The “Castration” of Black Males

Angela Davis discussion of the Blue’s attitudes towards sexuality as a means of expression and liberation is steeped in an analysis of the black consciousness which is sensical and she also makes explicit the importance of the black female perspective. I wonder if her argument and the emphasis she places on the female consciousness who not be strengthened by accounting for a higher influence of the women’s suffrage movements going on around the country at the time of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. I noticed in the film Bessie that the women specifically the black women were very powerful characters. This is important because it seems as if women’s suffrage with the growth of powerful or at the very least the in charge black women image is no accident. Angela Davis speaks on the the disenfranchisement of african americans after slavery ended, with such institutions as Jim Crow. There is appears to be a continual disenfranchisement of African Americans, however, things like Jim Crow affected african american men at a much greater rate due to the legal nature of the institution, the 13 amendment illegalized slavery but it most certainly did not give a voice to the african americans in an instantaneous manner. With the illegalization of slavery the logical follow up is suffrage for african american males seeing as how women did not have the vote yet, but the black males were stripped of this suffrage. This “castration” of the black male is shown in the movie as well, the black male characters were limited or often portrayed as weak with the exception of Michael K. William’s character, however, one should notice that the power he presents is an illegitimate type of power, often he makes power moves through violence, intimidation, or other illegal means. In order for the black males to show off power they have to go outside of the “legitimate” institution of the law.

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