Many people in black community have been deceiving themselves. Right now, America is in one of the most sensitive time periods that it has ever been in. The wrongful killing of George Floyd has brought uproars and protests to the streets of American cities in an attempt to bring police brutality and racism into the light. Many black celebrities and public figures have been calling for the black community to unite during these trying times. All of these actions appear to be revolutionary and progressive. However, there is an unsettling truth that the black community has decided to be blinded by…
The Abuse of Black Women
My name is Christen Fields, and I am a rising sophomore at Bates College. I have decided that it is time for me to speak up as a black woman, because our voices are going unheard. For a long time, the black community has gone through performative measures to make it appear that the most crucial problem that we face is racial violence and our community stands united to fight against racism. I give the black community a standing ovation for putting on an Oscar worthy show. Black people were so deep in their deception that these delusions became their reality.
While it is true one of our enemies is racism, black women are being exploited, and black men have a responsibility for our abuse. We thought that our only enemies were non-black racist people, but black women also have to battle black men. This has been a conflict for an extensive time because many people of the black community are living in a false reality. They have been conditioned to believe that all black people are our allies. The statement I made was very audacious, but continue reading to discover the disturbing reality that slithers around black America…
Let’s play a game:
Name as many black men that you can that have been either assaulted, harassed, or killed by the police force.
Now, name as many black women that you can, that have been either assaulted, harassed, or killed by the police force.
(While reading the following paragraphs, remember the number of people from either gender that you were able to name )
The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was created by three brilliant black women — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi — so that black people and allies could stand together to fight against police brutality and racism. The movement was started in 2012 after Trayvon Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman. The creators of the BLM movement wanted to create a space so that members of the community could advocate for all black lives. However, there is one major flaw that makes this movement obsolete: it is oriented towards black men.
The victims of police brutality that have gained widespread attention are Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Stephon Clark and, most recently, George Floyd; these are only the names of black men. From the game at the beginning, I expected that majority of you would know many names of the black men killed. However, how many black women were you able to name? Two? One? Zero?
This is the disappointment that plagues the black community and America. Black women had to create, #sayhername, because so few people were advocating for female police brutality victims. It is true that instances of police brutality towards black men are higher than black women, but the fact is black males and black females are both targeted by the police and racism. This being said, most media coverage is focused on black men. Don’t you find it odd that the BLM movement exists, but black women STILL had to create, #sayhername?
How are black men responsible for the abuse of black women? Three black women started the BLM movement. Soon after, black men were unequally represented by the movement. Black men now have the platform and privilege to advocate for black lives. The end result? They used their voice to advocate mainly for other black men.
“Do you know the end pieces of sliced bread that no one touches? That is how America views us.”
It is delusional for black men to say that black lives matter, but only use their power to advocate for some black lives. It is abusive to have the power to save the black women in your community, but decide not to because your priority is for other (black male) lives. It is simply disrespectful to exclude black women when black women started BLM.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this; it all makes sense. We live in a male dominated society, so the needs of black women have never been the first topic of discussion. By going back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, white men were always allowed to vote. Then, the 15th amendment allowed black men the right to vote.
In 1920, the 19th amendment technically gave women the right to vote. I say “technically” because black women were marginalized from the women’s suffrage movement. The National American Woman Suffrage Association was solely focused on the freedom to vote for white women. Even in a women’s movement, black women were the last thought. Do you know the end pieces of sliced bread that no one touches? That is how America views us.
Black women had to scream and shout just so that Breonna Taylor could get the media attention that she deserved. She was fatally shot in her own home by the police on March 13, 2020, but her killers still haven’t been charged. George Floyd was strangled by the police on May 25, 2020. His killers were charged soon after, and it caused protests and uproars in over 2,000 cities. Can you spot the difference between the two cases?
Many of you might have the notion that Floyd received more attention than Taylor because there was a video surrounding his death, but I kindly ask you to reevaluate it. This notion is insinuating that it is okay that Breonna has not had her justice served in a timely manner because her death was not caught on video and received widespread views. It is insinuating that her death needed to be seen so that people could feel sympathetic enough to care. This notion needs to be rejected, and this is the notion that needs to be accepted: the police wrongfully killed her, so their murder charges should have been served expeditiously.
Another question that may be asked is this: Why do we need black men to advocate on the behalf of black women when black women can do it themselves? The BLM movement is male oriented, and many black men aren’t using their power to advocate for everyone. To go further with that answer, most black women are advocating for everyone in the black community. The reason that this is problematic is because BLM is advocating for all black folks, while many black men only advocate for other black men.
If more black men took the time to advocate for black women, then there would be a balance. A solution could be that black women play black men at their own game and just advocate for black women. Theoretically, that could show black men how they treat us, but black women have historically been known to advocate for the entire community. Many black women do not agree with dropping black men from their advocacy.
However, there is a growing number of black women that are starting to catch on and only advocate for other black women because of the mistreatment from black men. I proudly say that I am a part of that group. When Stephon Clark was murdered, a lot of black women decided to stay silent and not advocate for him after we saw his toxic colorist tweets. He tweeted, “I don’t want nothin’ black but an Xbox, dark b****** bring dark days”. After seeing that, we figured that his Asian girlfriend and the light, bright and white queens that he adored would protest for him. Stephon Clark did not deserve to die by police brutality, but I do not support colorists just like I do not support racists.
I had to write this article because I have noticed that many black men exclude black women when it is time to discuss conflicts in the black community. When it comes to police brutality and racism, black men should not be the only ones represented. I would understand if the black community was just black males, but we are not. Also, I am not saying that police brutality is not a worry we should have, but I request that we keep the same energy for everything else because black lives do matter.
Let’s be outraged that black women are two to six times more likely to die giving birth than white women. The healthcare system is failing black women. A 2006 fact sheet published by the Women of Color Network found that black women faced domestic violence at a rate 35% higher than white women, and 2.5 times higher than other races. Let’s be outraged by those dangerous statistics. We need to focus on these outrageous domestic violence rates alongside high incarceration rates and police brutality.
It is not all black men, but before it became mainstream to advocate for Breonna Taylor, think about the problems that your favorite black male celebrities advocated for. Think about the gender of the person that those celebrities advocated for. It’s not all black men, but the ones with the platform and privilege are our representation. Police brutality aside, I do not know any black male public figures that have advocated to address social issues that affect black women.
Pay careful attention to black male celebrities during this time. They are pandering to black women, and most of it is insincere. Watch their actions in the future towards black women when BLM protests die down. Many of them never defended black women and many of them have actually made repetitive colorist comments towards black women. Many of them are only showing their “love” because it is trendy and gives them brownie points.
Rest in paradise Oluwatoyin Salau (August 27, 2000- June 2020). All she wanted to do was protest for all black lives, but she was only 19 years old when a black man cut her life short.
Breonna Taylor – killed by police in her bed on March 13, 2020
Shooting of Atatiana Jefferson – killed by police on October 12, 2019
Charleena Chavon Lyles – killed by police on June 18, 2017
Korryn Gaines – killed by police on August 1, 2016
India Kager – killed by police in her car on September 5, 2015
Sandra Bland – died in police custody on July 13, 2015
Alexia Christian – killed by police on April 30, 2015
Mya Hall – killed by police on March 30, 2015
Meagan Hockaday – Killed by police on March 28, 2015
Janisha Fonville – killed by police on February 18, 2015
Natasha McKenna – died from police-induced trauma on February 8, 2015
Tanisha Anderson – killed by police on November 13, 2014
Aura Rosser – killed by police on November 9, 2014
Sheneque Proctor – died in police custody on November 1, 2014
Michelle Cusseaux – killed by police on August 13, 2014
Pearlie Golden – killed by police on May 7, 2014
Gabriella Nevarez – killed by police on March 2, 2014
Yvette Smith – killed by police on February 16, 2014
Renisha McBride –- killed By a White supremacist On November 3, 2013
Miriam Carey – killed by federal agents on October 3, 2013
Kyam Livingston – died in police custody on July 24, 2013
Kayla Moore – killed by police on February 12, 2013
Shelly Frey – killed by police on December 6, 2012
Malissa Williams – killed by police on November 29, 2012
Shulena Weldon – died after being run over by a car by police on August 9, 2012
Alesia Thomas – killed by police on July 22, 2012
Shantel Davis – killed by police on June 14, 2012
Sharmel Edwards – killed by police on April 21, 2012
Rekia Boyd – killed by police on March 21, 2012
Shereese Francis – killed by police on March 15, 2012
Aiyana Stanley-Jones – killed by police on May 16, 2010
Tarika Wilson – killed by police on January 4, 2008
Kathryn Johnston – killed by police on November 21, 2006
Alberta Spruill – died of police-induced trauma on May 16, 2003
Kendra James – killed by police on May 5, 2003
LaTanya Haggerty – killed by police on June 4, 1999
Margaret LaVerne Mitchell – killed by police on May 21, 1999
Tyisha Miller – killed by police on December 28, 1998
Danette Daniels – killed by police on June 8, 1997
Frankie Ann Perkins – killed by police on March 22, 1997
Sonji Taylor – killed by police on December 16, 1993
Eleanor Bumpurs – killed by police on October 29, 1984