Dr Martin Luther King Jr once said “the arc of the moral universe bends towards justice.” Half a century after his death, the arc may bend towards justice for some, but it curves all the way around to injustice for black women. The arc of our moral universe bends towards misogynoir.
Moya Bailey coined the phrase to describe prejudice towards black women. You see it in the way we are treated, especially by black men. That if the totem pole of acceptability must elevate their standing, we must remain at its bottom. Black men, who should understand how difficult it is to navigate a world that is not as welcoming to anyone who isn’t born white, male and straight, engage in the most bitter of misogyny towards their “sisters.” It goes beyond Kanye West’s line on Golddigger about a man leaving you for a white girl once he gets his come up; it extends to our value in the workplace and society as a whole always being diminished.
Black men perpetuate misogynoir because it was never about equality for them: it was about assimilating into white patriarchy. Upholding rape culture and the various other violent methods of misogynoir – be it the hypersexualisation of black women, or the perpetuating of ugly stereotypes – is a means to an end: to keep black women underneath your boots.