From legends like Harry Belafonte, to the next generation of Hollywood legends like Amandla Stenberg, we've watched as celebrities use their influence to raise awareness, support, and solidarity time, and time again. But we've also saw some Blacks within our community say many problematic things that threatens the agency of Black women in times of racial, and gendered tensions.
Most recently, the most hated Black woman in America, Stacey Dash made comments regarding race relations in the heels of the Oscars lack of diversity in the categories relating to films. But while I dispise what Stacey Dash, and her soul sister Raven-Symoné, has come to symbolize, I can't sit here and bash either of them until we hold EVERYONE accountable for remarks they've made against both Black Americans, and Black women.
I fight against gender inequality, while also fighting against anti-Black/anti-PoC Racism. It's not a question to me. I'm defending all of my people because, as Audre Lorde once put it, we ain't free unless we are all free. How am I liberated if, for example, a friend who identifies as a Mexican American is badgered about her immigration status?
Where was the outcry then too? Why are more people on board to attack Stacey Dash, and Raven Symone about their problematic, and dangerous opinions of Blacks, but no one is quick to defend the agency of Black girls when R. Kelly was accused of sexually assaulting them?
In fact, 9 times out of 10, the girls, and women are victim-blamed, and shamed when they accuse another of rape. The same hostility that non-Black survivors face when they come forward with their accounts is one part of what Black women have to combat as survivors, but another part of the shaming is for being a race traitor.
Black girls are written off, and blamed for their assault, as being "too fast", "too grown", and "always in men face".
Then, there are women of color who further contribute to this socialization of young girls by instilling the idea that:
1. If they are rape, it's there fault.
2. Not to speak up about rape because it's not everyones business.
3. We contribute to our own rape by enticing men (whether wearing "revealing clothing", carrying ourselves a certain way, etc.)
How many of us females have been taught, especially, to be seen and not heard? Told not to talk when adults are speaking?
All of these contribute to an internal and individual oppression, which leads to depression, anxiety, and PSTD. The shame and disgust survivors feel after such cognitive dissonance is the main reason why survivors don't speak up in the first place.
Imagine if BET shamed R. Kelly like Stacey Dash? If Griffith made lewd joke about Bill Cosby instead of being all apologist-ish about it? This is something that Black men, men of color can speak up against and show support, but choose not to. Instead, men choose to go along with this paternalistic values of women, shame and badger them instead of shaming those who sexualize, and exploit us.
Of course, no not all of us. There are men who hold other men accountable, and check them when necessary. There's men who care about sexism, and racism and can see how problematic the intersections of those two id's can lead to further oppression. But not enough I fear.