58 years later,
Malcolm X’s words are still reigning true.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 1ST 2020
“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
This statement has felt all the more pertinent this past few weeks. Watching the injustice in the Breonna Taylor indictment unfold was painful for many people, but even more so for Black women. It was a reminder that the justice system and the powers at be treat their lives as disposable. Her killers were punished for the bullets that missed her, and hit a wall. A wall was considered more valuable. It was a devastating blow after months of campaigning across the world.
We also saw another Black women be treated as if she was disposable by social media. Rapper Meg Thee Stallion was recently shot in the foot by singer, Tory Lanez during an argument. The police were involved and Meg didn’t press charges due to the current climate. She was then dragged on social media for not telling the story and memes circulated mocking the entire ordeal. She eventually spoke out, and then was labelled a “snitch”. Following this Tory Lanez released music addressing the situation, dragging Meg’s name along with other female R&B artists who had spoke out in defence of Meg, whilst simultaneously glorifying Kylie Jenner all on the same album.
He released this the day after Breonna Taylors indictment.
He chose to address this entire issue, on a day when Black women were hurt, heartbroken, disappointed and all around let down. It’s safe to say Tory Lanez really does not understand the term “read the room”.
BUT, this is no new thing. We only have to look at the case of R Kelly.
R Kelly has abused multiple young Black women and girls for years and for an extremely long time nothing ever came of it. He was covered for over and over again. And even following the six part documentary in 2018 “Surviving R Kelly” it seemingly took even more time for him to be held even a little bit accountable. Infact, when the documentary first came out, streaming of his music increased by 16%. You can’t help but question if his victims had been white women, would this have been the case?
The list of incidents like this could go on and on. And us, as white women have played a key part in the history of this also. The suffragette movement, was completely focused on advancing the rights of white women and white supremacy and white feminism is still a toxic movement today. We need to do a lot better and stand with Black women during times like these, we need to back them up when they are being discriminated against.
Furthermore, in the UK, a report by Black Ballad recently exposed the discrimInation pregnant Black women are subject to when receiving healthcare. The study showed that along with microaggressions and being given the wrong dosages, they are five times more likely to die during childbirth than White women.
It’s been the time for us all to mobilise against this. So, step back and start listening. Not getting defensive when we hear someone’s trauma but listening and understanding and making space and change.
We are living in a time when the President of the United States just told a racist hate group, “to stand back and stand by” on the international stage.
We are living in a time where a Black woman can be sleeping in her bed, in her own home and be shot multiple times at the hands of the police, for doing nothing wrong.
We are living in a time when an accomplished Black footballer gets a pundit job on Sky Sports and gets told by the public, he only got it because of the BLM movement.
So don’t stop now. Don’t stop asking questions. Don’t stop educating yourself and don’t stop doing this work. Because if Breonna Taylors indictment showed us one thing it’s that no one is going to do this work for us.
To read more about how it feels to be a Black women right now, read this brilliant article by Olatiwa Karade over on Gal-Dem