Is violence against black men sexist as well as racist?

gun_violence_alg_stop_sign1On Monday we published an opinion piece on violence against men and boys highlighting how our tolerance of violence against men puts black men and gay men at greater risk of racist and homophobic attacks.

We have subsequently come across an excellent article by  a writer called Noah Berlatsky which takes a deeper look at how misandry (hatred of men) was at play in the murder of the black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Here we highlight some of Berlatsky’s key points and  recommend you find time to read the full article linked at the bottom of this post.

According to Berlatsky, the Trayvon Martin case “justly, focused on race—on the ‘black’ part of ‘black men’.” But it’s worth considering how his killer’s  “anxiety, hostility, and eventually his violence were directed not only against Martin as a black person, but against him as a man—or, in this case, as a boy.”

“There’s every reason to believe that if Martin had been white, he wouldn’t have been pursued and shot, and that, if he were shot, his killer would not have gone free. But there’s also every reason to believe that Zimmerman would have reacted much differently to a woman, of whatever race, walking nearby,” he argues.

Berlatsky says that ‘misandry’ can be a useful concept. “In particular, I think it can help explain the experience of how men, and particularly men from minority communities, are targeted for violence—most often not by women, but by other men,” he says.

“Closer to home, in the U.S. men are more likely than women to be victims of assault, robbery, and homicide,” adds the writer. “Misandry helps to see these disparate incidents and statistics as related, as part of a system. Men, across cultures, are seen as dangerous and violent…, by their simple presence, are an excuse for violence. Because of misandry, violence against men is necessary and justified by the fact that men are men, which can help explain why men are more often the victims of homicide and assault.”

Berlatsky concludes by saying that: “Violence against black men is justified on the grounds that blackness and maleness are biologically dangerous categories that must be confronted with genocidal force. We need to re-think all those categories if we want to stop giving ourselves excuses to kill,” he says.

To see Berlatsky’s full article go and read Misandry and the Trayvon Martin Case at Splice Today

See also: Why is the G20 killing not violence against men?