With all that is going on in the world right now, I am left with one sentiment that I find myself repeating several times a day – men are something else. If it’s not the man who holds the highest office in the land causing my head to shake from side to side in utter disbelief, dismay, and disappointment, it’s other men in powerful positions that make me question a lot of things in life.
Far too often, and as we have seen lately with stories like the Harvey Weinstein scandal (that’s not going away anytime soon), these men in influence victimize women in ways that clearly communicate not only what they think of us but also what they believed they are entitled to because they are of the male species. The trending theme in America at present is that men are trash and women are the receptacles that have to take whatever is thrown at us; no questions asked. But that notion found in story after story involving the mistreatment, on all levels, that women receive at the hands of powerful men is the perpetual narrative that we are objects to be used, abused and discarded at their pleasure and preference. And there is probably no demographic of the female population more disrespected and thrown away than black women.
This subject has really come up for me here lately as a result of Harvey Weinstein. I am floored at the way he has gotten away with countless instances of sexual misconduct over the last three decades. To hear his victims recount their experiences with him and to see in videos how he interacts with women makes me sick to my stomach. The New Yorker article heard round the world opened up a Pandora’s box that has led to the ousting of Hollywood men who have used their positions to fulfill their sexual proclivities through young actresses pursuing their dreams. And yet, even though we know that Weinstein is a piece of garbage, and although he himself knows he has a problem, somehow, someway he is still allowed to deny certain aspects of his behavior without much backlash. I am primarily speaking about the way he called Lupita Nyong’o’s account of her interaction with him a misrepresentation of what actually happened.
It burns me up the way men are so quick to try and discredit the experiences of black women when it paints them in a bad light. Women, in general, have a raw deal when it comes to dealing with high power men, but black women, in particular, have a harder time. That’s because in a man’s view, especially for those white men who are good for nothing to begin with, we are disposable liars whom no one will believe. I know that they try to save their asses anytime they are in trouble, but their approach to dealing with their sins when the shit hits the fan when a black woman is involved, often times, is vile, dehumanizing, and insulting.
This is something that we see played out time and time again in the media. Recently, the White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, gave a great example of the way some white men’s superiority complexes enables them to speak any ole way about black women. The comments he made concerning Representative Frederica Wilson, in an attempt to take the heat off of his boss, were extremely demeaning. If you aren’t familiar with the situation, after #45 turned what should have been an empathetic and sincere phone call to the late Staff Sgt. La David Johnson’s widow into a fiasco, AND after his comments to her became public thanks to Wilson; Kelly tried to do damage control. Wilson was in the car with Mrs. Johnson and heard her whole conversation with Trump, which prompted her to call him out about his statements to the grieving woman. Instead of saying that Trump could have chosen a better way to express his sentiment, Kelly turned the tables to point fingers at Wilson. Here is a snippet of the bold and disrespectful claims he made about Rep Wilson:
“And a congresswoman stood up, and in a long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there in all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building…We were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.”
Kelly said some other things as a means to hurt Wilson’s credibility, but in doing so, countless outlets have found that he got just about every point he was trying to make wrong. However, he has yet to apologize, and in fact, the White House has said that he has nothing to apologize for. Kelly even went so far on Tuesday to that we will “absolutely not” ever apologize to Rep. Frederica Wilson, and he stands firmly by his comments. He said this shortly after another controversy came up when he mentioned that a compromise could have kept the country out of the Civil War leaving many to wonder and ask how would he compromise when it came to slavery. That’s what the Civil War was all about, and this only puts another tarnish on the 4-star General who is just another blemished figure in the Donald Trump White House.
This kind of flagrant attack on black women’s character in America has become a go-to for white men that find themselves in the hot seat. Black women have always been the butt of jokes, the ones that aren’t ever good enough and the group that’s most disposable. Even in the midst of achieving great heights according to societal standards, in the eyes of the men who run the world, we are problems that need to be dealt with by any means necessary. Nonetheless, in reality, we are a backbone of just about every movement and not even the constant denial of our importance in American society, history and culture can curtail the progress we continue to make.
Women of the world carry a heavy burden, and black women remain the segment of that group feeling the hottest burns of the patriarchy.