R. Kelly: Sexual Predator or Scapegoat?

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I anticipate that this post will be unpopular. I acknowledge the contention that my assertions will certainly prompt and welcome the scathing comments in the section below. With that being said, I still very must feel that my perspective is worthy of articulation and exposure to those that care to listen.

Singer and R&B legend R.Kelly made headlines this week for allegedly assembling a sex cult consisting of underaged girls. These allegations bear a disturbing connection to R. Kelly’s previous trouble with the law, portraying Kelly as a an OJ-like figure–a haughty  recidivist who finagled through the loopholes of the American legal system.
I feel obliged to state that I have no respect for R. Kelly as a man. I do however, respect his talent. I perceive the ‘Pied Piper’ as an enslaved black who used America’s need to hyper sexualize the black man as a means to foment his career. While Kelly defiantly made family friendly songs like “Step in The Name of Love” and inspirational songs like “I Believe I Can Fly” and “The World’s Greatest” most of Kelly’s hits are sexualized slow jams to which I’m sure proved background music to the conception of many post millennials. His sexualized image fueled a career spanning over two decades with a plethora of adoring black female fans.

These fans remained loyal to Kelly even after a video surfaced of the singer issuing a golden shower to a then-fifteen year old girl. The charges were eventually dropped and buried in the past of a musician who was still able to maintain his mogul stature despite dramatic changes in the music industry.
While my argument is not to pardon R. Kelly from blame, it is that he is not the primary cause of the hyper-sexualized black female body that faces violation without consequence. R. Kelly was relieved of any legal responsibility in previous allegations of sexually violating a black female teen simply because the black female body bears no significance to the Western world outside of monetary gain. Consider how quickly the western world kills and incarcerates the black body.  The reason why Kelly was not susceptible to these consequences is not because of his riches, but because his “crimes” served an integral purpose in maintaining white supremacy. Moreover, the world was and is more interested in portraying Kelly and his victim as sexual beasts than to upholding the integrity of those they do not see as a human let alone bearing the presumed innocence of femininity or childhood.
To the western gaze, the hyper sexuality of the young black female body violently seduces Kelly. To this same gaze, Kelly is a sexualized being unable to resist the callings of his bestial urges. Together, these caricatured images of black sexuality function assemble the historical narrative of blacks as primitive and underdeveloped beings worthy of the death and incarceration that befalls them.

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Kelly, a melanated individual who believes his conventional success consummates his transition to whiteness, feels as entitled to young bodies as the white man did and does to young black females. Kelly, is a symbol of what happens when a morally impoverished black youth offsets a journey to acquire physical wealth and not a collective consciousness. As members of an oppressed collective, it is essential that we proceed with consciousness. To proceed without it, is to inevitably mirror our oppressors in thought and action.

There is also a large possibility that this ordeal is entirely fictional, and yet another means to lynch a black man by the rope of hyper sexuality. But the verity of these accusations does little to supersede its societal function. The scenario depicts how the black man and women are commonly pitted against one another and how the black male is villanized for implementing what he was nurtured to idolize—white male ideology.

The teachings of white supremacy are second nature to anyone not possessing a conscious gaze. I read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, a few years back and was mortified at what Pecola’s father does to her on the kitchen floor. I resented Morrison for years, holding her in contempt for depicting the black man as indifferently robbing his child of her innocence.

It took me several strides into consciousness to realize that the father was a man systemized and nurtured to become an animal, a subjugate human who performs the dirty work of his master in his oppressed state. This is not an excuse, as his actions are detestable and hard to read, yet even more difficult to process as a factual fate rendered to so many blacks throughout the diaspora silent in the shame of their systemic violation.

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Kelly symbolically stands in the same image of this fictional black man who encompasses the factual narrative of so many other black males castrated by earthly demons who program the black body to inflict white evil onto their own people.

Kelly’s actions function to lure black women from blackness into the arms of feminism–yet example of society’s dedication to turning racist issues into sexist issues to further the cyclical disenfranchisement of blacks by hurling our struggle into oblivion. A second offense by a black praised for his prodigious talent, serves another blow to our collective identity alongside similar allegations afforded to other black greats like the late Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Kobe Bryant, amongst others. These allegations function to fuel white esteem and denigrate black collective worth in staining the black psyche with portraits of themselves that seemingly lack a moral compass.

So, to those quick to compartmentalize a black man as a sexual villain— I would like to redirect your attention to the words of the late and great Malcolm X:

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

To what contempt will you hold a system that upholds the systemic soiling of black female bodies?

To reiterate I am in no way excusing Kelly, but evoking a sense of nationalism to assert that we as a collective have been wronged by a system that lures us to incessantly blame ourselves but seldom confront the  true villain and sole benefactor of global racism.

In closing, the power of blackness lies largely in realizing if and when we are being played. So while we may not be playing chess, our systemized state as blacks bears a close resemblance to a king being used to seize the most powerful piece of the game–his queen.

Article by CC Saunders

The Conspiracy to Destroy Black Women

Black Women

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.

The problem of Misogyny in the Black Community

This is a great video by Rick Wallace.  He makes some very strong points on misogyny in hop hop and the black community as a whole.  It’s a very touchy subject that many brothers and sistas don’t touch on. But it’s an issue that must be addressed.  It’s something that can’t be ignored.

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Misogyny is the hatred of women. It differs from sexism in that while sexism implies patriarchal domination inferring inferior status on women or female-identified (and not biologically essentialist here) persons who may not use the label “woman,” misogyny speaks to the individual, social and cultural hatred of women based on that presumed inferiority. Misogyny isn’t just insults though (as no system of oppression is) and is in fact institutionalized. Examples of said institutionalization are clearly seen in how rape culture manifests in the media, the criminal justice system, and legislation. Or marketing for beauty, food and diets. Or products like video games. It’s more than a man calling a woman a “whore,” though that insult operates beyond an individual level when a man can rape a woman, say she is a whore and not be convicted or even arrested for it.

Unlike sexism or racism where men and Whites proliferate them, respectively, and benefit from them (since institutions supports them) and at most, women and Blacks, respectively, can internalize it and project it but have no institutional power associated with it, misogyny can be proliferated by anyone (i.e. anyone can proliferate rape culture via victim blaming), and when they have other privilege (i.e. White or male privilege) it becomes especially perilous. This is how White women and Black men, for example, can proliferate anti-Black misogyny (misogynoir) against Black women, though White women cannot be sexist or Black men be racist, by definition. Them proliferating this specific misogyny reveals racism and internalized sexism on the White woman’s part and sexism and internalized racism on the Black man’s part. Of course the key to anti-Black misogyny has been White men. Literally every manifestation of stereotypes and controlling images used to oppress Black women via anything from appearance to sexuality have been historically proliferated and capitalized on (pun intended) by White men, including them establishing White womanhood as diametrically opposed to Black womanhood. Black women ourselves can also proliferate anti-Black misogyny as an expression of learned self-hatred or through binaries created because of the politics of respectability.

Misogyny dehumanizes women in, general. Anti-Black misogyny (which functions because of racism, sexism and White supremacy) makes Black women “not human” and thereby worthy of hatred and abuse yet White women the standard of humanity that Black women should aspire to.

Misogyny makes men’s “natural” angered reactions to women include the word “bitch” where their privilege and power makes it different from women who seek to reclaim that word and use between each other. Anti-Black misogyny creates other oppressive slurs, where even “black” itself becomes a pejorative. “Black bitch.” “Nigger bitch.”Misogyny makes women’s bodies objects, not a physical expression of whole human beings. Anti-Black misogyny makes Black women’s bodies objects for breeding, sex or spectacle. It means open voyeurism–whether Sara Baartman of the past, the decade plus of comments on Serena Williams’ body or a recent event where a Black woman was treated as an object to gawk at (beyond her clothing) by literally everyone (including White women) in a public space in New York–is considered a normal reaction to specific Black female bodies. And all of this occurs while thin White female bodies are presented as the ideal. Where any Black women’s nudity or dancing is deemed “hypersexual” yet White women’s nudity or dancing has room for nuance is anti-Black misogyny.

Misogyny makes the exploitation of women’s labor (through sexism being the reason for lower wages) worse by including the rationalization of sexual harassment, abuse in the workplace and global exploitation of women’s work. Anti-Black misogyny means that on top of lower wages than White women, Black women cannot cry in the workplace (Black Tears™ don’t work or exist like White Tears™ do) and use that as a source of power and face stereotypes of being “angry” (connected to dehumanization where we aren’t deemed “real” women) which limits our voices being heard, positions we are offered or recourse against abuse from Whites in the workplace.

Misogyny supporting rape culture is why women are raped and rarely receive justice. It’s why 97% of rapists won’t spend a day in jail. Anti-Black misogyny means that the legacy of perceiving Black women as automatically “unrapeable” and as “whores” because of how White supremacy (myth of the purity of White womanhood) and racism (stereotypes about Black womanhood made to justify centuries of rape, exploitative body experimentation and abuse) work together to justify slavery and build capitalism still persists today and shapes conversation on rape where the victim is usually framed as a White teen or college co-ed.Misogyny makes violence against women a consistent problem in our society. Anti-Black misogyny is why videos of Black women being violently hit or abused are deemed “funny,” why Black women experience higher incidents of violence from intimate partners, why Black women are believed to experience less pain in childbirth despite no evidence (which connects to Black people’s pain, in general, being ignored or deemed non existent), and why cops regularly abuse pregnant Black women who are only viewed as a race and not a gender also.

Misogyny reduces women to stereotypes in a similar fashion to bodily objectification. Anti-Black misogyny is why there are no White stereotypes or controlling images to match these that are used to marginalize and oppress Black women: mammy, Sapphire, Jezebel, welfare queen, matriarch (as a racialized pejorative), angry Black woman, Strong Black Woman. It’s why despite a legacy of always working, even when we didn’t own our wages or our bodies, stereotypes like “welfare cheat” and “gold digger” are presented as Black women by default. And TV tropes about Whites do not parallel to these. Tropes are not used to control and oppress Whites in every sphere. This is beyond just media.

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