Written by Nicole
A thirty second clip from a march in Louisville, Kentucky, protesting the lack of justice for Breonna Taylor, has started making the rounds this week. I am not discussing the verdict of the case, rather, examining the clip that has started trending.
“No one is to cross in front of the Black women” Protesters have grouped the front lines by race and gender, with a line of Black women, followed by a line of Black men, followed by everyone else #Louisville #BLM #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/rdWsxBFWFm
— Brendan Gutenschwager (@BGOnTheScene) September 23, 2020
Video credit: BGOnTheScene
Here we have a video in real time of conquered black males doing what they do best: posturing and hiding behind the skirts of black women. And we also have black women doing what they do best – being the face of defiance, and adopting the role of sacrifice, shielding black males from their duties as men. It’s rather like a performance, in a way.
Though the clip is not even a minute long, it shows many of the glaring issues that impact the black community, and explains why the community looks the way it does. And why it won’t be changing any time soon.
Here is a link to it on YouTube as well.
In the video, I do not see a single protected black woman. You know what I do see, though?
Willing participants ready to catch a hail of projectiles from an opposing force. And behind them, arguably the most protected class, black men, safely tucked away behind their bodyguards.
You cannot proclaim “Protect Black Women!” in one breath, and use them to form a line of human shields. In a similar vein, you can’t say “Believe Black Women” when the male who shot Megan Thee Stallion just topped the charts with whatever it is he does musically.
.@torylanez's 'DAYSTAR' has reached #1 on US Apple Music.
— chart data (@chartdata) September 25, 2020
This is why I cannot take much of what the community does seriously. Everybody will quote Malcolm X’s “The most unprotected person in America is the black woman”, and then not see the GLARING issue with this. Imagine putting life and limb on the line, not just for cowards, but for cowards who don’t even like you unless you are lighter than a paper bag, hair texture absent of coils, kinks or curls, or whatever the desirability metrics are for the day. As you know, the goalposts are highly mobile as it comes to black women and beauty.
But the thing is, it’s not that black men are incapable of protecting people. The black male protection instinct kicks in for the people they value. Such as:
At the 12 second mark, you can hear a male say “if we see danger we will let y’all know what to do”, from behind the skirts of the cannon fodder in front of him. What kind of war strategy is that?! Is this what they teach in Hotep Marching Technique 101? Because I’m yet to see any prominent examples of leading from the back. How are you giving any kind of orders from behind the line of fire, sir?
If you’ve ever played chess, you know that the first row of pieces is entirely pawns. Expendable. Low in value but plenty in numbers. And sure, that pawn can get upgraded to a more powerful piece, like a rook or bishop or queen, but that takes skill and strategy. Sending your pawns in all willy nilly will get them out of the game faster than you can say “checkmate”. In chess and in war, whoever is in the front is the first to die. My high school history class is fuzzy, but I do faintly recall black men being used this way in one of the many wars of centuries past. What’s that quote about not knowing history and being doomed to repeat it?
Every other week the internet is subjected to another video where black men happily declare their preferences. The most recent one I saw was the one below. I originally saw the one with the basketball players on its own, but apparently it’s a whole trend.
Why am I linking this? Just to show how EASY it is to find how many videos exist declaring that black women, the very same black women on the front line in the video I am discussing, are not preferred.
Now, I’m all for preferences. I have more than a few myself, and you should too! However, how come the preferred women are never to be seen in these grandiose displays? Where are the coveted white, Latina, and Asian women signing up to be frontline warriors for the cause? Rumor has it that the white fiancé of one of this year’s police brutality victims flipped her Facebook relationship status from engaged to single in mere days. She was due to wed, and she checked out faster than the time it takes to chant “No Justice, No Peace”.
Where are the support groups for the preferred women who have lost eyes or limbs in the march for justice? I’ll give you a hint – I’m yet to find one.
Only when it’s time to wail on television about some horror or tragedy, or to serve as sacrificial lambs, are black women ever put first. We are first to be mocked, first to be criticized over literally anything, and first to have our plight ignored, and first in domestic violence deaths. But last in everything else. Is this really a group of men you wish to attach yourselves to?
If you look at the video, you’ll see every archetype of black womanhood that is reviled by the very same men they are marching for. The obese women. The dark-skinned women. The “masculine”/butch women (more on that later). Weaved-up women. Nappy-headed women. Women with acrylic nails.
Today these women are the freedom fighters of the generation.
Tomorrow, though, that nappy headed ho should have stayed her ass home, what did she expect being on the frontlines? Stop crying about your shot out eye, bitch. You better hope it grows back.
At this point, the programming is complete. Black women have volunteered to be the race warrior, the perpetual pugilist, forever fighting for a collective that will laugh at your pain (like they did with Megan Thee Stallion. Shot girl summer, right?)
And conversely, black men are the damsel in distress. Why would they even bother doing anything when they know a black woman desperate to be seen as pleasing in his eyes would jump at the chance to sacrifice herself for him?
For black women of a certain mindset, it is imperative that we make clear distinctions between us and them. If I get viewed as elitist because of my views, so be it. I’d rather be elitist from the comfort and safety of my home, than a sacrifice whose efforts will inevitably get mocked for one reason or another.
We can shout “stay home black women!” all we want, but they won’t listen. At this point, black women embodying the Mule archetype are addicted to pain, struggle, and strife. Somewhere along the line, black women seem to have romanticized pain and suffering, and see the act of self-sacrifice as the key to finally being seen as valuable. Not I, said the cat! I don’t even own marching boots, and will never, ever march. The role reversal is too deep to try and convince willing participants of another option for them. As divested/sovereign/self-preserving/elitist/whatever path you are following black women, we have to know when we need to let them go. In the words of J. Cole, don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved. Everybody won’t make it.
Not a single male in this video, by merit of his being behind a row of women, or simply being there to cosign such a display of lily-livered, yellow-bellied weakness, can call himself any kind of protector. Not a single one is a “king”, no matter how much social media loves to throw that nonsense accolade around.
2020 has been the year of the marches. Even amid a pandemic with a disease spread through the air, black people all around the country, and the world, came out in droves to bring attention to this cause. I must ask though, what tangibles has this brought to the community? Peaceful protests inevitably devolve into rioting and looting of the very same communities people are trying to defend. We have marched and marched, since the age of black and white television to now. And while strides have been made, surely, it’s time for a different approach?
As always, leave it to a black woman to give this embarrassing display some sort of explanation. One reason I saw was that since Breonna was a black woman, then black women should be in front, as an avatar of sorts for her. Except, the cops had no problem killing Breonna, so appealing emotionally probably won’t have the intended effect. Another reason was that this was something empowering. This is not empowerment, unless it’s become empowering to be a line of human shields for the perpetually conquered class. People are asking for longer video of this event, for “context”. Oh, so now we need context, eh? Only when black males look bad is there ever a request for context.
A common reason cited that black women are overlooked in the dating market is that we are less feminine than our other race counterparts. However, feminine women, by and large, wouldn’t be caught in such a display. They are at home watching this with furrowed, confused brows at home, as they decide between Ravishing Red or Pulchritudinous Pink for her pedicure that week. Black women are simultaneously expected to be the soldier on the frontlines, and the dainty princess. Or, in a similar vein, the virgin and the whore. The hood chick and graceful elegance personified.
But when black women show up to the frontlines of a march that could very well turn violent, there are no calls to protect her innate femininity then, is there? Black women, like all women, want to be loved, and chosen. And when her natural counterpart expects her to show up in this way for him, she does so. Except, in doing so, this opens her up for the criticism of not being feminine – a favorite attack of the very same males she marches to protect!
Yeah, the males are conquered, incompetent and useless, but that is fact and commonly known. In the words of the internet, “we been knew”. We all love a good Dusty Dragging Session, but at a certain point, we must accept what it is and move on. So, let’s talk about the women in this video. Self-preservation has evaporated into the ether here. I’m sure they all jumped on the opportunity to do this, meaning, they chose the role of cannon fodder. These women allowed themselves to be used.
Black women share the blame in this.
At around the 21 second mark, you can hear the woman in front in the red shirt say “we’re the strongest women out here”.
And when you have formed a whole human shield, arms linked in solidarity, it’s hard to disagree.
That strength isn’t strength, though, it’s more a desire to be witnessed (KsC). But we buy into the Strong Black Woman and Black Girl Magic so much, that we truly believe that we are these invulnerable creatures. Meanwhile, a few males in the video are sporting bulletproof vests. You cannot make this shit up.
But then we turn around and cry when we are disrespected, hurt, or attacked for the millionth time! Because we spend so much time proclaiming how SKRONGGGG we are, that no one believes us when we are harmed. Our tears are seen as weakness. Our pain is something funny to be mocked. And even though more and more black women are moving away from these harmful beliefs, we all get painted with the same broad brush too.
If black women truly want a better community, then actions like this need to stop, sum total.
At this point, black women across social media the whole world round have made it abundantly clear that it’s time to stomp on the cape, burn it, salt the ashes, and scatter them at sea. If you are a black woman who cosigns this, all I can do is wish you luck. Because you’ll need it.
Disclaimer: This blog was written by me, Nicole, and my ideas are not necessarily reflective of Christelyn Karazin or other writers on this platform.