By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on October 1, 2018
“You seem to dwell a lot on the past”, wrote one of my readers in response to my article on “Why Do So Many Women Tolerate Male Privilege?”. The reader was correct in his observation. I am a student of history.
I study the past in order to understand our present situation and prepare for our future. Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.
America’s four hundred years of history are filled with centuries of abusive conduct by white men towards women, blacks, and native Americans. Some people think that just writing about this abusive behavior, “passes blame forward to non-participants” and is “counter-productive.” I disagree.
Blame is not passed forward by simply discussing America’s past. Without a doubt, the vestiges of America’s centuries of de jure mistreatment of women, blacks, and native Americans are alive and well today. "Non-participants" can acknowledge this fact or ignore it. Regardless, it is a well-documented fact that tangible privileges and benefits continue to flow to "non-participants" because of these unabated vestiges.
If they are honest with themselves, “non-participants” will also acknowledge that certain political groups in this country would love to take America back to a period where white male privilege once again ruled the day.
Women, blacks, and native Americans have progressed from no legal rights in America to many legal rights, at least on paper. Their progress in America was the direct result of countless personal acts of sacrifice that are unimaginable by today’s standards.
All of us can name a handful of women, blacks, and native Americans today who have attained some measure of power and influence in society. For each one who readily comes to mind, there are thousands of similarly situated white men.
With respect to women (who catch more hell in American society on a daily basis than any other group), all of us know they want to be respected for their minds and not their bodies. Women deserve an equal opportunity to compete on a level playing field in the workplace without being subjected to sexual harassment and/or sexual assaults. Women and girls also deserve to live and enjoy productive lives without having to worry about pedophiles, rapists, and sexual predators.
When women and girls are molested, raped, and assaulted, all of us who value them want the perpetrators held accountable in the criminal justice system. This seems like a very simple in matter in principle, but it is a very difficult to achieve in reality. Furthermore, no man should ever call a woman (or anybody else) a "dog" or "pig." This is particularly true for the President of the United States, whose tweets are archived in our nation's official records.
White men routinely called all women “dogs”, “pigs”, “wenches”, “bitches”, “Jezebels”, “tramps”, “doxies”, “floozies”, “hoochies”, “whores”, and other demeaning names before women got the right to vote in 1920, but who would have ever thought that a modern-day, sitting U.S. President would call them “dogs” and “pigs”. Furthermore, who could have imagined that members of the President’s ruling political party would fail to chastise him for calling any woman a “dog" or "pig."
This is why we must always know our country’s history. We have been here before. This was not a “great” period in American history for women, blacks, and native Americans. Nothing came out of this period for women, blacks, and native Americans but agony, anguish, emotional distress, and pain.
Finally, the men who profess to love their wives, daughters, sisters, nieces, and other women in the family circle ought to man-up and at least join them in leveling the playing field. Too many of these men are like Sen. Ted Cruz, who allowed candidate Donald Trump to insult his wife and was too weak-kneed and scared to check Trump on his inappropriate, sexist remarks. It is easier for men like Cruz to rationalize and normalize abusive conduct toward women than it is for them to check the men who perpetrate it.
PHOTO: American women want to be treated with respect.