This has been a year in which women have asserted their rights. This is long overdue. The battle for the rights of women and specifically black women has gone on for centuries. America puts the spotlight on white women while black women are left languishing in silence.
Time magazine placed the silence breakers on their magazine cover, stating their courage and tenacity. The magazine noted women’s voices could be heard over the walls of systematic oppression. The systematic societal oppression of black women extends from the bedroom to the boardroom, from the streets to the corporate suites.
Whether its violence as directed towards Dajera Beckton by the McKinney Police Department in McKinney pool party incident or the unlawful arrest of Sandra Bland in Prairie View. Those disrespected women were products of open aggression. The silent aggression still exists from the fast food worker harassed by her manager. Many black women suffer in quiet silence as their complaints of sexual harassment are ignored and discounted, regardless of their social status.
American culture labels black women as Jezebels or angry black women. We in our black culture through our overly sexualized view of black women disrespect them as well. This starts from childhood, as we laugh at “mannish boys’ and condemn young girls for being ‘fast girls.’
Meanwhile, our daughters, grow up with a target as they are often portrayed as loose women deserving no respect. This lack of disrespect is not only from Euro-Americans but also from African-Americans. There is a quiet form of silence in the black community that accepts the degradation of our black women.
With apologies to Tupac, “who asked wonder why they call you ….”, the answer is because black men want to. We do not want to raise our women above ourselves because society puts us low. We call them Queens but treat them like court jesters. Video vixens grow older and have children of their own, who should not answer the same questions of their mothers regarding sexual oppression and say #metoo.
The #metoo movement has transitioned to ignoring the millions of oppressed black women. The #metoo movement, which the mainstream media largely reports as the oppression of privileged white women. The weakness of this movement and its coverage is it overlooks black women.
The mainstream media comes up lame, however, they have had some help in silencing black women. The help comes from black men who do not support black women. We continue as black men to band together as brothers and not listen to the anguished cries of our sisters. We must stop, look and listen.
Their lack of support comes from black women who enable black men and women to be silent. We step in unison in the name of love, but we don’t step up for justice. We, as black folk, ignore popular celebrities such as Robert Kelly, also known as R Kelly. It is hypocritical for black people to ignore the pedophilic behavior of R Kelly, and attack Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore.
This respect must be internal. We must clean our own house. We must elevate our women from hashtags like #metoo. In the end, perhaps we can answer Tupac:
“since we all came from a woman, got our name from a woman, and our game from a woman. I wonder why we take from women, why we rape our women, do we hate our women? I think it’s time we killed for our women, be real to our women, try to heal our women, cause if we don’t we’ll have a race of babies that will hate the ladies, who make the babies.”
Our respect for black women is long overdue, and we as men are paying the price today.
This is Ed Gray, and this is straight talk.