“If women want rights more than they got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.”
― Sojourner Truth
Even the scriptures stand against you. No one can protect you from the warped mind of man, but yourselves. Women have accomplished seemingly insurmountable goals before. I am assured that they can triumph again, but only as a chorus. I am a black man, begrudgingly telling you, that you might be more persecuted than I. Maybe you see my struggle as separate from yours, but in truth, they are tied to one another. One struggle came first, then the other followed. Then another and another, but that is for a different day and another thought. The current thought, the one pressing me ever closer to the screen is woman. Woman has struggled for her equality since she was “plucked from the rib of man.” While blacks have fought for the same since our ancestors terrorized toes touched this foreign land. From old many have fought, failed, and even died attempting to forge a path. I believe that the path for equality for the rest of us is to be cleared by women.
Not four hundred years, not even one thousand years, woman has been under the foot of man since the beginning of time. But woman and man need each other, like two Apple Trees. A lone tree will grow. However, it will produce no fruit, and its existence will be snuffed out. Silly to think one tree subordinating another, a human flaw. When you need something for your survival, you forfeit the right to rule over it. Unless that person is willing to be ruled? I believe there was a time when many bowed to something that was, at that moment, more powerful than themselves. Irish immigrants bowed to the power and interests of the wealthy. Many blacks bowed to the pressure of their masters. Woman similarly had the man as her master. A single characteristic defines all of these relationships. One dominant party, using that power not to assist, but to rule over the other.
Kayne said, “slavery was a choice.” No one wants to hear that, but there was an alternative. The alternative was death. Many chose that over enslavement. In each of these scenarios, one could choose death over subjugation, and that is what many of them chose. Many Africans lept overboard, and would never gain the degrading distinction of being called “blacks.” Many Irish never immigrated and died of famine and poverty. They never endured the slavery of being a white lower class. Finally, many women chose to let no man rule over them. They wanted death over subjugation. I know many of the female heroes I think of through history were just this kind of woman. Totally insubordinate, or at least to any authority other than themselves or God, and maybe they were onto something. Male domination should not exist. Either a person is willing to be enslaved, or they are eager to fight to be free until they breathe their final breath.
We can seek to remember a time when having a male protector meant having a sense of security. A brutally cruel time when protection, and being provided for were of great necessity. But that was then, a time far off and gladly forgotten. What about now? Do women need the protection of men? Do they need us to provide for them now? My grandmother provided for my mother, her two sisters, and her brother, and she did it alone, in the ’60s. A time that was far harder for women than it is today. Many barriers had been broken by that time. However, a veritable border wall still lie ahead. Today, I see something different. I see only a small wall. A wall that can be destroyed. As the walls of Jericho fell to the sound of the trumpets, so to the walls of inequality can fall to the chorus of women, demanding what is rightfully theirs. Equality by the law, at least.
Our struggle is linked today just as it has always been. The relationship between woman gaining her emancipation legally and the subsequent freedom and equality of all others have eluded us. No longer shall this truth evade us. Before we can grow organic equality for African Americans, Native Americans, Immigrants, and all people that have been portrayed as less, then justice for women under the law must be gained first. How can we kid ourselves into thinking equality for women does not come first? All of our social battery whether it be racial, gender, economic, nationalistic, etc., are deeply entrenched into the egos of men and women. All are daunting to eradicate. Establishing equality for women in the minds of men is a generational task. A job for fathers such as myself. Simultaneously equal treatment must be demanded by women to push the agenda. Because many a boy will be brought up equally as ignorant as their fathers. Equality under the law, however, does not take generations, or even a single generation. All it takes is the stroke of a pen.
Equal pay today. That is what should be demanded. By order of our Misogynist in Chief. Any job, excluding those that are performance-based, should pay a woman no different than it pays a man. This is easily measurable and is something that can be enacted today. Let this be your measure as to how free and how equal you really are? This is something that policy could have fixed long ago. One presidential order and women would know that they are not alone in believing they are equal, but they are citizens of a country and a community that thinks the same. By the next paycheck, this constant reminder of your second class citizenship could be erased. You may find out however that there is a class of men that want you to stay in your place. They want you to stay down, or they will knock you back down. Savor your perceived equality, because it is an illusion perpetrated by many powerful men.
Slaves at one time had a similar thought. A thought that with the stroke of a pen they could be free. It is true that an amendment freed slaves, but freedom of mental enslavement both of the oppressed and of the oppressor is not relegated to the history so quickly. Women’s rights are similar but, with a few nuances. Many women are already free, and vast numbers are not. For the free woman, there is an opportunity today. Since the days of women’s suffrage, there has not been a better time to stand up and assert yourselves to what you are owed. In my writing, I always return to cohesion. The cohesion of spirit, of mind, and of ambition, but even cohesion through disagreement. The ability to disagree yet find stronger commonality is the key that will unlock a new door. Wielding this unwavering, cohesion, forming an immutable woman’s chorus that will be able to overpower irrationality, overpower tradition, and drown out justification.
So many problems lie under our feet, and many more upon the horizon. Someone must clear a path. Like the mother of humanity, women can lead us and nurture us into a better more cooperative future. It required a law to make me a free man, and I am still not free. Until a law is passed that clearly states the equality of women, then it does not exist.