search
Barack Mandela
Lawyer, Military Veteran, and Philosopher

Ani Difranco: Anatomy of a Black Jewish Feminist

Barack Mandela on an IDF base in September 2000. (Barack’s Personal Collection

I am a black American male feminist who was born and raised in Southern California. While in law school, I converted to both Reform Judaism and Orthodox Judaism.

I then moved to a Jewish neighborhood in Los Angeles known as Pico-Robertson. I developed an intense friendship with a Jewish feminist named “Rena Rothschild” who introduced me to the music and poetry of Ani Difranco.

Ani Difranco, a Canadian-American artist, promotes a strident form of arch-feminism and female empowerment. When I listened to Difranco’s poem “The Slant” my brain almost exploded inside my skull, and I awakened to a new reality of admiration for female power.

I began to ask myself powerful questions such as: Why hasn’t America ever had a female president? Why are most CEOs and business leaders male? Why are women often the victims of male-on-female violence and harassment?  Why do some men seek to control women’s bodies?

As I looked at myself in mirror, I saw the absolute reflection of female oppression on my face, hands, arms, and legs. I was part of the male dominated, corrupt machine that suppresses feminine power and energy. I was the face of the male oppressor of women and girls.

I also questioned my own motives: Am I really interested in female equality and female empowerment? Or am I just a lying, cunning male who is trying to manipulate and control women by posing as a male feminist? Am I a truly an ally of women or am I a ruthless oppressor of women? Am I divine or diabolical? Am I an angel of equality or a devil of oppression?

Soon, I moved to the State of Israel and enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

I served in three IDF units: Golani, the Legal Unit (Praklitut), and the Armored Division as a driver of the Merkava battle tank. When I served in the IDF, many of my instructors were women. In fact, in Hativat 7 (7th Brigade), all of my tank instructors were young women.

I felt completely comfortable being trained by women in the IDF. I felt natural working closely with female soldiers and female authority figures.

While serving as an Israeli soldier, I decided to write a feminism-inspired poem titled “Israeli Jewish Male Feminist“:

You claim to be a feminist

But I know you fake it

Like those jealous cowards

Who popped my brother Tupac in Vegas

You claim to support women

But I know you’re lying

You oppress women’s dreams

To get rich or die trying

Women and girls will shape our future

Empowering women will empower our culture

Discrimination against women is a deep crime

Men seek to control the female body every time

I’m not fake. I’m real with this.

I’m an outspoken black Jewish feminist

Promoting women’s rights is all too real

Crying “female power” in America and Israel

Although I am a man, I’m the female’s friend

Fighting for women’s rights until the end.

The End

About the Author
Licensed Attorney. I earned a Doctor of Law at the University of California, College of the Law, San Francisco (Hastings) . I earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Riverside. I was an international student at the University of Costa Rica Faculty of Law and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of Law. I am a military veteran of the United States Air Force, United States Army, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). I am a laureate of the National Defense Service Medal from the Pentagon. I am a financial donor to following: Harvard Law, Yale Law, Stanford Law, Berkeley Law, UC Hastings College of the Law, UC Davis Law, Columbine High School, Choate Rosemary Hall, Phillips Exeter Academy, Sidwell Friends School, Viewpoint School, Beverly Hills High School, Eton College in the United Kingdom, Special Olympics, Children's Defense Fund, Obama Foundation, Clinton Foundation, Barbra Streisand Foundation, Princeton University, Florida A&M, Howard University, Spelman College, Morehouse College, and the British Red Cross. I am former special assistant and staff attorney to Governor Pete Wilson of California. I was public affairs assistant to US Senator Barbara Boxer and Mayor Ehud Olmert of Jerusalem and Jerusalem spokesperson Haggai Elias. I am a member of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, and I am a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition.
Related Topics
Related Posts