When Racism and Misogyny Meet...A Black Woman's Dilemma

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I WILL NOT MARCH FOR STEPHON CLARK!!!!!!!!

By: Kawana Williams

I realize that, as a people, African-Americans are moving in the “endangered species” zone. More than once a week, there is an announcement made about another death of another black brother. By the hands of another non-black man. With these types of deaths, it is paramount that the community of said person stands together in unity, if for no other reason than to stand in support of those who have lost a loved one. It is not uncommon for African-Americans to use “race first” as their mantra when defending themselves or standing up against racial and social injustices. But the recent murder of Stephon Clark (and the revelation of his thoughts about black women) has me thinking: do black men march for women the way black women march for them?

The answer is hell the fuck NO. Which is why I refuse to march for Stephon Clark. Let me make it very clear: I am not saying that I feel nothing for the death of Stephon Clark, or any black man at the hands of the police (or in general). Any person shot 20 times while standing in their own backyard deserves to be advocated for. Any officiant of the law who commits this type of crime should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of said law. I am all for standing up for what is right, and against what is unethical. But how ethical is it of me, as a woman, to advocate for my race over advocating for my being a woman? Am I doing myself an injustice by standing up for a species that en masse has never stood up for, defended, or advocated for the very women of their own communities?

Why is the demand on black women so high to stand by their men when it is not, nor has it ever been, reciprocated in the same manner?

I am sure that there will be one black man who reads this who suddenly becomes oblivious to that which I speak. The #ButWOMENToo and #NotALLMen brigade will run to their own defenses, not knowing the caliber of men of which I speak. Black men may jump down my throat and stuff it with defensiveness, excuses, and justifications as to why women are required to stand behind them, but not the inverse. I know all-too well the sound of the well-prepared “I Defend All Women….You Need To Change The Men In YOUR Circle” speech that was prepared to make women feel guilty for refusing to stand  behind, or defend, the death of Stephon Clark.  

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For those of you, who may do so; allow me to give you some perspective:  When my soror, Sandra Bland, was dragged from her car, unjustly arrested, and subsequently murdered in her jail cell, not one of you stood up for her. What you all did do, however, was admonish her and her reaction to the officers who pulled her over. Your onslaughts of “Why didn’t she just put the cigarette out?” and “She should have just shut her mouth” rained down on her, and women like her, like a monsoon. Not once was a rally created for her. Not once was a march done in her name by any of you.

And yet you expect me to march for Stephon Clark “for the culture.”

When Korrine Gaines was murdered by the police, not one black man stood up in her defense: not even the one she was fucking
and had children with. Her own lover…A BLACK MAN….left her to die in their home with her child and a shotgun in her arms. And all you as black men said was “She got was she deserved,” “She was only a few blocks from her home; she could have just let it ride,” “She was asking for it going off on that cop like that,” and “Why did she have a shotgun and her child in the same hand? And why was she pointing the shotgun at the police? Were they supposed to let her shoot THEM?” Never mind the fact that Gaines had an open case against the Baltimore Police Department for harassment. Never mind the fact that she was coming from court after fighting said harassment before she had the verbal exchange with a police officer. Never mind the fact that, this past January, her living blood relatives were awarded forty million dollars for police misconduct. Never mind the fact that 3 of 5 officers in her apartment testified that they did not feel they were in imminent danger from Gaines. All you all did was demonize her.

And yet you expect me to march for Stephon Clark “for the culture.”

Men like R. Kelly have been ravishing our young women for the better part of two decades. Story after story. Court case after court case. Accusation after accusation. And not once have any of you held this MAN to task for his obsession for women young enough to be your grade
school-aged niece. What you all HAVE done, however, is blame the young ladies for being fast, money-hungry, and fully aware of “what they were doing.” Men like Fabolous have been beating the brakes off their “women” since the universe was created. And I can bet my life that not one man stepped to F.A.B.O. and checked him about his behavior. I can also guarantee those very same men were asking Emily B. how she ignited Fab’s anger, what was done to quell his anger, and why she called other people to be involved “in their business.”

Just a few of Stephon Clark's tweets about black women

And yet you expect me to march for Stephon Clark “for the culture.”

Stephon Clark did not like, or respect, black women in any shape, form, or fashion. His social media posts prove this. Yet somehow, I am supposed to look past this and my own womanhood to stand by him because “race comes first.”  I am not marching for Stephon Clark. His being black does not make him so deserving of my love that I look past his woeful ignorance. His being black will never override the fact that, as a woman, I will never get the type of support from his kind that is demanded of mine. His being black does not disqualify him from being held accountable for his hatred towards the very species that created him. His being black does not automatically mean that he
receives my loyalty by default of “the culture.” He did not give a shit about his race of women; why should women give a shit about him?  

Please tell me: why am I marching for Stephon Clark? When would he have ever marched for ME?  

Kawana N. Williams is a native Chicagoan and the author of, “Coming to My Crossroads", a memoir about her diagnosis of and struggles with ovarian cancer. She is currently a licensed Professional counselor with the State of Illinois and a second year doctoral student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology