Black women are among the most marginalized groups of people on this planet.
Especially for those who live in racist and/or patriarchal societies, their voices are often silenced.
They are dehumanized by calling them angry – as a means of justifying the abuse they face.
However, Jidenna believes all of us, especially the black man can do more to protect black women.
In his recent post on Medium, Jidenna wrote an open letter to black men highlighting the need to protect black women.
Below is his open letter:
My name means “embracing the father,” yet I am terrified of becoming one. How can I bring a child into a planet where black women are not believed and never feel safe anywhere in the world? I fear bringing a daughter into a world where Black women are raped and murdered after protesting, assaulted in a hotel and forced to sign gag orders, constantly tone policed on and offline, or intellectually & financially muzzled in the office. I fear bringing a son into a world where boys are socialized to suppress feelings of vulnerability, raised to believe women innately want to be dominated, initiated into a bro code of cowardly silence, and trained to use quiet misogynist microaggressions that aim to keep women in their place in the home, at the office, or at a party. The world I want to bring a child into is one where Black men’s default response to a Black woman sharing her experience as a survivor is compassion, not disbelief.
I’m deeply troubled as I watch my peers deny the realities of women who have found the fortitude and courage to share their horrific experiences. I admire these women. I believe them. And I know their stories too well because they are the same as my friends, colleagues, lovers, sisters, mothers, aunties, neighbors. Today, it made me cry to wonder how they can still love us, how they can still protect us on the front lines, especially when we immediately interrogate their truths the way white men often do to us Black men and to Black women.
There are a lot of slogans out there that speak to these truths, but using a slogan with no action is counterproductive. “Protect Black women at all costs.” Protecting Black women doesn’t mean “owning” Black women; no part of love includes possession. “I stand with Black women.” Just saying we stand with Black women is not enough.
Are we willing to look in the mirror with a therapist? Are we willing to call out the patriarchy and misogyny within our crew? Are we willing to fire a business partner when we discover they violated a female coworker? Are we willing to call our boss out when they consistently interrupt women, dismiss women, or always ask women to take notes in meetings? Are we willing to read bell hooks? Are we willing to deescalate a domestic dispute amongst strangers on the street?
Are we willing to banish a homie who is known for creepy and predatory behavior at parties? Are we willing to vote and advocate for women’s rights? Are we willing to say “Fuck the bro code” at the same volume we say “Fuck the police”? Are we willing to be confided in by survivors when they‘re afraid no one will believe them and when they blame themselves? Are we then willing to temper our rage so that they don’t fear us being locked up for retaliating?
I‘m in constant dialogue with women and men about how to create safe spaces for Black women in my professional, platonic, and romantic relationships. This is because I’m not free of toxic residue. My evolutionary process truly began with believing women by default. Once this became my default setting, I was easily able to see how I was dismissive with a joke at a meeting, how I silently accepted the sexist recording studio culture, and how arguments with my partner started to resemble the toxic behavior I grew up watching in my father. Once I saw myself, I began to confront other men when they use daily microaggressions towards women like “calm down.” I introduced a home court advantage rule in my company where the mic automatically goes to a woman anytime she is interrupted by men. My romantic partner and I established a monthly safe space where we could express our grievances so that we didn’t feel the need to have as many heated disagreements. Although these actions may seem like minor adjustments, the daily practice of holding space makes all the difference.
This is what the “work” looks like, but this is just the beginning. It’s a long uncomfortable journey through self-reflection, shame, accountability, redemption, and rehabilitation. Inevitably, you will lose parts of yourself. You will lose bredren on this road and you’ll have to eat it as a casualty of war. This work is our duty. Black women have been doing the work of protecting us for far too long without us reciprocating. It’s our duty to create a world that is safe for Black women with Black women. END.
Y’all heard him.
Click on the comment box below and leave us your thoughts. Thank you