Help us help you. Please?
When yesterday's Psychology Today brou-ha-ha started to hit social media, I was pissed. I took offense first with the title (the first "Why Are Black Women Ugly?") and then was very quick to see that, under this sheen of scientific rigor was supposition and opinion. I was angry not only at the sentiment, but the fact that this was a new Bell Curve, a way to defame black women under the auspices of indisputable science.
So I took to social media, and the black women I follow on Twitter, on Facebook, and on my gChat were livid. Actually, livid is a nice way to put it. You all know; you were there in some shape, form or fashion.
What I got, though, as my voice joined the cacaphony, was that some brothers took it upon themselves to do a couple things it hadn't entered my mind to do. Some had, I hope unintentionally, added their voices in ways that made sisters feel like theirs didn't matter. More egregariously, though, some made it their business to basically tell you to ignore it. To shut up. Y'all are special; why even give this crap the time of day or put forth the energy to rail against it? And a lot of sisters, ripe from the "The most dangerous place for a black child is in the womb" stupidity foisted on them recently, saw that as yet another thing they were expected to brush off, under the guise of being strong sisters who stride the potholes of society with a smile and nary a stumble.
What I started to be told, though, was to shut the entire fuck up. Sisters GOT this. The angry-email-call was already out, posts were made, the white feminism mainstream hadn't really wondered what their brown-identified sisters were over there yelling about just yet (and, as it showed, didn't raise too much of a stink about it.)
A sister I respect said something that I'm coming to you with. A lot is made of the support us black men get from black women, and how black women are supposed to hold down the endangered black man. A lot is made about a lot of cats that are too hurt to accept that help or abuse it when it shows. A lot of us want to help and are turned away, or told to shut the fuck up by women who've been around that bend a few times too many.
What can we, as black men who SAY that we love, appreciate, honor, and treasure the black women in our lives, SHOW you that? Do you really want us to shut the fuck up when shit like this happens, or is that coming from a place of hurt we haven't reached? Do you want me behind the lines, tending to you after you've traded angry blog posts and rage-filled demonstrations? Or do you want me handing you ammo as you hunker down and blast away? Do you want me to man the guns alongside you?
"Just be there" seems passive, and while I know it's rewarded behavior for dudes to want to "solve" issues, and I totally get that this kind of society-sanctioned shitting on black women can't be fixed overnight, and I, and I suspect a lot of other brothers, want to...I dunno...DO more for you. If the answer for you is "just be there", please let me know. I just know I was "there" and, well, I don't think I was of much help, is all.
I understand that the answers are different; hell, I've had dialogue with sisters who simply don't give a damn. Who aren't worried. Who are, quite frankly, irritated at those who felt angry.. So I know the reaction to the story breaking differed, and I know the response to my question will as well.
I look forward to dialoguing with you on less serious topics, but this right here right now is bugging me. How can I, as a black man who loves and respects and thinks about black women as his equals as well as sexy and attractive, help YOU? What can I do? Because there's a lot of examples of what NOT to do...