September 29, 2014
Ray Rice, the NFL, Black Men and the Barbarity of Benevolent Patriarchy

"…Benevolent patriarchy has no solution for the violence women experience at the hands of men. Its positions are riddled with contradictions. Benevolent patriarchy’s central mission is to justify male control over the lives of women. In this way it is not an alternative to male domination, but a justification for its barbarity. As long as the Black community silently embraces rhetoric that places a premium on the bodies of Black men at the brutal expense of Black women, we will continue to be caught in this position of indefensible contradiction. Our double standard as a community stares back at us through the battered eyes of Black women who live under a doubly oppressive system of racism and sexism that will tolerate a white California highway cop beating a Black women in broad daylight and a Black professional athlete knocking his Black fiance unconscious in a public elevator…”

September 16, 2014

As aggressive acts of white racist violence intensify around us, aimed primarily but not exclusively at Black males (remember Eleanor Bumpers and Yvonne Smallwood)*, violence against Black women, both reported and unreported, intensifies within our communities. It is time to pump up the volume again around this wasteful secret and not hide from it under a cloak of false unity, not turn away from it, believe it will be solved by somebody else.

Black women will no longer accept being slaughtered like sheep on the alters of Black male frustration. On the other hand, we do not want to have to blow away Black men in our own self-defense. So Black women and men must devise ways of working together as a people to end this slaughter. We need each other too much to be destroying each other. We need each other too much, genuinely, as Black people unafraid of each other.

Each one of us can have some input into the lives of young Black boys who are part of our future. Each one of us has a voice than can be heard, and that voice must be used. Every Black person in this country is responsible in some way for teaching our sons that their manhood cannot lie within a pool of Black women’s blood.

And increasingly, there are Black male voices being raised with this lesson. In an extremely thorough and considered study of rape in Black communities, Kalamu ya Salaam noted, “[Black] women revolting and [Black] men made conscious of their responsibility to fight sexism will collectively stop rape.

We need to talk about what we do to each other, no matter what pain and anger may be mined within those conversations. This poem [Need] is as good a place as any to begin. We are too important to each other to waster ourselves in silence.
Audre Lorde,
St. Croix,
August 31, 1989


Excerpt from: Preface To A New Edition of Need: A Chorale For Black Woman Voices by Audre Lorde

I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings by Audre Lorde, edited by Rudolph P. Byrd, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, and Beverly Guy-Sheftall (Oxford University Press, 2009)


1).Eleanor Bumbpurs, sixty-seven-years-old Black grandmother, [was] murdered in 1984 in her own apartment by New York City housing policemen with a shotgun, during eviction for being one month behind in her rent in public housing. Yvonne Smallwood [was] beaten to death by New York City policemen on a Manhattan street corner over a traffic ticket given to her boyfriend.

2). Kalamu ya Salaam, “Rape: A Radical Analysis from an African-American Perspective, “in Our Women Keep Our Skies from Falling (Nkombo, 1980), 25-41.

September 16, 2014

As Black people, we cannot begin our dialogue by denying the oppressive nature of male privilege. And if Black males choose to assume that privilege, for whatever reason, raping, brutalizing, and killing women, then we cannot ignore Black male oppression. One oppression does not justify another.

As a people, we should most certainly work together to end our common oppression, and toward a future which is viable for us all. In that context, it is shortsighted to believe that Black men alone are to blame for the above situations, in a society dominated by white male privilege. But the Black male-consciousness must be raised so that he realizes that sexism and woman-hating are critically dysfunctional to his liberation as a Black man because they arise out of the same constellation that engenders racism and homophobia., a constellation of intolerance for difference. Until this is done, he will view sexism and the destruction of Black women only as tangential to the cause of Black liberation rather than as central to that struggle, and as long as this occurs, we will never be able to embark upon that dialogue between Black women and Black men that is so essential to our survival as a people. And this continued blindness between us can only serve the oppressive system within which we live. ~ Audre Lorde, 1979


My Words Will Be There (originally written in 1979)

I Am Your Sister: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde, edited by Rudolph P. Byrd, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, and Beverly Guy-Sheftall (Oxford Press, 2009)

September 10, 2014

Black men. Fellas. Brothers.

I need you to stop complaining about Ray Rice’s (much deserved and yet woefully insufficient punishment) RIGHT NOW.

When we - Black men are beaten, slain, left in the street and otherwise persecuted our sisters, our mothers, our women stand for us with nearly unilateral unwavering support. They march for us. They cry out our names and demand justice. They support us in our moments of quiet fear when we shed the bitter shameful tears of self-doubt and fatigue. If you cannot find it within you to get over your idol worship and stand up for our sisters when they are being abused and mistreated then you need to spend some serious time in reflection.

STOP looking for reasons to diminish Ray Rice’s actions.

'Well…it couldn't have been that bad. She married him.'
It doesn’t matter.

'She should know he's a big man and if provoked he's gonna hit back.'
It doesn’t matter.

'She charged at him.'
It doesn’t matter.

'She hit him first.'
It doesn’t matter.

'He's trained to hit. He can't stop it. It's a reflex.'
Are you f*cking kidding me. That’s absurd and even if it were true, IT DOESN’T MATTER.

When you say these kinds of things – when you look for ways to go easy on Ray Rice when you claim he’s ‘already been punished’ you do two things – first you tell black women “Your lives and your sense of safety have less value to me than the recreational sports entertainment I watch ritually.” You tell the women who stand for you- cry for you- demand justice for you ––”thanks for all that but don’t mess with my game” You deny them any hope of feeling safe with you. You reinforce the perception that they are ALONE in their struggle. Which in turn signals to those who would further victimize them (you know- general society that places Black women at the very bottom of valued humans) that they are free to move at will.

The second thing you do is – and this is irony – you borrow from the script of people like supporters of Darren Wilson. Let’s compare notes…

"He shouldn’t have been in the street"
It doesn’t matter

"He should have listened to the cop"
It doesn’t matter

"They say he stole so he was in the mindset to resist arrest"
It doesn’t matter

"Cops are trained to shoot to kill. He couldn’t help it it was reflex.."
Are you seeing the terrifying parallel? IT DOESN’T MATTER.

Brothers. Recognize wrong and stand up for what’s right. Whatever happened between them and whatever they did to patch things up is irrelevant to the fact that no man has business hitting (let alone knocking out) any woman over a spat. He should regard the use of his body against her as lethal force and exercise restraint above all else.

Also stop sipping your damn tea.


When one of our sisters is hurt, abused or in peril it’s OUR business. Because when somebody has us jammed against a car with 5 or 6 weapons drawn at us they sure as hell make it their business to monitor record and speak out. They throw themselves in peril to see us safe –– and you can’t manage as much as a a supportive facebook post?!

GTFOH. I mean it. we don’t need that sh*t in our community.


Julian Long

(H/T Karen Parker)

(Source: sonofbaldwin)

September 9, 2014
The Color of Violence Against Women

In 2006, I wrote “The War Against Black Women and The Making of NO!" which was published in Color Violence: The INCITE! Anthology. While the essay specifically focuses on intra-racial rape and other forms of sexual violence perpetuated against Black women in Black communities, there are many similarities to domestic violence. It is deeply disturbing that so many Black people are justifiably outraged about the relentless forms of white supremacist violence perpetuated against Black men. And yet, when it comes to male supremacist violence against Black women, many of those same folks (men AND woman) who understand racism/white supremacy can’t get comprehend/get a handle on misogyny/sexism/patriarchy. #WTF

EXCERPT: “What I find most interesting is that too many Black men, male-identified Black women, and progressive anti-racist White people, are unable to step outside the awful reality of many Black men’s lives to see and hear the physical, emotional, psychological, and psychic pain that Black women experience at both the hands of institutional White racism and at the hands of Black men, who are their fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, husbands, boyfriends, comrades, and friends. Fortunately, I’ve never been beat by the police, and I’ve never been incarcerated. However, whenever I hear a story about a Black man being beat or murdered by the police or about a Black man unjustly incarcerated, I am not only enraged, I am called to action. In my ongoing conversations with many of my Diasporic African, Arab, South Asian, Latina, Indigenous, feminist/womanist sistah-friends living in the United States, in Canada, and in Europe, I know I’m not alone with these feelings and fears…

And yet, very unfortunately, when it comes to rape, sexual assault, misogyny, sexual harassment, and other forms of violence perpetuated against women of color at the hands of men of color, men of color are too often silent. Instead of taking responsibility, more often than not, men of color want to spend time and energy on focusing the blame on women of color for the sexual violence that they experience.

If racism, in all of its violent manifestations, ended right this second, African and African American women, Arab women, Asian women, Pacific Islander women, Latinas, South Asian Women, Indigenous women would not be safe. Until African and African American men, Arab men, Asian men, Pacific Islander Men, Latinos, South Asian Men, Indigenous men take up the issue of rape, sexual assault, misogyny, sexual harassment and other forms gender based violence that happen every second of every day, with the same vigilance with which racism, xenophobia, colonialism, enslavement, police brutality, state sanctioned violence, and incarceration are addressed, communities of color will never be whole…will never be healthy…will never be safe…” ~ Aishah Shahidah Simmons

September 2, 2014
"Traditionally, in american society, it is the members of oppressed, objectified groups who are expected to stretch out and bridge the gap between the actualities of our lives and the consciousness of our oppressor. For in order to survive, those of us for whom oppression is as american as apple pie have always had to be watchers to become familiar with the language and manners of the oppressor, even sometimes adopting them for some illusion of protection. Whenever the need for some pretense of communication arises, those who profit from our oppression call upon us to share our knowledge with them. In other words, it is the responsibility of the oppressed to teach the oppressors their mistakes. I am responsible for educating teachers who dismiss my children’s culture in school. Black and Third World people are expected to educate whir people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future."

— ~ Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider, Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference, pgs 114-115)

June 2, 2014
NewBlackMan (in Exile): When There Isn't a Case for Debate: Black Men Listening to Our Sisters

Carrie Mae Weems (The Kitchen Table Series)

When There Isn’t a Case for Debate: Black Men Listening to Our Sisters
(organized by Brothers Writing to Live ~ Darnell L. Moore, Mark Anthony Neal, Kiese Laymon, Marlon Precedent Peterson, Mychal Denzel Smith, Wade Davis, Kai M. Green, Hashim Khalil Pipkin)
Brothers Writing to Live is a collective formed across identities, geographical boundaries and generations to create space for black men to work through the question of what a progressive black masculinity looks like. We come together through the understanding that there is power and transformation in collective struggle. It is imperative that we push one another, with trust and love, to think critically about the ways we move in a world created by toxic visions of blackness and manhood.
It is with that as our mission that we have recently engaged in a public conversation around the issue of sexual violence, one sparked by the dissemination of retrograde ideas surrounding black womanhood through the blogosphere. We reject these ideas on the basis that they help promote rape culture and absolve black men of their responsibility to confront the destructive forces of patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism that continue to afflict the lives of black women. It is particularly egregious given that black women have been at the forefront of movements to end racist oppression of black men. It is cause for shame that we have not shown up in a meaningful way for them.
Brothers Writing to Live seeks to model a new path forward, where black men are no longer silent on the issues which face black women, particularly those that implicate black men. We have talked. We have written. But talking and writing are not enough. The most radical thing we can do is listen. We must learn to actively and intently listen when black women tell us the stories of their lives and what we as black men need to do in order to support them. We must learn to step back from our privilege and be led by the sisters already doing the work. We can not presume to know all there is to know about patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism ravaging our black communities. We must be willing to hear the truth about our complicity in these system of oppression and hatred, and then take adequate steps toward reconciliation and healing.
It is with this in mind that we turn to our sisters, whose brilliance is unmatched and whose dedication to building strong communities inspires us all to move forward with the same graciousness, respect, and love that they have shown us throughout history.
Here, we listen. We encourage you to listen, too.
Mari Morales-Williams:
I’m the education director of a community center in a tough neighborhood in North Philadelphia.  One day, I was speaking with a 9 year Puerto Rican boy in my office about his phone.  When I asked him who he texted, two other young men in their 20’s joked, “He texts his girlfriend.”  The boy laughed and agreed. When I asked him why did he like his girlfriend, he said that she had a big butt. I looked at him squarely and probed, “Is your girlfriend a body part or a human being?”  He laughed and said, “A body part.”  The older youth joined in his banter.
That is what misogyny sounds like on a 9 year old boy.  And as long as men continue to think that that is funny or not that big of a deal, then they will have a hard time seeing how that kind of thinking has unhealthy effects on how young boys and men build genuine relationships with girls and women.  That kind of thinking keeps boys and men from seeing how they become violent with women in small and profound ways.  I’m not speaking of brutal acts of violence that are privileged in media.  That is a naïve and basic way to think about how sexual violence occurs in reality.  I mean the everyday violence that is seen as “not that serious”: harassing a girl in the street because of what she is wearing, bullying a girl in school because she doesn’t like you, only being courteous to feminine presenting women or women you think are pretty, only engaging with women to have your needs fulfilled, and the list goes on.  Men can end sexual violence by broadening their minds about what that violence looks like and being honest about how they might engage in that.  They can stop it by letting their younger brothers know that such violence is far from something to joke about, but a sore wound that we all need healing from.
Lori Adelman:
"We are of the same blood, you and I." -Rudyard Kipling
Vengeful. “That woman”. Leg-opener. Diseased. “Stripper/jump off/random woman.” Child-support thief. Life-ruiner. “FLAT-OUT-CRAZY.” Temptress. Deceitful. “A wolf in freaks clothing.” Punitive. Greedy.
These are just a few of the characterizations of black women perpetuated in an effort to make the case for black men to “be careful about their sexual choices” and presumably avoid fates such as unwanted fatherhood, STIs, or unjust detention.
I wish I were more surprised. I wish I could feign outrage or even ignorance. But the truth is, I’ve become accustomed to this line of thinking, one in which uplifting blacks is a zero-sum game requiring sacrifice in the name of solidarity above all — which just happens to fall neatly across gender lines. In this line of thinking, rather than tackling systemic injustices by fighting said systems and the correlating powers-at-be, we can simply demonize and deride black women, and particularly their sexuality, to solve a problem like mass incarceration.
I understand the pain goes deep, and black men are looking for solutions to a problem they didn’t invent, that shouldn’t exist. But our pain goes deep, too. The rates of sexual violence — including intimate partner violence and sexual assault — against black women are alarming. Hateful stereotypes and mischaracterizations compound this unprecedented epidemic in ways both concrete and immeasurable.
This is hardly a battle of the sexes; for community solutions to a wide range of issues, black men need look no further than the very “jump offs” and “wolves” they so joyously berates. Rather than trumped up stereotypes of mythical female demons, black women are community leaders; activists; organizers; advocates; journalists; and so much more. We are in the streets fighting against unfair drug laws and “stop & frisk” policies, and for reproductive health access in our communities. We may make for an easy scapegoat, but women of color are not the obstacle standing in the way of black men’s emancipation. We must be each other’s saviors, not demons. We are of the same blood.
Je-Shawna Wholley:
There is a way to encourage men to make healthy and informed decisions about their sexual partners without painting this picture of women being gold-diggers, conniving, and armed with an agenda of entrapment. What is to be gained from this narrative? Where is the self-accountability? At the end of the day, the key to saving Black men should never be the demise of Black women. We are not your enemy.
Moreover, we often speak of rape with a lightness that completely dismisses the trans-historic and everlasting trauma that is a result of rape and rape culture.  As a Black woman who is also a survivor of sexual assault conversations centered on rape are honestly triggering for me. I vividly remember sitting in the court room on the same pew as my assailant’s family. I remember feeling shamed when his mother looked at me and then shouted out to her son “it’s going to be okay baby,” as if to let me know that she “knew” her son was innocent. I remember her glares. I remember the sadness I felt as I looked at his toddler son. I was putting another Black father in jail. I was responsible for another Black boy growing up without his father. But these internalized pressures are far from the truth. I was not responsible for any of that. No matter how hard it must be for that mother to realize that her son sexually assaulted me, it is the truth. I did not “put” him in jail; his actions and the punitive system that we live by are responsible for that.
Instead of centering the bodies and experiences of Black women in a conversation amongst men about “how to not be accused of rape” I would like to see men having a healthy dialog about consent. What does it mean to gain consent from your partner? How do you start that conversation? What is the difference between “yes” and “not no?” Is there a difference between the two? What are healthy sexual boundaries? Who determines these sexual boundaries in our society, men or women? How do we honor the trans-historic realities as it pertains to Black bodies (of all genders)?
Mariame Kaba:
Feminist organizers responding to the murders of black women in Boston in 1979 marched in the streets in protest carrying a banner with a line from a poem by civil rights organizer Barbara Deming which read: “WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT OUR LIVES.” In 2014, the assaults against Black women are unrelenting. We continue to be disproportionately beaten, stalked, raped, imprisoned, disappeared, and murdered. We are fighting for our lives. We need solidarity rather than vitriol and violence from black men.
In his seminal 1970 essay about rape, Kalamu ya Salaam wrote: “The rape of African-American women is not seen as a major problem precisely because the victim is both Black and female in a racist and sexist society.” We desperately need black men to see anti gender-based violence as a primary site of their activism and organizing. I can only ask ‘what’s taking so long?’ We desperately need each other if we are to live fully and ultimately be free. Black women cannot live without our lives.
Brittany Carter:
The idea that being falsely accused of rape is as harmful as the actual rape of a black woman’s body is rather mind-blowing.  The same line of thinking informs the popular claim that being called a racist is somehow as harmful as enduring the actual violence of white supremacy.  This is the ingenuity of dehumanization - attempting to level the playing field between the oppressor and the oppressed so that the two become indistinguishable and justice itself becomes elusive.  If the conversation is, in fact, about justice (and it should be), then surely there is a way to lay out the harms of false accusations of rape and their contributions to the epidemic of mass incarceration without doing so at the expense of our sisters. Historically, subjugating black women in the service of black men’s liberation is a strategy that has not served the black freedom struggle well.
Charlene Carruthers:
We too, are human and deserving of safety and agency. Black women don’t need protection — we need recognition, respect, love and the forging of transformative spaces in partnership with Black men.
Sarah Haley:
Recently, some have attempted to shed light on a taboo and allegedly serious (but undocumented) problem of black women’s complicity in black male incarceration, claiming this as a radical act of antiracism.  Some might believe that trafficking in powerful and wholly American stereotypes of black female sexual treachery is an effective strategy to make the academy more relevant to black communal interests.  By this logic exposing a hidden pattern of women’s sexual revenge (erroneous rape allegations) that purportedly leads to black male incarceration is a public service.  This strategy is…regrettable.Critics of this approach have been accused of espousing Democratic liberalism, which is ironic because it is the notion that black women are to blame for black men’s carceral downfall that constitutes the mainstay of mainstream bipartisan law and order politics; such stereotypes of black female moral and sexual pathology contribute to the criminalization of black women to be sure, subjecting them in disproportionate numbers to the terror of incarceration each and every day.  But they also fortify assumptions about the thorough and unredeemable inferiority and criminality of black communities writ large.  For such morally bereft and lascivious black women are believed to inculcate and socialize (if not biologically propagate) moral deviance, endowing their daughters and sons with such depraved and criminal characteristics and reproducing a culture (tangle) of pathology.  This condemnation of blackness that scholars have so eloquently exposed ensnares both black women and men in extraordinarily violent regimes of exclusion and captivity.  It is an inadvisable approach to refute presumptions of black male guilt by imposing such presumptions upon black women.  Of course there are other ways of thinking about gender, violence, and imprisonment.  Black women and men in and beyond the academy have advocated prison abolition, one of the most radical and expansive critiques of white supremacy and the prison industrial complex.  This abolitionist theorizing and organizing emerged from a deep and thorough recognition of the magnitude of harm that imprisonment wreaks upon poor, LGBT, Black, and Brown communities, women and men.  It comes from the recognition that carceral terror relies upon late capitalist surpluses and stereotypes of black male threat as well as notions of black female deviance, black women’s perceived irrationality, unscrupulousness, and hypersexuality.  Dismantling will prove far more effective than redeploying the ideological brick and mortar of mass incarceration. 
Danielle Moodie-Mills:
Excusing rape by blaming black women for our “wild ways” is not only disturbing but an incredibly dangerous act. The number of men that have been wrongly accused of sexual assault pales in comparison to the number of women that are scarred both emotionally and physically by having their bodies violated against their will.  We need to have honest conversations about rape and rape culture within the black community that don’t pin men against women and vice versa.  We need to create a culture of respect and compassion for black women, not degrade them as objects of sexual desire or perpetuate the idea that black women are just trying to “trap a man” and are mischievous and not to be trusted.  Instead of enlightening the “brothers” using old tropes to that allow black men to escape responsibility from ending rape and rape culture.  We need responsible policy and engagement not rhetoric.
Heidi Renee Lewis:
Just over a year ago, in March 2013, my colleagues and I published short video responses to Rick Ross’ “U.O.E.N.O.” lyrics in which he raps about giving a woman drugs and having sex with her without her knowledge. While we did receive a lot of support for speaking out against rape culture, we also received many heinous and violent threats. One viewer commented that the women in our videos should actually be raped. For these reasons and others, it was, and still is, important that our brothers, including Darnell L. Moore and Mark Anthony Neal of Brothers Writing to Live, participated in the videos. These Black men were able to stand strong beside (not in front of) Black women, because they know, as we all should, that 1 in 3 women will be raped in their lifetime and that most sexual assaults are committed by perpetrators of the same race as their victims. These Black men were able to stand strong beside (not in front of) Black women, because they know, as we all should, that most Black women victims of sexual assault remain silent due to the shame and violence they fear they will face if they speak out. Almost 40 years ago in “A Black Feminist Statement,” the Combahee River Collective wrote, “We struggle together with Black men against racism, while we also struggle with Black men about sexism.” The same year, Audre Lorde reminded us, during a panel at the MLA, “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” How long will it take for us to learn that we must work together to fight a persistent and dominant rape culture that tells Black women that we aren’t worth the love and loyalty that we need? How long will it take? How long?
Sikivu Hutchinson:
Every day I work with young Black women and girls who have been emotionally and mentally battered by the constant cultural propaganda that their sexuality is dirty, pathological and destructive.  As “protectors” and “defenders” of Black masculinity, black girls are taught early on that unquestioned allegiance to Black boys and men should supersede their allegiance to themselves.  They learn early on that there will be no “My Sister’s Keeper” initiatives to “save” them, nor national attention given to the epidemic rates of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, HIV/AIDS contraction and Black female criminalization that jeopardizes all Black lives, families, and communities.  They are repeatedly shown in white supremacist corporate mass media, popular culture and the Black community that violence and systematized terrorism against Black women and girls is acceptable, normal and “just the way shit is”. Despite the long history of radical Black feminist resistance, violence against Black women and girls has never been regarded as an urgent civil or human rights issue in Black liberation struggles.  Due to this history, it is imperative that more Black men and boys stand with Black women and girls against the structures of patriarchy, sexism, heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia which normalize and institutionalize violence against women of color.  For starters, Black men and boys can begin having the difficult conversation about how toxic, naturalized images of hypersexual Black women and women of color shape their everyday practice, relationships, sexuality and gendered perceptions.  They can actively support the intersectional activism of black cis, lesbian, bi and trans women around intimate partner violence, HIV/AIDS and STI education, sexual assault and criminalization.  Instead of venerating the usual charismatic male civil rights heroes they can lift up the lives of lesser known figures in movement struggle like Ida B. Wells, Claudette Colvin and Recy Taylor; women whose forerunning activism linked Black women’s resistance to sexual assault and sexual harassment with civil rights struggle.  Through the holocaust of slavery and racial apartheid, Black men have never been told by Black women that their dehumanization was normal, natural and “just the way shit is”.  Yet, even when it was at their expense, Black women have always been expected to uncritically support Black men’s self-determination.  This double standard endangers Black lives.
Syreeta McFadden:
I wonder what kind of naivete persists in this conversation among men in our community that would continue propagate a narrative of rampant mistrust of women that could ultimately lead to sexual misconduct, assault and rape. I wonder what’s at stake for masculinity when we teach men not to rape. What is it about no that we fail to understand? How is possible that we do harm to people we claim to love? What kind of world do we believe must be protected to teach young men to embrace this ideology?
This argument is intellectually dishonest and reductive. One vague anecdote of a sexual assault case does not a rule make. While I’m not ignorant the legacy of false claims of rape by white women in a racist society, that boondoggle has now become a cloak and crutch for our community to engage in serious discussions about sexual assault and violence within our communities. The gospel of respectability mired in dated tropes of feminine and masculine identities have barred us, in many instances, from reckoning with the realities of sexual assault and misconduct and acts of violence against women on HBCUs.
We know better and we can do better to address it.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons:
FBI statistics state that less than 2% of reported rapes are false charges. Another way of looking at this is that 98% of reported rape charges are true.  There are many more rapists who lie about raping women then there are women who lie about having been raped.  Black men need to ask themselves why it’s so much easier to focus on the very small percentage of false accusations than it is to focus on focus on the pervasiveness of rape? I believe Black men have a non-negotiable responsibility to focus on addressing and ending rape in our communities.
In the last stanza of his riveting poem, “To Some Supposed Brothers,” the late, award-winning Black Gay Poet Essex Hemphill wrote,
But we so-called men,
we so-called brothers
wonder why it’s so hard
to love ‘our’ women
when we’re about loving them
the way america
loves us
As a community we have an acute collective awareness about the horrific impact of racism in our communities, especially as it relates to Black men and boys. Unfortunately, however, we tend to close our eyes and ears when it’s time to raise awareness and talk about the horrific impact of intra-racial rape, sexual assault and other forms of violence perpetuated against Black women in our communities. We spend so much time blaming women and girls for the violence that they experience at the hands of men and boys in ways in which we do not tolerate (without protesting) the blaming of Black men and boys for the violence that they experience at the hands of white supremacist state sanctioned violence.
We must remember that single-issue politics will never be our community’s salvation. If we do not address gender-based violence while we simultaneously address white supremacist violence, over half of our community will be vulnerable to all types of unspeakable violence, which will render our communities unsafe and not healthy.

June 2, 2014
Did you hear the news last week? "200 Black Men Ask POTUS: What About Our Sisters?"

April 30, 2014
We Need An Intersectional Approach To END ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE

Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Ph.D.,(photo credit: Wadia L. Gardiner)

Today is the last day of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It is not the last day of raising awareness, breaking silences, and doing everything possible to eradicate the GLOBAL ATROCITIES of incest, child sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault, human trafficking…all forms of gender-based violence perpetuated against human beings — especially ALL children, cisgender women, trans women and men, and Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual people.

In an African-American context, I long for the day when our non-monolithic community will be as RIGHTEOUSLY OUTRAGED about DL Hughley’s APPALLING, SEXIST, MISOGYNIST comments about Tuere (aka Tanee)McCall-Short (Columbus Short’s ex-wife) as we are when Donald Sterling or ANY White person makes EGREGIOUS RACIST/WHITE SUPREMACIST comments.

If racism ended RIGHT NOW (and Goddess knows I wish it would!), I, as a Black Lesbian Woman, would STILL NOT BE SAFE from incest, rape, other forms of sexism/misogyny, homophobia AND heterosexism. We must have an intersectional approach to ending ALL FORMS OF VIOLENCE.

No One Is Free While Others Are Oppressed! ~ Aishah Shahidah Simmons

"The way out is to tell: speak the acts perpetrated upon us, speak the atrocities, speak the injustices, speak the personal violations of the soul. Someone will listen, someone will believe our stories, someone will join us. And until there are more who will bear witness to our truths as Black women, we will do it for one another. For now, that is enough." ~ Charlotte Pierce-Baker, Ph.D., Author, Surviving the Silence: Black Women’s Stories of Rape, featured in

April 28, 2014

Will someone PLEASE tell #DLHughley that VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK WOMEN is NOT a laughing matter???

"By now most fans of “Scandal,” the ABC drama featuring Kerry Washington as D.C. fixer “Olivia Pope,” have heard the news that Columbus Short, who played “Harrison Wright” on the show, will not be returning for Season 4.
Though no reason was given, observers have made an educated guess that his swift exit at the height of the show’s popularity is due, in large part, to allegations made by his estranged wife, Tanee McCall Short, that he choked her and placed a knife to her throat, all while threatening to kill her then himself.
During a recent episode of his radio show, comedian D.L. Hughley, who once said that black women were the angriest people he’s ever met, weighed in on the story. This black man, who for some reason has been given a platform that reaches millions of people, used that platform to viciously attack McCall-Short by calling her a “thirsty bitch” and a “thirsty hoe,” who should have kept her mouth closed to get more money from her impending divorce.
“I think that broad shouldn’t be telling all his business if she gone take him to court,” said Hughley.”

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