FYI- This is going to be a lengthy post and one that’s been sitting in my drafts for a long time. I don’t go too much in depth on Parker because there’s not much left to be said about him that hasn’t already been said. These are, instead, more general thoughts I have on these cases.
These were my words from my social media post regarding the death of Korryn Gaines:
Look. I don’t know where my head or heart are at on this story. But all I know is this- Black women if you live in a neighborhood that is being over policed, leave! Do what you can to get the hell out. The stress and sense of powerlessness will take its toll. And to have a Black son, like Korryn did, I can only imagine adds even more stress at recognizing certain realities surrounding policing. There’s gotta be a way for us women to be woke and still be safe. Recognize that the dude in the house with her is still alive. He wasn’t fitna to take no bullets for the cause. But she did. Now, maybe that’s what she wanted. Maybe she wanted to die for this in this way. Or maybe the news narrative is a lie. Who can really say for sure. She was an adult but still a young impressionable one, only 22. If she felt like this was her duty as a Black woman and that she had no other options but to be in the thick of the warpath, then that just doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t know. To each their own but still. And that means there are more Black women like her out there who need to know that they don’t have to die in male war games if they really don’t want to. #korryngaines Regardless, I
Within a few seconds of me posting this, a Black guy questioned me on the use of the term “male war games” in my post. Here is my response and the rest of the exchange:
*Crickets. To date, he’s offered no other solution. But he did want to waste time debating me over very sensible advice. What I am offering as a solution is Basic Survival 101- you see a threat that you cannot equally match, you leave. How are you debating me on this?? I simply advised leaving over-policed communities. How does that strike a person as something debate worthy? So we should just “stick together” and do what? Die? This is the type of stupidity that gets very draining after awhile. And nowhere did I say to leave Black males behind or that police brutality is not an issue. Like nowhere. Yet somehow he made it about Black men by construing “leave over-policed communities” with “leave Black males”. Umm, there’s plenty of Black males living in Black or mixed raced communities that are not under incessant police presence. I can name at least two in the state of Maryland, where Korryn Gaines resided.
(Note: Here is a snippet of the article I referred to in our exchange:
[it continues] “It is an opportunity for men to bond with other men, friend and foe alike, and to reaffirm their common masculine warrior codes.” source http://www.agjohnson.us/essays/manhood/ The reason I shared that quote was mainly to explain why the cops who commit acts of police terror against Black men tend to be remorseless and feel justified.)
He was not the only Black guy I saw on social media who was sounding completely devoid of any concern or emotion over her death. Just as unbothered as a stroll on the beach. Then you had the other lovely group of men who were straight trashing her or they were suddenly interested in getting the “whole story” from the cops and the media- the same cops and media they swore were out to destroy Black men. In fact, just a few weeks ago after Korryn’s murder, there were Black people running to Chris Brown’s defense on social media to protect his dainty image from the cops and media because they believe they are out to destroy Brown, his violent past be damned. See how this game works? When it’s a Black woman, they need the “whole story” and her own words are not enough for them but when it’s a Black man, the “whole story” is irrelevant and the media is simply out to get him. Also, I might add, where is all that “stick together” rhetoric from men when they see other Black men trashing Black women’s looks, or sex lives, or comparing Black women to non-Black women? How come those men aren’t asked to play nice? All I said was for Black women to leave over policed communities and I got a melodramatic attempt at a guilt trip. Wow. Cause fuck your safety, right? Do I and other Black women look like the Kevin Costner to the Black man’s Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard? Shit is backwards as hell. But then they turn around saying that they’re targeted by cops because White men are afraid of them. Are they insane? They’re targeted because they’re easy prey. Bullies target the vulnerable.
Also, I want to note to Black women who do activism work – Please only engage in this work if that is what YOU really want and need to feel fulfilled in your life.Wanting to see systemic changes for the male relatives in your life is one thing, but putting yourself and expecting other Black women to put themselves in harms way to march for the Black male collective is not a smart move. You will set yourself up for disappointment. Note- this is not to say that all Black women who engage in activism work just want to get Black male approval. They don’t. But this is for the few who may be starting to tie their sense of worth as a Black female in with how much marching they can do on behalf of Black men. Your marching on behalf of men is not going to win you his loyalty. It will only take a handful of White or non-Black women to show up to a rally or two and you will be readily dismissed and replaced in a heartbeat. I have already seen the writing on the wall. A few months ago, a local art gallery was having an event celebrating the Freedom Riders of the Civil Rights Movement. This was the post/artwork used to advertise the event on social media (posted by a Black man by the way):
The usual suspects, the dynamic duo, the interracial super heroes who will end racism overnight- the Black man and the White woman. Now, I did a little research on the Freedom Riders and it’s noteworthy because it included White activists. Their strategy was to use an interracial pair (doesn’t specify if the pairing was of the opposite sex or not) in segregated seating. But if you do a quick Google search on the Freedom Riders, it will tell you who its lead figures were. None of those lead figures was a White woman. And yet here she is on the advertising to represent the face of the movement. There is one White woman who is listed by name as one of the riders on the first Freedom Riders bus ride, and my best guess is that that is the woman pictured here. (I want to note that I, along with a few other followers of this person’s page, asked for clarity as to who these two people were. We received no reply.) The only lead female figure who is listed on the groups Wikipedia page is a Black woman named Diane Judith Nash. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Riders) Where she at, though? See what I’m talking about? One solitary White woman shows up and it’s enough for a Black man to grant her the status as the female face of the movement, albeit through an event flyer. Consider all the other interracial pairings he could’ve chosen: He could have chosen two men- one Black and one White, which would have been more accurate given the mostly male makeup of the key players behind organizing the movement. He could have chosen two women- one Black and one White. Or he could have chosen a Black woman and a White man. But he didn’t. He went with the predictable Black male-White female coupling. Why? I imagine it’s for attention. Who knows why, but Black males paired with White females ALWAYS grabs peoples’ attention. Just think of all the Black male celebs who gain much fanfare when they’re paired with non-Black or White women versus the Black male celebs who are married to Black women and nobody seems to care.
I think this pairing choice also has a lot to do with the fact that many Black men subscribe to the belief that they are going to end racism by partnering up with White/non-Black women and that they’re going to “make the world Black” by impregnating women all over the world. Anyone who has spent considerable time in male-dominated pro-Black spaces has heard this ideology thrown around at least once. Typical male arrogance. Their penis is a magic wand to end all the race based issues the world over, never mind the fact that women typically do the heavy lifting of child rearing and are the ones who pass on the culture. But eff all that cause it’s all about the d-i-c-k. And for many, their ideal world is Black men surrounded by non-Black women who adore Black men as much as or more than they adore the men of their own race . #LongLivetheRevolution. Not to mention there’s just good old fashioned selfishness at play here.
Whatever the reasons are, the reason for me sharing this is to drive home the point to Black women that they need to stop marching for Black men expecting reciprocity and stop making a scene out of their activism hoping it will incite sympathy from men. I have seen a lot of posts on social media where Black women express their understandable frustration that they march for Black men who fail to collectively march for Black women’s interests and they’re frustrated by Black men’s continuous habit of prizing women who do not fight for them the way Black women do. I am here to tell you that is mostly a waste of emotional energy. Any activism work we may choose to engage in as Black women, however large or small, should be Black woman centered, period. Case closed. Centering males in any aspect of your life is setting yourself up for major disappointment, anyway. It turns your activism work into cheerleading for men. And cheerleaders are replaceable.
Now, while I have you. A quick word on this Black man being destroyed by White women trope that is coming back up in light of Nate Parker’s rape trial, Chris Brown’s recent assault charge. I’m here to tell Black women to just stop worrying about it. Just stop. Let the men worry about this. Chris Brown had so many male celebrities coming to cape for him, you would have thought the man was on life support struggling to take a breath. When in reality he was out there making bail and uploading rambling, non-sensical videos onto his social media page. So Black female tears really were not necessary. This is a tale as old as time. No grown Black male alive does not know the deal when it comes to the sketchy dynamic that can occur between him and White women. Yet, many continue to pursue or idealize White women for one reason or another. Let them. If they can find their way into their lives, they can figure out a way out should the shit hit the fan without Black women contorting themselves into pretzels on their behalf. As of today, not one Black male celeb has used his platform to discuss the history of false rape allegations made by White women or to have dialogue about rape education to make sure the young men who look up to them understand that inebriated/passed out women cannot consent to sex.
Yes, there is certainly a painful history of White women making false claims of rape against Black men that result in his death and the death of everyone around him. But there is also a history of Black men willingly engaging in consensual sex with White women knowing that one word from her to the authorities could mean his death and those around him (because lynch mobs often went after the alleged perpetrator AND any other Black people connected to the target, and that included women and children. You can read the book Southern Horrors by Ida B. Wells for more about the history of lynching). This was not a mystery to Black men back then but they still pursued such relationships, putting virtually everything on the line for it. That kind of recklessness and apathy is still within a lot of Black men today. You can’t save a fool. And since men tend to be attracted towards aggressive, risky types of behavior, I suspect that it’s the threat of death/drama and the taboo nature that comes with being with White women that is part of what many Black men find so appealing and exciting. Not to mention that patriarchal males who have internalized their defeated status within the patriarchy but still want to participate in it would rather just abide by the set power hierarchy already established by another man. So, rather than doing the work to really buck the system they will just do as told and pursue what society says represents power – nonBlack women, especially White women. The current paradigm increases these womens’ value in his eyes. But who is working to increase the Black woman’s value and inflate her self-esteem? (Ex: Jessie Williams made one comment at the BET Awards to show support for Black women and Black men were in their feelings claiming he did for brownie points. One. Measly. Comment.) And since Black men aren’t known to be lacking in the confidence department, White women’s elevated social status represent his true match (in many of their minds, at least. Not all, but many). If these men want to exhaust energy chasing that high, whatever.
And here’s a reality check – Black men do rape and they do rape White women. Are Black women this naive about the underbelly to male culture? Or do we just pretend to be stupid when it’s convenient? This is not to cape for White women since they’ve got an entire system set up to protect them, but these two people- Black men and White women want to do this dance of flirting with “danger” and being rebellious and well, there’s casualties on both ends. Sometimes a Black dude gets killed on a false rape charge cause her White Supremacy beat his male privilege, and other times a White woman’s rapist goes free because his male privilege beat her White Supremacy. It’s fucked up but it is what it is until the system changes and neither one of them seem to be losing much sleep over it so why are Black women? All I know is that as one of the most unprotected women on the planet, Black women need to leave this shit alone. Truthfully, Black women’s focus should be on how to get the Black community to be just as passionate about protecting a Black woman/girl who is raped as we are passionate about protecting a Black man on a rape charge against a White woman. Self-preservation is the first rule of nature. Were we Black women not just on pins and needles waiting with bated breath for the jury to return the Holtzclaw verdict? Remember that? Ok, so stay focused.
The same shit goes for what happened with Lena Dunham making offensive comments about Odell Beckham, though they were steeped mostly in her own self-deprecation. The comments were annoying but I really did not understand why so many Black women were so passionate about making that shit their problem? Odell Beckham’s non-response to her comments clearly showed that he was mostly unbothered http://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/09/odell-beckham-lena-dunham-response, so why are Black women worried? Is there a culture of White women behaving like they have some entitlement over Black males? Oh, abso-fucking-lutely. You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that. But, on the flip side, we also know that Black males enjoy the patriarchal benefits of being able to bask in being sexually objectified without having to be heavily shamed or devalued for it. On the contrary, it bolsters their social value in many ways yet that same type of sexual objectification of Black women from others is used against her to heavily shame us (like being called a “bedwench” or being quickly told not to think too highly of ourselves because we’re just being “fetishized”). Again, the point here is to get Black women to understand that we cannot afford to get too caught up in Black male problems. Because while you’re busy crying over the fact that he’s being Madingo stereotyped, he’s using it as the supreme ego boost, going so far to say that White Supremacy exists in part because of envy over Black penis. Yes, they’ve reduced our collective, global pain and turmoil to a penis size battle. Go figure.
Black men are capable of being misogynists towards any woman. Just like every other man on the planet. We know this already. But when White women call them out on their misogyny, it carries a lot more weight behind it than when a Black woman calls them out on it, which usually goes ignored or mocked. So Black women’s unprotected behinds are really in no position to be getting upset over Schumer’s or Dunham’s comments. If this were that much of a problem for Black men, they’d speak up on it more. They don’t. So for Black women to constantly insert themselves in the midst of Black male problems outside of the scope of familial connections or some kind of professional reasons (i.e. lawyer, or sociologist, or historian, etc.) is just asinine. Truly, ma’am, just sit down. We are not recognized as any kind of authority or trustworthy source on how a man is to behave towards women or what a woman’s standards should be on how a man is to treat a woman. Because we currently occupy the lowest rung on the female hierarchy and our male-female relationship dynamics are perceived to be highly dysfunctional. Therefore, arguments and outcries from Black women over the Lena Dunhams and Amy Schumers of the world who talk sideways about Black men simply holds no weight because no one wants to be in your perpetually unprotected position as a woman. Cold hard facts. For a woman to be able to talk shit about a celebrity Black male on her social media platform for the world to see and for the most part get away with it, cause Odell barely said boo about it, is a woman in a far more elevated position than you, Black woman, who can’t even reject a Black male stranger without possibly losing your life http://nypost.com/2016/09/05/st-johns-student-gunned-down-at-jouvert-festival/, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/07/mary-spears-killed-detroit_n_5945518.html, http://abc7chicago.com/news/young-mother-fatally-stabbed-on-cta-red-line-identified/1399660/ You clearly have more pressing things to be worried about.
We’ve come a long way as a collective. Let’s not get sidetracked now.