Like so many of us, I was spellbound by the recentconversationbetween bell hooks and Melissa Harris Perry that showed beyond any doubt the lively power of anintersectionalanalysis that concerns itself with the entanglements of race, gender, class and sexuality in history and in everyday life. One point that caught my attention was when bell hooks responded to a question from the audience, picking up on and problematising the use of the term ‘hypermasculine’.
We should be careful about how we use the idea of hypermasculinity when talking about black men, hooks argued: it is patriarchy not masculinity that is the problem. This distinction recognises patriarchy as more than an economic system of male power and privilege and acknowledges the ways in which gendered relationships of power are also racialised, infusing identity, emotions and perspective. Talking of patriarchy as a disease
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