Black male privilege is a concept within sociology for examining social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are available to men solely on the basis of their sex.
We all know that being white is a privilege when compared to being black. Being a black male is also a privilege but not when it’s put up against being a white male. It is a privilege when put against a black female.
What we don’t seem to realise is that black male privilege on black females is deeper than what it seems.
For instance, the 2017 General Household Survey (GHS) by Stats S.A revealed that family commitments are one of the reasons keeping young people out of school. About 18.5% of young girls are not attending school due to family commitments, as compared to only 0.4% of young boys.
As a cultural norm, especially in poor communities, a girl is expected to take care of her family. This norm denies young black girls the opportunity to attain education.
In South Africa, many young black girls are out of schools due to reasons that are beyond their ability and only 2.9% of them regard education as useless compared to 9.1% of young boys.
In its simplest form, privilege is the access of what’s inaccessible to others. Take child marriage for instance, in the Kivu region of the DRC, if an unmarried teenager becomes pregnant, she may be forced or pressured into a marriage to prevent rejection by her family or the community. Males in this instance have access to cultural beliefs and practices that protect them from being punished.
Also, in this regard, child marriage can also turn into forced marriage, motivated by the expectations that the man marrying the young girl will financially provide for the family. This is especially true in poor nations and/or poor communities.
Black male privilege on black females is not a myth.
On the 26th of June 2018, the Minister of Education in Burundi, Janvière Ndirahisha introduced a ban that prevented pregnant adolescent girls, teen mothers, the boys who impregnated them, and victims of child marriage from attending either private or public school.
This ban, which was later lifted, wouldn’t have really affected boys because girls are the ones who are physically visible during pregnancy, not boys. Boys would have easily denied impregnating these girls. It would have also failed if the father wasn’t attending school, maybe someone older.
One could end up concluding that black male privilege is a curse. Even when governments lift policies that affect black females, one way or another it’s still there, black females are still underprivileged as soon as they are born.
About the writer: Mduduzi Mbiza is a creator. Author of the book ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’.
To read more of his work, click here.