Once upon a time, everyone thought that black men belonged to black women, and black women belonged to black men. The idea of “black love” was the black girl’s very on Cinderella story. It was a house built on hope and shared cultural experiences. Little did the world know, that underneath the plaster of unity lay cracks and chasms, canyons and valleys of dysfunction that no one talked about, because black folks like to keep their excreta hidden from the prying eyes of outsiders. As a result, people suffered. Black women stayed silent about colorism, being used as cum dumpsters, and generally being disrespected. Their complaints were minimized, and gas lighting was a preferred denial technique.
But more and more, black girls and women are questioning their ill treatment by those who look like them, and whom they were taught were supposed to love, protect and cherish them. The critical assessment is happening on blogs, forums and through art. One such expression happened when two young black women blew an audience away with their personal truths, and people all over the internet are stunned into awe and silence.
Quotes from this compelling poem touch on what we’ve been discussing here for years.
“Black women need to know their place.”
“I grew up learning how to protect men who hate me.”
“They want me to be everything I’m not.”
“Being a black woman means to be the first and last person to love yourself.”
“Black ain’t beautiful unless it’s mixed”
You can hear all the hurt and pain ringing out through these two vessels. And while this poem has moved people, and softened hard hearts and inspired a flicker of self-reflection, there are many black men in comment sections of where this poem was posted in so much denial; attempting to gaslight, minimize, and blame the big, pale bogey man called White Supremacy on why the feel and do what they do.
But I’m so glad women who were previously silenced are now being able to speak their pain, even when folks “in the family” want this ish kept quiet so they can continue the abuse unquestioned and unabated.
The right questions are being asked, but I think black women need to go further. Instead of merely speaking into existence their pain while standing passively for the dysfunctional black male gaze to refocus, they need to throw up deuces and move the eff on. We were not put on this earth to be punching bags for abusive, ungrateful men. It’s time to stop giving out the “black pass” and scrutinize how the people in your life may be draining you of your emotional, financial and spiritual resources.
I’m also hoping that the men who participate in handing out this pain will be shamed into silence. But that another wish for another day.
But the time is approaching when a black girl or woman voices her pain without being told to STFU and labeled a bitter and angry.