I got a request from reynagirl14 to write about why people, men in particular, refuse to feel for victims of violence against black women. She observes that the media doesn’t “pay attention and whenever they do pay attention, the media place racist stereotypical labels on the Black victims, and the police tend to look the other way when it comes to serial murders of Black women.”
As a black person, I understand that much of society refuses to see black folks as victims or feel sorry for them in any way. However, as a black man, I can never fully understand how it feels to be treated unfairly as a female. Therefore, I feel I have NO RIGHT to tell black women how to feel, what to think or what to say in regards to poisonous misogynoir. Yet, it doesn’t and shouldn’t excuse me from learning, and would require – among other things – an honest examination at my own sexism. This doesn’t cancel out that racism is still a major problem for us, but it does bring out the reality that black women face a kind of oppression that black men don’t experience and participate in.
I’ll do my best to explain it, and any I take full responsibility for any mistake I make or anything important that’s left out.
As a black person, you don’t have to be a victim of a crime to be looked down upon. Black skin has always been associated with inferiority ever since European colonization and the slave trade. Male chauvinism has been around even longer. The two would eventually create a hideous offspring that would render black female bodies as tools for white male use.
For white men back in the day, and in some cases today, the black female was seen as hypersexual like black males. In their minds, black women are in constant lust for sex. It’s the cruel mentality that influenced some white men to rape black women without remorse and without any form of punishment. Conversely, white society saw white women as their “precious commodity”, a humanized form of beauty and purity that must be protected…from black men, even though white men have raped white women themselves and continues to do so to this day. The double standard is forced to protect the myth of white supremacy by enforcing the myth of the black male rapist while rendering white women as property. But on the other hand, they don’t think that black women can be raped as they’re not seen in the same regard or as fully-functioning human beings.
Along with the hypersexual image came the angry black woman stereotype, a notion that black women are perpetually angry. Another stereotype, that wasn’t confined to black women as it is today, is the gold digger stereotype and its close relative, the thug lover. I consider the last two to be in the same bracket as the myth is that black women want men with wealth or they want a man with some gangsta in him. In other words, they’re always chasing the superficial kind of male, or so the assumption goes.
Society, men especially, have adopted these false and one-dimensional images, and some within the black community have adopted them wholesale. It is upsetting to hear the attitudes some black men have against black women. They consider them loud, bitter, promiscuous, materialistic and want only thugs. It’s especially troubling to hear some black women say similar things. Though one can theorize that these negative sentiments come from some inner pain, they’re still hints of internalized racism due to society’s anti-black atmosphere.
These stereotypes are based on ignorance, hate and fear and do nothing but remove empathy for black women and see them as problematic with no explanation. Yet, they are powerful enough to influence public opinion on them in every aspect of their lives from politics to relationships and all things in-between. And although they’re losing power, they still present significant and even vital problems as black women are still being treated unfairly. It is the lack of concern that allowed powerful men like a certain R & B singer to leave a path of pedophilia and domestic violence against black girls and black women while flourishing from his music for years, for an armed white supremacist to walk into a black church and callously shoot and murder nine black churchgoers, most of whom are women and for an Oklahoma police officer to rape 13 black women without getting caught.
Somewhere during these and other tragic events, people have said that in some way, “The victims deserved it. Their parents should’ve known better. Those girls knew what they were doing. They’re just after his money” Any morally bankrupt response to the depraved treatment of black women is mentioned proving that black women are still the most undervalued group in a racist and sexist society. Thankfully, not all men devalue black women. But misogynoir continues to put black women in its cross hairs continue to cause damage to the black community and beyond.