Equatorial Africa 2 – treatment of women

Regarding the treatment of women amongst sub-Saharan Africans Chaillu writes (pg. 333):

Polygamy exists everywhere.  A man’s great ambition is to have a great many wives.  These cultivate the ground for him, and it is, in fact, their duty to feed him.  He does not interfere with their labours on the soil.  They are responsible for his daily food.  The man buys his wife of her father for a sum agreed on, often when she is but a child.  She becomes his wife sometimes at the age of five, and sometimes still younger.  Often the young child is placed under care of the future husband’s chief wife, a privileged personage, who superintends her husband’s affairs, shares his secrets, rules his other wives, and to intrigue with whom is a special and greater offence than adultery with the others.  A man’s claims on his father-in-law for help in trade, or in a palaver, are rigidly respected, and this gives additional value to a great number of wives.  I have found that the wives rarely disagree among themselves.  Early marriage and hard treatment makes many of the women childless; and greegrees, which are believed to cure sterility, are in great demand all over the country.  Children, whether male or female, are thought a great blessing, not only to the father, but to his village, whose consequence is increased by every birth.  They know very little of the right care of children, and a great proportion of the infants die.
Men marry at every opportunity, and at all ages up to seventy or eighty.  As long as he can buy wives, this is his great ambition.  Obedience is the wife’s first duty, and it is enforced without mercy.  Such a whip as is figured below is an important instrument found in every house.  It is made of the hide of the hippopotamus or manatee, and is a barbarous weapon, as hard and heavy as iron.  This is laid on with no light hand, the worthy husband crying out, “Rascal, do you think I paid my slaves for you for nothing?”  The wives are more harshly treated than the slaves – a stroke of the whip often leaves a life-long mark; and I saw very few women in all my travels who had not some such marks on their persons.

Much has been said and written about the misogynist lyrics often found in rap.  Some even claim that rap has its origins in Africa and, therefore, that the misogyny might also have its origins in Africa.  If black American mistreatment of women is rooted in their African origins, then perhaps it is time for black Americans to strive to grow out of their African culture rather than reaffirming their connections to it.  Since we see similar abuse of the fairer sex among Africans almost everywhere they dwell, it is not unreasonable to suspect that more is at work here than mere culture.  If so, then it is not possible for blacks to, en masse, divorce themselves from these behaviors.  Either way, it is imperative that non-blacks (and enlightened black women) do whatever they must to protect themselves from this kind of behavior.

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6 Responses to Equatorial Africa 2 – treatment of women

  1. FrankBD says:

    I can’t remember if I’ve made this comment here before:
    Go to any college campus, and you’ll find some white female giving a talk about the low status of women worldwide, using example primarily from non-Western or Western-like (e.g. Japan) countries. The next week she’s back making a speech about how oppressive the West is the need to think multi-culturally.
    You want to start by importing Third World gender attitudes, like genital mutilation or aborticide?

  2. Portland realist says:

    This will make you laugh, I guarantee it.

    • jewamongyou says:

      That’s funny. Thanks!

      • Portland realist says:

        Racial egalitarians will call this racist, and according to the broad definition used today it is. Hell, according to that broad definition race realists are racist. I say so what? Socialism has been evacuated of all meaning right? The government of Spain calls itself “socialist”, so they are lumped in with North Korea and Stalinist Russia. It means everything so it means nothing.
        I heard Socialism was one of the most searched terms on the Internet in 2009. Maybe “Racism” will be searched for most in 2010, and may your Blog come up on their queries!

  3. Bay Area Guy says:

    Somehow, I just know that whites will be blamed for this. After all, even if we don’t directly cause some group to engage in negative behavior, we’re still guilty of creating the horrible conditions under which bad behavior thrives.
    In the the dreamworld of anti-racists, non-whites are never responsible for their negative actions. If any white person ever did something bad to a non-white person at any point in that person’s life, then he must be excused due to the trauma of racism. Okay, perhaps I’m exaggerating, but not by much
    @ Portland Realist
    Hell, according to that broad definition race realists are racist.
    According to the that broad definition, all white people are racist. Heck, just being born and raised white means participating in a infinite number of privileges and unconsciously subjugating non-whites, right? *rolls eyes*
    I never think I’ll truly understand the thought processes of white anti-racists.

  4. jewamongyou says:

    Hey, I’m disappointed in y’all. Not a single one of y’all pointed out that I had misspelled “Equatorial” in the title of this piece!

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