>Scores of black men and women, both young and old, descended onto Jena, Louisiana, to protest the harsh sentences of six black teenagers given by the justice system. While I was pleased to see my brothers and sisters speaking out on the obvious disparity in the legal system, a couple of events that are as heinous and deplorable as the Jena 6 case have made me question the response from black “leaders” and the black community as a whole.
In the case of the Dunbar Village beating, rape and sodomy of a Hatian immigrant and her son by a gang of black teenaged boys, black “leaders,” activists, media figures and community dwellers have remained silent about this case. There have been no protests on behalf of this mother and her son. There have been no call for equal treatment under the law for what these thugs did to the mother and her son. There have been no “No Justice, No Peace” marches. There has been no outrage. There has been dead silence.
In the West Virginia case of a 20-year-old black female who was tortured, raped and beaten repeatedly by six whites, while this case has generated talk about what this woman was subjected to, no one has descended onto this town and demand justice. After all, these six suspects won’t be charged with a federal hate crime. So, I guess holding a black woman hostage and yelling racial slurs at her doesn’t constitute a hate crime.
I have pondered the question of whether black male victims of injustice get more publicity than black female victims of crime and injustice. Why does the black community turn its back on the degredation of black women, the defiling of black women and the hate of black women? Even if it’s committed by the hands of a black man, we still do not take her cries seriously.
In the Dunbar Village case, why has no one expressed outrage at the heinous acts these black teens did to this woman and her child? Why no protest? Why no march? Why no black t-shirts?
Our black culture and the history of our people have led us to subconsciously believe that the lives of black men and boys are more valuable than the lives of black women and girls. It’s been passed down from generation to generation to believe that when a black man or boy is being mistreated by the white man, we need to be outraged. If it’s a black woman or girl, we consistently turn our backs. We are shaped to believe black men and boys deserve more respect due to the amount of racism they face in life.
This misogynistic way of thinking and acting in our community has created a distinct divide between which gender is more worthy of seeking justice for. This male patriarchy system the black community has adopted from the majority has hindered our community from moving foward in seeking equality and respect between us.
The black community has continued to support the subjugation of black women and girls at the hands of white and black men in this country. The hip-hop industry is a prime example. The community as a whole has not stepped up to the plate and demand how our women are being portrayed in that filth. Some in the community like to blame the hip-hop industry’s nature on corporate (read: white) takeover of a genre that started from humble beginnings. I seriously beg to differ. Before whites became interested in hip-hop, you had 2Pac grabbing the asses of black women. You had Luke Campbell featuring women scantly clad on his videos.
Our community can not continue to place the lives of black women and girls on the back burner and put black men and boys on a pedestal.
Black people need to start investing in the lives of our women and daughters. We need to start standing up and fighting for justice and dignity for our women and girls. Our “leaders” need to cease with the picking and choosing of which gender would be politically profitable to seek justice for.