COVID-19 Journal: Day 117

(Trigger warning: this post mentions rape.)

The cake was a hit. It was a semi-outlawed(?) backyard party of a gaggle of clever middle-aged women. Hardly criminals, we told ourselves. Here's the cake recipe, and the icing

Today, I listened to an interview Malcolm X gave in Berkeley in 1963, with a white male professor and a Black sociology graduate student. It was interesting to hear more depth about what appeared to be one of the main positions of the Black Muslim movement, which was around a kind of repatriated separatism. The interviewers were nowhere near as pugnacious as the four white men were yesterday, which was a relief. His turn of phrase brought to mind the thinking and writing of Andrea Dworkin. The great radical feminist, prominent in the late 70s to early 80s was also separatist. Much of her work was along the lines of women not deferring to how men expect or want or can force them to be. Turns out I'm not the first person to make this connection.

Even though she was abused for hating men etc, actually, I always found her writing to be quite neutral and plain and piercing. as I've said before, I think that a lot of what she says about male supremacy resonates with what many are also saying about white supremacy. And both she and Malcolm X speak in very plain terms about Reality for the oppressed and the need to upturn or avoid or circumvent or reinvent the language and control and power of the oppressor.

I found a speechI Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rapeshe delivered to a room full of mostly men, "with scattered women" in 1983 at the Midwest Regional Conference of the National Organization for Changing Men. It it, Dworkin talks about equality, and how it isn't about relinquishing control like I was talking about yesterday. It's about practicing equality in all things -- which for her (and me!) means no rape -- and also speaking out and loudly when you see inequality. Perhaps that's why now is different, because so many people are speaking out, and people of all colours and shades, too. But, you can also read Dworkin's speech with substitutions, for white men and women, too. I'm not sure what the equivalent of rape in terms of racial equality. But that is my ignorance showing.

I want to see this men's movement make a commitment to ending rape because that is the only meaningful commitment to equality. It is astonishing that in all our worlds of feminism and antisexism we never talk seriously about ending rape. Ending it. Stopping it. No more. No more rape. In the back of our minds, are we holding on to its inevitability as the last preserve of the biological? Do we think that it is always going to exist no matter what we do? All of our political actions are lies if we don't make a commitment to ending the practice of rape. This commitment has to be political. It has to be serious. It has to be systematic. It has to be public. It can't be self-indulgent. I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape

The irony is that blogging is self-indulgent, but I'm trying to learn how to be systematic about it, and thinking and writing about racism daily, however simplistically, is, I believe, helping me to make it systematic for me and how I am in the world. 

I have read the speech out loud too, in case you'd like to listen to it instead of reading. (Something which I am doing a lot these days.)