Which is to say, often.
Before I get into the crux of this blog post, first let me touch on the Nate Parker shit real quick. I’ve seen blog posts by Black women blaming those evil “Black Feminists” for the tanking of his movie. To which I say; Good. Let it Bomb. And let the record show and the reason be that Black Feminists, those loud-mouthed Black women, were tired of putting aside their liberation for the sake of a noxious unity that lets trauma continually be perpetrated so that we can pretend that we are a collective.
The conversations that the Black community are having around sexual assault and rape culture only really seem to come up when some prominent Black man is accused of sexual assault and/or rape. That’s kind of fucked up, when you think about it. if over 60% of Black women experience rape/sexual assault and we not even beginning to include people of other genders in that tally, then why does sexual assault and rape culture not take center stage when we talk about “unity in the community”? Instead, when we mention the high rates of abuse within our community, we tend to receive the “who hurt you” concern-trolling rhetoric that is more of a silencing tactic than anything else.
It’s interesting, also, that there is a wide-spread belief that if a Black man is accused of sexual assault, and that Black man happens to be a pop icon or relevant in pop culture in any way, then those charges are met with the idea of “conspiracy” and “trying to keep the Black man down”. It is almost as if Black people only conceive of their power inside of the validation of white supremacy, and therefore, if a Black man has been allowed access to a certain platform within the white mainstream that to critique that man is counter-revolutionary. But the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house, and it is far more important that our leaders not be rapists than to be given Sundance awards.
The fact that some of us are more concerned with ticket sales of one man’s (inaccurate) film than the thousands of Black women, GNC folk and even men that are saying that rape is inexcusable points to an enormous issue that we still refuse to confront en masse.
It shouldn’t be radical to say Stop Rape. Some people say that we should be more forgiving and more relenting. I say that we are so forgiving. Some of us are forgiving our fathers, some of us are forgiving our brothers, some of us are forgiving our aunties, some of us are forgiving our baby daddies, some of us are forgiving our mothers and our sisters every damn day. Some of us gotta see our rapists and act with cordiality just to continue to have access to the things we need. Some of us is so busy forgiving that we forget ourselves. Some of us is forgiving so we don’t blow the damn heads off of the next thing that reminds us of the last person that assaulted us. The problem with this conversation is not the lack of forgiveness, the problem is the absence of justice from this discourse.
It is here that I will digress and note that Rosa Parks, often seen as the mother of the Civil Rights Movement, was an an anti-rape activist and that anti-rape work was at the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement, however subsumed that work has become. It is important that we pick up those conversations about rape and sexual assault in our communities from where we left them in favor of the more palatable and popular discourse of integration.
This conversation deserves to be at the top of our agendas and in the front of our revolutionary work, because dehumanization belongs nowhere in a revolutionary movement and contrary to Eldridge’s claims, there is no such thing as a revolutionary rape.
We need to do this work of healing justice inside of our community and take a long hard look at the trauma that our community perpetuates on each other. Because sometimes, homie, the cointelpro is just us handing down unexamined wounds like family heirlooms, and sometimes the conspiracy is for us not to dismantle the hierarchies of oppression inside of our own community lest we end up loving each other enough to actually call down the revolution we’ve all been waiting for.