If you spend as much time on social media as I do, especially in Black spaces, you’ve no doubt see the “battle of the sexes” arguments day in and day out. You’ve seen Black women calling out Black men on their trash behavior and Black men blaming women and “feminist” (pluralization purposely missing) for the breakdown of the Black community. These back and forths seem to be never ending.
I admit that, as a Black woman and a feminist, I am biased in these discussions. I once upon a time tried to be a “we need to hear both sides” type of person. I also tried to address certain topics pertaining to men in a gentler manner. But no more. I say “men are trash” with no qualifiers or disclaimers. I state both facts and my opinions without sugar coating anything. I no longer coddle the feelings of men who couldn’t give less of a damn about mine.
Why? Because it’s literally a matter of life and death. Of being safe and unsafe. I’m hard on Black men in particular because they are supposed to be my brothers and I shouldn’t fear them. But news story after news story, research report after research report, my own experiences, other Black women’s experiences, and every new entry to the hashtag #YouOkSis tells me that they are my greatest threat. Not white supremacists, not terrorists, not disease. But those same men that I’ve been told I should look to for support, for safety, for love, for partnership.
Anytime a Black woman posts something critical of Black men the “not all men” and “you should pick better men” crowds awake from their slumber and attack, completely missing the point,
- Yes, all men. Because all men are socialized into a patriarchal and misogynist society. While you may not be a rapist, a woman beater, or feel you hurt women, most men still feed into a culture that says this is okay. Whether it’s not calling out their friends and associates when they make rape or abuse jokes, shaming women for expressing their sexuality while taking full advantage of it, dismissing women’s valid concerns for their well being because it doesn’t happen to you, or hopping into a post where a woman is lamenting a traumatic experience to holler “not all men.” You too contribute. You too are trash.
- Our critiques of men are not solely based on relationships we are in or have been in. We come into contact with trash men at work, walking down the street, waiting in line to order food, at bars and clubs, at the gym, online, basically everywhere we go. The statement “men are trash” goes far beyond romantic relationships.
The nitty gritty of why Black women and Black feminists seem to be going so hard on Black men is because we want you to do better by us and by yourselves. We want you to hear our cries of pain and disappointment and then look in the mirror and reflect on what you can do to be better. The “bashing” of Black men isn’t for shits and giggles. There is an end game. That end game is to be able to have healthy relationships, where women don’t have to live in fear, so we can create a strong and thriving community.
I get that a lot of men don’t like the tone or language used, but there is something they don’t understand about why the tone has become so aggressive. Black women have been trying to get you to see the error of patriarchy and misogyny for decades only to be called bed wenches, told we are what’s wrong with the Black community, threatened with rape and murder, and a slew of other unspeakable reactions. As we are only human, there is only so much we can take. The docile tones and pussy footing around the problem get’s us nowhere and we are justifiably angry. Most of us don’t hate you, but we hate what you’ve become and how you treat us.
As Black women, we too have issues to work on. Especially surrounding how we play into and uphold systems of patriarchy. But I’ll be honest, we are nowhere near as big a threat to Black men as they are to us. Those are just the facts.
I say all this today, and every day because I want better for both you and us. Instead of getting defensive, listen to your sisters. Treat this like therapy and work to unlearn a toxic mindset. Don’t be mad, be better.