The reaction to Formation shows just how scared of equality white men can be

Pro-black does not mean anti-white. Just as supporting gay marriage doesn’t mean you object to straight marriage. Just as feminists do not hate men.

People are scared of black pride for the same reason they fear feminism; embracing a shift towards equality means giving up some of the privilege that you’ve enjoyed for centuries because of the colour of your skin or your gender.

Scandal at the Super Bowl

There has been a lot of coverage over the past few weeks about Beyoncé’s new track ‘Formation’ and her Super Bowl performance, both of which had clear themes of black pride and references to the Black Nationalist and socialist organisation the Black Panthers.

Singing about her prominently black nose and “baby hair and afros” was teamed with “stop shooting us” graffiti scrawled across walls in the video and Bey sharing some very revealing claims about Red Lobster. The result was a black feminist anthem that resonated with all races of women everywhere.

Fox News immediately showed their distaste with the matter, with Brian Kilmeade white-mansplaining to the viewers that at half time, Beyonce was “basically telling cops to stop shooting blacks” in a tone that suggested he didn’t think much of this. The other couch cronies, a bunch of white people, weighed in that they didn’t really understand what was going on at the time. But so help them if they had!

Then ex-mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, as if anyone really cares, chimed into the debate. Along with some pretty ignorant ideas about the American police and practically denying the level of black people who are shot every year, he criticised the Super Bowl for allowing this performance to happen. How dare they have such an unwholesome act on primetime television?

It’s no surprise he was so aghast, because Beyoncé’s lyrics and Malcolm X formation show her courage and pride for being who she is, something that so many women struggle with every day. For young black girls everywhere, ‘Formation’ tells them not just to be unashamed of being those things, but to be proud. This makes racists and misogynists very uncomfortable.

White people can be afraid of black people knowing their value, just as men sometimes don’t want women to realise theirs. It means that one day, perhaps soon, their genes alone might not be such an asset.

Achieving equality has nothing to do with women beating down men to their level; it’s not about black people hating white people. It’s about finding a way to stop judging someone about their abilities, intelligence or worth to society by the colour of their skin or what lies between their legs. It’s a completely ancient viewpoint.

Enter the MRAs

Men’s Rights Activists (or MRAs as they’re affectionately known) thrive on the idea that feminists are man-haters and men are the victims. They stand by this when women complain to employers about misogynist behaviour which subsequently leads to a man losing his job. In an MRA’s world, this is an overreaction and feminists are pathetic for stooping to such levels.

Pushing aside everything else that is wrong with MRAs, and believe me there’s a lot, the basic problem lies with their name. Men have had rights for centuries. Men have never been rejected from a job for being a man. Men have never been paid less for being a man. Men have never had to worry about what they wear when they walk home at night in fear of being raped. “Men’s rights” is a completely null term because men have all the rights they could possibly want.

Some still cannot fathom this though, and instead of admitting that the world would be greater if everyone was treated equally, they whinge and complain about how men are being demonised by feminists and how their freedom of speech is at risk.

You know what? Freedom of speech is a right. You have a right to say exactly what you want, but that is not the same as not having to take responsibility for it. If what you say or do lands you in trouble with your employer or even in jail, be it on your head. Feminism isn’t to blame for your actions.

It doesn’t matter if men believe that Beyoncé’s performance was “wholesome entertainment” or not. It doesn’t matter what the rape victim was wearing when she was attacked. It doesn’t matter what opinion the woman expresses on Twitter when it is met with death threats and derogatory statements about her sex, race, weight, appearance, religion or fucking star sign.   

What matters is that people stop thinking that they know better, stop thinking that their opinion is more valid because of their whiteness or maleness, and stop thinking that a woman, particularly a black woman, should be apprehended for speaking her mind. 

What do you think of ‘Formation?’ Let us know in the comments below!