The social oppression and castration of black men is rooted in race and gender. Intersectional theories that explicitly or implicitly suggest that black men are privileged by gender are thus flawed. Black men, instead, are also the victims of “gendered racism.”
Indeed, there is a gender analysis implicit in the notion that white supremacy “castrates” black
men – castration itself is an act of gendered racism. Historically, blackmen have thus been targeted for certain types of treatment – including castration – because they are both black and male. Therefore, although men constitute the dominant and privileged group within American society, black men convey a “subordinated masculinity.” Black masculinity
as a subordinated form of masculinity arises because the interplay between racial and socioeconomic prejudices prevents black males, as individuals, from reaping the full benefits of male class privilege.
The legal system, moreover, has served as a primary instrument of oppression, carving out the racialized sphere of subordinated masculinity. According to critical race theorists, the law does not merely reflect,
mediate, and arbitrate preexisting race relations. Rather, the law “constitutes, constructs and produces races and race relations in a way that supports” white racial power and subordination. The transformative powerof law in shaping race relations is reflected in a 1697 Pennsylvania statute that imposed the penalty of castration for a black man who attempted
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