A Love Letter to Black Women, A Call Out to Black Men

Black women, I love you. You are my mothers, sisters, and best friends. You are my mentors, emotional confidants, and intellectual role models. My greatness would not be possible without your brilliance. That is why I am livid at the barrage of patriarchal psychological and physical violence that Black men inflict on you. From Being Mary Jane highlighting the lack of Black male advocacy for Black women, to Kanye West casting call for only “multiracial women,” to Tiarah Poyau being murdered for requesting personal space, to #sayhername, Black men’s patriarchy and horizontal racism is disgusting.

I am ashamed at Black men’s lack of ability or will to manage our own brokenness instead of projecting it onto others. Too many of us lash out at you for our own pain. We fail to acknowledge that both Black men and women have to navigate the oppressive global society. Too many Black men do not realize that we are stronger with Black women than we are without them. Too often Black men use Black women as receptacles for our trauma and then turn around and traumatize Black women. Black men’s tears become acid to those around us because we are to afraid to use them as balm. My brothers fail to realize that you are a part of us and that we can never be whole until we embrace, respect, and affirm you.

This is not about painting Black men as villains and Black women as pristine victims. This is not about overlooking the ways Black women and women of other ethnicities are assaulted by men of all races. This is about addressing the issues in one’s own house before we step outside of it.

I cannot make up for the blatant disrespect and disregard that you face everyday from Black men who should be the one’s loving you the most. But I make it my oath to listen to you when you speak, use my privilege on your behalf, encourage your dreams, and affirm your worth every chance I get. I challenge my brothers to do the same.

We, Black men, must acknowledge our own suffering as well as our sisters’. Instead of trying to soothe our hurt by dominating over others, Black men, we must do the work of communal healing. If our sisters perish, we perish.

I am reminded of James Baldwin writing about God. He once wrote in The Fire Next Time, “If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.”

Human relationships should make us larger, freer, and more loving. If we cannot do this for our Black women, our sisters, our mothers, our companions, then maybe they should get rid of us.

Jonathan LassiterComment