In the black community, there are some things that we just don’t like to talk about. However, despite the reasons we give for not having those uncomfortable conversations, our lack of willingness to address certain issues, ultimately, only makes them worse.
Here lately, we’ve put all of our energy into pointing out the violence against people of color (POC) at the hands of law enforcement. It has become an epidemic in this country. But with all of our attention on “fighting the power” and maintaining that, yes, “black lives matter,” we ignore the violence happening within our community at the hands of our own members. In particular, I’m talking about what many people are calling “black male fragility” as it concerns how black women are dying at the ends of black men who don’t like to hear the word, “no.”
Tiarah Poyau is the most recent young woman killed by a man too weak to accept rejection and keep it moving. Instead of letting things be and understanding that a woman’s body doesn’t belong to the world for it to do with her as it pleases, Reginald Moise took out his gun and shot Poyau at close range in the face. HE SHOT HER IN THE FACE when she told him to “Get off me.” And then after getting arrested and being questioned, Moise says that he doesn’t remember shooting her because he was too drunk. What a piss poor excuse for taking someone’s life.
The situation is an unfortunate narrative that is becoming all too familiar. There are a growing number of situations where women are dealing with unwanted gestures, advances, comments and actions that end up having detrimental outcomes.
In a world where black people are constantly on the chopping block, it seems that many POC steer clear of throwing any kind of criticism at others in the community.
I mean hell society is set up to ruin us. “Let’s cut each other some slack” is what appears to be the rationing. This notion is especially clear when the media relentlessly attacks prominent black men.
Women of color (WOC) find themselves coming to the defense even in the face of some shady ass shit. We have always been our men’s protectors and great defenders. But as the death toll and mistreatment of WOC steadily rises because some black men feel entitled to have their way with us, we have to draw a line.
There is no explaining away the kind of temper tantrum behavior that continues to lead to unnecessary loss of life.
So why? Why does an alarming amount of black men look at black women the way that they do? With disdain, disregard and disrespect. Why do they not value our lives the way we fight and value theirs?
In an attempt to understand what the hell is going on, my contemplation leads to the mainstream rap culture that constantly demeans women. It is a powerful presence that influences the actions and mindsets of many in the black community. More times than not, some rapper is calling a woman out her name, bragging about dissing her and building himself up as a boss for handling “us bitches.”
So you then have 20-something-year-old boys trying to emulate what they will never be, which in turn conditions their minds to believe that violence against women is okay. When Chris Brown, who sees women as objects for his own pleasure, is featured on every popular new song, it communicates the wrong message. It tells black men that even though you whooped your girlfriend’s ass in a rented Lamborghini seven years ago, with the right team (at the time), you can still come out on top. We don’t see the real-life repercussions of their actions and so it’s like they don’t exist.
What we do see in today’s society are bad representations of what it means to be a man. These views of manhood are skewed in the eyes of people like Moise who end up making deadly life altering decisions because a woman made him feel small.
All of this, no doubt, feeds into a culture that is aggressively hostile toward women. It’s a culture where men joke about sexual violence against each other and the opposite sex; a culture where men can’t comprehend that the lack of consent or a woman’s inability to give it constitutes a crime.
Tiara Poyau was a grad student who took some time out to have a little fun at an annual festival in Brooklyn. She had plans for a bright future. She worked hard to make sure she could look back over her time on this planet and be proud of what she did with her years. But all of that hoping, wishing and planning died the night a man was too out of it to understand that he had no right to her body.
Black women take a lot of shit. We have to be better than our white counterparts in order to experience the same benefits they partake in just for being mediocre. We have to prove that we can think like a man and operate on his level in order to play the game. So we don’t have the energy to continue standing by black men who feel like we owe them something.
No woman should ever fear saying no.