If Jemele Hill was playing basketball, defending an average ball handler, she would’ve gotten hit with that “get over here,” because this is a reach. This is one of those, “reach for the moon and even if you miss you’re still amongst the stars” reaches. This is an itch on my back I am not anatomically designed to get to reaches. Elementary school teacher, teaching syllables by clapping her hands: This. Is. A. Reach. Comments like this by prominent media figures sow more division than unity, weakening our collective national voice.
“I have increasingly found that many black men just want better access to patriarchy. They don’t actually want it dismantled,” assumes that males of any race have overwhelmingly made strides to promote a gender-neutral society. What does that nation look like on planet Earth circa 2020? Well according to a 2019 ranking from US News and World Report, the best country for women to live was Sweden (https://www.businessinsider.com/the-best-countries-for-women-us-news-world-report). At the time 46% of its parliament was comprised of women, who also made up 50% of its government’s cabinet. The shared political power seen in one of the most progressive countries on Earth still has a male dominated business sector (https://sweden.se/society/gender-equality-in-sweden/). Moreover, a similar gender pay gap exists in Sweden, where women’s average monthly salaries “are less than 88 per cent of men’s – 95.5 per cent when differences in choice of profession and sector are taken into account (2016).” And this is in the “best” place for women, (I’m assuming of the more European variety) to live. Singling out black men as an increasing contributor to America's patriarchal society is unfair because gender inequality exists in some of the most progressive nations on the planet. Black men aren't more likely to advocate against female social progression in the United States than men of other races. I'd suggest black men concede more power to their female counters than men of other races.
The term “Big Mama” is a tribute to the matriarch, the black woman, who’s held down the family, and it has been a term of endearment for generations. I won’t go through the historical reasons that tie to slavery for the purposes of this paper, but I would argue within the black community we have a matriarchal society, and black women hold the power structure. Big Mama traditionally out votes her black male counterpart in major elections by a minimum of about two million votes going back to 1984 (https://cawp.rutgers.edu/genderdiff.pdf). Of the 54 members in the Congressional Black Caucus, 25 are women. Of the 131 or so, black mayors in the United States of America, about 40% are women. There are no black governors. The very same US News and World Report that ranked the best country for women to live placed Sweden in the top spot, with the United States of America number 16. About 25% of America’s Congress is female. However, filtering out all other races, the dichotomy of black women to black men in Congress is more reflective of Sweden’s percentages. This doesn’t suggest black men support sustaining a patriarchal society, because a portion of votes going to black women in positions of power are, by gross numbers, large quantities of black males. No? Not to mention, despite gender gaps, Big Mama annually makes more money than her male counterpart. If we are to assume the power resides with the breadwinner, black women don’t have to worry about black men pushing a patriarchal agenda, because they’ve been the cornerstones of the community for centuries.
I believe the source of Hill’s angst was a Gallup survey stating about one in five black men approved of President Trump (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/23/whats-happening-out-there-with-black-men-trump/). Or, maybe it was the disdain black men had for Vice President Kamala Harris. While I am as befuddled as anyone else with any concept of black American history, I don’t get how misguided political support turns into gender finger pointing. Most of the black men I know who explain black Trump supporters seem to suggest the same thing; economic opportunity. I prefer to call it tax loophole economics, but what do I know? My point is why do we have to go Xena Warrior Princess versus Hercules; or, more appropriately, Ororo Munroe versus T’Challa? And as far as Vice President Kamala Harris is concerned, it’s not beyond reason she wouldn’t poll favorably among black male voters given the events on her timeline (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/kamala-harris-criminal-justice.html). That said, I supported her, and I believe the 20 percenters don’t reflect the will of the majority of black men. The suggestion we are ankle weights to black women’s societal ascension is a misguided narrative that perpetuates division.