The Disrespect of the Black Woman Has to Stop
I am currently reeling from the aftermath of the US Open's penalty controversy. I did not want to watch any clips of Serena being upset or Naomi crying. I did not want to know why two indomitably powerful Black women were being pitted against each other in terms of their behavior, and not their undeniable talent. I did not want to hear or read another piece of commentary from White Society and the Council of Respectable Negroes about the policing, Othering, and further dehumanization of Black women, namely the most incredible athlete to ever live. I am so angry and I most definitely have the right to be, but I seriously just wanted to be a Black woman in peace.
But, no. Misogynoir would not allow it. Racism and sexism against Black women never allow for a moment of peace, rest, and relaxation. It is draining. It is drowning. It is depleting my energy every single day; knowing that I...we...have to defend our very existence, dignity, and integrity to both men and White women, alike, in order to simply survive in peace. The nerve of this White Supremacist, Patriarchal society to remain tireless in its subjugation and destruction of my womanhood and that of my Black sisters. I am sick of it. I've been sick of it. This defilement of Black women's bodies, respect, and honor is cancerous. It is literally killing my people. Black mothers die because of misogynoir in medicine. Serena and Beyonce spoke of their life-threatening experiences during labor this year alone. SERENA AND BEYONCE. Two of the most famous and legendary Black women of the last hundred years spoke up about being dismissed and ignored. Can you imagine the countless non-famous Black women have died from similar complications without their story being heard?
I am tired of being a Black woman in this society. American and global. I am tired of finding reasons that further alienate me from a world that doesn't want my kind to thrive, let alone survive...but also has no problem using us as objects and tools for their own advancement. I am genuinely tired of the flagrant disregard and disdain of Black women in the news and in the media. Serena Williams did not deserve anything that she experienced this past weekend. Naomi Osaka did not deserve to be an emotional casualty to the ridiculous double-standard that is embedded in the persistent acts of misogynoir against Serena. So, I say:
Dear White People,
The next time you (or any other White person around you) have the nerve to contest the validity and exclusive nature of the following statements:
Black Girl Magic, Black Girls Rock, Black Women are Powerful/Beautiful, Black Lives Matter
I want you to refer back to that heinously racist cartoon drawn and promoted against Serena Williams by Mark Knight and the Herald Sun. Then compound that with Tennis as an entire sport banning her Nike-sponsored catsuit. I want you to see and know that this never stops for her. For us. I want you to know that your people's attack on us is unrelenting. Your people have been propagating and perpetuating these demeaning tropes against Black Women since before Sarah Baartman. You call us monkeys and monsters and maids, yet your group has not evolved out of the vile mound of global deterioration created by your ancestors’ cold and senseless bloodshed. THIS is why. These are BUT A FEW of the reasons why. Do you not get tired? Do you not grow weary of doing evil, as well?
White people, hold yourselves accountable. Respect the Black Woman. You do not get to Other us because we are "getting in your way" or because our existence does not benefit you, and then complain when we make room for ourselves and outdo you in your own arenas. Because we know you do "get it"; you just don't care. We know. Black women have always known this, even before you separated and starved mother from child to nourish your newborns.
White people, I am staring at you. I am looking into your insidiously evil souls and standing my moral, ethical, and social justice ground. You no longer get to cry wolf when you are called out for your racist and sexists affronts against us. You no longer get to defend yourself with weak and empty apologies. You no longer get to sit with us in an effort to "learn more" but never do better. You no longer get a chance at mercy or understanding or respect or grace. Black women deserve better. We will get better treatment. We will not coddle our abusers nor lick their wounds from the backlash of our oppression.
So, from now on, you only get these hands, literally and figuratively speaking. Consider this a Black alert.