Inmates pondering injustice. Blanco County Jail, Johnson City, TX. January 17, 2006
A day late and a dollar short, the author, like every other honky with an agenda, jumps on the MLK bandwagon
Just as you performed your ritual Holiday Reading Of The S.C.U.M. Manifesto, by now you have certainly completed your annual revisiting of Martin Luther King’s 1963 Letter From A Birmingham Jail. And why not? The price is right. These days inspiration has a cover charge; The King estate wants 10 bucks a pop to enlighten you with the “I Have A Dream” vid, but happily the Birmingham dealio (abridged) is free in your local paper on MLK Day.
As a patriarchy-blamer, it is impossible for me to read Kingly statements like “over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate” and not blow coffee out my nose in a gushing “tell me about it, dude” guffaw. I can’t read it and not bitterly recall that now, 43 years later, white moderates–which of course still means white male moderates–continue to be “more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; [to] prefer a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” It is impossible for me to cast my jaundiced eye upon these words and not knit the Twisty brow over the white male moderates’ abject disdain for the feminist cause. And I’m hardly the first spinster aunt to notice that you can pretty much substitute the word “women” for “Negroes” in the jailbird essay and end up with a helluva feminist diatribe.
There are those who say that comparing the whiney struggle for women’s civil rights to the noble struggle for black civil rights is just godawful heretical discourse-lowering hysteria, like when lefties and wingnuts compare each other to Hitler, or when anyone compares anyone (besides Mother Theresa) to Rosa Parks.
But you can relax. I’m not comparing them. I’m not contrasting them. I’m not arguing for some kind of hierarchy of victimhood. I’m saying that, insofar as persistent pink-faced patriarchal injustice is opposed by both movements, they’re the same fucking thing.
Yet these days, as always, whenever a feminist makes the shocking and unpatriotic claim that women are oppressed, she is required to cover her ass by reassuring her jittery audience that she isn’t thumbing her nose at the oppression, perceived as more tragic because it is often more visible, of other, nobler classes. This goes double on Martin Luther King Day. So let’s just get it out of the way right now: Acknowledgment of the systemic misogyny that has delimited human consciousness throughout millennia of patriarchal tyranny in no way threatens the legitimacy of the crippling legacy of slavery. Racism is really bad. Sexism is really bad. Oppression, generally, is really bad. The beauty of patriarchy–the social order founded on oppression–is that there’s plenty of injustice to go around.
So on with the show.
As I was saying, it has become abundantly clear that white men own American women (regardless of skin tone) by dint of their control of our uteruses, and that this injustice persists because the white male moderates have failed to step up. King called such complicity with patriarchal oppression “the appalling silence of good people.” I, on the other hand, would be more inclined to call it “fucking jagoffery.” Which disparity of eloquence is partly why King won the Nobel Peace Prize while I am just some bald blogger in a bungalow complaining about high heels and pole dancing.
So, since no handsomely remunerative prizes for gracious activism are at stake here, I’ll just come out and say it: fuck you white male liberal pie-fight lovin’ fucks who say abortion is a fringe issue and “now is not the time.” Fuck you for selling out half the human race because you think they look hot with meringue smeared all over’em. Fuck you for clinging to male privilege because of your sniveling fear that without it you’ll be just like we are: half-human whores.
Hell, why stop there? I’ll take another uplifting page from the Birmingham letter, where King calls out the schmuckism exhibited by intellectually inferior members of his own profession who criticized him for being too “extreme.” In these dark and uncertain times, advocates for women’s human rights are not merely criticized but demonized, and not just by psychotic fetus-worshiping godbags and porn-addicted honky liberals, but even by our fellow women whose brilliant careers would have been impossible absent the work of feminist precursors. To them I say, fuck all y’all!
Another of the many qualities separating the dead Nobel Prize winner from the live bald blogger is that even when King could not count on the support of the white clergy when the going got tough, he never doubted that his cause would prevail. “Oppressed people,” he said cheerfully, “cannot remain oppressed forever.” I, however, am not so convinced. The same unjust laws of which King wrote in the Birmingham letter—laws that he was obliged to advocate breaking because they “degrade human personality”—continue to afflict and oppress women all over the world, and have done for millennia. Women have been niggers since thousands of years before the first asshole honky even made up the word, and if that’s not forever, I don’t know what is.
Freedom, King said, is the destiny of America, and the American Negro would be free because their destinies are tied to America’s. But people who are forced by the state to incubate fetuses against their will are not in the remotest sense free.
The right to personal sovereignty is is a moral right. As long as the right to a safe abortion hangs in the balance, so hangeth the freedom of half of all Americans.
Posted in conjunction with Blog For Choice