In the aftermath of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile’s murders a number of interesting topics of debate have come to the surface, and not all of them have to do with police brutality and the criminal justice system directly.
We’re sure you’ve seen the memes criticizing black men who preferentially date outside of their race — asking why the white women some so openly lust after are silent on these issues while black women across the sexuality spectrum are fighting for them and our community as a whole. In the midst of the turmoil we’re facing, some might argue this is a petty conversation to be having at the time, but Crissle certainly wouldn’t be one of them. In fact, The Read and Uncommon Sense co-host openly chastised straight cis black men for not only their abandonment of black women, but also their refusal to shut down homophobic conjecture (considering the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement and the most prominent faces of black activism today are mostly queer).
The matter came to ahead after Deray McKesson’s arrest Saturday night and a tweet from a black man who said he wouldn’t follow the civil rights activist because he’s gay. That set Crissle off as she proceeded to offer a rather on point read of the ignorance of such statements as these, particularly in our current social climate.
We all know the answer to the question of what would happen if we stopped riding for straight cis black men: nothing. As in no protests, no Black Lives Matter movement, no push for justice in these cases of police brutality, and most of all no black family. The issue isn’t just the fact that black women and gay black men are thanklessly going to bat for heterosexual black men — because at least when those individuals act the movement gains momentum across the nation, regardless of one’s misogynist or homophobic beliefs. But even more deafening than the silence of the white female cultural appropriators many African-American men idolize and align themselves with, is the lack of action when black women are the victims of police brutality as well.
Save for Sandra Bland and some consistent mentions of Rekia Boyd, black female victims, who reportedly account for nearly 20 percent of those unarmed blacks killed by officers in the past 15 years The Huffington Post found, our pain and suffering largely goes unacknowledged. It’s for that reason that many like the person who responded to Crissle believe heterosexual black men are just riding our coattails to freedom where they have every intention to even further abandon us once they reach the promise land.
While this isn’t the time for added divisiveness among us, that argument needs to be made to black men who uphold these oppressive ideologies as much as it does the black women who are reeling from their repressive behavior. It would be a shame for black men to come away from all of this bloodshed with only a clearer understanding of their enemy and no recognition or praise of their biggest ally. You have to look no further than to the brave actions of Diamond Reynolds who arose from her grief as yet another black female heroine in the quest to stop police from murdering our men when she bravely captured the murder of her boyfriend by St. Anthony Police in Minnesota with her young daughter in the car and a gun pointed squarely in her face.
Of course black women will never stop the fight for black lives because those lives are our lives and the lives of our sons (and daughters), but that doesn’t mean we have to be silent either when police officers and all lives matter proponents prove not to be our only enemies on this quest.