Written by Saran Lawson
Civil rights leader, Malcolm X, famously said on May 22, 1962, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman”. If he could be alive today to see the group of people some of the unmerited disrespect is coming from, I’m sure he would be outraged. It’s truly hard enough to be black in America, but if you are a woman feel free to multiply the struggle. Without racism weighing heavy enough on our lives; we have to deal with colorism and the stereotypes it breeds within our own community. Do you think societal standards are tough in the U.S.? Try dealing with standards of beauty that you can’t physically change without undergoing a knife or chemicals. As a woman, imagine being found to be the physical equivalent to an animal bred for protection. Women are supposed to be these soft, sexy, sensual beings. We’re told that subconsciously at a young age and consciously as we get older. Darker skin women have to deal with being simultaneously over-sexualized and demeaned. All for being the wrong color. What brought about this rant? Ari Lenox has entered the chat.
Ari Lenox, an R&B artist, known for her songs BMO and Shea Butter Baby was compared to a Rottweiler. A man by the name of King Kwasi (@WinEverUwantiT) tweeted on January 1st, “Ari Lennox and Teyana Taylor’s ability to have dangerously high sex appeal while simultaneously looking like rottweilers will always amaze me”. Ari Lennox responded with a series of tweets,
“People hate blackness so bad”, “Moms and Dads please love on your beautiful black children. Tell them they’re beautiful constantly. Tell them Black people are beautiful. Tell them black features are beautiful.” and “Black women are literally the most disrespected.”. She also took to Instagram Live to address the tweet Wednesday, “When are Hispanic women ever compared to dogs? When do they ever do that? When do they do that to white women?”. She went on to say, “How come as a black woman me sticking up for it, I’m Azealia.” (Azealia is referencing Azelia Banks, a rapper, who is seen as a problematic black woman for her tweets and opinions). The videos have timed out on her page and can still be viewed @theshaderoom via Instagram.
This wouldn’t be the first time a black man has been called out for referring to black women as a type of dog. Los Angeles Clippers forward, Patrick Patterson compared black women to bulldogs. He was on Instagram when he responded to a comment saying, “true, If I never made it to the nba I would have never met her (his wife who is a white woman) while playing for Toronto, but why’s it matter? Love is love at the end of the day. He then goes on to say in a separate comment, “so I should settle for a bulldog and act like I’m happy with my life and preach ‘keep it in your race’ to the world as if Dr.King didn’t fight/die for equality, acceptance, all cultures loving one another, and no hate? No thanks. That maybe your life but I don’t want that for mine or my family. Color doesn’t matter wake up.”
My issue with Patrick’s statements isn’t that he’s married to a white woman. I am very much pro “date and marry who you want”. As long as the other person is a consenting adult, go for what you know. My issue with what he says is that he drags black women into an argument he is having with another black man. It seems that black women are always minding their own business when this happens. We are off bathing in coconut oil and shea butter and frolicking through fields of flowers when someone summons us into their nonsense. Why did black women have to be called bulldogs to make his point? He could have as easily mentioned Martin Luther King in his statement and kept it moving. He couldn’t finish the point he was making without diminishing black women comparing us to an animal. I take issue with either men’s statements comparing black women to dogs: We aren’t animals. The man who goes by King Kwasi on Twitter didn’t have to comment on Ari Lennox and Teyanna Taylor at all. It’s not his business why other people find these women attractive. If he doesn’t find them attractive, I’m sure he could have done so without announcing it on Twitter. Why is any black woman made to feel like we are being aggressive and problematic for defending ourselves? The thing is, we shouldn’t have to. I want to tell these men, you can appreciate their preference without depreciating black women. It’s a thing.