Is Feminism Destroying the Black Community?

Misogyny is so ingrained in our minds, that we think any challenge to it is detrimental to our way of life. That is the complete opposite. Feminism isn’t destroying our community. Our upholding of patriarchy is. Racism and misogyny is destroying our community. Mass incarceration is destroying our community. Lack of funding in our neighborhood is destroying our community. Assault and abuse is destroying our community.

This idea that the black community should only focus on racism, not misogyny or homophobia, is not helping us move forward. If we want to liberate the black community, then we have to listen to everyone’s grievances. All of our issues matter, not just straight cis black men. The gaslighting and silencing of Black women has to stop. Our experiences with Misogynoir are valid. We’re not trying to “tear black men down,” because we expect better from them. We also need to put an end to the homophobia and transphobia running through our community. Why are we shunning our own people based on their sexualities and gender expression? We are encouraging discrimination in our own community. How is this acceptable?

Please, kill the idea that mainstream media has an agenda to, “turn black men gay,” and “make black men feminine.” I don’t know if people realize this, but gay black men have always existed. Gay black men have even been apart of fighting for us to have equal rights in this country.  Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin are two examples. When you complain about black men being “feminine,” that is toxic masculinity. Teaching black men that there’s a certain ways to be “real” man, like holding emotions in and being overly aggressive, is not good. You are also helping enforce the stereotype that black men are “aggressive” and “wild”. That stereotype is dangerous. It has been used as a way to justify innocent black men being murdered by police officers.

Black women are also not door mats for Black Liberation. Stop teaching Black women that in order to help our community, we have be silent when we are hurting. Instead of shaming Black women for speaking out against their rapists and abusers, shame the rapists and abusers. Black people are not obligated to protect predators because they are black. Black victims are the ones should be protected. You make us feel unloved in our own community and we have done nothing wrong. The fact that it is common to have known child molesters and rapists in our families, should disturb you. The fact that it’s common for us to put the responsibility on little black girls to “cover up in the house,” and “stop being fast,” should disturb you. Protect black victims. Protect little black girls. Protect little black boys too.

The disrespect black women receive in this community while simultaneously being expected to do all the labor is exhausting. Respectability politics are enforced on black women. Single black mothers are constantly being disrespected. Why are women being disrespected for raising their children, instead of the men who do not take care of them? We pick and choose which black woman is worthy of praise. Black woman who is sexually liberated? Not worthy of respect. Black woman who wears weave? Not worthy of respect. Black woman who is “unattractive.” Not worthy of respect. Do not say you love and appreciate black women, when you pick and choose which ones to show love to and appreciate. It is disheartening seeing black women internalize these misogynistic beliefs, as well. Supporting those views does nothing to help us.

The Black community is also selective when it comes to which Black life matters and which one doesn’t. There is little outrage for the high rate of Black trans women being murdered in the U.S. According to The New York Times, 25 to 28 trans people were killed last year. The majority of the them were trans women of color. Their life expectancy is 35 years old. The only ones who speak about Black female victims of police brutality are other black women. Koryn Gaines and Sandra Bland deserved better than the black men who were justifying their deaths. Black sexual assault and domestic violence victims do not receive the support they deserve, not even from our own community. According to a study done by CDC, Black women had the highest homicide rates from 2003-2014. It was said that more than half of the women killed were murdered by a current or former partner. We show a huge amount of support for black male victims of violence until we find out that the black man is gay. Anthony Wall and Gemmel Moore deserved more attention than they received from us.

Feminism is not destroying the black community. The toxic views that we continue to pass down from generation to generation is destroying it. If we really want to liberate the Black community, we should start by dismantling the sexist and homophobic beliefs that we uphold. If we say that Black lives matter then we need to act like it.

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Do black women only like thugs?

I’ve been hearing this stereotype that black women prefer thugs for years. Donald Glover has been a big topic of discussion this week. Topics ranging from his music, comments about his racial preferences, and his current partner. I’ve seen many responses about black women not having a preference for “nerdy” black men. Donald has even mentioned this in one of his older songs. This has brought the question back up. Do black women only like thugs? Let’s talk about it.

Ok, I often hear black men who date interracially use black women not liking “nice” men as one of their reasons for dating outside of their race. I think that’s an ignorant statement to make. Not all black women are the same. It’s wrong to be generalized, especially by people of your own race. It also reeks of male entitlement. You didn’t get the women you wanted because you’re such a “nice” and “intelligent” guy, huh? Well, guess what? Every woman you want is not going to want you. You are not entitled to their time because you’re a self-proclaimed “nice” guy. And if you think that you’re entitled to a woman, you’re not as nice as you think. You don’t necessarily know if it was because you were “nice”. Maybe she wasn’t attracted to you. Maybe it was just you in particular she didn’t like.

I just think that “black women don’t like nice or nerdy men” is a lame excuse. I was a nerdy girl in school. I got rejected by men I liked. It could’ve been because I was nerdy. It could’ve been because they didn’t find me attractive. But I don’t go around saying that “black men don’t like nice women”. I know that all black men are not the same. I also know that I am not everyone’s type and that’s fine. I don’t feel entitled to anyone. I’ve even liked “nice” guys and was disappointed to find out they weren’t really as nice as they seemed. But do I label all black men? Nope.

I notice that this stereotype of black women is also used as an excuse for some black men to bash black women. You had a hard time attracting black women you liked, so now you use it to justify being anti-black? It’s kind of similar to a racist using a bad experience that they had with black people to justify being racist. You have no other reason to bash black women, other than the fact that they are black. That shows when you go around labeling black women as “only liking thugs,” “being too loud,” or “too ghetto.” You can’t say that because all black women are not the same and you know better. You don’t even know all black women to say that. I’m pretty sure you’ve met black women who were the opposite of that. You’re just basing it off of skin color and it reflects back on your own internalized anti-blackness.

So next time you say “black women only like thugs,” check yourself. Your self hate isn’t justified because black women you wanted didn’t want you. Look in the mirror. Maybe you aren’t as “nice” as you say you are.

What “Black Panther” Means to Me

 

Black Panther has now passed the $1 billion mark globally. It is one of the highest grossest films of all time. I saw this movie a few weeks ago with my family and we all loved it. I honestly felt like tearing up. The movie was great, but the representation was even better. It meant a lot to me.


When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being an actress. As I got older, I outgrew that dream because I considered it impossible. Not only is it hard for aspiring actors, it’s hard pursuing that career as a black woman. I didn’t see many people who looked like me on television or in movies. It honestly broke my heart as a child. Seeing this blockbuster film with a majorly black cast touched me. It gave me hope now as a black creative. I know that there’s a little black girl out there who watched “Black Panther” with dreams of being in movies.


It took me years to be fully comfortable with my natural hair and dark skinned tone. That was something else I didn’t see much of on television or movies. Even with many black tv shows and movies now, I still don’t see a lot of dark skinned women. Seeing “Black Panther” where a majority of the actors were dark skinned made me so happy. I felt so much joy seeing Lupita’s Bantu knots and Letitia’s braids. The other hairstyles shown in the movie were beautiful as well. I know there are little black girls out there right now who are struggling with loving their hair and their skin tone because I had that struggle too. I hope that seeing “Black Panther” helps them love their skin tones and hair more.


“Black Panther” portrayed black people in a positive light instead of one-dimensional stereotypes. There were black scientists, kings, queens, and warriors. The film also included various African customs and fashions. We don’t learn much about African cultures in America and they are often portrayed in a negative light. It is important for black children to see positive representation. Teach them that they can be more than the negative stereotypes used to describe us.


The cultural references were also important. There was a huge focus on the oppression black people have and still continue to face globally. King T’Challa realizes that he cannot take back what black peoples have suffered through over the years, but he does his part to help. He invests in a science program with his sister, Shuri, to help black kids in Oakland, California. T’Challa buying the old apartment building, where Erik once lived at, is a reference to gentrification. He explains that the building was going to be torn down, meaning that the low-income residents would have been displaced.


Some people don’t understand why this movie was so important to us and that’s fine. Everyone does not have the same struggles in life. All I know is that I’m proud that this movie is breaking records because it is well deserved. Thank you to everyone who worked on “Black Panther”. It was an amazing movie. The movie meant a lot to me as a black woman. I hope it has that same affect on the black kids who see it. They need it the most.

Black Victims Matter



Why do I have to say that black girls matter? Why do I have to make a separate hashtag? It’s the fact that black women’s lives are disregarded even in our own community. It’s the fact that a boycott against R. Kelly and wanting to hold him accountable for the twenty years (and still going) worth of allegations against him has received backlash from other black people. It’s the fact that Kenneka Jenkins was raped and murdered but the first thing other black people did was harass her friends but not the men suspected of raping her. It’s the fact that black people made jokes and memes about her death. It’s the fact that pictures of her dead body were passed around all over social media like it was entertainment by other black people. 


Black girls are sexualized from a young age. We call little girls “fast” for their bodies developing as if they have any control over it. I remember my first time being stared down by grown men was around the age of ten or eleven. I didn’t ask for that. We call little girls “grown” for receiving attention from grown men while never confronting those grown men about it. I knew girls in school who had relationships with adults, no one batted an eye. My mother grew up with girls who had relationships with adults, no one batted an eye. There were boys in our school who were sexually assaulting and harassing girls. Explicit videos and pictures of girls were often distributed. Nothing was done about it. We figured it had to be the girl’s fault. She probably deserved it. And when things like that happened to me, I got the same response.


Another example, Chris Brown. Chris has abused Rihanna and he has been accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend, Karreuche. She even has a restraining order against him. But, he’s still making music and he’s still touring. Black people defend him. I’ve heard, “oh well, Rihanna hit him first.”. “Well that was back in 2009.”, ignoring the fact that he was accused of abusing Karreuche. The rapper, XX (I don’t care about him enough to type out his whole name) was accused of beating up his girlfriend. Everyone’s defense is that she lied on him and some other people did it, but who really knows? All I know is people were quick to make memes about her being beat up, the same way people made jokes about Rihanna. Because it’s a big joke to people for some reason.


We’ve conditioned ourselves to coddle and protect black men even when they hurt black women. We know that racism is a real issue that affects many of them, but misogyny is an issue that affects many black women. Misogyny is dangerous and it has hurt black women. It’s time to start calling it out. 

Offset and homophobia in the black community

Recently, YFN Lucci and Offset released a song called, “Boss Life”. The song featured a line from Offset where he says, “I cannot vibe with queers”. This sparked a debate about homophobia in the black community. I’d like to share my opinion on this topic. Some people may view it as the least of our problems in the black community. But I see it as a big problem. I’m apart of the LGBT community and I know black people who apart of the LGBT community. This is an important issue to me.

Black people are a marginalized group. What sense does it make for a marginalized group to discriminate against another marginalized group? Especially when those groups can intertwine. Black LGBT people are apart of the black community. We cannot preach about pro-blackness and liberation while discriminating against each other. That is not liberation, that is another form of oppression. Can you imagine how that feels? Being discriminated against because of your race and sexuality? Feeling isolated from your own people?

I’m tired of black people justifying homophobia. We can’t understand why someone hates us because of our skin color, but it’s acceptable to hate someone because of their sexuality? When it comes to sexuality, we can turn into the same bigots we complain about. Some black people use Christianity as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people. But Christianity was the same religion that was used to justify enslaving black people. Hypermasculinity also plays apart in the homophobia. Some view being gay as being “unmanly”. Some will go to the extreme to denounce anything that’s deemed “feminine” to prove their masculinity. It’s dangerous. People have lost their lives because of it.

Homophobia has become so embedded in our culture that some of us can’t understand why it’s an issue. It’s been normalized in our community for years. This is why rappers feel comfortable enough to include it in their music. This is why there is a lack of outrage when a black LGBT individual is murdered. They are treated like outsiders in our community. We shout “Black Lives Matter” but do we mean all black lives or just straight cis ones? We definitely need to do better when it comes to supporting eachother. Our community will never be strong if we’re constantly dividing eachother and discriminating eachother. No, homophobia is not exclusive to the black community. I’d appreciate it if other groups would call out homophobic behavior in their own communities, while black people focus on theirs.

Relationships and Validation 


If you’re on social media as much as I am, you’ll notice that a lot of things revolve around love and relationships. Pictures on Instagram of couples with captions that read: Relationship goals, tweets about craving love and doubts about finding it, and statuses on Facebook about finding the right one. What is this obsession with relationships? Why is this seen as one of the most important things for a young person? We’re supposed to be finding ourselves but instead we’re more worried about finding a significant other! Why is that?
I’ve been boy crazy since I was a little girl. My mother told me I couldn’t have a boyfriend until I was around sixteen, but that didn’t stop me from wishing. I started suffering with low self esteem around sixth grade. I would constantly seek validation from other people. I fantasized about having a boyfriend to make me feel beautiful and loved. I looked at couples from television and movies as my inspiration. I’d listen to love songs and wish that I could relate. Other girls had boyfriends in middle school. I thought if I had a boyfriend too, I’d be so happy. This caused me to desperately chase after boys who obviously had no interest me. I was delusional and would tell myself that they liked me because I needed validation from them. 


This constant need for validation from other people has caused me to be involved in toxic relationships and with people I wasn’t necessarily interested in. I enjoyed having someone there to tell me how attractive I was and how much they loved me. I depended on these relationships to make me happy. It wasn’t healthy at all. 


A few months ago, I finally realized that it was toxic for me. I broke up with someone I loved because I didn’t want to continue teaching myself that I needed a relationship to be happy. I suffered emotionally in some relationships because I didn’t want to let go. I felt safe. I realized that I needed to find that happiness and validation within myself. I do not need a boyfriend to tell me how pretty I am, I know I’m pretty. I do not need a boyfriend to tell me how smart I am, I know I’m smart. And I do not need a boyfriend to tell me he loves me, I love myself. Sure, companionship is nice. But it’s not necessary. Plus, I’m only nineteen. I’m still learning about myself and trying to become who I want to be. There’s no rush to be committed to anyone. 

My Experience with Misogynoir

Misogynoir is the combination of racism and sexism directed towards black women. This term was coined by Moya Bailey, a black queer feminist scholar.

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I didn’t learn about the term until about a year ago, but I’ve experienced it all of my life. Recently, I’ve been feeling more emotional about it. Sometimes I have to avoid social media apps like Twitter because it’s filled with misogynoir. I constantly see tweets bashing black women, even by black men. I’ve even seen other black women do it. Some of those tweets get tons of retweets and likes. They get a lot of people in their mentions agreeing with them while black women are left defending themselves. There’s a post I see often where it says “seeing a guy and wondering if he’s into black girls, even if he’s black” or something like that. That is too relatable.

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I don’t see a lot of dark skinned women getting representation in the media. Girls like Amandla Stenberg and Zendaya often get the lead roles. Darker skinned women can be cast in roles like being the sassy sidekick or the desperate single woman. Examples would be Nikki Parker from The Parkers or Pam from Martin. Black women are also portrayed as caricatures by black men like Eddie Murphy and Tyler Perry. Even black women who are regarded as sex symbols tend to be lighter skinned or biracial. Examples would be Rihanna and Beyoncé. I will admit that I am starting to see more darker skinned black women in the media now. We still have a long way to go but I am happy that progress is being made. I want little dark skinned girls to see more women that look like them on television.

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For years, I would hear rap lyrics of men stating their preferences for light skinned women or “foreign women”. I remember being in seventh grade and hearing “Right Above It” by Lil Wayne. Hearing that line, “Beautiful black woman, I bet that bitch look better red”, still bothers me to this day. Even at school, a lot of boys would state their preferences for lighter skinned girls. I’ve had a few friends say that to me also. I remember a guy telling me that I needed to stay out of the sun because I was already getting “too dark”. Imagine how many black girls grew up feeling like they were “too dark”.

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The lack of outrage that black female victims of sexual assault and violence upsets me. Sometimes they don’t even get support from other black women. The first example that comes to mind is R. Kelly. Black women go hard for that man and all of his known victims are black women. While other entertainers are getting called out for their predatory behavior and being blacklisted, R. Kelly is untouched. There is a lack of outrage for the things he’s done and I know that his victims being black plays a part in it. People even make jokes about the things he’s been accused of doing to those women. Another example would be Kenneka  Jenkins, a girl from Chicago who had been raped, murdered, and found in a freezer. Her story only received outrage from black people on social media. But there were also people who joked about her death and victim blamed her. Memes were even made about her and pictures of her dead body went viral. The investigation of Jenkins’ murder was closed a few months ago.

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Black women are constantly accused of being angry and bitter even when our anger is justified. There are numerous stereotypes about black women. We’re baby mamas, promiscuous, welfare queens, single mothers, hood rats, have no hair, aggressive, and that’s just some of them. Those aren’t just words. They affect how people view us. It affects how we view each other and ourselves. We’re also  expected to have big breasts and big butts which can cause body image issues. That body standard also had an affect on me when I was younger.

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I try to rise above misogynoir and to not let it affect me. There’s so much negativity in this world that sometimes it’s hard to avoid it. I am much stronger than I used to be. Misogynoir used to make me feel bad about myself. It still gets me upset sometimes, but I will not allow it to make me hate myself. I am not ashamed to be a black woman.