Tom Buck started an argument far greater than he anticipated when he compared Kamala Harris to Jezebel back in January. It ignited became a new proxy battle for many of the usual players on social media and church leadership. I already had my hot take and happily labeled Kamala Harris a Jezebel saying:
Kamala Harris is a Jezebel, and like Jezebel, her presence did not benefit women because she was an evil person. This is a claim worth doubling down on so let me close by doing so: Kamala Harris is a Jezebel.
But a new tactic was invented surrounding the term Jezebel: racism. Of course, this was nonsensical. Race hustle Kyle Howard was already busted for hypocrisy after it was uncovered he labeled Hillary Clinton a Jezebel (and Trump a Nero) in 2016. The same also happened with Dwight McKissic. SBC President JD Greear would come over the top rope to argue that Jezebel is a term with racist history:
I realize that some pastors are likely unaware of the history of certain racial stereotypes in calling or comparing our Vice President to Jezebel, but that doesn’t make such statements any less unwise. There are times we will critique policies, but that should not include personal attacks on a newly elected official God has told us to honor and pray for. Let us speak clearly and boldly for righteousness, but in a way that honors what the Scriptures say about honoring our leaders. We don’t correct one sin through another.
Where does he get this notion? As someone who has grown up watching Dave Chappelle, South Park, and a host of black comedy, the Jezebel stereotype alluded me all of this time. There are very few online resources prior to 2020 that depict “Jezebel” as a gendered racial slur. The first, from 2015, comes from an atheist blog, in an article titled “MAMMY, JEZEBEL, SAPPHIRE, OR QUEEN? STEREOTYPES OF THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN FEMALE.” This article was written by a college student in a Gender and Culture Studies class, which is rather woke.
The “Jezebel” stereotype, also referred to as a sexual siren, is characterized as African American women who are overly sexualized, aggressive, sexually promiscuous, uncaring, completely lacking in virtue and a woman who will use her sexuality to manipulate and deceive. This image also portrays the African American woman as a “bitch” or “whore”. White males fostered this image of African American women during slavery to excuse their sexual abuse and rape of these women. This stereotype was also created to rationalize the sexual exploitation of these women in ways that made them responsible for their own victimization. They used the excuse that because these women were such sexual animals, they couldn’t help but get carried away. At that time, African American women were characterized as something other than human, so the assault didn’t matter.
Jezebel has long referred to a wicked female in power. She articulates an alternative history where this stereotype was first created to justify raping black women, which sounds an awful lot like DiAngelo writing about “white tears.” In this search I also found a peer reviewed journal from 2016 titled “’Ain’t I a Woman?’: Perceived Gendered Racial Microaggressions Experienced by Black Women.”
The Jezebel stereotype is perceived as seductive, manipulative, and unable to control sexual desires (Collins, 1990). This subtheme represents gendered racial microaggressions where African American women reported feeling exoticized and/or sexualized by men in school, the workplace, or social settings. They reported that the men in these settings often objectified them and assumed they were promiscuous. Olivia, a 24-year-old graduate student shared her experience at a local nightclub when a White man approached her and used a slur for promiscuous women. She stated, “There was one guy, excuse my language, but he was like, ‘Yeah, shake that a–, you big booty h–’ . . . and he was singing ‘Shake It Fast’ by Mystical.” This is an explicit rap song that possesses lyrics that encourage women to shake their buttocks in front of men for the purposes of obtaining money. This participant shared that she was stunned by this comment and felt that she was being objectified based on the sexualized stereotypes that exist about Black women.
Their source of the “Jezebel” stereotype is Patricia Hill Collins in her 1990 book Black Feminist Thought. Collins is a renown Critical Theorist and is likely the origin of inventing (coopting) “Jezebel” as a racial stereotype. The aforementioned article from the atheist blog is summarizing points Collins makes about the “Jezebel” from her book.
The peer reviewed journal cites two examples of student experiences where the alleged stereotype was applied, but it is far more apparent rap culture is the primary influencer not a stereotype dating back to slavery. Neither of these examples was the word Jezebel used against these women.
Cultural Marxist, Patricia Hill Collins, is ultimately the source behind JD Greear’s view that calling Kamala Harris a Jezebel is racist. Therefore, Critical Race Theory is responsible for Greear’s statement and view on this issue.
This is just one instance where JD Greear’s compromised beliefs are exposed with regards to Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality. But the analysis that James White and AD Robles gave called into question his testicular fortitude and convictions respectively. However it is necessary to expose true root of Greear’s statement.