Strange Fruit

There is a woman of great depth and delicacy with much mental agility and a caring heart undergoing slimy invective and mindless slander from the usual batch of barren bottomfeeders. What a surprise.

I became a rapist. To refine my technique and modus operandi, I started out by practicing on black girls in the ghetto – in the black ghetto where dark and vicious deeds appear not as aberrations or deviations from the norm, but as part of the sufficiency of the Evil of a day – and when I considered myself smooth enough, i crossed the tracks and sought out white prey. I did this consciously, deliberately, willfully, methodically – though looking back I see that I was in a frantic, wild, and completely abandoned frame of mind.

Rape was an insurrectionary act. it delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law, upon his system of values,and that I was defiling his women – and this point, I believe, was the most satisfying to me because I was very resentful over the historical fact of how the white man has used the black woman.

Soul on Ice; Eldridge Cleaver

This book was carried about by university women, college girls in one era and out the other, and courses were taught on the poor afflicted victim pesonified by the author, who had been a minister in a drug gang of violent thugs called the Black Panther Party and later a Born-Again Christian and still later a conservative Republican (some pretend to see incongruity in this string of abusive male-oriented private clubs). This is an ongoing Stockholm Syndrome.

I see in it the great capacity of women for self-abnegation, an almost suicidal altruism. Susan B Anthony was disgusted that all the wise and educated women of her time were not to be enfranchised in order that freedmen might be. The Black men were granted voting rights in 1870, and yet women had to wait another fifty years for the privilege. This was not an accident.

The position of women in SNCC is prone.
– attributed to Stokely Carmichael, Black revolutionary, speaking here for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committe

In more recent years, up at the lovely liberal arts University where we live, a woman crossed a field amidst the redwoods on that campus one glistening crepuscular spring day … and was brutally raped. She identified her attacker as a refugee from South Africa and Apartheid, a darling of the activists on campus, who swarmed to his defense. Oh, this cannot be, for this is a victim with a large V, not a rapist, and must be protected from those among us who think, They All Look Alike. Surely our sister is mistaken!

She seemed very sane, and rational, and she pointed him out. He is the rapist. The defense committee was in apoplexy. A noted attorney and sponsor of the exile offered to go his bond, to guarantee his presence, to house him in his own home.

I could not understand how, in this age of Sisterhood is Powerful and a new awakening of gender politics, so many women rushed to defend a rapist at the expense of one of their own. But they did.

And the rapist subsequently copped a plea and sailed back to South Africa in lieu of prison. Case closed.

In 1939, the first year of WWII, Billie Holiday first recorded what is considered the anti-lynching anthem, Strange Fruit. There were a reported three lynchings in that year. From then, up through the time of the Black women exultant when Simpson walked free of his double-murder charges (A Black woman commentator stated quite clearly that race was more important to her than gender), how many women have been mauled, raped and murdered? For all their planting, a strange fruit indeed.

Old Abe Lincoln, rest his soul, freed the slaves, but only as a by-product of his obsession with retaining a godforsaken barren infernal patch of cursed ground rife with the ugliest and most toxic weeds on our national lawn, as a surgeon might through great pain and loss of blood keep in place a ruptured appendix. Thanks from a grateful nation, Abe. Whereas Elizabeth Cady Staton tried her mightiest directly to release the power and glory of over one half of us, and the best half at that – now just tell me whose birthday we celebrate, and why?

• Women have crucified the Mary Wollstonecrafts, the Fanny Wrights, and the George Sands of all ages. Men mock us with the fact and say we are ever cruel to each other.
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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