The continuous wave of sexual harassment and rape allegations against powerful men is still strong.
I sincerely hope that these massive call outs will be the alarm that will wake society up and make preparations to make the world a little safer for women. However, with some of these men, the irritating poison of hero worship will kill any hint of believably among many people. It has with me to an extent.
A few of the men accused has been in the public eye. As such, we see and hear mostly great things about them and their work and talents. But when the press uncovers the skeletons in their thousand dollar closets, they are revealed as less than the gods and saints many of us has made them out to be. In the most extreme cases, they’re far from them entirely.
Yes, we admire their work, but in recent months alone, it turns out the men behind the work are not so admirable. Unfortunately, they are part of the negative side of the human experience, a side we struggle to fight against, and we do our best to try to avoid that truth.
We think that there are “plots” against them by gold-digging women. We think there are more “important” issues to worry about. We assume that the news allegations or reports aren’t true. We do what we can to make sure our idols don’t topple from the pedestals we placed them on.
The continuous stream of news reports that are still going have exposed mostly rich and powerful white men, but it shouldn’t be too surprising that a few have been black men. After all, sexism and misogyny exist in male dominated spaces. Yet, with race in the equation, the risk of reviving dormant racist stereotypes is always taken into account.
History has shown that white men have crafted this dangerous lie that black males are naturally sexually violent, especially towards white women. It was the justification they used to enslave them. When a white woman was raped or cried rape, black men are always hunted down and lynched even if and when they were innocent.
This “fear” was able to carry on into the new millennium. Already, a small handful of prominent black men have been accused of sexual harassment and rape by multiple women, some of them white. Still, an overwhelming majority of the accused are white male movers and shakers. And yet, the fear of the black male rapist will likely overpower the white racist imagination.
Let’s not leave out the truth that black women are also victims in this plague of sexual abuse, and let’s not wimp out and avoid that many of the ones responsible, in our communities, are black men. It’s not dividing our people. It’s not a distraction. And it’s not a case of tricks bringing black men down. Not all black men are innocent and are worthy of protection.
We can’t think that every black man arrested for rape or domestic violence against black women were somehow justified or railroaded. We try to change the image society slapped on us and have to convince that same society that not all of us are brutes for survival while we deal with the actual issues within our communities trying to avoid stereotype confirmation from spilling out in the public eye. But there are always leaks.
In one way, it’s seen as a dark time for those in the media, corporations and politics. One by one powerful men are dropping like flies, because they chose to drop their pants. On the other hand, this is a breath of fresh air for women (and men). They no longer want to keep silent and stay in fear. This just may be the opening of the floodgates to finally change the world for the better for victims of sexual abuse.
Maybe it will also change for victims of racism too. One can only hope.