“Often in my lectures when I use the phrase ‘imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy’ to describe our nation’s political system, audiences laugh. No one has ever explained why accurately naming this system is funny. The laughter is itself a weapon of patriarchal terrorism. It functions as a disclaimer, discounting the significance of what is being named. It suggests that the words themselves are problematic and not the system they describe. I interpret this laughter as the audience’s way of showing discomfort with being asked to ally themselves with an antipatriarchal disobedient critique. This laughter reminds me that if I dare to challenge patriarchy openly, I risk not being taken seriously.” — bell hooks, Understanding Patriarchy
No one has ever explained why if this system is so oppressive it is so easy for people like bell hooks to say things like this without suffering any negative consequences. Not only is it easy, but she is rewarded for it with prestige, influence and power, and she is not the only one.
Perhaps it has never occurred to hooks that people are laughing because her premise is in fact patently ridiculous. Or perhaps people laugh because they are embarrassed to find themselves in a room with someone that is taken seriously as an academic and social theorist only to find that she is really just a crazy old woman. But no, that is impossible. The laughter here has to be oppressive because hooks is by definition oppressed. To view hooks as anything other than serious, to dismiss her, to laugh at her will only further confirm this. She has to be oppressed because the Brahmin narrative, not to mention her own career, depends on her being so. Blacks, women, homosexuals, immigrants and any number of other minority groups are viciously oppressed by the white man, and we must remain in constant struggle with the system that is keeping them down.
Surely if the system were what she says it is she would face more than just laughter and ridicule for her words above. Wouldn’t she? Surely under an oppressive, racist, imperialist patriarchy a black feminist would not be allowed to study and teach at the most prestigious universities in the country and give public lectures on politics. No, she would only be able to speak freely about such matters at secret meetings of her underground collective. Surely her books would not win awards, be published by major publishers, well reviewed by prestigious newspapers and praised by elite intellectuals. No, under such a brutal regime as she describes you would expect that her writings would be banned, only available as hand-printed ‘zines clandestinely traded among networks of radicals and burned by the authorities should any copies surface.
This is what I would expect, but then maybe I just don’t understand patriarchy.
hooks’ statement is yet another example of the conceit of the Brahmin ideological echo-chamber of leftist academics, intellectuals, bloggers and media pundits that they are engaged in a titanic struggle with a powerful, all encompassing and oppressive system. The key features of the system they describe usually include everything hooks lists: capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism etc. Taken together all these things are referred to collectively as “the patriarchy.” Another reason hooks’ statement is funny is because she is so careful to make sure that every category of oppression is included in her description of this system. So, where is this oppressive, racist patriarchy exactly? In reality it is nowhere to be found. The best the left can come up with here is constant bleating about a nefarious conspiracy controlled by the evil Koch brothers.
The hysterical cries that the Koch brothers plan to take over all media in order to silence dissent are particularly ironic and amusing. No one is shutting down liberal media pundits just as no one is silencing, or even challenging, bell hooks and other intellectuals like her. Just the reverse. Such people are in charge of the political education of the nation’s youth. The Brahmin narrative completely dominates the schools, the universities, the media and pop culture. People that challenge or question this narrative, particularly on the issue of race, take real risks with their reputations, careers and livelihoods. Denying their own power and magnifying the power of a weak and often non-existent enemy is one of the ways that the left perpetuates its narrative. I’m sure most of them believe it too. Who wants to admit they have power? Who doesn’t want to root for the underdog?
The below video of a retired New York City Police Detective discussing the phenomenon of the so called “knockout game” provides a good example of someone courageous enough to actually defy the narrative. See for yourself what happens.
Despite the recent media hype the knockout game has been going on in the US for several years now. It’s not new and it’s not necessarily growing. It has received media attention only because some recent victims in New York were Jewish and reported the incidents as hate crimes, thus giving the media a politically correct way to approach the topic. Were it not for that angle the national media would no doubt have been content to completely ignore the phenomenon and the unspeakable racial implications indefinitely.
It is shocking to our ears in the US today to hear someone openly say on television that it may be wise to avoid large groups of young black males roaming the streets. (This is probably good advice in any case, knockout game or not, but that’s a topic for another time.) You can hear and feel the discomfort and surprise the cop causes the other panelists on the show simply by saying this. And of course he is immediately pressured to make the ritual statements that “Not all black youths are like that! Most black youths are great kids!” etc. He is treading a very fine line. If he were not retired I doubt he would be allowed by the NYPD to make such statements publicly.
So this is the nature of the racist patriarchy we live under in the US that bell hooks is courageously fighting. A white male Police Detective, who you would think would be the representative of all that the regime stands for, has to do a delicate verbal balancing act to even mention the racial implications of street violence in the US. He can only get such words out in this one isolated TV appearance because of the peculiar circumstances of the knockout game, and we are shocked, shocked to hear such words being said publicly. Meanwhile bell hooks and her fellow travelers have tenured positions at top universities, publications, awards, accolades, speaking engagements and a near total control over public discourse that they use to endlessly pontificate about the evil and oppressive nature of the very system that provides them such a pampered existence.
So who is really in power here?