Breaking the Silence: Toward a Black Male Feminist Criticism by David Ikard

By David Ikard

Can black men supply helpful insights on black girls and patriarchy? Many black feminists are uncertain. Their skepticism derives partly from a heritage of explosive encounters with black males who blamed feminism for stigmatizing black males and undermining racial harmony and partly from a conception that black male feminists are opportunists capitalizing at the present approval for black women's writing and feedback. In Breaking the Silence, David Ikard is going boldly to the crux of this debate via a chain of provocative readings of key African American texts that display the chance and cost of a practicable black male feminist perspective.

Seeking to improve the first pursuits of black feminism, Ikard presents literary types from Chester Himes's If He Hollers enable Him cross, James Baldwin's cross inform It at the Mountain, Toni Morrison's Paradise, Toni Cade Bambara's The Salt Eaters, and Walter Mosley's constantly Outnumbered, continuously Outgunned and Walkin' the puppy that consciously strive against with the idea that of sufferer prestige for black women and men. He appears at how complicity throughout gender traces, faraway from rooting out patriarchy within the black neighborhood, has allowed it to thrive. This complicity, Ikard explains, is a method through which victimized teams put money into sufferer prestige to the purpose that they by chance concede energy to their victimizers and interact in styles of habit which are perceived as progressive yet truly make stronger the prestige quo.

While black feminism has fostered very important and invaluable discussions in regards to the difficulties of patriarchy in the black group, little realization has been paid to the intersecting dynamics of complicity. via laying naked the nexus among sufferer prestige and complicity in oppression, Breaking the Silence charts a brand new course for conceptualizing black women's complicated humanity and offers the rules for extra expansive feminist ways to resolving intraracial gender conflicts.

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Extra resources for Breaking the Silence: Toward a Black Male Feminist Criticism

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She insists that “no language or experience is divorced from the shared context in which different groups that share language express their differing group interests” (16–17). Rather, “language is accented differently by competing groups, and therefore the terrain of language is a terrain of power relations. ” Given the relational dynamics of power and language, “black and feminist cannot be absolute, transhistorical forms (or form) of identity” (17). Though Carby objects to the label “black feminist,” her political and ideological concerns are similar to Smith’s and McDowell’s.

McDowell, Nellie McKay, Barbara Smith, Valerie Smith, Hortense Spillers, Claudia Tate, Alice Walker, Cheryl Wall, Michelle Wallace, Mary Helen Washington, and, more recently, by bell hooks, Michael Awkward, Devon Carbado, Patricia Hill-Collins, Mark Anthony Neale, and Kimberle Williams Crenshaw. In her groundbreaking essay “Toward a Black Feminist Criticism” (1977), Barbara Smith introduced the dominant theme of black feminist criticism and the central premise of this book: the idea that race, gender, and class are interlocking factors that inform the complex reality of black women’s oppression.

More importantly, it shows that she was aware, on some level, of the potential problems of biological essentialism in the earliest stages of her career. In her essay “New Directions for Black Feminist Criticism” (1980), Deborah E. McDowell addresses the ideological pitfalls of Smith’s methodology in “Toward a Black Feminist Criticism” by posing a series of probing questions about her representation of black women’s experiences. McDowell asks, “[I]s there a monolithic Black female language? s share a common language?

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