African American Women: Domestic Violence and Integrity
Introduction: The Author’s Intent and Its Interpretations
Of all the equality issues, the one regarding render profiling and the means of fighting it might seem somewhat overlooked.
Despite the fact that considerable efforts have been made in order to attain equality between men and women in the XX century, at present, gender profiling sill remains an issue, and the present-day African American communities are infamously known as a graphic example of women abuse in society: “Every three or four years, a new theory emerges that excuses discrimination and gives the scientific basis for supposed Africa-American inferiority or women’s inability to lead” (White 19).
Though gender profiling and women abuse is often related to poor social background of victim and the offender, Crenshaw argues in her article “Mapping the Margins:
Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against the Women of Color” that in the Black community, women’s unwillingness to change their status to being equal to men and, therefore, putting an end to their abuse lies in the specifics of the African American community and the fear of its members that any changes to women’s status will be destructive to the community in question.
Family Violence Exposure and the Principles of the African American Society
Sadly enough, the idea of equality does not seem to be compatible with the key principles in accordance with which gender relationships work in the Black community. Indeed, according to what Crenshaw states, “The embrace of identity politics, however, has been in tension with dominant conceptions of social justice” (Crenshaw 1242).
In other words, Crenshaw assumes that the behavioral patterns, which are traditionally accepted in African American society in general and families in particular, does not comply with the basic concepts of feminism and the idea of women and men having equal rights.
Quite on the contrary, Crenshaw makes it quite obvious that rather patriarchal moods are traditionally accepted as an appropriate code of behavior in African American society and families.
Politicization of Domestic Violence and the Needs of the Community
Though the patriarchal moods within the African American community are necessarily to be blamed for the development of a specific relationship pattern, which compromises the concept of equality between a man and a woman, the source of the conflict stems from the complexity of the terms “racism” and “sexism”:
The problem is not simply that both discourses fail women of color by not acknowledging the “additional” burden of patriarchy or of racism, but that the discourses are often inadequate even to the discrete tasks of articulating the full dimensions of racism and sexism. (Crenshaw 1251)
Much to the disdain of modern feminists and proponents of female empowerment, Crenshaw proves easily that, within the context of a contemporary African American society, gender equality remains merely a concept, and a barely viable one at that: “Contemporary feminist and antiracist discourses have failed to consider the intersections of racism and patriarchy” (Crenshaw 1242–1243).
The politicization of the issue does not lead to any fruitful results, either. In fact, Crenshaw states that bringing up the issue of domestic violence and approving it as a political concern will only result in even more violent outbursts among the male representatives of the African American community:
“Some worry that attempts to make domestic violence an object of political action may only serve to confirm such stereotypes and undermine efforts to combat negative beliefs about the African- American community” (Crenshaw 1253).
The act that bringing the issue to a public discussion only makes the situation worse does not mean that the attempts to establish equality principles in the African American society must be stopped. On the contrary, new means to approach the problem of domestic violence must be sought.
Reading too Much into the “Article: When Adding to the Author’s Ideas Seems Tempting
It should be noted, though, that interpreting Crenshaw’s initial intent, just as the intent of any other writer, is fraught with a number of difficulties. There are many viewpoints on how the author’s work must be read and perceives – some say that the reader must not go beyond the transparent statement made by the author; others claim that, once the work has seen the light, it is open to interpretations.
In Crenshaw’s case, the general idea regarding the patriarchal moods as the key obstacle for feminism to evolve in the Africa American society is quite clear; the aspect of the problem politicization is much more complicated, though.
Ripping the Veil off of Domestic Violence: When the Ends Justify the Means
Although one has to admit that there is a grain of truth to the idea that the politicization of the issue in question works for the people behind the politicization and not the victims of domestic violence, in the given case, it is the thought that counts.
Conclusion: What the Confrontation of the Black Feminism and the Social Norms Triggers
Focusing on the absence of feminist moods within the African American society and the intense patriarchal principles that are only reinforced as time passes, Crenshaw proves that the politicization of the issue only makes the problem worse.
After the issue is made public, violence towards African American women is reinforced. The given statement, however, does not mean that the fight for women’s rights among African Americans must be terminated. Instead, new methods of solving the issue in question must be provided.
Crenshaw, Kimberly. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics and Violence against the Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review 43.6 (1991), 1241–1298. Print.
White, Frances. Dark Continent of Our Bodies: Black Feminism and Politics of Respectability. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. 2001. Print.
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