Recently, Gayle King interviewed Lisa Leslie, a three-time WNBA MVP. During this interview, King asked Leslie about an ultimately dropped rape case that was against Kobe Bryant. After CBS, attempting to go viral, released a five-minute clip of the interview, a loud, hostile cry erupted from the hills of social media and people verbally assaulted King.
The rapper Snoop Dogg, dressed like a hip-hop auntie, aggressively lashed out with words full of venom in a self-captured Instagram video. He reached millions of people with this video and allowed people outside of the Black community to involve themselves in our issues.
And earlier this year, Terry Crews appeared on The Today Show, a nationally broadcasted television program, and proceeded to throw Gabrielle Union, who vehemently claimed America's Got Talent had a toxic work environment, under the bus. So now you have two cases, within a short period of each other, where Black men utilized a widely publicized platform to speak out against Black women.
When Crews told the world he was sexually assaulted by a man, Black women supported him without a second thought. But when a Black woman needed him to support her, he was nowhere to be found. Snoop Dogg called King out her name in such a distasteful way. But instead of people defending King, you had a multitude of people echoing the same disrespectful vitriol that championed Snoop Dogg's words.
These women are our kinfolk. They are our people.
Black women do so much for us — and when I say us, I mean the Black community as a whole. The majority of the time, they run the household, making sure to feed everyone and clean the house. Not to mention nurturing the kids. They stand up and fight for us.
When unarmed Black men were being slain in the streets, three Black women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, formed the activist group, Black Lives Matter. Although these women started the movement, their blue vest wearing male counterpart, DeRay Mckesson, is the most widely known.
In her 1949 essay, "An End to the Neglect of the Problems of the Negro Woman," which appeared in the magazine, Political Affairs, Black nationalist Claudia Jones wrote:
"Historically, the Negro woman has been the guardian, the protector, of the Negro family … As mother, as Negro, as worker, the Negro woman fights against the wiping out of the Negro family, against the Jim Crow ghetto existence which destroys the health, morale and very life of millions of her sisters, brothers, and children."
So why, as a group, do Black men continually disregard Black women's cries of injustice, while simultaneously calling them out their name and disrespecting them to the utmost degree? I believe it is because we, Black men, have fallen in love with the idea of the power defined by the white supremacist capitalistic patriarchal system.
America's imperialist origins lie in the ideology that whiteness is power — from the blond hair blue-eyed white Jesus, a man powerful enough to perform miracles, to 44 out of 45 U.S. Presidents being white men. Power in the United States has become synonymous with whiteness. With this being the case, Black men, in our attempt to gain any inkling of power, tend to imitate the white man and their abusive, controlling forms of power they've forced on the Black community as a collective.
To feel masculine, we attempt to dominate the only person we hold superficial status over: the Black woman. We try to control her physically with verbal threats of violence, and emotionally with an absolute disregard for their experience.
It is time for us Black men to step up and take more care of our women. Never again should a Black woman, like King, be asked to protect the legacy of a Black man, Bryant, when another Black man, Snoop Dogg, can't even muster up the dignity to approach her in a respectful way that still describes his disappointment.
Do you see the hypocrisy? We cannot ask someone to do something we are not willing to do in return. What are we teaching the next generation when they see our figureheads blatantly refuse to acknowledge the humanity of our Black women?
Black Men, let's do better.