“The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” That’s an excerpt from a Malcolm X speech that Black men (especially hotep niggas- Black men who claim to be woke, but mostly use their knowledge to sleep with women, while simultaneously criticizing Black women for having any ounce of sexuality) love to quote and make memes with, but do not actively do anything to fix.
In real life, online and in music, Black women are constantly being attacked, and as of lately, Black men have been the ringleaders to this ever-lasting assault. When Black women have encounters with the police, it’s automatically our faults because we are such mouthy, uncooperative bitches. Black women are dragged by Black men online for literally just existing. If we’re dark it’s a problem. If we’re skinny it’s a problem. If we have too much ass it’s a problem. If we’re natural it has to be the right kind of natural, as in a looser curl pattern, or else it’s nappy and ugly and “natural hair ain’t for everyone.” But, if we wear a weave or prefer relaxed hair, we’re aspiring to be white women and hate our natural selves. Rappers are out here telling us it’s foreign bitches only. They never neglect to tell us they ain’t checking for no dark skinned, black bitches. We’re told we need to “tighten up cuz white girls out here evolving” (okay I’m not that mad at this one, cause Trick Daddy said it. I mean, Trick Daddy? Stahp, but still).
The “woke” Black men, the kind that hang on the every word of “leaders” like Dr. Umar Johnson, blame Black women for literally everything from being single mothers (how that sound?) to Black men being homosexuals. And with all of that coming from our own men, we are still expected to stay loyal to Black men. We can’t date outside of the race or else we become bed-wenches and traitors.
Even though Black men make up a larger percentage of Black Americans that date/ marry inter-racially, 14% of Black men compared to 8% of Black women (but it’s okay because according to Hotep logic, Black men mating with white women keeps the Black gene going).
We have to attend every protest and be vocal about the murders of our men, which we gladly do. So why can’t we have our grievances? When I try to speak on these criticisms, I often find myself being told not to speak on our (the Black community) issues publicly. I get this idea, I do. It’s like a family not airing out their dirty laundry so others won’t know what’s going on. We always want to appear united and strong, that’s understood, but I can’t help but to think that this “rule” has some kind of loophole or exception specifically and solely for Black men. Never have I encountered a group of men that will demand the help, love and support from the very group of women they berate, police and hate so publicly, every chance they get the way Black men do Black women. So, bluntly, I ask Black men: Where the hell is the reciprocity?
Black women speaking on the many ways that the world and Black men hurt us is often considered divisive, but the behaviors that cause us to feel unloved and betrayed go unaddressed in order to silence our cries. The point I want to make is Black men do not protect and support Black women with the same ferocity as Black women have for Black men. Nor do they defend us with the same ferocity they have when silencing us.
Remember back in 2015 when a school officer, a grown ass man, wrapped his arms around the neck of a young, black female student for not complying, slammed her and her desk to the ground and then dragged her? All the while her grown ass, Black, male teacher just watched? There were very mixed responses to this. The part of me that knows that being a Black body automatically makes you guilty was not surprised that some saw nothing wrong with the video and incident. The other part of me that simply saw a young girl being man-handled was shocked that everyone wasn’t outraged. But, the thing about the situation that hurt the most was the number of Black men, even some I knew personally that have daughters, that said they needed to see the whole video before they made a decision. The number of Black men who said “it would have all been avoided had she just gotten up when asked” truly hurt me. Never mind the fact that the young girl had just lost her mother. Because she is a young Black woman, it was assumed and easily believed that she had an attitude, had been mouthy and deserved what happened to her. By questioning the young girl’s actions and automatically assuming her wrongdoing instead of the officer, Black men signed off on the idea of the “angry Black woman.”
With all of the police shootings that have been happening, Black people, mainly millennials, have been quite the revolutionaries. There has been an abundance of “arm yourselves” and “guard your family” rhetoric. So, naturally, when Korryn Gaines was shot and killed in her home, I thought that many would be outraged. I was wrong. The very men who treat Malcolm X and Huey Newton like gods, deemed Korryn a bad mother for having her child in that situation. I saw Black men say she was a terrible mother for making her son grow up without a mother. Some said she should’t have fired, completely ignoring the fact that cops coming to a home heavily armed for a simple traffic violation/ warrant is unusual. The people that questioned why heavily armed police came to her home just to deliver a traffic warrant were Black women. The people letting it be known that this woman was stalked by this same police department and had an active lawsuit against them were Black women. The people constantly sharing her story and shouting “say her name” were Black women. I get this is a harder case to defend, but Black women were diligent in sharing her story and seeking justice, Black men (collectively) fell short of this.
When Michael Brown was shot, Black women didn’t say “we need to know if he actually stole something or not” before deciding the shooting wasn’t justified. We didn’t ask why he ran. We didn’t ask why Philando Castile had a gun, we understood it was his right to be armed. When Alton Sterling was shot, when Eric Garner was shot, we didn’t ask any questions. We didn’t chastise them and call them bad fathers for leaving their children fatherless due to their illegal activities. We just got mad, protested and demanded answers, accountability and justice. Why? Because none of that other shit matters. What matters is the Black bodies that are being harmed and killed unjustly. Black women see our fathers, brothers, sons, nephews and cousins in these men that have made headlines, and it’s scary to us. Black men, can you not see us that why? Is that why there so many questions before action? Or is it that our stories and our bodies are secondary and not as important to you all?
Placing the blame on us isn’t limited to #BlackLivesMatters issues. Black women can’t be mad at anything without the issue at hand somehow being our own faults. And when we do get the support of Black men, we have to explain extensively why something is problematic. It’s hardly ever a matter of us saying “hey,this makes us uncomfortable” and our word is taken for it.
The best example I can give of this is Black women and hair. We’ll say we don’t like non-Black women wearing certain hairstyles (braids/locs) simply because these styles, that originate from us and our ancestors, are called ghetto on us, but so chic and high-fashion on basically everyone but us. What do Black men counter with?
“Well y’all wear weave!” “Y’all wear blonde hair!” And then we have to explain that it’s literally not the same thing. One, because no one tells white women that blonde hair and weave looks ugly on them, while at the same time praising Black women for it. Two (which should’ve been reason number one), blonde hair is not a characteristic that solely belongs to white women. It is not a gene that is solely found in those who have European ancestry. And for you “Africans hold every genetic code” type, that reason should not even have to be stated, and yet it is. Is this fact forgotten when it comes to Black women? But I digress. Usually the last reason I give for this lame, idiotic, weak “counter” argument is: BLACK WOMEN ARE NOT WEARING WEAVE MADE FROM THE HAIR OF WHITE WOMEN!!! No Black woman walks into their local beauty supply or beautician and asks for that 28″ German. No one is asking for white American bundles, no one is asking for the Great Britain special.
Black women are asking for Brazilian, Malaysian and Indian hair. All of which have some kind of African descent (and yes, Indians do have African descent, look up the Siddi people if you would like to see for yourself). And furthermore, during the time of segregation, in certain parts of the country, it was actually a crime for Black women to have their natural hair visible. To this day, it is still anxiety inducing to go to a job interview with natural hair. Do not get mad at Black women for doing what sometimes has to be done for the sake of assimilation, while telling white women it is okay to disrespect and use our culture as a costume.
I could literally go on for days with examples, but the last thing I want to address is Black men who flock to comment sections to tell Black women “not all of us,” while we’re expressing our disdain. No shit. You all know, much like the white people who use this line in an attempt to justify or defend racism, that we, Black women are very aware of the fact that not all Black men slander and police us. However, it is enough of you that do it on a regular basis that makes it an issue. My advice to this type of man is stop trying to silence us for the sake of your ego, and start checking your peers as quick as you are to say “not all of us.” Have counter arguments ready for Black men that insist on slandering us publicly as quickly as you have them ready for us.
I just need Black men to realize that the constant counter arguments in regards to issues that Black women face makes us feel like we are on our own. Self-hatred is practiced each time your Black ass hates a Black woman for being Black. Stop publicly disrespecting us, because that has set the stage for other races to feel comfortable doing so, oh and they do. The next time you find yourself calling a Black woman divisive, check your misogyny, listen to what she’s saying and see who is actually being divisive.