The chants of Black power, clenched fists thrown in the air and marches and protests by those who vow to fight against White supremacy and attending meetings held by leaders to discuss plans on challenging the ”system” are some of the many aspects of Black Nationalism and Black Liberation groups. Seeing hoards of both Black men and Black women coming together, marching and protesting and trying to help fight against White patriarchal system seems like an united effort. However, beyond the surface of all of this is continued misogyny, sexism and patriarchy hence the reason why I don’t support Black Liberation movements.
As of recently, the deaths of young, Black men such as Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown in the hands of the police and law enforcement has gained national attention. Black Lives Matter movement was started to protest police brutality against Black men because of the rampant stories of young, Black men being murdered by the police. And many people especially African Americans are very sadden and upset by the deaths of young, Black men in the hands of the police. Personally, I am also upset by the deaths of these young men at the hands of the police however what irks me is that there isn’t as much outrage over Black women’s deaths in the hands of the police. There isn’t as much coverage or outrage over the hands of Black women being killed by the police such as Rekia Boyd, Aiyanna Jones, Sheneque Proctor, Miriam Carey etc. In fact, only around fifty people showed up to Rekia Boyd’s march after her murderer was acquitted of murder. Yet you have thousands of Black people marching and throwing protests over a Black man being murdered by the police. However, the coverage of Sandra Bland’s death in the jail cell did change this perception but overall, Black women’s deaths at the hands of the police don’t get as much coverage as Black men’s deaths at the hands of the police gets.
Why aren’t Black women’s deaths at the hands of the police reported as much as Black men’s deaths at the hands of the police?
Black women experience both racism and sexism along with classism and often times simultaneously. Not many people understand intersectionality and how it plays a role in Black women’s oppression in society because when people think of Black people, they think of Black men and when people think of women, they think of White women. Society operates on the phrase, all the women are White and all the Blacks are men. Hence Black women find themselves in an odd position since we don’t fit either society’s standards of womanhood or Blackness due to our being Black and woman at the same time.
Also the media doesn’t really report Black women’s deaths at the hands of the police the same way that it reports White women who go missing because Black women’s lives don’t matter to the bulk of White America. And mostly White executives and producers run the media and tell reporters what to report and what not to report. Needless to say, the livelihood of Black women dying in the hands of the police doesn’t even cross the mind of the average White American.
Worst of all, Black American collective rarely discusses Black women’s lives being cut short by the police either. One might expect Black Americans to prioritize Black women’s lives more but this simply isn’t the case. Like any other community, Black America operates on patriarchal beliefs but this is based on the importance of Black men’s lives and safety over the importance and lives of Black women. Black men being murdered by the police is always mentioned and put to the forefront on the national news and by Black Americans while cases of Black women being murdered by the police goes unheard of for years if not decades. Sandra Bland’s case is the only case where I see Black women’s murder getting some national attention and attention from Black Americans however more must be done to make sure that cases of Black female victims of police brutality be put to the forefront.
Why doesn’t Black liberation movements benefit Black women?
Black women weren’t included in Black man’s struggle for Black liberation from White patriarchal system. Even though, Black men face racism, they still benefit from male privilege being men. Black liberation was and still is for Black men while Black women and children are subjugated under Black patriarchy. Liberation for Black men from the White patriarchal system doesn’t necessarily mean liberation for Black women and children. That is why being ”pro Black” means being for Black man and for the progression and progress of Black man in a system that wishes to see them fail. However, Black women’s issues are constantly put at the backburner thus furthering the demise and livelihood of Black women ever feeling like equal individuals that should be treated with respect. Black women are expected to fight for Black men to the end while Black men can ignore the issues Black women face and get away with it. Hence why I don’t think Black liberation movements benefit Black women.
And if a Black woman ever brings up the concept of reciprocation and why one must pay more attention to the issues Black women face, she is called ”divisive”, a ”sellout”, ”bedwench” and all kinds of names. In the minds of those who are ”pro Black”, no one should question what is being promoted and pushed what is being taught by the leaders or else, they are a sellout. These words are used to silence Black women and others who question them thus promoting misogyny. And the use of the misogynistic behavior of many ”pro Black” men by trying to control Black women’s sexuality, what they wear, how they wear their hair etc isn’t any different from the permeated sexism in mainstream media today. In other words, such men aren’t any different from their oppressions; they are just like them but in Black skin.
What does this have to with Black Lives Matter movement?
Like every other Black liberation movement, this movement is centered on Black men and their issue only. The lives of young, heterosexual Black men being murdered at the hands of the police is always reported and talked about much to the detriment that Black women, Black gays and Black trans people’s murders at the hands of the police isn’t always reported or recognized. Like I said before, all the Blacks are men and society operates on that mantra. And pro Black liberation movements aren’t any different. In fact, I see it as another extension of the Civil Rights but instead of fighting for the right to have access to non Black women’s bodies(which was the reason why Civil Rights was fought), this time, it is to stop the endless police brutality and murders against Black men. However Black women’s issues continue to be put at the backburner and it doesn’t benefit Black women to have their issues constantly put to the backburner.
Most of all, I am not interested in trading in one form of patriarchy for another. Again, I am sadden by the deaths of young, Black men at the hands of the police and I am against police brutality however I will not support movements and places that doesn’t support me as a Black woman. Especially if the lives of Black women lost at the hands of the police aren’t properly addressed by either society or Black American collective. It is time for Black women to do for self.