The Conspiracy To Destroy Black Women exposes the source of the depression, anger, pain, drug abuse, and the physical abuse that Black women experience. The source of all misery in the Black community, as expressed by Porter, is White supremacy. Women are stereotyped as weak, caregivers, housewives, emotional, and not at all cut out for manual labor. It is these characteristics that place women in the inferior position, not their biological makeup.
In his book, Porter talked about how African men did not originally think that they were superior to women until White men introduced it to them (p. 45). Once patriarchy had been taught, African men aided in the oppression of women. In relations to gendered concepts, patriarchy, the oppression that comes along with it, and the internalized oppression that follows, all play a role in the destruction of Black women. Patriarchy, as defined in Porter’s book, “is a cultural philosophy and practice that originated with European men” (p. 43).
Knowing about patriarchy and how it limits all women, specifically Black women since they are among the poorest of other women, is crucial in reducing stereotypes. Specifically, most of the time, “African American households are headed by single women,” and as a single mother they have to take over all of the responsibilities, the nurturing and providing (p. 11). Because of patriarchy, racism, and sexism, Black women are denied equal job opportunities as well as equal pay.
If a Black woman can’t receive equal pay, then she might have to obtain public assistance, which is not really a lot of money. If she stays on welfare too long, she gets called a welfare queen and might take herself off of it. If she takes herself off because of the embarrassment of being called a “welfare queen,” and gets her children taken away because she can’t financially take care of them, then she’s considered trifling.
The saddest part is that it is other Black women who are the main suspects committing the act of internal oppression. Oppression can lead to depression, depression to drug abuse or alcoholism, drug abuse and alcoholism to crimes and mainly prostitution to fund the habit. From crimes and prostitution, to prison. These are the steps in the destruction of Black women, and knowing what they are could persuade all Blacks to stop inflicting the stereotypes on themselves.
Physical appearance is something that many people worry about, but Black women have the most problems with it because they try to become something that they are not. Whoever said that words couldn’t curt must have never experienced true pain because being told continuously that your skin is too dark, or that your hair is too nappy hurts a person emotionally, and being hurt emotionally can lead to an individual inflicting physical pain on themselves. Porter makes a reference of Bell Hooks, author of Black Looks: Race and Representation, as stating that “White supremacy has impacted African Americans so much that we often find it difficult to discuss “Loving Blackness” (p. 75).
Black women hating their appearance comes from a long history of being degraded and devalued by White men. Although “[Black women’s] skin and full figure were historical symbols of beauty,” this beauty is not “standard of beauty in American society” (p. 77). Black women destroy themselves through self-hate. Of course, this isn’t to say that all women are not destroying themselves to obtain American beauty.
But Black women are destroying other Black women as well through the war of dark vs light. White supremacist have misled Black women into believing that white is right, and any shade darker is wrong; “light complexioned African/African American women became ‘pretty’ and dark complexioned sisters became ‘ugly.’ As a result of this programmed mind set, Black women have tried to appear lighter by skin bleaching.
Black women’s kinks and curls became a problem as well in the pursuit of American beauty, so hair straightening product took care of that (p. 80). But the consequences of these products are scary. It is common knowledge, at least in the Black community, that a perm can make a person “pretty,” but it can also take out their hair and permanently damage their scalp.
It is also common knowledge that skin bleaching is dangerous. Despite knowing this, Black women will still do whatever it takes to achieve the American version of beauty. On the outside, a person’s physical appearance may be acceptable in society, but, as a price, their insides could be falling apart; this therefore physically and mentally contributes to the destruction of Black women.
Porter recommends that all women should stop the “destructive and unnecessary dieting, skin bleaching, skin tanning, plastic surgery, silicone injections, and starvation” that’s been programmed into them (p. 81-82). This knowledge contributes to reducing the stereotype that light skin, blue eyes, and straight and long hair, all characteristics of American beauty, are the only forms of beauty. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and if this can be programmed into Black women’s minds, the conspiracy to destroy Black women will cease to exist.