Some things need to be exposed, spoken of, and not tolerated any longer. As well as talking from experience, I will share the problems that our black women face when it comes to treatment from the men of the world. I wonder if we are even safe as a people.
Tom Burrel, author of ‘Brainwashed’, speaks of how black men and women have had negative images attached to them during times of slavery. These images were used as propaganda, weapons, and even justification of the barbaric act of slavery. These images were also overly sexualised and have changed very little over the centuries. One being an image of black women having an insatiable sexual appetite, no emotions, happy to share their bodies for material or social gain. As there may be women all over the world who are like this, it does not mean that all my black sisters are this way.
Judging from observation and from the treatment I’ve received myself (regardless of consistently presenting myself as an upstanding, intelligent, and confident woman), we are treated as if sex is all we black women want and are happy about it. We are treated as if we don’t deserve nor require a healthy relationship, but that of abuse, exploitation and constant degradation. We are seen as promiscuous and animalised by all races of men. Think about it. When there is mention of black women, a man’s mind will surely jump to the sexual regardless of our collective intelligence and achievement as a people.
Another troubling thing that I have noticed is that we are seen as how a fox sees defenseless chickens in a barn. Vulnerable and without protection. When a man learns that there is no strong male figure in a black woman’s life, this makes him feel extra fearless and confident in his intentions of mistreatment towards her. In his mind, nothing can happen to him, there is no penalty, and who can even hurt him? For example, wouldn’t criminals feel much more safe to commit crime in a country where there is no police or some type of law enforcement rather than one where there is? This is his mentality when he finds out that there is no man to protect the woman. Not that every woman needs protecting, but in a man’s psyche, that’s what keeps him in check–the risk factor. Generally, our men do not protect their women and leave them exposed for slaughter. At first, during slavery, they had no choice. Slave masters separated black men from the black women so they couldn’t protect them even if they wanted to. They were emasculated and faced death if they tried. This sent a deadly reverberation throughout the generations that evolved into black men not knowing how to protect or defend their women. They even ended up hurting their own women. The collective black male psyche is so far damaged in terms of what is expected of being a man that they don’t realise that they are taking their cues from their oppressor and doing exactly what it is that is crushing us as a people.
I remember a quote that goes (and I paraphrase): ‘If you want to know the state of a people, look at how they treat their women’. Well, we can look at ourselves as a people and it speaks for itself. Our music videos, songs, other media, and reality TV shows say it all. We don’t see the problem and if we do, we don’t actively and collectively do anything about it. There is a powerful question that does remain: If we generally cannot rely on black men to protect black women, who can we rely on? Ourselves, perhaps? Such a big task can’t be done alone, when all factors are considered.
I used to think that a white man would treat me better, that a white man would appreciate me and respect me more. In some ways, this was true, but not necessarily an absolute. As one that is for interracial dating, to see another race as the ‘better or safer option’ might not always be the case. Even though we do hurt each other as a people, it does not mean you don’t have enemies outside your race. In terms of white men in particular, how they were brought up to see black women probably was not the most positive. Some reject such ideology, some cleave unto it, even if they exclusively date black women. It isn’t about the race, but more the person’s perception of black people and indeed themselves. A man could believe that black women are queens and should be treated as such, or he could believe that black women are promiscuous and subservient and should also be treated as such. Any type of man could have these beliefs, the colour they are does not make them exempt. Many men have a skewed misconception of themselves also, and they project this on the treatment on women because they cannot take it out on themselves. All very tragic and quite worrying.
My message to black women is to be careful with the men out there. Many are like unto wolves in sheep’s clothing, and few have good hearts. Do not ignore the signs and do not display yourselves as vulnerable. The wrong type of man will play on that to get his way. If you don’t have any strong, male figures in your life, don’t tell him straight away. Men are profilers, and they categorise women almost instantly as to how they will treat them. Just be ten steps ahead. Be careful with what you share, some use it as access points on how to manipulate and mistreat you. It’s all too common.
I am not a hater of men, I love them dearly. I have just learned over the years how destructive they can be when their world and self perception has been manipulated negatively and there is no accountability.