confiscate the workingman’s wages and further impoverish him.) The idea that the working class woman can choose what to do with her body is inconsistent with the fact that the body of the worker (man or woman) is both an instrument of production and a commodity. The workers in the factories and offices are merely extensions of the equipment in these corporate environs, therefore, instruments of production. Workers are even more dispensable than the equipment! They are bought and sold on the labor market in much the same way as bread and cheese are bought and sold. Hence, they are commodities.
The actions of the working people are determined not by choice but by necessity. Necessity is the driving force behind the decisions that poor people make. Rich women are pro-choice because in a practical sense they can make choices. Workingwomen have to yield to necessity. The feminist movement is interested in “rights” (read choices) and privileges, which are buttressed on consumerist notions. The movement’s organizational and agitational efforts are not directed to realize social equity.
The feminists participate in the putrid political process and utilize the existing machinery of the state to intensify the oppression of working people, especially Black and Hispanic males. In this regard it can be seen that the American feminist are both racist and sexist. The feminist revolt is one of privileged women demanding and receiving a stake in the oppression of the unprivileged of society. The public alliance with women across the class line is an incredible fiction which provides a smokescreen for the wives and sisters of the men of the governing elite to beat up on working class males who are scapegoats for every social ill that the elite can think up. Feminism is a philosophy, which is subversive to the interest of the working class. It divides along gender lines and stokes and encourages conflicts at all levels. The idea of inequality between genders has meaning only in the ivory towers. The working people are equalized by the commoditization of labor, and by extension, of their persons. Persons whose labor commands $8.50 per hour do not have to philosophize about equality. Their equality is codified in their price. This realization has been with Black People for centuries. The female slave who fetched $300.00 on the auction block was in no doubt of her equality to the male slave who fetched the same price and stood daily in the cotton, or, cane rows beside her. Price is now, as then, the definitive equalizer. So the notion of equality does not adhere to gender lines. (All women are not equal.) The notion of equality traverses these, as it does race, and find qualitative expression in deep social relations, which cannot be resolved by a concoction of rights and privileges. The right of the workingman and woman to exercise power over each other is totally absurd. True equality and justice for working people will come only from conscious cooperation. The “reproductive right” should be repudiated and the divisive feminist agenda counteracted by a non-gender platform.
This is a precondition for the redemption of the working class family and especially for the host of marginalized and alienated African and Hispanic males (including the children) whose daily lives constitute a struggle for survival. It is time to take a stand against criminalization of masculinity in America. Time to send a clear message to the American Feminist Movement and their political cronies that we will not be divided, man against woman!
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By Mukoma wa Ngugi
Her womb pressed against the desert to bear the parasite
that eats her insides like termites drill into dry wood.
He is born into an empty bowl, fist choking umbilical cord.
She dies sighing, child son at last. He couldn’t have known,
instinct told him – always raise your arm in defense of your
own -Strike! Strike until they are all dead! Egg shells
in your hands milk bottle held between your toes,
you have been anointed twice, you strong enough to kill
at birth and survive. You will want to name the world
after yourself but you will have no name- a collage of dead
roots, tongues and other things. You will point your sword
to the center of the earth, duel the world to split into perfect
mirrors after your imperfect mutations but you will be
too weak having latched your self onto too many streams
straddling too many continents, pulling patches of a self
as one does fruits from an from an orchard, building a home
of planks with many faces. How does one look into a mirror
with a face that washes clean every rainy season?
He has an identity for every occasion – here he is Lenin
there Jesus and yesterday Marx – inflexible truths inherited
without roots. To be nothing to remain nothing, to kill
at birth – such love can only drink from our wrists. We
storming from our past to Jo’Burg eating wisdom of others
building homes made of our grandparent’s bones. We
gathering momentum that eats out of our earth, We standing
pens and bullets hurled at you, your enemies. Comrade, there
are many ways to die. A dog dies never having known
why it lived but a free death belongs to a life lived in roots,
roots not afraid of growing where they stand, roots tapped all over
the earth. Comrade, for a tree to grow, it must first own its earth.
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By Marcus Rediker
In this groundbreaking work, historian and scholar Rediker considers the relationships between the slave ship captain and his crew, between the sailors and the slaves, and among the captives themselves as they endured the violent, terror-filled and often deadly journey between the coasts of Africa and America. While he makes fresh use of those who left their mark in written records (Olaudah Equiano, James Field Stanfield, John Newton), Rediker is remarkably attentive to the experiences of the enslaved women, from whom we have no written accounts, and of the common seaman, who he says was a victim of the slave trade . . . and a victimizer. Regarding these vessels as a strange and potent combination of war machine, mobile prison, and factory, Rediker expands the scholarship on how the ships not only delivered millions of people to slavery, [but] prepared them for it.
He engages readers in maritime detail (how ships were made, how crews were fed) and renders the archival (letters, logs and legal hearings) accessible. Painful as this powerful book often is, Rediker does not lose sight of the humanity of even the most egregious participants, from African traders to English merchants. Publishers Weekly
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Wild Women Dont Have the Blues
By Ida Cox
I hear these women raving ’bout their monkey men About their fighting husbands and their no good friends These poor women sit around all day and moan Wondering why their wandering papas don’t come home But wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have the blues. Now when you’ve got a man, don’t ever be on the square ‘Cause if you do he’ll have a woman everywhere I never was known to treat no one man right I keep ’em working hard both day and night because wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues. I’ve got a disposition and a way of my own When my man starts kicking I let him find another home I get full of good liquor, walk the streets all night Go home and put my man out if he don’t act right Wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues You never get nothing by being an angel child You better change your ways and get real wild I wanna tell you something, I wouldn’t tell you no lie Wild women are the only kind that ever get by Wild women don’t worry, wild women don’t have no blues. Born Ida Prather,25 February 1896 in Toccoa, Habersham County, Georgia, United States. Died 10 November 1967 (aged 71) Genres Jazz, Blues Instruments Vocalist.
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The State of African Education (April 200)
Dr Asa Hilliard III speaks on the assault of academia on Africans writing and accounting for their own history.
Dr Hilliard is A teacher, psychologist, and historian.
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This video chronicles the life and times of the noted African-American historian, scholar and Pan-African activist John Henrik Clarke (1915-1998). Both a biography of Clarke himself and an overview of 5,000 years of African history, the film offers a provocative look at the past through the eyes of a leading proponent of an Afrocentric view of history. From ancient Egypt and Africas other great empires, Clarke moves through Mediterranean borrowings, the Atlantic slave trade, European colonization, the development of the Pan-African movement, and present-day African-American history.
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#1 – Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark #2 – Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree #3 – Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane #4 – Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper #5 – Stackin’ Paper 2 Genesis’ Payback by Joy King #6 – Thug Lovin’ (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark #7 – When I Get Where I’m Going by Cheryl Robinson #8 – Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby #9 – The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane
#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
#13 – For colored girls who have considered suicide by Ntozake Shange
#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
#18 – Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare
#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
#21 – The Upper Room by Mary Monroe
#22 Thug Matrimony by Wahida Clark
#23 – Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark
#24 – Married Men by Carl Weber
#25 – I Dreamt I Was in Heaven – The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter
#1 – Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable #2 – Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans #3 – Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane #4 – Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper #5 – Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant #6 – Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey #7 – The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight #8 – The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing #9 – The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson
#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
#16 – Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins
#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.
“Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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By David Graeber
Before there was money, there was debt. Every economics textbook says the same thing: Money was invented to replace onerous and complicated barter systemsto relieve ancient people from having to haul their goods to market. The problem with this version of history? Theres not a shred of evidence to support it. Here anthropologist David Graeber presents a stunning reversal of conventional wisdom. He shows that for more than 5,000 years, since the beginnings of the first agrarian empires, humans have used elaborate credit systems to buy and sell goodsthat is, long before the invention of coins or cash. It is in this era, Graeber argues, that we also first encounter a society divided into debtors and creditors. Graeber shows that arguments about debt and debt forgiveness have been at the center of political debates from Italy to China, as well as sparking innumerable insurrections. He also brilliantly demonstrates that the language of the ancient works of law and religion (words like guilt, sin, and redemption) derive in large part from ancient debates about debt, and shape even our most basic ideas of right and wrong.
We are still fighting these battles today without knowing it. Debt: The First 5,000 Years is a fascinating chronicle of this little known historyas well as how it has defined human history, and what it means for the credit crisis of the present day and the future of our economy.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 9 November 2007