UNEQUAL...how the needs of the Black woman have been systematically overlooked in her own community.
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
I had some time on my hands, so I did what many of us do on just such an occasion. I decided to spend the day catching up on shows that I have missed. First on my list was the HBO movie: CONFIRMATION (The Anita Hill story). After I watched it I felt, as they say, “some kinda way” about it. But, first things first, Greg Kinnear as Biden was spot on. Jeffrey Wright was brilliant. Great performances by Wendell Pierce and Kerry Washington too!
Now for my feelings, or rather the politics of my feelings. The politics of gender, race, hindsight and time. I remember feeling this way after Straight Outta Compton...after OJ, after Cosby and now, during HBO's: Anita. Everyday, black mothers, wives and sisters face the very real history of African American men, our men, being hunted, denied, persecuted, disparaged, lynched and murdered in this country. And everyday, our desire to protect the valiant, strong, worthy and beautiful legacy of these men, our men, African American men…never wanes.
Yet still there remains us...the Black woman, the mule of America...so often burdened with the load of being two parents, when we are only one person. Told our beauty is not enough, while others are praised for surgically or chemically implementing our God given aesthetic. Cast as villains because of our strength. Accused of not being "soft" enough...woman enough, yet the BLACK WOMAN, the original woman, nursed the very forefathers of this nation and the generations that followed. Often seen as: Mammy, Maid, Mother, Madame, Minister and Manager of all. We wear the cape proudly. The "S" on our chest referencing our "Super-ness" or more accurately the "Stress" of a burden that is slowly killing us. What I am saying is this, and let me be clear...when is our independence day? The day of our reckoning? The day reciprocity is served on our plates?
I cheered when OJ was vindicated...not for him, but for Emitt Till and Medgar Evers and Geranimo Pratt. But the truth is OJ was nothing like them. OJ is a murderer. But because of history, we couldn't see it clearly. And why would we? Oppression stacked against us translated into evidence stacked against him, so Black Women got into "formation" and defended an abusive murderer who never saw "our" value anyway. Another one of our lessons learned the hard way.
Straight Outta Compton arrived at the theatres to rave reviews. Misogynistic lyrics massaged by revisionist history and one-two-three presto! Young men who sang about beating and raping Black women are now social rights activists. To be fair...they did both. But we couldn't say BOTH because justice for Black women needed to once again be silenced so the struggle could have its say. So…we got into "formation" and rejoiced over an urban story being told in a great way.
And then, the father to the fatherless (and yes I am speaking for myself)…Cliff Huxtable was the dad I never had, He and Claire, the marriage I never saw, the teacher, the redeemer, the legacy of our possibilities. Bill Cosby was all I always hoped he was and everything I never thought he could be. How do so many women who do not know each other have a similar story to tell? And again we find ourselves at that awkward place in history. I debate my sista’s who have stepped into "formation". "They are lying about him", they say. "Really?! That many women just happen to tell the same lie?" It's almost a knee jerk reaction...our defense of our men. And rightly so...the murderers of Trayvon, Michael, Sandra and Eric...walk the streets as free as birds, mocking our pain. Still, he did it. And we know he did it. He drugged and raped those women. He created a show that taught me what fatherhood and marriage looks like and he sent thousands to college. He did the exemplary and he did the unthinkable, he did.....BOTH.
Now, as I watch Anita's story revisited. The memories come flooding back. The Black woman once again the mule, be quiet...eat your pain...and let the Brotha come up. It's almost laughable. Clarence Thomas, a republican, sits next to his white wife and gives life to what will one day be Cochran's defense: The Race Card. He never addressed the charge, he just addressed history and we let him do it. We let Clarence Thomas act as if Anita Hill had no value and our only concern as a people was to support a man who in policy and in love had long ago deserted us.
Why? Is it because of them? The gatekeepers who keep us back...the yesterday and today so riddled with the scars of our marginalization that we can no longer SEE what IS. Is that the answer?! Is that the roadblock to our freedom? If so, IT MUST CHANGE. We can no longer afford this legacy. WE must look at each other as EQUALS in value and purpose. It cannot be just him...it must be US or WE will never be FREE.