Some African American Males’ Perspectives on the Black Woman
Rufus Burrow, Jr.
THE PURPOSE OF this essay is twofold: (1) to present how Black women are represented in the political philosophies of four popular African American men: Fredrick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, and James Hal Cone; and (2) to discuss the role(s) African American men should play in eradicating sexism in the Black church and the Black community.
While the charge is often made that Black men are (and historically have been) sexist in their treatment of Black women, there has been little attempt to explore the relationship between the nature of Black male sexism, on the one hand, and slavery and racism, on the other. By focusing on the lives of Douglass, Du Bois, Malcolm X, and Cone, I hope to illustrate some of the ways in which racism against Black men helps to explain Black men’s attitudes towards Black women and, more broadly, Black men’s position on women’s equality.