Fathering Injustice: Racial Partriarchy and the Dismantling of Affirmative Action

By Jackson, Njeri | The Western Journal of Black Studies, Spring 2003 | Go to article overview

Fathering Injustice: Racial Partriarchy and the Dismantling of Affirmative Action


Jackson, Njeri, The Western Journal of Black Studies


Most people would agree that fatherhood is not a bad thing, in and of itself. But, patriarchy--the rule of fathers--is not a good thing. Patriarchy is both an ideological and social position. Its fundamental premise is that by natural (genetic) inclination, divine rule, and historical practice that which men rule is primary and what is primary is ruled by men. It is also presumed that this is as it should be. This idea of male superiority, like white supremacist ideology, uses existing unequal social arrangements as evidence of the validity of its premise. The fact that whites/males run most of the world and have for some time is offered as evidence enough of who should be in charge. It is my argument that this marriage of patriarchy and racism informs the assault on Affirmative Action.

The Myth of American Democracy

The fact that the U.S. has never been a just and fair society is not news. In his study of American citizenship laws Smith argues, "... through most of U.S. history, lawmakers pervasively and unapologetically structured U.S. citizenship in terms of illiberal and undemocratic racial, ethnic, and gender hierarchies" (Smith, 1997, p 1). Speaking of "restrictions on immigration, naturalization, and equal citizenship," Smith insists that U.S. political culture and practices "manifested passionate beliefs that America was by rights a white nation, a Protestant nation, a nation in which true Americans were native-born men with Anglo-Saxon Ancestors" (p. 3). The body of historical scholarship that attests to struggles against the antidemocratic disposition in North America is voluminous (Zinn, 1995; Higgibotham. 1978).

The rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the structure of U.S. government, are regularly invoked as evidence of the alleged egalitarian core of political culture and social values in the United States (Zinn, 1991). The realities of slavery, indentured servitude, genocide against Native peoples. widespread and vicious forms of discrimination against people with disabilities, the aged, women, racial and ethnic groups, gays, lesbians and transgendered persons are cavalierly dismissed as occasional slippages of the democratic impulse presumed to undergird life in the United States. This essay argues that, on the contrary, a fundamental principle of U.S. law, politics, and social values is the presumption of the rule of fathers--patriarchy. Embedded in this principle are ideas about race, class and gender that explain historic and enduring opposition to policies and practices that advance egalitarian and democratic praxis. Contemporary debates about affirmative action and other efforts to close the gap between the U.S.'s alleged egalitarian promise and apparent disparate social realities, are best understood within a framework that insists the egalitarian promise is not advocated in the fundamental documents of U.S. law and politics. Rather, the promise has been fashioned over time by oppositional movements that have challenged ideas, documents and practices designed to protect, enrich, and support the rule of fathers. Affirmative Action policies constitute one such challenge.

It has been forty-two years since President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10925 (1961) and first used the term "'affirmative action," compelling federal contractors not to engage in discriminatory acts that limited employment opportunities for African Americans. Subsequent actions by Presidents Johnson and Nixon, Congress, the courts, and private corporations suggested the nation was willing to confront a sordid past that included treating African Americans and women as "less than full citizens"(Curry, 1998). The ideological groundwork was laid to justify new policies that outlawed racial and, subsequently, gender discrimination. The urgency and righteousness of the policies, and the price paid by social movements that fought against racism and sexism, strengthened the resolve and convictions of proponents of the new egalitarianism. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Fathering Injustice: Racial Partriarchy and the Dismantling of Affirmative Action
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.