Is this going to become a new slogan for the Men’s Rights movement? It certainly seems to be popular amongst Men’s Rights Redditors, sporting a couple of dozen upvotes and no criticism (at least at the time I wrote this) from other MRAs. (There were a few critical comments from opponents of the Men’s Rights movement, however.)
Bear in mind that the Men’s Rights subreddit is 86% white, which is a good deal whiter than the United States as a whole, and only 1.5% black, which is way less black, according to a recent survey of its members. I’m pretty sure none of the white dudes upvoting this little slogan have obtained the proper n-word privileges. (Note: The survey in question was spammed with a number of identical responses, BUT the percentages I’m giving are based on the survey data with all the spammed entries removed, thanks to the industrious Angelica Field; see here for details.)
It’s hardly surprising that black men haven’t exactly flocked to the Men’s Rights movement, given the overt racism of a significant number of MRAs and other Manospherians. And even those MRAs who aren’t so obvious about their racism tend to be dismissive of issues that disproportionately affect men of color: MRAs almost never talk about the drug war that has put so many black men behind bars (two thirds of all those in prison for drug offenses are people of color. mostly men), nor have they ever attempted to organize or even offer any real support to campaigns against prison rape (60% of all prisoners are people of color).
This slogan isn’t likely to help the Men’s Rights movement with what the politicians like to call “minority outreach.” It might help reach a different sort of audience, however — an audience already quite fond of the n-word. When I did a Google search for the phrase “men are the new niggers,” the first result was a discussion on the Vanguard News Network Forum. I won’t link to it, because the Vanguard News Network is a virulently antisemitic, white supremacist website that the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as “gutturally racist.” The site’s motto: “No Jews. Just Right.”
Of course, the notion of describing men as “the new nigger” didn’t originate with white supremacists. It was clearly inspired, in a backwards way, by the John Lennon song “Woman is the Nigger of the World,” a feminist attack on misogynistic hypocrisy. While Lennon wrote the lyrics, the titular phrase originated with Yoko Ono, who deliberately used the racial slur in what was evidently an attempt to shock people into recognizing the ways in which women, like black people, were dispossessed.
It was a bad idea. Even though Ono and Lennon didn’t mean to reinforce racism by using the slur, it’s not a word that they had any cultural right to appropriate for their own purposes; not only that, but Ono’s slogan seems to implicitly define all “niggers” as men and to ignore black women, who don’t need John or Yoko to remind them that many people already see them as “niggers.” In the end the title ended up undercutting the message of the song. It can’t listen to it; it makes me cringe.
But glancing over the lyrics again, which aside from the title are essentially about the hypocritical messages sent to women by sexist society, one line in particular stands out to me, because it so deftly captures a certain kind of sexism — and even though it was written years before Warren Farrell first started going on about “disposable men,” it also captures pretty well the MRA tendency to view gender relations upside down:
While putting her down, we pretend that she’s above us
Yep, that’s what the Men’s Rights movement does, all day, every day.
And it’s that kind of delusional thinking that leads some of them to conclude not only that they are the “new niggers,” but also that using the n-word is somehow an appropriate thing for their almost all-white movement to do.