Discuss The Myth Of The Black Rapists By Angela Davis

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One of the themes in Angela Davis’s essay, “Rape, Racism and the Myth of the Black Rapist”, is the necessity of using an intersectional framework to analyze rape and lynching in order to understand how racism and sexism work together to maintain capitalist relations of production. With the advent of Reconstruction came the socioeconomic and political threat to the White bourgeoisie from former Black slaves who sought citizenship, land and equality. Seeing the potential erosion of their control, the [1983:185] “lawless killings of Black people were portrayed as a preventative measure to deter the Black masses from rising up in revolt.” When these accusations were shown to be false, the bourgeoisie were forced to reinvent the form of racism that …show more content…

Davis notes that racism always consisted of the underlying assumption that White men, particularly those of the bourgeois class, had an indisputable right of access to Black women’s bodies. Treating Black women as sexual objects and portraying them as hypersexualized creatures created the image of the mythical Black whore. Rape became the specific act of sexual violence forced upon Black women, with the myth of the Black whore as its ideological justification. Davis states that the controlling image of Black men as rapists has always “strengthened its inseparable companion: the image of the Black woman as chronically promiscuous and with good reason; for once the notion is accepted that Black men harbour uncontrollable, animal-like sexual urges, the entire race is invested with bestiality.” A race of “animals” can be treated accordingly, [1983: 191] “for the mythical rapist implies the mythical whore – and a race of rapists and whores deserves punishment and nothing more.” As rape laws in the United States and other capitalist countries were originally enacted to protect the wives and daughters of upper class men, little to no effort went into prosecuting the men who raped Black women. Lynching and rape, two race/gender-specific forms of sexual violence, merged with their ideological justifications of the rapist and prostitute in order to provide an effective system of social control over

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