Wednesday, April 18, 2007

On Race, Kinship, and Black Women

Christina Sharpe in dissident voice

“You must not forget that we are students first and then we’re athletes. And before the student lies the daughter.”

-- Essence Carson

It took almost a week to generate "public outrage" about the remarks that Don Imus and producer Bernard McGuirk made about the Rutgers Women's basketball team.

In that same week the media consistently reported that three white lacrosse players from Duke University were found innocent of the charges against them. It's true that the charges of rape/sexual assault against the three white Duke players have been dropped, but they are not innocent of either misogynist or racist acts. After all, these young men whom, I suspect, like most young white men of their class have very little social interaction with black people or, at least, little social interaction with black people of vastly different class and circumstances, hired these young black women from the other side of the tracks to dance at their party. The two women hired to dance agree on this: the players subjected them to racial and sexist abuse. And, let’s not forget that after Ms. Roberts’ accusations became public, a number of women on the Duke Campus came forward to say that they believed her because they, and other women they knew, had been assaulted as well.

But, one (white) mother makes clear in her letter to the Boston Globe [1] the differences between what sons and daughters across a race/sex/class divide are told and who one imagines to be one’s son or daughter. She writes, “Any mother could have told those boys a party with alcohol, young men, and a stripper of unknown origins had the potential for trouble.” Many a black mother could have told that daughter (those girls) about the potential trouble to them in interactions involving alcohol and young white men with pedigrees and power attached to race, sex, and class privilege.

(read entire article)

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