An Open Letter From A Black Woman
I hurt myself today. I was on Twitter talking about rape culture & this triggering victim blaming post at VSB. And it triggered the hell out of me so I’m just going to say up front that this is coming from that place. See, I said the things I needed to say, but now I have to say something else & it is too long for twitter. And although I am directing this specifically to black men, overall this is something I feel needs to be said to everyone. Black women (like me) are more likely to be victims of domestic violence and sexual assault than almost any other group (the numbers are also incredibly high for NDN women), and we are out here on the front lines every day. Black men expect us to have their backs in battles with institutionalized racism. And mostly we do. But, we’re not seeing a whole lot of return on that investment when it comes to institutionalized racialized misogyny. And that fucking hurts.
Yes, on an individual level some of you are right there in the trenches with us. But some of you? Man look, I know life is hard for everyone of color on some level, but we shouldn’t have to worry about being safe from men in our communities as well as men outside our communities. And yes, men are victimized too. I know that, but I’m a woman and I’m going to speak from my experience in this post. Because here’s the thing, it’s easy to say that women should know better, do better at staying away from bad guys. But, it’s not like they’re wearing a sign around their necks. And often those guys have friends who are decent dudes. So we assume that they are decent too until they show us something different.
Sometimes they show us early enough & lightly enough that we get out of the situation basically unscathed. But sometimes? Sometimes your boy that you know ain’t shit that’s been dogging some broad out? Yeah, he proceeds to fuck that broad up the first time she catches wind of a problem. And instead of jumping bad at him, too many of you start blaming her. That’s a terrible thing to do. And you know it. Because your boy has already told enough jokes, or said enough off shit that you wouldn’t let him near your sister, your baby cousin, or your best friend. So, why is he still your boy?
Real talk, I have some female friends that are messy who don’t do half the shit I see some dudes out here doing, and I keep them away from my guy friends. Because they’re messy & I don’t want anyone I care about to get hurt. If I could I’d warn off some other folks too. But my friends aren’t rapists or abusers. People like that don’t get to stay in my life. Some of you are friends with dudes who are both. Hell, some of you reading this (whether you admit it to yourself or not) are guilty of those behaviors. And while I’m all for redemption or whatever, I really need to know how much shit has to happen to black women at the hands of black men, before y’all start checking each other? What does it take for men of color to really collectively dig into confronting their privilege & misogyny? We know some of you hate us, now we want to know what those of you who don’t hate us are going to do about it?