Guest Post: This is What Male Privilege Looks Like

I just got this post in from Nana Darkoa who asked me to ‘put this man on blast’. Let her experience be a warning. Read, gasp and hide your kids. The rest of you: behave yourselves in public!

 

The plan was to enjoy an Ethiopian buffet at Hush Lounge in Labone. My friends and I were seated comfortably in a far corner of the dimly lit venue, chit chatting. We were 4 adult women, with a 13-year-old girl in our company. Her brother sat adjacent to us. Close enough to be within earshot, yet far away enough to retain his teenage cool.

I was drinking Smirnoff Ice and chatting with one of my friends when this man came and sat right in the corner where we had ensconced ourselves. I groaned inwardly, why did he have to come and sit right next to us when the venue was practically empty. You could tell he was drunk from the way that he lurched into the seat.

 My friends and I continued chatting.

“Excuse me, excuse” we soon heard him say loudly. Sure enough, Mr. Drunk Man was trying to interrupt our conversation. I looked up briefly, then away, and continued to talk to my friend. One of the women in our party must have said something briefly to him, which I didn’t quite catch before returning to our conversation. I couldn’t help but say to my friend,

“Ah, male privilege can be annoying. Can you imagine ever going to a bar, sitting right next to a group of men and then raising your voice at them to get their attention?” We laughed and went back to our conversation.

Mr. Drunk Man tried to interrupt us one more time with no luck and somehow started a conversation with Mr. Cool Teenage Boy whom he had sat right next door to. While I chatted with his mother, she glanced his way intermittently, concerned about whether or not he was okay. He seemed fine, and walked away after a while.

It was then that Mr. Drunk Man started trying to interrupt our party with something to the effect of, “Oi, I’m talking to you”. We ignored him and tried to carry on our convo. But would Mr. Drunk Man take a hint? Oh no. He just got louder. Eventually I said,

“Excuse me, we are trying to have a conversation. Please leave us alone”.

He started to swear at us. “Shut the fuck up.” “Ugly fat black bitches.” “Fuck off!” and even something to the effect of “You’re just looking for black dicks.” My friend said, “Don’t talk to us like that,” but that made no difference to him and he continued to rant and rave.

Just at that moment a male friend who had told us about the regular Ethiopian buffet at that lounge walked to the corner of the restaurant where we were seated. He tried to calm down the situation. “Good evening, Sir,” he said whilst making direct eye contact with Mr. Drunk Man. But oh no, Mr. Drunk Man couldn’t be talked down into civility. Eventually, security led him away.

 

van-lare-dosooThat night, I did some digging, and found out Mr. Drunk Man was called Lionel, and earlier on had taken to bragging about being a former Chairman of Ecobank (and the fancy school his children attend, and that he used to live in the States and had just come back from Brazil). So off to Google I went, where I searched for ‘Lionel + Chairman + Ecobank.’ Indeed, there is a (former?) chairman of the esteemed bank called Lionel. I did a Google images search with the full name I now had. Yup, it looked like the same man. I sent it to my friend. She was with one of the other women who had been with us at Hush lounge that night. They both confirmed it was the same man. Lionel Van Lare Dosoo, next time you’re drunk go home, don’t harass women in bars.

 

 

 

 

  • John G

    I certainly wouldn’t call that “male privilege”.. more like the idiotic, shameful, disgraceful actions of a drunk a**hole… but “male privilege”?
    Yes, he was being very sexist too.. and disrespectful.. but not sure about “male privilege”.

  • So if he wasn’t drunk and still interrupted the women, would you then acquiesce that it was male privilege? Perhaps our definition of “male privilege” and yours differ slightly???

  • A-Dub

    Gangsta…straight called the man out on your blog

    • So gangsta. Name, face, rank, errthang. Google is a helluva thing.

  • I forgot to add that Google told me that he’s also a former deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana. One of my friends shared this post on her Facebook wall, and someone commented that they had a similar experience with this man….

    @John G – For me the male privilege was in him assuming he could come into our space and command our attention. It’s the kind of thing a woman would never do. No matter how much I wanted a man’s attention I won’t go and sit right by him and his friends and every few minutes try and interrupt the conversation between him and his guys.

    • John G

      nasooo, that’s a bit of the difference.. if you were drunk and normally a “risque” girl, you just might go sit right by him ad embarrass him and his friends… we’ve all seen it happen (well, i have). A drunk person is liable to say and do something stupid… Not justifying him or saying it was out of character, I just thought the story didn’t seem as bad when we count that he was drunk.
      The other aspect is that I ran to this article expecting a discussion of male privilege, which is rampant especially in African society, but most men don’t necessarily see it, or see it as a big problem. I think there should be more articles raising awareness about many things we accept as the “norm” or “our culture” or “our tradition” which are downright unfair to women.
      Here’s a wikipedia definition of male privilege.
      “Male privilege refers to men having unearned social, economic, and political advantages or rights that are granted to them solely on the basis of their sex, and which are usually denied to women.”
      In this case (this story), society did not condone this drunk man’s actions.. which is clear as another man stepped in, and security eventually led him out. So, it was rude, sexist, chauvinist, shameful.. but not necessarily a good example of “male privilege”, which I believe is a valid issue we need to discuss and improve in.

      • Soraya

        I think we should leave John G to teach this Derailment 101 class to an empty room.