“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
—Malcolm X, 1962
I came back from a month-long social media detox to this garbage. Part of why I decided to take time away from the internet was because I felt like I was becoming too consumed by toxicity and it was exacerbating my anxiety. I wasn’t wrong.
I originally thought about a long twitter thread in response to this but decided against it. I try not to be too reactionary when I’m frustrated and calling this dude a fool in a couple different replies to the original tweet seemed sufficient. I’m also hyper-aware that the majority of my Twitter (and blog) audience is white and this is one of those things that felt better suited for an intra-community conversation. But, things needed to be said and I’ve taken it upon myself to say them, so here we are.
Because it’s not really about him, it’s about his mentality and the reality that’s created for young Black women like me. Because let’s be honest, the City Girls and Baller Alert chicken heads he’s referring to are Black women.
Black women are one of the statistically least likely demographics to partner and marry interracially, second to Asian men last I checked. Black men, on the other hand, are one of the most likely to partner and marry outside of their race. There’s a lot of reasons for this, mostly relating to desirability. Black men, as a group, are considered more socially desired than Black women. There are also a lot of reasons for this, mostly relating to racist ideas about Black men’s sexual prowess. This desirability, in general, allows them a level of romantic and/or sexual access to non-Black people that Black women don’t generally experience. The stereotype about the successful Black man with a white wife isn’t an accident or a particularly negative one depending on who you ask. But I digress. (yes, you “not all Black men” keyboard warriors, I know this doesn’t apply to every Black man, but enough of y’all either agree or don’t care enough about Black women to say something about it yourselves.)
“But Sexology Bae,” you’re probably saying, “people can’t help who they fall in love with. Are you really shaming Black men who don’t partner with Black women for their preference?”
At the risk of psychoanalyzing a whole group of people to make my point, if your preference is rooted in considering a group of people as inferior, then yeah. You’re trash and so is your mindset. The tweet above is concerned with being taken advantage of by Black women specifically, not women in general. As if non-Black women are somehow less likely to be gold diggers. Or, is it that those women deserve “the bag” even if they come across it dishonestly and Black women don’t deserve it at all?
When raging about this tweet in a reply thread on Twitter, my friend Lex touched on the concept of racial meritocracy, which is at play here. If Black women are at the bottom of the barrel as far as our racial hierarchy is concerned, then any woman above us is more deserving of the benefits they’d get from a Black man. Black women are more likely to be better educated and make more money than Black men so why are we the ones regarded as gold diggers? There’s a long legacy of racist characterizations of Black women as money hungry, most obvious the “welfare queen” of the mid/late 20th century. According to this joker and the bums who think like him, we can’t come across love for a Black man naturally, we have to be getting something out of it.
Which brings me to the point about being “trapped”. Did you know there are ways to prevent pregnancy? And maybe you shouldn’t fuck someone in the first place if you think they’re going to get pregnant on purpose just to keep you around? I don’t really desire to have kids so I always have trouble relating to this perceived mindset of women who have kids just to spite men and/or keep them in relationships
I’m sure it happens, but I think what’s more likely is people being on two separate pages about the nature of their relationship when they’ve decided to add a child to the mix. Pregnancy and childbirth, plus the stress of raising a child seem like excessive reactions to spite someone.
Less excessive? Having a child with someone because you love them and think they love you too. But I could be wrong about this, I don’t even desire a child with my partner of nearly 7 years because kids are a lot of work so I can’t even begin to imagine having one because I’m ANGRY.
But Black Patriarchy has us fooled. Black women have been the backbone of our communities and movements because we understand that racial uplift requires unity. But misogynistic leaders have warped that messaging to convince us that we must protect and stand by Black men at any cost, even if it’s to our detriment. What if we let go of this loyalty to people who did not have our best interests at heart?
Even in the responses to the tweet above, most women were calling him (rightfully) trash and challenging other Black men to call him on his behavior. But there were still a few women who agreed with him, saying that we (Black women) got ourselves into this predicament by adopting an “Independent Woman” mentality, being argumentative or aggressive, and idolizing women like the City Girls, Cardi B, or Megan the Stallion, who pride themselves on getting over on men who don’t respect them as fully realized humans in the first place. I argue that flipping the script on someone who wasn’t going to respect you (regardless of what you did) so you get something out of the interaction isn’t inherently dishonest, but of course it’s seen that way when you’re historically expected to take that kind of treatment laying down.
I’ve seen the argument that Black women have let white feminists convince us that we don’t need Black men which is why our race hasn’t made any progress. Not only is this infantilizing, it’s gaslighting Black women into thinking that our experiences with gendered abuse at the hands of Black men aren’t valid.
What if I said that we’ve been receiving messaging like the above tweet for generations and of our own volition decide that we don’t need to tolerate abuse? I know that I’ve been called a bed wench for dating outside of my race by Black men who’ve also dated interracially.
But because loyalty to your race is only one sided, there’s no derogatory equivalent for Black men. Expecting accountability or critiquing how the treatment we’ve historically received at the hands of Black men colors our interactions today does not make Black women man-haters. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about our people. It means we care enough to want to undo the trauma that plagued our foremothers.
I can only hope that one day, we’re ready to have a conversation about how loyalty to and support for Blackness should not be contingent upon an infallible loyalty to men who will cast us aside for more worthy options.