#BlackLivesMatter,  Blackness,  Writings

What Happened to the Movement to Protect and Respect Black Women?

Artwork by Noa Denmon

A couple weeks ago everyone seemed on board. A week later Tory Lanez drops his album, Breonna Taylor’s killers are not charged with murder, and salt bae’s video goes viral again (for the wrong reasons this time). It has become obvious that everyone wasn’t onboard. But we already knew this, right? The public defender, a black man, refusing to charge the officers that murdered Breonna Taylor shouldn’t shock us. We shouldn’t be shocked by the thousands of people who mocked Megan thee stallion for being shot in the foot either.

We shouldn’t be shocked that in 2020, Breonna Taylor’s life was thrown away and disregarded by the policemen who shot into her apartment. We shouldn’t be shocked that 45 has not done anything to help the case. We should not be shocked that even after Oprah, a powerful and influential black woman, put Breonna on the cover of O Magazine there was still no murder charge for the officers that killed her. We shouldn’t be shocked that people are defending her killers, including some black people. We should not be shocked. We know what it is by now, and if you’re just finding out you have to come to terms with the fact that you have been ignoring it. Black women have lived it everyday.

An image of Megan Thee Stallion performing at Saturday Night Live. Here she is posing with her fist in the air in front of a large display that says Protect Black Women.
This photo does not belong to me, please don’t sue me

Megan used her experience to shed light on this in a New York Times article called “Megan Thee Stallion: Why I Speak Up for Black Women”. In it, she speaks on a few really important issues. Among them is being a victim of violence at the hands of men, the objectification of women, negative stereotypes such as “the angry black woman”, expression of sexuality, and so much more. It’s a really good read, check it out.

In the time since I started writing this article, Megan has faced more sexist criticism and backlash for winning an award. Many people continue to support the person who assaulted her and make fun of her for it. Some thought it was funny to make her trauma into a Halloween costume. It wasn’t. I have no doubt many of those same people are praising Stacey Abrams for doing their work. Something that has come up in the last few days of the 2020 election is the simultaneous lack of support for black women and using us to win elections.

A photograph of Stacy Abrams standing powerfully. An article featuring this photo was titled, "Can Stacy Abrams Save American Democracy". I kid you not.
Photo: Ethan James Green 
An article featuring this photo was titled, “Can Stacy Abrams Save American Democracy”. I kid you not.

Since November 4th, Stacey Abrams has been receiving a lot of love for her work in Georgia. She absolutely deserves it, we love to see it. But let’s be real, white people, especially democratic ones, are quick to celebrate black women that have worked hard for us as a country. I say again, as they should, they deserve it. But, this feeds into the archetype of the black woman, specifically darker skinned black women, as the mammy. The person who is looked to when there is an issue that needs to be resolved or someone to be saved from immediate danger. We are expected to be saviors for Democratic candidates but also ignored when they need help in any other aspect of our lives. Black women are not here to work hard for you, we are not here to get you out of some mess that you got yourselves into. We fight hard for women like us who don’t have anybody else looking out for them. Not even black men, lord have mercy, not even them sometimes.

Everyone is giving Stacey Abrams’ her flowers now, but what are you going to do to protect her? And the women who worked just as hard as her? And the women that Ms. Abrams has fought tirelessly for everyday in Georgia? Have you openly supported women in their fight for equal rights, no matter the situation? Or have you torn them down? Or worse, idolized them as your savior instead of acknowledging them as a part of a bigger movement made of multiple hardworking people? Are you here for protecting all black women, or just the ones that have done something for you?

Megan continues to amplify the voices of black women, and maybe we will hear more of that in her music. I hope so. I’m here to say that I stand with Megan and black women everywhere. We are still holding people accountable and fighting for justice for the murder of Breonna Taylor. We see you, we are with you, and we will not stop advocating for you.

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