FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Of Black Men and White Middle-Class Feminists

by ISHMAEL REED

During an interview with Chris Hedges carried at the site Truthdig, I cited Eve Ensler as the type of middle class white feminist who singles out black men as the leading culprits in the practice of cruelty to women, a theme that has earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Hollywood, publishing and outfits like CNN. Since these women have financial ties to the white men, who own these institutions, they have to tread lightly when criticizing them. For example, a number of on air feminists refer to those who are mostly likely to rape Native-American women as “non-indians” instead of white men. Ms.Ensler took exception to my comment about her prompting the following exchange.

Eve Ensler and Ishmael Reed Go At It

Ensler:  I was taken aback by this gross and inaccurate statement attributed to me. I have never said anything of the kind. To imply I am in some kind of financial relationship with white men? What kind of relationship is Ishmael Reed implying? I have spent the last 15 years fighting violence against women everywhere in the world, beginning with my own white middle class father who sexually molested and beat me. I have stood up to DSK and every other man be they white, black, yellow or brown who abuses women. As a matter of fact, my anti-violence work began for me in Bosnia. We have been supporting women in New Orleans and Haiti and Congo who have been violated, but then again we have supported women in the U.S. military and at thousands of organizations of all ethnic groups around the world. Local, grassroots V-Day activists are at work in over 179 countries worldwide.

Reed: On Sept. 01,2010,Ensler appeared on Amy Goodman’s show, “Democracy Now,” and singled out two black countries and the city of New Orleans as where all of the cruelty to women was happening. She said “The work, Eve told me [Amy Goodman] defines what she calls a ‘kind of three-way V between Haiti, the Congo and New Orleans.’ She’s the female Tarantino who forced herself on black women of New Orleans, when she proposed to write a play based upon their p.o.v.s. They rejected her, preferring to tell their own story. Nevertheless, she managed to direct a play about their experiences, “Swimming Upstream,” at the Apollo in Harlem, a place where one of  the great playwrights, Ed Bullins, who is now ailing, never had an opportunity to stage a play, nor have other great contemporary black playwrights, Amiri Baraka or Adrienne Kennedy. Is she denying that she has more clout with the owners of the Apollo theater than our great  black playwrights? Why can’t Thulani Davis or Aishah Rahman get a play done there? Among those who are responsible for the Apollo’s  annual season are:The Coca-Cola Company, JP Morgan Chase & Co., The Parsons Family Foundation, the Ronald O. Perelman Family Foundation, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Reginald Van Lee New Works Fund, the Ford Foundation Fund for Global Programs, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Folonari Wines, which explains why the hard-hitting social commentary of Baraka won’t be performed there and one which blames black men for sexual assault is; this is more acceptable to the patriarchal capitalists who run the place.  Amy Goodman was the perfect place for her appeal. Goodman worships “The Color Purple,” about a black man having sex with his daughter. She like Gloria Steinem use black men as surrogates because they are scared to tackle misogyny in their ethnic groups. They’re not the only ones. Ms. Steinem even said that “The Color Purple” told the truth about black men, in her Ms. review, which even outraged Toni Morrison, who blasted both Ms. Walker and Steinem in an interview with Cecil Brown in The Massachusetts Review. The kind of group libel implicit in Ms. Steinem’s generalization is of the sort that’s been aimed at her group from the time of the Romans. Black men can be cruel to women wherever they can be found in the world, but they ain’t the only ones and it’s unfair to unload the burden on them for world mysogyny. Here’s a fact that you’ll never hear from Amy Goodman, Eve Ensler and Terry Gross. Among all American males, Black men are the ones who are most likely to be murdered by women. I cite Natalie J. Sokoloff, and Christina Pratt’s 2005 book, Family & Relationships –where the authors wrote: “Black women are also more likely than their White counterparts to inflict lethal violence against their husbands.” So what do you suppose black men were doing, while, during the Katrina calamity, the women were swimming upstream? In Las Vegas partying with Tiger Woods and Mike Tyson?

Ishmael Reed’s latest book is “Going Too Far.” He is the publisher of Konch at http://ishmaelreed.net/. Konch goes monthly in January.

Ishmael Reed is the author of The Complete Muhammad Ali.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Ralph Nader
Hillary’s Convention Con
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail