Being a Black woman right now is one of the hardest things in the world, mentally and physically. Having to deal with the visual, physical, verbal, emotional and psychological trauma of seeing Black people’s lives continue to be taken with little to no accountability or justice is gut wrenching. Seeing Black women be put on the back burner time and time again while they continue to be murdered without thought or care for their life is mind numbing. But it’s not just that. It’s single mothers having to be both parents to their kids, while trying to stay sane and healthy themselves. It’s single women having to deal with sexual abuse by themselves because they feel there would be no point in reporting it or worse, little to no real consequence even when they do. It’s women in abusive relationships with men that don’t call the police because they know what the outcome would be. It’s trans women, specifically, being harassed, shamed and degraded in public…yet sought after in private messages on social media.
These days, my mental health as a human has been taking a beating dealing with the continued global pandemic. As a Black woman, there is an added layer to this feeling of mental exhaustion and emotional fatigue. I’ve been feeling my blackness in such a real, visceral way lately. There is an awareness, not of the colour of my skin because I’ve always been aware of that as most Black people are; but rather I feel my Black consciousness in a way I never had before. I think I needed to go though some tough experiences in my life to truly understand the weight of what it means to be Black; what that really is and embrace and embodied that in every aspect of my being. I am very clear in my intention that while I am definitely here on this planet at this time to help humanity and all people as a whole, I know for a fact that there is a reason I incarnated as a Black woman with multiple ethnicities mixed in. With my sexual orientation constantly being revealed to me. With my choosing of my soul groups and family members. Everything was preordained for such a time as this. I am called to my community and they are my priority to assist with our collective healing and restoration.
At times, I have to remind myself of why I came here. More than anything, I came to be of service and also to experience and express joy, happiness and love above all things. In order to have those beautiful emotions and experiences, I would have to go through extreme contrast, i.e.: painful life lessons and experiences, that would help me truly appreciate these moments when they came. It would also help me to find these moments in the smallest of things, or even when things were not perfect. My painful experiences in life have taught me one major thing about people: they are never what they seem or appear to be. They are so much more. There are so many things that make us who we are and shape us into the people we become. If we were never taught how to love ourselves, then we are completely incapable of healthily and interdependently loving another person. This model would have most likely been demonstrated by our primary caregivers, whether they were our parents or other guardians. If we were never shown healthy boundaries, age appropriate discipline and how to practice self love as children, we can never be expected to demonstrate this in adulthood. This is especially true for men. I include all men: straight, gay, transgender, intersex and anyone who identifies as a man. I’d like to specifically address cisgender heterosexual men in the next part because this is truly geared primarily towards them.
I’ve been hearing a lot of Black men lately apologizing on social media to Black women and saying things like “protect Black women at all costs” and “Black women matter” etc. And while there are some really great Black male role models out there and men who truly are doing the work, I want to focus on the Black men who continue to disrespect, ridicule, jeer, demean and degrade Black women, including black trans women, but are now in this moment apologizing on social media. Firstly, the best way to show that you are truly sorry for your inappropriate or unhealthy behavior is to acknowledge it, accept responsibility for it, change it and show consistency in that change. So when you continue to tear Black women down on a daily basis to get likes on social media platforms such as Instagram or Twitter, but then you want to shed tears for Breonna Taylor being shot in her home, I must admit as a Black woman, I am perplexed. There is a severe hypocrisy in the showing of emotion by some Black men in regards to this situation. In no way am I suggesting that Black men should not show emotions. As a matter of fact, I don’t think they are provided the space to show enough emotions. But what I’m pointing to is some of the same Black men who will cheat on their partners with little to no regard for their physical well-being much less their emotional and mental well-being, the same ones who will beat their partners and children senseless and will verbally abuse them, the same ones who will gaslight and emotionally manipulate women are the same ones posting platitudes on social media. This to me is no different than the white people who posted Black squares a few months ago and then went right back to participating in a racist society and did absolutely nothing to affect real change.
Words without actions are empty. They mean nothing. I remember all the Black men (and women for that matter) who tore down Jada Pinkett Smith a few months ago after August Alsina decided to spill all the tea about their relationship. He as a Black man got to expose something that was private and was a situation that he chose to walk away from months ago, and she was the one who got dragged through the mud. I personally saw and heard interviews where she was called a pedophile, a manipulator, an abuser both mentally and physically and August Alsina was looked upon as the victim. Black men had no problem whatsoever projecting all of their ugliness, trauma's and hurts on her using every and all social media platforms and television. Jada’s sidestepping of a definition and choosing to use the word “entanglement” apparently gave all Black men who had a platform free reign to call her the worst kinds of names and say the nastiest things about her. Comedians who claimed to be “Christians” tore her character apart like she was a rag doll. August Alsina, a man who claimed to have loved her at one point, allowed people to tear her apart and the only time he said anything was to defend himself. Imperfect men who have done some of the most heinous things towards women used this opportunity to continue to perpetuate violence against women…but now they want us to believe that they care? That they are sorry? How did a verdict in a case about a person you don’t ultimately know change decades of unhealthy behavior, simply because you posted an apology? How does it erase all of the physical and verbal abuse transgender women receive ALL the time from men who choose to engage in hateful, homophobic and hypocritical behavior?
How about this Black men: How about instead of posting vague apologies to random women on social media you don’t even know, you go to your partners, the mothers of your children, your mothers, your sisters, your aunts, your grandmothers, your ex’s, etc. and apologize directly to them for any time you have hurt or disappointed them? How about you apologize to the women who you gave STDs to because you decided it was more important for you to have your pleasure than to take care of your partners health? How about you apologize to your kids for never going to therapy and taking your issues out on them? I am seeing too many Black women, some I love and care about deeply, experience deep trauma and pain at the hands of Black men. Black men who gaslight them, manipulate them, control them, abuse them verbally, physically, emotionally and financially. I fully understand that there is a personal choice to stay but sometimes, it’s not that easy to just walk away. While I in no way want to paint a picture of all Black men being abusive because under no circumstances is that true, there are enough Black men who participate in profoundly unhealthy behaviours that end up affecting everyone around them, but especially the Black women in their lives that it needs to be addressed.
Two things can be true at the same time. Systemic racism can exist where it sets up disadvantages, obstacles and roadblocks for Black people…and some Black men can also contribute to this problem themselves by taking out their angers and frustrations on their families and loved ones. The affects of slavery have been passed down for so many generations and continue to affect Black families in ways we could have never imagined. If Black men as a whole really want to apologize to Black women and make all those meme’s mean something, then it starts on the inside by holding yourself accountable. Seeking counselling and going to therapy if it’s needed (which it is for every Black person). Changing your circle of friends if needed and finding other Black men that can hold you accountable and pull you up when you need it. Any man who wants to participate in the enablement of your unhealthy behavior is not only not a true friend but is also not someone who really cares about your overall well-being. It might be time to reassess and reconsider the access you give them to your life if you’re wanting real change.
This is not directed to healthy Black men who are doing their work. This is directed to men who refuse to acknowledge their problematic behavior and continue projecting their hurts and disappointments on others. I know that Black men have it hard. As a Black women, I’m uniquely qualified to understand how hard Black men have it. While I will never understand what it’s like to be a man, I can definitely empathize with my Black men in a way no one else can. Black men need Black women, regardless of who they may choose to marry or settle down with. Black men need Black women in their lives as sisters, mothers, aunties, friends and acquaintances to help keep them grounded and rooted in their blackness. I believe that as these relationships flourish, Black men will heal the wounds that bind them in relationship to Black women. Black women also have a huge role to play in all of this, but I will address that in a separate article as it deserves more discussion than just a few sentences. For now, I’d like to solely focus on Black men. I will end this by saying I truly love all Black men. This is why correction is needed. Yeshua says the highest form of love is correction and I believe this to be true. When Black men can stop getting triggered by Black women calling out problematic behaviours when they need to be and start looking at their toxic actions and ways they may have unwittingly contributed towards the violence against Black women, we as a community will start to see real change happen and stick. Consistency is the key.