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I’D LIKE TO THANK Jonetta Rose Barras for proving that women, too, can be sexist. In her disjointed rant supporting the exclusion of women from the Million Man March (“Ain’t Nothing But a He Thing,” 10/13), she makes irrelevant points with no facts to support them, and she fails to see the big picture of what the march is truly about.
First of all, I want to straighten out a factual error in her article which she clings onto as if it were the only reason she needs to prove her point. She says that past “women” marches on the Mall have excluded men. That is wrong. I assume she is referring to the National Organization for Women-organized march for reproductive choice. The issue was women’s right to choose, but men were definitely invited and many did attend, and their input was heard.
The march, and Farrakhan, represent hope, opportunity. The Million Man March is a time to look at the black community and to reassess what is wrong and what can be done to fix it. It is about unity, pride, understanding, or as Farrakhan puts it, atonement. It is a time for leadership. It is a shame—more than a shame, it is disgusting—that Farrakhan and fellow organizers of the Million Man March do not realize that women are as much part of the problem and the solution as men. And the stereotypes of what a women is and what a man is—that Farrakhan and now Barras keep clinging to—cannot apply when you are talking about fixing an entire community, when you are talking about a million people. It is perfectly fine that Barras wants doors opened for her, and that her family looked toward men for discipline and leadership. But it is sexist of her to assume that all family units and all women want and act the same. There is no reason to exclude women from the march. It is not a he thing. There is no such thing as a he thing, or a she thing. It is a community thing.
In the end, Barras says women should organize their own march if they are so upset. Her suggestion shows her inability to see the bigger scope of the march and its goals. If women were to organize a march like the Million Man March, we would know better than to assume just women alone could solve the problems of the black community. If women were to organize a march, you better believe men would be there. If we wanted a successful march, we would invite everyone in the community. And if Farrakhan had wanted a truly successful march, he would have done the same.