One of the earliest theoretical works associated with the contemporary feminist movement that dealt with the subject of rape and race was Shulamith Firestone’s “The Dialectic of Sex: The Case For Feminist Revolution.” Racism in general, so Firestone claims, is actually an extension of sexism. Invoking the biblical notion that “… the races are no more than the various parents and siblings of the Family of Man,” she develops a construct defining the white man as father, the white woman as wife and mother, and Black people as the children. Transposing Freud’s theory of the Oedipus Complex into racial terms, Firestone implies that Black men harbor an uncontrollable desire for sexual relations with white women. They want to kill the father and sleep with the mother. Moreover, in order to “be a man,” the Black man must
… untie himself from his bond with the white female,
relating to her if at all only in a degrading way. In
addition, due to his virulent hatred and jealousy of
her Possessor, the white man, he may lust after her as
a thing to be conquered in order to revenge himself on
the white man.25
Like Brownmiller, MacKellar and Russell, Firestone succumbs to the old racist sophistry of blaming the victim. Whether innocently or consciously, their pronouncements have facilitated the resurrection of the timeworn myth of the Black rapist. Their historical myopia further prevents them from comprehending that the portrayal of Black men as rapists reinforces racism’s open invitation to white men to avail themselves sexually of Black women’s bodies. The fictional image of the Black man as rapist has always strengthened its inseparable companion: the image of the Black woman as chronically promiscuous. For once the notion is accepted that Black men harbor irresistible and animal-like sexual urges, the entire race is invested with bestiality. If Black men have their eyes on white women as sexual objects, then Black women must certainly welcome the sexual attentions of white men. Viewed as “loose women” and whores, Black women’s cries of rape would necessarily lack legitimacy.