#MeToo, Still M.I.A.
In a previous article, I wrote #MeToo? Sure if I’m White, to discuss how the #MeToo movement is not inclusive of black women and the stories we have been forced to repress for many years. It’s been almost four months since I wrote that article, and I’m sad to say that nothing has changed. When a black woman speaks out, nobody cares. Black women are still being left out of the narrative, and it’s becoming more and more evident that black women must rely on each other in these situations.
Recently, a popular podcaster, a black woman, decided to share a story about her abuser on Twitter after he published an article from Vox about the “gray” area of the #MeToo movement and rape. First of all, that’s bullshit. There is no gray area to rape and sexual assault. Moving on. In a long twitter thread that’s spanned two days, this podcaster attempts to dismiss his bullshit article by sharing her stories of manipulation, sexual abuse and coercion by this man. She doesn’t hold her tongue as she explains in detail exactly what he did, and why Vox should remove this article from their website immediately. What does he do? He attempts to contact her. He gaslights her. He uses the classic line, “I remember things differently.” He offers hollow apologies that are too little, too late and undoubtedly only come as an attempt to prevent his shit from being aired out on the streets. He’s not remorseful, and it's clear he’s just trying to put out the camp fire because it gets out of control and spreads to the entire forest. Over the next two days, other women come forward, including one woman who was strong enough to provide receipts and a screenshot of the letter that she wrote about contemplating suicide after he left her alone on a hotel bed.
As I sit at my desk at work, I’m stewing in anger. Where is the support for this sister? Where is the outcry and outrage over this man's actions? Where is the Rose Army? Or the other gang of white women who have been the champions of this movement for the past year? Does this woman’s story not matter? Is it too small for them? Where are the people calling for this man’s head? He’s not chump change. He’s a long time contributor at Vox and a professor at a major academic university in the South. Is this the kind of man that should be teaching at an institution of higher learning? One of the girls’ stories is about how he pressured and manipulated her into sex while she was a freshman and he was a graduate student. This is a pattern of behavior, not an one-time event. Am I to understand that the defense of a woman is based upon how many RTs she receives or how many people like her post on Facebook? Is that what it takes to acknowledge the pain that many of our sisters are going through?
Unfortunately, the #MeToo movement continues to suffer from the same problems that have plagued it since its inception: the basic absence of women of color, particularly black women. I don’t mean to speak for the entire black female population, but I think that we use the #MeToo hashtag because it’s easily recognized and it has become the symbol for coming out of the shadows to share your story with someone else. However, I don’t think any of us believe that it will ever be used in defense of us. When the horns sound, the war cries go up, and the Amazons descend on a particular abuser and his co-conspirators, we don’t believe it will ever be to avenge us. It won’t be in support of us or to amplify our voices and our stories. History has proven that to us time and time again. So what are we supposed to do?
The first and most important thing, we must do is protect black women at all costs. We must come to the realization that "We all We Got." Instead of the Amazons, the Black women will have to rely on the Dora Milje to support and defend them. If it is inconveniencing to white women and the mainstream media, we should expect to be the only ones to care. This is not how it should be, but this is our reality. It's not right, and maybe one day it will change, but in the meantime, we must protect and defend each other.
So I challenge every black woman reading this to support and defend her fellow sisters. We must amplify each others voices and stories. We must believe each other when one of us has the courage to come forward. We must raise the pitchforks and call for heads to roll when one of us has been hurt. We must refuse to be silenced and/or censored. The time for holding our tongues is over. We will stand our ground and refuse to apologize when we’ve made others uncomfortable. Why? Because they don’t care when we’re uncomfortable. So why should we? In the end, we must realize that we all have one common shared goal: To protect black women at all costs. Protect black women at all costs. PROTECT BLACK WOMEN AT ALL COSTS.