No one is more vilified than a black woman who calls the cops on a black man.
Society and history have made our community well aware that even the most benign encounter between black males and law enforcement can result in death. When black women, often as a last resort, call the police on black men, people within the community are appalled. This is why I’m never surprised when I hear about black women who don’t report cases of abuse or assault that are perpetrated by black men. Black women have been conditioned to protect black men, even, and almost exclusively, at their own expense. Scarier, is that we live in a culture where the hyper-masculinity attributed to the black male and the hyper-sexuality attributed to the black female work to support abusive and sexually exploitative behavior. Our community rallies around R. Kelly (a child predator) and Bill Cosby (a serial rapist) but demonizes Robin Givens (a domestic violence survivor). The double standards do not stop there, however, because, in all areas of life, black women who hold black men accountable become villains. Black women who file for child support are gold diggers and should be woman enough to support their children on their own. Black women who file police charges for domestic violence are being spiteful. And the black women who are raped? Like most women, we should’ve dressed more appropriately or not flirted as much. We should’ve stopped after two drinks or simply known better. No matter what we did to deserve this the end result is clear: no one wants to hear about it and we damn sure better not call the police and ruin a black man’s life. What about the life of the black woman though? Who speaks on the physical ruin and spiritual destitution that we are driven to yearly as we protect the black man at all costs?
The black community, in more ways than other cultures or communities, is like chess in the sense that the queen is able to move in ways no other piece can, is tasked with protecting the king, and yet is still second to him in rank. This is the life of a black woman. We are expected to be all and to be able to hold a black man down and shield him but we are still second to him. I want to offer some poignant ending or something to look forward to but honestly, I can’t. All I know is that I’m still learning how to put myself first and say I matter too. Repeating, that I matter too. Black women are notorious for faking it until we make it.