By Aaron Aroriza, Uganda:
There's something about the civil rights movement and the feminist movement that just doesn't move me. It makes me shift uncomfortably in my chair, but it doesn't move me.
Both movements are of course for a very noble cause; a noble cause I don't find so smart none the less -equality. In my opinion (and I don't like my opinion that much either) the moment you fight for equality with anyone, you are communicating to them that you envy them. You are also communicating to them that you know it's their world and all you want is just some equal space in it.
The White man enslaved the black man. He told him he couldn't wear a suit, he couldn't ride a horse, he couldn't join the army, he couldn't marry a white woman, he couldn't drive a car, own a slave…
The black man fought for equality, got to wear a suit. He introduced the suit even in the hot African countries, made it the national dress code of respect and banned some of the African wear from his parliament. The black man rode horses not because he needed to but because he had earlier been told he couldn't. He joined the army, married white women not because they were better than black women but because the white man had earlier told him he couldn't marry them. Then he owned slaves – black slaves. And then many years later the black man had a piece of the presidency of the world's greatest nation. He turned on Africa and participated in the eventual killing of a pan-Africanist who had been campaigning for a United States of Africa. The black man actively participated in the neo-colonization of his African brothers. Ah, the black man got the equality he had always fought for. And when the white man said the black man couldn't read, some black men started reading. And they read what the white man had always wanted them to read, for there was no black literature. Then the white man said the black man can't write. The black man started writing. He wrote a lot like the white man – just what the white man must have wanted, to begin with.
But did the feminist find any problem with the kind of equality the black man got? Let's see: Men told women they couldn't head homes, they couldn't be lawyers, and couldn't be doctors – only nurses. Men told women they couldn't wear pants, they couldn't own property, couldn't smoke, couldn't drive cars, go to bars…Black African men told their women they couldn't eat eggs, eat chicken, eat anything delicious. Ha…they were clever gluttonous men – these ones: That women were only good at raising kids they didn't own, cooking meat they won't eat, knitting and, sleeping under men over the marital bed.
The feminist fought for equality. The feminist is still fighting for equality: the feminist can now go to the bar and drink from a giant beer mug while smoking large cigars not because she enjoys that so much but because the man once told her, drinking and smoking were a reserve for men. The feminist has become a lawyer so she can kick the male doctor's ass. She doesn't find law so interesting but she finds it so exhilarating because the man once said a woman can't practice law. The woman now eats chicken, eats eggs and all the junk food. She has become fat, has not liked herself so much and hated everyone who tells her the truth about her 'manly' tummy when she's wearing pants the man once told her she couldn't wear. And is it just me, or are more women growing beards these days? Ah, equality on the face too and shaving is just a small price to pay.
Now, here's the problem I have. I'm a black man who, even after the civil rights movement, is still treated like a second rate citizen in a white man's world. My black brothers seem to have fought for the right to enjoy second rate citizenship on mother earth. And when America had its first black American president we all celebrated victory. I wonder. When America had its first left handed president, did people of left hand convenience get over the moon?
Now, it's the feminist I shed a tear for. She hasn't learnt a single lesson from the civil rights movement. She's gracefully cat-walking right into the trap the white male chauvinist set for blacks and women. The white male chauvinist was clever. He knew how to trap people he had already considered to have a smaller brain than his: Tell them what they can't do. They will spend their entire life trying to prove you wrong and lose sight of the greater things they could have done. They will live in that small box you hold in your hands oblivious of the world that surrounds it and they will call themselves the liberated, the emancipated.
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