Malcolm X said that the most disrespected person in America is a Black woman. I have never disagreed with this. There are things that have been told to me as a Black woman that I am sure would never have been said had I been anything but a Black woman. Or a Black little girl for that matter. I have been told that I was ugly over stuff that I couldn’t control (hair, clothes, skin tone or shoe size). However, something came across my desk (i.e.: my Twitter timeline) that I couldn’t ignore.
There was this young man @CraigsVCR that put this video up on his timeline. And I so happen to have seen it.
Now, in the interest of being fair, I was told that this video was taken from another source and this dude added his ‘take’ to it. Moreover, I said this:
“Now if she’d have broken up with you and slapped the shit outta you…”
Then, this happened:
And the Dusty Negro Collective thought they would weigh in:
Remember Malcolm said about Black women and being disrespected.
The fact isn’t that homeboy said what he said. I come across stupid men of variant colors all the time. I’m a writer, these things go with the territory: the pen can be a sword. However, what struck me was his caption.
Why is it okay to ‘roast’ your girl and then come back and tell her that you were ‘just playin’. And then call her beautiful? Let me tell you why this is problematic.
The world tells Black women EVERYDAY that something is wrong with them. From height. Weight. Skin tone: too light, you’re white; too dark: you’re way too ugly to be chose. If you don’t talk to every man you see, or not play into their advances, then you’re a bitch. And my favorite: “You wasn’t that cute anyway!” Aight, let that be what it is. Which is nonsense.
Among the Dusty Negro Collective that called themselves rallying to their Dusty Negro Collective Chairman President’s defense, I told I was being ‘too sensitive.’ This is something else to add to what Black women are told on a day to day basis: what I am and what I am not. I am ‘too sensitive’ because I am vocal about the things that hurt me, or could hurt other people. The fact that I was able to say how abusive it is to do something that hurts someone, and then come back and say ‘you were just playing’.
This logic of hurtful social relating, can be paralleled with other problematic behavior. The behavior that says a little boy hits a girl he likes to tell her that he likes her. When you roast, someone you basically point out all their flaws (real or imagined) and read them cover to cover. I am fully prepared to admit in the oncoming of my 40 years of being on the planet, that it’s stuff about this new aged dating I may never understand. However, the one thing that I do know is people treat you how you want to be treated. And the adage my Nana gave me: “A man will only do what you let them do.”
If you are in a relationship with someone, it stands to reason and logic this person knows enough about you to know what you are insecure about. They knew what things to point out to hurt you. I personally, don’t have the patience for this type of behavior in a relationship. The fact that in pointing out how this is problematic, is itself problematic. It does not make a woman, a Black woman, sensitive for making sure she is treated well. A fellow writer told me this and each day that is demonstrated in the lives of the people I care for. She said, “Black women protect Black women.” When she said this on social media, a different delegation of the DNC came for her.
Which leads me to believe two things are true:
Black women are praised for our strength.
Black women aren’t allowed to be anything but strong and tolerant.
We aren’t allowed to say what bothers us, and what we desire to do about it. We aren’t allowed to say that the men that look like our fathers have the hardest time protecting us. Understanding us. And sometimes have the hardest time, not making us prove how strong we are by putting us through things no other woman would be expected to do and endure. We’re expected to be okay with disrespect, because strong women deal with it. They soldier on. They aren’t expected to complain or vocalize that pain.
Of course there are some that will say this whole piece is me being sensitive. Yeah, I’m sensitive. I’m sensitive about being disrespected. About being hurt. About the women that look like me that get pieces of them snipped and nipped away by the world. On a day to day basis.
I’m sensitive because I am raising daughters. I have a sister, and a brother. I’m a mother and a godmother. Being sensitive means I’m paying attention to the world, and I have something so say about it. That I am not about to have my voice taken out of my throat with me watching, and saying nothing. Zora Neale Hurston said, “If you remain silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”
One one the DNC said that ‘no man wants to walk on eggshells’. A girlfriend of mine said that she has these conversations with Black men all the time. The answers that she gets normally revolve around Black men thinking we as Black women don’t treat them fair. Or that asking for accountability from our partners is wrong. Let me put a wider paint swatch on this. It’s not just Black men that do this. It is problematic no matter the race or ethnicity of your partner.
If you have a relationship that y’all are cool enough to do this with? Fine. I don’t have the patience for it. The world is hard enough. But don’t ever tell a woman, a Black woman, she is being too sensitive because she tells you what hurts her. Don’t tell a woman that she shouldn’t take something that hurt her seriously. Or something that makes her cry, you didn’t mean–even though you caused it.
It’s problematic. It’s trash. And me demanding to be treated well, doesn’t make me sensitive.
[images from author’s personal social media account]