So recently I was reading a post somewhere about Terry Crews and his situation involving an elite Hollywood director/producer (not sure of his title) and how he was sexually assaulted. In an interview, Terry mentioned that he was not surprised by the support he received but more surprised by who it came from: black women and that black men had NOT been nearly as supportive as he had initially thought. ( Terry Crews Got Support From Black Women But Not Black Men )This made me reflect on a lot of experiences and feelings that I had in regards to the relationship(s) between black men and women and here’s what I came up with:
We’ve had an understanding from the beginning. We (black women) were there during slavery when I believe the emasculation of black men began. When the slave masters would take the wives of black men and rape/impregnate them and leave the husbands to ultimately deal with the lasting effects of that (humiliation, anger, etc) black men began to feel like they were less of a man for not protecting their wives. In my mind, this may have been where the “ride or die” mentality with black women for black men began even though I am sure in Africa we loved and respected each other deeply. Through this pain (slavery) a bond was created which was a result of enduring the good and bad times with each other. We understand each other like no one else because we’ve seen, experienced and felt the same things at one point in time that in some way or another relate to painful experiences we’ve been through. Tough experiences can not only build character but can also help build unbreakable bonds with the people who experienced those things with you. Slavery really created the foundation of what black love is built on: strength, understanding, empathy, and unconditional love. Although there were some negative lasting effects of slavery and how it altered the mindsets of black people, I believe to a certain extent it brought us all closer through our shared experiences.
However, somewhere along the way a disconnect took place between black women and men in which we often find ourselves loving black men (to a fault sometimes) while we are sometimes left to fend for and love on ourselves rather than receiving that love and protection from black men. For instance, in the infamous R. Kelly debacle almost (if not all) of the people in the forefront leading the fight for justice for these young black women are black women themselves. There were few black men who appeared in the documentary and those that did participated and enabled the disgusting behavior while Dream Hampton (filmmaker), Oronike Odeleye (#MuteRKelly co-founder) and a plethora of other black women spearhead the fight against the injustice. This simply says to me: Black women champion ourselves and everyone else but who does that for us. Often it seems as though we are fighting our own battles and the battles of others alone which is unbelievable considering how much we’ve already been through. How can one of the most oppressed group of people be so fearless and strong after all they’ve been through? How could we support so many other people with little to no support ourselves?
Watching the clip of Terry Crews surprised me and opened my eyes to the reality that although we share the same ancestry, pains, and often experience the same things there is still a misunderstanding of who we are as black women from black men. If I knew Terry I would ask why he was surprised at our support when we’ve been loving, supporting, protecting, and advocating for our black men since the beginning and how he thinks we could get black men on the same page. Hopefully we can continue the discussion and find ways to create a better understanding of each other so that we may grow stronger as a race.
Let me know what you think and thanks for reading!